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Yeah, they sort of did. The new Catholic document The Gifts and the Calling of God Are Irrevocable states: “From the Christian confession that there can be only one path to salvation, however, it does not in any way follow that the Jews are excluded from God’s salvation because they do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah of Israel and the Son of God.” They also add: “In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews.”
The document is a sequel to 1965’s Nostra aetate, which was a good document: it condemned antisemitism and persecution. This new paper however takes it some steps further. It is mainly a long exegesis of Romans 9-11, and their conclusion is that the Catholic Church should not seek to institutionally lead Jews to Christ, even though they can’t stop individual Catholics from doing so.
My take on this can be found in the video. Jesus loves to heal and save His Jewish brothers and sisters, as He recently did in Tel Aviv, and it’s always strange when people tend to believe that the best way to make sure that you don’t hate or kill a religious group is to say that they go to Heaven. Evangelism doesn’t lead to antisemitism; stupidity, hatred and disobedience to Jesus leads to antisemitism. Let’s encourage both Catholics and Jews to seek the truth in Jesus, rather than trusting in the doctrine of man.
For the rest of the blog posts in this series, go here.
As we’ve seen in the previous parts of this series, Christian Zionism is a new theology; it did not exist in the early church and has in its current version only existed for about 150 years. Before that, supersessionism was basically the universal teaching of the church. This is the teaching that Christ has fulfilled the promises to Israel and welcomed Gentiles into God’s people while those who do not believe in Him has been excluded from this people. Thus, the promise of the land does not refer to the Jewish people any more but to the church, which supersessionists interpret as the promise of Heaven.
We will look at the biblical foundation for this teaching in the next parts of this series. For now, I want to discuss whether this theology is antisemitic, which some Christian Zionist claim. When they talk about how the early church was “hijacked” by Gentiles that replaced Zionism with supersessionism (which was hard to do since there is no evidence for Christian Zionism in the early church to begin with), they often quote other church fathers, like John Chrysostom, who were downright antisemitic, and jump to other periods of church history when Christians have done horrible things towards Jews and argued that this is rooted in supersessionism. You can see example of this reasoning here and here.
The problem with this argument is that it fails to show how supersessionism would lead to antisemitism. All the texts I have read just assumes that this is the case rather than proving it. Instead of showing a logical connection between supersessionist and antisemitic thought, they merely point to antisemitic rhetoric and action through church history and say that since they were supersessionists, supersessionism causes antisemitism. (more…)