Friday, March 04, 2011

One of the best summaries of the relationship between Christians and the modern state of Israel I have ever read

John Piper has a great, simply outstanding bullet pointed list of how we should view the modern secular state of Israel. He wrote it in response to a conversation he had with an Arab Christian who points out, rightly so, that many Christians seem more concerned with the defense of secular Israel than they do with the persecution of our Arab and Palestinian brothers and sisters. I am just straight up going to copy and paste the whole list from his post Israel, Arabs and the Family of God , with a few especially hard hitting points in bold (emphasis mine):

1. True Christians are citizens of the kingdom of Jesus Christ first, and only secondarily citizens of any earthly nation or state.

2. True Christians are united more closely to each other as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ than we are to any earthly bonds of family or nation.

3. American Christians are more closely united to Palestinian Christians and Arab Christians and Jewish Christians throughout the world than we are to the state of non-Christian Israel.

4. Israel was chosen by God from all the peoples of the world to be the focus of special blessing in the history of redemption which climaxed in Jesus Christ, the Messiah. “The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 7:6).

5. God promised to Israel the presently disputed land from the time of Abraham onward. God said to Moses, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring’” (Deuteronomy 34:4).

6. Israel, like every other nation on the earth, including all Arab states, does not affirm Jesus Christ as God, Messiah, and Savior, and is, therefore, not a covenant-keeping people in relation to God. Rejecting the Son of God is rebellion against the God of the covenant.

7. A non-covenant-keeping people—Jewish or Arab—does not have a divine right to hold the land of promise while they are living in rebellion against the God who promised it to an obedient people. “If you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples” (Exodus 19:5).

8. This does not mean that other nations have the right to molest Israel, nor Israel to molest her neighbors. Israel and the surrounding nations still have human rights among nations, though they have no divine right to claim the land while rejecting the Messiah.

9. God has saving purposes for ethnic Israel (Romans 11:25-26), as he does for the Arab nations (Isaiah 19:19-25; Psalm 22:27; Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 3:29-30).

10. The Christian plea in the Middle East to Palestinians and Jews is: “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). This is the path to peace. “Jesus himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14).

11. Until that great day, when both Jewish and Gentile followers of King Jesus inherit the earth (including the promised land), without lifting sword or gun, the rights of nations should be decided by the principles of compassionate and public justice, not claims to national divine right or status.

12. Therefore, all Christians, especially Christian pastors, should speak openly and joyfully of our unity with Arab and Jewish Christians, and should not rank political support for Israel or any Arab nation above our family support for fellow believers.

That is one of the best summaries I have ever read. Please share this with others because I think this is an area where there is a lot of confusion in the Church and a lot of people take dogmatic stands that are way out of whack.

Or maybe you think Piper is wrong. Tell me why.

1 comment:

Mark of Faith said...

Very interesting, and to a great extent I agree - John Piper is far more mature than I, so even on the points I disagree, I may need to reassess.

I do disagree in that the Jewish nation has not lost its special status - God's covenant with Abraham is the same as Christ's covenant with us in this respect: the covenants were sealed by only one party - God. Our obedience, whilst a vital part of our faith that cannot be neglected, is not the basis upon which we are belonging to God. That is true of Christians living out of step with Christ, and true of Jews who have rejected the Messiah.

In Romans, referring to Israel Paul writes: "Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable." - Rom 11:28-29