This is part three of a four-part discussion between Bethlehem Baptist Church pastor John Piper and Jews for Jesus executive director David Brickner on the relationship and attitudes American Christians should have toward Israel. See Brickner's initial letter and Piper's first response.
Thank you for your insightful comments on a number of the issues brought up in my first letter to you, many with which I happily agree. We both uphold the need and priority of Jewish evangelism as integral to world mission. We both affirm the ongoing election of Israel (the Jewish people) and God's faithfulness to his covenant people and his promises. We both look forward to the second coming of Jesus and his glorious restoration of all things, including his people Israel. I do want to take issue with two of your comments before voicing my main concern.
To your assertion that the Abrahamic covenant is conditional, I will simply quote my friend and teacher Walter C. Kaiser Jr.: "Promise and blessing still precede the command to obey and to keep the commands of God. Obedience is no more a condition for Abraham than it is for the church living under the command 'If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love' (Jn. 15:10) or 'If you love me, you will obey what I command' (Jn. 14:15)."
Second, I read the context of 1 Corinthians 3 as primarily referring to boasting about different human leaders. It does an injustice to the text to take Paul's hyperbole to then relate to Israel's covenant promise concerning the Land. This results in minimizing the particularity of Israel's election in the midst of the universality of the nations' eschatological ingathering. You are taking away with one hand what you give with the other—when Israel ...1
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