Hi Everyone

Discuss the relationship between Jews and Christians throughout history to our own day.

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okieseeker82
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Hi Everyone

Post by okieseeker82 » Tue Oct 07, 2008 4:32 pm

Hello all,

My name is Ken. I am 26 years old. I was baptized Roman Catholic at the age of 11. I am not Jewish. I left the Church when I was 15 and embraced Protestantism. I soon lost faith and wound up being an atheist. However, I believe God is real and I seek to reunite with the true Church. I have a deep love for Israel and the Jewish people and just find this whole site fascinating and hard to stay away from. :P

Ariel
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Post by Ariel » Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:05 pm

hi Ken,

Welcome to our website and forum, and praise God that He is drawing you back to Himself! We're glad to read that you find our site helpful. Hopefully it will help you to reconcile your love for Israel and for Judaism, the good things you were able to find in Protestantism, and your new-found attraction to the Lord's Church. Feel free to post your comments and questions on the forum.

With blessings from Jerusalem,

Ariel
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” C.S. Lewis

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Re: Hi Everyone

Post by Hadassah » Wed Oct 08, 2008 2:11 pm

okieseeker82 wrote:I have a deep love for Israel and the Jewish people...
Dear Ken,

Very nice to "meet" you. I do have one question for you. Since you are not Jewish (neither am I), what is it, do you think, that draws you to this love and interest?

In Christ,
Hadassah

Thoma
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Post by Thoma » Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:31 pm

i really dont understand why you love the Jewish people so much while most Jewish, secular and religious alike, either despise Christianity or sees it as a pagan religion simply because they lack the knowledge and the will to truely understand church dogmas. Jews will always say that Christianity "stole" thier birthright, and Judaism is very ancient compared to Christianity, while this is not true at all! Judaism and Christianity developed from the same origins and around the same time.
i dont mean to provoke against Judasim or the Jewish people or something, im myself a Jew, and i know this website is basically dedicated to dialogue, but i believe it will be best to look into things with a critical approach and face the facts.
Shana Tova to you all :)

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Post by Hadassah » Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:13 pm

Thoma wrote:i really dont understand why you love the Jewish people so much while most Jewish, secular and religious alike, either despise Christianity or sees it as a pagan religion simply because they lack the knowledge and the will to truely understand church dogmas.
Hi Thoma,

To speak in general terms (not regarding the Jewish people specifically), we, as Christians have a love for all people, not because of who they are or what they believe, but because of who we are and what we believe. "If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:1ff)

Some Christians simply have a deep-seeded interest in Judaism and the Jewish people. This happens for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that it is our heritage and identity as Christians (this is what fuels my particular interest). Some may feel a sense of love and compassion because of the particular historical experience of the Jewish people. It is also true that individual Christians may feel a particular love for a certain set of people simply because God calls them to that, despite the fact that it might be "easier" to go another way (you could look at Paul and the Gentiles, Blessed Mother Theresa and the indigent in Calcutta, or Blessed Father Damian who ministered to lepers on the island of Molokai).
Thoma wrote:Judaism and Christianity developed from the same origins and around the same time.
Actually, that is not quite so, and I'm sure that Ariel can direct you to the material on the website that best teaches about the unfolding of God's plan of salvation. In short, God established a relationship with the Jewish people over many thousands of years and revealed himself to them in a way that he had not to other peoples of the world. Only when the time was right did God, out of pure love for all of His people, send the long-awaited Messiah, his Son, Jesus Christ, fully human and fully divine to bring all people into relationship with Himself. It is from this point that most people tend to date the "establishment" of Christianity. So from this perspective, Judaism is far older than Christianity. However, we as Catholics see the coming of Christ and the establishment of the Church as the fulfillment of God's plan from the very beginning, despite the fact that the person of Jesus Christ was not known to humanity before a particular point in history. For more on this you could see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 759 and following (http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p123a9p1.htm#II).

With the love of Christ :-),
Hadassah

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Post by Thoma » Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:26 pm

Hadassah wrote:[
Some Christians simply have a deep-seeded interest in Judaism and the Jewish people. This happens for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that it is our heritage and identity as Christians (this is what fuels my particular interest). Some may feel a sense of love and compassion because of the particular historical experience of the Jewish people. It is also true that individual Christians may feel a particular love for a certain set of people simply because God calls them to that, despite the fact that it might be "easier" to go another way (you could look at Paul and the Gentiles, Blessed Mother Theresa and the indigent in Calcutta, or Blessed Father Damian who ministered to lepers on the island of Molokai).
I Am Familiar with the concept of Caritas, and it is a beautiful thing, nothing like this exist in Judaism and its a pity. its hard for me, as i come from Jewish backround and as one who's been away from God most of his life, to truly grasp it. but if its a dialouge you seek, i think you should study - and i bet you know this on some levels - the attitude of most Jews towards Christianity.
Hadassah wrote:[
Actually, that is not quite so, and I'm sure that Ariel can direct you to the material on the website that best teaches about the unfolding of God's plan of salvation. In short, God established a relationship with the Jewish people over many thousands of years and revealed himself to them in a way that he had not to other peoples of the world. Only when the time was right did God, out of pure love for all of His people, send the long-awaited Messiah, his Son, Jesus Christ, fully human and fully divine to bring all people into relationship with Himself. It is from this point that most people tend to date the "establishment" of Christianity. So from this perspective, Judaism is far older than Christianity. However, we as Catholics see the coming of Christ and the establishment of the Church as the fulfillment of God's plan from the very beginning, despite the fact that the person of Jesus Christ was not known to humanity before a particular point in history.
in general sense, i cannot disapprove the narrative you presented that's based on Holy Scripture. but let me just elaborate on something :
what do you think is exactly the Jewish People? since the fall of the first temple, there's been many groups that claimed to be Jewish, Jewish Sects if you'll like. the present religion known as Judaism represent one of these groups that has been known as the Pharisees, the predecessor of the later Rabbinic Tradition. they canonized the books of the Old Testament for the Jews, as the 24 books that Jews accept today as holy, while Church Fathers canonized the Septuagint, that contains some more books. anyway, it is they who laid the foundation of Judaism. and thier writings are contemporary to the writings of early Christan theologians. there is no clear Jewish Religion in the Bible, Judaism as religion starts with the Rabbinc Tradtion, and is manifested mainly in the Babylonian Talmud. (and not the Old Testament)
you cannot completely identify the Jews in the Bible with the current Jews, they are a later development, from Biblical tradition of course, but as such also is Chrtistianity. at the time of the Second Temple there were number of groups. one of this groups were the followers of Christ who acknowledged his divinity and later constructed the early church.
this is why i said that current Judaism and Christianity sprung from the same origins, and Christianity even with a headstart.

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Post by Hadassah » Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:56 am

Thoma wrote:But if its a dialouge you seek, i think you should study - and i bet you know this on some levels - the attitude of most Jews towards Christianity.
How would focusing on the negative attitudes of some (or even many, perhaps) be productive? I would be interested to know where people have misconceptions or where I might help someone to come to know Christ. And I respect that in some ways for Jewish people, Christianity is a very different way of thinking, in some aspects seemingly at odds, and difficult to accept. That would be where I would speak truth, in charity, witness with my life, and let the Holy Spirit work.

Even if I did seek to know where there are negative attitudes of Jews toward Christians, I would still be called to love. And speaking of this, I misspoke before. I said that we love others "not because of who they are". That's wrong. Entirely. We love precisely because of who they are as children the Almighty God. We're called to love them as He loves them.
Thoma wrote:what do you think is exactly the Jewish People?
Hmmm. That's an interesting question, one which I can't speak to in a fully informed way regarding what has happened in post-Biblical Judaism, so perhaps someone else will jump on that end of the discussion.

However, I think it's fairly clear that Judaism as a religion does exist Sacred Scripture. There is certainly a clear understanding of God, the one true God, who reveals a relationship with His people as well as how they are to interact with Him and remain in right relationship with Him including how they are to worship him. I would propose that whether aspects of Judaism changed in successive periods is entirely another question.

Could we liken this to what has happened in Christianity? There are many groups claiming to be Christian, but we as Catholics understand the Catholic Church to possess the "fullness of the faith" that was handed on by Christ to the apostles and the "fullest means of salvation." So do we call the other groups (Episopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, etc) non-Christian? No. In fact the Church recognizes that these groups posess some part of the truth, though not the fullness, in their belief and practice. We could argue the extent to which each embraces the truth revealed by Jesus, but most of the groups claiming to be Christian are rightly called so ~ followers in some way of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who took on human flesh to save humanity from sin and death. And I would venture to say that neither Protestant Christians nor secular historians would attempt to date Christianity from, for example, the 16th century when the Protestant Reformation began. Despite the fact that various sects have moved in differing directions, we all know that Christianity ~ as a system of belief and practice distinct from Judaism, let's say ~ began with Christ.

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Post by Thoma » Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:00 am

Hadassah wrote:[
However, I think it's fairly clear that Judaism as a religion does exist Sacred Scripture. There is certainly a clear understanding of God, the one true God, who reveals a relationship with His people as well as how they are to interact with Him and remain in right relationship with Him including how they are to worship him. I would propose that whether aspects of Judaism changed in successive periods is entirely another question.
You are correct, the roots can be found in the books of the Old Testament. there is the Ten Commandments and some more laws given to the Israelites by God. but the basic manifestation of religion appearing in the Old Testament is what known in Hebrew as : Korbanot - the sacrificing of animals to God in the Temple. this practice today is dead and gone.
Note that there isnt a clear "Jewish Nation" in the Old Testament, as you probably know, Jews derive from Judah, one of the two surviving tribes after the destruction of the first temple. a clear Jewish identity developed much later. if im not mistaking the first time the term "Jews" is clearly used is in the Book of Esther, which is a much later addition.
The Revelation of God in the Bible - is a shared tradition of both Jews and Christians! and current Judaism claim to have a birthright over Christianity is false. after the fall of the Second temple groups that drew from the Biblical Tradition started seeking and developing new religious systems - some followed the way of the Rabbinic Sages, developing what known in Judaism today as the Oral Law - Mishna and Talmud, and this very tradition has come to dominate the way most Jews today see themselves and thier attitude towards Holy Scripture.
another group were the first followers of Christ - whom were all Jewish, accepting his great message.
What im stressing here that these people all come from the same origin and drew on the same tradition, but every group took another direction in the process.

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Post by Hadassah » Thu Oct 09, 2008 1:01 pm

Note that there isnt a clear "Jewish Nation" in the Old Testament, as you probably know, Jews derive from Judah, one of the two surviving tribes after the destruction of the first temple. a clear Jewish identity developed much later. if im not mistaking the first time the term "Jews" is clearly used is in the Book of Esther, which is a much later addition.
I see. You are contrasting the term "Jew", which has more "modern" etymology than a term like "Israel", for example. I apologize for not picking this up earlier. I suppose some of us apply these terms more broadly and interchangeably, rightly or wrongly.

In any case, are you arguing that Jews of today don't have a right to claim the biblical beginnings of the people of Israel ~ and all that goes with that in terms of their relationship with the Lord ~ as their own, despite the fact that their practice has been modified in the absence of the temple, for example?

I suspect that Ariel will move us again as we have ventured out of "General Discussion" :-).

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Post by Thoma » Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:07 pm

Hadassah wrote:[
I see. You are contrasting the term "Jew", which has more "modern" etymology than a term like "Israel", for example. I apologize for not picking this up earlier. I suppose some of us apply these terms more broadly and interchangeably, rightly or wrongly.

In any case, are you arguing that Jews of today don't have a right to claim the biblical beginnings of the people of Israel ~ and all that goes with that in terms of their relationship with the Lord ~ as their own, despite the fact that their practice has been modified in the absence of the temple, for example?
Exactly, The Rabbinic Tradition chose to interpret the Bible in thier own way, The Early Christians and later the Church chose another way, but as they both emerged from the same tradition and around the same time, why should the Jews claim that they come first? St.Paul in his benevolence ruled that the Gospel (the good news in Greek, the message of Christ) is meant to all humanity and not only for the Jews. there were some early Christians of Jewish origins that claimed that Christ is only a Jewish Messiah, and if you want be saved you have to keep some basic Jewish marks, such as circumcision. in the writings of St.Paul it is indicated clearly, some members of early communities tries to enforce Jewish customs and laws on non-Jews, and St.Paul rises against this kind of behavior - because Christ message is universal.
while Church Fathers and Theologians stressed a universal religous view, the Rabbinic Sages conducted thier religious laws which emphasize the particularity of the Jewish People - the Semitic ethnic group in question. While some of the first Christians transcended beyond such petty things as race, and a large number of them were themselves Jews, The Rabbinic Sages preserved it as a crucial element. thats why there is no distinction between race and religion with Judaism. but the Jewish law is not derived from Scripture, but from Rabbinic Thought, sometimes contrasting the Bible. (its actually instructing how to understand the Bible) there is a saying in the Bible to be good and fair to non-Jews, while in the Jewish Law - The Talmud and later books based on the Talmud - it is considered legitimate and even good to treat non-Jews with the most humiliating way. (and i will not elaborate further beacuse i think you might be shocked and feel a deep repulsion regarding the laws involving non-Jews in the Jewish Law, some things clearly on the verge of crude racism)
In the Jewish Law, in a sharp contrast to Catholic Caritas for example, there are no Ethics, there are only Jewish ethics. (you are to treat someone with dignity only if he is a Jew).
im not saying Christianity always stayed true to the principles of Christ and the early church, but the broader picture as whole is surely more suitable for me personally.
here we have two groups who took the Biblical tradition towards two distinct paths, but they both emerged from that tradition, and there is no case for Jews to say that the Old Testament is "thiers".
sorry if i overdid it a bit :)

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Post by Hadassah » Thu Oct 09, 2008 6:32 pm

St.Paul in his benevolence ruled that the Gospel (the good news in Greek, the message of Christ) is meant to all humanity and not only for the Jews.


Well, this was not a decision of St. Paul. This was part of God's plan, alluded to in the Old Testament, and articulated and manifested by Jesus Himself.
but the Jewish law is not derived from Scripture, but from Rabbinic Thought, sometimes contrasting the Bible. [...] In the Jewish Law, in a sharp contrast to Catholic Caritas for example, there are no Ethics, there are only Jewish ethics. (you are to treat someone with dignity only if he is a Jew).
**I changed the following paragraph after I first submitted it...

While I am not overly familiar with rabbinic teaching, I have to tell you that this is certainly not my practical experience of Jewish people. Perhaps this is a fuction of living in the U.S.? Who knows. I know many wonderfully charitable Jews whose ethics and morality match my own quite closely. We would differ on a few major issues, I think, but have quite a bit in common. You seem to have quite a negative view of Judaism. Have you had particular experiences of this? Does it pertain to particular strains of Judaism? Is it based somehow in the fact that you have come to disagree with Judaism regarding belief and practice?

Just curious...
Hadassah

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Post by Thoma » Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:09 pm

Hadassah wrote: While I am not overly familiar with rabbinic teaching, I have to tell you that this is certainly not my practical experience of Jewish people. Perhaps this is a fuction of living in the U.S.? Who knows. I know many wonderfully charitable Jews whose ethics and morality match my own quite closely. We would differ on a few major issues, I think, but have quite a bit in common. You seem to have quite a negative view of Judaism. Have you had particular experiences of this? Does it pertain to particular strains of Judaism? Is it based somehow in the fact that you have come to disagree with Judaism regarding belief and practice?

Just curious...
Hadassah
I Agree with you that what i said do not concern all of the Jewish People Today. most Jews today are not religious, they are either secular - like me , or part of the Reform Judaism. Reform Judaism abolished most of the Jewish Law (in Hebrew : Halakah - jurisprudence based on the Talmud) they still hold some aspects of it, but they are really more close to secular Jews. they are not obligated to the Jewish Law, and most Jews even hardly know it. but the Jewish Law - which constituted all of Jewish Life starting with the end of Second Temple era - is demanding that all Jews must abide to the Law, meaning, they have to keep the Jewish Mitzvut (commandments, and there are several hundred of them) those who keep the Halakah are known today as Orthodox Jews, and they are the continuation of authentic Judaism. in Israel they have great power, and if you are living in Jerusalem you probably familiar with them. and they are also well established in the U.S.A. thier life is constituted wholly on halachic practice.
what you have to remember that the Law, the Talmud, is divine for Jews, it is the direct words of God. in Judaism there is the belief that the written law - the Old Testament, and Oral Law were both given to Moses on mount Sinai, and it later passed on to the Rabbinic Sages.
Orthodox Jews - and as i said they are a very strong element and a growing power in todays Israel - know nothing but the Talmud, they even hardly know the Bible. they believe the Talmud is divine, and this is an idea i just cant accept.
towards secular Jews such as myself (and im putting the Reformed Jews in the same scale) - beside the facts that most of them attach to certain foolish myths - i really dont have a negative approach, but they dont represent the Jewish Religion, and my problem is with the religion.

just to note : Secular Jews are practically atheists, it is diffrent from Christianity ( Catholic and Orthodox) in that sense, where there is a Secualr Circle and Ecclesiastical Circle. in Judaism there is no secular Circle, if you dont keep the Torah, the Mitzvut, you are deviating from the will of God.

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Post by Ariel » Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:14 pm

Hadassah is right:
Moving topic to 'Jewish-Christian relations'
8)
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” C.S. Lewis

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Post by shirly » Sat Jan 10, 2009 9:06 am

:P Welcome

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Post by mikemac » Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:52 am

Very interesting Thoma.

This is one more reason why I do not fully agree with Ariel's 6 page essay titled 'Israel: A Prophetic Sign?'

You can read my other reasons in the Christian Zionism section.

I find your posts fascinating Thoma.

Thank you
Mike

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