Sunday, March 4, 2012

With all due respect...

While looking into an unrelated matter, I stumbled onto Jamin Hubner’s commentary of Joel Rosenberg’s article on the Vatican’s “pronouncement on Israel”. Borrowing from Rosenberg’s title he re-worded his response to “With All Due Respect, Rosenberg’s Latest, Painful Pronouncement On Israel is Wrong”.

He starts off with the following observations:

“The unsound theology of historic (sic) Dispensationalism has produced many bad fruits. There’s the rotten apple of eisegesis forged by the faulty hermeneutical principles of unnecessary literalism.[1] The foul-smelling equivocation of cosmic escapism with the gospel.[2] And the sour notion of two separate destinies for Israel and the church [3], a seven year tribulation, the re-institution of sacrifices, and so on and so forth.”

What? –no heresy? Perhaps he meant historic premillennialism. Either way, where do you begin to respond to a bunch of subjective statements like this? At another point he states:

“...Second, Rosenberg forgets that, if modern Israel is the Israel of Scripture, covenant curses (e.g. losing the land) apply to the nation as much as covenant blessings (e.g. possessing the land). If that’s the case, then an argument must be given to how modern-day Israel has upheld God’s law. Because, as any student of Middle-Eastern history knows, the formation of the modern-day state of Israel is anything but pretty.[13] Beyond general secularism and violating other general biblical prohibitions (e.g. borrowing from other nations instead of lending, Deut. 28:12, etc.), Israel is guilty of committing countless war atrocities that qualify and surpass the covenant obligations in Scripture. Mass murder. Torturing men ages 14-60s. Unjust use of water supply and the abusive treatment of aliens and foreigners. The creation of millions of refugees. And so on and so forth.[14] In short, if Christian Zionists are going to try and apply the Old Covenant to modern-day Israel, they at least need to be consistent.”

Whenever I read this sort of diatribe, I suspect something other than scholarship has entered the foray. One issue these people typically ignore is this; if modern, secular Israel has no covenant rights to the land because it doesn’t uphold “God’s law” then what do we say about the two Palestinian leaderships? How does Hamas’ and the PA’s refusal to recognize Christ’s divinity, their antipathy (and violence) towards Christians and Jews and their refusal to acknowledge any Jewish existence in Palestine equate to greater rights to the land covenant (Lev 18:27-28)?

Note that Christians represent a diminishing minority of Palestinians. This isn’t a function of Israeli hegemony despite the propaganda churned by the likes of Sabeel. See also Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s article HERE. It’s significant, I think, that Hirsi Ali has come under fire for that article. She has been labeled an "Islamophobe" – not just by the secular media, but by various members of the clergy. Significant too, is the thundering silence towards Islamic extremism (notably the latest violent aftermath to the burning of the Korans) by both Islamic leaders and the anti-Israel clergy. While one cannot take the “religion of peace” to task without being “labeled”, it apparently remains fair sport to demonize Israel.

Hubner directs us to Burge and Goldschmidt as backups to these incriminations and reassures us we can use them or “or any other standard textbook on the subject.” One wonders what other standard textbooks he has in mind. Fred Butler’s thoughts are worth reading HERE.

I haven’t read Goldschmidt but do know that he’s come under fire for his soft approach to Islam in contrast to his treatment of Israel. In fact he co-authored his book with Lawrence Davidson. You can read about Davidson’s impartiality HERE and HERE.

I’ve mentioned Dr Gary Burge before. Again, Barry Horner’s “Territorial Supercessionism: A Response to Gary Burge” should be carefully read in light of the above.

I invite people to visit Palestine Facts for a slightly more balanced view of Israel’s birth and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The following articles and video will also add a different perspective to Hubner’s assertions:

Deconstructing "Israeli Apartheid"

Amira Hass' Water Woes

Film Review: The Forgotten Refugees

In a nutshell video: Debunking the Palestine Lie

Israel and Jerusalem in International Law: The Importance of San Remo Make sure you watch the film!

More later

No comments: