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Tuesday, 22 September 2015
Self-constituted?

We the People: Israel and the Catholicity of Jesus,
Tommy Givens, Fortress, 2014, page 5

After giving an outline of the way in which he is going to interact with the work of John Howard Yoder, Givens summarises one of Yoder's arguments:

Yoder argues that the true people of God are those faithful to the love of God revealed in Torah and finally in Jesus the Messiah. Those who are not, those who refuse this Jewish way of life, do not count as the people of God in any meaningfule sense.

Ouch! Givens describes this as "inadequate". I would agree. Givens then adds:

According to the Bible, the people of the one true God, which is always Israel, is not self-constituted.

That is, they didn't just decide one day that they would be or define themselves as the people of God. There was something bigger than that going on.

It ia not constituted by Israel's faithfulness to the exclusion of its unfaithfulness, but by God's faithfully holding Israelite faithfulness and unfaithfulness together with hope and forgiveness. The people of Israel is constituted, in other words, by God's election, which is fulfilled in the Messiah who is the elect one. Moreover, it is precisely God's election that makes Israel a people of peace and a peacemaking people.

You've got to chew that carefully; there's a lot packed in there. More to come as I work my way through the book ...

Posted By Jonathan, 8:06am Comment Comments: 0