Do evangelicals give Israel get a free pass?
I was thinking about this the other day as I listened to a podcast interview in which the guest argued that the gospel Paul presents in Romans is universalistic (we should take heed, she suggested, to Paul’s repetitive use of “all” in reference to both the consequences of Adam’s sin and the effect of Christ’s death). Whenever the subject of universal salvation or reconciliation in Jesus Christ—that is, the idea that in and through Christ everyone will ultimately be saved—comes up, my mind tends to go to the strong and dismissive opposition such an idea seems to get, particularly in evangelical circles. What about judgment? What about repentance? these people wonder.
Yet it seems to me that many of these same people give the modern nation-state of Israel, on the assumption that they are are the same Israel of which the Bible speaks and for (to me) vague biblical reasons, a free pass into salvation. Israel, it seems, will be folded into the Kingdom just for being Israel, whether or not they are doing justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with God. For Israel it seems like judgment and repentance aren’t an issue, but for gentiles it certainly is.
I admit I do not pay much attention to Zionism (e.g., John Hagee) and its close associates, so perhaps I am mishearing them, but this is the impression I get.
(It occurs to me now that evangelicals also tend to think of salvation as a community thing when it comes to Israel, but an individualistic thing for everyone else.)
This is not, of course, itself an argument for universal reconciliation. This is simply to point out what seems to me, if my impressions are correct, an inconsistency in evangelical thinking about salvation.