Open Mike: have your say

by Richard on July 20, 2012

I haven’t had one of these in awhile…

Raise anything you like here — comments I find interesting or helpful might be promoted to a ‘guest post’, so if you’ve ever felt like writing such a thing here, consider this an invitation. Normal moderation rules apply of course, but there’ll be nothing stronger than normal. And promotion to ‘guest post’ won’t depend upon my agreeing with the views being espoused. Any subject is fair game, just keep it polite.

Over to you.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Anonymous 07.20.12 at 9:44 am

5 reasons why Christians should support Israel

1. The modern nation of Israel is in continuity with Biblical Israel. The land of Israel was given to the Jews in perpetuity by God. The re-establishment of Israel in 1948 is a clear fulfilment of Bible prophecy.

2. Because God says he will judge those who oppose His people (Gen 12.3)

3. Because Christians owe the Jews. For the gifts we have received through them. And for all the suffering Christians have inflicted on them.

4. Because Israel is an island of democracy in a sea of despotism.

5. Because radical Islam is a worldwide threat to Christians, and Israel is at the heart of the struggle against radical Islam.

Polite enough?

2

Richard 07.20.12 at 11:18 am

Thank you, anonymous. I’d be interested to hear the reactions of other “pro-Israel” commenters.

3

Kim 07.20.12 at 11:19 am

1. begs the hermeneutical question — i.e., it constitutes a fundamentalist reading of scripture which many Christians will find both intellectually and theologically grotesque. Many Christians will also contest the identification of ancient Israel with the modern state of Israel.

2. is a text on which many Christians, in the wake of Christ, will have a different take from Jews, particularly over the concept of divine “cursing”, what it means and what it entails.

1. and 2. are definitely not slam-dunks.

3. has good merit. Gifts indeed. Absolutely. And I have always insisted, with Paul, that Christians are but honorary Jews. And Christians certainly owe Jews ongoing remorse and repentance for their history of violence against Jews, and we must be socially and politically vigilant about the sin of anti-Semitism, and theologically alert to the heresy of supersessionism. Finally, Christians must be in solidarity with the state of Israel — total solidarity, but also critical solidarity.

4. also has merit. But like any democracy — e.g., the USA! — it has its flaws which should be addressed. And we must work, assist, and pray that the Arab spring ripens, which is why …

on 5., we must exercise word-care when it comes to Islam. Islamism is a terrible reality which must be opposed in no uncertain terms. But that means working with the great majority of Muslims worldwide (including religious leaders, scholars, and public intellectuals) who reject and resist Qutbism. As Miroslav Volf observes, commenting in his important A Public Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good (2012) on President Obama’s Cairo speech (4th June, 2009), “Huntington’s [clash of civilizations] thesis is good for fighting, but not for living together in peace.” Christians have a pretty wretched history with Islam as well as Judaism. We must oppose not only anti-Semitism but also Islamophobia.

Thank you, Anonymous, for the opportunity of a polite but frank exchange.

4

geoffff 07.22.12 at 11:27 pm

“And Christians certainly owe Jews ongoing remorse and repentance for their history of violence against Jews, and we must be socially and politically vigilant about the sin of anti-Semitism, and theologically alert to the heresy of supersessionism. Finally, Christians must be in solidarity with the state of Israel — total solidarity, but also critical solidarity.”

“we must exercise word-care when it comes to Islam. Islamism is a terrible reality which must be opposed in no uncertain terms”

OK firstly — modern Christians DO NOT owe modern Jews ongoing remorse and repentance for the Christian history of violence against Jews. Indeed that sort of thing can be embarrassing and insensitive to the dignity of all concerned. They do however owe it to themselves to stop encouraging it.

We can play word games with “Islamism” but I see little evidence of unequivocal opposition to it from many British Christians. Very little evidence of “speaking truth to power” . Nor is there any evidence of recognition of the extent of the problem or that it extends past “Islamism”. Instead we see a constant one sided barrage of resolutions, campaigns , solidarity programs, boycotts and thousands and thousands of words — all directed at one little country and a tiny handful of people. It’s an obsession.

Nor do I see much evidence of an appreciation of what a terrible offence to human dignity a doctrine such as “supersessionism” is and not because of any theological reason. Whether it is heresy among Christians matters very little to me. That’s a matter for Christians. In this global political climate it is however an affront to human rights and an indecent attack on Jews, all Jews, that transcends religion; and that’s a matter for everybody.

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>