Musings about a Lost (?) Evangelical Belief: Pro-Semitism

Roger E. Olson | 8/19/2017 | Staff
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One thing I lost when I converted from Pentecostal to Baptist (1970s) was something I suspect many Christians, including many evangelicals, would find strange, quirky, odd. The Pentecostal evangelicals I grew up among were radically pro-Semite. That is, we believed, as Christians, that all Jews are God’s chosen people and that the Christian church does not replace Judaism.

I don’t know of any books that discuss this aspect of Pentecostal Christianity and it may not have been a universal belief among Pentecostals—ever. However, unless my memory fails, we were not the only Pentecostals or even the only evangelicals who held this belief.

Books - Zionism - Establishment - State - Israel

I do know of books that describe “Christian Zionism,” but that’s not exactly what I remember. Yes, to be sure, we were glad for the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel in Palestine, but our pro-Semitism went deeper than that.

I cannot tell you how many times I heard the follow Scripture passage quoted by my parents, my spiritual mentors, and our Pentecostal leaders: Genesis 12:3. Look it up. Paraphrasing here, it basically says that whoever blesses Israel (not talking about the modern State of Israel, of course) God will bless and whoever curses them God will curse. We took that very literally and perhaps to an extreme. Let me explain.

Pro-Semitism - Habit - Custom - Behavior - Doctrine

As I recall, this pro-Semitism was more of a habit, a custom, a behavior, than a doctrine. I do not recall any written doctrine about it. In the Pentecostal Christianity in which I grew up, it was simply taken for granted that all Jews are God’s chosen people—have been, are, and always will be—and he favors them above all other ethnic groups. Some of us (I do not include myself in this) believed that somehow, sometime, all faithful Jews will be saved and enter into the same heaven we looked...
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