Michelle van Loon, a messianic Jewish believer, offers a brief, clear, and compelling challenge for Christians to be careful how they describe the relationship of Israel and the Church:
What does it mean that God’s calling for Israel is irrevocable (Romans 11:29), or that Gentiles are grafted into Israel? What does that mean for “church”?
I understand that a few words on a blog rarely have the power to shift a core piece of someone’s theology. But I would like to help you hear what I hear as a Jewish believer in Jesus when some of my brothers and sisters in faith say those words to me. When you say ”The Church has replaced Israel”, I hear:
- It’s OK to treat the salvation story found in the Old Testament as metaphor and preamble.
- It’s OK to frame the Jewish Jesus in a Gentile context, and to gloss over the fact that the early Church was predominately Jewish.
- It’s OK to state that God always keeps his promises, but then turn around and insist that this doesn’t mean he keeps the promises he repeatedly confirmed (including during times of national discipline) to his Chosen People throughout millenia of B.C. history.
- It’s OK to redefine Israel, negating the Covenant relationship God has with my people, who’ve survived dispersion, persecution, and a third of our number put to death two generations ago by people who bent your words into the twisted cross of National Socialism.
- It’s OK to not engage Jewish believers when these sorts of theological questions arise, as their Jewish identity is a non-issue in your system.
It’s not OK.
And this is where language on a computer screen falls short. I am not angry, though the replacement words make me sad, and sometimes leave me feeling a little vulnerable in ways the speakers of those words may not understand.
So instead of standing on a chair, I write my response in measured words here in blogland. They are a prayer for the body of Christ, of which I am a grateful member. I remember in this prayer that Jesus sought from his Father incredible mercy to give to those who “didn’t know what they were doing“. And they are a prayer for my people, because reconciliation, not replacement, is God’s desire for them.
For each one of us.
- See more at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/pilgrimsroadtrip/2013/06/when_you_say/#sthash.nVpMln2V.dpuf