King's Evangelical Divinity School

29 June 2013

Are you on the "Zionist lobby" list too?

The chaps over at Rosh Pina Project have produced a rather amusing response to recent news that, having been included on a special list, they are officially part of the UK "Zionist lobby". Their post also provides helpful advice on how your organisation too can join this apparently all-powerful and influential lobby, including details of how to be fast-tracked onto "the list". Hmm. There's a long, obsessive and rather unpleasant history involving drawing up lists of Jews. But apparently now even friends of Jewish Israel merit their own special list.

21 June 2013

Mike Moore of CWI Endorses JMINS

Mike Moore, General Secretary of Christian Witness to Israel (a Protestant interdenominational evangelistic society), has provided the following kind endorsement of The Jews, Modern Israel and the New Supersessionism...
Supersessionism has existed since the second century but in the last three decades a virulent new strain has emerged that not only continues to demonise the Jewish people but does so also by delegitimizing the claim of Jews to their ancient homeland. Advocates of the New Supersessionism are invariably intelligent, articulate and biblically literate, and the case they present is highly plausible. In many Christian circles, therefore, those who view the Jewish people and the state of Israel positively are now seen as the Church’s equivalent of the Tory party’s ‘swivel-eyed loons’. 
The Jews, Modern Israel and the New Supersessionism is a biblical, scholarly, balanced and sane antidote to Supersessionism old and new. It informs, teaches, corrects, stimulates, encourages, surprises and shocks. All apart from the incorrigibly apathetic will benefit from reading it.
 Mike Moore
General Secretary, Christian Witness to Israel

Find out more about the book (including other endorsements and where to purchase) here. Also available on Amazon Kindle.

19 June 2013

Richard Harvey Endorsement

New endorsement of The Jews, Modern Israel and the New Supersessionism (New Revised and Expanded Edition).

“Supersessionism” is not just a technical theological term. It is the deeply rooted mistaken assumption in much Christian thinking that God has finished with Israel (the Jewish people) and that his covenant with them has been "superseded" now that the Church has become the "new Israel".  In its modern form, sometimes known as replacement theology, it has done irreparable damage to relations between Jews and Christians, and has been a cancer in the Church’s self-understanding and its attempts to share the Gospel with Jewish people. 

Calvin Smith has done us a great service in bringing together and carefully editing these essays by leading scholars and Messianic Jews to explain the theoretical aspects and practical effects of such teaching. He calls on Christians to read their Scriptures more carefully and treat their Jewish friends more sensitively in the light of God’s ongoing election of Israel. This book should be required reading for anyone who loves God, His Word, His Church and His people Israel. 

Dr. Richard Harvey
Former Academic Dean, All Nations Christian College
UK and Senior Researcher with Jews for Jesus

13 June 2013

Protestant and Evangelical Involvement in the Holocaust

We sometimes hear about the pre-war Roman Catholic Church's attitudes towards the Jews which not only reflected European deep-rooted anti-Semitism at the time but also contributed to a milieu which allowed the Holocaust to happen. Yet we read far less about Protestant attitudes (Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, even Pentecostal) towards the Jews in Germany and across pre-war Europe, which likewise permitted the architects of the Holocaust to go about their genocidal task. Here's an excerpt taken from a disturbing essay on the subject (itself part of a much larger piece of research). Evangelicals take note.

In 1933, Bishop Rendtorff (who would later become a leader in the Confessing Church) had questioned the whole assumption that the state’s behaviour towards the Jews was “unevangelical”. For 1700 years, he noted, the church had fully approved of restrictive laws against Jews. Emancipation was an idea of the enlightenment, and should not be identified as an evangelical norm (26).  Wilhelm Halfmann, the spiritual director of the Confessing Church in Schleswig-Holstein, and Bishop of Holstein after 1946, wrote in 1936 that, because of “legitimate” Christian anti-Semitism, it was not the church’s duty “to interfere in the state’s Jewish legislation: 
Far more, we of the church must say, based upon two thousand years’ experience with the Jews: the state is right. It is attempting to protect the German people ... with the approval of the Christian church”.  (27)
Likewise, the Brethren Die Tenne spoke of the “accursed” nature of the Jews, and of “the cleansing of Germany from ... Jewish immigrants”. On June 18, 1933, Licht und Leben carried an article by the Chairman of the Gnadau Association to Promote Fellowship and Evangelisation, Walter Michaelis, stating that he and his organisation “had nothing against stemming Jewish influence, and treating Jews as non Germans.” From a Biblical point of view, “nothing could be said against this,” and it was indeed, “part of the divine plan for them.” (28) Concerning the Nuremberg Laws, the Baptist Wahrheitszeuge “told its readers not to forget that the hearts of Jews had been hardened by God following their rejection of the Messiah. Under God’s judgment, they had become a curse for the world.” (29) Likewise, the founder of the Elim Pentecostal church in Germany stated that he had “warmly welcomed” the Nuremberg Laws and knew that they did not violate God’s Word “in any way”. (30)

10 June 2013

Now in Print! (from today)

The print edition of The Jews, Modern Israel and the New Supersessionism (New Revised and Expanded version) is available from today in print. It can be bought through KEDS, Amazon and also ordered through local booksellers. For bulk/bookseller orders contact KEDS at: officeATkingsdivinity.org (replace AT with the @ symbol).

A print version will be available in the US shortly, but for now a copy can be bought through Amazon (US site) or Amazon UK

(Looks good, nice glossy cover, passes the "weight test" ;)


7 June 2013

Are You a Subversive or Submissive Christian?

Last night the BBC aired an excellent programme by the broadcaster Melvin Bragg entitled The Most Dangerous Man in Tudor England. The programme explored the life and work of the Bible translator William Tyndale. Bragg introduces his film thus:
Today many have never even heard of him. Yet this man's legacy lives on in every English-speaking country. Tyndale's influence is immeasurable. His translation of the Bible fuelled a Protestant ascendancy that went throughout the world. The biblical ideas that he released into the common tongue fired the English Reformation. And his genius, now acknowledged, makes him, alongside Shakespeare, one of the co-creators of the modern English language.
Tyndale has long been one of my favourite characters from the Reformation period. At that time in England, the Bible was only available in the ancient languages of scholars and thus the preserve of intellectuals, priests and church leaders. Tyndale wanted to translate the Bible into the everyday vernacular so that it could be read and understood by common men and women. But this was subversive stuff, threatening those church leaders who, through their knowledge of the ancient languages, controlled the reading and interpretation of the Bible. On an occasion when a priest openly attacked him, Tyndale famously said him:
If God spare my life, before very long I shall cause a plough boy to know the scriptures better than you do! (TyndaleArchive.com)
This access to Scripture has always represented an important defining feature of the Reformation and Protestantism. The Roman Catholic Church did not encourage a universal reading of the Bible, instead emphasising the teachings of the church whose leaders, it was (and is) maintained, can alone interpret the Bible correctly. The Reformers, on the other hand, believed the Bible should be made available to all, and that, for a large part, was understandable to all (hence the doctrine of the perspicuity, or clarity, of Scripture).

5 June 2013

Syria, Israel, Islamists and Christians

The Syrian civil war rages on, increasingly brutal and with no end in sight. This morning's news that the Assad regime claims to have re-taken the town of Qusair merely confirms that Syrians are in for a long haul, that this bloody and merciless conflict will not be settled any time soon.

The situation is made worse by Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon siding with the Assad regime to whom it existentially depends. If Assad falls, Hezbollah is severely weakened, losing a key ally and military supplier. Thus the recent news reports detailing thousands of Hezbollah fighters now in Syria fighting for Assad against Syrian opposition groups. To the outsider it must seem somewhat ironic for Hezbollah Islamists to side with a secular leader against a Syrian rebellion that contains a strong Islamist element (the Muslim Brotherhood). Of course, they both represent different expressions of Islam - Shia and Sunni - and the historic rivalry between provides and added dimension of complexity to the current conflict.

2 June 2013

The Kirk's Revised Report: The Jewish Lobby... Again?

The Church of Scotland's frankly disgraceful report on the Jewish people and Israel last month was hastily withdrawn and hurriedly edited in response to the furore it caused. Remember, the original report was not only offensive to Israelis, or to the wider Jewish world by denying their claim to any of the land of their ancestors. Many Christians were also deeply dismayed. Meanwhile it captured considerable media attention, and not because the Church of Scotland is a "big player": it captured media interest precisely because of its extreme nature as having crossed a line.

So lots of people worldwide were surprised, offended, dismayed. So strong was the negative reaction if was hastily pulled and underwent a re-write. But wait! We seem to have all this quite wrong, actually. It hasn't undergone a re-write because the first version was either offensive, dishonest, woefully unbalanced, politically-driven (and stupid), or because it demonstrated quite breathtaking theological idiocy. Oh no, it would appear far more sinister forces were at work, at least as far as one well-known strongly anti-Israel cleric is concerned: