Yeshua, Not Christians

John Calvin
John Calvin, a brilliant scholar, but no prophet

I’d been taking a bit of a break from blogging for a couple of reasons:  One is that a lot of the work I was doing was on refuting an anti-missionary tract, and it seemed inappropriate to continue the attack during the High Holy Days.  The second was busyness and the third was just plain needing to take a break from writing to spend some time in study and prayer.

Even after coming to the end of my planned hiatus, I didn’t post for a while simply because I couldn’t think of anything that I really wanted to get back into.  Fortunately, John Piper came to the rescue with his (uncharacteristically, for him) ill-thought-out tweet:

Isaac not Ishmael. Jacob not Esau. Israel not the Nations. Jesus not Israel. In Jesus all who believe.

K’neti L’Zyion and the Rosh Pina Project have already offered their responses, but it seemed like a good time to jump back into the fray by offering my own thoughts on the subject.

Thought the first:  How is it that Piper can be a Calvinist when it comes to individual election, but basest form of Arminian when it comes to a nation’s?

Thought the second:  Yeshua, not John “Let’s Set People Who Disagree With Me On Fire” Calvin.

I’ve never been a fan of Calvinism, in large part because of the overly-aggressive Calvinists I’ve met, but in large part because of this very self-contradiction in their theology:  They insist that the individual’s salvation is undeserved and Divinely-mandated and that therefore the elect cannot lose their salvation on the one hand.  But apparently TULIP falls completely apart if applied to Israel’s election.

But if the Eternal One could once go back on His promise to a body, or else weasel out of them with lawyerly loopholes (which, the last time I checked, was the attribute of Satan, not the Holy One), how in the world can the Calvinist rest secure in their own election?  Why could not God turn back the devout Calvnist from the pearly gates and let in a Hindu or Buddhist, saying, “Hey, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion?”

Only if Hashem’s promises mean what they say is there any security at all in election.  And if they do mean what they say, then

All Israel will be saved, just as it is written . . . From the standpoint of the Gospel, they [Israel] are enemies for your [the Gentiles’] sake, but from the standpoint of election they are beloved for the sake of the Patriarchs, for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (Rom. 11:26, 28-29.

Does this refer to the Church?  Well, perhaps we might accept that the Calvinists are the enemies of the Gospel for the sakes of the Gentiles . . . but fortunately, Hashem loves them too.



5 Replies to “Yeshua, Not Christians”

  1. Hi Mikha’el,

    Just found your blog through Rosh Pina. I’m the author of the post about Piper.

    I laughed hard at this statement: “Yeshua, not John “Let’s Set People Who Disagree With Me On Fire” Calvin.”

    Great post. I’ve subscribed to your blog’s RSS feed, so you’ll see me around occasionally.



  2. It is funny but this weekend I had a similar question for myself. I am a Calvinist, and see nothing contradictory between the doctrines of Grace and messianic Judaism.
    But some men who hold to replacement theology also hold, I believe, to the permanence view of marriage. I wonder how they justify that in the light of the ‘divorce’ that they believe that G-d has permanently given Israel?


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