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ISRAEL AND THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. Dr. Robert C. Kurka. Professor of Theology and Church in Culture. Lincoln Christian University. Bradley University Osher Lifelong ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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  • Dr. Robert C. Kurka
  • Professor of Theology and Church in Culture
  • Lincoln Christian University
  • Bradley University Osher Lifelong Learning
  • Winter 2016

Course Description and Outline
  • This four-session course will identify major
    theological, historical and socio-political
    issues that have framed the Christian Churchs
    relationship to Judaism and ancient/modern-day
    Israel through the centuries. It also will
    attempt to offer some constructive suggestions on
    promoting Jewish-Christian dialogue in our
    contemporary, conflicted world.
  • Four Lectures/Discussions
  • 1. Salvation is from the Jews The Debt
    that Christianity Owes Israel
  • 2. How Does the Church View
    Ancient/Modern-day Israel? A Brief Survey of
    Historical and Contemporary Options
  • 3. How Has the Church Treated the Jewish
    People? Some Shamefuland Saintly Examples
  • 4. Towards a Healthy Jewish-Christian
    Dialogue Critically Affirming Points of
    Similarity and Difference

In the discipline of Systematic Theology, this
discussion is generally located under Ecclesiology
  • Ecclesiology is an area of the discipline of
    Systematic Theology that is concerned with the
    origin, nature, function, and structure of the
    CHURCH. While the relationship between Israel and
    the Church is seen as a sub-topic in
    theological circles, it has been a major point
    of dispute among Christians throughout the
    centuries since it affects other key Christian
    beliefs about salvation and the future
    (eschatology). It also has contributed to an
    indefensible Anti-Semitism in the past as well
    as an uncritical Zionism on the part of some
    Christians in the present-day.

and the complexity of the matter grows
  • While Christians have traditionally viewed Jewish
    people as candidates for evangelism, Moreover, in
    December, 2015, the Vatican issued the following
  • The Church is obliged to view
    evangelization to Jews, who believe in the one
    God, in a different manner from that to people of
    other religions and worldviewsIn concrete terms
    this means that the Catholic Church neither
    conducts nor supports any specific mission work
    directed towards Jews.
  • --The Gifts and the
    Calling of God Are Irrevocable

Lecture 1 Salvation is from the Jews The
Debt that Christianity Owes Israel
  • You Samaritans worship what you do not know, for
    salvation is from the Jews.Jesus (John 422)
  • From its inception, Christianity has called
    attention to its Jewish roots
  • For I could wish that I myself were cut off from
    Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own
    race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the
    adoption to sonship theirs is the divine glory,
    the covenants, the receiving of the law, temple
    worship and the promises. Theirs are the
    patriarchs, and from them is traced the human
    ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all,
    forever praised! Amen. Paul (Romans 93-5 NIV

The Christian New Testaments Debt to the
Jewish Old Testament
  • In over 220 direct citations of the Old Testament
    (not to mention numerous paraphrases, allusions
    and echoes), the New Testament writers ground
    the Church in
  • Israels ancient history (creation, fall, calling
    of Abraham)Rom. 4-5
  • Israels unique monotheism1 Cor. 84-6
  • Israels spiritual defeats1 Cor. 101-13 (Heb.
  • Israels Messianic hopes Mark 829
  • Israels salvationin Christ Luke 229-32
  • Last DaysActs 217-21 (cf. Joel 228-24)
  • Israels future restorationActs 1515-18 (cf.
    Amos 1112)
  • Israels ethical mandates Jas.126-28
  • In the NTs presentation of Jesus Christ
    (reflecting his own self-consciousness), he is
    clearly not the dismantler of Gods covenantal
    promises with Israel but the one who brings them
    all to completion For no matter how many
    promises God has made, they are Yes in Christ
    (2 Cor. 120)

Matthews Nativity Story.guiding Gentile magi to
Bethlehem by the Jewish Scriptures
  • When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, during
    the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came
    to Jerusalem and asked, Where is the one who has
    been born king of the Jews?When he (Herod)
    called together all the peoples chief priests
    and teachers of the law, he asked them where the
    Messiah was to be born. In Bethlehem in Judea,
    they replied, for this is what the prophet has
    written But you, Bethlehem, in the land of
    Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of
    Judah for out of you will come a ruler who will
    shepherd my people Israel.
  • --Matt. 21,2,4-6 NIV (citing
    Micah 52-4)

Notre Dame Historian Mark Noll summarizes this
indebtedness by calling attention to the concept
  • Early Church adopted Israels belief that there
    is Truth and this Truth is located in the One,
    Personal God who makes himself known through
    REVELATION (general and special)
  • Early Church adopted Israels belief that Truth
    (special revelation) is coherent and
    understandable because this God communicated in
    ordinary human language (and it could be read
    and studied)
  • Early Church adopted Israels belief that Truth
    can be put into actionfrom the Jewish Temple
    rituals and (later) synagogue instruction to
    Christianitys organization around local churches
    and pastoral teaching

  • Source Turning Points,
    3rd ed., 18

Jewish-Christian Perception of Late First Century
  • Sulpicius Severus observes that the Roman
    emperor, Titus, desired to destroy the Jerusalem
  • in order that that the Jewish and Christian
    religions might more completely be abolished for
    although these religions were mutually hostile
    they had nevertheless sprung from the same
    founders the Christians were the offshoot of the
    Jews, and if the root were taken from the stock
    would easily perish.
  • (Quoted in F.F. Bruce, The Spreading Flame, 156)
  • W.H. C. Frend All Christianity at this stage
    in the apostolic period was Jewish
    Christianity. But it was Israel with a
    difference. (The Rise of Christianity, 123)

Lecture Two How Does the Church View Ancient
and Modern-day Israel? A Survey of Contemporary
  • While virtually all Christian traditions assign
    Christ as the culmination of the Old Testament
    story (not to mention the focus of the New),
    there are considerable differences in assessing
    the precise relationship of Israel and the
    Christian Church in the Scriptures. Four major
    viewpoints have been prevalent during
    Christianitys 2000-year history which in turn,
    have contributed to attitudes/actions that have
    been grievous and gracious.

Covenant Model
Classic Dispensationalism
Progressive Dispensational Model
Progressive Covenantal Model
Four Views Comparison and Contrast
Several Questions to consider for our final
  • What view(s) best represents the New Testaments
    attitude towards Judaism? Why?
  • What view(s) would tend to define Israel in a
    religious or spiritual sense? Why? What view(s)
    would tend to define Israel in ethnic terms? Why?
  • What view(s) is most conducive to anti-Semitism?
  • What view(s) is most conducive to contemporary
    Zionism? Why?
  • What view(s) is most conducive to Christian
    evangelism of the Jewish people? Why?
  • What view(s) is most conducive to Christian
    dialogue with the Jewish people? Why?