Have you noticed how the favourite maxim (nay, mantra) of some who vociferously and pejoratively reject the view that the Jewish people somehow retain a continued special place in God's heart claim such a theology is racist? Do a bit of research and dig a little and you’ll see it is a favourite ploy by the new supercessionists. In these New Testament times, they say, the time of the new covenant, God shows no favouritism. Therefore, any view that singles out the Jews as God’s chosen people is a racist theology. Thus they claim “God is not a racist.”
Actually, according to this flawed logic that last phrase should read, “God is no longer a racist” because, as we all know (and supercessionists freely concede) in Old Testament times biblical Israel was indeed God’s chosen people. God did choose for Himself a people - the Jews - who were special in God's sight. So upon reflection, when someone accuses a theology of the Jews as God's continued people of being inherently racist we are left with two logical choices. Either a) God is no longer a racist, or b) God’s choosing of a peculiar people, as He did in Old Testament times, was done in such a way which was never racist to begin with. If the latter, how then can the view today that God has not finished with His people Israel also be considered racist? It can't. And of course we also know biblical Israel was far from racist. She practised an integrationist approach which welcomed all manner of ethnic non-Jews within the congregation of Israel. (More on this in a future post.) To be sure, a minority on the fringes of Christian Zionism may well be racist, but it simply won't do to implicate everyone who holds to the view God has not finished with the Jewish people as somehow crossing the line into racism. Unnecessarily inflammatory language and straw man building such as this merely turns the theological debate into a political football.
So next time someone pompously asserts that a theology affirming God’s favouritism towards the Jews is somehow racist, I suggest a response (in a suitably humble manner, of course) to the effect that, “Oh, I’m glad to hear God is no longer a racist”. Then explain how, according to their logic, He used to be in Old Testament times. I’d be interested to hear their responses.
Adapted from a post originally published on the Midlands Bible College blog.
Take my poll on Christian responses to the State of Israel. See top-right of this page.