In reply to Colin Austin Barnes.

Hi Colin,

Frankly, this is getting boring. You agree these are important questions but you only address the first, and there you are both partial and inconsistent. Even when you address the issues, you start from your own presuppositions, ignoring my para 2 and 3. Fair enough, but do it on your own blog.

You spend most of your 5 page response ‘proving’ that the Jews of Jesus day are Israel, answering your question, (whilst ignoring mine) “does the NT consider that the Jewish people of that time are the literal and spiritual descendants of Biblical Israel, the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?” That Jewish people of the time of Jesus were descendants of Abraham-Jacob is not, so far as I know, in dispute. But your ‘question’ muddies the ground. In it you have four people groups and two undefined terms. Having conflated that lot you then go into a lot of detail that, again, is not in dispute.

So, some truth, but, as I pointed out, ‘not true enough’, and, since it is not true enough it is misleading, (and I’m holding back here). John the Baptist, you note ‘appeared publicly to Israel’. You are surely not claiming that he was seen by every Israelite, including those in the diaspora, or that he simultaneously stood on every piece of ‘eretz Israel’. That would be absurd: but we know what was meant and it isn’t what you imply. Once again you have failed to engage with the questions I’ve raised and  pursued your own propaganda issues. I am sure you mean well, but this does not serve faith or justice.

What must be questioned is whether they, the Jews of the time, represent the whole of Israel or even ‘Biblical Israel’. (It is highly questionable whether many Jews today have significant or even any of Jacob’s DNA. Thats another debate). By lumping all these categories together you fail to understand what it means to be ‘Biblical Israel’ that is to say to be ‘God’s people’. You’ll have to wait for my book.

You correctly note Paul’s reference to the remnant in every generation and it is clear from the prophets that the restoration cannot apply to every Israelite. (Even dispensationalists can’t agree on what ‘all Israel’ means.) But, as with so many commentators on Romans, you seem to regard chapters 9-11 as somewhat distinct from the rest. (I do find it irritating when Christian Zionists claim that these chapters cannot be lifted out of the ‘ever-flowing stream’ of Romans, but then do precisely that)!

We will not understand Romans 9, for example, if we don’t follow the argument from chapter 8 and chapter 7. Of course, Paul’s actual argument, of which this is the culmination, begins at chapter 1 verse 16. The kin to which Paul refers in 9:3 are ‘my kinsmen according to flesh’ and if we want to know what he means by ‘kata sarka’ we need to read chapter 7 and 8. Paul here identifies two groups of Israel, those who please God and those who don’t. And the pathos of 9:1-5 depends on chapter 8, ‘who can separate us from the love of Christ?’ No-one, nothing, nothing … But, what about …’

I will not convince you, you are too heavily committed to your own version of the truth. I respect your integrity but not your arguments or your theology. When I came to this nearly 10 years ago I vowed that I would re-read the whole of the scripture and go where the story took me, keeping in mind my own pre-supposition that Jesus was and is the Jewish Messiah. I have also read Christian Zionist writings and those who oppose Christian Zionism. Without exception the Christian Zionist writers depend on selective and non-contextual readings of the Bible, stringing together verses gathered from all over the place. The story worked OK just so long as you didn’t look closely at the context and the contradictions, for, as Don Carson has pointed out, remove one element and the whole edifice collapses.

And none of them, the question you failed to address, made sense of The Cross.

%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar