By Viola Larson, Naming His Grace blog
When I followed a link to the Presbyterian journal, Unbound, this morning, I couldn’t help thinking of how so many great British mysteries and novels bring their contradictory and troubling plots and characters together in explosive scenarios of disaster thus leveling all to a final equality as the author sorts out the good and the bad of her story. C.S. Lewis’ Hideous Strength is one example, A.S. Byatt’s Possession another. The literary device allows peace to emerge from chaos.
With an introduction by Rev. Chris Iosso, general editor and coordinator of Advocacy Committee of Social Witness Policy, Nahida H. Gordon has written an open letter which Unbound has placed under the title, “Ransom Captive Palestine? Salvation History in the Presbyterian Hymnal.” Connected to all this is a link to Rev. Thomas Are Sr.’s article Zionist Liturgy. 
Gordon as well as Are complain about the section in the Presbyterian hymnal that is titled “God’s Covenant with Israel.” They are afraid that some in the denomination may see the title Israel in both that section and in hymns as too connected to the modern state of Israel. Iosso tries to agree with them but in his carefulness makes some rather strange statements. And altogether this does remind me of the chaos developing in both the Presbyterian Church (USA) and British stories. Some progressives have now, alongside some conservatives, found a reason to be unhappy with the hymnal. But of course the issue is far larger than that.
What of ancient Israel and the modern State of Israel? What of God’s covenant with Israel—what of “captive Israel?” Is Gordon’s history and theology totally correct? Is Iosso’s theology correct? There are some answers.