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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Revelatory, 26 Dec. 2008
This review is from: Future Israel: 3 (New American Commentary Studies in Bible & Theology) (Hardcover)
Barry Horner's work is long overdue from evangelicals. It is a deep and useful exposure of the roots of Christian anti-Semitism condemned in Romans 11.20. His range is broad and deep, encompassing and interacting critically with PhD/ThD theses and continental as well as American and British authors, including contemporary sources, whilst he ranges back to the reformers and Church fathers. His tone is usually moderate and analytical but his criticisms are sharp.

My main reservation is that he creates an identity between supercessionist anti-Semitism and amillienialism, as though every consistent amillenialist is bound to deny the validity of the land promise to unbelieving Israel. Tertullian (as the other reviewer notes) was a chiliast and a pioneer in anti Jewish polemic (see Nicholls).

I am also unpersuaded that Gal 6.16 and Rom.11.26 must be seen as referring only to Jews to provide essential antidotes to anti-Semitic supercessionism - on the contrary whilst strongly disagreeing with Hendriksen's views on the land, his exegesis here seems better founded. The glory of the Redeemer's kingdom is as Horner emphasises its diversity within unity, with a spectacular restoration of decaying Gentile hope through the climactic ressurrection of Jewish faith in Messiah, ('life from the dead') - is this not all Israel? The Jew first though last, and the Gentile first in order follows joyfully after.

His view that a reconstructed Temple could ever again serve a holy function is peculiarly dispensational - it could surely only be an accursed one (Mk.11,20 + context, 2 Thess. 2.4). That position represents a conflation of two distinct covenants just as marked as the opponents he criticises. Indeed perhaps it is the very failure to distinguish the Sinatic from Moabite/Abrahamic covenants (Deut 29.1+ -see Gill) which spawns the evil root of supercession - hence Baptists, like Horner, are usually less prone, but consistent Presbyterians (with noble exceptions) usually vulnerable to the doctrine.

I also have reservations with his terminology - can evangelicals ever be anything other than 'anti-Judaistic' (adjusted post-Messianic Judaism that is) when they unflinchingly point to Yeshua as Messiah as the sole mediator of the Covenant - true Israel as fulfilling substitute, not just example or representation? This doesn't disenfranchise unbelieving Israel, on the contrary it is the legal basis on which they (unwittingly) stand again in the land of promise - Gentiles also by grace being grafted into this root. That position needs distinguishing sharply from Augustine's lamentable annulment of the election of unbelieving Israel, which Horner rightly pinpoints as cornerstone to much vicious and hateful prejudice.

Nevertheless this book is very highly recommended, it casts uncommon light on the root of many foundational, contemporary disputes (covenant theology, dispensationalism, OT hermeneutics, the new perspective on Paul, antinomianism and legalism) from a crucial but neglected perspective.

Above all this 'valiant for truth' displays and commends a heart love for the Jewish nation and their land, and a desire for their best inheritance. Woe to the one who reads and does not follow him!
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Initial post: 10 Nov 2010 18:34:12 GMT
Maverick says:
Excellent review! Thank you very much.
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