Too many Reformed folk are ignorant of the
prominent place afforded to the future of the Jews in their own Reformed
history and confessions, I hope to demonstrate that, while Mr. Lindsey raises
legitimate concerns, he has laid the causes on the wrong theological doorstep.
. . . However, it seems to me that some Reconstructionists may have asked for
this sort of abuse by their own employment of similar tactics.1
- Steve Schlissel (Dominionist/Reconstructionist)
before Hal Lindsey wrote The Road To Holocaust2, he was the favorite whipping
boy of Dominionist/Reconstructionists in their never ending attacks on the
system of theology they most love to hate- Dispensationalism. When Lindsey answered back in The
Road To Holocaust,
the temperature of the debate boiled over into heated response. In spite of all of the huffing and
puffing and cry that Lindsey struck a low blow in his characterization of
Dominion/Reconstruction theology, I want to state why I believe that Hal is
ORIGIN OF THE CONTROVERSY
first charge that Dominion/Reconstructionists advocate views that have in the
past engendered anti-Semitism which I have found were made in 1985 by
evangelical scholar David Rausch in Moody Monthly.3 Rausch' s scholarly
credentials (a PhD, professor of church history and Judaic studies at Ashland
College and Seminary, Ashland, Ohio, published over 200 articles on
Jewish/Christian relations, and has written 12 books, many on this very
subject) would lead one to believe that he is one of the leading experts, if
expert on such matters. This
equips him to evaluate this issue.
His PhD dissertation from Kent State University in 1979 was " Zionism
Within Early American Fundamentalism, 1878-1918" which chronicled the support
of primarily Dispensationalists for the Jews and their efforts to found the
modern state of Israel. His books
which relate to Jewish studies and anti-Semitism include Messianic
Judaism: Its History, Theology,
(1982); Eminent Hebrew Christians of the Nineteenth Century (1983); A Legacy of
Hatred: Why Christians Must Not
Forget the Holocaust
(1984, 1990); Building Bridges:
Understanding Jews and Judaism (1988); The Middle East Maze: Israel and Her Neighbors (1991).
because of Rausch' s expertise in these matters he was the first to voice his
concern about the direction of Dominion/Reconstruction theology.
New movements that take
their cue from Calvin' s Geneva or the Puritan experiment in the Massachusetts
Bay Colony are advocating a " Christian" nation that lacks pluralism. Forgetting the lessons of Germany, they
naively insist that what the decadent United States needs is more " Christian"
law practiced by more " Christian" lawyers to bring in a " Christian" society
with " Christian" economics to reach the world and make it " Christian." 4
Rausch goes on to say that Dominion/Reconstructionists are
those who are
who believe that only the return of Jesus Christ will initiate the Millennium,
these leaders [Reconstructionists] use a broader based evangelical movement to
achieve their agenda. Coupled with
dangerous socialist and fascist movements that have their own hidden agendas,
these " reconstructionists" signal the calamity that could encompass our nation
if we give in to their high-sounding logic.5
our 1988 book, Dominion Theology:
Blessing or Curse?6, I wrote appendix B, " Is Christian Reconstructionism
Anti-Semitic?" I noted, similar to
Rausch, that there was potential for anti-Semitism because of a few statements,
but mainly because of their " replacement theology."
The danger lies in their
misunderstanding of God' s plan concerning the future of the nation Israel. Reconstructionists advocate the
replacement of Old Testament Israel with the church, often called the " New
Israel." They believe that Israel
does not have a future different from any other nation.7
I then quoted Reconstructionist David Chilton as an example
of that belief. " Although Israel
will someday be restored to the true faith, the Bible does not tell of any
future plan for Israel as a special nation." 8
Pierard, a history professor at Indiana State reviewed our book Dominion
Theology in Christianity
22, 1989). Pierard thought that we
did " not take seriously enough the anti-Semitic character behind some of the
beliefs of Reconstrutionism (especially its hostility to Judaism and the State
of Israel)." No doubt he would
agree with Rausch and Lindsey who detect anti-Semitic problems with Dominion
Lindsey' s remarks and subsequent book followed by the Dominionist response are
the ingredients which have really stirred the pot of controversy. In 1987, after listening to tapes and
reading a book by David Chilton, Lindsey preached a sermon at his church
entitled " The Dominion Theology Heresy."
Lindsey remarked that, " This is the most anti-Semitic movement I' ve seen
since Adolph Hitler." Hal has
since apologized on more than one occasion on national radio for his over
reaction. It was an overstatement. (I have yet to ever hear of a
Reconstructionist apologize for any of their endless errors about their
opponents.) He has told me that he
was just beginning to learn of the movement and had listened to hours of tapes
by Chilton and a number of Charismatic Dominionists who had repeatedly attacked
Hal personally which upset him before his sermon.
book The Road to Holocaust was released in June 1989 with his warning of concern as to
where recent trends of Dominion/Reconstruction theology could lead the church.
LINDSEY' S CONCERNS
does not say that Reconstructionists are full-blown anti-Semites. He does say that
Dominion/Reconstructionists engage in " the same sort of rhetoric that in the
past formed the basis of contempt for the Jews that later developed into
outright anti-Semitism." He then
warns Christians to " not sit idly by while a system of prophetic interpretation
that historically furnished the philosophical basis for anti-Semitism infects
the Church again." 9
is the basis upon which Lindsey makes such claims? His basis is that historically replacement theology (the
church replaces the Jews as the new or true Israel, and Israel has no future as
a distinct nation within God' s plan) has been the theological foundation upon
which anti-Semitism has been built within the confines of Christianity. Therefore, Lindsey has seen in the
1980s a revival of replacement theology (the historic cause of anti-Semitism)
spearheaded by Dominionist leadership.
His concern is that for the first time in our lifetime, there is a
decline of those who believe in the Pretrib Rapture and a future for national
Israel, often known as Dispensationalism, and a dramatic shift towards
replacement theology. Finally,
since Lindsey believes that we are near the time of the Second Coming and
therefore the Rapture, he knows that the yet future seven-year Tribulation will
see a time of the greatest anti-Semitism in the history of the world. This is why he believes that a warning
needs to be issued concerning Dominion/Reconstructionist' s " prophetic views and
the dangers they pose to the Church in general and the Jewish people in
usual response by Reconstructionists is that they do not think replacement
theology has been or is capable of producing anti-Semitism. The fact of the matter is, however,
that replacement theology has historically, not always, but often, led to what Hebrew,
Christian scholar, Arnold Fruchtenbaum, a dispensationalist, has called
" theological anti-Semitism." 10
Steve Schlissel, a Hebrew Christian, wrote an article in the July 1988 issue of
The Counsel of Chalcedon entitled " To Those Who Wonder If Reconstructionism Is
Anti-Semitic." It was most likely
generated by Lindsey' s sermon and his discussion of the issue on his
nationwide, weekly, Saturday radio program, Week In Review. " Why would anyone," asks Schlissel, " aware of the hopes, let
alone the principles, that guide and motivate reconstructionists regard them as
anti-Semitic?" The answer is
because of the attraction by most Reconstructionists to some form of
replacement theology. Note a few
examples from their writings.
Reconstructionists do believe that individual Jews will be converted to Christ
in mass in the future, almost none of them believe that national Israel has a
future and thus the Church has completely taken over the promises of national Israel. In contrast to the eventual
faithfulness and empowerment by the Holy Spirit of the Church,
Reconstructionist David Chilton said that " ethnic Israel was excommunicated for
its apostasy and will never again be God' s Kingdom." 11 Chilton
says again, " the Bible does not tell of any future plan for Israel as a special nation." 12
Reconstructionists believe that the Church is now that new nation which
is why Christ destroyed the Jewish state.
Reconstructionists DeMar and Leithart have said, " In destroying Israel,
Christ transferred the blessings of the kingdom from Israel to a new people,
the church." 13 Reconstructionist Ray Sutton
teaches that God permanently divorced Israel.14
In explaining the parables
of Matthew 21 and 22, he says, " For the next several chapters, one section
after another pronounces judgment and total discontinuity between God and
Israel . . . total disinheritance." 15 The father of Reconstructionism, R. J.
Rushdoony, uses some of the harshest language in making clear his form of
The fall of Jerusalem, and
the public rejection of physical Israel as the chosen people of God, meant also
the deliverance of the true people of God, the church of Christ, the elect, out
of the bondage to Israel and Jerusalem, . . .16
A further heresy clouds
premillennial interpretations of Scripture- their exaltation of racism into a
divine principle. Every attempt to
bring the Jew back into prophecy as a Jew is to give race and works (for racial descent is a human work) a priority over grace and Christ' s work and is nothing more or less than paganism. . . .
There can be no compromise with this vicious heresy.17
These statements are clearly replacement theology and thus
theological anti-Semitism, which has historically been the foundation for overt
anti-Semitism within Christendom.
after his article appeared, I called Schlissel on the phone and discussed the
matter with him. I pointed out to
him that while he was undoubtedly a Reconstructionist yet he believed in a future
for Israel as a nation. I did not
know of any other Reconstructionist leader who shared his views on that
matter. In other words, Schlissel
did not believe in a total replacement of Israel with the church. Schlissel believes that national Israel
does have a future. Schlissel' s
milder form of covenant theology holds that while the Church does take over
some of Israel' s blessings, they do not take over all of them. Therefore, his so-called " defense" of
Reconstructionists was no defense since he "defended" them by
advocating a view they did not believe.
In fact, Schlissel' s view on this matter is closer to Hal Lindsey and
Dispensationalism. What was his response? He did not have much to say.
1990, Schlissel expanded the thrust of his arguments against Lindsey in a 45
page essay " The Reformed Faith and the Jews." It was combined with Postmillennialist David Brown' s essay
" The Restoration of The Jews" originally published in 1861 to make a new book Hal
Lindsey & The Restoration of the Jews. Because
of the cover design, which could make one think that the book is authored by
Lindsey, Bantam' s legal department recommended to Lindsey that he could sue and
win against the publishers because of the misleading nature of the cover. In deference to Christian charity, he
Gary DeMar & Peter Leithart
July 1989 Reconstructionists Gary DeMar & Peter Leithart rushed into print
with a booklet rebuttal to The Road to Holocaust called The Legacy of Hatred
They believed Lindsey' s book to " border on slander and would be filled
with numerous inaccuracies, both biblical and historic." (10) Their booklet said that Lindsey' s book
" is filled with a great number of deceptions, falsehoods, and outright lies
regarding Christian Reconstruction." (9)
Quite frankly what Reconstructionists often cite as " deceptions,
falsehoods, and outright lies" are almost always differences in interpretative
opinions and conclusions about the Bible and history. Therefore, if someone attempts to evaluate Reconstructionists
in terms of their own theology, then they are characterized as dishonest and
unethical by " misrepresenting" them.
But the real issue is whether or not Lindsey is right in his views of
the Bible and interpretations of history that in turn make him and the
Reconstructionists right or wrong.
While other Reconstructionists have commented on Holocaust,19 Schlissel, and DeMar/Leithart (DeMar from this point on) have
come forward with the major responses.
Therefore, I will mainly interact with their treatments in the rest of
LIVING IN GLASS HOUSES
approach used by most Reconstructionists to answer, not only Lindsey but many
of their critics, is to attack their character at the beginning of their
response. One of the items cited
is the fact that Holocaust reverses Rousas John Rushdoony' s name, not in the text of
the book, but in the footnotes, so that it reads John Rousas Rushdoony. This was a mistake made by the
publisher, Bantam. I have a copy
of Lindsey' s prepublished manuscript and he had the name correct when he turned
in the manuscript to the publisher.
DeMar questions whether " Lindsey actually read the books." 20
DeMar goes on to say that if Lindsey " can' t get easily documented facts
correct, readers have a right to question Lindsey' s interpretation of data . .
who live in glass houses should not throw stones," is a well known saying
relating to hypocrisy. DeMar has
smashed a number of his own windows, since he is guilty of the very " sin" he
accuses Lindsey of in his booklet.
DeMar quoted from theologian, Bruce Demarest' s book22 General Revelation.23 A problem is that
he cited Demarest' s name as William, not Bruce. This he did both in the text of the booklet and in the
footnote as well. His name is
Bruce A. Demarest. There is no
William to be found. At least
Lindsey' s publisher only reversed Rushdoony' s first and middle names. DeMar completely manufactured the name
William from thin air. According
to the " DeMar standard" we can question whether or not he " actually read the
book" and we certainly " have a right to question [DeMar' s] interpretation of
ESCHATOLOGY AND ETHICS
believes that eschatology has been improperly made an issue by Lindsey. " We believe that Hal Lindsey is wrong
in making eschatology the test of orthodoxy. . . . the problem is not
eschatology but ethics." 24 He concludes, " ' Anti-Semitism' is
not a simple deduction of eschatology." 25
Lindsey does not make eschatology the test of orthodoxy! Lindsey thinks that certain eschatological views do nurture
theological anti-Semitism. If
eschatology is so insignificant, as DeMar implies, then why is he so
preoccupied in rebutting opposing views of eschatology? We all believe eschatology is important
and like every area of theology impacts the way people think and behave. I believe eschatology, in the case of
the anti-Semitism issue impacts one' s ethics.
DeMar and most Reconstructionists do not think that eschatology is as important
as do Dispensationalists since most of what Dispensationalists see as events
that will occur in the future (the Tribulation, rebuilding of the Temple,
Antichrist, anti-Semitism during the Tribulation, events of Revelation), they
believe has already happened by the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and
the Second Temple in A.D. 70.
Therefore, it certainly is not a matter of eschatology for them, it
could only be an ethical issue.
This is one of the concerns that Lindsey has, if Israel does not have a
future AS A NATION,
then such a viewpoint has historically been the major ground for theological
anti-Semitism in the Church.
quotes from Peter Toon' s book, Puritans, the Millennium and the Future of
Israel: Puritan Eschatology
excellent source, on page 46 of his booklet. This same book makes it clear that eschatology was the basis
for the decline of anti-Semitism among Puritans in the 1600s. Toon' s essay, " The Latter-day Glory,"
about the rise of Postmillennialism shows that Thomas Goodwin in the 1630s
taught " the conversion of Jews to Christ and their restoration to Palestine." 26
Toon adds that it was Jewish influence which led to this new
teaching. " First, they [Puritans]
held that when the words ' Israel' , ' Judah' , ' Zion' and ' Jerusalem' are used in
the Bible they always related to the fleshly descendants of Abraham or the
places where they lived." 27 This is not a view held by most
Reconstructionists. In fact this
is the view of their theological opposites- dispensationalists. " Therefore," continues Toon, " passages
which speak of a return of these people to their own land, their conquest of
enemies and their rule of the nations are to be taken literally, not
allegorically as of the Church." 28 This is a clear denial of the
replacement theology held by most modern day Reconstructionists. While many Puritans were Postmillennial
(just as many if not more were Premillennial) they did hold to a different kind
than do most Reconstructionists of our day.
18, 1290 was the day in which Jews were expelled from England because they were
viewed as dangerous people who were considered a threat to " Christian"
England. Once again theological
anti-Semitism within the Church resulted in persecution of the Jews. In the 1650s, they were readmitted to
England. Why? It was because of eschatology. Due to Puritan influence many English
Christians began to see a future for the Jews and national Israel. It was as the " Hebraic and Judicial
tendencies in England thought and theology reached their zenith by 1650 and it
is in this ' prophetical' context" 29
notes Toon that led to the readmission of the Jews. Some Puritans even " believed that the tribulations that had
come upon England in the Civil War were, in part God' s judgment upon the nation
for its maltreatment of Jews in the past." 30 The arguments that won the day,
according to Toon, were eschatological.
He summarizes, " the more common ground of advocating readmission,
amongst theologians and preachers, seems to have been based on eschatological
like DeMar do not like to admit it, but one' s eschatology does play a major role in the
anti-Semitism issue within the Church.
We shall see more reasons why replacement theology has usually been the
ground upon which anti-Semitism was peddled within Christendom.
SCHLISSEL' S DEFENSELESS DEFENSE
Steve Schlissel has written the most extensive defense to date in support of
Dominion/Reconstructionist Postmillennialism in regards to the anti-Semitism
issue. As we have already noted
above, Schlissel supposedly defends his fellow Reconstructionists by setting forth
a different position than that of his accused brethren. Let me explain further what I mean.
1987-88 when Hal Lindsey was writing Holocaust, virtually all of the books and
material being produced by Reconstructionists were from the Preterist perspective
of prophetic interpretation.
Therefore, Reconstructionists were clearly presenting the image that
their brand of postmillennialism was linked to the Preterist view. This is why one of the first issues of Biblical
was an article I wrote entitled " New, Improved Postmillennialism" (Mar-Apr
1988). Preterist Postmillennialism
had not had much support previously within the American Postmillennial
tradition. I cannot think of one
Old Princeton professor or Westminster professor who was a Preterist Postmillennialist. Perhaps there has been one, but it has
never been very popular. Perhaps
Reconstructionists have generally been attracted to the Preterist view since it
is the perfect antithesis of Dispensationalism. Nevertheless, the Preterist viewpoint is probably the most
extreme form of replacement theology possible.
Four Interpretative Approaches
of you may be asking what is a Preterist?
Let me explain the four basis approaches to the interpretation of
biblical prophecy. They are simple
to remember since they all relate to time. There are the only four possibilities that are related to
time: past, present, future, and
timeless. The time references
relate to when Bible prophecy will be/has been fulfilled in terms of our
present time in history.
(Latin for " past" ) approach believes that prophecy, in relation to our current
time in history has already been fulfilled in the past. They believe that prophetic sections
like Daniel, Zechariah, Revelation, and Matthew 24 have already been fulfilled
in the past, usually related to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second
Temple in A.D. 70. For example,
the " coming" passages of Matthew 24 and Revelation 19 do not refer to the
Second Coming, instead they refer to God' s coming in judgment upon the nation
of Israel, through the Roman army in the A.D. 70 event. They do believe in the Second Coming
(some extreme Preterists do not believe in the Second Coming at all, but I do not
know of any Reconstructionists who go that far yet) and usually take passages
like 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 to refer to that. Preterists are found among
Amillennialists and Postmillennialists.
approach generally believes that the current Church Age is the time period
covered in the book of Revelation.
Therefore, prophecy is being fulfilled in the time period in which we
live. They usually take momentous
events from the time in which they live and argue that it is a fulfillment of
some prediction of Bible prophecy.
For example, the French Revolution was said to refer to an event in
Revelation 13. Some historicists
today have said that the recent Gulf War fulfilled some Bible prophecy. Usually related to the Historicist view
is what is called the " day/year" theory.
This means that number of days in the Bible refer to years. Historicists have always been the
champion date-setters of prophetic interpretation because they try to develop a
year for day scheme to set the time for the Second Coming. This was the most widely held view from
the 1600s through the 1800s.
Today, almost no one holds this view. Premillennialists, Amillennialists, and Postmillennialists
have all been Historicists.
approach generally believes that much of the Bible' s prophecy lies in the
future from our current time in history.
Futurists believe that Revelation 4-22 is future, as are many of the
prophecies of the Old Testament prophets and other parts of the New Testament. Therefore, things like the seven-year
Tribulation, the Antichrist, and the Two Witnesses, etc., are yet future. Futurists take the Bible more literally
than other systems of interpretation.
All Dispensationalists are Futurists. Futurism has been followed by Premillennialists,
Amillennialists, and Postmillennialists, although it is almost exclusively
found among Premillennialists in our day.
approach is one that takes the prophetic Scriptures, like the book of
Revelation, as atemporal (timeless) lessons applicable to anyone down through
the history of the Church. They do
not believe that prophecy, such as Revelation, is concerned with timing. While all three millennial positions
can use this interpretive approach, I have only found it among Amillennialists
Schlissel' s Problem
almost all of the prophecy teachers among the Reconstructionists are Preterist
and were in 1987-88 (Gary North, Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, David Chilton, Greg
Bahnsen, Ray Sutton, Mike Gilstrap, James Jordan, and probably George Grant),
how can an observer be justly criticized for concluding that Reconstructionists
are Preterist Postmillennialists?
They cannot. There are a
few that are not Preterist. One of
them is Steve Schlissel. Steve is
of all things a Futurist, just like Hal Lindsey and other
Dispensationalists. Yet he is the
one who has been defending Reconstructionists against the charge of theological
anti-Semitism by stating views consistent with a Futurist viewpoint, but things
denied by Preterists.
cannot be a Preterist and believe that Israel has a national future. Prophecy relating to that issue has already happened and
God' s plan for Israel is already completed. Sure they believe in individual conversions of many Jews,
but not a national future. Remember
what Reconstructionist spokesman David Chilton has said?
Ethnic Israel was
excommunicated for its apostasy and will never again be God' s Kingdom. . . .
The Great Tribulation took
place in the Fall of Israel. . . .
the Bible does not tell of
any future plan for Israel as a special nation. . . .
The " Harlot" symbolized
apostate Jerusalem, which had ceased to be the City of God. . . .32
What once had been true of
Israel, Peter says, is now and forever true of the Church.33
Because Israel committed
the supreme act of covenant-breaking when she rejected Christ, Israel herself
was rejected by God. The awesome
curses pronounced by Jesus, Moses, and the prophets were fulfilled in the
terrible destruction of Jerusalem, with the desolation of the Temple and the
obliteration of the covenant nation in A.D. 70.34
lets compare it with what Steve Schlissel believes as he approvingly quotes
writers from the 1800s.
" Will the Jews, as a
Nation, be Restored to their own Land?"
This question was answered affirmatively; the (unsigned) article
concluded that Scripture taught that the Jews must be restored to their land if
certain prophecies would be fulfilled.
As early as 1847 the Great
Dr. David Brown . . . wrote of his conviction that the Jews would one day again
possess the Land of Israel.35
I am also sympathetic with
his [Hal Lindsey] frustrations in getting some Reformed brothers [includes
Reconstructionists] to even consider whether the modern State of Israel may, in fact, be prophetically significant. Their reluctance is interpreted by Mr.
Lindsey as stemming from anti-Semitism.
Whether or not that is so, it is disturbing to see the hedging, hemming
and hawing- disturbing and unnecessary.
After all, the question of interest among the Reformed regarding the Jews
in the mid-nineteenth century, as was shown, was not their spiritual
restoration- that was a given.
Rather, it was whether the prophecies regarding their future required
their restoration to the land.
This question is answered by Dr. Brown in the affirmative, and in a
manner that requires serious consideration. Since God in His providence has answered part of that old controversy by bringing Jews back to
the land, it hardly seems fair
for the Reformed to ignore or dismiss the possibility, a priori, of that return having any prophetic significance.36
as Dispensationalists can say a hearty AMEN to Schlissel' s views on this
point. However, as the reader can
observe, there is a world of difference between Schlissel' s Futurist
Postmillennial viewpoint and that of the normal Preterist Postmillennialist as
noted from Chilton' s remarks.
ALL POSTMILLENNIALISM IS NOT THE SAME
and DeMar, when defending against Lindsey' s book love to go back into history,
especially to the Puritans, and find Postmillennialists who said glowing things
about the Jews and Israel. They
then conclude that Postmillennialists cannot be theological anti-Semites
because Postmillennialists have always believed a certain way. However, what they fail to tell their
readers is that there are different kinds of Postmillennialists, as we have
just seen in the differences between Chilton and Schlissel. Gary DeMar is concerned when
Dispensationalists do not point out differences among Premillennialists. When writing about a debate involving
DeMar and myself, DeMar noted:
Throughout the debate,
Tommy Ice gave the impression that dispensational premillennialism is the historic Christian position and that dispensational premillennialism is little different from historic premillennialism. This is a favorite tactic of dispensationalists.37
I wish DeMar would apply that same standard he wants for
Dispensationalism on Postmillennialism.
a chapter " Postmillennialism and the Salvation of the Jews" DeMar says that
" historic postmillennialism gives the Jews a very prominent place in prophecies
of the latter-day glory of the church." 38 Throughout the chapter, DeMar gives the
impression that his Reconstructionist view of Preterist Postmillennialism is
the historic Postmillennial position and that there is little difference in the
Reconstructionist brand of Postmillennialism. This is a favorite tactic of Reconstructionists.
are a number of problems with this tactic. First, not one example was cited in the chapter of the views
of a Preterist Postmillennialist.
Second, he did not identify that his and most Reconstructionist views
are different from those cited at many points that are at issue on the
anti-Semitism debate. Third, a
significant number of names cited in the section were not even
Postmillennialists. I was not able
to identify every name cited, but I was able to identify four Amillennialists
and one Premillennialist from whom he quoted. There could be more.
Finally, DeMar refers to the Westminster Larger Catechism as if it was
Postmillennial.39 Peter Toon, one of the experts from
which DeMar cites in the chapter has this to say about the Westminster Assembly:
In closing, it is perhaps
worth mentioning that nowhere in the symbols produced by the Assembly is there
any attempt to speak of a latter-day glory of the type found in the writings of
Bright man, Finch, Gouge and Cotton [Postmil]. Though neither this doctrine nor millenarianism [Premil] is
outlawed or called heretical, the whole teaching of the symbols is Augustinian
follows the same tactic in his book, not identifying the many whom he implies
are Postmillennial, but are really something else.
point I wish to make it that just because Postmillennialists in the past did
believe a certain way, does not mean that modern day Reconstructionists believe
the same way. The fact of the
matter is that they do not believe the same. They are Preterist Postmillennialists who believe strongly
in replacement theology, which is the theology that has historically led to
anti-Semitism within Christendom.
Why don' t Reconstructionists abandon their Preterist views and adopt the
beliefs of Steve Schlissel and older Postmillennialists like David Brown? Until they do, their theology is
suspect on this matter.
a recent phone conversation (Feb. 27, 1992), Steve Schlissel admitted to me
that he is troubled by fellow Reconstructionist, James Jordan' s teaching that
Jews really are not Jews (i.e., descendants of Abraham), the Khazar theory. Jordan wrote of this in an essay
" Christian Zionism and Messianic Judaism" 41
which I cited in my book Dominion Theology (406) as an example of anti-Semitic literature
from the Reconstructionist camp.
Schlissel is concerned because Jordan has recently renewed his advocacy
of the Khazar theory. (I wonder if
the six million Jews who died in he Holocaust knew that they died for nothing
since they were not really Jews, if Jordan and his kind are right?) Jordan said, " Modern apostate Jews have
absolutely no theological, and therefore no historical and legal right to the
land of Palestine." 42 Jordan continues, " Christian Zionism is
blasphemy. It is heresy. Christians have no theological stake
whatsoever in the modern State of Israel.
It is an anti-God, anti-Christ nation." 43
Reconstructionists say that anti-Zionism is not the same as anti-Semitism.44
This is true. But in our
day, it is almost the same because of the close identity of all Jews with
Israel. Rausch has stated that
" anti-Zionism could become anti-Semitism." 45 Rausch expressed further concern when
he noted an interview conducted with G. Douglas Young in Israel.
Dr. Young expressed deep concern about the ugliness
of the anti-Israel teaching that was being spread through evangelical liberal
arts colleges and seminaries by an ever-growing, hostile force of academicians.46
Catholic scholar, Father Edward Flannery, who has written a
great deal on this subject has said, " To the question Is anti-Zionism in its
various degrees and forms anti-Semitic?
. . . Not necessarily, but almost always." 47
many Reconstructionists seem unwilling to admit that one' s view of eschatology
makes a difference on this matter, as noted above. They think that Hal Lindsey has simply no credibility on
this matter. Rausch has points
Contrary to popular
opinion, this prophetic viewpoint [dispensationalism] combated anti-Semitism
and sought to reinstate the biblical promises that God had made to the Jewish
people through Abraham- biblical promises that postmillennial Christendom had
determined were null and void.48
Schlissel in the process of supposedly refuting Hal Lindsey' s Holocaust makes some interesting
admissions, which I think supports Lindsey' s contention that historically
replacement theology has been the ground for theological anti-Semitism within
A Frightening Departure
notes a departure among his Reformed brethren (Reconstructionists would be
included in this group) in more recent times from earlier views of Israel.
As we have said, and will
say again, just a century ago all
classes of Reformed interpreters held to the certainty of the future conversion
of Israel as a nation. How they have come, to a frightening
extent, to depart from their historic positions regarding the certainty of
Israel future conversion is not our subject here.49
Schlissel answers his question in part by saying, " the hope
of the future conversion of the Jews became closely linked, at the turn of the
century and beyond, with Premillennial Dispensationalism, an eschatological
heresy." 50 Amazing logic.
Dispensationalists get blamed for the departure of one group from the
truth, because they believe the truth.
So that must mean that the more we believe the truth, the more it makes
people like Reconstructionists depart from the truth.
Historical Roots of Anti-Semitism
seems to share Lindsey' s basic view on the rise and development of
anti-Semitism within the history of the church. [For a survey of the history of anti-Semitism in the Church
see David Rausch, Building Bridges:
Understanding Jews and Judaism (Moody Press, 1988):87-171).] After giving his readers an overview of the history of
anti-Semitism through Origen, Augustine, Chrysostom, Ambrose, and Jerome,
Schlissel then quotes approvingly Raul Hilberg' s famous quote from Lindsey' s Holocaust.
Viewing the plight of the
Jews in Christian lands from the fourth century to the recent holocaust, one
Jew observed, " First we were told ' You' re not good enough to live among us as
Jews.' Then we were told, ' You' re
not good enough to live among us.'
Finally we were told, ' You' re not good enough to live.' " 51
then comments upon Hilberg' s statement by saying something that Hal Lindsey
could have said,
This devastatingly accurate
historical analysis was the fruit of an error, a building of prejudice and hate
erected upon a false theological foundation. The blindness of the church regarding the place of the Jew
in redemptive history is, I believe, directly responsible for the wicked sins
and attitudes described above.
What the church believes about the Jews has always made a difference. But the church has not always believed a lie.52
AMEN, brother Steve!
Schlissel has pointed out as true is what his other Reconstructionist brethren
deny. What Schlissel has called a
lie is what his Preterist Reconstructionist brethren advocate. Their form of replacement theology is
the problem. Therefore, Lindsey' s
thesis in Holocaust
about the historical origins of anti-Semitism within Christendom springing from
replacement theology are true and admitted by Schlissel.
hope that you have come to realize that Hal Lindsey' s claims in The Road to
not something that should be apologized or repented for, nor are they false
accusations, and neither should " the book [be] pulled from the market," as
suggested by Gary DeMar.53 Instead, as one of their own
(Schlissel) suggests, it is those who hold to replacement theology, such as
Dominionist/Reconstructionist that should repent.
A. Rausch, " Forty Years After the Holocaust," Moody Monthly (April 1985).
R. Sutton, That You May Prosper:
Dominion By Covenant (Institute for Christian Economics, 1987):242. 15 Ibid:243.
A. Demarest, General Revelation:
Historical Views and Contemporary Issues (Zondervan, 1982). 24
Legacy of Hatred :xi.
Schlissel, " To Those Who Wonder If Reconstructionism Is Anti-Semitic," The
Counsel of Chalcedon,