Neither Jew Nor Gentile: The Musings Of A Modern Covenanter On Racial Reconciliation -- By: Michael LeFebvre
RPTJ 3:2 (Spring 2017) p. 32
Neither Jew Nor Gentile:
The Musings Of A Modern Covenanter
On Racial Reconciliation
Pastor at Christ Church in Brownsburg, Indiana
Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary Board President
Several months ago, I was at a large Christian university. I was there for a conference, and a campus tour was offered during an afternoon break. On the tour, the guide pointed out the significant racial diversity of the student body. Indeed, there were students from many different ethnicities on that campus. But they were mostly huddled together in ethnically monotone groups.
Another conference participant on the tour noted that trend, and he later made a comment that stuck with me. But I need to explain one further detail about my fellow conferee before I relate his comment. This fellow conferee was an orthodox Jew. His remark reflected his view of the situation as it appeared through the lens of his Jewish theology. Viewing the ineffective effort, as he saw it, to integrate the races on that campus, my conversation partner simply observed that this was further indication God designed the races to live separately.
I share that anecdote1 because it illustrates one of the foundational controversies between a Christian and a Jewish view of ethnicity that goes all the way back to the conflicts between the New Testament Apostles and the Jewish rulers of that day. Racial integration was the first, social revolution which the Gospel brought to the New Testament world. And the New Testament presents interracial communion as one of the hallmarks of the redeemed in Christ.
Prior to the ascension of Christ, all the religions of the world were ethnically defined. Each nation had its own religion. Even Yahweh, the God of Israel, was a national deity; but, as the only true God, Yahweh always promised more. To Abraham, he promised, “I will make of you a great nation,... and in you all the families of earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:2-3). To David and his heirs, the Lord said, “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage...” (Psa. 2:8; cf., 2 Sam. 7:9). Elsewhere in the Psalms, our Old Testament forefathers sang, “All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord” (Psa. 86:9). The Prophet Zechariah, standing in the rubble of Jerusalem, boldly declared, “Peoples shall yet come, even the ... nations shall come ... to entreat the favor of the Lord...’” (Zech. 8:20-23
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