Skip to comments.From Philo-Semitism to Anti-Semitism: The Church of Scotland Then and Now
Posted on 05/16/2013 9:59:37 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Dennis Prager and others have done an excellent job of highlighting the genuinely anti-Semitic content of a recent Church of Scotland publication entitled The Inheritance of Abraham? A Report on the Promised Land, and Prager has even called it ugliest depiction of Jews since medieval times. What has not been mentioned, however, is the great tradition of philo-Semitism in recent Scottish Church history, making the contrast all the more extreme.
Some of the great Scottish Presbyterian leaders of the 19th century built on the heritage of English Puritan theologians like John Owen (1616-1683), who wrote, The Jews shall be gathered from all parts of the earth they are scattered, and brought home into their homeland.
Robert Leighton (1611-1684), a contemporary of Owen, stated, Undoubtedly, that people of the Jews shall once more be commanded to arise and shine [with reference to Isaiah 60:1], and their return shall be the riches of the Gentiles (Romans 11:12 [meaning, bringing spiritual revival to the nations]), and that shall be a more glorious time than ever the Church of God did yet behold.
In stark contrast, the recent report states, There has been a widespread assumption by many Christians as well as many Jewish people that the Bible supports an essentially Jewish state of Israel. This raises an increasing number of difficulties. . . .
So, what these 17th century theologians viewed with great longing, these 21st century theologians view with great loathing, even claiming that, There is a direct conflict of interest between wanting human rights and justice for all and retaining the right to the land.
Another contemporary of Owen was Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661), a Scottish Presbyterian leader known for his passionate spirituality. But for him, the greatest dream of all was seeing the day when the Jewish people and Jesus would be reconciled, referring to Israel as Christs last-married bride and his last marriage love on earth.
For Rutherford, the Jewish people had a unique role to play in the world, and their embrace of Jesus as their long-forsaken King would literally be life from the dead (see Romans 11:15) for the world. He even wrote, O to see the sight, next to Christs Coming in the clouds, the most joyful! Our elder brethren the Jews and Christ fall upon one anothers neck and kiss each other! They have been long asunder; they will be kind to one another when they meet.
Representing a polar extreme from this position is the Church of Scotlands recent report which actually denies any special chosenness to the Jewish people. Rutherford would be absolutely mortified.
In the 19th century, one of the most beloved of the Scottish Presbyterian leaders was Robert Murray MCheyne (1813-1843), known as Holy MCheyne because of the depth of his piety and devotion. In 1839, after returning from an exploratory mission to Palestine, he preached a sermon based on Romans 1:16, which states that the gospel is for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.
Some of the reasons MCheyne gave for this divine mandate were, It is like God to care first for the Jews and, Because they will give life to the dead world. (Theres that theme again about Jewish repentance bringing spiritual life to the whole world.) And based on the ancient promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3, namely that God would bless those who blessed Abrahams offspring, MCheyne and his colleagues believed in the principle of Blessed is he that blesseth thee (meaning the Jewish people).
Today, things have changed so dramatically that in 2010, MCheynes old church hosted a conference featuring Rev. Stephen Sizer, a British vicar who is so opposed to Christian Zionism that he has had to fend off charges of anti-Semitism. (In June 2011, Sizer gave an interview to Malaysian television in which he alleged that the Zionists had formed an alliance with the British far-right the very people who favored the work of Hitler because their common enemy are the Muslims.) Also aired at the 2010 conference was the preview of a film that I have openly referred to as anti-Semitic hit piece. What would MCheyne have to say about that?
Speaking in 1889, yet another famed Scottish Church leader, Andrew Bonar (1810-1892) remarked that, Israel is the everlasting nation who are to be life from the dead to all nations. And the sure word of prophecy declares, He that scattereth Israel shall gather them [Jeremiah 31:10]. . . . Yea, I will rejoice over them, and will plant them in their own land assuredly, with all My heart, and with all My soul [Jeremiah 32:41].
He even cited this extraordinary verse in which the future of the world hung on Israels physical and spiritual restoration:
Crowned with her fairest hope, the Church
Shall triumph with her Lord.
And earth her jubilee shall keep,
When Israel is restored.
It is clear, then, that todays leaders in the Church of Scotland have not only betrayed the Lord and the Scriptures, they have also betrayed their heritage and their souls. (For citations and bibliography, see Our Hands Are Stained with Blood: The Tragic Story of the Church and the Jewish People.)
Uglier than that coming out of Germany in the early-to-mid twentieth century?
Reminds me why I’m not really Prager’s biggest fan.
Seems more a case of Christianity in general losing inhibitions about being anti-Judaism, but sinking into Jew-hate by confusing the State of Israel with Judaism.
You see the Presbyterian Church’s anti-Antisemitism via divestment movement beginning in 2004. And then the Anglican Church in 2005.
Look at how many others are in on it.
Should it really surprise us to see the Church of Scotland going anti-Semitic?
Pretty soon the whole world will be against Israel.
The Scottish Church probably got a big donation from a Saudi prince or something similar.
“Seems more a case of Christianity in general losing inhibitions about being anti-Judaism, but sinking into Jew-hate by confusing the State of Israel with Judaism.”
I don’t think we should have any business with Judaism at all. Not only does it deny Jesus Christ, their teachings are more akin to Gnosticism or paganism than anything found in the Bible. Sit with them telling you about the feminine presence of God, or allowing for reincarnation, or finding ways to expound upon a single letter in the Torah into endless fables, and you’ll understand what I mean.
Our love, therefore, should be to the people, and not their religion. And our goal should be to preach the Gospel for conversion, not confirm them, or any group in the world, in their various inventions.
I am under the impression that the Church of Scotland went apostate long ago, so this is not much of a shock.
I’m guessing a lot of the objection to the State of Israel is because its critics believe it insufficiently socialist.
“Im guessing a lot of the objection to the State of Israel is because its critics believe it insufficiently socialist.”
It’s about power. The KGB actually had an interest in developing Islamic extremism as a way to fight against the United States and Israel. A middle east without a Israel would basically put the entire area under Russkie control. The Russians have not lost sight of this goal.
Not much difference. If you'd care to notice half of the world's Jewish population 6,000,000 lives in Israel.
If there were no state of Israel, there would be no less Jew-hate. Even on FR we see the constant attacks on Jews for not voting on the basis of support for Israel. If Jews did vote on the basis of support for Israel, the attacks would just switch to accusations of ‘Israel first’ and ‘wagging the dog’. No-win situations.
I thought the complaint about Jewish voting was about always voting liberal, forever, having never gone republican.
To make the point more clear.
You really think that the Jewish vote switching to republican would make freerepublic critical of the Jewish vote, I don’t think so.
I agree with all of this. Perhaps we were talking past one another. :-)