At interfaith meet in Jerusalem, a grim picture of Jewish-Protestant relations [Excerpts]
Protestant clergymen painted a largely pessimistic view of the church’s relationship with Israel and the Jewish community during a visit to the Holy Land, suggesting that anti-Semitism is a deep-seated problem based in Christian theology that will be difficult to uproot.
Jewish-Protestant relations are currently undergoing a severe crisis after senior leaders of Mainline Protestant churches in the US last month accused Israel of “widespread” human rights violations and urged Congress to reconsider military aid to Jerusalem.
“I am completely pessimistic in terms of believing that I, we, are going to overturn 2,000 years of erroneous theology that has manifested itself in all kinds of diatribes and anti-Semitic factions,” said the Rev. Paul Wilkinson. “I believe we’d be fooling ourselves if we believed that we can overturn and change what I perceive to be a Goliath of theology in the church. The Goliath we face is the Goliath of replacement theology, the Goliath of Christian Palestinianism that taunts Israel, that goads Israel, that accuses Israel, that condemns Israel and those Christians who stand with Israel.”
Replacement theology, also called supercessionism, is the belief that Christendom has taken the Jewish people’s place as the recipients of promises God made in the Old Testament.
“That Goliath cannot be felled with a stone and a sling as in the days of King David, because the problem isn’t political, the problem isn’t sociological, the problem isn’t about lack of education or lack of dialogue,” Wilkinson said. “The problem is a spiritual one. The problem is that there is an adversary of God, of Israel, of Christians.”