Here is a truly arrogant sermon preached by the popular British conservative evangelical preacher Stuart Olyott whilst he was the pastor of Belvidere Road Church in Liverpool, UK. If the Bealtes were Jewish and were singing about Olyott they’d have sung he loves me? no, no, no! Olyott is also the Pastoral Director of the Evangelical Movement of Wales.
Most anti-missionaries will be happy to know that Olyott thinks it is nonsense to believe that the Jewish people will come to faith in Jesus in the future. However Olyott is no friend of the Jewish people and less so of the State of Israel. He mocks Jewish self-identity claiming incorrectly at 4:04 that “Jews themselves have no definition of what a Jew is” and falsely claims the only definition “in the world of men” of who a Jew is, is the one from the State of Israel. Apparently he has never heard of Halacha which has been very clear for a very long time on the question of who is a Jew!
However, unconcerned with actual Jewish opinion and history, Olyott continues and seeks to misuse Romans 2 to redefine what he thinks a Jew is, however he has a very slanted run-up to create a particular impression before he reads it. He admits that the Apostle Paul was a Jew, according to Halacha, but then misinterprets what Paul states when he reflects Deuteronomy 10:16 where there is a spiritual circumcision of the heart which is the flip side of the coin of physical Jewish identity. Paul does not claim that Gentiles who have spiritual circumcision of the heart are now the real Jews, the real Israel who replace those who only have the physical but not the spiritual. Paul claims what the Torah states that there has always been a spiritual dimension to the physical fact of being born a Jew, which includes loving the Lord God with all ones heart, soul and strength.
Olyott continues in classic Crusader theology style as he characterises Jewish opinion as one of arrogant chosenness and the belief that God will not judge the Jewish people. It is telling the Olyott does not read the text, he simply gives his own simplistic twisted reinterpretation of it. 6:30 he states “Jewishness is not a matter of having the 10 Commandments… being circumcised… having Abraham as your father…”
Ignoring the fact that this sermon just sounds so racist and antisemtic, is Olyott right in his interpretation of Paul? It seems like Paul asks a similar question “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision?” in Romans 3:1, but Paul’s answer is very different to Olyott’s one, Olyott’s claims that a true Jew is a non-Jewish people like Olyott who think they love, serve and praise God, and because “Jew means praise”, “those only are Jews, in God’s eyes” (7min 20sec).
Paul’s answer starts in Romans 3:2 “Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.” So Paul’s definition of a Jew is someone who is circumcised and born into the people whose forefathers received the Torah at Mount Sinai.
Paul gets sidetracked for the rest of Romans and returns to his answer to the question of what is the benifit of being a Jew in chapter 9 and give definitive criteria for who a Jew is, they are his people the people of Israel and he then lists various advantages of being a Jew from the history of God’s dealings with Israel.
Romans 9:1-5 “1 I speak the truth in Christ–I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit– 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.”
If you really have to, you can listen to all of Olyott’s sermon here