So here on the eve of Biola’s Conference “Israel the Church and the Middle East Crisis” I’m flushed out of my long blog hiding (or lethargy). That’s right, my maiden venture to blog-country is urged by some real angst in my heart about neglect of Israel. Now, Israel-angst of this kind is a subgenus to a larger malady I’ve seen around me in evangelicalism for some time—Eschatolitis—a form of the passive neglect of doctrine in general, but in this case, the doctrine of the End Times.
The larger question is the subject of another post some time (-what am I saying?), but what is to be said about the future of the nation of Israel? Dr. Mitch Glaser, president of Chosen People Ministries, confided that much of the drive behind the conference this weekend is a tangible waning of interest in Israel’s future among those who traditionally have never blinked on it. Who is he talking about?
As I said, the question has given me cause for some soul searching of my own. Yes, charting God’s program with Israel—past, present and future—is part of the Theo 4 course I even teach, but have interests elsewhere muted clarions that Scripture clearly calls me to heed? How about a passion for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps 122) in my prayer life? How about Paul’s “to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Ro 1:16) in mission, or his caution to us Gentiles not to be arrogant against the root that supports us (Ro 11:18-20) in our contextualizing the Gospel and our doing Church?
Years ago Professor Doctor Karl Barth was reputedly asked by a journalist why he believed the Bible. Evidently this poor journalist couldn’t imagine why a man of Dr. Barth’s intelligence could spend his life with such pre-scientific myths. Barth reportedly gave his interlocutor just two words in answer—Die Juden!
The Jew—this ancient people is still around today just as Scripture said they would be. (Where are all of the other –ites, –tites, and –bites peoples of antiquity?) This nation, created by God to bear witness to his glory at a human national level—something the Church will never be capable of —pace my amill friends :) brought us God’s oracles and most importantly God’s man, the God-man, Jesus Christ our Savior. God’s choice of them deserves to be treated by us with the same surety and faithfulness as his choice of us!