The mainstream Jewish Rejection of Jesus as an act of fidelity to Jesus' God

Here is a highly controversial and thought provoking thought from Mark Kinzer. It comes from his book Post-Missionary Messianic Judaism (perhaps the the most fascinating theology book that I have read in the past five years). This is one of his more controversial claims
"In the light of Christian anti-Semitism and supersessionism, the Church’s message of the gospel comes to the Jewish people accompanied by the demand to renounce Jewish identity, and thereby violate the ancestral covenant. From this point onward the apparent Jewish “no” to Yeshua expresses Israel’s passionate “yes” to God – a “yes” which eventually leads many Jews on the way of martyrdom. Jews thus found themselves imitating Yeshua through denying Jesus! If the Church’s actual rejection of Israel did not nullify her standing nor invalidate her spiritual riches, how much more should this be the case with Israel’s apparent rejection of Yeshua!"
So the Jewish rejection of the gospel - once it was tied to a supersessionist framework - was fundamental for preserving Jewish identity (something about which God is very much concerned - or so I think). Thus by rejecting 'Jesus' Jews were - perhaps ironically - showing their fidelity to the God of Jesus.
This is not to suggest, by the way, that Jewish rejection of the gospel when it is not tied to a supersessionist, anti-Semitic framework is necessarily an act of fidelity to the God of Israel.
That said, the rejection of even a non-supersessionist version of the gospel (e.g., Paul's) is still within the providence of God (see Rom 9-11). The (temporary) rejection of Christ by mainstream Judaism is all part of God's purposes.
Sadly supersessionism still rules the roost in Christian theology so is the ongoing Jewish rejection of that 'spin' on the gospel a good thing?

DISCUSS!

Comments

Thanks for this stimulating and challenging thought, Robin. Keep it up!
Jim Deardorff said…
I wasn’t going to comment until seeing your command to DISCUSS.

Whether Jewish rejection of supersessionism is a good thing or not can’t clearly be answered yes or no, as there’re good arguments on both sides.

Their rejection is a good thing, I’d say, in that Christianity would be an even stronger religion if all Jews were to accept it as the culmination of Judaism. IMO that would be bad, as it would strengthen Christian falsehoods. Thus, Judaism as it is somewhat constrains the propagation of Christianity, and doubtless causes some Christians to wonder a bit about the validity of the Trinity and of Jesus as Savior.

It’s a bad thing, though, as it maintains the Jewish belief in being a chosen people of the God of Israel, which prevents them from returning the lands they’ve occupied since 1967 to Palestinians, and it maintains Zionism.
jmusina said…
Based on my observations, if I was a Jew I would reject the Jesus Christians portray as well. Despite the incredible weight their traditions have in influencing this decision today, two major biblical issues still exist and are completely valid.

[1] Christians say Jesus "abolished" Torah. Some say [in a round about way] that Jesus broke Torah [i.e Sabbath] This belief explicitly contradicts Deut. 13 and 18. It is completely anachronistic to suggest Jesus would have done this and even that the disciples taught [or believed] anything along these lines. The places in Scripture where it may "seem" to suggest otherwise do so because of our presuppositions.

[2] Supersessionism is a remnant belief in mutated form of Marcion's heresy. The God of the "New" is the same God of the "Old." The descendants of Jacob will never be rejected by God, nor cease to be a nation before YHWH [Jer. 31.35ff].
James Pate said…
Oh, when I read the New Testament, most Jews' rejection of Jesus is presented as pretty bad. Sure, God may use it for good, but it's still bad. Stephen in Acts compares it with Israel's sins in the Hebrew Bible. Paul says in Romans 10 most Jews tried to establish their own righteousness rather than embrace the righteousness of God.
Robin Parry said…
Jim

Thanks for your thoughts. We must agree to disagree.

Robin
Robin Parry said…
Jmusina

I agree with you that Jesus did not do away with the Torah for Israel. I blogged on this previously (it was part of a series of posts I did on Israel).

As I understand it, the eventual position of the earliest church was that Gentile believers in Jesus were not 'under the Torah' but were to be treated as Noachides (following Bockmuehl, Bauckham et al). However, Jewish believers in Jesus were under the Torah (but, of course, as interpreted by Jesus and internalized by the Spirit).

Robin
Robin Parry said…
James

indeed so. I may wish to give a more qualified assessment of it than you do but I do, on the whole, agree. But I was talking about the Jewish rejection of the 'gospel' of supersessionism not the rejection of Jesus or the non-supersessionist gospel of the earliest church.

Robin
The Pook said…
As far as I can see the scriptures (Old and New Testament) present only one way, not two (or more) ways of being saved, contra Dispensationalism. Whether you are Jewish or not, all that counts is faith in Jesus. There is no parallel universe for Jews.

I don't know what you mean by supersessionism exactly, but I believe the New Testament DOES interpret the covenant promises to Abraham in heavenly, spiritual, cosmic terms. But then so do the later prophets of the Old Testament! There is no need for an ongoing literal fulfilment of the promises to the physical descendants of Abraham, in terms of a physical land, rebuilt temple, etc. Jesus IS the temple. All the promises of God find their Yes and Amen in him.
Robin Parry said…
The Pook

Good to 'hear' you again.

Well - your first point will need some qualification, right? Nobody in the OT said that faith in Jesus was needed for salvation (for obvious reasons). More plausible is the claim that the work of Christ is the means by which God saved all who will be saved (in both pre- and post-Jesus times). This allows us to retain the necessity of Jesus life, death, resurrection for salvation.

Oh - I share your concerns about Dispensationalism (although I no longer think that it is quite as mistaken as you do)

Your second point opens up a massive area of hermeneutics. I'm not sure how much to say in response (the book length reply or the sentence?). Perhaps I should simply say this:

I think that you are partially mistaken. The part in question and the rationalle for my claim is found in my earlier postings on 'the gospel of Israel'.

I appreciate where you are coming from. I was a very enthusiastic defender of that approach for over 20 years. But I now think that I was wrong (in part).

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