What was it Benjamin Franklin once said, “Beware all forms of social media”?
Okay, maybe it wasn’t the Founder many believe to have been one of the country’s first presidents, but the old publisher surely would have taken a cynical view of our latest cultural trap. Fighting via social media has gotten ugly.
This week I posted a Twitter response from yet another evangelical celebrity, and pointed out his position is really anti-Israel and anti-Jew.
At some point, a person jumped into the growing conversation and began to “educate” the rest of us on his particular theology, which, shall we say, doesn’t exactly hold Jews and Israel in the highest regard.
After he insulted some of us, he then accused us of being “judaizers.” This label describes a person who, in some cases, places too much emphasis on Jewish religious customs, in the context of following Christ. It is a tag given to people in the so-called Hebrew Roots Movement.
I’m not in the Hebrew Roots Movement. I also know that scum ranging from the Inquisitors hundreds of years ago (who burned Jews at the stake) to the modern PLO like to use the term. Mahmoud Abbas, the successor to the serial killer Yasser Arafat, routinely accuses Israel of “Judaizing” Jerusalem(!).
Look, there is a growing divide among evangelicals (even that term has been confiscated by the Left, which wishes to burrow-into evangelical congregations and fool the people in the pews. Just notice when someone like Shane Claiborne or Rachel Held Evans speaks in such a place) about Israel and her place in biblical history.
I have noticed in the last several years that when you point out that someone is a proponent of Replacement Theology, said person begins to engage in word games, just as the secular Left does. The person explains why he or she is NOT a Replacement Theology sort, etc.
Except that they are.
Replacement Theology of course claims that the Old Testament promises/prophecies are in fact meant for the Church. Either—in their thinking—the promises were ALWAYS for the Church, or the Jews forfeited them because most of them have rejected Christ.
In its worst forms, Replacement Theology gets Jews killed. The “German Christian Movement” de-emphasized the Jewishness of the Hebrew Scriptures, thus contributing to the climate that created the Holocaust. This particular brand of “Bible study” has been a hallmark of Europe for…forever.
The same stance has embedded itself in the culture of the modern American Evangelical community. Watching it grow makes one heartsick.
The party crasher on social media this week was rude, wrong, and arrogant. In private conversation, he apologized if I “took offense.”
You see what he did there, didn’t you? He is shoving the burden off on me. It’s no longer about what he did, which is the only point of this story. It’s now about a “judaizer” who got his feelings hurt.
False. A person who has contempt for you and your worldview will always seek to place you in the dock, to conjure up a courtroom image. You are on trial, not him.
One of the problems with this is, I can’t talk to a person so dismissive of Israel and the Jews.
Another problem: his view is a huge problem among evangelicals. As has been discussed many times in this space, such an attitude has been in the water in Europe for centuries, has always been there. To see it racing through American Evangelicalism is deeply disturbing.
Calvinists have gained a foothold within Evangelicalism, especially within the Southern Baptist Convention. Among the offshoots of Calvinism is a distinct disapproval of Jews and Israel. Bible prophecy is considered to be aberrant behavior. Everything about Jews, Jesus, and Israel is minimized and marginalized.
Seems too fantastic to believe this is a problem, right?
Yet too many evangelical teachers will tell you Jesus spoke Aramaic, not Hebrew. That He established the Church on the ruins of the synagogue. They will minimize the thoroughly Jewish flavor of the Bible.
It’s a bit like someone writing the definitive history of the Green Bay Packers but leave out entirely any mention of Vince Lombardi or his ‘60s dynasty, or even Brett Favre.
It’s weird. And it’s diabolical.
iblical illiteracy in this country is virtually complete. Few read the Bible. Fewer teach it. Everywhere there is celebrity pastor drivel, metaphorical interpretation, or personal revelation.
It’s enough to make one want to run away screaming.
Now let me use a metaphor for a moment.
It’s all a bit like a warrior like Ariel Sharon retiring from the army to go raise sheep in the Negev. Or Yoni Netanyahu retiring from special forces to go study at Harvard.
But the fight kept pulling them back. As much as they wanted to retire to Eden, they knew they couldn’t so long as the world stayed the way it is. And they came back to fight for their people.
I’d rather stroll along my walking path or just watch sunsets or pet my dog.
But so long as Replacement Theology decimates the Church, I must do what I can, limited though it is. There are many people operating within the Church today who don’t like Jews. That’s the bottom line.
So it colors how they teach the Bible. Some of them sound authoritative. They are still wrong.
I know readers of this column encounter folks like this all the time. Wherever you are, it’s still important to engage and stand up for the Jewish people.
No one can question my Christian faith. They also can’t question my commitment to my Jewish friends.
Not without a withering fight will they come to regret.