Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Liberty U Thinks About Jews

Liberty University has established a "Center for Judaic Studies". Oh joy. They say that the purpose behind the establishment was so that their Christian students could understand how important the modern state of Israel is to Biblical prophesy.

I see.

Look, I'm willing to argue that as a Jew I want to be considered "useful" from within Christian theological frames. But that's not all I want, and I don't see any indication that LU's new center plans on engaging with Jews qua Jews in any substantive manner that doesn't replicate their pre-existing biases. Using us only as tools for your own worldview is kind of obnoxious, don't you think?


Pope Incontinentius XIII said...

If I remember correctly, the reason a lot of Evangelicals love Israel is because their hokey version of Revelation (Revelation, is, by the by, both the creepiest and the most inscrutable book of the Bible, in any form) says that Israel will be destroyed to make way for Armageddon. You're right to be a bit put-off.

Anonymous said...

What would it mean to be "useful" in a Christian theological frame in a way that would be acceptable to you?

Or do you mean it's simply preferable to being thought of as a Christ-killer?

David Schraub said...

I want Christians to think of Jews as a critical/instrumental part of their own religious belief structure -- a role to play in their worldview. This is something I want alongside of, not in replacement of, respect for Jewish belief and practice qua Jews. The specifics, though, I can't say -- I'm not Christian, so I can't reform their religious ideology for them.

Anonymous said...

I want Christians to think of Jews as a critical/instrumental part of their own religious belief structure -- a role to play in their worldview.

Hmmm ...

The problem I see here is that I think they already do think of us as critical/instrumental, but in a way that I consider pretty problematic - Jesus was a Jew - Judaism is our roots, but Christianity is Judaism fulfilled - failing to see Judaism as anything but Christianity without Jesus - cultural appropriation like Christian seders, etc., and that's not even getting into their Doomsday scenario in Israel.

I'm not sure most Christians or most readings of Christian theology really allow for a view of the Jews other than as lacking.

I'm not writing this as a criticism of your statement. And I'm not a theologian, obviously. Just trying to share some of what I've picked up in my sojourn among them.

And it's possible I'm being uncharitable.

A very good family friend of my husband is a devout Christian and scholar of biblical Hebrew. He teaches at a Covenant seminary (Covenant is theologically very similar to Baptist, but more ecumenical), but through his work, he has a lot of colleagues and friends who are religious Jews, and from what I can tell, he has a very respectful and intellectually engaged and honest relationship with them.

I don't think that's what Liberty U. has in mind.

Anonymous said...

To put it another way, it's the whole Judeo-Christian problem. To the extent they see us as instrumental, we get subsumed.

Cycle Cyril said...

Evangelicals love Israel because God said in Genesis 12:3: I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

This forms the basis for their concept of Dispensation. In their theology the establishment of the State of Israel is a prelude to the Rapture but without a time frame.

As a Jew I welcome any support from Evangelicals particularly since it comes with virtually no preconditions and they are more tolerate of those of us Jews who are intolerant. And while I don't believe in Jesus as the Messiah if he comes around a second time I will be more than willing to admit my mistake.

Anonymous said...


Congratulations! You are now fulfilling the Bible which says "Come now, and let us repeat together."
Be sure to repeat what Walvoord, Lindsey, LaHaye, Ice etc. repeat what their own teachers repeat what their own teachers repeat etc. etc. etc.!
Repeat that Christ's return is imminent because we're told to "watch" (Matt. 24, 25) for it. So is the "day of God" (II Pet. 3:12) - which you admit is at least 1000 years ahead - also imminent because we're told to be "looking for" it?
Also repeat the pretrib myths about the "Jewish wedding stages" and "Jewish feasts" (where's your "church/Israel dichotomy" now?) even though Christ and Paul knew nothing about a "pretrib stage" and neither did any official theological creed or organized church before 1830!
You should read "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty" on the "Powered by Christ Ministries" site to find out why you shouldn't repeat everything your pretrib teachers repeat.
Do I have to repeat this?

(found the above web bit - Art)