Tuesday, August 12, 2014

God's Chosen People? pt. 2

My conversation with my friend and sister in the Lord continues from last week. The irenic tone shows how we as believers can disagree without being disagreeable.  

Once again, her words are bold and italicized 

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I arrived at my understanding [that contemporary Jews are God’s chosen people] by doings of the Holy Spirit and Bible study . . . 

This conviction cannot serve to settle debates or determine truth. 

“I don’t understand what you are intending to mean by ‘this conviction cannot serve to settle debates or determine truth.’” 

Let’s use this present discussion to illustrate. You believe Israelis are God’s chosen people. I do not. Yet both of us believe: “I arrived at my understanding by doings of the Holy Spirit and Bible study.” Thus, the conviction that we both have (that the Spirit guides us in our study of the Bible) cannot settle our disagreement. 

Said another way, it would be most unfair and uncharitable for one of us to say to the other: “Well, you would agree with me if only you allowed the Spirit to guide you!”  

And so it is, while we can trust that the Spirit is leading us, this conviction—in and of itself—cannot settle debates or determine truth.  

That is, Spirit-led Christians of good will, who truly believe the Bible, are disagreed about many things. And this, in my mind, is okay. In fact it is inevitable. There are no infallible interpreters of scripture. 

“I am in agreement with what the Bible states in Romans [specifically Romans 11:26].” 

Yes, I am too. It’s not a matter of “agreeing” or “disagreeing” or believing or disbelieving the Bible. Both of us have a high view of scripture. This is a matter of interpretation 

We both affirm the truthfulness of Romans (and the rest of Scripture). However, we interpret Romans very differently. The “all Israel” of Romans 11:26 is understood in a variety of ways. (The Reformation Study Bible lists 3 different plausible interpretations of “all Israel.”) 

So, to be fair, we must be clear that this discussion is not about believing or (“agreeing with”) the Bible. It’s about interpreting the Bible. 

“The Jews . . . of the world can be thought of as needing the Gospel of salvation in Jesus as much as any other group of people.” 

We are agreed. 

Furthermore, the geo-political conflict in the Middle East, in my estimation, is simply that—geo-political. It has nothing to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ; the message of what God has accomplished for His people in the Person and work of His Son.  

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You may read the conversation in its entirety here.

3 comments:

  1. The last BF statement above is a strange one. If, indeed, the Jews are as much in need of the gospel as anyone else, then in what sense may they said to be "God's chosen people?" I would maintain (as I think you would, Steve) that there are some Jewish people and some Gentiles people from every nation, kindred, tribe, and tongue who have been chosen by God unto salvation. That is the emphasis I would place on "the Jews of the world ... needing the gospel." But that is not what the old classic Dispensationalism taught. Rather, it taught that the Jews were distinctly chosen quite apart from the church of God to be an earthly and carnal people while the church was chosen to be a heavenly and spiritual people.

    I'll leave my 2 cents at the door. ;)

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    Replies
    1. Yes, my thoughts exactly. We--Jew and Gentile--are chosen in Christ, not apart from Him.

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  2. Sorry, should say "Gentiles," not "Gentiles people"

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