Question and Answer
Israel and Missions to the Jews
Does your church support the existence of the state of Israel and missions to the Jews?
1. Does your church support the existence of the state of Israel?
On this question, two details will hopefully clarify the position of the Church.
First, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church subscribes to the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms as its standards of faith. In chapter 31 section 4, the Confession states:
Synods and councils are to handle or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical; and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs, which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or by way of advice for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.
This statement indicates (1) that the sole domain of the synods and councils of the church is ecclesiastical; (2) that the synods and councils of the church are not to intermeddle with civil affairs; (3) that the synods and councils of the church may humbly petition the civil magistrate in cases extraordinary; and (4) that the civil magistrate may request the advice of the synods and councils of the church for the satisfaction of conscience.
In his commentary on the Confession, A. A. Hodge indicates that in the case of humble petition, "the interests of the Church are immediately concerned" (p. 377), which indicates that "humble petition" does not adhere to any cause whatsoever. The distinction herein maintained is the church in its corporate capacity distinguished from the opinions and activities of its members.
Second, it follows from this that the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in its corporate capacity has not taken any action one way or the other regarding the question of the state of Israel. This is not to be understood as a rejection of the state of Israel. Rather it reflects the position of the Church in its corporate capacity. Issues relevant to the establishment, support, etc., of the state of Israel are outside the jurisdiction of the Church. Those issues are civil matters.
On the other hand, this does not mean that members of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church do not have strong opinions relative to issues regarding the state of Israel. Some may be supportive; others may not. However, whatever anyone's particular opinion, all members of the Church are called upon to submit to the civil authority. Members of the Church, therefore, will be submissive to whatever support may be given to the state of Israel by the Government of the United States. This does not mean, however, that they will be passive in this respect. Individuals may be very active, positively or negatively, regarding government policy relative to the state of Israel.
2. Does your church support missions to the Jews?
First, you may be asking, does our church support mission agencies to Jews? To my knowledge, our church does not offer such support. However, you may be asking, does your church support the idea that missions should be directed to the Jews? To this question, I would answer, yes. We believe that all outside of Christ need to have the gospel preached to them.
On the other hand, you may be asking, does your church have a mission work to the Jews? As early as 1938, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church discussed the matter of mission to the Jews. At one point in our history, our Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension supported a man working with Jewish immigrants. By 1978, however, all of that ceased.
It's not that the Orthodox Presbyterian Church is against reaching out to Jews. However, it has been our consistent encouragement to each local church to carry out its evangelistic responsibility, which includes mission to the Jews.
Our view of mission is church focused. That is, the recurrent pattern in the Bible is not getting people saved, but making disciples and establishing them in or as a local church. The local church then continues the making of disciples and the Lord adds to their numbers, which further extends and establishes the church.
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