I recently heard an outstanding sermon from a Messianic Jew on covenant. It was so refreshing to hear insight from a Jewish perspective on how it is by covenant that Jesus makes us righteous and it indeed is by nothing that we have done, but by a covenant that was made and fulfilled by God. The speaker makes the point that we as children who have been grafted on to the Jewish tree must still honor the children of covenant, because the Jews are God’s chosen. He says that when we make covenant with God, we are also bound in covenant to those whom God is in covenant with.
I have, to date, never heard a sermon in an Asian American church on exactly how we are bound to the Jewish people other than the fact that we claim a Gospel signed, sealed, and delivered by a Jewish Messiah. If it is truly the case that we are grafted to the people of Israel through the covenant that God made with Abraham and fulfilled in Jesus the Christ, then what should be the nature of our relationship and stance towards the nation-state/people of Israel?
This I believe is a important topic in light of recent world events and I tend to think that most Asian-Americans are not concerned about any spiritual technicalities regarding the state of modern Israel, and simply think of it as a political issue, is this part of the war on terror? who should press for cease-fire…that sort of thing. I cannot help but wonder however, if we, as believers, should address what this means and take a stance.
First of all, I dismiss any sort of replacement theology here that Koreans are a “Chosun” people, or that “like the people of Israel,… the Filipinos are also chosen by God to be a holy people“. I believe that there is a need to define what Israel means to Asian American Christians if we are truly to become global Christians. Do we side with Christians who call for cease-fire? What exactly do we do if South Korea has anti-American sentiments and/or anti-Israel sentiments? A recent bestseller, Jesus in Beijing by David Aikman, asserts that Chrisitianity in China may turn the tables in global politics because of a strong obligation felt by Chinese Christians towards Jerusalem (Feel free to check out this book review,JesusinBeijingBookReview, to get a better idea).
There are people who think that by being Asian American Christians, we have sold out to becoming more “white”, and have assimilated to the degree that we do so in a comfortable posture to distance ourselves both from Asian American non-Christians and any extreme stance our motherland takes (i.e. China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, etc.). In short, that our twilight minority status within our religious affliation separates us from any uncomfortable topic. I have a problem with that notion and I do believe that as “global Christians”, we should strive to stand up for people upon whose spiritual tree we are grafted upon. I’ve never heard of an Asian American Zionist, but I just may be well on the road to becoming one.