I grew up Protestant non-denominational…. with some secret charismatic flavor on the side. I think we fell into dispensationalist theology (I’m excited to report) through the influence of the Left Behind books. Not knocking those of course – truly action-packed works of fiction! (Incidentally, they left me with a constant fear of Jesus appearing and rapturing everybody in the blink of an eye… like a cosmic, high stakes game of Peek-A-Boo. It wasn’t the fear of judgement, but quite literally, the *surprise* of that moment that put me on edge. I’m sure I could still lose some sleep if I thought about it long enough.)
All that to say, I emerged with a general impression that Israel is special, that those who bless Israel (the people) will be blessed in return, and that the end times somehow revolve around the Holy Land.
But I think the main insight I’m taking away from Dr. McDermott’s lectures is how anti-semitism could have taken root so easily in Christian tradition. That staggered me before. I see how it could have happened now. To our shame, antisemitism isn’t the exception. It’s the rule of Christian history.
As a pastor friend of mine said, “The people of God will break your heart” – meaning Christians.
Yet I truly believe He is working all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. We need Jesus to come and bring repentance and healing for generations of cruelty towards his people the Jews. I pray we see it in our lifetimes.