I recently came across a story on God Reports of how a Jewish man from New York became a Christian. What makes James Tour interesting is that he is a rather famous nanotech computer scientist.
He holds over 120 patents and in 2015 was actually inducted into the National Academy of Inventors. He has taught at every major university in the US and Thebestschools.org nominated him as one of “The 50 most Influential Scientists in the World Today.”
He has also written 650 research papers and R&D Magazine chose Tour as the top research scientist in the US in 2013 and four years earlier he was nominated as one of the top ten chemical scientists in the world by Thomson Reuters. These are just a sampling of the numerous awards that Tour has received.
He currently serves as both a Professor of Materials Science and NanoEngineering, and Professor of Computer Science at Rice University in Houston, Texas.
He is a pre-eminent scientist who believes in Jesus and Tour explains his journey to Christ in a video produced by One for Israel:
Before his conversion, Tour described himself as a casual Jew attending the odd service and bar mitzvah. But that changed when Tour started taking organic chemistry at Syracuse University where he encountered his first, born-again Christians.
He had a discussion with one believer who used a drawing to explain that people are separated from God by a giant gorge called sin and that Jesus came to die for this sin and remove this separation.
When this Christian added that we are all sinners, including Tour, he was shocked by this statement, because there was little mention of sin in the few synagogue services he attended. He did not consider himself a sinner, because he had never killed anyone.
But that changed, when the person showed Tour Matthew 5:28, where Jesus said that even looking at a woman in lust was sin.
At that moment, Tour was overwhelmed with guilt because of his struggle with pornography:
“I felt just as if I had just been punched in right in the chest. Here I was new in college and I didn’t think anybody knew…. I became addicted to pornography.”
Tour then started reading the New Testament and on November 7, 1977, he finally made the decision to become a Christian and at that moment a very strange thing happened:
“All of sudden someone was in my room. I was on my knees and I opened my eyes. Who is in the room?
“Jesus Christ stood in my room. This amazing sense that God, Jesus, was in my room and I wasn’t scared. All I started doing was weeping. The presence was so glorious because He was in my room that day and I didn’t want to get up. And this amazing sense of forgiveness started to come upon me.”
But what really caught my attentions was Tour’s description of the New Testament:
I started to realize how Jewish the New Testament is. This book is so Jewish. The New Testament is so Jewish. It is all around Jewish people.
Here is the critical point that many believers miss — Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. When you believe in Jesus, and this includes gentiles, you become a true Israeli, like Abraham, Moses, David and Jeremiah who were looking ahead to the coming Jewish Messiah.
But somehow we have separated Christianity from Israel, but the two are one and the same, which is why Stephen refers to the Israel in Moses’ day as the Church in the wilderness (Acts 7:38) and the Apostle Paul referred to the church in Galatia as the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16).
The church is simply the continuation of Israel. According to the Apostle Paul, the believing gentiles have simply been grafted into the true Israel made up of those Old Testament saints looking ahead to the Jewish Messiah and the Messianic Jews, who believe Jesus is the Messiah after the Lord arrived (Romans 11:11-24).
The church is a part of Israel and a continuation of true Israel.
So, what happened? Why did this change?
I believe dispensationalism is probably the greatest heresy to hit the Christian church in the past couple of centuries. It surfaced around 1850 through the teachings of a man named John Darby.
It involves the belief that when the Jews failed to accept Jesus as the Messiah, God rejected Israel and created the church.
It was a separate entity that God would use to take the Gospel to the world. The Church was also considered God’s second choice.
It further promoted the idea that God moved through different dispensations in world history. You have the dispensation of the law and the early church is referred to as the apostolic dispensation, which is different from the dispensation that the church is involved in today.
You see this playing out, when you run into Christians who say that the healing and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not for today. This is because they believe those were only intended for the believers in the Apostolic dispensation.
James Tour’s testimony reveals that the church is simply a continuation of Israel, those who accept Jesus as the Jewish messiah. Tour is also a foreshadowing of what is to come as one day the Jews, in mass, will accept Jesus as their Messiah (Romans 11:26).