Another Sinai

Stan and I have known each other for about 10 years. He is an old Jewish man who has heard the gospel enough times that he could preach it himself. It is not for lack of information that he doesn’t believe, but because of hardness of heart. I stop by to visit him every now and then, often enough so that he remembers my name, but not so often that I become boring to him.

My last visit to Stan was occasioned by the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. I stopped by to wish him the very best and perhaps to engage him in a conversation about spiritual matters. Stan wanted no part of such a discussion, except to demonstrate how foolish my position was in light of the Law of Moses, and how it was not necessary to have yet another covenant by which Jews could come into a relationship with God.

His arguments started to sound very much like those of Franz Rosenschweig, a Jewish philosopher of the first part of this century who developed the Dual Covenant Theory.” Rosenschweig had come very close to embracing Jesus early in his life, but then had turned back to Judaism. He claimed that God had sent Jesus for the Gentiles, but that Jews need not enter into the New Covenant because they already had a relationship to God through the Law of Moses.

As God would have it, I had just finished reading an article in a popular Christian magazine about this very topic. It seems that there are many churches (not just liberals) who seem to be moving toward this heresy. Neither space nor time permits me to rehearse the splendid argument that was made in that article, but one illustration stood out in my mind. I thought I would use it on my friend Stan to see if it would challenge his thinking, and more important, his heart.

“Stan,” I said, “your argument is a little weak. You sound like one of the Israelites in the wilderness with Moses. When Moses comes down with the tablets of the Law and explains the covenant that God is about to make with the people of Israel, you cry out. ‘Wait! We don’t need a new covenant. We are children of Abraham, and we already have a covenant. If God wants to make a new covenant, let him go to the Eygptians with it. After all, they surely need to know him better.'”

What seemed to me so obvious a point seemed to be lost on Stan. He did see the speciousness of arguing against the New Covenant because one covenant already existed. But again it was his heart, not his head, that was leading him.

I pointed out again that the Dual Covenant Theory is a very soothing and comforting one. It allows Gentiles to love and worship Jesus and even call him Lord, while not requiring them to make hard statements about the eternal state of Jews without the Messiah. The theory appeals to the heart but ignores the obvious point that if Jesus is to be the Savior of the Gentiles, then first and foremost he must be the Messiah and Savior of the Jews!


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