Thursday, October 18, 2007

In response to Ann Coulter

On CNBC October 8:

Ann COULTER: No, we think -- we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say.

Donny DEUTSCH: Wow, you didn't really say that, did you?

COULTER: Yes. That is what Christianity is. We believe the Old Testament, but ours is more like Federal Express. You have to obey laws...


Good grief. Christianity (New Testament) as Federal Express...

What lies behind her words is the idea of supersessionism.

(from Wikipedia) Supersessionism or replacement theology are modern terms for particular interpretations of New Testament claims, that see God's relationship with Christians as superseding his prior relationship with ethnic Jews. Biblical expressions of God's relationships with people are known as covenants, so the contentious element of supersessionism is the idea that God's covenants with the universal Church replace his covenants with Israel. Although the word supersessionism is modern, the ideas are as old as the New Testament documents and the earliest expositors of those documents.

I am pleased to say that as an Episcopalian, we do not follow such theology. As one publication noted (The Jewish Daily Forward):

In the decades after the Holocaust, however, as Christian denominations were forced to rethink the nature of Christian-Jewish ties, many reconsidered, and ultimately repudiated, the concept [of supersessionism]. In 1988, the Episcopal Church endorsed a new set of guidelines governing Christian-Jewish relations. Supersessionism’s repercussions, the guidelines read, had been “fateful.” Rather than being a “fossilized religion of legalism,” as the Judaism of Jesus’ time was long thought to be, the church’s revised position held that “Judaism in the time of Jesus was in but an early stage of its long life.” But not all Christian denominations have followed the Episcopal Church’s lead.

The document:

Guidelines for Christian-Jewish Relations


General Convention of the Episcopal Church

July, 1988

can be found here.

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