Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged“”, By Barry Horner, A Review Article (Part II) -- By: Sam Waldron

Journal: Reformed Baptist Theological Review
Volume: RBTR 06:1 (Jan 2009)
Article: Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged“”, By Barry Horner, A Review Article (Part II)
Author: Sam Waldron

Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged“1”, By Barry Horner, A Review Article (Part II)

Sam Waldron

What View Of The Fulfillment Of The Old Testament Does Proper Hermeneutics Support?

In a previous article, I enumerated several responses to the first of various questions raised by Barry Horner in his Future Israel. The question was, “Is what Horner calls Supercessionism really Anti-Semitic?” In this article, I wish to respond to a second question: “What view of the fulfillment of the OT does proper hermeneutics support?” In chapters 6-8, Horner attempts to untangle the hermeneutical questions related to his condemnation of Supercessionism.

1. Racist Hermeneutics?

The first thing that comes to mind when one reads these chapters is surprise that hermeneutics could be Anti-Judaic. One naturally assumes that hermeneutics are, well, hermeneutics. People may disagree about hermeneutics, but not because they are racists. Nevertheless, Horner sees a race issue. Hermeneutics that leads to a denial of Israel’s distinctive territorial future are for him racially motivated. This is clear from what, I think, deserves to be called a kind of reverse racism that emerges in his language. He speaks of “Gentile logic” (181), “Gentile blindness and bias … proud Gentile ascendancy” (187), and “a shameful anti-Judaic attitude” (200).

This language seems “racist” in its own way. It conveys prejudice against Gentiles. It is like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s rantings against “White America.” Should we conclude from such epithets that Gentiles are guilty (because they are Gentiles) of twisted logic and blind bias? Suppose we substitute for Horner’s “Gentile” epithet alternatives like “White” and “Black.” Do not expressions like “Black logic” or “proud White ascendancy” seem a trifle racist?

Horner’s language, however, conveys vividly his thesis. Hermeneutics which do not take the OT literally enough to predict a national and territorial future in the promised land for Israel are motivated by racism. They are motivated by a racist Gentile prejudice against Jews. This is his thesis. On the face of it, however, such a thesis is difficult if not impossible to prove. Horner may be able to prove that some people who promoted the more figurative approach to the OT did have attitudes which may be called Anti-Semitic. What he cannot and does not prove is that their Anti-Semitism was the source or cause of their hermeneutics.

2. Reductio Ad Absurdum

But leaving this aspect of Horner’s treatment aside, we meet here a sophistic...

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