In the first lecture, Dr. McDermott teaches that the Bible is one story, and that God upholds his covenant with the Jewish people to this very day. Was this what you were taught growing up? If not, how will this insight change the way you read the bible going forward?
I was taught two things growing up. First, I was taught that the covenant God had with the Jewish people is still in place today. There is a difference – the gentiles are now welcomed into the covenant of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The second idea I was taught was since the Gentiles are welcomed into a covenantal relationship with God because of Jesus, therefore, Gentiles also receive the same blessings as the Jewish people. This course helped me to remember the importance of remembering that Christians should research Church leaders. Martin Luther is a very famous leader but I was never taught about his anti-Semitic writings until I was in college. It is important to understand what influencers believe about God, Jesus, the Bible, and the Jewish people before we are influenced heavily under their teachings. This course also reminded me the important covenants God has with the Jewish people that are still in place today.
Hi Marina! You have such a wise point here. Taking another’s teaching and putting it against the Word of God to judge whether it is right and true is something that is so critical to our faith. Otherwise, we would have no idea if what we are hearing is something that aligns with the Lord and His character. I hadn’t known about his anti-Semitic writings, either – this is a perfect example of this great need!
Hi Marina, I like how you mentioned that the Gentiles are now welcomed into the covenant of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I feel like many of us Christians grow up singing that God is a covenant-keeping God and keeps His covenants to a thousand generations. However, if we don’t have the knowledge of God keeping His covenant to Israel, our understanding of His covenant keeping power can be quite limited. I am thankful that we now have that knowledge.
Hi Marina, I appreciate the write-up. I think as you clearly stated it is important that we be careful with the sorts of messages we listen to, whether from influential Christian leaders or not, as some of these men are preaching and teaching anti-Semitic messages without even having a second-thought of the implications of their teachings. I do see the need for everyone of us who have gained such insight to go about clearing some of these common misconceptions of the Jewish people, and as well educate others about their significance in line with scriptures.
Growing up as a Catholic, supersessionism was never a prevalent topic of conversation. However, I have come to realize that my views were not fully in line with Dr. McDermott’s teachings. Most notably, in late high school or early college, I became interested in New Testament/Old Testament parallels and explored the story of the Passion. I had read and believed somewhere that when Jesus died and the veil in the temple tore, this symbolized the Jewish loss of authority over over the true faith in favor of Christianity. I believe that I understood the New Covenant as a replacement of the Old Covenant, but I never fully considered the implications that this would have on the Jewish people. Of course, I believe in the Church, but I never entertained the thought of whether the Old Covenant was nullified; it was not a question that I had considered. This insight of Dr. McDermott’s goes hand-in-hand with our traditional Good Friday service, which includes prayers for the Jewish people, “to whom God first revealed himself.” The discussion of the meek inheriting the land [of Israel] is surely something that I will reflect on much.
Hi Dominic. I think that the document of Vatican II, Nostra Aetate 4, gives a valuable basis for the relationship between Jews and Christians. When we see that we share a spiritual patrimony with the Jews, we can cultivate mutual understanding and respect and also engage in biblical and contemporary dialogue. I experienced individual Catholic leaders who take Israel seriously, but unfortunately, many others have a quiet anti-Semitism attitude, as do the Evangelical-Protestant ones too.
The teaching and proclamation that God and the Church did not reject the Jews are central.
As a fellow Catholic I can agree that supersessionism remains a discussion largely outside of church circles. As you described your experience with listening to the Passion it is intriguing for me to reflect how I always interpreted Jesus’s fidelity to the Law as justification for God’s continued covenant with the Jewish people. Essential to that covenant is obedience to the commandments of the Lord. Jesus’s proclamation that he came not to abolish the law but fulfill it evinces the purposeful continuity between the declarations of the Old and New Testaments.
It is indeed a great thing that the Catholic Church has come around to seeing more fully the relationship which God still maintains with the Jewish people, and that this relationship is indicative of the continuing relevance of the Old Covenant. But I like what you said: as Catholics, we should believe in the Church and in the promises of the New Covenant. While the Old Covenant is still in effect, we should not deny that the message of Jesus and of the Church is for everyone. It is good that the violent anti-Semitism of the older Church is gone, but I fear that in refusing to evangelize the Jewish people for Christianity (which I fear many will take to be the implication of the lesson that the Old Covenant is still in place) that we will instantiate anti-Semitism by hoarding the good news from them.
I wonder if there is a sort of middle ground wherein lies the truth. On one hand, it is a mistake to understand Jesus and indeed our faith without the light and background of Hebrew tradition. However, I think there might also be something unique about the church which spans all of mankind. however, I am not sure, and I would not suggest, the latter break God’s promise to the children of Abraham. Something worth praying over for sure.
Hi Dominic, I really appreciate your comment. It reflects strongly to my upbringing as well as a Catholic. It’s interesting that you mention liturgy as a source of inspiration for this topic. I find that many prayers, texts, and other traditions capture this idea that God is continuing His covenant with the Jewish people in the midst of Christianity. I usually understood it as a fulfillment of the covenant, but now I see that there are many examples of fraternity with the Jewish people as perhaps co-heirs to this covenant with God.
Hi Dominic, thanks for the write-up. I think it is important that we Christians who have gotten a clearer understanding of the importance of the Jewish people, go out of our ways to shift the mindset of others. I think most of our church leaders are preaching anti-Semitic messages without even knowing the implications of what they are doing, as such it is incumbent upon us to provide those necessary corrections and insights where necessary.
I definitely wouldn’t say that I grew up learning that God upholds his covenant with the Jewish people to this day. Really, the only discussions of the Jewish people I had growing up in the church were in the context of Jesus’ life and His crucifixion. It took until my preparation for a trip to Israel that I began a dive into this topic to remove this gap in my understanding that I didn’t even know I had. Even though I knew at a young age the covenant God had made with Abraham, I think it took me much longer to really comprehend what that meant. Now having learned all of these implications, both through my time in Israel and through studies like these, I have been completely transformed in my Bible reading (among other things!). This insight reminds me of the great importance of the Jewish people – not just in the past, pre-Jesus time, but also in every moment since. In addition, I am reminded of how great our need is to go straight to the Word of the Lord. He is the ultimate source of truth – and though it is also good to be hearing this truth through the mouths of others, we should always be going to Him first and foremost.
I had a similar experience! My church never spoke about the Jewish people or the land of Israel any further than what was said in the scriptures. Honestly, my church also negated discussing the fact that Jesus himself was actually Jewish. I also have had my understanding of the Bible transformed when learning about the everlasting covenant with the Jewish people and how that impacts my own relationship with God. Thank you for sharing this!
Yes this was although perhaps not with great intentionality. As a cradle Catholic who listened to selections from the Old Testament every week at Sunday Mass, I was imbued from a young age with a sense of the profound linkage between God, the Jewish people, and the land of Israel. I remember attending religious education courses and being taught that the Jews were the Chosen People of God given a mandate over the ancient land of Israel to do God’s work. However, none of this meant that this connection remained even in the present day. Above all it was my mother who emphasized this special connection (she would not have known to call it a covenant) to me and stressed the eternal and still-living bond between God and the Jewish people. I am grateful for her delineation of this understanding because it has formed my mindset when I’ve approached the contemporary issues around Christian treatment of Jews and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I have believed and feel affirmed through these lectures on the critical importance of Christians recognizing the covenant with the Jews that remains-per Pope Paul VI’s Nostra Aetate.
This is great stuff. I appreciated you sharing your testimony of your mother’s emphasize on the special connection the still-living bond between God and the Jewish people. Sometimes we give credit to books, articles, or videos from where we learn important lessons about God and the Church, but sometimes we learn very important lessons about God and the Church from our parents, or our grandparents. This is something you and i will be able to do with our future grandchildren or next generation whether they are blood or not.
I think it is great that even your church taught this, even if it wasn’t described as a covenant. I do think that even if the church teaches sound theological and biblical principles, it is up to the parents to take the reigns and instill those values into their children. I believe this is the case in anything. A lot of Sunday-goers, but don’t teach their kids the value in those principles. I appreciate your mom and I am sure you do too for teaching you the importance of Israel and its relevance to culture and to theology today.
I am blessed to have learned more about the depths of God keeping His covenants to the Jewish people in my adulthood. I had heard about God keeping His covenants with believers growing up, but my understanding of God’s covenant-keeping power was taken to a new level when I learned more deeply about God keeping His covenant to Israel and the Jews. This insight has impacted my view of God’s faithfulness and the infallibility of His Word. God is to be trusted and He truly does keep His covenant to a thousand generations. That truth hits differently when you understand the beautiful narrative of God’s love and covenant for His chosen, Jewish people. As believers in Jesus, we were grafted into the covenant, but the Jewish people are the original people God made this covenant with and God intends to keep this covenant. I enjoy watching the Jews return to the land of Israel and God using the storyline for His purposes to show that He does keep His covenants.
This is such an excellent point. The incorrect idea that God would break a covenant with the Jewish people actually teaches a false understanding of who God is. If God were to break his promise, it would imply that he is not consistent and is untrustworthy. This is a dangerous lie. Thankfully, God does abide by his covenants, is unchanging, and is trustworthy–towards the Jewish people and all of us.
Growing up in the Catholic faith, the subject didn’t really come up. My Church neither spoke of God’s continued commitment to Israel, nor did it teach the false narrative that the Church has replaced Israel. Knowing that God’s commitment to Israel is everlasting is such an illuminating truth. When we read the Scriptures through this truth, we see that one of the responsibilities of the gentiles is now to arouse jealousy within the Jews for YHWH (Romans 11:13-16). The Lord has used Israel to bless us so that we gentiles might in-turn bless Israel. This is one of the great missions of the Church; to point Jews back to the Lord. This does not mean that the Church has license to commit forced conversions. Rather, we are to walk humbly with the Lord as a testament to His goodness, thus creating a righteous jealousy within the Jewish people to also walk with the God of their ancestors.
Hi Dan, I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this course. I love that you pointed back to the scripture written in Romans. I, too, was taught growing up that Christians are called to point our relatives through God (the Jewish people) back to Christ, but I couldn’t think of an exact scripture. I like the analogy of Christians being called to create a righteous jealousy within the Jewish people – and people of all other religions. When we live a life walking with Christ beside us and within us, it makes people turn their heads. They begin to ask, why. It’s important for us to not make the mistake of Christians the past and follow our teachings without the Holy Spirit within us, and put ourselves on a pedestal above non-Christians or Jewish people. It’s eye-opening to see the ramifications of Christianity without the Holy Spirit throughout history, and how it contributed to the situation in the Near East. While I am learning about things that make me more informed in foreign policy and international relations, it all circles back to faith. I believe that through this course I’ll gain knowledge that will deepen my relationship and walk with Jesus.
I grew up in the Roman Catholic Church. Far greater emphasis was placed on the New Testament rather than the Old. But in the liturgy and homilies, our priest often referenced the Old Testament. I was taught in Sunday school precisely what Dr. McDermott lectured: Jesus fulfilled the old law, he did not do away with it. Still, there was a certain implication that the character of this fulfillment was somewhat transformative. As my priest liked to joke, we can eat pork and crabs now. These lectures were helpful in reviving the importance of the Old Testament. I think I will more seriously study the old law and read fathers who do see Christ as a breaking point with the Jewish tradition. It remains unclear what we are to do with the Old Testament laws. Are we to behold them with a certain renewed respect? Or are we to behave like orthodox members of the Jewish faith?
Growing up, I was taught that God had broken his covenant with the Jewish people and that the Jewish people had been replaced by the church. This was very confusing to me, but it was one of those subjects that I just trusted the adults with. Then, as I got older and went to a school that taught rigorous bible classes, I learned that the notion that God had broken his covenant was incorrect. This, of course, was so reassuring. How can we believe that Jesus’s blood is a promise of our salvation if we believe that he neglects His covenant with the Jewish people? It truly enhances my reading of Scripture to know that the Lord is faithful to all of his promises and that none of them will be broken. It changes the way I read Scripture, and also my view of God becomes more correct.
Hi Olivia, I appreciate your openness about what you were taught growing up. I agree with you that at times it can be confusing when we try to understand God’s covenant with the Jewish people, and the covenant that was extended to us through Christ. I at times think it makes sense, then at other times it’s like a rubix cube that can’t be solved no matter how hard you try to figure it out. From a spiritual point of view, I have to remind myself that we will never quite comprehend the complexity that is God, the Creator of the Universe, and the way He works. That’s where faith steps in, and I have faith that God loves all of his creation, and so should we. I also agree with you that through this course I’m definitely learning things that will push me to learn more, and deepen my relationship with Christ.
I grew up Assemblies of God by parents who had been raised Catholic themselves. I’d say that this I was half taught this, half not. My mother always told me the immense religious significance of the reestablishment of the nation of Israel, and in her views, this was the most pivotal step in our days for end times prophecy fulfillment. She always said that God will bless those who bless Israel and not those who don’t and made reference to the Presidents’ commitment or non-commitment. But on the other hand, I was somewhat taught a light supercessionism in the sense that I was taught a notion more or less saying that the Church and Christians were now God’s kind of like more chosen people with the Jewish people as still chosen but not as much or something like that. I’d definitely say it was not the more full, more biblically-sounding view that Dr. McDermott educated us about.
Thanks for sharing about your background. Your Mom’s perspective sounds like that of a lot of people I know. The good thing about the heightened interested in prophecy among Evangelicals that seemed to peak a view years ago (in my observation) is that it fostered a appreciation for the Jewish people and the state of Israel and an interest in America’s foreign policy in the Near East. Overall, I think that is a helpful development.
When Jesus came to me, I was taught that Israel was no longer important to God. That it was only a people who sinned and that God broke their covenant. The church became the “Israel of God”. GREAT LIE!!!
God never broke the covenant! I understand that God is faithful and he continues to love Israel,thee apple of god’s eye. I’m fell so blessed because God filled me with so much love for them. When I read the bible it’s different cause if God never broke the covenant with Israel he will never broke with me.
Thank you, Ana. When I first visited Israel I felt such a great love for the people there and was astounded by their devotion to God. I couldn’t help but wonder how different I could be in my Christian faith if I showed forth my devotion as disciplined as the jewish people. I have such respect for their devotion to the sabbath day, specifically. I heard once that “because the Jews keep the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jews.”
This is a bit of a trick question for me since my family was not very religious and I only had minimal religious instruction growing up. However, in the spirit of the question and based on the interactions/instruction I had the answer would be no. The relationship of God’s covenant to the Jews in light of Christianity was not really an issue that came up at all, outside of individuals I met using it as justification for the state of Israel. I think Dr. McDermott makes some very interesting and valid points. Although, I sometimes wonder if this is one of those issues which might have an element of divine mystery. On one hand, Jesus did say, “I am the way, the truth, and the light, none come to the father except for me.” On the other hand, God did make a covenant with Abraham and his direct descendants. I am not entirely sure how these come together metaphysically but Dr. McDermott provides some insights into what that might look like. Would be interested in learning more regardless.
Justin, I really enjoy your perspective. While overall I believe that Jews are still God’s chosen people and Christ will reign from Mt. Zion, I don’t actually know what that looks like in reality. Does God’s covenant with Abraham mean that Jews will make it to Heaven? Or does it mean that he will protect them and provide for them while on earth? I like your idea of Divine Mystery and I think the practicality of all of this is definitely a divine mystery. Thanks for sharing.
Yes, I grew up in a church environment that taught the bible as one story. Although I wasn’t necessarily taught that God upholds his covenant with the Jewish people, I was told that the Jewish people were special, and that Christians should look at them as relatives through Christ. Rather than being told that God kept his covenant with the Jewish people, I learned that God’s covenant expanded it to us through Christ One thing I didn’t learn was the importance of the Holy land Jerusalem to Jewish people, and to us by extension when we join the covenant through Christ. I knew that Jerusalem was special because that’s the setting of the Bible and Jesus’ teachings, but I never thought much about it past that. After I became involved in public policy I learned of the foreign policy and international relations importance of the Near East, which sparked my spiritual interest. Moving forward in my faith journey I believe it the things I’m learning in this course will help me understand who God is, his covenant, and what he is calling me to do even deeper.
Growing up, the church that I attended never spoke about the Jewish people or the land of Israel any further than exactly what the Bible says in NKJV. Our pastors specifically did not speak about either of the two, and only ever spoke with me regarding both after I sat down with them after my first trip to Israel in 2017. My pastor only spoke about morality and issues within ourselves, never the Jews or the land unless to quote the scripture. After having a conversation with him about both in 2017, I learned that he did not believe that the Jewish people have an everlasting covenant with God, and that Christians should control Israel, which is wild to think about now that I know better. Dr. McDermott provided very insightful ideas and helped to encourage me to look at the New Testament from a more Jewish perspective. I would like for future congregants at my church to know better than I did, and to know that the Bible isn’t explicitly about them, but I am unsure as to how to go about changing that.
Denise, thank you for sharing. Dr. McDermott provide great ideas and I too would like to share them with my church. My pastors have visited Israel and some have co-lead trips there for our church so I am curious to their views on Israel. You make a great point about looking at the New Testament from a Jewish perspective. Christianity seems to have largely left our Jewish roots behind and this is something I have been curious about for years. I’m not sure how to approach other congregants at your church, but I’ll be praying for God to guide your words as you share!
Love your story and that you pursued asking your pastors more. Christian faith is soooo much more than morality or individual issues. I love that you are continuing to pursue learning more and grappling with these issues. Keep on doing what you are doing!
I think the movement teaching that Israel is no longer important and that Jews are no longer under the covenant is growing. However, I was brought up in a church that believes the Jews are still and always be the people of God and that Jesus Christ will return to Mt. Zion, Jerusalem, and set up his kingdom there. I have firmly believed it as well and will defend the stance because I believe it is the biblical stance.
On the other end, I have many family members and friends who are of the opposite mindset. They don’t understand how God’s continued chosen people could reject Jesus and crucify him and still claim to be chosen. I am very sympathetic to that mindset, but I don’t believe God breaks his promises. Every promise he has made to his people from Adam to Moses has been kept, so I do not believe the Abrahamic Covenant would be any different. Very interested in participating and hearing others’ thoughts.
Jordan, I enjoyed reading your perspective. I too do not believe that God breaks his promises. I lacked instruction in this area and probably would have come down on the opposite side of Dr. McDermott without this course. However, I now recognize that I would not have been able to reason that God breaks his promises, yet still hold that God had broken his covenant with his chosen people. I also think that the movement in teaching that Israel is not important and that the Jews no longer have a covenant with God is growing because of how the State of Israel is portrayed.
I was raised in two different non-denominational churches that never really touched on the subject at all. Other than Genesis, Exodus, Job, Esther, Daniel, and Psalms/Proverbs, I never heard lessons or sermons on the other books of the Old Testament. The only thing I knew about the covenants God had made is that Jesus came to establish a new one. While I do not think I was directly taught supersessionism, I probably would have leaned toward that belief without the knowledge I have gained. So, how will this insight from Dr. McDermott change how I read the Bible going forward? I am now armed with the knowledge to not only be able to see how the New Testament passages from his lectures connect to the Jewish people and the land of Israel, but I can also share this with others. I am much more aware of the word Kingdom as well in the Bible as well as anything that has to do with covenants. Going forward, I have already started find New Testament passages that speak to God’s covenant with the Jewish people and analyze how knowing this effects how I read the passage.
I was taught, and have taught, that the Bible is a collection of 66 books written by over 40 authors over 2,000 years which tells one consistent story, an overarching narrative of God making Himself famous among the nations and expressing His love for His people. In learning to exegete scripture and comparative theology to other world religions and cults, it rationally impossible to understand the texts without understanding the intention of the texts in the time, place and to the people it was written. Veracity of the Scriptures obligates a consistent message and archeological evidence, otherwise Christianity isn’t worth following. It is hard to imagine a Christian faith that lacked this basis, as it raises the question, “who are you worshipping and why?” if there is either an unknowing or intentional lack of understanding of the full story of the Bible.
As far as the covenant with the Jewish people, I vaguely recall being taught God holds the new covenant with the universal church. The Jewish people and land are important and matter, but not are not particularly special or needing of attention. I would say, and this could be my own interpretation of what was being said, that this is more of an apathetic view – “the people and land matter, but I don’t know what to do about it.” This course has been interesting to revaluate this theological apathy and ask, “Clearly it matters, I’ve never seen it so emphasized as mattering a lot, therefore should I / what do I do about it?”
This did not conflict with my the teaching of my upbringing. I did not understand it fully, however, until I read the book “The Covenant, One Nation Under God: America’s Sacred & Immutable Connection to Ancient Israel” by Timothy Ballard. The Book discussed God’s precedent for making covenants with nations and uncovers the evidence through biblical readings and “heraldry.” Dr. McDermott’s lecture reminded me of the book and caused me to reread portions of it. When Dr. McDermott mentioned Matthew 5:18: “one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled,” it made me think about all the ancient promises to the Israelite nation. There are many areas within the law that have not yet been fulfilled. With the Jew’s recent return to the land, and the fact that they are an independent nation, I feel we are witnessing biblical history in proportions we simply do not understand. God truly has not forgotten his people in Israel and has great things in store for our future.
Thinking about it now, I was always taught that God had fulfilled His covenant with the Jewish people through Christ, and that modern Jews did not accept or believe in this fulfillment. It was never presented so much as God turning His back on the Jewish people, but rather just a difference in opinion. However, a friend’s father, of a different Christian denomination from myself, was the first to present to me the idea that God still upholds His covenant with the Jews to this day. It was the first time I distinctly remember thinking that God “has a plan,” so to speak, for the Jews in the modern world, and that God desires to continue to uphold His covenant with the Jews even 2,000 years after the death and resurrection of Christ. Going forward, reading the Bible must, for me, be about reading the story of salvation history through both Christian and Jewish lenses–that these can both coexist.
Growing up, I was taught exactly what Dr. McDermott believes—that God’s covenant with the Jewish people still stands. My parents felt a strong affinity for the Jewish people and were very supportive of the state of Israel. This that was informed largely by their reading of the Old Testament and knowledge of God’s covenant and love for the Jewish people. This course’s lesson on the history of antisemitism within Christian history was deeply sobering. While I knew this was a problem in church history, I did not grasp the breadth and scope of the issue. Silly as it sounds, my first exposure to antisemitism in Christianity was Fiddler on the Roof when a Russian official refers to Jews as “Christ-killers”. The phrase struck me as bizarre and horrifying, and when I learned more about antisemitism in Christian history, it was even more so. Bad theological ideas such as supersessionism undoubtedly fostered antisemitic feelings and actions. As Christians, our Biblical understanding of the Jewish people and the Holy Land matters. We must get this right.
The topic was largely avoided in the non-denominational church I grew up in. There were various opinions but no clear position from the elders/pastor, perhaps partly due to the church being founded by Messianic Jews decades earlier. However, the church I have attended for the last several years had a prominent supersessionist on staff who preached numerous times on his field of study: the book of John. For a different reason, the church has new eldership and pastors and is vague on its current position, unlike priorly with being clear in its belief that the church superseded the Jews. About seven years ago, I wrestled with the idea of supersessionism and the impacts of that theology. Through prayer & reading scripture has helped me conclude that supersessionism is antithetical to sound teaching. This has impacted how I read the Bible and my interfaith actions, and I believe it has made me a stronger ally to the Jewish community.
Growing up, I was taught to focus on the New Testament only and for the longest time, I didn’t even read the Old Testament. It wasn’t until I was older that I started to realize that the Bible is one big story, that each book should not be taken on its own as we cannot truly get the full picture of the gospel this way. Although I always personally had a soft corner for Jews, as I knew that they were/are God’s chosen people, I never really thought much about the fact that God upholds His covenant with them to this very day. Reflecting on it now, that makes absolute sense because our God is a God that keeps His promises. We believe in the same God as the God of Abraham and if God made a promise to the Jewish people way before Christians even came into the picture, it would make sense that He would keep that covenant. If we don’t believe that, then it will be hard for us to justify the character of God as a righteous and just. Knowing this now will help me read the Bible through a different lens – now emphasizing the importance of the relationship that God had and continues to have with the Jewish people.
I had a very strict Christian upbringing. At a very tender age, I got to understand the importance of the Jewish people, and their role in bringing salvation to mankind. I was blessed to have learnt about God’s covenant with the Jewish people, and I think the fact remains God still holds that covenant till this day. This course has also shifted my understand with respect to the Anti-Semitic roles played by some great Church Leaders and Religious influencers, like Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., etc. I think it is important that every Christian read some of these lectures or even take a peek at some of Dr. McDermott teachings to better understand the significance of the Jewish people, and why it is important that we stand against every form of hatred against them and support them in every respect.
Thank you for your post. Supercessionism was very shocking to me when I first learned about it. I was even more shocked about famous Christian leaders who were supersessionist and antisemitic. What frustrated me was that I learned this in a secular academic setting rather than within the church. I wish I learned this within the Church so I can have a better understanding for the times I would have heard it in a secular settings. It would have been helpful to have some foundations before having conversations about the topic.
Thanks for your post. I too was confused by the underlying supersessionist assumption that God chose to break His covenant with Israel. Isn’t our hope in His covenant promises that He will never abandon them? Even as we stray, does He not teach that He will never leave nor betray us? If the Lord wanted a way out of His commitment, He surely could have instituted another means of commitment as opposed to the enduring faithfulness of a covenant, which does not release one party of their obligations even if the other party fails to uphold the agreement.
Abigail, that’s a great point you bring up about using the same texts for opposing arguments when it comes to Israel. I think you’re exactly right in saying that there is much more biblical evidence for God maintaining and upholding covenants than there is in God breaking His covenant with the Jewish people. But it gives plenty of food for thought in thinking about ways we can look at the Bible in pro- and anti-Jewish ways. As leaders, we have to be prepared for arguments that may use similar evidences but radically misinterpret them.
Hi Haley! My experience has been a bit similar to yours – I had never really had these conversations in the church when I was young. Because of this, I feel like I had a pretty significant gap in understanding in regard to this topic, so studies like these have been immensely beneficial to my understanding of the Word and my faith as a whole. God doesn’t break promises, and I don’t think I had ever thought to apply this truth to this topic, and it certainly adds to my own compassion and love toward the Jewish people, too.
Thank you for sharing! I have heard of these two perspectives and it is so interesting maneuvering through the different types of theology and figuring out where one stands. It is incredible what can happen when we get in the word and begin to unpack and ask big questions- because God is not a God of confusion but desires for us to seek out the truth. I agree with you it is not two separate stories but the continuation of the promise and the covenant of God.
Your post is very encouraging. I can relate to the fact that I never really thought about the covenant God made with the Jewish people. I completely believe his word said he did, but as you said, “these classes have definitely reframed my perspective and given me an even more informed view on the enduring covenant that God created for His set apart peoples, especially with regard to conversations increasing on eschatology and the prophesies concerning the remaining Jews.”
I agree with your statement that you believe many felt a disconnect of the Hebraic roots of the Christian faith. I’m going to be honest and say that I never truly understood this idea until I got to college and started learning about my faith in a Bible study group. I feel that my church never wanted to emphasize the Hebraic roots because that would raise more questions for the congregants and my church… tended to keep topics to personal morality and not how our morality came to be. Thanks for your insight!
I think this response was beautiful- thank you for sharing your perspective. I think I viewed the Bible as one cohesive story as a little girl, outside of wondering why the God of the Old Testament was so much easier able to punish than in the New Testament.
When I reached the age of reason and asked these questions, I got the generic response that the New Testament is a fulfillment of the Old and simply accepted it. I think I need to reread the Old Testament with a more curious heart rather than accepting what people older than me say blindly.
Alex, I really appreciate the introspective take that you have on this issue. Not many people can look at the way they read Scripture and understand that it isn’t always about them, especially in the States. Also, your point about God being a covenant keeper is so important and really struck me as I was listening to the lectures, too. Likewise, diving into Hebraic thought is such a fun journey, so excited for you!
This is a really interesting perspective and I thank you for sharing it. I agree with you the bible is one story and it is important to see the narrative flowing toward the ultimate salvation of mankind and creation. One thing I would like to contemplate is that if God’s promise to the land made with Abraham remains valid, then what does that mean for the other peoples and groups which have lived there during the period after the second temple? I do not claim to have any answers, just thinking outloud.
To your point, we as gentiles should certainly rejoice that we have been grafted into the “olive tree” of life! Yet, in so many churches, this rejoicing is often accompanied with a contempt for the trunk onto which we were grafted. A healthy church must certainly rejoice in God’s salvation for both Jews and gentiles.
I agree Esther, I thought that portion of the lecture was pretty fascinating. As a Christian, I also found myself generally agreeing with the traditionalist views, but frequently being sympathetic with the modernizers. As you point out, a lot of it hinges on when to take scripture literally or not. In the Christian case I think it is even more challenging because Jesus deliberately spoke in parables, inviting interpretation.