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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12, 1990

THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

SECTION C

ACCENT FAITH

"TWO-COVENANT THEOLOGY" WINS WIDE ACCEPTANCE

Major opposition coming from some evangelicals

Religious News Service

NEW YORK – Faced with the growing acceptance of "Two-covenant theology in mainline Protestant denominations, some evangelicals are asserting the concept represents a repudiation of Christian theology.

Two-covenant theology maintains that God's covenant with the Jews has never been abrogated and that Jewish people do not need to become Christians in order to attain salvation. Some proponents of this theology say the Holocaust mandated a new Christian attitude toward Jews because it involved a new revelation of God on the same status as the biblical revelation.

The position has won acceptance in recent years in official bodies of such denominations as the Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church (USA) and United Church of Christ. But it has been criticized in two recently published articles in influential evangelical periodicals.

Writing in the October 8 issue of Christianity Today, Kenneth A. Myers declares that the rejection of two-covenant theology by evangelicals "is based on much more than our understanding of Judaism. It is based on our understanding of theology itself and, in turn, on our understanding of the nature of God's revelation in Scripture."

Myers, who edits the Genesis newsletter says "The essential theological agenda, as embodied in creeds, confessions and catechisms, is not altered by historical events, however momentous. Such events may cause the church to reexamine its theology but are not revelatory."

According to Myers, two-covenant theology "not only calls into question Christian attempts to evangelize Jews; it seems to assume that the entire notion of salvation is misguided, perhaps rooted in the necessity of spiritualizing the kingdom of God. Hence, it is wrong to characterize two-covenant theology as saying that Judaism 'saves' Jews and Christianity saves' Christians. Almost none of the writers on this topic acknowledge the need for anyone to be saved."

Myers declares that "a new day in redemptive history dawned with the resurrection, just as it did on Sinai. To reject it is to be cut off from the community of the prophesied new covenant. There is no other name (than Jesus) by which we are saved."

Moishe Rosen, founder and executive director of Jews for Jesus, makes similar points in an article in the current Issue of Evangelical Missions Quarterly. Rosen who was raised an Orthodox Jew and is now a Conservative Baptist minister, writes that "From the time of the early church, the Jews have been the most gospel-resistant people. They represented then, and they still do, the hardest part of our world missions task."

The Jewish evangelist warns that "the devilish camel of universalism is trying to sneak into the camp of the church, and he has poked his nose into the Jewish tent first. If that camel of universalism comes into the camp, he will bring in a whole herd of camels, each one representing a different heresy, and then the church will have nothing but camels."

Referring to the claim that the Holocaust has called into question the legitimacy of Christian attempts to evangelize Jews, Rosen writes, "What the Jews needed to know was that the hatred of the Jews had nothing to do with what Jesus taught or did, but this Gentile anti-Semitism was contrary to all he said and did. Persecutions done
in the name of Christ were against what he wanted. So, persecution of the Jews, instead of becoming a reason to cease telling Jews the gospel of God's love in Christ, should have become an impetus to do that."

According to the Jews for Jesus founder, "By not following God's program for world evangelization, that is, beginning at Jerusalem or to the Jews first, we not only develop a bad theology, we also develop poor missiology.

 

Back to THE DOVE Autumn/Winter 1990

 


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