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Nektarios_In_E.S.
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« on: November 23, 2013, 02:01:53 PM »


Hello everyone,

I'm wondering if anyone can help me with the following:

I have a family member, a cousin to be more specific, who is in one of the thousands of protestant sects that combines judaism with their form of "christianity." She lives thousands of miles away from me so we can only exchange e-mails and information online.  Anyway, she's in the type of sect where they celebrate jewish feast days, for example. Of course, being in The New Israel, which is the Orthodox Christian Church, I understand that something like that is simply just a synthetic combination of two ideologies. 

I am wondering if you could please direct me as to how I can approach my cousin with good, sound information.  Ideally, I would love to e-mail her some articles, podcast recordings and/or videos which could "waken" her and get her to think that what she is doing is actually NOT christian. 

I would love to start simply by presenting the scriptures and what Jesus says about His people, The Church to what St.Paul says in Galatians, for example, about Abraham's faith and about leaving behind judaizing customs which were meaningless to Christians. Chapters 3 and 5 are the most emphatic.  Also Ephesians chapters 1 to 3.

Would you have any articles of "messianic" jews converting to Orthodoxy? Jesus for Jews converting? Church of God protestants that are sabbatarians? These are just a few the groups that go that "festal" direction. Or even other testimonies from a former member of these judaizing protestant sects telling his/her reason for leaving.

Anything that you think would be pertinent that I could share with her would be much appreciated.

Thank you for your kind attention,
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« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2013, 02:09:27 PM »

http://www.amazon.com/Surprised-Christ-Journey-Orthodox-Christianity/dp/1888212950

Fr. James Bernstein has a very interesting book on this subject. I believe he grew up Jewish and spent some time in Jews for Jesus before he became an Orthodox Christian.
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« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2013, 02:13:13 PM »

Assuming that you're in a good enough relationship with her to share scripture verses with her without things degenerating into a "quote-off," I would stick to those first. But really, if there's any chance of animosity between you two: approach with love and caution, if you approach at all.

I was a real Orthodox Jew before converting, and I have absolutely no desire to practice Jewish traditions now. However, because of my family, I still participate in some holidays. I can understand the appeal, especially in people who were never Jewish themselves, to mix Jewish traditions with their Christianity. There's a sense that one is following the path of Christ, who Himself is the Greatest Jew ever to live. But Christ has fulfilled the law, and he has sent his apostles and their successors out to guide us. There are many parallels between Orthodox Judaism and Orthodox Christianity -- an adherence to the traditions, the structure of services, etc. -- but the Christianity we practice is the one taught by Christ to the apostles... not an unauthorized amalgamation of practices, some of which might not have even been practiced in Jesus's time.

Pray for your cousin and be charitable in all things.
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« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2013, 02:24:20 PM »

Do you otherwise anyhow close relationship with her?
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Nektarios_In_E.S.
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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2013, 02:40:19 PM »



biro, thank you for the link to Fr.James' journey, I was aware of this yet did not have the link.


lovesupreme (by the way, I'm a fan of John Coltrane too).  Yes, I'm in pretty good relationship with her.  I do plan to approach her with love and caution.  Forewarning her that my reason for doing is is for my concern for her soul and understanding her zeal for God and wanting to get closer to Him through His Church. 

Since, it is still a protestant sect, I will, as you advise, approach her with the Scriptures first.

To me, celebrating the Real Christian Feasts, which are in our Orthodox Church, is the true way to glorify in God, in The New Israel, which is His chosen People.  What could be more fulfilling than, say, celebrating our Lord's Baptism or His Transfiguration instead of something which was just -before His incarnation- just a "shadow" of things to come.  Why celebrate the "type" instead of the actual Revelation!! We have to remember that Christ fulfills ALL in ALL.  What else can ALL mean but simply, ALL!  There are no limitations to Our Lord's fulfilment of all the things that were of the Old Testament.  To be "in Him", i.e., "His feasts" is to be taking part in that fulfillment. 

I don't mind taking part or being invited to a jewish feast, by the way -and I've been to them myself.  The problem is: when your "church" celebrates this as if it were beneficial to their faith.

Thank you for your comments and thoughts, to which I agree wholeheartedly.

Alpo, yes, I have a good relationship with my cousin.
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« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2013, 02:41:22 PM »


I have a family member, a cousin to be more specific, who is in one of the thousands of protestant sects that combines judaism with their form of "christianity." She lives thousands of miles away from me so we can only exchange e-mails and information online.  Anyway, she's in the type of sect where they celebrate jewish feast days, for example.


Any chance this may just be a fad for her?
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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2013, 02:43:21 PM »

our Orthodox Church, is the true way to glorify in God, in The New Israel
On a theological note, there is no "New Israel"; it is the same Israel of God, but now it is the Israel of God in the Messiah.
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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"You are philosophical innovators. As for me, I follow the Fathers." -Every heresiarch ever
Nektarios_In_E.S.
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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2013, 02:51:12 PM »

Quote
Any chance this may just be a fad for her?
Yes, though, I do not know that.  Perhaps I can ask her that in a charitable manner.

Quote
On a theological note, there is no "New Israel"; it is the same Israel of God, but now it is the Israel of God in the Messiah.
Granted. And the Israel of God, in that Messiah's Church.

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« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2013, 08:24:37 AM »

buy father james' book.
give it to her.
it is gold.
(i read most of it twice, it was so good, and very readable - no need to be a theologian or academic to read it)
 Smiley
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Nektarios_In_E.S.
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« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2013, 11:11:40 AM »

Quote
buy father james' book.
give it to her.
it is gold.
(i read most of it twice, it was so good, and very readable - no need to be a theologian or academic to read it)
 Smiley

-thank you very much for your suggestion! I am definitely looking into doing that.
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« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2013, 11:15:47 AM »

I also liked Fr. James' book. It was surprisingly insightful and had a theological depth in the latter portion of the book I wasn't expecting, all the while staying a 'breezy' read.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2013, 11:16:15 AM by Alveus Lacuna » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2013, 12:12:39 AM »

I personally liked the book Orthodox Worship by Benjamin Williams and Harold Anstall in this regard.  Our family was looking into messianic Judaism just prior to discovering the Holy Orthodox faith.  The first part of this book shows how Orthodox worship/life is a continuation of life in the Jewish temple.  For me, realizing that I didn't need to figure out what the church should do (2000 years after the fact), because we can see what she did do if we start at the beginning and move forward, really spurred my faith on.  Looking at a simple timeline (like this one: http://www.antiochian.org/orthodox-church-history) also helped me a lot. 

Pray for her.  Encourage her to go to an Orthodox church and let her know that this s the closest thing to Jewish worship she's going to find.  Anything else came from someone's recent decision as to what they think it was like, based on their own personal understanding. The ancient church was there, and is the living continuation of the Jewish faith. 
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« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2013, 12:54:23 AM »

Assuming that you're in a good enough relationship with her to share scripture verses with her without things degenerating into a "quote-off," I would stick to those first. But really, if there's any chance of animosity between you two: approach with love and caution, if you approach at all.

I was a real Orthodox Jew before converting, and I have absolutely no desire to practice Jewish traditions now. However, because of my family, I still participate in some holidays. I can understand the appeal, especially in people who were never Jewish themselves, to mix Jewish traditions with their Christianity. There's a sense that one is following the path of Christ, who Himself is the Greatest Jew ever to live. But Christ has fulfilled the law, and he has sent his apostles and their successors out to guide us. There are many parallels between Orthodox Judaism and Orthodox Christianity -- an adherence to the traditions, the structure of services, etc. -- but the Christianity we practice is the one taught by Christ to the apostles... not an unauthorized amalgamation of practices, some of which might not have even been practiced in Jesus's time.

Pray for your cousin and be charitable in all things.

Good advice.

One of my friends is also a convert from Judaism.

He said that some of the songs at the Divine Liturgy remind him of his days in the synagogue.
He calls himself a "Completed Jew" now that he is in the Holy Orthodox Church.

« Last Edit: November 27, 2013, 12:57:28 AM by Maria » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2013, 03:49:27 AM »

I personally liked the book Orthodox Worship by Benjamin Williams and Harold Anstall in this regard.  Our family was looking into messianic Judaism just prior to discovering the Holy Orthodox faith.  The first part of this book shows how Orthodox worship/life is a continuation of life in the Jewish temple.  For me, realizing that I didn't need to figure out what the church should do (2000 years after the fact), because we can see what she did do if we start at the beginning and move forward, really spurred my faith on.  Looking at a simple timeline (like this one: http://www.antiochian.org/orthodox-church-history) also helped me a lot. 

Pray for her.  Encourage her to go to an Orthodox church and let her know that this s the closest thing to Jewish worship she's going to find.  Anything else came from someone's recent decision as to what they think it was like, based on their own personal understanding. The ancient church was there, and is the living continuation of the Jewish faith. 
Yes, a good book:

You might also point out to her that the patriarchate of Jerusalem still exists, and a growing number of the Faithful are converted Jews, expecially in the wake of the immigration of former Soviet Jews.
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« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2013, 02:53:40 PM »

I personally liked the book Orthodox Worship by Benjamin Williams and Harold Anstall in this regard.  Our family was looking into messianic Judaism just prior to discovering the Holy Orthodox faith.  The first part of this book shows how Orthodox worship/life is a continuation of life in the Jewish temple.  For me, realizing that I didn't need to figure out what the church should do (2000 years after the fact), because we can see what she did do if we start at the beginning and move forward, really spurred my faith on.  Looking at a simple timeline (like this one: http://www.antiochian.org/orthodox-church-history) also helped me a lot. 

Pray for her.  Encourage her to go to an Orthodox church and let her know that this s the closest thing to Jewish worship she's going to find.  Anything else came from someone's recent decision as to what they think it was like, based on their own personal understanding. The ancient church was there, and is the living continuation of the Jewish faith. 
Yes, a good book:

You might also point out to her that the patriarchate of Jerusalem still exists, and a growing number of the Faithful are converted Jews, expecially in the wake of the immigration of former Soviet Jews.
I will have to check this book out.  I investigated a messianic jewish sect, but got tired of the LARP-ing.  They tried to hard to reinvent Judaism and focused too much on dancing around.  It got old, quick.
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« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2013, 01:54:32 AM »

Another vote for both books mentioned. I will add I understand the desire to recapture the first century Church and the first Christians were, of course Jews, but the Church didn't stop and freeze at that point it continued to grow and develop. It may also be helpful for your cousin to read some Church Fathers and become familiar with the part of Church history most sola scriptura Protestants know nothing about.
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« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2013, 02:45:00 AM »

our Orthodox Church, is the true way to glorify in God, in The New Israel
On a theological note, there is no "New Israel"; it is the same Israel of God, but now it is the Israel of God in the Messiah.
It is in the sense that you mentioned that the fathers refer to the Church as a New Israel.

Similarly, Paul talked about how we are a new man when we are Christian. Paul did not mean we have a split personality. So New Israel does not have to mean something that is 100% separate from the old one.
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« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2014, 12:59:24 AM »

I have a family member, a cousin to be more specific, who is in one of the thousands of protestant sects that combines judaism with their form of "christianity." She lives thousands of miles away from me so we can only exchange e-mails and information online.  Anyway, she's in the type of sect where they celebrate jewish feast days, for example.

If your cousin is in a twisted, tyrannical cult she should get out for that reason alone.  

Assuming that is not the case and we are merely dealing with an eccentric form of Christianity, my remarks are:

You have not told us enough about your cousin's beliefs and practices for us to be able to come to any firm conclusions.  You say that they "celebrate Jewish feast days."  But what days do they celebrate, and how do they celebrate them?

•I see nothing wrong in principle with reciting the 19th (18th by your count) Psalm on Saturdays and saying a prayer of thanks to God for creation and the Sabbath.  

•I see nothing wrong in principle with assembling on Saturday for Bible study, as long as the Sunday assembly is not neglected.

•I see nothing wrong in principle with giving thanks for the evening lamp on Friday night or any other night.  

•I see nothing wrong in principle with giving thanks to God after eating, as well as, or instead of, before eating.

•I see nothing wrong in principle with pronouncing a blessing on viewing striking meteorological or astronomical phenomena.  Ben Sirá writes:

Quote
Look upon the rainbow, and praise him who made it, exceedingly beautiful in its brightness.
--Ecclesiasticus 43.11

So if Irish children, on seeing the new waxing moon, can sing
Quote
I see the moon,
the moon sees me,
God bless the moon
and God bless me.
There's grace in the cottage,
there's grace in the hall,
for the grace of God is over us all.

then I don't see why your cousin can't greet the new waxing moon saying
Quote
בָּרוּךְ יוֹצְרֵךְ,
בָּרוּךְ עוֹשֵׂךְ,
בָּרוּךְ קוֹנֵךְ,
בָּרוּךְ בּוֹרְאֵךְ.
Which can be transliterated in Roman characters
Quote
bawrûkh yôtsrêkh
bawrûkh `ôsêkh
bawrûkh qônêkh
bawrûkh bôr'êkh.
and means something like
Quote
Blessed is your Shaper,
Blessed is your Maker,
Blessed is your Owner,
Blessed is your Creator.

•I see nothing wrong in principle with celebrating a Fall harvest-festival (Sukkoth) by setting up an awning outdoors and having dinner under the awning.

•I see nothing wrong in principle with lighting candles at midwinter in honor of the Maccabees.

•I see nothing wrong in principle with adopting a spiritual discipline of not eating swine's flesh, any more than I see anything wrong with the spiritual discipline of not eating the flesh of warm-blooded animals on Wednesdays or Fridays.

Spiritual disciplines can be helpful or hurtful depending on how implemented.  So you need to give us some detail about how your cousin's society implements the practices you refer to.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2014, 01:03:54 AM by Mockingbird » Logged

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