April 1999: Volume 21, Number 4


Double Jeopardy

by Zola Levitt
Zola Levitt
Zola Levitt

          Those of you who followed our efforts with Criswell College last year will be interested in the following update. As you may know, the issue was the use of the textbook, A Survey of the New Testament, Third Edition, by Robert H. Gundry. My son, Aaron Levitt, found the Replacement Theology, general anti-Semitism, and bad doctrine in that book appalling and went to the administration about it. I followed up by meeting with the president of the college, Richard Wells, and the vice president, Lamar Cooper. They stalled for some six months and then decided to keep the textbook after all.

          I ran several articles demonstrating the awful doctrine in the book, such as saying the 4,000 Jesus fed were Gentiles, or that there was a large Gentiles' church "in Matthew's time." The textbook also stated, "Matthew writes his gospel for the church as the new chosen nation, which at least for the time being has replaced the old chosen nation of Israel" (p.161). I also utilized the situation in demonstrating anti-Semitism in America. Please see our "Foreshadows . . ." chapter portion...

          I was amazed by the interest our audience had in this mistaken textbook. It seems that people coast to coast wrote to The Criswell College and to Zondervan Publishing House, who issued the book in the first place. But the most disappointing thing was the attitude of both institutions. About all they did was attack me personally. There was negligible defense of the book, and they seemed too self-protective to open their eyes to a critical concern.

          Zondervan wrote me an intimidating letter (which we published in our Levitt Letter), and Criswell made up stories about me and sent them to our viewers in reply to their letters. I really lost a great deal of respect for those administrators who wrote such falsehoods about a sister ministry that really was only trying to help. In the end, I surmised that they actually believed Gundry's absurd ideas about Replacement Theology, Jesus having made a mistake in going to the Jews and fixing it by changing to the Gentiles, etc.

          At the same time, we contacted some other schools using the textbook, and we published the names of a number of them. Unfortunately, Gundry's text is somewhat popular in seminaries that are careless about what they teach. The best reply we had was from Lakeland, Florida, where Southeastern Seminary examined the textbook and threw it out. We also heard from Liberty University, where Jerry Falwell's people had quit using it, and several others who had once used it and gotten rid of it. The worst case was Dallas Baptist University, who completely ignored our complaints, no matter how much material we sent or how many people we spoke to. They still use the book.

          At Moody Bible Institute, the book had apparently been previously in use but was not in the bookstore when we called. We have heard that Moody Bible Institute is succumbing to Progressive Dispensationalism, the erroneous doctrine that seems to be behind the resurgence of this anti-Israel teaching.

          In the end, we seemed to win the battle at Criswell College since President Wells wrote to me last fall that they would not use the Gundry textbook "as a primary text in the future."

          Recently, my son, Aaron, went back to Criswell (he had withdrawn after the textbook fiasco last year). His mission was simply to check that the textbook was indeed gone or de-emphasized. He was put through some paces, having to fill out a form and apply for the privilege of sitting in on a single New Testament class. People wouldn't return phone calls, and Aaron went to quite a bit of effort to simply schedule his appointment. Finally, it was arranged—first thing in the morning for the wrong class!

          His report follows. To me the key point is that two New Testament survey courses are using the Gundry book this year as a required text rather than one, as was reported to us last year.

          Should you write to the college again? It really seems like a waste of time at this point. Criswell College is simply insensitive to Jewish issues and feelings. They defended themselves rather like the White House, obfuscating the arguments, presenting flimsy excuses, and bending the truth. If you write to them, I suppose you will hear that I'm an errant bully or, more to the point, that I'm just some Jewish meddler in their affairs. But I have always defended my sons against such people, and I find that I'm now having to defend the true church against them.

          I leave it to you whether to carry on this battle, but know that this collapse of real Biblical teaching is going on nationwide. And I'm stymied as to just what to do about it.


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My Latest Adventure at Criswell College

by Aaron Levitt
Aaron Levitt
Aaron Levitt

          I arranged to sit in on a single class in the New Testament survey course at Criswell College, wondering if they were still using the Gundry textbook. When I arrived and introduced myself to Dr. Metts, the instructor of the course, he suddenly began to look ill at ease. He said his 7:45 a.m. class had four students, only one of whom would be present today, and asked if I would like to wait for his 9:30 a.m. class. The 9:30 class is a Greek exegetical Master's Degree course, which he said covers material similar to the survey course I had requested. He said I was welcome to attend that one. I asked what time it was over. With a gracious tone, he said I could leave whenever I liked (I supposed now was preferable to him).

          Because the Master's Degree course is far more advanced than what I was looking for, and because I was specifically interested in the New Testament survey courses, I asked if the survey class would continue to meet as scheduled, every Wednesday. He then told me that the class I had been signed up to attend was this Greek exegetical one. Then Mark Tamplett, with whom I had arranged the class visitation, showed up and introduced himself, also seeming a little nervous. He, too, tried to convince me to attend the upper-level class, but Dr. Metts explained I wanted the NT survey course—the one where the Gundry book was involved. Mr. Tamplett then took me down the hall to check the posted class schedules. He looked for a long time at them. Then he started to point at one, but stopped and said to himself, "Oh, that's Dr. Wolfe's class." (Dr. Paul Wolfe is a Replacement Theologian who had offended me a year before. He was evidently still using the Gundry book in his class.) He found me five other class times for the NT survey course, which I wrote down. Then I asked him why he had arranged for me to attend the wrong course — the Master's Greek class instead of the survey course I had requested in writing (also wondering why he did not tell me of this switch when he called me to say I had permission to attend). He replied that there wasn't a survey course in the morning (for I had requested the morning) and that this Master's Degree course covered some of the same material.

          Exasperated, I went into the bookstore and asked the clerk if there was a list of the required books for each course in the fall semester. She replied that the list is not out this early. I then asked if there was a list for the current semester, so that I could at least get an idea of the books required for a New Testament Survey course. She responded, "You mean the Gundry book?" When I answered yes, she told me that Dr. Metts always uses one certain book. Since I hadn't mentioned Dr. Metts, she seemed to have heard about my trying to sit in on the class. She gave me her book list, which indicated that two NT survey courses use the Gundry book as a required text (which is one more than in the previous semester, as reported to us by Dr. Lamar Cooper). One course is taught by Dr. Johnston, a previous NT survey professor of mine, and the other by Metts himself. Thus, my former teacher is still using the book, and Dr. Metts, my erstwhile "host," as well.

          So, far from de-emphasizing the book, the college has doubled its use, as far as I could tell. In reality, I think it would take the FBI to penetrate their system and get the facts.


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The Israeli Supreme Court recently indicted American Samuel Sheinbein for murder. Sheinbein was tried in Israel and not extradited for the simple reason that his father was born in Israel. It was not a matter of Israeli defiance, but simply a matter of law. Israel is a democracy and lives by its laws just as we do.

The article makes further points regarding Palestinian Arabs that are worth considering.

Justice for some

The US wants Sheinbein, but ignores known Arab killers of Americans. Why?
By Nitsana Darshan-Leitner

          As the attorney who represented Samuel Sheinbein, the Maryland teenager accused of murder, in his initial court proceedings in Israel, I have witnessed first-hand the Clinton administration's and Attorney-General Janet Reno's intense efforts to secure the transfer of the defendant to the US for prosecution.

          With last month's Supreme Court decision that Sheinbein is not extraditable and will instead stand trial in Israel, the matter should be put to rest.

          What surprises me—and many Israelis —is that neither the administration, nor the Congressmen who have taken such an interest in the Sheinbein case, have ever asked Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to hand over to the US the Palestinian terrorists identified as having taken part in the murders of Americans, and who are now living in Arafat's territory.

          Why the loud demands to hand over an Israeli suspected of killing an American, but total silence regarding the seven Palestinian Arabs who killed Americans in recent years? Five of the seven are roaming free; the other two are in Arafat's custody, but probably not for very long, given his notorious "revolving door" justice system.

          Just because Sheinbein is not being extradited does not mean he will go free. On the contrary, he will continue to be held without bail until his trial, during which US legal officials will be able to assist the Israeli prosecutors in making their case in court.

          If Sheinbein is convicted, he will certainly receive a severe prison sentence: life imprisonment is the usual punishment for crimes of this nature. The American public can rest assured that the punishment he would receive in Israel would be comparable to what he would receive in the US.

          By contrast, Palestinian Arabs who murder Americans are treated like heroes by Arafat.

          Consider the case of Abu Abbas, who masterminded the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro, in which a wheel-chair-bound American tourist, Leon Klinghoffer, was murdered. Abbas was welcomed by Arafat in Gaza for the PLO's Palestine National Council session in 1996 — just days after the Sharm el-Sheikh summit convened by President Bill Clinton, at which Arafat pledged to fight terrorism! Abbas returned in the spring to Gaza, where he is living openly, thumbing his nose at American and Italian justice.

          Or consider the case of Amin el-Hindi. He masterminded the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre in which weightlifter David Berger, a Cleveland native, was murdered. Hindi is currently chief of the PLO's General Intelligence Service.

          A more recent case involves David Boim, an American-Israeli teenager who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists in May 1996. I have represented the Boim family in legal proceedings related to the case, and I have witnessed their pain and anguish.

          The pain of their son being murdered has been compounded by the anguish of watching the PA briefly arrest the killer, Imjad Hinawi, and then let him out for a "weekend furlough" from which he did not return.

          After Congressional protests, Arafat arrested Hinawi earlier this year, gave him a five-minute trial, and sentenced him to 10 years in prison. That's an outrageously light sentence for murder. Even worse, there is little chance Hinawi will stay in prison that long, since many other terrorists whom Arafat has sentenced to jail terms were set free after just a few months.

          Israel had also been urging Arafat to arrest the second suspect in the murder of David Boim, Khalil Ibrahim Sharif. But Arafat refused to lift a finger. Sharif later turned up as one of the three suicide bombers who blew themselves up on Jerusalem's Ben-Yehuda Street in September, killing five passersby—including a 14-year-old schoolgirl from California, Yael Botwin. If the PA authorities had arrested Sharif, he never would have been able to take part in the Ben-Yehuda bombing. Yael Botwin might still be alive.

          If Arafat and the PA could be trusted to seriously prosecute and punish the Arab killers of Americans, most Americans would probably not object to Arafat's refusal to extradite those killers.

          But Arafat refuses to prosecute or punish them. Some, like Amin el-Hindi, are even promoted to senior positions of authority—and therefore every American has a right to demand that those individuals be handed over to the US, where they will be tried according to appropriate standards of modern justice and punished as they deserve.


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A Note From Zola

Dear Friends,

          Hal Lindsey made the most interesting statement at the recent God's News Behind the News prophecy conference. He said simply, "The purpose of the Tribulation Period is to convert the Jews."

          I certainly like the idea of bringing the Jews to their Messiah; in fact, it's my life's work. And I certainly don't disagree with Brother Lindsey on this or almost any other statement he has ever made. But with that said, I must also point out that the Tribulation Period is a time of salvation for the Gentiles, as well. In fact, although it is not usually widely published, the Tribulation is probably the most vital seven years of conversion to Christ the world has seen since the days of Paul.

          I surmise that from the fact that 144,000 Jewish people are converted immediately (see Rev. 7:4, etc.) and then these go out and testify of Christ wherever they can. Evidently, they thoroughly cover the Gentile nations because, when the Lord returns, He sets up a judgment seat for those of that seven-year period only.

          I think we are all familiar with the Lord's statement in Mat. 25:40: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." But perhaps we overlook the context. It is part of a kind of an "immigration office" into the coming Kingdom for those people who demonstrated their faith by showing kindnesses to the 144,000.

          Obviously, when these Jewish believers come through a city, they are all outlaws in the society of the Antichrist. Often the police will be close behind them. When they knock on a door or approach to testify in the streets, those who encounter them will have a choice. If they have a heart for Christ, they will assist these testifiers in any way they can—especially providing food and clothing as the Lord points out in the passage. They will also tend to visit the believers who have been imprisoned, as the Lord also points out. But if they are rank unbelievers, they will, of course, think of themselves first and turn away the Jewish testifiers. And so these, "the least of the Lord's brethren," will be forsaken by those they approach with the gift of eternal life. But those who turn them away themselves forsake the Kingdom and eternity with God!

          The force of Lindsey's statement is that the 144,000 would naturally go "to the Jew first" (Romans 1:16) as we are all supposed to do. The difference between those testifiers and today's church is that they really will carry out that verse and start their witnessing in the Jewish community. God knows that is the most efficient way to reach out to the Gentiles. And eventually a veritable army of Jewish evangelists will visit all countries of the world, it seems, since the Lord will find so many to be sheep rather than goats when He returns.

          It won't be an easy task to try to testify to today's Israelis. They can be very opinionated and arrogant. The Orthodox among them are practically conducting a civil war against those they consider the unbelievers. The sad part is they're all unbelievers so far as the Messiah is concerned, and fighting among themselves isn't helping. I think the Orthodox will eventually commit what Time magazine once called "monopoly suicide" just as certain doctors and certain lawyers (and certain TV preachers) have done. They will be universally disliked and dealt with only as a matter of necessity. They will pull down their own walls upon themselves rather like Samson did in the Philistine temple.

          I guess it's only fair to add that the Moslems have far greater internal strife caused by their own "Orthodox." Certainly, the clerics of Islam have totally mastered what Revelation 2:15 calls "the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes"—the conquering of the people (laity) by the priesthood. When this happens to the crazy degree that it has in fundamentalist Moslem areas, the people are so crushed and the priesthood so uncontrollable that lives are lost, terrorism is undertaken, and everyone in the society is poorer for it.

          The Tribulation Period is of little concern to today's Christians, truth to tell. We just won't be here for it. But we need to know it as part of End Times prophecy and a proper inspiration to witness. We see how the unbeliever is concerned in 1999 that the world is ending. Imagine how he's going to feel when the Antichrist is present and everything is going to Hell in a handbasket.

          If you're at all hazy about prophecy, I recommend our own Zola Levitt Ministry's Prophecy Conference, which will be held May 29-30 here in Dallas. You'll find a form on page 7 to sign up for it, and I hope you can come. I will teach personally, along with Dr. Thomas S. McCall, our ministry's senior theologian, and Todd Baker, our staff theologian. Todd answers all of your Bible-question letters. Our special guest will be Moishe Rosen, leader of Jews for Jesus, who has a lifelong experience with the salvation of the Jews and a great deal to say about prophecy.

          And don't forget about Israel! The next two tours could possibly be your last chance to go! As you saw in the last personal letter, there is a certain amount of reason to believe that this Feast of Trumpets will be a very special one (our last one!?) and therefore we have put in two tours before that date (Sept. 10).

          Our Kibbutz tour, June 2-11, has been planned especially to suit our teachers and students and other budget-minded pilgrims. Our lodging will be at guesthouses built on these cooperative farms. The advantages are obvious: step out your front door onto the soil of an Israeli kibbutz or encounter the Sea of Galilee right outside your window. The price is much lower than our regular high-season tours. On this tour we will visit a Bedouin tent, enjoy camel rides and the sort of countryside activities we usually can't fit into our major tours. On the other hand, all the Biblical sites seen on our high-season tours, such as the Sea of Galilee, the Upper Room, the Garden Tomb, Calvary, the Mount of Olives, and Masada, will be included. There is no extension trip, just the ten-day tour of Israel. Please write to our office for details, or call us at 214-696-9760.

          Our Deluxe Fall tour is from September 1-10 (the Grand tour from September 1-18). If the Rapture of the Church occurs on the Feast of Trumpets, or Rosh Hashana, which begins this year on September 10, we will be in Israel for the Rapture! It's only a domestic flight from there!

          We are just now about to begin taping the new series. At this stage, when we are starting out for Israel to do the initial taping, we have terrific expenses. The series won't be ready until September, but the big bills come now as we must take our crew and equipment to the Holy Land. Obviously, we do it as carefully and inexpensively as possible, but it is still a heavier burden than the average Christian television program has, to go thousands of miles away to do our taping. On the other hand, we have an authenticity that those programs don't offer. Could you kindly help us with this important project? Your gift now will count much more than later on when the series is showing and the folks are sending in donations.

And remember to pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

Your messenger,

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Hidden Treasure & Lost Opportunities


          Have you ever found a real bargain at an estate sale? Here's an account of a buyer who did.

          Not long ago a lady named Martha Nelson died at age 94. Her grandson helped settle her estate. Among her possessions were two paintings by artist M. J. Heade. Their value was unrecognized and they were sold by the estate for $60.00. They were subsequently auctioned through Christie's for over $1 million. Despite lawsuits on the part of the estate, this treasure was lost to Mrs. Nelson's heirs.

          You may think that your heirs will never be concerned about such a loss; but wait—as a Christian steward you don't want any of your estate to be wasted. You want to prayerfully consider how God would have you use the assets He has placed in your care—how you can best provide for your loved ones; how you can make it easier for them; how you can make the best use of what you have; how you can set a good example to your children and grandchildren; how you can extend your Christian witness and demonstrate your love for the Lord. All of these things should be part of your estate plan. If you don't have a will, you could lose one of life's most important opportunities: your chance to decide how to distribute your possessions in accordance with God's purposes.

          As a thank-you to our friends, we are offering a book to help you get started. A Guide To Your Christian Will contains useful information on estate planning and tells how you can have a will or living trust, which is an instrument of life instead of just a formal, legal document. It includes forms which concentrate helpful data for your loved ones and which can save time and money when your lawyer prepares your estate plan. You can have a free copy of this book by sending back the request form on page 11.
David H. Olson
David H. Olson,
Lee Bernard

          Zola Levitt Ministries also has a contract with Lee Bernard Company, a professional Christian estate-planning firm with over 25 years experience in helping Christians plan their estates. If you would like more specific information about such plans as charitable remainder trusts, gift annuities, gifts of securities, real estate, or life insurance, or for a referral to a Christian attorney near you, please let us know and we will put you in touch with officers of this firm. Lee Bernard Company does not sell legal or financial services or products. They can provide you with helpful information for you to review with your personal advisors. There is no cost or obligation on your part. Contact Mark Levitt at (214) 696-8844 for additional information, or write to our post office box. You can also reach us at our toll-free number, 1-800-966-3377, by fax at (214) 696-5885, or by e-mail at .


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Letters to Zola

Note: If those writing to this ministry tell us that they do not want their letters published, we will abide by their wishes.

I am a faithful "disciple" of Zola's and have been following him for almost 10 years when I became Born Again. I really believe that God placed Zola in my life at this very formative time of my Christian walk. He has a wonderful ministry and I have learned to know God in a more complete way with Zola's Jewish perspective. We Christians should all know God this way; Jesus is Jewish and when we don't honor that part of God's plan, we are only getting half of the picture.

My husband and I would like to go on a trip to the Holy Land with Zola next spring. This will be a big deal for us and will take quite a lot of planning. Do you have any plans made for the year 2000 that we should know about?

Zola has been instrumental in helping myself and my family understand God in a very profound way. I am very grateful to have learned so much from Zola and for the insight that God has blessed him with. I am in the process of getting friends in my church to understand that there is so much more to who God is than what we only hear on Sunday mornings and in our limited Bible studies. So many of them are skeptical and not even willing to hear about the beautiful things that Zola has been teaching. What can I do and what can I say to help them understand that we "gentile" Christians know just the "tip of the iceberg"? I feel like Zola (and company) has discovered a treasure chest of beautiful never-before-known truths about God and I want so much to share this treasure with my friends!

Please answer this E-mail.

Grateful beyond words,

S. Y.

P.S. It's an honor to pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

Dear S,

What a precious e-mail! Thank you so much. We are always so glad and encouraged to hear we have made some small difference in someone's life. It makes what we do worth every minute!!

As to tours in the year 2000, I do not have any dates as yet, but if you would please send me your mailing address, I will see that you are added to our mailing list. I will also send you a copy of our next brochure so that you may see what we offer on our tours.

Once again, thank you for blessing us with your comments. They encourage and inspire us to continue on in God's work.

In His service,

Margy Shackelford
Travel Manager


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Zola has been asked to contribute a chapter for an upcoming book of the above title. This is part two of that chapter continued for your edification.

Foreshadows of Wrath
(part 2)

by Zola Levitt


Anti-Semitism: A Sign of the End

          Anti-Semitism is the motivating factor of the Antichrist, as it is for all of those who counterfeit or simply cannot accept the simple Gospel of the Lord. Jesus Christ, the Messiah of the Jews said, "If you're not for me, you're against me," and the Antichrist is certainly first among those who are against Him, and His people, at the end. It is amazing that just a generation after the Holocaust, anti-Semitism is obvious again in the world today. In the United States and elsewhere, the Jews, for reasons hard to understand, are despised with a special derision. From American country clubs to Swiss banks to Oriental imaginings of Jewish-caused economic problems, hatred of Israel and the Jewish people is a normal state of affairs in this world. And increasing anti-Semitism is a true symptom of the end of the age.

          Anti-Semitism has a long history, much of it chronicled in scripture. Moses' pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Antiochus and Titus received scriptural credit, or were prophesied in scripture, but hatred of the Jews did not let up after Biblical times. The coming of the Moslems in the seventh century A.D. was the beginning of a perennial prejudice against Israel as virulent today as it ever was. The Crusades, the Inquisition and general discrimination against Jewish communities throughout Europe and Russia kept the chosen people moving from place to place in hope of respite. Finally in the United States, and seemingly only there, did the soles of their feet find rest and there they prospered.

          But even in America, anti-Semitism has been a latent, but effective, force against God's Chosen. We could take for granted a certain amount of anti-Jewishness in the church, particularly in the "liberal" churches. It was these very denominations who punished the Jews in Europe throughout the Middle Ages. One does not normally find aversion to the Jews among Bible-reading people, but occasionally the biases of the denominations seem to infect the true believers. And even some Biblical seminaries and colleges are going awry.

          Because of a situation concerning my own son, I had to take action against a certain textbook at a Bible college recently. I told the story in a letter from our ministry and I will quote from that here. ". . . of making many books there is no end" (Ecc. 12:12). That would be fine with me if they were all good books. But sometimes I run into something really discouraging. One of our ministry's most tedious duties is responding to churches, seminaries and the like to correct their anti-Israel and anti-Jewish biases. When my son Aaron went to a Christian high school, a teacher said one day that Christianity did not start in Israel, but actually in Greece. I ended up sitting in the principal's office, having to inform a so-called Bible teacher that thousands of people were saved in Israel at Pentecost, in Antioch, in Ephesus, etc., before the Gospel took real root in Greece. I informed him that Jesus Christ is Jewish. So were all of His disciples and all of His apostles. I explained that all of the New Testament writers were Jews and that Christianity is part and parcel of Judaism. I reminded him that Jesus came to this earth and declared to His disciples, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 10:5,6).

          I was discouraged that this teacher, in a denominational school, had so little comprehension of Scripture. Most of the large denominations put the Bible away long ago and are almost unaware of the roots of their faith. I was relieved when Aaron graduated and went on to Dallas Baptist University, and then to The Criswell College to take up serious Bible studies. But lately I have been very disappointed. A perfectly awful textbook called A Survey of the New Testament, by Robert H. Gundry, is in use at both colleges. It is the most anti-Israel, anti-Semitic and Biblically wrong-headed textbook I personally have ever seen. I used to teach at Dallas Baptist University, and I realized then the sober responsibility of those who would train future pastors and other ministry workers. I would not have had such a book in the same building with my students.

Let me give you a few quotations:

  • Trying to leave out the Jews, the author asserts, "'And they glorified the God of Israel' (Matthew 15:31), shows that the 4,000 whom Jesus now feeds are Gentiles."

    This preposterous idea on the part of the one who said, "I am come only unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 15:24) is followed by a vain attempt to create a non-Jewish following of Jesus. The author goes on, "Together then, with the preceding Gentile woman and, earlier, the centurion and the Magi, they represent the great mass of Gentiles who are flocking into the church of Matthew's time." Naturally, there was no Church in Matthew's time, nor any "great mass of Gentiles" saved in the Gospels, though they are to come in considerable numbers later on.

  • The author subscribes to Replacement Theology: "Matthew writes his Gospel for the Church as the new chosen nation, which at least for the time being has replaced the old chosen nation of Israel."

  • "Luke was probably a Gentile ... his name is Greek. His facility in using the Greek language also suggests that he was a Gentile ...." The same things were true of Paul, certainly a Jew and a "Pharisee of Pharisees." Other inane arguments on the point are contradicted by our excellent study by Dr. McCall entitled "Was Luke a Gentile?" which appears in the March 1996 issue of the Levitt Letter. You can read it on our website at www.levitt.com.

  • When Peter converts Cornelius, he has to "defend himself against parochially minded Jewish believers in Jerusalem who criticize his going to the Gentiles." Naturally, these Jewish believers were questioning of Peter because they had never seen Gentile salvation before. Evidently, they missed author Gundry's 4,000 Gentiles fed, followed by "the great mass of Gentiles flocking into the Church of Matthew's time." I could go on and on. This is a book a competent Bible teacher can open almost anywhere and want to laugh, or cry, out loud. Truly the author has an agenda to promote an anti-Israel Replacement Theology doctrine, and he utterly misunderstands the mission of Jesus Christ, who came, as He said, to bring the Kingdom to Israel. If secular colleges are bothered by PC (political correctness), the Bible colleges need to watch out for PD (Progressive Dispensationalism), the awful doctrine behind these distortions.

          This must be the first book on the New Testament whose index does not even mention Israel. The book refers to the land as Palestine, has a map called "Palestine in the Time of Jesus" (as does the new MacArthur Study Bible), and calls Peter, John, etc., Jesus' "Palestinian disciples." I can't say it strongly enough: this textbook is a travesty. I am amazed that any believing Christian anywhere would try to defend it.

          When Aaron originally came to me, troubled about what he was hearing in class and reading in this textbook, I consulted Dr. Tom McCall, senior theologian of our ministry, and asked what to do. Aaron had selected 49 different passages that were unacceptable, even to a 19-year old freshman Bible student. Dr. McCall, an ordained Baptist minister and theologian of great experience and skill, counseled me to schedule a meeting with the college administration. We discussed the fact that these two colleges were not unique. Dr. McCall mentioned other conservative seminaries, including Moody Bible College and Dallas Theological Seminary, whose doctrines concerning Israel seem to be subject to Progressive Dispensationalism. I would appeal to our readers and viewers to ask questions at their own Bible schools about such doctrines as amillennialism, Progressive Dispensationalism, and all the other fancy "isms" for cutting Israel and the Jews out of faith in the Jewish Messiah. The problems seem endemic. Of course, the liberal seminaries, the public media, and certain Christian magazines are a lost cause on this issue. They have long ago written off the family of our Lord.

          But back to The Criswell College. Aaron and I met with the President and the Executive Vice President, and we discussed his 49 points. We were treated courteously and both administrators substantially agreed with all of our complaints. They seemed disappointed and taken aback that such a textbook had gotten into their college. They knew the author's doctrine was suspect, they admitted. They told me they would correct the situation in good time. Two months later, I was obliged to write and ask if anything was being done. And nearly six months later, I finally received a letter defending the textbook — even defending the use of the term Palestine for the Israel of Jesus' time! (Zola Levitt Ministries letter, June 1998)

          It was a long battle just to get the attention of these college administrators, notwithstanding that I had made my original complaint six months previously. I was confronted with a situation where I turned to my own readers in desperation. The above letter was received at the beginning of June at The Criswell College but was ignored. Later in June, Dr. McCall wrote a heartfelt letter to the president of Criswell. That one received an answer some two months after it was written and after we had reported this college to every relevant authority we could think of. But the story has a relatively happy ending. In a long letter that again defended the textbook and the author, President C. Richard Wells finally stated the following:

"On the other hand, it is unquestionably true that Gundry's eschatology differs from that which is stated in the Articles of Faith of The Criswell College. Of course, as you would know from your own experience in theological higher education, the use of a text does not imply that either the professor or the institution agrees with everything in the text. Still, in such cases, we (speaking of this institution) are duty bound to make clear where and how a text differs from our doctrinal position.

For some weeks, I have reflected on and prayed over your objections to our use of the Gundry text, all in light of our obligation to teach faithfully. My judgement is that, while it seems best not simply to forbid outright any use whatsoever of the Gundry book, if a professor has good reason for doing so, we should at the same time instruct faculty to make clear where Gundry's text differs from the doctrinal statement of The Criswell College.

As a practical matter, however, these strictures hardly appear necessary. As Dr. Cooper indicated, the Gundry text was not used at all in the spring semester. This fall, only one professor plans to use it — and then only as a supplement to his two other primary texts. (The professor is using it because of its superb chronological outline of the New Testament, but is not requiring it to be read as a main text.) At this point, we do not anticipate its use as a primary text in the future."

          At the same time, we received a rather angry letter from Zondervan Publishing House and a 2000-word defense of his textbook from author Gundry. Zondervan felt that my complaints were "reckless, unjustified, arbitrary, and groundless" and said they had received "a few letters and e-mail messages" from our viewers and readers. They were sending the Gundry defense to those folks, and they threatened me that I had to print it all if I were going to criticize it. In the end we printed most of it, along with a critique by Dr. McCall. For your edification, that interesting debate is available in our September 1998 newsletter which you can find on the web at www.levitt.com.

          Our viewers nationwide began to call their local seminary and Christian college bookstores to determine which institutions were using the textbook. We will eventually publish a complete listing of those schools. There are plenty of other bad textbooks in our seminaries and plenty of other seminaries that have fallen into this sort of doctrine. I don't need to single out the ones mentioned other than tell my personal experiences with them. As a matter of fact, our ministry made a telephone survey of evangelical seminaries and determined that this particular textbook is in use in about 50 of them nationwide. That is approximately 15% of those listed in the National Evangelical Directory. Some of the best-known names in Christian education are involved, I'm afraid. We also discovered schools that sent the book back after obtaining it from the publisher.

          In view of the fact that Zondervan Publishing House claims to have printed 250,000 copies over the nearly thirty years of the textbook's three editions, a large number of church men and women have sat under this sort of error. Almost 30 graduating classes are out there in churches and ministries evidently believing that Jews are unimportant and the church has replaced Israel.



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Copyright © 1999 by Zola Levitt Ministries, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. All rights reserved. Brief passages may be quoted in reviews or other article. For all other use, please get our written approval.