Dec 18, 2010

Special love for Jews, the Bible tells me so

After an extended hiatus from the Portico Dialogue one thing has burdened me while away – the near complete neglect Christians have for evangelization of Jewish people. I’ve examined my own life and rearing in a Bible-teaching church and the general Christian culture today and I can detect little effort to love and therefore evangelize Jewish people.

I can confidently say that part of this failure is that a great portion of the believing church adheres to the erroneous supersessionist teachings of some early church fathers and subsequent patristic denominations. These, to a measurable degree, have historically proven to prompt anti-Semitism and in some cases, have led to sinful ideology toward Jews as individuals and Israel as a nation.

Dr. Gary Hedrick, president of CJF Ministries wrote:
Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation, was a supersessionist. Near the end of his life, he said that synagogues and Jewish schools should be burned to the ground, Jewish people run out of their homes, their prayer books and Talmudic writings burned, and the rabbis forbidden to preach or teach on penalty of death (“On the Jews and Their Lies,” Trans. Martin H. Bertram, in Luther’s Works [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971], pp. 268-271).
In his book, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer wrote:
It is difficult to understand the behavior of most German Protestants in the first Nazi years unless one is aware of two things: their history and the influence of Martin Luther. The great founder of Protestantism was both a passionate anti-Semite and a ferocious believer in absolute obedience to political authority. He wanted Germany rid of the Jews. Luther’s advice was literally followed four centuries later by Hitler, Goering, and Himmler (William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich [New York: Simon & Shuster, 1960], p. 236).
Notwithstanding whether Shirer proved that the Nazis were partially motivated by Luther in his best-selling book, the words of the founder of the Reformation cannot be denied. Luther wrote, “that their synagogues or schools be set on fire, that their houses be broken up and destroyed ... and they be put under a roof or stable, like the gypsies ... in misery and captivity as they incessantly lament and complain to God about us.”

The lamentable fact there is an umbilical between supersessionism and anti-Semitism cannot be denied. History proves the connection. But, the reader should note carefully that I am not claiming by definition every supersessionist is anti-Semitic or anti-Zionistic – that would be unfair. What I am trying to point to is the serious lack of love for Jews by modern Christians and, to a great degree, this comes to us through the Reformed movement.

Why was I not brought up to have a special place in my heart for God’s elect nation? Why are the true Christian pulpits of the world not a source for clear understanding of the future of Israel, the believing remnant and the reason the apostle to the Gentiles teaches we are to take the gospel to the Jew first, then to the Gentile?

Thus I was prompted to study Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s excellent commentary on the book of Hebrews and a careful study of Chapters 9-11 of Romans and have concluded that I have little esteemed the people to whom God gave special and irrevocable promises. I am guilty of not seeing Israel in the proper eschatological light and not seeing Jewish people as those whom I should have special consideration for evangelization.

I have never claimed a label for my theological understanding – not covenant, not dispensational – but I move forward from this moment to accurately see God’s future for the ethnic, spiritual, political, and territorial future for Israel as outlined in His word and my divinely given commission to herald the Gospel of Christ to “Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

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