Saturday, January 07, 2006

Evangelical Philo-Semitism and Historical Perspective

The Sunday Washington Post has an interesting, albeit too brief, article on the rise of "philo-Semitism" among evangelicals.

The article does manage to note that the phenomenon is of three kinds: (1) seeking understanding with Jews because of the shared religious and social perspectives of evangelicals and Jews; (2) seeking to do good to the Jewish people as evangelicals seek to do good to all; (3) encouraging Jews in all endeavors, especially in the protection and expansion of the nation of Israel, so that the blessing promised in Genesis 12:3, "I will bless those who bless you" can be received and so that Jesus can come back.

Notable in the article is the suspicion that philo-Semitism raises among some Jews. Many are suspicious that Christians merely want to convert Jews, and they don't like that. Such reactions are like that of Julie Galambush, a former American Baptist minister and convert to Judaism: "But believing that someday Jews will stop being Jews and become Christians is still a form of hoping that someday there will be no more Jews."

SWNID notes the following on the subject:
  • It's unfortunate that those who seek a blessing from blessing Israel don't read to the end of Genesis 12:3, "by you all families of the earth will be blessed," and then read the New Testament Scriptures to gain the perspective that the early Christians, most of whom were Jews, believed that this "blessing" comes in Christ, thereby obliterating the distinction among "nations."
  • It's unfortunate that the work of us who have labored to note that the New Testament doesn't blame Jews in general for the death of Jesus has been largely ignored, so that Christians are still asked, as in this article, whether they'll teach that the Jews killed Jesus, and when asked, they lack a coherent response.
  • And it's unfortunate that in contemporary Judaism, being a Jew can be defined by almost anything except being a believer in Jesus. In the beginning it was not so.
  • And it's odd that anyone would think it problematic to see the Jews at the center of history, a notion expressed in the article by Leon Wieseltier, a Jewish scholar and literary editor of the New Republic. After all, Judaism sees Jews at the center of history. It all starts with one God. You see, he "calls" a "people" . . .
  • But what's most odd and unfortunate is that Pat Robertson, philo-Semite of the third order, expresses his "blessing" of Israel by insisting that it's beloved prime minister's stroke was God's judgment, thereby frustrating philo-semites of all three orders.


M McGuire said...

The jews were indeed God's chosen people. They did not get it.God sent his son Jesus to help them get it and to expand the message to all. Americans thought they were the new Chosen people but they did not get it.His message remains clear and applies to all who get it.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Please note that in the first generation of Christianity, most of the people who "got it" were Jews.

Follow the links, brother. We Christians have got to stop talking about Jews as if they had harder hearts than the rest of us, and as if believing in Jesus made one no longer a Jew.

Please! Do this for the sake of the gospel of Jesus, who was a Jew, as preached by the apostles, who were all Jews.

I'd also love to discuss the salvation historical perspective on "expand the message to all" (that was always where this "Israel" thing was headed, per Israel's scriptures). But this is enough for one comment on a comment.