January 8, 2006

Jesus for Jews?

Excellent article here in the WaPo examining the phenomenon of what they call philo-Semitism, the extreme love of Judaism, usually by evangelical Christians, and the usually attendant political support for the state of Israel.

I blogged below about Pat Robertson's own philo-Semitism and expressed some reservations similar to those voiced in the WaPo article.
many Jews suspect that evangelicals' support for Israel is rooted in a belief that the return of Jews to the promised land will trigger the Second Coming of Jesus, the battle of Armageddon and mass conversion.

"That hope is felt and expressed by Christians as a kind, benevolent hope," said [Julie] Galambush, author of "The Reluctant Parting," a new book on the Jewish roots of Christianity. "But believing that someday Jews will stop being Jews and become Christians is still a form of hoping that someday there will be no more Jews."
However, there are unambiguously benign signs out there that, theologically at least, evangelical Christians are beginning to see Jews as more than just future Christians (or past rejectors/murderers of Christ). "[E]vangelicals are beginning to move away from supersessionism -- the centuries-old belief that with the coming of Jesus, God ended his covenant with the Jews and transferred it to the Christian church."

I'd like to think that evangelicals are learning the meaning of pluralistic harmony, but there is just something about Christians obsessing about Jews that worries me a little.

I suppose it is impossible to tell at this point whether this is an apt comparison, but evangelicals have also recently warmed to Catholicism. But as Franklin Foer points out, evangelicals have more or less drafted Catholic brainpower to articulate their own agenda. I may be a bit sensitive on this issue as a liberal Catholic, but it seems to me that such a relationship is more like a viral infection in the Catholic community than true fellowship. I have my suspicions that evangelicals may intend a similar set-up with Judaism.

(Metafilter has more.)

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