Holy Convocations!

Two church convocations believe that '…no single ethnic identity can any longer claim to be “God’s chosen people…'

Church 521 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Church 521
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Two recent church convocations have reached conclusions that are unbiblical but widely believed in Christian circles. The first was the special Synod of Catholic Bishops of the Middle East, which concluded that Israel is no longer a “chosen people” and that the Abrahamic Covenant has been “annulled.” By doing so, they sought to negate Israel’s divine right to the land of Canaan and Jerusalem. If this be true, then modern-day Israel enjoys no biblical significance, her restoration is an accident, and she’s simply like any other nation, no different than Zambia or Switzerland!
The second convocation was that of the recent Lausanne Conference on World Evangelization held in Cape Town. Oddly, this assembly of leading Evangelicals agreed entirely with the Bishops gathered in Rome, in that their conference statement noted: “…no single ethnic identity can any longer claim to be “God’s chosen people… We strongly believe that the separate and privileged place given to Jewish people today or to the modern Israeli state in certain forms of dispensationalism or Christian Zionism should be challenged, inasmuch as they deny the essential oneness of the people of God in Christ.”
Thus, these Evangelicals also see no biblical significance in Israel’s restoration. Christians should move on to more important spiritual matters. At least the Catholic bishops were honest in recognizing that their stand meant they must declare the Abrahamic Covenant obsolete. There is just one problem, however. It is an argument crafted from silence! In fact, if anything the New Testament scriptures affirm the ongoing efficacy of the Abrahamic covenant, even going so far as to declare that it cannot be annulled (Galatians 3:17); that it constitutes an example of God’s truthfulness and unswerving faithfulness (Hebrews 6:13-20); and that the finished work of Jesus on the cross was to make good its promises (Galatians 3:9; 13-14;). Indeed, if we are Christ’s we are “Abraham’s children according to the promise (covenant).”
(Galatians 3:29) Moreover, I know of no Christian Zionist who affords a privileged place to Jews or Israel. If anything, the call of God over the Jews was never a “privileged place” but a place of suffering and rejection for the sake of the world! As a gentile believer in Jesus I would not want their role in history, but I have been eternally enriched by it because “salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22), and “we share in their spiritual things” (Romans 15:27).
To assert, then, that since Jesus’ coming the Abrahamic Covenant has been abolished is frankly theological ineptitude! The scriptures nowhere support this theory. In fact, if accepted, these convocations are guilty of the very theological position they claim to be against! That is, they are guilty of being dispensationalists because they endorse the movement from one plan of salvation to another through history.
This is classic dispensationalism, which we reject in all its forms! There has only and forever been one divine plan for redeeming the world (Revelation 13:8).
This was unveiled and promised in the Abrahamic Covenant which, according to Paul, was the foundational proclamation of the Gospel (Galatians 3:8). The fact that this saving initiative also promised land as an everlasting possession to the Jewish people (Genesis 17:8-9) has always “stuck in the throat” of many people (Nehemiah 2:19-20; 4:1-3; 6:1-2).
The fact is all nations are blessed and saved by faith in the finished work of Jesus because of the peculiar servant role that Israel has played out on their behalf. This calling Paul declares to be irrevocable! (Romans 11:29) For this role or calling to be removed, the Abrahamic Covenant has to be removed. But if that ever happens, then God’s decision to save the world also has to be removed! The Lausanne Conference and the Mideast Catholic Bishops have failed to “rightly divide” the word of God, and are also casting doubt over His character. For even years after Israel’s rejection of Jesus’s Messianic credentials, the writer of the book of Hebrews holds up the Abrahamic Covenant to wavering believers as an example of God’s faithfulness to His word, character and promises (Hebrews 6).
Rev. Hedding is executive director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem; www.icej.org/