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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Toward a Truthful Christian-Jewish Alliance

The controversy surrounding the "Woman to Woman" Conference in Jerusalem has once again raised the reality that the alliance between Evangelical Christian and Orthodox Jews is a troubled one in many ways. Part of the problem is that while there is plenty of enthusiasm and emotion on both sides, there is little understanding of one another.

Some segments of Orthodox Jewish and Conservative Christian theology have provided for elements of dispensationalism toward one another. Yet that dispensationalism recognizes the partial legitimacy of each other but not fully-- which is as it should be. Authentic monotheistic religions cannot grant equal legitimacy to other religions. The problem rests in what we do about it. Judaism is a non-competitive religion that seeks to perfect one people and achieve salvation within that community. Christianity aggressively evangelizes and seeks converts, often by any means necessary.

Many Christians dismiss Jewish concerns about missionizing and missionary activity as a relic of past persecutions by the Catholic Church. While that past is certainly part of the issue, the problem is that it never truly ended. The problem is not merely in the past, it is in the present.

If events like the rabbinic ruling against Bridges of Peace seem to betray paranoia over missionizing, it is all too well grounded in the habitually deceptive and abusive tactics practiced by missionaries against Jews. Examples include phony teen centers like the JAM Center in Jerusalem which is aimed at teenagers. It includes missionaries dressing up as Orthodox Jews and passing themselves off as Orthodox Jews. It includes people disguised this way coming to new Russian immigrants coming to Israel and offering their children free schooling or camps where they are then pressured to accept Jesus. It includes using child missionaries to target children. It includes the creation of phony Jewish organizations which disguise and hide their true affiliation. It includes the creation of groups like Jews for Jesus that functions in a way indistinguishable from cults like the Moonie Church. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to missionary activity.

I don't believe that the majority of Christians are aware of approve of these actions but they are nevertheless carried out on a regular basis and backed by major organizations and churches. As long as this goes on, there is going to be a perfectly understandable second guessing and double checking on the part of Jews when dealing with Christian organizations-- because what these methods have in common is not only their destructiveness but their deceptiveness. The way in which they disguise what they are. That kind of deceptiveness colors dealings with Christian organizations in general because it becomes hard to know what is really for real.

It's hard to trust people who on the one hand embrace you and on the other hand take part in deceptive activities designed to destroy your people. For many centuries, Jews have dodged back and forth between Christian and Muslim lands, when the persecution got too bad in one or the other-- choosing to temporarily ally with the religion of less persecution. That is still where we are now.

Islam remains the greater threat to the Jewish people but that is only because Islam employs force. Christians groups do not employ force but they do employ subterfuge and though they may think that their purpose is noble-- it remains destructive. If a hundred thousand Jews are lost to murder or conversion, the effect on the next generation is the same. A sizable portion of the Jewish people have been lost.

For as long as missionary activity directed at Jews continues, overtly or covertly, then Jews are forced to walk the razor's edge, dealing with Christian groups for survival's sake while maintaining enough distance to minimize the losses taken at their hands. This is a dreadful arrangement and a devil's bargain and I don't believe it's the one either Christians or Jews would choose.

Yet for as long as Christian organizations talk about their love for Israel while engaging in missionary activity against Jews-- it is the only arrangement that will exist.

I realize quite well that Christians don't see it this way. Witnessing and sharing the gospel are meant to be kind acts.

Evangelical Christians have shown love toward Israel and Jews but there is a gap that arises between what Christians refer to as the golden and the silver rule. The Christian golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" with what the Christians refer to as the Silver Rule and the Jews as Hillel's Rule, "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man."

The "Golden Rule" allows someone to blindly force something unwanted onto you while Hillel's Rule is a more useful means of maintaining harmony between peoples because it avoids doing noxious things to one another-- simply because you would want it done to you. But would Christians really?

There are Christian websites that proclaim plans to evangelize every Jew in Israel by 2020. How would Christians feel if another religion boasted such plans for Christians?

How would Christians feel if Muslims set up a group of mock Christian churches and a mock Christianity called Prophetic Christianity targeting authentic Christians and attempted to convert Christians to Islam by telling them that only by accepting Mohammed as the final prophet, would they become Completed Christians.

These "Churches" would be overseen by Imams who would call themselves Ministers and would be specifically selected from Christian converts to Islam to preach a form of Islam thinly disguised as Christianity. These "Churches" would feature celebrations of Islamicised Christmas' and Easter's centering on Mohammed.

Christians should ask themselves how they would feel about such Mosques disguised as Churches and Imams disguised as Ministers. Yet Christian groups have invested billions of dollars over the years in doing precisely this very thing to Jews. How do you think we feel about it?

What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man. It is a very simple principle. There is a very hard century now upon us. A century of blood and flame, of steel and stone thrown down and the great nations of the past toppling before a dark and merciless horde.

To survive that we will need alliances. Not merely between Christians and Jews but with Hindus and Atheists and Sikhs and peoples whose beliefs are genuinely alien and even repulsive to us. We will have to do that if we want to survive. Not only Israel but America and the remainder of the world that has still not fallen under the shadow of Islam. We will either stand together or die apart.

No alliance is perfect and the Christian Jewish alliance has been based on what we want to believe, rather than what is real and true. Real alliances are based in truth. We do not share a religion but we do share a recognition that we are both targets and if we wish our grandchildren and great-grandchildren to live as proud peoples in their own lands, rather than slaves under the Dar Al-Islam, then we had better learn to do each other no harm-- before the true harm comes upon us all.

12 comments:

Lemon said...

Mainstream Christian belief is the replacement of Israel by the church.
They are "spiritual Israel, spiritual Jews"
Since they replace the law with lawlessness and license they are no such thing. They deny the words of their own founder in doing away with the law and their interpretation of nailing law to the cross is devoid of understanding most completely.

There can be no syncretism in religion.
You either believe what Torah teaches or you do not.
You cannot claim to worship the one true God Almighty when you break his commandments.
Such conventions are a farce and an abomination.

Keli Ata said...

Absolutely right, Lemon! One of the exact points I made to a priest once about the Apostle's Creed, which states "I believe in one G-d, the father almighty...AND in JC. ONE cannot be followed by AND.

The 'Apostles Creed' recited every Sunday at thousands of churches is a huge contradiction that few seem to pay much attention to. They recite it by rote in tedious voices and monotones. They need to really stop and think about what they are proclaiming.

You hear Messianic Jews say they accepted JC as they're messiah. Well JC as messiah is obviously false. But the much more serious matter is the lie about him being G-d.

***

I think much of the evangelical christian community continues to have the attitude of "winning the lost at any cost." In fact, that's the new motto of fake faith healer and major scammer Benny Hinn.

****

But I do believe each and every one of these people tricked or forced into christianity will eventually return to Judaism. Or at least their ancestors will. Somethings in a Jew just can't be destroyed permanently.

There is a flame, however dim, that continues to flicker.

Just my two cents from the peanut gallory.

Chad said...

Lemon, in point of fact what your refer to is known as "replacement theology" and while there are some liberal Christians who subscribe to it, is not only rejected by most evangelical Christians, but seen as complete nonsense.

Keli Ata said...

Yes Chad, it is called replacement theology.

I don't know how many evangelical Christians believe in it, but I do know the entire "grafted in" belief is commonly discussed on christian television. Despite some back tracking about dual convenants for christians and jews that people like John Hagee are preaching, far more TV ministries believe that G-d made a covenant with Jews because we "rejected" JC.

The whole christian belief that they are the "new jews" is very troubling. All the more so in light of a proposed bill to make Sunday the Israeli day of rest and alter the Jewish Saturday sabbath.

Yobeeone said...

Three cheers for Lemon! And you cannot claim to worship the one true G-d when you break him into pieces and a little god, middle god and then the big guy god.

Ditto Keli!

Chad, replacement theology is not rejected by the majority. It is not a liberal idea. It IS a fundamental belief in x-tianity.

kahaneloyalist said...

Sultan, the Rambam forbids utterly alliances between the Jewish nation and Goyim, and it was the avera of allying with the Samaritans for which Bar Kochba was defeated and killed.

Sultan Knish said...

there are a number of reasons given for why bar kochba was killed

it was also the rambam that said the following ...which i incidentally take serious issue with

וכל הדברים האלו של ישוע הנוצרי, ושל זה הישמעאלי שעמד אחריו--אינן אלא ליישר דרך למלך המשיח, ולתקן את העולם כולו לעבוד את ה' ביחד: שנאמר "כי אז אהפוך אל עמים, שפה ברורה, לקרוא כולם בשם ה', ולעובדו שכם אחד" ((ראה צפניה ג,ט

but that's neither here nor there

of course alliances we did make invariably ended in disaster so that's an argument for other side

Anonymous said...

hey sultan, thought you might like this: http://www.cafepress.com/jfr08.111399003

Joshua said...

There is a major distinction between the Jews for Jesus and the Evangelicals. The former an outright hostile anti Jewish organization, and the later being pro Israel and pro Jewish. Many Evangelicals see Israel and Jews as biblical prophecies coming true and support the Jews as they are, while the Jews for Jesus despise Jews as they are and therefore wish to convert them.

Sultan Knish said...

the problem is that orgs like jews for jesus are themselves backed by evangelical groups and churches

Yobeeone said...

The whole J for J crap was created by the church as a means of luring Jews in. It wasn't begun by Jews. You might find some claiming it was, but guarantee you it wasn't.

There is no difference between J for J and "evangelicals" or anything else you care to call them. They are one in the same. The idea in both groups is to get Jews to accept yashkah-butt as moshiach and until they do, he won't come. It's a basic foundational belief of x-tianity.

If more "x-tians" read their own history and studied their own texts, they would know all this stuff. It's there in black and white. You can't miss it.

Anonymous said...

I am a Roman Catholic who attends Mass weekly and participates as a lector. Yet I have a problem with the concept of replacement theology.

Having attended services at my local shul and having learned Torah with a liberal (reform) rabbi over about 4 years, Judaism resonates more with me than Christianity.

Personally I disagree with doing good works in order to win someone over to one's faith. I do not see such double dealing with Jewish charities. They give to everyone, no strings attached.

When my rabbi was on life support in an induced coma, I took my son with him to visit. I realized he really might die this time. We said the shema over him, so that if he could still hear, and if he died soon after, it might be the last thing to take with him.

There is no doubt to me that he is where he should be, in a Jewish paradise. He used to say that heaven for him was being in a shul sitting at a table and learning Torah. I hope that he is doing that right now!

After he died, I read something about "If someone expresses a wish to learn Torah, it is a mitzvah to teach them." At that point, I remembered that when we were writing, I used to push to write about Torah, and he gave in to me. He didn't say "I am doing you this mitzvah because I am commanded to; you asked to learn Torah" - he just helped me learn.

Such people should not be converted.

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