How Should a Christian View Israel? | Part 1
One component of effective apologetics is to have a working understanding of the major stakeholders within biblical history. We readily recall the forming of the nation of Israel through Jacob (Genesis 32). What can be more difficult is understanding how to view the nation of Israel through the lens of the New Testament, especially within its historical, cultural, and political settings. Ratio Christi's Chapter Director at Ohio State University, Eric Chabot, provides an insightful examination of how both Christians and non-Christians throughout history have viewed Israel, paying particular attention to ways in which Christians might misconstrue scripture and hold errant views of the Jewish nation. From Eric:
One of the most obvious black spots within Christian history is the accusation that in many cases, Christianity has been associated with anti-Semitism. Several years ago, I remember reading Lee Strobel’s book The Case for Faith. In one chapter he interviews John Woodbridge about Christian history. Woodbridge agreed that “One of the ugliest blights on Christianity’s history has been anti-Semitism. Woodbridge readily conceded that, regrettably, anti-Semitism has soiled Christian history.” (The Case for Faith, pg 297).
There have been numerous books written on this topic such as Dan Cohn-Sherbock’s The Crucified Jew: Twenty Centuries of Christian Anti-Semitism, and Susannah Heschel’s The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany as well as Michael Brown’s Our Hands Are Stained with Blood. But at this point, we need to define three kinds of anti-Semitism. I know Christians sometimes can say “How in the world could any Christian be anti-Semitic? Ronald Diprose says the following: “Whoever denies that Jesus is Israel’s Messiah is in fact denying the gospel which was announced to Abraham (Galatians 3:8–16; Romans 1:1–5, 16–17)” (see Israel and the Church: The Origins and Effects of Replacement Theology, by Ronald Diprose, pg 182).
When a Christian or someone is accused of being anti-Semitic, we can break it down into these three categories:
1 Anti-Semetism can be based on hatred against Jewish people because of their group membership or ethnicity.
2. Anti-Zionism is criticism or rejection of the right of Jewish people to have their own homeland. I should note that not all Jewish people are supportive of modern Zionism. And as I will elaborate, Christians are divided on this issue.
Eric Chabot is the RC Chapter Director at The Ohio State University (RC at OSU) which is one of the largest campuses in the country (60,000 students). He is a graduate of Southern Evangelical Seminary (M.A. in Religious Studies) and has been doing campus ministry on the Ohio State campus since 2004. He has had almost 18 years experience with reaching out to the Jewish community with the Gospel and went to work as a full time missionary in 2005 for CJF Ministries. Eric is also a graduate of Frank Turek’s Instructor’s Academy and an instructor at The Messianic Studies Institute in Columbus, Ohio where he teaches on topics such as Messianic Apologetics, Messianic Prophecy, and the Resurrection of Jesus. Eric has also spoken on college campuses on the existence of God and written several journal articles for The Messianic Literature Outreach. He has also been on several radio broadcasts such as Alex McFarland’s Truth Talk Live and Ryan Dobson’s Higher Ground. Eric lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife Lucy and his two children, Elise and Jack. Eric can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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