One critical challenge to One New Man
Sandra Teplinsky Oct 23, 2018
While deeply grateful for Christian support of Israel, we have watched increasing numbers, especially leaders, seek to bless the Jewish people at the cost of compromising, withholding and then denying, the Gospel. This approach was well intended. A remnant of evangelicals wanted to heal 2,000 years of Christian anti-Semitism by demonstrating unconditional love to Israel. Over recent decades, they have ministered with sacrificial kindness and gracious sensitivity. As a result, Christian friendships with Israel are starting to mature. In this process a critical time has now arrived, calling for another approach. It is time for Jewish and Gentile believers, together as one, to be and share a living testimony of Yeshua. Such a testimony has scarcely been seen or heard by the international Jewish community. Believers seeking this new way will want to discern how to rightly navigate it. We pray this letter can serve as a step in that direction.
This is a heart to heart letter to Christians in the nations who support Israel. Embracing God’s covenant love for the Jews, some of you have sacrificed much, or endured real hardship, or both. We are deeply grateful and wholeheartedly thank you. You have blessed Yeshua’s people and we pray you will be personally, richly blessed.
In this context, we feel it is important to share a message of critical significance. We start with an explanation as to how well meaning believers who love the Jewish people can be subtly led astray from the purposes of God’s heart. We end by sharing how together we might better align with the Scriptural expression of His redemptive plans for Israel.
Keep in mind the devil has deceived Christians about Jews, and Jews about the Christ, ever since New Covenant times. It would be prideful for us to feel exempt from such deceptions. Even fiery, truth loving believers (for example, Martin Luther) have lapsed into serious error over Israel. A very brief historical overview recalls the deceptive doctrine of “divine disdain” that took hold not long after the apostolic era. This theology erroneously taught that God regards the Jews with divine disdain or contempt because they disdain Jesus. Early Church officials required New Covenant believers to treat Israel in a manner reflecting this alleged disdain and contempt.
“Divine disdain” developed quickly into replacement theology, the erroneous belief that Christians replace Israel in God’s heart and covenant promises. As you likely know, replacement theology led to nearly two millennia of Church sponsored anti-Jewish decrees, acts, atrocities and eventually, genocide. Meanwhile, the cautionary, prophetic voices of Messianic Jews were systematically and historically ignored, beginning with Paul in Romans 9-11. Eventually those voices were silenced.
By the turn of the 21th century, a relatively fast-growing remnant of evangelical believers started reaching out to Israel in sincere, unconditional love. Their hearts were repentant over historical Christian mistreatment of the Jews. They genuinely wanted to bless Israel, but encountered an unexpected problem.
Because of the same historical anti-Semitism the evangelicals wanted to heal or reverse, many Israelis distrusted any Christian who wanted to “bless” them. Suspicious of their motives, Israelis had no desire or willingness to relate to evangelicals. Sadly, we Jews had learned to automatically associate the Gospel with forced conversions and murderous persecutions. Many Israelis today—but far fewer than decades ago—still harbor this view.
THE EVANGELICAL SOLUTION BECAME NO EVANGELISM