What of Israel? *** Please help!!! ***

Dr. Calvin Smith of Midlands Bible College is in the middle of doing some research for a new book and he would like some help with comments and different opinions from all over the blogosphere.

So, first things first, the following is just a blurb about what it is he is actually doing and how anyone else can help if they feel they want to …!!!!

What of Israel?This is for two reasons. First, I want the new category to serve as a resource for those interested in Christian responses to Israel. Moreover, while I have strong views on this issue, it is important that this resource posits alternative views, questions, doubts, and concerns which need to be explored and dealt with. Only by exploring the whole range of Evangelical opinion can such a work be considered truly authoritative and scholarly.

This leads to the second reason for my desire to create a new category on this issue. Of course, I regularly interact with students and fellow colleagues on a whole range of theological issues. But my desire is that as I research this subject, distance learning students, friends of the college, and other Christians can also contribute to the debate, thus ensuring the whole effort is at least a collaborative one. So I am not simply looking for agreement with my views (though it is nice to know when arguments crafted are both persuasive and effective). In fact, I am interested in hearing from both sympathisers AND opponents, as ultimately this will enable me to consider and deal with the full range of issues. All we ask is that contributions are thoughtful, genuinely concerned with establishing truth (a concept out of fashion in today’s postmodern milieu), and which are not unnecessarily aggresive (though we encourage passionate expression of views).

Thus, my request from our readers is simple. First, please circulate details of this blog and particularly the “What of Israel?” category as widely as possible, to fellow Christians, your church, and elsewhere, both as a resource and to encourage Christian to debate the subject of Israel. Second, please contribute your thoughts, questions, and ideas to this section of the blog as much as possible. Some of these will help me, as well as also challenge readers, so making all of us more effective in our views. (The phrase “iron sharpens iron” comes to mind). Third, just as you contribute to this particular discussion (or in New Labour parlance, a “Grand Conversation”), be prepared to engage with the issues raised and the views of others fairly, openly, and above all from a biblical perspective. My aim is for a collaborative effort that produces a debate which seeks biblically-sound, theologically-viable, politically-sophisticated and non-rhetorically-driven conclusions on the very many facets of this issue.

I make no apologies for taking a pro-Israel stance, which is where I currently stand at the present stage in my research (though my position is far from slavish or subjective… I have grappled with these issues for years). It has led to the college being singled out by at least one Christian organisation as one of only three or four UK mainstream Bible colleges that take a position in support of Israel on the issue, though it should be noted that our faculty have a free view on the issue. Neither does the college include a statement along these lines in its core beliefs and values. Moreover, yet once again for the record I reject an “Israel right or wrong” stance. After all, if biblical Israel sinned and angered God, it is folly to say, as some extreme Christian Zionists suggest, that Israel today is totally guiltless of sin and can do no wrong. All such views do is make support for modern Israel all the more difficult to justify. So honesty rooted in good biblical theology, devoid of the philosophical agenda of the current political Zeitgeist, is what I am after.

Therefore, please help me in this project as I seek genuine discussion which is biblically-based and prayerfully-driven. I want to hear all views, regardless of how far advanced in your studies you are, or how much (or little) time you have devoted to this issue. Even the simplest of questions demonstrate what the current Evangelical thought on the the issue might be and how Christians should respond. Thank you.

© Calvin L. Smith 2007.

You can find more at the ‘Midlands Bible College Blog’ under the category called ‘What of Israel?‘.

So go on over and have a read of some of his posts and add your comments, keep it respectful and remember he wants to hear it all, the good with the bad!

4 thoughts on “What of Israel? *** Please help!!! ***

  1. Pingback: What of Israel? *** Please help!!! *** « Sola Dei Gloria

  2. Sadly this is a subject that many christians do not fully comprehend.Sad because they do not understand that we the church have joined Isreal to become Covenant Isreal. the church has not displaced Isreal but has been grafted into the one olive tree. When this is understood ,one realises the many wonderful promises that were prophesied by the old testament prophets are for the church. Paul in Romans 9 and 10 details this very concept of the one olive tree as well as many other scriptures.

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  3. Here is a good article that I read today on this very subject, it talks about the remnant Israel and how we have been grafted into the faithful Israel.
    Israel and the Church –

    Understanding Some Theological Options

    by John J. Parsons

    Printer-friendly PDF

    When studying the Jewish roots of Christianity, certain questions often arise regarding the nature of the “Church,” the nature of “Israel,” and the relationship between them. Do Gentile Christians become “Jewish” on account of their relationship to Jesus? Does the “Church” somehow replace the Jewish people in God’s plan as the “new Israel”? Exactly how should we understand the relationship between the Church and Israel today?

    In general, Christian theology has developed three different interpretative systems that attempt to answer such questions:

    1. Replacement Theology
    The Church and Israel refer to the same group of people.
    2. Separation Theology
    The Church and Israel refer to different groups of people.
    3. Remnant Theology
    The Church and Israel overlap in some manner.

    The third theological option regarding the relationship of the Church and Israel is to claim that the Church and Israel “overlap” in some manner. In Replacement/Covenant Theology, the Church is said to supercede Israel in such a way that Israel is abandoned with no redemptive future. In Separation theology, there is a distinction between Israel and the Church, but there is some question about how the two groups will interact, especially beyond the millennial reign of Jesus into eternity. Remnant Theology attempts to mediate these positions by understanding the Church to be a subset of faithful ethnic Israel who received Jesus (Yeshua) as the promised Messiah. This faithful subset of Israel is called the Remnant or the “Israel of God” (Gal. 6:6):

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