A reader wrote in yesterday. I am taking out some details so as not to embarrass anyone. My wording in brackets should help you get the gist:
I was reading about Kendall Soulen’s writing and came upon your blog and read some of it . . . [A study I am doing] has highlighted something I have struggled with for years– how exactly is God’s covenant still in effect among the Jewish people? [I had a discussion this weekend with someone and] I kept quoting Paul re. God’s covenants being irrevocable, and him saying that Jews have always been able to cease being part of the covenants by refusing them and that Jesus was the latest covenant and refusing him meant one had moved out of the earlier covenants with their promises and blessings.
How would you answer this reader’s question?
I will include my answer below. But I’d like for you to add thoughts to what I have put down and/or expand on thoughts I have mentioned in brief. Or, maybe you agree with the person who says Israel has forfeited its place in God’s promises. Hey, let’s have a friendly debate. Or maybe you have questions along these lines. Please ask.
Anyway, here is my answer:
There is a book you should get by a Reformed author who rebukes those in his tradition who are not pro-Israel. It is called Future Israel by Barry Horner. It is full of quotations by Reformed writers. I have blogged about it (click on the category Barry Horner).
Your friend’s argument deserves consideration. Does Israel have the possibility of forfeiting covenant status by its failure? How would your friend explain Romans 11:2, then, for example? Also, consider the logic of his argument and you should see a big problem. If Israel could forfeit its covenant status by failure, then why does the Church get off the hook? Does your friend imagine for a second the Church has done better than Israel? No doubt he would say, “Sure the church has its sins, but there has always been a remnant of true believers in church history.“ Voila — we can say the same for Israel.
Furthermore, I would like to know where the Abrahamic covenant is conditional. Only the Sinai covenant is conditional. And the penalty for failure in the Sinai covenant is not rejection, but curse.