Protestant, Catholic, Jew, Ann Coulter

Okay, I finally have time to listen to Ann Coulter’s “perfected Jews” comments. To be honest, I think she contradicts herself. One one hand, she says that Jews need to observe laws to get to heaven, whereas Christians have the “fast track” (belief in Jesus). That would imply that Jews don’t need to become Christians in order to be saved. On the other hand, she says that she wants everyone to become Christians and for Jews to become “perfected,” which implies that she does support Jews’ conversion. Add to this another twist: she claims that Christians are actually the perfected Jews.

Maybe the whole thing makes sense in her mind. She may have the same sort of view that Mel Gibson had when Diane Sawyer interviewed him. This was during the Passion of the Christ controversy, and Diane Sawyer asked him if he thought that people had to believe in his religion to go to heaven. Gibson replied that non-Christians (or, more specifically, non-Gibson Catholics) can enter the kingdom of heaven, but it is more difficult for them than for Gibson Catholics. Perhaps he meant that non-Christians have to do extra good works to enter heaven. Since then, he has changed his position. Now, he doubts that his own wife will go to heaven, since she’s a Christian, but not a Gibson Catholic.

Is Ann Coulter right or wrong? I disagree with her belief that there are multiple paths to heaven. Many of you know the relevant Bible verses, but I’ll post them anyway. Jesus said that no one comes to the Father but by him (John 14:6). Peter affirms in Acts 4:12 that “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Neither Jews nor anyone else can be saved through good works or obedience to the law. The reason is that everyone has sinned and falls short of the glory of God (see Romans 1-3). So Christianity is not an easier path to salvation. It is the only path.

Do Jews need to be “perfected”? Yes. So does everyone else. We are sinners whose carnal minds are hostile to God and his law (Romans 8:7). According to Paul, the natural man (apart from Christ) does not understand the things of God, for they are foolishness to him (I Corinthians 2:14). We must be born again through faith in Christ to see the kingdom of God(John 3). Our old sinful and selfish selves must figuratively die so that we can become new creatures who behave righteously through the Holy Spirit (Romans 6; I Corinthians 5:17). So, yes, we need to become perfect. That doesn’t mean improvement of our carnal natures, however, but rather a spiritual rebirth.

Is the Jewish religion somehow deficient? If you believe the New Testament, then the answer is “yes.” Paul says in II Corinthians 3:13-16 that most Jews do not properly understand their own Scriptures because of their non-belief in Christ. In Romans 10, Paul criticizes most Jews for trying to establish their own righteousness through the law, rejecting God’s free grace through Jesus. Sure, the Jewish religion teaches many profound truths, which is why I have devoted my life to studying it. But, as a Christian, I must believe the New Testament, which says in virtually every book that belief in Jesus is a necessary path to God. All other religions are deficient in that they miss a crucial ingredient: God’s coming to earth to sacrifice himself for sinners. This is the basis for human reconciliation with God, forgiveness, and spiritual rebirth, as well as Christian love. Ann should not be attacked for saying that Jews need to believe in Jesus. If she did not believe that Christianity is better than Judaism, then why would she be a Christian? I’m sure that the people attacking her view their way as superior to other paths. Liberals think that liberalism is better than conservatism, and orthodox Jews probably see their religion as better than radical Islam (although Judaism does not proselytize).

Are Christians perfected Jews? Yes, in the sense that Christianity is the fulfillment of the Old Testament (Romans 1:2). According to the New Testament, God’s relationship with Israel contained elements that foreshadowed Christ, who fulfilled the law and the prophets. That means that Christians possess the completion (or perfection) of Old Testament religion. Christians are also Jews in the sense that they are now part of God’s chosen people (Romans 11). In Galatians 6:16, Paul calls the church “the Israel of God.” God still has beneficent plans for non-believing Jews, who are still his chosen nation, but the plan includes their eventual belief in Christ (Romans 11).

Is Ann Coulter anti-Semitic? Not for her “perfected Jews” comments. Anti-Semitism is hatred of a specific group, but Ann Coulter was just saying that people should believe the way she does. As I said, even Ann’s critics think that others should agree with them. Christianity commands us to love all people, Christian and non-Christian alike. Christians do not have to believe that there are many paths to God or that Judaism is as good as Christianity, but they can still love other people. Therefore, Christianity is not inherently anti-Semitic.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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