Likewise, Gentile Christians are in brotherhood with Jewish Christians, reckoned as spiritually circumcised in heart (Rom 2:26) and thus joined to Abraham through faith (Gal 3:29). Here then is racial diversity within spiritual unity, in the same way as a Christian man and wife are diverse in their spiritual unity (Gal 3:28). This same diversity in unity is strongly intimated in Rom 15:8-9 since “Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God, to confirm the promises to the fathers, and so that Gentiles may glorify God for His mercy” because of their inclusion as Gentiles with the fathers.
-Pastor Barry E. Horner
“Chapter 10: Israel and a Romans 11 Synthesis” (pg 278)
Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged
Hoch also quoted A.T. Hanson on this issue. While explaining that the prevailing interpretation of Phil 3:3 identifies the “we” as all true Christians, Hanson nevertheless declared that this understanding…
…seems quite foreign to Paul’s thought and means actually reading into Philippians ideas which seem to have originated at the time of the Reformation…The Philippians, being Gentiles, would have no reason to boast in the flesh anyway. Paul goes on to describe what he means by this phrase in the ensuing verses: it is plain that he means boasting of the national and spiritual privileges peculiar to the Jews. This the Philippians could not do…It is simpler to take “we” here as “we believing Jews”, or even “we, Paul and Timothy”, in whose name the letter is written. We know that Timothy was circumcised. So there is no good reason for maintaining that the use of “the circumcision” here suggests that Paul could apply the name Israel to Gentiles.
-A.T. Hanson, The Pioneer Ministry (London: SCM, 1961), 35
as quoted in Horner, pg 277
There’s really a lot going on in this chapter of Horner’s book, but space won’t allow me to insert all of the relevant quotes. If I tried, I might as well just copy and paste the chapter in verbatim. Actually, I’m not just writing another anti-supersessionism rant. I have a different, but related purpose for this “extra meditation” today.
I don’t agree with everything each of these gentlemen says in their respective books, but they are still refreshing to me. I tend to read mostly Jewish commentaries, but I’ve been reading Horner as part of my research into superessionism relative to my ongoing series on that topic in FFOZ’s Messiah Journal. What’s really exciting is that I’m reading the works of Christian authors and Pastors who actually agree that the church has not replaced the Jews in the covenant promises. I know they’re out there somewhere. Now if only I could find them.
Let me explain.
Not long ago, I discovered that “plan A” wasn’t going to work. Plan A was my separating from active participation in Messianic Jewish worship (One Law, anyway) for the purpose (well, it’s one of the reasons) of joining my wife in classes and services at our local Reform and Chabad synagogues. It took awhile, but I eventually discovered that it wasn’t just my former association with Messianic Judaism that made my wife hesitant to include me in that part of her life. It is my active and continuing faith as a Christian.
That’s not something I’m going to walk away from, even for the slim chance that my wife would feel more comfortable including me in her Jewish communities (and I don’t think it would do any good anyway). So plan A is shot to heck. Now I can either exist in isolation as a person of faith, or I can attempt to find some sort of community in which to participate as a Christian. But that presents a problem.
I previously wrote at length regarding all the roadblocks that stand in the way of my attending a church. On the other hand, there must be some churches that aren’t dripping with supersessionist rhetoric, aren’t there? I decided to look for one by querying a Christian Discussion Group several days ago. As the saying goes, except for one person trying to convince me that the church has replaced the Jews, the silence has been deafening (a second, more helpful person, responded while I was composing this blog).
But then, you have these Christian authors that make such encouraging statements. I mean, do these guys worship in heavily anti-Jewish churches and just keep their mouths shut, or are there actual havens of sanity and brotherhood under the sign of the cross? You couldn’t prove the latter by me, but since I’m facing a move to “plan B” now, I need to start somewhere.
I haven’t the faintest idea how to “shop” for a church.
I’ve occasionally talked to people who have been around churches for decades and can go into a church and assess its theology and how it operates almost immediately. They tell me what they see and hear that convinces them that the church is this and that, but I haven’t the faintest idea what they’re talking about. I went to a Lutheran church as a kid and then, decades later, I “came to the Lord” (I hate to say it, but “Christianese” still makes me crazy) in a Nazarene church (which ultimately turned out to be a bad experience, with a few bright spots mixed in), but that’s it. I don’t know from larger “organized Christianity”. The church, as in “all churches everywhere,” is a mystery to me. Actually, given my general outlook, the idea of “church shopping” makes me nervous.
But I’m getting a little tired of only being able to talk about what I think, feel, and believe in a virtual environment. It would be nice to occasionally address human beings face to face. However, I don’t want to get into a verbal “knock down-drag out” in a church because I don’t comfortably blend in to the homogenous Christian scenery, relative to Judaism. If I encounter a supersessionist attitude or worse, an anti-Semitic one, I’m liable to take it personally since my wife and kids are Jewish.
Does anyone have any ideas as to how to proceed? I’m not necessarily in a rush, and in fact, I’d like to plot, plan, and scheme, so to speak, about my next move. I have to admit, the thought of walking into a church again is intimidating. I call myself a Christian but socially, (which is a lot of what going to church is about) I’m anything but.
If you aren’t a regular visitor on this blog, you’ll need to get some idea of who I am and where I’m coming from. Since I more or less wear my heart on my sleeve when I write, just read four or five of my blog posts (the most recent, or pick some at random), and you’ll get a pretty good idea about how I see things.
Oh, I live near Boise, Idaho if that helps any.