I got this book because I know one of the contributors. I liked the variety of the contributors, with many different lines of thought about Jewry today. Recommended to any who don't know what Supersessionism is! it will help all Christians in their relationships with Jewish friends and neighbours.
Here is an essential book for all those who wishes to have a considered and measured theological take to the modern state of Israel, should they wish to.
Calvin Smith has brought out a new version of The Jews, Modern Israel and the New Supersessionism with targeted arguments deconstructing historical Christian antisemitism. Following Steve Maltz's opening chapter summarising the influence of Greek philosophical thought upon Christianity's theological developments, Barry Horner and Colin Barnes focus in on the teachings of Augustine, amongst others, who suggested that the Jews should be kept alive in Christian Europe, but kept miserable, so as to serve as an ongoing sign of God's judgement. Barnes notes poignantly that antisemitic Christians genuinely believed their harsh policies ought to be practised "without hatred... in a spirit of Christian charity." The quality of this book is maintained throughout.
Calvin Smith then tackles the negative ideas about Jews as God's chosen people with great clarity, pointing out that Israel was chosen because she is the smallest nation not the largest. Following Smith's logic, God chooses according to his own will, and if we are to contradict this and say God has abandoned the Jews for the Christians, then perhaps God would ditch Christians for Muslims in this ongoing, changing theology. His chapter in particular ought to be read by preachers and theologians the world over, and at least merits a response. Stephen Vantassel looks at Jesus' promise to his disciples that they would sit on the thrones of Israel, and summises "For one would have to wonder what words would Jesus have had to use to make the point clearer, namely that the state of Israel would exist one day." These clear, direct Biblical arguments are refreshing, cutting to the heart of the issue whereby replacement theologians must ignore clear Biblical teachings whilst positioning themselves as Biblically-consistent.
An added dimension to this book is concern for Messianic Jews.
The problem of over-developed ideology on Israel - both positive and negative - is dissected ably by Richard Gibson in his chapter, showing how Messianic Jews often feel caught out by an objectifying debate that has little room for them as individuals persons rather than as a theological concept. Tony Pearce makes the excellent observation that unlike us today, the Apostle Paul "did not have nearly two thousand years of history to deal with," thus making his relations with other Jews not as complex as those Messianic Jews can face in some areas.
By setting Christian opposition to Israel in its historical context, Calvin Smith has done a great service to the wider body of believers.
Indeed, this book is an excellent introduction to the historic development of Christian supercessionism, and merits a considered reply. Buy it, then lend it to your pastor if you can.