Why Leftist Jews Distrust Evangelical Christians

 

When I was attending Cal State Long Beach, I remember one lunchtime when I was approached in the cafeteria by a young man. I don’t remember exactly what he asked me, but I know it had to do with Jesus, and I was immediately put off. I had spent most of my growing up years feeling like an outsider (as a Jew) and a heretic (for not accepting Jesus), and I brusquely rejected his inquiry. He politely walked away, but his unsolicited inquiry has stayed with me.

But my perspective towards Christians in general and Evangelicals specifically has changed dramatically. Due to the communities with which I socialize and my limited but sincere practice of Judaism, coupled with my curiosity about religions, I welcome input from my Christian friends and have found them to be very kind (except for one Ricochetee who believed that the Jewish religion was no longer relevant). So, I thought I might benefit from learning the nature of the relationship between Jews and Evangelicals, the complexity and diversity of those relationships, and how we might all benefit from knowing each other better.

By beginning with the Jews on the political Left, we can see the most current reasons for Jews rejecting and distrusting Christians:

The answer, I think, is that many Christian liberals see Israel as blocking the aspirations of the oppressed—who, they have decided, include the Palestinians. Never mind that the Palestinians support suicide bombers and rocket attacks against Israel; never mind that the Palestinians cannot form a competent government; never mind that they wish to occupy Israel ‘from the sea to the river.’ It is enough that they seem oppressed, even though much of the oppression is self-inflicted.

After the Marxist claims about the proletariat proved false and capitalism was vindicated as the best way to achieve economic affluence, leftists had to stop pretending that they could accomplish much with state-owned factories and national economic plans. As a result, the oppressed replaced the proletariat as the Left’s object of affection. The enemy became, not capitalists, but successful nations.

Attributing Marxist doctrine to the cause of the Palestinians was a premise I hadn’t anticipated. But considering the prevalence of Marxist ideas in this country, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

There is also another distorted set of beliefs that causes Leftist Jews to fear Evangelical Christians:

Christian Smith, a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina, analyzed four surveys of self-identified evangelicals and found that, while they do think that America was founded as a Christian nation and fear that the country has lost its moral bearings, these views are almost exactly the same as those held by non-evangelical Americans. Evangelicals, like other Americans, oppose having public schools teach Christian values, oppose having public school teachers lead students in vocal prayers, and oppose a constitutional amendment declaring the country a Christian nation. Evangelicals deny that there is one correct Christian view on most political issues, deny that Jews must answer for allegedly killing Christ, deny that laws protecting free speech go too far, and reject the idea that whites should be able to keep blacks out of their neighborhoods. They overwhelmingly agree that Jews and Christians share the same values and can live together in harmony. Evangelicals strongly oppose abortion and gay marriage, but in almost every other respect are like other Americans.

Yet Jews on the Left persist in holding these flawed views. When it comes to helping secure Israel’s survival, the tiny Jewish minority in America should not reject the help offered by a group that is ten times larger and whose views on the central propositions of a democratic society are much like everybody else’s.

In spite of the facts, politically Leftist Jews are highly critical of the Evangelical community:

Evangelical Christians have a high opinion not just of the Jewish state but of Jews as people. That Jewish voters are overwhelmingly liberal doesn’t seem to bother evangelicals, despite their own conservative politics. Yet Jews don’t return the favor: in one Pew survey, 42 percent of Jewish respondents expressed hostility to evangelicals and fundamentalists. As two scholars from Baruch College have shown, a much smaller fraction—about 16 percent—of the American public has similarly antagonistic feelings toward Christian fundamentalists.

There are also tensions over the belief in the end times, with a wide range of belief among the Evangelical Christians; Jews, of course, are waiting for the Messiah. A little humor goes a long way to bridging the gap:

As the late founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein said in a conference led by Israel365 Media in 2015, ‘When the Mashiach comes, we can ask him if this is his first time here or second. Till then, let’s focus on our shared values and opportunities together’.

I expect most Leftist Jews are not amused.

Resentment still shows up in the minds of some Jews toward Evangelical Christians, and it is critically important (and is not clear from the article cited) whether the author was personally approached by Evangelical Christians:

I have no problem with your discovering Jesus and embracing Jesus and putting your faith in Jesus – I actually support that. In fact, there’s a story about the Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, founder of Chassidism, who wouldn’t ride with a wagon driver who didn’t wear a cross on his chest. He preferred to roam through the deserted tundra with a man who at least feared something—never mind the theological nuances.

But why can’t you keep it to yourselves? Why must you insist that I, too, reject my grandfather’s Torah, stop praying the way my family has done since the minus fifteen hundreds, and accept your Jesus, and in my heart, no less?

All religions are entitled to state their purpose and beliefs freely in this country. Unless a person is trapped in a situation where they are forced to listen to these ideas, they should appreciate that this country welcomes religious expression. 

The last trend that I wanted to share is something called Replacement Theology:

Younger Evangelical Christians are increasingly distancing from Israel and are less likely to see any theological significance in the Jewish people. However, for many, this may not be the most worrisome development in and of itself. What is more concerning is that it is likely correlated with the fact that more young people are adopting Replacement Theology—believing that upon the birth of Jesus, the Jewish people ceased its role as the chosen people and the Church subsequently replaced them. Many of them are Millennials (34%) even though they only represent 22% of all Evangelical Christians.

These Millennials are today’s young leaders in the United States—in churches, business and government. This trend is unsettling because history has shown that Replacement Theology has produced both antisemitic and anti-Israel sentiments. Especially in European history, those holding positions of Replacement Theology have viewed God as being finished with the Jewish people and Jews as disloyal by being “responsible” for the crucifixion of Jesus. Historically, this has been the source of many antisemitic tropes.

I had not heard about this theology before, and wondered if others had. I’m not here to debate its validity, but only say that it does raise concerns for me.

Finally, this statement summed up my own views toward Evangelical Christians and Christians in general:

Well, our interests with the Evangelical community are aligned.  Evangelical supporters have been Israel’s best friends. They have supported the Israeli government, have invested funds in our startup nation and donated over 1.5 billion dollars to organizations we work with. Most importantly, they believe in the same Bible Passage in Genesis that we do. Do we really want to throw out the baby with the bathwater just because we don’t agree with their eschatology?

My Christian friends, Evangelical or otherwise, are a blessing in my life. I’m so grateful for your love and support, and welcome your input to this post.

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Younger Evangelical Christians are increasingly distancing from Israel and are less likely to see any theological significance in the Jewish people.

    Then they weren’t raised right.

    What is more concerning is that it is likely correlated with the fact that more young people are adopting Replacement Theology—believing that upon the birth of Jesus, the Jewish people ceased its role as the chosen people and the Church subsequently replaced them.

    To believe that, one would have to believe that God’s covenant with His chosen people came with an expiration date. Stuff and nonsense.

    • #1
  2. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Younger Evangelical Christians are increasingly distancing from Israel and are less likely to see any theological significance in the Jewish people. However, for many, this may not be the most worrisome development in and of itself. What is more concerning is that it is likely correlated with the fact that more young people are adopting Replacement Theology—believing that upon the birth of Jesus, the Jewish people ceased its role as the chosen people and the Church subsequently replaced them.

    I’ve seen discussions that some prophecy might be expanded to include Christians or the Church now, but the Jews remain God’s chosen people. As Percival said, to think otherwise one would have to think there was an expiration date to the covenant.

    • #2
  3. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Susan, I enjoy and learn from all of your posts, and this is one of my favorites.

    As an Evangelical Presbyterian, I consider Jews as sort of my older brothers/sisters. One of the greatest joys I get from reading the Old Testament is learning how mankind has not really changed through all of recorded history. We keep making the same mistakes, including that of trying to reason ourselves into an understanding of God.

    I believe we know God through the revelation in His Word.

    • #3
  4. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Percival (View Comment):

    Younger Evangelical Christians are increasingly distancing from Israel and are less likely to see any theological significance in the Jewish people.

    Then they weren’t raised right.

    What is more concerning is that it is likely correlated with the fact that more young people are adopting Replacement Theology—believing that upon the birth of Jesus, the Jewish people ceased its role as the chosen people and the Church subsequently replaced them.

    To believe that, one would have to believe that God’s covenant with His chosen people came with an expiration date. Stuff and nonsense.

    It’s not nonsense.  God’s covenant with Israel was expressly conditional.  Read Leviticus 26 if you doubt this, or Deuteronomy 28.

    Jesus said that the Kingdom of God would be taken away from the Jews (meaning those who did not follow Him).  Read Matthew 21:43 in particular, though this theme runs throughout Matthew 21-25.

    The Old Testament has theological significance.  For a Christian, modern Judaism has to be viewed as wrong, rejecting the promised Messiah.

    This seemed to be the common belief among Christians, as far as I can tell, until expressing it became forbidden as “anti-Semitism” in the wake of World War II.

    • #4
  5. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    About the OP, Evangelicals who have looked into the issue believe that America was founded as a Christian nation because it was.

    This is recognized in Federalist No. 2, which refers to Americans as “professing the same religion.”  It is recognized in Lincoln’s Second Inaugural, which noted that North and South: “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God . . ..”  It is recognized in FDR’s D-Day prayer, which called the Normandy Invasion “a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.” 

    It is recognized in an 1892 Supreme Court decision, Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, which after reviewing many laws, cases, and public pronouncements, concludes: “These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”

    Starting in the mid-20th Century, this history has been denied, hidden, and misrepresented.  The technique actually seems quite similar to the 1619 Project.

    • #5
  6. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Percival (View Comment):

    Younger Evangelical Christians are increasingly distancing from Israel and are less likely to see any theological significance in the Jewish people.

    Then they weren’t raised right.

    What is more concerning is that it is likely correlated with the fact that more young people are adopting Replacement Theology—believing that upon the birth of Jesus, the Jewish people ceased its role as the chosen people and the Church subsequently replaced them.

    To believe that, one would have to believe that God’s covenant with His chosen people came with an expiration date. Stuff and nonsense.

    I am surprised that replacement theology would be popular with the younger crowd.  Way back when, it would have seemed like it would take a miracle for Israel to ever exist again so some tried to give God a way out (Hint: He didn’t need it). But for believers who grew up after the resurrection of Israel, how do you not see that God is still working through His chosen people?  

    • #6
  7. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Some of the distrust between some Evangelists and Jews was the popularity of the Rapture movement. Evangelists wanted to hurry along the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. They believed that would hasten the Second Coming so they became involved in political and cultural issues in Israel.   

    • #7
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):
    I consider Jews as sort of my older brothers/sisters.

    Be careful about how you use that word “older,” Jim!!  ;-)

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Some of the distrust between some Evangelists and Jews was the popularity of the Rapture movement. Evangelists wanted to hurry along the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. They believed that would hasten the Second Coming so they became involved in political and cultural issues in Israel.

    I suspect this is embraced by some Evangelicals, but not all of them (and maybe that’s the Rapture movement you refer to, Doug).

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Regarding both your comments, Jerry, you are entitled to your opinion. I expect a Hebrew interpretation might reveal something different (and I’m not interested in exploring that avenue).

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    It’s not nonsense.  God’s covenant with Israel was expressly conditional.  Read Leviticus 26 if you doubt this, or Deuteronomy 28.

    You should read the last paragraph of Leviticus 26, after we’ve been told the nightmare of punishments we will endure–

    “Yet even then, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them so as to destroy them, annulling My covenant with them: for I the Lord am their God. I will remember in their favor the covenant with the ancients,  whom I freed from the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I, the Lord.”

    Deuteronomy 28 lists all the many curses and plagues and punishments the Jews will endure–only if they disobey God. At no point does God withdraw his covenant, after the many times the Jews disobeyed. 

     

    • #11
  12. Justin Other Lawyer Coolidge
    Justin Other Lawyer
    @DouglasMyers

    Percival (View Comment):

    Younger Evangelical Christians are increasingly distancing from Israel and are less likely to see any theological significance in the Jewish people.

    Then they weren’t raised right.

    What is more concerning is that it is likely correlated with the fact that more young people are adopting Replacement Theology—believing that upon the birth of Jesus, the Jewish people ceased its role as the chosen people and the Church subsequently replaced them.

    To believe that, one would have to believe that God’s covenant with His chosen people came with an expiration date. Stuff and nonsense.

    I’m not an expert on this (and perhaps @saintaugustine can elaborate), but there’s a biblically orthodox Christian perspective that goes something like this:

    1. There has only ever been one people of God, and it begins with the line of promise from Adam and Eve, through Seth but not Cain, preserved in Noah’s family, Abraham, Isaac (but not Ishmael), Jacob (but not Esau), then on through Jacob’s heirs.
    2. Although Old Testament Jews emphasized the biological aspect of “God’s people”, Malachi hinted that being set apart centered on God’s blessing and not mere biology (see Malachi 1, demonstrating God’s determination to bless the children of Jacob and to curse the children of Esau).
    3. Jesus spoke of “sheep” who are not “of this fold” at present, but that “they too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”  (John 10)  This teaches at least the following–that some gentiles will be brought into the fold of God’s sheep and a single flock will result.  That is, only one “people of God”.
    4. John the Baptist downplayed the biological aspects of being a child of Abraham, emphasizing that being a true child of Abraham is separate from biology.  For example, he called a group of Pharisees and Sadducees a “brood of vipers”, further saying “do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’  I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.” (Matthew 3:9)
    5. The Apostle Paul explains this doctrine in his letters to the Romans and Galatians.  Paul has a somewhat extended treatment of it in Romans 9:6-15 and Galatians 3:6-4:7.  At Gal. 3:29, we find a summary: “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  This agrees with Jesus’ teaching from John 10 above.
    6. Paul further teaches that many biological sons of Abraham have been “broken off because of unbelief” (Romans 11:20), but that, in His kindness, God “is able to graft them in again” (Romans 11:23).  
    7. Summary: What I’ve written above does not answer every question/objection that someone might raise.  But to argue that the Christian Church is in the same line of “God’s people” as the OT Jews were is a defensible claim.  
    • #12
  13. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    About the OP, Evangelicals who have looked into the issue believe that America was founded as a Christian nation because it was.

    This is recognized in Federalist No. 2, which refers to Americans as “professing the same religion.” It is recognized in Lincoln’s Second Inaugural, which noted that North and South: “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God . . ..” It is recognized in FDR’s D-Day prayer, which called the Normandy Invasion “a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.”

    It is recognized in an 1892 Supreme Court decision, Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, which after reviewing many laws, cases, and public pronouncements, concludes: “These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”

    This can be qualified to some extent; Jefferson seems to have been more Deist/watchmaker God than Christian, though his sensibilities and language were formed in a Christian environment. In addition, the wildly varying Christian theologies among the Colonists combined with the necessities of local self government in denominationally mixed communities may have had practical consequences, such that where multiple denominations coexisted an established church was less likely at the Colonial or State level, and some sort of tolerance made life a bit easier. Maybe something along the lines of “I’m certain that you’re going to be spending eternity in an uncomfortably warm place but we have to work together to fill that bottomless mud pit on Main Street with gravel.”

    But in general, I think you’re correct—even though FDR, shrewd politician that he was, said “our religion” rather than “our Christian religion” in order to leave some emotional wiggle room for non-Christians.

    • #13
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Younger Evangelical Christians are increasingly distancing from Israel and are less likely to see any theological significance in the Jewish people.

    Then they weren’t raised right.

    What is more concerning is that it is likely correlated with the fact that more young people are adopting Replacement Theology—believing that upon the birth of Jesus, the Jewish people ceased its role as the chosen people and the Church subsequently replaced them.

    To believe that, one would have to believe that God’s covenant with His chosen people came with an expiration date. Stuff and nonsense.

    I’m not an expert on this (and perhaps @ saintaugustine can elaborate), but there’s a biblically orthodox Christian perspective that goes something like this:

    1. There has only ever been one people of God, and it begins with the line of promise from Adam and Eve, through Seth but not Cain, preserved in Noah’s family, Abraham, Isaac (but not Ishmael), Jacob (but not Esau), then on through Jacob’s heirs.
    2. Although Old Testament Jews emphasized the biological aspect of “God’s people”, Malachi hinted that being set apart centered on God’s blessing and not mere biology (see Malachi 1, demonstrating God’s determination to bless the children of Jacob and to curse the children of Esau).
    3. Jesus spoke of “sheep” who are not “of this fold” at present, but that “they too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10) This teaches at least the following–that some gentiles will be brought into the fold of God’s sheep and a single flock will result. That is, only one “people of God”.
    4. John the Baptist downplayed the biological aspects of being a child of Abraham, emphasizing that being a true child of Abraham is separate from biology. For example, he called a group of Pharisees and Sadducees a “brood of vipers”, further saying “do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.” (Matthew 3:9)
    5. The Apostle Paul explains this doctrine in his letters to the Romans and Galatians. Paul has a somewhat extended treatment of it in Romans 9:6-15 and Galatians 3:6-4:7. At Gal. 3:29, we find a summary: “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” This agrees with Jesus’ teaching from John 10 above.
    6. Paul further teaches that many biological sons of Abraham have been “broken off because of unbelief” (Romans 11:20), but that, in His kindness, God “is able to graft them in again” (Romans 11:23).
    7. Summary: What I’ve written above does not answer every question/objection that someone might raise. But to argue that the Christian Church is in the same line of “God’s people” as the OT Jews were is a defensible claim.

    I don’t plan on a lot of theological discussion, especially because I am not familiar with much of the New Testament. But I appreciate your showing where our points might coincide. Thanks.

    • #14
  15. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Younger Evangelical Christians are increasingly distancing from Israel and are less likely to see any theological significance in the Jewish people.

    Then they weren’t raised right.

    What is more concerning is that it is likely correlated with the fact that more young people are adopting Replacement Theology—believing that upon the birth of Jesus, the Jewish people ceased its role as the chosen people and the Church subsequently replaced them.

    To believe that, one would have to believe that God’s covenant with His chosen people came with an expiration date. Stuff and nonsense.

    It’s not nonsense. God’s covenant with Israel was expressly conditional. Read Leviticus 26 if you doubt this, or Deuteronomy 28.

    Jesus said that the Kingdom of God would be taken away from the Jews (meaning those who did not follow Him). Read Matthew 21:43 in particular, though this theme runs throughout Matthew 21-25.

    The Old Testament has theological significance. For a Christian, modern Judaism has to be viewed as wrong, rejecting the promised Messiah.

    This seemed to be the common belief among Christians, as far as I can tell, until expressing it became forbidden as “anti-Semitism” in the wake of World War II.

    I’d say “a common, maybe even the most common” rather than “the common” but I think you’re correct.

    • #15
  16. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Younger Evangelical Christians are increasingly distancing from Israel and are less likely to see any theological significance in the Jewish people.

    Then they weren’t raised right.

    What is more concerning is that it is likely correlated with the fact that more young people are adopting Replacement Theology—believing that upon the birth of Jesus, the Jewish people ceased its role as the chosen people and the Church subsequently replaced them.

    To believe that, one would have to believe that God’s covenant with His chosen people came with an expiration date. Stuff and nonsense.

    I am surprised that replacement theology would be popular with the younger crowd. Way back when, it would have seemed like it would take a miracle for Israel to ever exist again so some tried to give God a way out (Hint: He didn’t need it). But for believers who grew up after the resurrection of Israel, how do you not see that God is still working through His chosen people?

    At least some see it as Satanic.

    • #16
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    About the OP, Evangelicals who have looked into the issue believe that America was founded as a Christian nation because it was.

    This is recognized in Federalist No. 2, which refers to Americans as “professing the same religion.” It is recognized in Lincoln’s Second Inaugural, which noted that North and South: “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God . . ..” It is recognized in FDR’s D-Day prayer, which called the Normandy Invasion “a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.”

    It is recognized in an 1892 Supreme Court decision, Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, which after reviewing many laws, cases, and public pronouncements, concludes: “These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”

    This can be qualified to some extent; Jefferson seems to have been more Deist/watchmaker God than Christian, though his sensibilities and language were formed in a Christian environment. In addition, the wildly varying Christian theologies among the Colonists combined with the necessities of local self government in denominationally mixed communities may have had practical consequences, such that where multiple denominations coexisted an established church was less likely at the Colonial or State level, and some sort of tolerance made life a bit easier. Maybe something along the lines of “I’m certain that you’re going to be spending eternity in an uncomfortably warm place but we have to work together to fill that bottomless mud pit on Main Street with gravel.”

    But in general, I think you’re correct—even though FDR, shrewd politician that he was, said “our religion” rather than “our Christian religion” in order to leave some emotional wiggle room for non-Christians.

    Thanks so much for weighing in, OTLC! I especially couldn’t help smiling at the bolded sentence–makes sense to me!

    • #17
  18. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Susan Quinn:

    By beginning with the Jews on the political Left, we can see the most current reasons for Jews rejecting and distrusting Christians:

    The answer, I think, is that many Christian liberals see Israel as blocking the aspirations of the oppressed—who, they have decided, include the Palestinians.

    Never mind that this bears more than a passing resemblance to seeing the KKK as oppressed. Liberals are very good at forgetting the many centuries of Muslim oppression of Jews.–discriminatory laws, lack of legal recourse to violence and theft, routine public acts of humiliation, and periodic pogroms. Pondering why liberals might be so “forgetful” can lead to some provocative conclusions about how liberals think and where they really get their ideas from.

    • #18
  19. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Younger Evangelical Christians are increasingly distancing from Israel and are less likely to see any theological significance in the Jewish people.

    Then they weren’t raised right.

    What is more concerning is that it is likely correlated with the fact that more young people are adopting Replacement Theology—believing that upon the birth of Jesus, the Jewish people ceased its role as the chosen people and the Church subsequently replaced them.

    To believe that, one would have to believe that God’s covenant with His chosen people came with an expiration date. Stuff and nonsense.

    I am surprised that replacement theology would be popular with the younger crowd. Way back when, it would have seemed like it would take a miracle for Israel to ever exist again so some tried to give God a way out (Hint: He didn’t need it). But for believers who grew up after the resurrection of Israel, how do you not see that God is still working through His chosen people?

    I used to think along these lines.  Studying the Scripture led me to a different conclusion.

    If you’re a Christian, what should you think about the modern State of Israel as a theological matter?  Well, if you’re a Christian, then you have to believe that the King of Israel is Jesus, I think.  Does modern Israel acknowledge its King?  If you’re a Christian, then you have to believe that to be obedient, modern Jews must follow the teachings of Jesus.  Does modern Israel do this?

    Modern Israel doesn’t even follow the Law of Moses.  Among other things, the Law of Moses required various sacrifices, done in the Tabernacle.  Does modern Israel do this?

    If you accept portions of the Old Testament outside the Torah, then the worship and sacrifice in the Tabernacle was transferred to the Temple.  Does modern Israel do these things in the Temple?  Have they rebuild the Temple?  They’ve held the land for over 50 years.

    So I think that for a Christian, modern Israel has to be considered as being in a state of rebellion and defiance against the commands of God.  This is not unusual.  It was the case during many of the bad kings, like Ahab and Manasseh, among others.

    • #19
  20. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Some of the distrust between some Evangelists and Jews was the popularity of the Rapture movement. Evangelists wanted to hurry along the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. They believed that would hasten the Second Coming so they became involved in political and cultural issues in Israel.

    I think that you’re right about this, Doug.  It is very strange.  The prophecy in Daniel 9 seems to predict that the Temple will be restored as the result of a treaty between Israel and Antichrist.  That treaty doesn’t seem like a good thing, to me, nor does it reflect well on the restored Israel.

    I have no idea whether or not current events relate to this particular prophecy.  One of the clear teachings about end times is the statement of Jesus, in Matthew 24, that no one knows the day or the hour of His return.  I conclude, therefore, that anyone who claims to know this is wrong.  It may be happening now, or it may not happen for 1,000 years or more.

     

    • #20
  21. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    I read Nostra Aetate a long time ago, and as near as I can remember, the theological part about Jews said (crudely put) something like:

    • In reality whatever communications Jews may have had with G-d, including the Patriarchs, Sinai, the Prophets actually, unbeknownst to Abraham and his descendants, involved Jesus.

    • Since Jesus, Jewish prayer and practice is still valid though it still, as it always has, involves Jesus

    • It’s as if as a courtesy to old customers, the “power company” still accepts payments sent to the old address and the old customers can ignore the new management

    • It would be best for Jews to convert to Christianity, but since the Holocaust it’s not polite to push that too much.

    • How this all works (Judaism still being sort of kind of valid) is a theological mystery, but when all is said and done, when the Messiah comes and (stealing the line from Rabbi Daniel Lapin) the Jews ask him, “Pardon me, sir, have you been here before?” the answer will of course be “yes.”

     

    • #21
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):
    Pondering why liberals might be so “forgetful” can lead to some provocative conclusions about how liberals think and where they really get their ideas from.

    That would be interesting to look into. Muslims were less than kind to us when we rejected Islam.

    • #22
  23. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    The genealogical heritage of Jesus back to Abraham is pretty clear in both the Old and New Testaments. I’d say we were all part of the same dysfunctional family–meaning, we don’t listen to each other very well. In that case, the project at hand is for us to work on forgiveness, compassion, understanding, respect, and intellectual growth. No matter where Jesus falls in a person’s hierarchy of faith, his message was pretty good advice: to love each other as God has loved us.

    I’m very grateful that God continues to exhibit patience with us–that is, that he hasn’t pulled another Noah’s Ark flood event. :-)  Our growth has been slow, and sometimes we have slid backward.

    I grew up during a time when there was a great deal conflict between mainstream Protestants and Catholics. I always thought the conflict was shallow and without merit, and I still do. I am pretty sure that God hears all the prayers, no matter whom they come from. :-)

    I think the constant is the conflict, not the people engaged in it. The names and issues will be ever changing.

    • #23
  24. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Younger Evangelical Christians are increasingly distancing from Israel and are less likely to see any theological significance in the Jewish people.

    Then they weren’t raised right.

    What is more concerning is that it is likely correlated with the fact that more young people are adopting Replacement Theology—believing that upon the birth of Jesus, the Jewish people ceased its role as the chosen people and the Church subsequently replaced them.

    To believe that, one would have to believe that God’s covenant with His chosen people came with an expiration date. Stuff and nonsense.

    I am surprised that replacement theology would be popular with the younger crowd. Way back when, it would have seemed like it would take a miracle for Israel to ever exist again so some tried to give God a way out (Hint: He didn’t need it). But for believers who grew up after the resurrection of Israel, how do you not see that God is still working through His chosen people?

    I used to think along these lines. Studying the Scripture led me to a different conclusion.

    If you’re a Christian, what should you think about the modern State of Israel as a theological matter? Well, if you’re a Christian, then you have to believe that the King of Israel is Jesus, I think. Does modern Israel acknowledge its King? If you’re a Christian, then you have to believe that to be obedient, modern Jews must follow the teachings of Jesus. Does modern Israel do this?

    Modern Israel doesn’t even follow the Law of Moses. Among other things, the Law of Moses required various sacrifices, done in the Tabernacle. Does modern Israel do this?

    If you accept portions of the Old Testament outside the Torah, then the worship and sacrifice in the Tabernacle was transferred to the Temple. Does modern Israel do these things in the Temple? Have they rebuild the Temple? They’ve held the land for over 50 years.

    So I think that for a Christian, modern Israel has to be considered as being in a state of rebellion and defiance against the commands of God. This is not unusual. It was the case during many of the bad kings, like Ahab and Manasseh, among others.

    What do you think of Numbers 23:19? (God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?)

    Or, more recently, Rom. 9:6-13? (…not all Israel is Israel…)

     

    • #24
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    MarciN (View Comment):
    I’m very grateful that God continues to exhibit patience with us–that is, that he hasn’t pulled another Noah’s Ark flood event. :-)  

    No kidding, Marci! I often say that I amazed with all the dysfunction, G-d never rejected us. He railed at us, punished us, plagued us, but He never broke the covenant (although I realize some do not agree). Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • #25
  26. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Chuck (View Comment):
    What do you think of Numbers 23:19? (God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?)

    I’m sorry, Chuck, but the Torah, Numbers 23:19 doesn’t say anything like that. If it did, I’m not clear on your point. And I’m not familiar with Romans.

    • #26
  27. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Jesus said that the Kingdom of God would be taken away from the Jews (meaning those who did not follow Him).  Read Matthew 21:43 in particular, though this theme runs throughout Matthew 21-25.

    That is Jesus versus the chief priests and Pharisees. He is calling them out for being more concerned with their positions and authority than they are with their function.

    • #27
  28. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Chuck (View Comment):
    What do you think of Numbers 23:19? (God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?)

    I’m sorry, Chuck, but the Torah, Numbers 23:19 doesn’t say anything like that. If it did, I’m not clear on your point. And I’m not familiar with Romans.

    Susan, I think that it does.  Could you elaborate?  What source are you using?

    Not all translations use the word “repent,” instead saying something like “change his mind.”  This doesn’t seem to alter the meaning.  A leading Jewish translation, the JPS Tanakh 1917 (here), translates Numbers 23:19 as:

    “God is not a man, that He should lie; Neither the son of man, that He should repent: When He hath said, will He not do it? Or when He hath spoken, will He not make it good?” This doesn’t seem to differ, in any important way, from the translation that Chuck used.

    • #28
  29. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    I have always gotten along well with Jewish people and they with me.  But I am a Catholic and not a Christian or so I have been told by many Christians.

    • #29
  30. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Chuck (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    . . .

    What do you think of Numbers 23:19? (God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?)

    Or, more recently, Rom. 9:6-13? (…not all Israel is Israel…)

    I had to look these up.  I’ll do my best.

    Numbers 23:19 is a single line from Balaam’s second oracle.  We should be careful about taking single verses out of context, though I’m not suggesting that you’ve done so.  We just need to be careful.

    So Numbers 22 is the start of the story of Balaam, who is summoned by emissaries Balak, the king of Moab, to curse the Israelites.  God tells Balaam to say no, so Balaam says no.  Then Balak sends more emissaries to ask Balaam to come, with a mixed message.  Balak asks Balaam to curse the Israelites, but also says that whatever Balaam says to do, Balak will do.  Balaam initially refuses, then God tells him to go.

    This is followed by the amusing story of Balaam’s donkey, which sees an angel blocking the way that Balaam cannot initially see.  Eventually, Balaam sees the angel, but then he’s told by the angel to go to Balak anyway, but only to speak the word that the angel tells him.

    I interpret this as a warning to Balaam, to be sure to do only what God tells him to do.

    So Balaam arrives in Numbers 23, performs a sacrifice with Balak, and then . . . blesses Israel.  Balak isn’t happy about this, and asks Balaam to curse Israel.

    The verse that you quote is part of Balaam’s response to this second request.  It is making it clear to Balak that God has decided to bless Israel, not curse them.

    There are a few times in the Old Testament when God appears to “change His mind” or consider doing so.  There’s Abraham’s negotiation over the fate of Sodom, though God doesn’t actually change His mind there.  There’s Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac, which God calls off at the last moment.  There’s an episode when God tells Moses that He’s going to destroy the Israelites and start over again with Moses, and Moses intercedes for the people, and God “changes His mind,” apparently.

    On the broader theological question of whether God’s revelation changes, I think that the Christian answer has to be yes.  At least the ceremonial Law of Moses was plainly superseded by Jesus.

    • #30
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