King's Evangelical Divinity School

12 November 2011

TV Debate: Has the Church Replaced Israel?

Ninety-minute debate between Stephen Sizer and Calvin Smith, broadcast live by Revelation TV on 9 November 2011.

Has the Church Replaced Israel? (TV debate) from Calvin Smith on Vimeo.


Anonymous said...

I listened intently to the debate. Clearly, the studio audience were in the most Christian Zionists. I am very saddened to learn that Calvin Smith is a principal of a divinity school which must churn out misguided Christian Zionists! Clearly, he doesn't know that more than 80% of today's Jews hail from Khazaria and has no grounds to claim any biblical connection to the Holy Land. Also, today's Judaism is Talmudic and not based on the Torah. In fact most people in our world today who claim to be Jews follow the practices of the Pharisees with the Talmud being their scriptures. Also, he is unaware that prior to the creation of the earthly entity deceptively named Israel, the true descendants of the Israelites were the inhabitants of rural Palestine, some of whom turned to Christ at the first Pentecost whilst most of the rest converted to Islam in the 7th Century AD. Also, he seems to be blissfully unaware that the Jews were expelled from Palestine and it was the Muslims who allowed them back!!! By the way, Jerusalem was a Christian city until the Muslims became the majority.

Joseph W said...

This is the antisemitic Khazar theory, expressed at Christ at the Checkpoint 2010:

Joseph W said...

Apologies - this is correct link:

Anonymous said...

I thought the debate went really well. I am glad you reminded Sizer that this was meant to be a theological debate and not to go into the political side of it. I am also really pleased that you were quick to address Sizer when he spoke about Israeli apartheid. You were on the ball, and you dealt with that so well... especially as you (from the beginning) said that this topic should not be pejorative in nature and it would be best to avoid polemical arguments if as Christians we are to understand God's possible plan for Israel. Sizer himself said that it is possible that God has brought Israel back into the land for a reason.

This whole debate was handled well and you were both courteous towards one another. I for one think this just scratches the surface, and I have a feeling that the nitty gritty of this subject has not been scratched totally. I for one look forward to both of you debating this issue further.

Anonymous said...

Ah, any time anyone says the truth about the state of Israel, you can bet your bottom dollar someone will play the a-S card! Had I quoted from the copy of the Talmud that is kept in the Library of the US Congress what it says about Jesus and the Virgin Mary, someone may even go further and play the H-D card! Why is it taboo to tell the truth even if it hurts when our Lord taught us that the truth will set us free???

Joseph W said...

Anonymous, what a card you are.

Anonymous said...

My card is a truth-teller who fears no-one but God. I am the genuine article; not a new convert to Christianity who misinterprets the Bible to please any earthly being.

Nev McCormack said...

I would like to read Calvin's thoughts on the first post on this thread. The things he said are new to my ears, which also reminds me to ask if you would care to propose a good basic bibliography which covers all the main issues in the Israel question please, it would be much appreciated.

Calvin L. Smith said...

Hi Nev. Here's a bibliography on the Church and Israel:

Concerning the first post, it saddened me. I've heard this kind of thing before (denying the Jewishness of Jews, indeed it reached a hiatus with the denial of Jesus having any Jewish blood). BTW, there has been a continual Jewish presence in the land, especially around Galilee.

The bit about KEDS churning out CZs perhaps indicates more about Anonymous' mindset than anything. We don't fear debate and different viewpoints, indeed they are a prerequisite for any validated degree in the UK.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nev and Calvin,

The first post was certainly an 'interesting' narrative with regard to the history of Jewish people in Israel. I think it's correct that there is no one today who can claim any ancestry to Israelites of pre AD 70 and certainly no one who can claim a lineage to Abraham, except through Christ. From my reading, I see that there are some points of truth in the first post, being that many Jews are ancestors of proselytes. Many Jews did remain in the land, Some remained Jews, others converted to Christianity and later, some of both groups converted to Islam.

Personally, I don't hold to premillenialism, but my question would be that if there are promises outstanding to descendants of the historical ethnic people called Israel in the Bible, why should we be expectant for Jewish sons of Abraham and not Islamic sons of Abraham to turn to Christ? Should we not be offering the same support to Palestinians in the region that Christian Zionism gives the state of Israel?

Conversely, if we are suggesting that we are looking at faith and not race, and hold that the current definition of Judaism has any stock as a faith, are we not on dangerous ground theologically?



Anonymous said...

Check out the following.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thank you. Very interesting read.

I've read a bit about the Khazar hypothesis (it isn't really even a theory) and it's worrying when when it's quoted as fact.

Interestingly this article suggests that Palestinians are closely linked via DNA to Iraqi Jews. That would make sense as Abraham was called by God from Mesopotamia (now Iraq).

Based on this article, it appears there is some validity to both Israelis and Palestinians being of Abraham's seed.

Thanks again.


Andrew Sibley said...

Many Jewish sources acknowledge that East European Jews are ethnically linked in part to the Khazars, although that doesn't de-legitimise the right to be considered true Jews. Arthur Koestler was seemingly proud of his Jewish and Ashkenazi-Khazar roots. The question is though, to what extent are we allowed to research history and theology accurately? We have discussed the problem of accuracy in hermenuetics, but what about good hermenuetics in these historical questions? And this is said on the basis of a desire to love all people equally.

Calvin L. Smith said...

Andrew, you're quite right, Jewishness is not limited to ethnicity (though it is an important facet of Jewish identity).

Interestingly I was chatting with a Syrian today, an educated and charming guy I have got to know quite well, who likewise explained how Arab identity is not limited to ethnicity. He explained how Arabs in parts of the Middle East have genetic links with the Crusaders, Ottoman Turks, even Jews fleeing Palestine after the Islamic invasion in 634, etc. He talked about Syrians in some villages with red hair and an uncle with blue eyes, going on to ask how he is fully related to Saudi Arabians who look very different from him.

His point was parts of the Arab world is a real mixture over many centuries. Yet ultimately they're still Arabs, event though Arab identity is not limited to ethnicity.

Calvin L. Smith said...

Sorry, " of the Arab world ARE a real mixture..." (please do excuse my grammatical faux paus)

Calvin L. Smith said...

This gets worse... I meant faux pas

Anonymous said...

Real, i.e. not bogus with heads buried in the sand, truth-seekers should read Shlomo Sand's book The Invention of the Jewish People - see the review at: and Douglas Reed's invaluable book The Controversy of Zion at:
Surprise, surprise, Reed's book cannot be bought in the UK!!!

Calvin L. Smith said...

Sounds a rather unpleasant and politically-laden title. So let me get this straight... we have Temple denial, Holocaust denial, and now Jewishness denial. All on the basis of racial purity? Sounds uncomfortably like an Aryan argument.

Brendan said...

Hi Calvin,
I thought I'd leave a comment on the Blog to really congratulate you and Stephen for a stimulating and illuminating debate. I say this because I believe that majority of Christians will often 'point score' on these type of topics, and it was pleasing to watch your good self and the good Stephen attempt to reach for an academic answer to the issue.
If I may, I'd like to mention that you very wisely proposed your side of the debate by articulating that God is definately not finished with Israel, and his covenant with the Jewish people is perpetual and irrevocable. Stephen's premise was very thought provoking, as I know that many Christians conciously or unconciously believe that since the formulation and implementation of the New Testement, the Old Testement is now null and void.
Some interesting areas of the covenantal promises were highlighted by Stephen, i.e. the 'conditional' promised land being a prominent factor,etc; however, I thought you responded eloquently by indicating that there have always been a remnant of Israel faithfull to the covenant with God, spiritually and also geographically - even after the Babylonian and Assyrian forced exile.
Conclusively, it was a debate that was handled well, between two sensitive and passionate individuals, who care deeply about this issue - and the consequences thereof.
God Bless you both and your loved ones.
P.S. Keep up the good work.

Rog said...

Good evening, Calvin,
So sorry to be commenting weeks after the debate. I enjoyed the civil but passionate discussion (although I've yet to see the whole thing--video playback stops about 2/3 of the way through for some reason.

My comments:
- In response to the point that God punishes a disobedient people by expelling them from the land, you asked why Israel is still in the land now--if they are not obeying God (and recognizing Christ). Isn't it true that God patiently tolerated OT Israel's sins for a time (generations) before expelling them? Isn't it plausible that He's no different today?

- Regarding the belief that God is going to restore a physical Israelite nation in the original promised land , does it make sense that He would displace/expel the Christians already living there in order to fulfill this promise? Does He have to choose one chosen people over another chosen people?

Thanks for your help in understanding this important topic!

Anonymous said...

I would like to know why Calvin didn't call Steven on his half quote of Ac 1:7 (KJV) And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. Just like Hank Hanagraaf in the U. S. he leaves off the part he doesn't like which Yeshua indicates that the national salvation will happen.

Zkharya said...

Dear Calvin,

I particularly appreciated your response to Sizer's argument that, since ancient Jews were exiled for sins so might modern, with 'Then why are they there (in the land) now?'

Sizer's argument, especially wrt the conditional inhabitation of the land, begs the question

'If ancient Jews were, and modern Jews may be, exiled for sin, what precisely does the exile of Palestinian Christians and Muslims signify?'

Sizer seems very shy of applying to his fellow Palestinian Christians (and by extension Muslims) the moral and ethical criteria he eagerly applies to the Jews concerned.

Does that really constitute justice, Christian or otherwise?

Isn't it a form of ethical apartheid, applying criteria more rigorously against the Jews concerned than against the Christians (thence Muslims)?

Luc Henrist said...

Please let me know if you have received my previous message? Thank you.

Calvin L. Smith said...

Yes, it was posted on the other thread about the TV debate.

Luc HENRIST said...

Thank you! And I also wanted to thank you for your courage to take such a bold stand. I am sure that a lot of people don't appreciate it but the Lord certainly will bless you for standing for the truth!
Blessings, Luc Henrist

Turgay Yusuf said...

It was good to see Calvin and Stephen have the bottle to have a civilised debate.Also it was encouraging to see it end as civily as it began.I would be interested to hear about the continued dialogue that both parties commited to each other that would take place, takes place.Being a Turkish Cypriot myself we can trace back our descendants back to mid 1500's when some Turks went over to Cyprus from mid Turkey then prior to that back to the Turkic nations further East.As I was thinking about it, three things struck me 1. What relevance is it to me 2. I wander if God knows my ancestral line. 3. My Wife, for apparently looking as if I was daydreaming :) Please see the parallels. Answers: 1.Nobody cares unless there is something in it for them (How far are we supposed to go to defend our arguments). 2.God does know and it's relevant to HIM as he made a lot of Physical promises to HIS people by HIS definition. 3. My jokes don't get better for those who know me.
Conclusion: How relevant is the argument and what possible impact is it going to have aside from extremism (I don't mean standing up for truth as extremism, I mean our reaction)Let's keep talking as long as we don't start burning each other on stakes and flogging each other lets leave that to the Lord to decide.
I'm not ecumenical either just an ex-muslim saved by Jesus Christ The Lord of all, because of God's love and mercy by sending His Son to die on the cross and physically raising him from the dead to come back again at the appointed time as foretold in the scriptures(I wander what else was foretold).I just hope mankind hear it, believe it, and look forward to it, as I do and that we are good witnesses to Him and obedient to His commands.

Eddie said...

I feel that one of the most important points relating to modern day Israel is the fact that it was put together by a deal made between the British government and the Rothschild banking family of City of London Corporation (a nation state - nothing to do with the UK). Today's Israel has Rothschild stamped all over it - if you look for it.
The ancient prophecies state quite clearly that Almighty God Yahweh will call forth His people from north, south, east and west at THE END of the tribulation period and not before. It seems clear then that most "Jews" in Israel today are the false Jews spoken of by Yeshua in Revelation 2: 9.
In other words - the scattered tribes will remain scattered until the end of time as we know it.