February 12, 2008


Take It As a Compliment (HILLEL HALKIN, February 12, 2008, NY Sun)

[W]hat shall we say about many Jewish prayers, such as the High Holy Day one that goes: "Our God and God of our fathers, rule over the world in Your glory … and may every creature understand that You created him, and may all that possesses the breath of life say, 'The Lord God of Israel is king and His kingdom reigns everywhere'"?

Is this not a prayer for Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus to abandon their religions and accept the Torah of Israel? What would Jews say if the leaders of the world's religions turned to them with the demand that it be deleted from the Jewish prayer book? Would they agree?

The issue, when you think of it, is not only respect for the other person's religion. It is respect for one's own religion, too. If a Jew sincerely believes that it is God's will that the entire human race one day recognize the truth of Judaism, he would be showing disrespect for Judaism by excising this belief from the Jewish liturgy in order to prevent it from offending others. And by the same token, if a Christian believes that Jesus was born on earth to save all mankind, Jews included, he would be slighting Christianity by refusing to say so. [...]

Frankly, I don't see how it's possible to be a believing Christian without hoping that the Jews will one day accept Jesus. If they don't need him for their salvation, why does anyone? Even those Christians (and there is a growing number of them today) who are aware of how Jewish the historical figure of Jesus was, and who have a genuine appreciation of Judaism and even a feeling of closeness to it, are convinced that in the end the Jewish people will recognize this figure as the Messiah they gave to the world. I know such Christians. Not only do they not have an anti-Jewish bone in their bodies, they think far more of the Jews than many Jews do.

When He comes (or comes back), two of three of the Christian, the Jew and the Shi'a will be surprised by His identity. But the argument will be settled.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 12, 2008 5:05 PM

"Frankly, I don't see how it's possible to be a believing Christian without hoping that the Jews will one day accept Jesus. If they don't need him for their salvation, why does anyone?"

Isn't the Pope's position on this the opposite. Namely, that the Jews do not need salvation as Christ came to extend the Old Testament covenants to the gentiles?

PS I don't pretend to understand what I just wrote.

Posted by: Benny at February 12, 2008 7:33 PM

But they need to understand their own God and don't in denying Christ.

Posted by: oj at February 12, 2008 8:58 PM

Joh 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

There are lots of tricky theological arguments which try to make the Jews somehow special, but Jesus was talking to Jews in this passage (Thomas, in particular) and he didn't offer them a different form of salvation.

Posted by: Randall Voth at February 13, 2008 12:53 AM

If "no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" means that someone has to accept Jesus explicitly, how did Abraham and Moses make it to Heaven?

I accept the truth of John 14:6, I just don't accept the reading of it which creates the obvious paradox. Jesus has long been bringing people to the Father who didn't follow Him explicitly. Either that, or He didn't mean what he said.

Posted by: BrianOfAtlanta at February 13, 2008 8:03 AM

They accept Him there.

Posted by: oj at February 13, 2008 9:12 AM

I don't have a problem with another person's religious beliefs. I do not care if that person thinks I am going to go to hell for my beliefs.

I do care if that person determines that I ought to go there soon and that he is going to help me.

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2008 10:26 AM