I just read a profound essay on the relations between Christians and Jews in America, Why Don’t Jews Like the Christians Who Like Them? by James Q. Wilson. It’s deep, thoughtful, intriguing and asks a very legitimate, even existential question.
Wilson, who passed away in 2012, was a favorite of American conservatives, especially since he is considered the father of the “broken windows theory.” On the unusual relationship between evangelicals and Jews he wrote:
Evangelical Christians have a high opinion not just of the Jewish state but of Jews as people. That Jewish voters are overwhelmingly liberal doesn’t seem to bother evangelicals, despite their own conservative politics. Yet Jews don’t return the favor: in one Pew survey, 42 percent of Jewish respondents expressed hostility to evangelicals and fundamentalists. As two scholars from Baruch College have shown, a much smaller fraction—about 16 percent—of the American public has similarly antagonistic feelings toward Christian fundamentalists.
While conceding that “it is quite possible that Orthodox Jews welcome evangelical support while Reform and secular ones oppose it,” Wilson nevertheless tries to explain this phenomenon from conservative eyes…
“Must Jews Dislike the Christians who like Them?”
JewishPress.com, Originally published Jan. 7, 2014
I read this article with interest mixed with a dash of dismay. It’s the Jewish voice saying to evangelicals, “Yes, like us, love us, just keep your Christianity to yourselves.” That’s actually a reasonable request from a Jewish point of view. To punctuate that statement, here’s more of Hanover’s commentary:
As an observant Jew, I endorse all the facts in Wilson’s article, and offer an honest, heartfelt response. Accounting only for my own feelings, but certain they are common to many Jews like myself, I must tell Evangelicals: You annoy the goal post hockey stick hockey stick out of us.
For a Christian, to love someone is inseparable from sharing with that person (or group) the gospel message of Jesus Christ, the message of personal salvation, the invitation to convert to Christianity and to share the blessings of a risen Jesus.
But for nearly two thousand years, that invitation of Christians to Jews has been seen by Jewish populations as an extreme threat, in many cases resulting in pogroms, torture, maimings, and murder. While such violent means are not currently employed against Jews (and others) by “the Church,” the “racial memory” in Jewry is long and intransigent. Most Christians are so inured, so hopelessly devoted to the system of the “salvation plan” for everyone (especially Jews), that they can’t see why Jewish people feel so threatened by the “love” of Jesus Christ.
Hanover goes on to say:
I have no problem with your discovering Jesus and embracing Jesus and putting your faith in Jesus – I actually support that.
But why can’t you keep it to yourselves? Why must you insist that I, too, reject my grandfather’s Torah, stop praying the way my family has done since the minus fifteen hundreds, and accept your Jesus, and in my heart, no less?
I suppose I could invoke the modern Messianic Jewish movement and the Messianic Jewish luminaries of the 19th century, but it would still be difficult to break through the preconceptions most Jewish people have about Jews who actually have come to faith in Jesus as the Messiah, as Hanover describes:
The majority of you don’t speak Hebrew well enough to even understand my Bible, never mind assert foolish things about prophecies predicting Jesus. And those of you who do have a half decent command of Biblical Hebrew either lack the scholarship to understand why those “proofs” are idiotic, or are outright swindlers, looking to mislead innocent, ignorant Jews.
From necessity, normative religious Jews must believe that any Jewish person who has converted to Christianity is ignorant of the truth of the Jewish scriptures, and thus easily swayed by the inaccurate Christian interpretation of said-scriptures. Worse, some Christians are characterized as “outright swindlers,” wolves in sheep’s clothing, out to do what the Holocaust started, destroy Jews and Judaism, not by murdering Jewish people in gas chambers, but turning them from Jews into Goyishe Christians, effectively reducing or eliminating the remaining Jewish population of our planet.
In other words, while I and my fellow faithful Jews like the fact that the next pogrom will not come from an Evangelical torch and pitchfork crowd, we still don’t trust you. You can’t say you love me for who I am, because who I am includes a thorough rejection of the essence of your ideology, all of it, completely, I hold that there’s no truth to it whatsoever.
I’m sure it must be painful for many Christians who authentically love Israel and the Jewish people to discover that you (we) are not trusted by the objects of your (our) love for the reasons I’ve stated above and for the reasons Hanover outlines.
And this is an amazing follow-up question:
Now do you love me? Do you love me in a future in which Jesus doesn’t come, and you continue to hold on to your faith, and I to mine?
Christianity, and I include the Hebrew Roots movement and all of its divisions here, loves the Jewish people only as long as the Jewish people are Christians/Messianics. We talk about love of Jews but those are only the Jewish people we know and who we imagine believe and think about God, Messiah, and the Bible the same way we do.
But what if they don’t or worse, what if Jewish people who were once Christians or Messianics leave the fold?
I previously wrote a blog post on this topic called Apostasy, Pentecostalism, and Other Things That Go “Bump” in the Night that took heavy criticism in multiple arenas of the “believing” world. One reason I was criticized was because the author of a blog significantly disapproving of Jewish “apostates” (from Christianity) said he was only looking “at several examples of apostasy among friends and family, and what steps we can take to strengthen faith.”
However, that can be taken as, “I love the Jewish people and Israel only as long as they profess faith in Jesus Christ, and the minute they undergo a crisis of faith, and for any reason whatsoever leave the faith (in Christ), I will publicly brand them with a scarlet letter ‘A’ and make an already agonizing personal and spiritual situation and decision more difficult and embarrassing for each and every one of them.”
I included commentary on John MacArthur and his Strange Fire conference in my previous blog post because I believe MacArthur’s approach to Charismatics/Pentecostals was in the same vein, as if he were saying, “I love you but if you fail to accept my interpretation of your religious practices, I will ‘demonize’ the whole lot of you as publicly as possible.”
I consider the conference and book, Gifts of the Spirit produced by First Fruits of Zion to be a much more measured and reasonable approach to the issues raised in an examination of those “gifts of the spirit,” but where is the more reasonable Christian/Hebrew Roots approach to the world of non-Messianic Jews?
Do we love those Jewish people and that Israel? Is our “love” so conditional that we automatically condemn and defame the majority of Jewish people living on the earth? Do we defame and humiliate their ancestors, from the great Rabbinic sages to the lowly Jewish farmers or shepherds who were struggling to barely support their families in some part of Eastern Europe or Russia while, Tevye-like, they all opened their hearts to the God of their fathers?
I previously reviewed Dr. Stuart Dauermann’s article “The Jewish People are Us — not Them,” written for the Fall 2013 issue of Messiah Journal where part of this concern is addressed.
It’s tragic to imagine that Jews who have come to faith in Jesus within a traditional Evangelical or Pentecostal framework assign the identity of “otherness” to their Jewish brothers and sisters who are not Christian/Messianic. It’s as if, even from a believing Jewish perspective, faith in Jesus Christ separates a Jew from the larger Jewish community and Judaism rather than expressing the height of what it is to be a Jew.
Of course, Christianity and Judaism have traveled wildly differing trajectories over the past twenty centuries or so, but if Gentile and Jewish disciples of the Jewish Messiah are ever to experience any unity before the throne of the King of the Jews in the Messianic Era, then those trajectories must be reunited.
In reading Hanover’s article, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the different spiritual trajectories traveled by me, a Christian husband, and my spouse, a Jewish wife. For her, like Hanover, any overt “Christianity” must “annoy the goal post hockey stick hockey stick out of” her.
If it were just a matter of me being “annoying” to Jewish people because I’m a Christian, I could cure that in an instant by withdrawing from any contact with the Jewish community (although I must say that currently, I am not involved in any sense), but this is personal and this is family.
To be fair, my wife accepts and shares my viewpoint on supporting Israel and sends me emails and even the occasional religious/rabbinic commentary if she thinks I’ll find it interesting. But I can’t get past the idea that she must think she’s “sleeping with the enemy,” so to speak.
I don’t know. My faith says that I must share the truth of the good news of the Messiah with everyone. Further, as I’ve stated many times on this blog, I believe the good news is actually good news to the Jews first, and then also to the Gentiles (though “the Church” has this completely backward).
If I were to follow the “apostasy police” model, I’d have to offer my wife a divorce since she refused to “convert to Christianity,” as well and embarrass her in as public a manner as possible, all for the sake of “love” and “strengthening the faith” of my fellow Gentile and Jewish believers.
But I’m not going to do that, not to Jewish friends and absolutely not to my Jewish family. I’ve already said that if the Apostle Paul never abandoned his unbelieving brothers and sisters, I certainly don’t think God left them in the dust either:
I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
–Romans 9:1-5 (NASB)
But intermarriage, just like an “interfaith” community, doesn’t come without strings attached, as Hanover concludes:
But you must keep your missionary urges to yourselves. You can even lie to me and say you don’t have them – I’ll accept it. I’ll lie to you in return and say that my tradition says your teachings have value. We can co-exist this way for generations, bettering our societies and contributing good to the world. (emph. mine)
Just do something about your impulse to convert me.
In 1970, singer Joni Mitchell wrote a song called The Last Time I Saw Richard which includes the lyrics:
You like roses and kisses and pretty men to tell you
All those pretty lies pretty lies
I can’t stop being who I am and that’s a disciple of the Master, King of the Jews, and I can’t stop walking the path that the Master has set before me, but I won’t let that path take me into the fork in the road that leads to “crypto-anti-Semitism,” either. So what’s left? Unlike the person in Mitchell’s song, I can’t shut out reality and listen to “pretty lies” about the peaceful co-existence between Christians and Jews, and I do believe there will be a co-participation between Jews and Gentiles in the future Messianic Kingdom (and if it be Hashem’s will, before).
Maybe the modern Messianic Jewish movement is the “first fruits” of that “re-unity,” but I have to believe that, both personally and corporately, we still have a long way to go before the love of many Christian/Hebrew Roots folks for the Jewish people and Israel is more than just a “pretty lie” with strings attached.
I know this all sounds very cynical, but if you are a non-Jewish believer who says you love the Jewish people and Israel, remember that for the most part, those people and that nation may not love you in return and may never desire to hear the “good news of Jesus Christ.”
Tell me, do you still love them? Do you still accept them unconditionally as who they are, knowing they believe that Jesus could never, ever be the Messiah?
I didn’t plan on writing this “meditation.” I didn’t want to open up wounds that never seem to quite heal, especially in public. But the scabs keep getting picked at whether I want them to be or not.
29 thoughts on “Christianity’s Love for Israel and Other Pretty Lies”
This puts me in mind of a poignant poem by Robert Browning that illustrates the background for the Jewish viewpoint you’ve cited. The entirety may be read at: , though the 18th & 19th stanzas that I reproduce here will provide the flavor. Note particularly the last line of stanza 19 as juxtaposed with what precedes it.
Holy Cross Day
By Robert Browning (1812–1889)
On which the Jews were forced to attend an annual Christian sermon in Rome
Browning calls this poem “Holy Cross Day,” but in Evelyn’s time the sermon was preached on Jan. 7th, as the following extract from his diary shows:
“A sermon was preach’d to the Jewes at Ponte Sisto, who are constrained to sit till the houre is don: but it is with so much malice in their countenances, spitting, humming, coughing and motion that it is almost impossible they should heare a word from the preacher. A conversion is very rare.”
“We withstood Christ then? be mindful how
At least we withstand Barabbas now!
Was our outrage sore? but the worst we spared,
To have called these—Christians,—had we dared!
Let defiance of them, pay mistrust of thee,
And Rome make amends for Calvary!
“By the torture, prolonged from age to age,
By the infamy, Israel’s heritage,
By the Ghetto’s plague, by the garb’s disgrace,
By the badge of shame, by the felon’s place,
By the branding tool, the bloody whip,
And the summons to Christian fellowship.
@James — I keep forgetting that the system automatically deletes any text inside triangle brackets such as commonly used in other systems to indicate URLs. Here is the URL again, for those wishing to read the entire poem: [http://www.bartleby.com/297/11.html].
It seems not much has changed since then, PL.
Edit: Thanks for the link.
Sobering and thoughtful article James.
Thanks, Steve. Yes, it is sobering and hopefully it will provide many with something to think about and the nature of love.
Mark Kinzer’s book, ‘Post-Missionary Messianic Judaism’ addresses what he believes is the root of this distrust by Jews for evangelicals: missionizing. Liberal Christians don’t missionize Jews, conservative Christians do.
And yet liberal Christians oppose Israel, demand a so-called “two-state solution,” and don’t support Jewish causes. Conservative evangelicals are the opposite, but perhaps some of them have “strings attached” as I mention in my blog post.
I think that the following teaching (written around 1935) is needed for everyone who wishes to engage any conversation with other people, especially if the talk involves religious beliefs:
“But before the needle pricks living flesh, one must ensure that the needle, the hands of the injector, and the area of the injection, are all free of the most microscopic bit of foreign matter.”
Dear James, I am so grateful to have “happened” upon your blog. It is a blessing, a provoking, an encouragement, a prayer, a tool…and I appreciate you honest approach to all that you write. Last year, my son and I had the blessed opportunity to serve as volunteers in Israel. We served with a group that were not of any “religious” affiliation, and indeed this was a stumbling block within our church for which we needed to present our hearts to allow for letters of support to be handed out to those who understood. There seems to be a fine line between Missionary work for the purpose of the GOSPEL, and service for the purpose of being a living sacrifice. This post touched me because it reminded me of the the Blessing of serving as my Master did, even if HIS message would be held at bay. I continue to pray for the Salvation of all Israel, for the Peace of Jerusalem, for opportunities to serve His People, for doors to be opened to shed the Light of the Gospel…and pray for the unity of faith between US…who are the redeemed. May mediation today :
Ephesians 2:13 13 But now in Messiah Yeshua you who once were far off are made near in the blood of Messiah. 14 For He is our peace, who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition, 15 having abolished in His flesh the hostility, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man of the two, making peace; 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, having killed the hostility thereby… 20 being built on the foundation of the emissaries and prophets, Messiah Yeshua Himself being the chief cornerstone. . . So don’t be afraid. Be strong, and get on with rebuilding the Temple! Zechariah 8:13 . . . Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16 . . . So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Ephesians 2:9 . . . We are carefully joined together in Him, becoming a holy temple in the Lord. Ephesians 2:21 . . . I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. Revelation 21:22 Let us PRAY for a Revelation among the Assemblies and Churches of our LORD.
Thank you for your diligence to continue to blog and be an open book. Sincerely, Jean
I am a Gentile grafted into the Branch. I was raised in a very strict Protestant Christian Church that certainly through legalism controlled their members. I saw very little love or concern in the Leaders of the Church, but much love in the women teachers of the children. One godly woman had us in the 5th grade on Wednesday night memorizing scripture. After rebelling and finding the world in the sixties and seventies, the entanglement only increased in the love of money, the power of business; the combination of money, alcohol, and women. One verse from the dedicated servant of God that was drilled into my mind (meaningless then 10 & 11) was 2 Timothy 2:15. Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needth not to be ashamed rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Where is the offspring of the 1st Century Christian? When did Christianity change? Why would you trust anyone who killed your fathers, stoled your property, and scattered your nation into all parts of the world? The real question is whether you are worshiping a Gentile Jesus or a Jewish Jesus. 70 A.D. was horrific and tragic, over a million Jew slaughter and young men taken back to build the Collisium that would be used later to kill Christians. Cathedrals built on top of Jewish Christian churches. It only got worse, just for a few monumental examples: Christian Crusades of 1099, the Spanish Inquisition, the hatred of the Jesus Messiah from the blood-line of David. It started in 315 A.D. but laws of the Counsel of Nicean 538 A.D. of going after even their own, stripping them of title, exile, and even burning at the stake if they still were resistant to the teaching of 3 equal gods. Did God transform himself into Jesus, or is He the Father as it says. Does one have the Spirit of God, or the spirit of the 3rd person first introduced in the Beginning in the Garden? If the tri-unity could be found in the Bible, I would running with it dripping in blood. The Lady in Purple ahd Scarlet drunken with the blood of the Saints is very revealing. The 7 churches in Revelation in not the history of the church. Who and what were the Protestant Reformest heading the Reformation – then what was the Counter- Reformation in the 14th-18th Century? Do you have the label of Protestant – then look up the definition – Protestors of the Vatican – Holy See. Have Christian Church come out – some, but not far enough – the Doctrine of Jesus Christ is accepting both the Father and the Son, 2 John – Anything else is a antichrist. Today Christianity is following the Jesuit Priest teaching – Futurist Teaching – Antichrist in the Future – don’t worry Christians, you will be Raptured out before he shows up – and yet – 1 John said they even go out from us now – 2,000 years ago. If you don’t have Truth in you, neither do you have God in you, and/or His Spirit of Truth, Jesus Christ. If you profess to follow Jesus Christ, then you will obey His teachings and commandment. Matthew 23 and 24 are very revealing. I accept the first 5 books of the Word of God, but also the teachings of His Prophets, and most especially the teachings of Jesus Christ who came to fulfill the Law, not kill it. Today’s teachings are projected well from a guess on Sid Roth’s Supernatural – Michael Brown – the deceptive message of Hyper-grace. You can find this on my site: http://www.the7thdayreturnofthelord.com We have come into the 7th Millennium, 7,000 years since Creation. We were born in the last days of false prophets with Deception going on for 2,000 years. We have entered new territory, The Beginning of the End of the Age when now Truth is going to be Revealed and is at an alarming and rapid rate in all areas of World Leaders, Politics, Governments, Business, and even Religion before the Return of our Lord. Psalms 118:8 Do you put your confidence in man, or trust in God.
James, you said: “I know this all sounds very cynical, but if you are a non-Jewish believer who says you love the Jewish people and Israel, remember that for the most part, those people and that nation may not love you in return and may never desire to hear the “good news of Jesus Christ.”
Tell me, do you still love them? Do you still accept them unconditionally as who they are, knowing they believe that Jesus could never, ever be the Messiah?”
The answer to your question must be “yes” since we are to be loving, patient, kind, and respectful to all unbelievers, which certainly includes unbelieving Jews.
Of course, our relationship with Jews is unique, since our faith originated from and is (in our view) the extension of theirs.
The animosity felt by Jews toward Christians is understandable, and to a very large extent, deserved. Paul had warned the Gentile believers to not be arrogant or conceited toward the Jews (Rom 11:18-20). We badly violated that instruction long ago and many times. And obviously, it is an affront to Jews that we should be telling them what their scripture means.
However, Israel is also going through a time of “hardening”, and as Paul continued in Rom 11:28-32:
“28 From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; 29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. 32 For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.”
In the end, I believe there will be a reversal of things. Israel will be “grafted back in” and they will be the “light to the nations” that they were called to be, Meanwhile, the largely unfaithful church will undergo its own “Babylon” experience (explaining the “Babylon metaphor” in Revelation).
In the meantime, the best we can do is be loving — even (and especially) if that love is not returned. Love has a way of winning in the long run.
@Alfredo: I suppose you could have just quoted Matthew 7:1-5 if you think I’m being hypocritical about love and need to make sure I’m absolutely clean before criticizing my fellow believers for a lack of love or a conditional love of the Jewish people. On the other hand, I think my being intermarried gives me a unique perspective on the situation, and yes, I do love my Jewish wife unconditionally.
@Jean: Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, I am an “open book” much to my embarrassment sometimes.
@Ron: Greetings and welcome. You wrote quite a lot but I’m not sure what to make of it. My message is pretty simple. If Christians say they love the Jewish people and Israel, then they must accept them with love. Yes, we share the “good news” but how and in what manner that “good news” is framed is pretty important. For most of the past two-thousand years, it’s been “good news” for the Gentiles but not so much for the Jewish people. We’ve forgotten that “salvation comes from the Jews” (John 4:22) not from the Gentiles. We’ve reversed causality. When Messiah returns, I suspect we’re all going to be surprised at just how far “the Church” has drifted away from its origins and its King.
@Jerry: Speaking of the partial hardening of the Jewish people, you might want to take a look at this blog post to see a different and more optomistic perspective on the matter.
Hi James. Now you lost me… I would NEVER think of you as being hypocritical.
I think that the topic of this post is about people with different religions having interaction each other. I was thinking that every time two people interact, it is very important to take care of differences of opinion just as if you were a doctor that needs to inject medicine to a patient: Do it very CAREFULLY. That is all I was meditating about, and that is what I learned from the link that I provided.
Since English is not my mother tongue, I might have misunderstood what R. Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn was teaching. Sorry about that. I hope you can forgive me about my comment. It was never intended to you personally, nor I was thinking about hypocrisy at all.
In other words, I was just meditating about how to interact with other people properly, especially when important issues such as beliefs are involved.
Sorry, Alfredo. It just seemed the link you provided mapped pretty well to Matthew 7:1-5. Thought maybe you believe I was being less than charitable. I apologize for the confusion. It’s all good.
@P.L. – Great and applicable poem. Yori Yanover’s article is a real mish-mash and I am not sure where to begin. He has a history of questionable objectivity and integrity as far as his journalism which I won’t go into, but you can search it out for yourself. It seems apparent that Yarnover has been infected with the poison of antimissionary indoctrination; a group that is polemical, meanspirited and practices far more deceit that the missionaries they attack. Yarnover certainly doesn’t speak for all Jews or even all Orthodox Jews, but perhaps speaks for the antimissionary contingent. Certainly he would be crying foul if the tables were turned and someone claimed that they would pretend that Judaism had something of value for the purpose of placation. This group does not believe in offering the same courtesy to others that they demand for themselves.
My Christian friend introduced me to her professor, a Chabadnik, and he absolutely got that preaching the gospel was part and parcel of being a Christian. Dr. K said to me, “Joanne needs to preach the gospel and a Jew needs to keep mitzvot.” To tell a Christian not to preach the gospel is tantamount to asking a Jew to foreswear mitzvot. It is demanding a person be disloyal to their deepest held beliefs because you find it uncomfortable. There was one Jewish leader who castigated his fellow Jews for failing to stand up in support of Christians who were being marginalized and persecuted, as this group has been quick to speak out against antisemitism and threats to Israel.
But I think much of the problem is based upon a lack of relationship and mutual understanding. Few Christians have much understanding of the extent of historic Christian antisemitism. And you are correct that real love for the Jewish people and Israel would encompass not expecting or seeking to be loved in return. But many Christians may love the idea of the Jewish people more than they love actual Jews; it is like loving the idea of a baby until you are dealing with a squalling, pooping, puking little being, and you love it anyway as you change your spit-up covered shirt for the third time that day.
The Orthodox share Conservative politics with the Evangelical Right, while the Evangelical Left is liberal. Secular and non-Orthodox Jews are more likely to be liberal politically and also more insecure about their relationship with Judaism and so more threatened by those who seek to spread their message. Judaism has its own evangelists who not only target “wayward,” Jews, but those outside Judaism, mostly Christians. Yarnover is also playing the game, “Good Christian/Bad Christian.” Good Christians are identified as those who don’t talk about their faith that is watered down or compromised anyway while Bad Christians take the Great Commission seriously. We may have a third category, and that is, Insensitive Christians; those who mean well but….
I have to add that I have had some unpleasant recent experiences with a few people who claim to, “love the Jewish people,” until they find one that is too Jewish for them. I suppose this is especially true that I am a believer, and according to the dispensational mindset of the church being separate from Israel, puts me in the church, rather than in Israel, while I stubbornly cling to my identity in Israel. Oh well, we should be thankful that at least they desire to love the Jewish people.
I should add that most people prefer, “Tell me lies; tell me sweet little lies.” They know they are hearing a lie and I know I am telling a lie (or at least not telling the truth) and everybody is happy with this charade that allows us a modicum of comfort. But perhaps there are times I should just remain silent when a person is to fearful to even hear what I have to say?
As far as having compassion for someone who is undergoing a crisis of faith, of course I can relate, as I have had my own crises, not of faith, but of how that faith should work out in reality and was I sold a bill of goods? Let the Holy One and his ways be true no matter that those who purport to represent him are liars. However, when one arrogantly and hatefully allows themselves to be paraded about by our adversaries, take a look at 2Tim 4:14-15.
Thanks for adding some perspective on Hanover, Chaya. It is true that the door swings both ways. No one is perfect, even when we authentically desire to live out our faith and to do the will of the Father, often our own humanity gets in the way. I know this is true of me.
Not exactly a “current events” topic, but I just read this at Aish.com:
We don’t burn Torah scrolls or volumes of Talmud today, but we do sometimes denigrate those believing Jewish people who are devoted to Messiah but nevertheless continue to live, worship, and study as observant Jews.
Too many Christians today view Judaism & Christianity as two separate religions. Believers try to convert Jews to their religion. Interestingly, the first believers were entirely Jewish and sought to convert pagans to the branch of Judaism that recognizes Yeshua as Messiah. The early believers did not set out to create a religion separate from Judaism. In fact they saw Yeshua as the fulfillment of prophecy so that belief in him did not nullify their religious beliefs, but solidified them.
The irony here is that today it is Gentiles seeking to bring Jews out of Judaism into Christianity.
James, your reminder that “salvation is from the Jews” is spot on. Similarly, Paul’s writings are replete with the words, “to the Jew first, also to the Greek.”
Jim, in today’s world Christianity and Judaism function as two separate religions, but in the Messianic Age, I believe Messiah will restore the relationship between Jews and Gentiles in “the Way” as it was meant to be. In those days, there may not be “the Church” as we currently understand the term, but only a body of disciples of the Messiah, both Jew and Gentile, standing side by side to honor the King and worship the God of Israel.
James, when that day comes it will be a thing of beauty… to see the joy of realization on the faces of those who connect-in-full with Messiah and realize more complete intimacy with Him.
There is a beautiful story attributed to Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, which you may have heard before, that captures what I think that process of realization may be like when all Christians who love Yeshua discover the treasure that has been buried in the “cellar” of their own “home” all along. Just substitute the notion of a “poor, G-d fearing Christian” for the Rebbe’s characterization of the “poor, G-d fearing Jew” in the following story, which captures the spirit of my awakening to the Torah-observant Jewish view of Jesus…
The Treasure Under the Bridge
“There was once a poor, G-d fearing Jew who lived in the city of Prague. One night he dreamt that he should journey to Vienna. There, at the base of a bridge leading to the King’s palace, he would find a buried treasure.
“Night after night the dream recurred until, leaving his family behind, he traveled to Vienna to claim his fortune. The bridge, however, was heavily guarded. The watchful eyes of the King’s soldiers afforded little opportunity to retrieve the treasure. Every day the poor Jew spent hours pacing back and forth across the bridge waiting for his chance.
“After two weeks time one of the guards grabbed him by the lapels of his coat and demanded gruffly, ‘Jew! What are you plotting? Why do you keep returning to this place day after, day?’ Frustrated and anxious, he blurted out the story of his dream. When he finished, the soldier, who had been containing his mirth, broke into uncontrollable laughter.
“The poor Jew looked on in astonishment, not knowing what to make of the man’s attitude. Finally, the King’s guard caught his breath. He stopped laughing long enough to say, ‘What a foolish Jew you are believing in dreams. Why, if I let my life be guided by visions, I would be well on my way to the city of Prague. For just last night I dreamt that a poor Jew in that city has, buried in his cellar, a treasure which awaits discovery.’
“The poor Jew returned home. He dug in his cellar and found the fortune. Upon reflection he thought, the treasure was always in my.possession. Yet, I had to travel to Vienna to know of its existence.
“So too, in our time, many spiritually impoverished Jews travel in search… finally returning to Judaism to claim what was always their own.”
This is how it felt for me to discover “the Jewish Jesus” so soon after coming to belief in Him as the Messiah. I had to move through the church experience, analogous to going to Vienna, to have someone else point out the treasure of the Jewishness of Messiah which was buried in the cellar of my own “Christian” home. And baruch ha shem Adonai for the great peace and satisfaction that discovery has brought into my life. I am a grateful Gentile every day for the opportunity to be grafted into that tree of redemption that is Israel… the treasure under my house.
Well, in that 1500 century they did not only burn books, but people as well:
I know Hubmaier didn’t like hebreews in his catholic priest periode, but I think he got other visions after Bible-study.
sheklna – too much history is not known – We perish from lack of knowledge and are lead like sheep by the wrong shepard – after Council of Nicean 538 A.D. they started stripping titles and authority from their own if they did not accept the Roman version of Christianity, if they did not stop, exiled them, if they continued, burn them at the stake – 70 A.D. over million Jew and Christian killed, young men taken back to Rome to build Colisium where other Christian were killed – coming forward to Crusades of 1099 – Spanish Inquisition – Napolian’s general shut down Vatican City – took Pope – Napolean issued decree to desist and cease from their control and slaughter – history is sordid and twisted. We do not have time to gradually get it right – we need to discern Spirits of Truth in leaders, government, religions, organization – we are going down a path of no return as we speak – Dinish D’Souza’s Obama’s America 2016 – Dr. Ben Carson’s Presentation at CPAC March 2013 – why is this discussion mentioned on religious matters – the antichrist and Antichrist are all about politics, control, people, cash flow, taking our Religious Freedom and worship away … I could go on and on …. and I did – it’s why I wrote a book.
@Dan: Yes, I have read that story before but it’s a good one. Bears repeating. Thanks.
@shek1na: I went ahead an approved your comment. I generally don’t when it involves a first time commenter who posts a link to his/her site, but to further the conversation, I’m breaking my rule this once. You are welcome to continue in the discussion, but please don’t abuse the privilege. Thanks.
@Dan, wonderful story. I am digging up treasure in my own house, that was in the house 2,000+ years ago, but was no longer there while I was growing up in the house. The treasure of our ancestors is being returned to us.
@James, “Yori Yanover.”
@Chaya: Sorry. I misread his name. Thanks for the “heads up.”
@Ron and shek1na: Just a reminder to stick on topic. I don’t want this conversation to degrade into a Catholic/Ancient Rome bashing session. If you have any questions, please see my comments policy page. Thanks.
I have very close friends who are Jewish, non-followers of Jesus. I do love them despite their views on Christianity/Jesus. Sure, there’s tension. I’m honest. I hope they are with me. But, your blog does stir some thought and emotion that is very real with this type of friendship that has no similar parallel with any other faith/religious connection. Thanks for expressing without a “tidy” wrap-up.
You’re welcome, Andrew. Life does not often provide a “tidy wrap-up.”
@chaya: Yes, the treasure that you speak of is being discovered in my house as well, beneath the hubris of centuries of Roman Catholic devotion on both sides of my Irish-Italian family. The treasures of your ancestors, which is being returned to you, is being given to us. My gratitude overwhelms me at times.