How do you feel about the following statement from well-known Protestant preacher John Piper?
Jesus, not Israel? Is that what Christians really believe?
Hail Jesus, King of not-Israel.
Piper links to his church’s blog, where the post by Parnell starts good: citing Romans 9 as an example of the irrevocable nature of God’s election. (Unspoken: God’s election of Israel.)
But he speaks of election only to suggest that God’s choosing of Israel was done in order to elect Yeshua. Thus, Israel’s election is made irrelevant because God’s purposes for Israel are fully carried out in Yeshua. Roll the credits, because in Jesus, it’s Israel: The End.
Though he cited Romans 9, it’s as if he didn’t read it at all.
I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Messiah for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.
To Israel belongs these things. Not belonged. Belongs. The promises of God belong to Israel. They didn’t disappear when Jesus showed up.
The problem with the statements from Parnell is not whether the nations are blessed through Yeshua – they positively are. The problem is that these statements imply a kind of subtle replacement theology: because Yeshua came, Israel is no longer the vehicle of God’s blessing, no longer relevant in God’s plans, and is just another ethnicity, and Judaism just another non-Christian religion.
God’s important people, then, are Yeshua’s followers – the Church – and if they are the important people, Israel is merely an historical vehicle to get us to the Church, and we are left with nothing but a certain replacement theology, where Jesus’ church has replaced God’s Israel.
“Jesus, not Israel” implies Yeshua ended the specialness of Israel. Consider the absurd implications: Yeshua, the King of Israel, Israel’s Messiah, prophesied by Israel’s prophets, the Holy One of Israel and son of Israel’s David, he comes and does his thing, and what’s the end result? Supposedly, the result is Israel becoming irrelevant. Some King of Israel! A King who makes his people irrelevant.
Huh? Is this making sense to anyone, or are we too occupied with retweeting popular pastors to think clearly?
Christians who want to understand why Jesus is an offence to Jews, take note. When you say, “Israel used to be special, but Jesus changed all that, so now instead of being God’s special people, you’re a heathen going to hell! Isn’t that good news?”
Even though it may not have been Piper’s intent, there remains this sense that Christendom still believes that, because of the work of Israel’s Messiah, it has replaced her. Jesus, not Israel.
Fine and chin-rubbing blog readers, am I being too sensitive? What do you think of Piper’s statement, “Jesus, not Israel”?