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Author Topic: The Orthodox Christian View on Sharing the Gospel with Unbelieving Jewry  (Read 2393 times) Average Rating: 0
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Nazarene
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« on: October 06, 2009, 05:26:09 PM »

Shalom all,

I don't know if this is the appropriate section for the above mentioned topic but I would like to know what the Orthodox Christian view is regarding witnessing to the lost children of Israel. How has the Orthodox Church, throughout the centuries, handled enquries from Jewish laymen and arguments by Jewish Rabbis, especially counter missionary groups like "Jews for Judaism"? What methods do you employ for proselytizing the Jews, and what arguments do you use for proving that Yeshua of Nazareth is the promised Messiah of Israel? Has anyone here ever engaged in serious interfaith dialogue with Jews? If yes how do you view the experience? What were the successes and failures? What are the pros and cons where methods of argumentation are concerned, and are there any dos and don'ts for Christian-Jewish religious debate?

Looking forward to your responses.

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Marc1152
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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2009, 09:44:47 PM »

Shalom all,

I don't know if this is the appropriate section for the above mentioned topic but I would like to know what the Orthodox Christian view is regarding witnessing to the lost children of Israel. How has the Orthodox Church, throughout the centuries, handled enquries from Jewish laymen and arguments by Jewish Rabbis, especially counter missionary groups like "Jews for Judaism"? What methods do you employ for proselytizing the Jews, and what arguments do you use for proving that Yeshua of Nazareth is the promised Messiah of Israel? Has anyone here ever engaged in serious interfaith dialogue with Jews? If yes how do you view the experience? What were the successes and failures? What are the pros and cons where methods of argumentation are concerned, and are there any dos and don'ts for Christian-Jewish religious debate?

Looking forward to your responses.



People tend to find us. When they show up at the door we take them as they are. If they are Jewish and part of Jews for Jesus, we talk about Protestantism. If they are practicing Jews we listen more than we talk, ask questions and then maybe tell our personal story. If they are some other brand of Jewish Christian we talk about why Judaising Christianity is not necessary and has been decryed by some of our greatest Saints.

I know several Jewish converts, some are Priests , some are married to Priests and others just showed up one day and decided to stay. I am a Jewish convert (by way of Buddhsim first).
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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2009, 09:22:35 AM »

Shalom all,

 How has the Orthodox Church, throughout the centuries, handled enquries from Jewish laymen and arguments by Jewish Rabbis, especially counter missionary groups like "Jews for Judaism"? What methods do you employ for proselytizing the Jews, and what arguments do you use for proving that Yeshua of Nazareth is the promised Messiah of Israel? Has anyone here ever engaged in serious interfaith dialogue with Jews? If yes how do you view the experience? What were the successes and failures? What are the pros and cons where methods of argumentation are concerned, and are there any dos and don'ts for Christian-Jewish religious debate?


Inquiries from Jews are "handled" like any other. Listen, respond in love. No special methods, no arguments. My priest is a Jewish convert. The do's and don'ts also are the same as for anyone else: patience and the love of Christ.
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Marc1152
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« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2009, 11:43:52 AM »

Shalom all,

 How has the Orthodox Church, throughout the centuries, handled enquries from Jewish laymen and arguments by Jewish Rabbis, especially counter missionary groups like "Jews for Judaism"? What methods do you employ for proselytizing the Jews, and what arguments do you use for proving that Yeshua of Nazareth is the promised Messiah of Israel? Has anyone here ever engaged in serious interfaith dialogue with Jews? If yes how do you view the experience? What were the successes and failures? What are the pros and cons where methods of argumentation are concerned, and are there any dos and don'ts for Christian-Jewish religious debate?


Inquiries from Jews are "handled" like any other. Listen, respond in love. No special methods, no arguments. My priest is a Jewish convert. The do's and don'ts also are the same as for anyone else: patience and the love of Christ.

I absolutely agree. Arguing doctrine is no win with anyone. It's better to inquire personally about how they are doing with their spiritual life and share your own happiness and love of God than toss down a gauntlet..We were given two ears and only one mouth for a reason Smiley

Also, we have the Divine Liturgy and an ethos not unfamiliar to Jews. There is a mystical working of Grace in our Liturgy  that can lead a discerning person to where God wants them..
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Dan-Romania
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« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2009, 01:21:17 PM »

You can always point the houndreds of prophecies accomplished in Jesus` life to them, i think that would give them something to think about; esspecially those from the big prophets, as Esaias(Isaiah) , Ezekiel , The Psalms , from torah, esspecially those who speak about the Sent One of the father , the judge , the light of the nations and foretell the losing of the holy land for the jews, and about the new covenant of Godl;From Osea about Jezreel prevailing against Israel.The prophecy of Jesus about the falling of the Temple, etc,etc;Also what God tells he will do with Israel if they keep His commends and if they broke them , i think it`s somewere in deuteronomus or numbers among 20 something chapters;the blessings wich God foretold have come to them,and so the curses.What Peter Stoner has to say about the over 300 prophecies accomplish in Jesus` life.
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« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2009, 02:50:16 PM »

You can always point the houndreds of prophecies accomplished in Jesus` life to them, i think that would give them something to think about; esspecially those from the big prophets, as Esaias(Isaiah) , Ezekiel , The Psalms , from torah, esspecially those who speak about the Sent One of the father , the judge , the light of the nations and foretell the losing of the holy land for the jews, and about the new covenant of Godl;From Osea about Jezreel prevailing against Israel.The prophecy of Jesus about the falling of the Temple, etc,etc;Also what God tells he will do with Israel if they keep His commends and if they broke them , i think it`s somewere in deuteronomus or numbers among 20 something chapters;the blessings wich God foretold have come to them,and so the curses.What Peter Stoner has to say about the over 300 prophecies accomplish in Jesus` life.

I find the above approach doesn't usually work. Jews feel Christians are simply artificially fitting the prophesies into what they know about Jesus. Since they don't see Jesus as the Messiah to begin with, they're not usually too interested in Christian interpretations of biblical prophesy.

I think a better approach is simply to treat people with love and respect, more along the lines of what Katherine and Marc have shared.
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Marc1152
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« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2009, 03:49:21 PM »

You can always point the houndreds of prophecies accomplished in Jesus` life to them, i think that would give them something to think about; esspecially those from the big prophets, as Esaias(Isaiah) , Ezekiel , The Psalms , from torah, esspecially those who speak about the Sent One of the father , the judge , the light of the nations and foretell the losing of the holy land for the jews, and about the new covenant of Godl;From Osea about Jezreel prevailing against Israel.The prophecy of Jesus about the falling of the Temple, etc,etc;Also what God tells he will do with Israel if they keep His commends and if they broke them , i think it`s somewere in deuteronomus or numbers among 20 something chapters;the blessings wich God foretold have come to them,and so the curses.What Peter Stoner has to say about the over 300 prophecies accomplish in Jesus` life.

I find the above approach doesn't usually work. Jews feel Christians are simply artificially fitting the prophesies into what they know about Jesus. Since they don't see Jesus as the Messiah to begin with, they're not usually too interested in Christian interpretations of biblical prophesy.

I think a better approach is simply to treat people with love and respect, more along the lines of what Katherine and Marc have shared.

I wouldn't tangle with a Rabbi or learned Jew on scriptural evidence that Jesus is the Messiah. There is more scriptural prophesy that Jesus didn't fullfill than what he did. I have seen this debated between a Rabbi and a Protestant Minister and the Minister got his ears pinned back.

Oh and finally, we need to understand that a Jew coming to our Church is not like a Protestant or a Catholic doing the same. Much of American Jewry have a self identity as being as much NOT-Christian as being Jewish. My family had no problem with me being Buddhist ( well only a small problem) Becoming Christian was going over to the enemy even though Christianity and Judaism are far far more alike than Judaism and Buddhism... 
« Last Edit: October 07, 2009, 03:54:48 PM by Marc1152 » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2009, 04:01:53 PM »

Two of my co-workers, both women, are practicing Jews (one, B., with a Reform and the other, L., with a Conservative congregation). In addition, the husband of the co-worker who is with a Reformed congregation (S.) is a very erudite man, a walking encyclopedia of all things Jewish, and he often preaches at their synagogue on Shabbat. All three of them - B., L., and S. - know that I am an Orthodox Christian. I am friends with all three of them in real life, plus I am friends with B. and S. on Facebook, and we sometimes exchange messages about our respective holidays.

I learned a lot from them about Jewish holidays, and I hope they learned something from me about our Orthodox holidays and about Orthodoxy in general. They never seemed to be bothered by my messages about things Orthodox (in sharp contrast with my atheist FB friends who sometimes make scenes and virtually scream at me that I am bothering them with my "religious propaganda cr*p").

Once, I had a pretty long and very interesting, very peaceful and very informative exchange via FB with S. It was initiated by his message to the general, public FB page, in which he quoted some rabbi saying that the Temple of Living God is each of us. I sent S. a private message, saying that it is so striking to me how much we have in common in this regard, and quoted and explained (to the best of my ability) verses like 1 Cor. 3:16-17, 1 Cor. 6:15-20, 2 Cor. 6:16, and John 2:19. S. seemed very interested and expressed his gratitude.

I agree that arguing with faithful Jews, trying to prove something to them is not a very good idea. On the other hand, listening to them and sharing with them something that we can simply narrate about our religious life may be a resoable and fruitful approach.
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« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2009, 04:09:58 PM »

Marc, yes, lots of Jewbu's out there... Wink

Heorhij, what you shared is almost identical to my own experience. I've had many similar, interesting, mutually respectful exchanges with my Jewish friends. Although many Jewish people I know stoutly say that our faiths have nothing in common-they feel christianity is mostly of pagan origins whilst theirs isn't-a study of Judaism has helped me appreciate and understand Eastern Orthodoxy in many ways.
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« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2009, 12:09:18 PM »

I know that in the Holy Land (Patrarchate of Jerusalem) there is certainly an effort on this front, including holding in some places the Divine Liturgy in Hebrew and outreach programs.   There are several outreach pamplets such as "Orthodox and Jewish."   Also some good books, such as "Surprised by Christ" by Fr. James Bernstein.   
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« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2009, 03:07:46 PM »

I'm coming late to this thread because I was away, but here's my tuppence worth:

The guide says clearly, right at the beginning, that it's designed to help people, not to arbitrate.

I found it helpful. I'm totally new to Orthodox worship, and while you can learn from watching the others and doing what they do, you can hardly tap them on the shoulder and say, 'ah, nice prostrations - tell me, while the choir gets going, why exactly you're doing those?' If you learn religion from the cradle, your parents and family will be much more accepting of childish questions. I found the guide helpful.

But as for cradle Orthodox finding it insulting - well, they may, but surely if you were a cradle Orthodox, you should feel secure enough in your own worship not to be worried about what a manual (which you don't need) is saying?

Also, for what it's worth, it looks to me as if being cradle Orthodox doesn't necessarily mean you can fit in with any service in any church. I noticed my partner was struggling to sing the Nicene Creed last Sunday, because it was in English and he didn't learn the English version until recently. I wouldn't say it bothered him hugely, but obviously it slightly affected his ability to participate in the service. So being cradle Orthodox doesn't give you all the answers, and if I tried to learn from him, I'd have the same problems he has with our English services.

Just my thoughts, anyway ....

I was grateful for the link, Maureen.
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« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2009, 03:38:46 PM »

Hi Liz, I think you meant to post this on the other thread where handmaiden posted a link to protocols.  May God direct you in his way. 

I'm coming late to this thread because I was away, but here's my tuppence worth:

The guide says clearly, right at the beginning, that it's designed to help people, not to arbitrate.

I found it helpful. I'm totally new to Orthodox worship, and while you can learn from watching the others and doing what they do, you can hardly tap them on the shoulder and say, 'ah, nice prostrations - tell me, while the choir gets going, why exactly you're doing those?' If you learn religion from the cradle, your parents and family will be much more accepting of childish questions. I found the guide helpful.

But as for cradle Orthodox finding it insulting - well, they may, but surely if you were a cradle Orthodox, you should feel secure enough in your own worship not to be worried about what a manual (which you don't need) is saying?

Also, for what it's worth, it looks to me as if being cradle Orthodox doesn't necessarily mean you can fit in with any service in any church. I noticed my partner was struggling to sing the Nicene Creed last Sunday, because it was in English and he didn't learn the English version until recently. I wouldn't say it bothered him hugely, but obviously it slightly affected his ability to participate in the service. So being cradle Orthodox doesn't give you all the answers, and if I tried to learn from him, I'd have the same problems he has with our English services.

Just my thoughts, anyway ....

I was grateful for the link, Maureen.
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Liz
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« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2009, 07:32:28 AM »

Hi Liz, I think you meant to post this on the other thread where handmaiden posted a link to protocols.  May God direct you in his way. 

I'm coming late to this thread because I was away, but here's my tuppence worth:

The guide says clearly, right at the beginning, that it's designed to help people, not to arbitrate.

I found it helpful. I'm totally new to Orthodox worship, and while you can learn from watching the others and doing what they do, you can hardly tap them on the shoulder and say, 'ah, nice prostrations - tell me, while the choir gets going, why exactly you're doing those?' If you learn religion from the cradle, your parents and family will be much more accepting of childish questions. I found the guide helpful.

But as for cradle Orthodox finding it insulting - well, they may, but surely if you were a cradle Orthodox, you should feel secure enough in your own worship not to be worried about what a manual (which you don't need) is saying?

Also, for what it's worth, it looks to me as if being cradle Orthodox doesn't necessarily mean you can fit in with any service in any church. I noticed my partner was struggling to sing the Nicene Creed last Sunday, because it was in English and he didn't learn the English version until recently. I wouldn't say it bothered him hugely, but obviously it slightly affected his ability to participate in the service. So being cradle Orthodox doesn't give you all the answers, and if I tried to learn from him, I'd have the same problems he has with our English services.

Just my thoughts, anyway ....

I was grateful for the link, Maureen.

Oh, no, I feel like an idiot! Thanks, Father Hill, for pointing out my mistake. (I'd been travelling from 6.30 until 4.30 yesterday and was pretty exhausted when I came onto the forum ... I should learn to take more care when I'm tired).

Moving the post over now ...

Sorry everyone.
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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2009, 02:26:52 PM »

I agree that arguing with faithful Jews, trying to prove something to them is not a very good idea. On the other hand, listening to them and sharing with them something that we can simply narrate about our religious life may be a resoable and fruitful approach.

I just thought this was so wise that it needed to be said again!
Thanks!
Arguing with anyone about their religious beliefs in an effort to prove them wrong and convert them has to be the least likely way to obtain the results you (presumably) are looking for. While telling our own stories, IMHO, is always much better.
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"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom
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