Study Circle

Around 30 people gathered at Sabeel’s Study Circle June 18 for a talk and discussion lead by Rev. George Shand of St. Andrews Church of Scotland in Jerusalem about the ground-breaking Church of Scotland report, “The Inheritance of Abraham? A report on the ‘promised land.’” The report, a culmination of 10 years of theology study, discussion, and debate, was overwhelming adopted in May by the Church of Scotland and has since caused waves around the world – both controversy and inspiration. In the report, the Church of Scotland rejects any premise that scripture offers any people a divine right to territory. In his presentation, Rev. Shand presented three different understandings of Biblical scripture outlined in the report: 1) One that presents unconditional and literal promises, such as a territorial guarantee; 2) One that views the “land of Israel” as is conditional gift from God and a land held in trust that must be lived in according to God’s instruction; and 3) One that sees the land with a universal mission. This third understanding views the ‘promised land’ not so much as a place, but rather a metaphor of how things ought to be among the people of God, where justice and peace reign, the weak and the poor are protected, etc. It is third, inclusive view that led the Church of Scotland to make its conclusion about the scriptures.