Saturday, August 11, 2012

God keeps His promises

There is a completely false doctrine which pervades the Christian church. It is commonly known as replacement theology.

Replacement theology holds that whilst the Jews were once God's chosen people, God has now washed His hands of the Jews and all the promises God made to Israel are now transferred to the church.

There's one thing seriously wrong with that: it isn't true.

Proponents of replacement theology "spiritualise away" the literal meaning of large portions of Scripture. Romans 11 particularly makes it plain that God has not cast away the Jewish people. When the Jews as a nation failed to recognise their Messiah, God opened the door of salvation to the Gentiles. Rom 11:25, 26 makes it clear that when the fulness of the Gentiles who are going to believe have come to faith, God will turn again to the Jews, and all Israel will be saved. (All Israel, that is, living at that time.) When it says all Israel will be saved, Israel means Israel; it does not mean the church.

Replacement theology has fuelled antisemitism and led to all manner of injustice. Many Palestinian Christians have fallen for replacement theology, including the belief that the Jews have no right to their land.

Among Roman Catholics, there are still antisemites who consider the Jews Christ-killers, despite the pronouncement by Pope Paul VI and the Second Vatican Council in Nostra Aetate that "What happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today."

Despite the fact that John and Charles Wesley believed that the Jews would be restored to their promised land (including the area known today as the West Bank and East Jerusalem) and instructed their followers to "speak tenderly" to the Jewish people, the Methodist Conference decided in 2010 to boycott all goods and services from the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which it called "illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories."

Now I see the Church of England, apparently forgetful of the extreme suffering of Christians in the Middle East and oblivious to the fact that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East as well as the only country in the Middle East that guarantees freedom of Christian worship, has voted to support the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, a pro-Palestinian organisation which promotes boycotts against Israel and seeks to end "the illegal occupation of Palestine."

Shame on them.

A patriotic young Scotsman wanted to know why Jesus was a Jew. Why couldn't He have been a Scotsman? Because of God's promises to Abraham, that's why.

God keeps His promises. All the promises God has made to Israel that have not yet been fulfilled will be fulfilled. If God isn't going to keep His promises to Israel, how do we know He's going to keep His promises to the church?