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Quote of the Week

Oswald T. Allis, a founding faculty member of Westminster Theological Seminary, wrote a fantastic book in 1945 entitled Prophecy and the Church.  In his book he examines the claims of dispensationalism and offers a penetrating critique.  Allis is writing at a time when sympathy is growing for ethnic Jews because of the horrible suffering they experienced under the Nazi regime.  A few years later (1948) Israel became an official state and for almost all dispensationalists this is a “super sign” that God is going to return to the Jewish people and that the church remains a parenthesis in God’s plan.  Allis’ quote is instructive even today when we consider that the solution for the Jewish people is not sovereignty as a state or the promise of physical land, but Jesus Christ.

The terrible Nazi persecutions of the Jews have made the question of a national home for this oppressed people a subject of earnest consideration and vigorous debate.  That the Jew is a problem, a world problem, no one will deny.  But why is he a problem? Is it simply because he is “out of the land,” a land promised to his fathers and rightfully his?  Is the solution to the problem, then, to be found in the opening of Palestine to unrestricted occupancy by the Jews, and in admitting them to a place in the family of nations?  Is their presence “in the land” so important that Palestine should be regarded as belonging to them exclusively, and should they be encouraged to set up a kingdom there like that of David or Solomon?  Should the Christians in all the Allied Countries use every effort to persuade their governments to insist at the coming Peace Conference that Palestine be given to the Jews?  Is this the solution to the Jewish question?  Or, is the reason that the Jew is a problem to be found in something quite different: in the fact that he rejected the Messiah promised to his race and was “scattered among the nations” as a punishment for his sin, that he still continues in unbelief and yet still regards himself as a “peculiar people,” whose destiny is to rule the earth under a Messiah who is yet to come?  And is the hope of the Jew today, as of all men, to be found in the acceptance by him of the gospel of the grace of God which the Church has been commanded to proclaim to all the nations, that gospel of the Cross, which is to the Jew a stumbling block and to the Greek foolishness, but to them that are saved both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God?  In other words, has the Jew a distinct and glorious future promised him independently of the Church?  Is he entitled to look forward to an “earthly” kingdom which is yet to be his?  Or, is his need, his supreme need, that heavenly salvation which is to be found only in the Christian Church? (Allis, Prophecy and the Church, viii) 

Allis was writing at a time when his comments probably were not readily accepted by the public or the church at large.  However, we would be wise to hear Allis’ words and make sure that we are not swept away with the same sense of false understanding.  No matter how unpopular our position might be we should not shy away from teaching the truth to a generation of Christians that are obsessed with sensationalism and speculation.

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