Hear, O Jews
Posted by Gerald Bray, 5 Jul 2018
In his editorial for the most recent edition of Churchman, Gerald Bray discusses the historical, political, and most importantly, religious problem of Israel.
The editorial for Churchman 132-2, summer 2018, concludes:
What is clear is that Christians have a duty to proclaim the Gospel to all people without fear or favour. Jesus came to his own people, and who are we to deny them the good news in the name of some superficially polite interfaith dialogue? If Jesus is right for us then he is right for Jews too, and to seek to exclude them from his blessings is perhaps the most insidious form of antisemitism imaginable. At the same time, we must accept that for many Jews any Christian mission will be tainted with the memory of persecution and we must be sensitive to that. Anglicans have a good record on this score. The Church’s Ministry among Jewish People (CMJ) has a long and honourable history, and it cannot fairly be accused of antisemitism. At the same time, it has never abandoned its evangelistic mission, which in many respects is more urgent now than ever. The State of Israel will fight its corner as long as it can, but it is hard not to sense that in the end it will succumb to the force of Arab numbers. What will Israelis do then, when their dreams of a secular salvation turn to dust and ashes? It is not our business to hasten the coming of that day, but we must be ready to face the possibility that the State of Israel will eventually collapse, and to deal with that eventuality if and when it comes. In the end, the church’s message has to be: “Hear O Israel! The Lord your God is your only Saviour, and as your great prophet Zechariah reminded your ancestors, it is not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord that you will be redeemed (Zechariah 4:6).” Israel has survived against the odds by the power of God, and its future is in his hands. It will be saved, not by politics but by faith in Christ the Messiah. On that we should all be able to agree and to go forward in faith, knowing that he who is with us is greater not only than those who are against us, but also than whatever paltry strength we might be able to muster in an attempt to combat them.
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Gerald Bray is Editor of Churchman.
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