Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What is the Christian Identity Movement? By R. Alan Streett

The Christian Identity movement (CI), formerly called British or Anglo Israelism, teaches that God indeed respects persons based on their bloodline or nationality. Many of these groups are anti-Semitic, claiming that white Anglo-Saxons constitute the Israel of God and that ethnic Jews are the children of the devil. Also, all CI sects make a distinction between Israel and the Jews. They base their beliefs on one of two theories: (1) the ten lost tribes theory, or (2) the serpent seed theory.
According to the former theory, after the fall of Israel (the northern kingdom, consisting of 10 tribes) in 722 B.C., the tribes migrated westward into Europe and eventually to America. None returned to their homeland. They assimilated into the culture and hence lost their identity. They now constitute the Anglo-Saxon peoples of the world. The southern kingdom, consisting of two tribes (Judah and Benjamin), fell to Babylon in 586 B.C. After captivity, many returned to their homeland. According to the CI theory, they became known as Jews. They were responsible for the death of Christ and therefore are the targets of God's wrath.

The lost tribes theory may sound plausible to a biblical novice, but Scripture proves the theory to be bankrupt (see Ezr 3:1; 6:16-17; Lk 1:54,67-68,80; 2:36; Jn 3:1,10; Ac 2:14,22,36; 5:21; 13:24, which indicates that Israel returned to its homeland). Peter said Israel crucified Jesus (Ac 48-10). There are no lost tribes. James addressed all 12 of them (Jms 1:1). After the Babylonian captivity, the terms Israel and Jews are used interchangeably. No longer is the nation considered to be divided. In the NT Jew is used 174 times and Israel is used 75 times to designate the same people. The Apostle Paul used both Jew (Ac 21:39; 22:3) and Israelite (Rm 11:1; 2 Co 11:22) to identify himself.

Other CI groups look to the serpent seed theory to validate their anti-Semitic beliefs. According to this scenario, the sexual union between Adam and Eve produced Abel, the father of the Israelite or Aryan people. Those in this godly line are God's children by birth; hence there is no need for a new birth. A second union, this time between Eve and the serpent produced Cain, who became the father of the Jews. After the great flood, his descendants cohabited with beasts, producing a mongrelized race of people, now consisting of Semites, Asians, and Africans. They are the enemies of God.

The problems with this theory are obvious. First, Israel traces its origin to Jacob, not Abel, when the former's name was changed to Israel. Second, Abraham, not Cain, is called the father of the Jews. Third, all must be born again. Fourth, Jesus reminded the woman of Samaria that "salvation is from the Jews" (Jn 4:22). Fifth. and most important, Jesus was a Jew from the tribe of Judah; thus, according to this theory, He would be the enemy, not the Son of God.

Both the ten lost tribes and serpent seed theories are attempts to provide theological and scriptural support for anti-Semitism.

Extracted from the Apologetics Study Bible.

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