Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Debate: Does Rom. 11 promise the salvation of ethnic Israel?

WestCal students Nathanael Taylor and Ben Rochester had engaged in an interesting debate regarding the future of ethnic Israel as seen in Rom. 11:25-26. Nate argues that Rom. 11:25-26 teaches a future salvation for ethnic Israel, while Ben denies that there is such a future salvation promised in Rom. 11. The debate is recorded in the following audio files (unfortunately not fully captured):

Here is the introduction by the moderator:

Welcome to Hoagies & Stogies; or for all you regulars, welcome back. Since the last two events were Open Mic Night, and the one-man interview with David Zadok about Israel, it’s been Nine Long Months since we had an actual two-man debate according to our typical format. So again, to all of you I say Welcome Back.

Tonight’s topic is the hotly-contested passage of Rom 11:25-26: “a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved.” In the most straightforward reading (at least of this English translation–the ESV) it would seem that God has yet a future for the nation of Israel; and yet this is a difficult concept to reconcile with, say, the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70, and the entire book of Hebrews.

In the history of H&S, we’ve had a wide variety of speakers; ranging from pastors to professors to just plain laymen. But this time we’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel, because all you get is seminary students. But on the plus side, since they haven’t accomplished anything in life, that makes introductions easier. This is Nate, this is Ben.

At this point, I must confess that tonight you probably will not hear the debate you expected to hear. Nate Taylor, who will be arguing that there is a future for Jews, will not be arguing that this has anything to do with Judaism: not the Temple, sacrifices, circumcision, or the political state formed on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean in 1948.

Ben Rochester, on the other hand, when he argues against a future for Israel, is not arguing that God hates the Jews, and they are all condemned to hell.

Nate and Ben are in full agreement that Jews have the same right as Gentiles to be God’s people by claiming the promise of forgiveness of sins and imputed righteousness due to the perfect life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ.

So the question becomes, how many Jews will be saved through Christ? Nate says that “Romans says ‘all’”, and Ben (like a good Calvinist), says “all doesn’t always mean all”.


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