Friday, May 25, 2007

A Light to the Nations 2

The sentiments in my previous post would probably not come as a surprise to Sydney evangelical Don Robinson. He is a rare breed: a conservative evangelical theologian (a Moore College lecturer, no less) who has a high view of God's continuing purposes for ethnic Israel, whilst steering clear of dispensationalism. His chapter on "Jew & Gentile in the New Testament" in his book "Faith's Framework" (available here ) was very influential in my thinking.
It is a well-written, coherent and convincing argument AGAINST the prevailing view of "supersessionism", most popularly expressed in terms that the church is the "New Israel" - a view which seems most widely propagated in Bible overview books and courses. I am convinced that this view is potentially damaging to the cause of Jewish mission, will (at least in its more extreme forms) be perceived as antisemitic by non-believing Jewish people (see here and here; I am NOT implying that all those who hold to a "New Israel" view are anti-Semites, nor that they do not support Jewish mission); and, most importantly, lacks clear Biblical support. Robinson's refreshing view to the contrary deserves a wide readership.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Light to the Nations 1

I love this list of Messianic Jews and Hebrew Christians. It's a moving and impressive list of names. Of particular interest are those who have made an impact on the wider church and who have fulfilled their God-given calling to be a light to the nations: including Ridley Herschell, the founder of the UK evangelical alliance; Samuel Schereschewsky, who translated the OT into Mandarin for the first time; Bernard Bettelheim, first person to translate parts of the Bible into Chinese & Japanese; Martin Goldsmith, modern missions leader; and Mark Greene, author of Thank God it's Monday. These people are living proof that God has not rejected his people, and that his gifts and calling to them are irrevocable.

I can't help wondering though, with a touch of sadness, where their descendants are. Have they lost all Jewish distinctives and melted into the wider church, thus losing any effective testimony to their own people? Or, worse, have they fallen away from the faith altogether, thus being lost both to the Jewish people and to the church? And would they have been helped if, in their day, their had been a vibrant, authentically Biblical and authentically Jewish expression of the gospel? (All of those adverbs and adjectives are important!) I'll try to answer that question, and discuss what that might look like, in future posts.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007