King's Evangelical Divinity School

12 October 2011

As Christians We Should Know Better

As I prepare for a forthcoming television debate on Israel I've been doing a little research into how the issue is currently being played out in the Church. One is immediately struck by some of the extreme and pejorative language employed by some Christians against others, for example describing Christian Zionism/Zionists as deviant, heresy/heretics, apostasy/apostates, or even "an abomination" who have rejected Jesus.

Such language belies a lack of sophistication (Christian Zionism is hardly theologically or politically homogenous, while does a belief in a Jewish homeland - however that may be constructed or whatever its exact borders - really make one a heretic? That's an awful lot of Christians who love Jesus unnecessarily besmirched and excommunicated). Also, extreme language is often employed by people who lack reasoned arguments and evidence, and history is replete with fanatics and idealogues relying on invective to conceal weak arguments. It is a salutary reminder to those of us supporting the view that God retains a plan and purpose for the Jewish people not, in our zeal and passion, to fall into the same trap. Thus, for example, labeling anyone espousing replacement theology an anti-Semite is not only unhelpful, untrue and unChristlike, it arguably suggests an inability to challenge soundly this theological view. To be sure, some individuals espousing replacement theology have crossed over into anti-Semitism, and given the Church somewhat inglorious history on this score it is essential to identify and challenge it whenever it rears its ugly head. But overuse merely cheapens its currency.


James said...

Good post Calvin. There are various UK supersessionists whom I would never dream of calling antisemitic because, although they see the church as the New Israel and no prophetic significance in the modern state of Israel, they avoid dubious sources and are careful in their use of language and terminology. I am thinking here of people like Steve Motyer, Peter Walker and Vaughan Roberts. Sadly, not all UK supersessionists are as careful. You may find this piece, which I wrote a few years ago, of interest:

David Foster said...

I notice that this very issue has prompted the Martyn Lloyd-Jones Recordings Trust to publish an album of Dr MLJ's sermons on Romans 10 and 11, "Does God Have a Future Plan for Israel?"