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Author Topic: Messianic Judaism?  (Read 7538 times) Average Rating: 0
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Matthew777
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« on: March 26, 2006, 11:19:33 PM »

I have a friend who is Jewish and quite comfortable in believing that Yeshua of Nazareth is the promised Messiah. This makes sense to me considering that the thousands of years of Messianic hope should have been fulfilled in at least someone. One thing that I don't get is why Jews who accept Christ are ostrisized from their community. God made a promise and as a Jew, one feels compelled to expect the fulfillment of that promise. I don't see anything wrong with that.

Peace.
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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2006, 11:51:47 PM »

I don't think that any Orthodox in the west would throw a Jewish person out who believed in Jesus as God the Son...  or a Jew who was an atheist for that matter. The problem with "Messianic Judaism" is that most people who use that label are doing something completely different than Orthodox Christianity, and are usually much closer to a Judaized version of Evangelical Protestantism than Catholicism, Orthodoxy, or High Church Protestants.  How Jewish (in customs) Jewish people should be is a good topic in itself, since the New Testament seems to advocate something that fell away rather quickly shortly after the ending of the Apostolic age. But in any event, most Messianic Jews that I've met try to recreate "the real Church" through various texts and traditions, which is not much different than Evangelicalism, except that it is more Semitic-influences and more aware of the fact that we all follow customs and traditions, and that that is a good thing (although I've run across a few Messianics who were very insistent on their interpretations and customs, but would react badly if you suggested a different custom, which they condemned as "traditions of men" *shrugs*).

I don't think anyone should be ostracized from anywhere, but I also think that it is proper for each person to decide where they stand. If you attend a Roman Catholic Church but don't think the Pope's infallible, then you aren't a Catholic; you shouldn't pretend like you are. If you attend the Orthodox Church and think that Jesus is not consubstantial with the Father, then you aren't Orthodox; you shouldn't pretend like you are. Likewise, any Jew, any Serb, any American, any Aussie is free to worship in any Church they like. However, each person should be honest enough with themselves and others. If you want to be a Messianic Jew (whether at ethnic Jew or not), then that's fine, but you can't be a Messianic Jew (as the term is commonly used) and be Orthodox at the same time. I'm not saying that such people should be hunted down and thrown out of the Church--far from it. I just think that such people need to be honest enough to, for example, refrain from communion and other sacraments, if they disagree on important dogmatic matters.
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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2006, 12:00:13 AM »

I just don't understand why someone would be forsaken by his own people for accepting the promised Messiah of their religion. That's like getting punched in the face at McDonalds for ordering a Big Mac.

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« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2006, 12:16:21 AM »

Ahh, I misunderstood what group was ostracizing who. Well, perhaps some of it is cultural. I mean, only a small fraction of Jews would label themselves religious Jews (I think it's something like 10% in Israel of all places), so Jewishness is strongly linked with both ethnicity and culture. Sort of like Greekness, but that's another thread.  So, perhaps when a Jewish fellow comes to believe in Jesus as Messiah, this is viewed as going over to the enemy, to the goyim, to the people who persecuted and (even at best) generally ill treated Jews for centuries. I'm just guessing here, what some might think. Fwiw, my Roman Catholic Uncle married a Jewish girl, and raised their two children Jewish, and I don't think they experienced many (if any) difficulties as far as discrimination.
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2006, 03:04:55 AM »

Years ago, I visited for about a year a messianic Jewish Congregation in El Paso.  There were about 4 actual Jews in the congregation the rest were evangelical Christians who were trying to get back to the "real Roots" of Christianity.  At the same time I was visiting them I was also visiting Orthodox Christian churches in the area.  I soon came to realize that the Messianic Jewish Congregation was going through the same arguments that the Early Church went through in the first 6th centuries of the Church, I saw the congregation  breaking apart on the same lines that many of the early Christian bodies did.  It was then that I realized that the Orthodox Church had already gone through that trauma and by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Councils of the Church resolved those issues and has developed the church as it is today.

My friends in Messianic Judaism split and split until they themselves ceased to exist and some returned to Judaism others left to the 7th Day adventists, the Seventh Day Baptists, and other fringe evangelical churches.  Few went the way to historic, orthodox Christianity.

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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2006, 03:15:43 AM »

For the sake of discussion, a Messianic Jew is anyone who is ethnically Jewish and considers Yeshua of Nazareth to be the Jewish Moshiach.
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« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2006, 07:05:57 PM »

For the sake of discussion, a Messianic Jew is anyone who is ethnically Jewish and considers Yeshua of Nazareth to be the Jewish Moshiach.

Matthew 777, what do you mean by "ethnically Jewish."  Rabbis claim that ancestry through the mother is important.  The Bible, however, shows that a person can be Jewish whose mother was Gentile ( the offspring of Ruth the Moabitess, for instance, were in the line leading to Christ ).

In identifying someone as ethncially Jewish, would you follow biblical or rabbinical standards?

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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2006, 08:56:40 PM »

One thing that I don't get is why Jews who accept Christ are ostrisized from their community. God made a promise and as a Jew, one feels compelled to expect the fulfillment of that promise. I don't see anything wrong with that.

M777,

     As a result of working in an office where I'm the only non-Jewish attorney I can offer some of the things I have heard.  While only one of the other attorneys I would categorize as a "real" practicing Jew, the rest pretty much tow the same line of belief, which I suppose is a part of the "fabric" of growing up Jewish.

     I know the guys in my office have a deep rooted dislike for Messianic Jews, because in their eyes, those Jews are following a false prophet and therefore are committing blasphemy against God.

     To the traditional Jew it is not a fulfillment of God's promise, rather a fabrication against the promise.  In traditional Jewish circles, they anxiously await the "first coming" of the Moshiach.  I don't know how well versed you might be in Judaism, but let me throw a recent name at you; Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

     He was the leader of a sect of Hasidic Judaism called Chabad Lubavitch or Lubavitchers (kind of slang).  They are amongst the most evangelical Jews I've ever met.  We have two young Lubavitchers come to our office every Friday, before Shabbat, to ask the other lawyers if they want to put on tfillin and say prayers.

     In any event, when Rabbi Schneerson died, many with in the Lubavitcher community were convinced that he was the Moshiach, and starting putting forward that belief.  In fact, so strong was this belief, many Lubavitchers picked up and moved to the neighborhood where he was buried, so that they could be near Moshiach.  Quite interesting is the fact that the neighborhood was primarily African American prior to his death, and is almost exclusively comprised of Lubavitcher Jews.

     My point is this... Jews are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Messiah, that any notion that another person worships He who has already come, is blasphemous and worth of being ostracized.  In fact, they will go to extreme lengths to protect this value.

     I remember years back, Jews for Jesus attempted to have themselves included in "Jewish events" (gatherings, religious events etc..).  It ultimately wound up in a New York State Court, with traditional Jews basically arguing that "Jews for Jesus" weren't Jewish at all.  While the Court never addressed the issue of whether or not they were Jews, proper, the Court did find that their beliefs differed sufficiently that "traditional" Jews were not required to include them in their events.  So, I'm not sure if this answers your question, but hopefully it adds some insight.
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« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2006, 11:22:48 PM »

My point is this... Jews are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Messiah, that any notion that another person worships He who has already come, is blasphemous and worth of being ostracized.  In fact, they will go to extreme lengths to protect this value.

Why aren't Hasidic Jews ostracized for considering the Rabbe to be the Messiah?

Peace.
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« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2006, 11:23:48 PM »

In identifying someone as ethncially Jewish, would you follow biblical or rabbinical standards?

I'm basically saying someone who has been raised in a traditionally Jewish family.
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« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2006, 11:35:32 PM »

Why aren't Hasidic Jews ostracized for considering the Rabbe to be the Messiah?
Well, actually those few Hasidim who thought Rabbi Schneerson was the Messiah are kind of viewed as a bit crazy.

I know I once had this discussion with MBZ (poster here) who is Orthodox Jewish and thought the followers of Schneerson who thought he was the Messiah are a bit over the top (to say the least).
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« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2006, 12:11:38 AM »

Well, actually those few Hasidim who thought Rabbi Schneerson was the Messiah are kind of viewed as a bit crazy.

I know I once had this discussion with MBZ (poster here) who is Orthodox Jewish and thought the followers of Schneerson who thought he was the Messiah are a bit over the top (to say the least).

M777's question is a good one for exposing the inconsistent, hypocritical way that rabbinical Jews shun Messianic ones.  Rabbi Akiva, who picked Bar Kochba as a messiah, remains a respected figure in history.  People who considered Rebbe Schneerson the messiah also remained in good standing.  In fact, Jews who deny God's existence or drift into Buddhism are not shunned.  But any Jews who trust in Y'shua or Jesus are outcasts, no matter how much they may love the Jewish people and support the nation of Israel.
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« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2006, 04:11:21 AM »

What is it about Buddha that makes him a better Jew than Jesus?
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« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2006, 09:22:14 AM »

People who considered Rebbe Schneerson the messiah also remained in good standing.
I don't think this is entirely accurate.  I think those who thought of Rabbi Schneerson as Moshiach are certainly considered to be wrong and on the fringes of Judaism.

Quote
In fact, Jews who deny God's existence or drift into Buddhism are not shunned.  But any Jews who trust in Y'shua or Jesus are outcasts, no matter how much they may love the Jewish people and support the nation of Israel.
It's simple.  Buddha does not threaten the very underpinnings of Judaism the way Jesus does.

While I (obviously) disagree with Jews on this point, belief in Jesus, undermines the last 2000 years of Judaism.  To an extent, belief in Him also is a concession as to the the perversion of the Old Testament by Jews and straying from the laws as given to Moses.

While someone who believes in Buddha can simply be dismissed as wacko without their belief infringing upon the underpinnings of Judaism.
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« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2006, 11:17:54 AM »

I agree SS, most of the practicing Jewish people I know do *not* look on the late Rabbi Schneerson as any kind of Messiah, so they're not being "hypocritical".

You also explained it well, SS.  Looking over the centuries at how Jews have been treated in Christian countries there is a long history of evil treatment that has left it's mark, as it were. A Jewish person becoming a Christian can be percieved as joining the group that killed and oppressed ones ancestors.  Try to imagine *their* feelings, not ones own as a Christian with the convert joining 'your group'.

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« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2006, 11:19:26 AM »

I just don't understand why someone would be forsaken by his own people for accepting the promised Messiah of their religion.  

Because they don't believe that Jesus *is* the Messiah.  

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« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2006, 01:46:38 PM »

I agree SS, most of the practicing Jewish people I know do *not* look on the late Rabbi Schneerson as any kind of Messiah, so they're not being "hypocritical".

Actually, they don't consider the Lord Jesus the Messiah either; at least, that's what the Conservative Jewish rabbi said who took part in an interfaith forum held in my hometown after 9/11.  The rabbi said he didn't recognize Jesus, His teachings, or the New Testament, period!

You also explained it well, SS.  Looking over the centuries at how Jews have been treated in Christian countries there is a long history of evil treatment that has left it's mark, as it were. A Jewish person becoming a Christian can be percieved as joining the group that killed and oppressed ones ancestors.  Try to imagine *their* feelings, not ones own as a Christian with the convert joining 'your group'.

It's hypocritical to treat a Jewish believer in Jesus that way.  The TaNaKH teaches that fathers shouldn't be punished for their childrens' sins, or children for their fathers' sins, but that people should be punished for their own sins.  "Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers: a person shall be put to death for his own sin" ( Deuteronomy 24: 16 ).  "The soul who sins shall die.  The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son.  The righteousness of the righteousness shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself" ( Ezekiel 18: 20 ).

Aren't the perpetrators of the Crusades and Inquisition all dead?  So where's the justification for shunning a fellow Jew for trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ and worshiping with Christian believers who have never harmed the Jewish community?  It seems that discriminating against Messianic Jews because of the Crusades and Inquisition is not much different than blaming today's Jewish people for crucifying our Lord.  

Granted, I can imagine the Jewish community's feelings about Messianic Judaism, but I recognize that feelings such as those -- feelings contrary to Scripture -- ought to be repented of.

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« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2006, 02:22:51 PM »

Aren't the perpetrators of the Crusades and Inquisition all dead?  So where's the justification for shunning a fellow Jew for trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ and worshiping with Christian believers who have never harmed the Jewish community?  It seems that discriminating against Messianic Jews because of the Crusades and Inquisition is not much different than blaming today's Jewish people for crucifying our Lord.
I think you are taking a big step I never suggested here.

I don't think they are discriminating because of the Crusades, but traditional rabbinical Jews feel that a belief in Jesus de facto undermines a central belief of Judaism (ie: that the Messiah has not yet come).  That belief, in and of itself warrants division from the Jewish perspective.

Also, your last line is a bit puzzling to me. I'm not sure of your point.  Are you suggesting that we ought to blame the Jews for the Lords crucifixion, or that we shouldn't, or that we don't?
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« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2006, 12:18:08 AM »

... I don't think they are discriminating because of the Crusades, but traditional rabbinical Jews feel that a belief in Jesus de facto undermines a central belief of Judaism (ie: that the Messiah has not yet come).  That belief, in and of itself warrants division from the Jewish perspective.

I still sense hypocritical discrimination.  Belief in a future messiah is not Judaism's only central tenet of faith.  If the Shema is any indication, monotheism is also a central tenet, yet Jews don't shun the atheists among themselves as they do Messianic Jews.

Also, your last line is a bit puzzling to me. I'm not sure of your point.  Are you suggesting that we ought to blame the Jews for the Lords crucifixion, or that we shouldn't, or that we don't?

No, I never said we should regard the Jews as Christ-killers.  Not all the Jews of the Gospel era opposed our Lord; in fact, some of them ( e.g., the apostles and others ) were His biggest supporters.  I just noted how blaming today's Jews for the Crucifixion is similar to treating Messianic Jews as if they were somehow liable for the persecution that earlier Jews suffered from other people.

A key to discerning a sinful, discriminatory motive is to check for a pretext ( a false reason used to cover up a true motive ).  When a reason given is pretextual, it won't be consistently applied.  That's why I liked M777's question "Why aren't Hasidic Jews ostracized for considering the Rabbe to be the Messiah?"  If rabbinical Jews were that zealous to safeguard their belief in a future messiah, they would have separated from everyone who thought Bar-Kokhba, Sabbatai Zvi, or Rebbe Schneerson was the messiah.

A good biblical example of a pretext is Jewish religious leaders' false accusation that our Lord was guilty of insurrection, making Himself king in place of Caesar ( Luke 23: 2 ).  Their real concern wasn't insurrection, however, because when the opportunity arose to release either our Lord or Barabbas, a real insurrectionist (Mark 15: 7 ), they chose Barabbas.  Pilate discerned that the leaders' real motive for handing over our Lord was envy ( Mark 15: 10 ).

In Christ,
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« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2006, 12:31:38 AM »

Because they don't believe that Jesus *is* the Messiah. ÂÂ

Ebor

But it's acceptable within the Jewish community to consider the Rabbe the Messiah even though he's not accepted as such by most Jews. Sounds like a double-standard to me.

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« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2006, 10:08:34 AM »

But it's acceptable within the Jewish community to consider the Rabbe the Messiah even though he's not accepted as such by most Jews. Sounds like a double-standard to me.

Why is it a double-standard?  Who says that it is "acceptable"?  There is a group, a small portion of people who are Jewish who thought that Schneerson was the Messiah.  Most others do not.  Do you know much about the varieties of Jewish practice?  Do you know of the internal disagreements? It is not monolithic.  

Jews do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah.  Maybe for many they look on Christianity as the background source of centuries of terrible treatment so that for someone to become Christian is to then become part of the system that was oppressive, a kind of 'sell-out' or betrayal maybe.  

Let's try some empathy and maybe a reverse situation.  A pious believing Christian family suddenly has a child/teen/adult who announces that he/she has decided that Jesus is not God, and that they are becoming muslim or some other religion that is percieved as antithetical to Christianity.  And they don't live in a country where lots of religions are practiced.  Let's say they live in a country with a history and a majority population of muslims.  The conversion could look like "Joining the oppressor".

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« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2006, 12:36:17 PM »

I am so dying to send this discussion to my Dad, the Jewish Buddhist.  I'd love to see what he has to say (and my mom the Convert!) Whatcha think?
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« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2006, 01:11:16 PM »

Let's try some empathy and maybe a reverse situation.  A pious believing Christian family suddenly has a child/teen/adult who announces that he/she has decided that Jesus is not God, and that they are becoming muslim or some other religion that is percieved as antithetical to Christianity.  And they don't live in a country where lots of religions are practiced.  Let's say they live in a country with a history and a majority population of muslims.  The conversion could look like "Joining the oppressor".
Ebor,  

Excellent example.  I know that I would personally be devastated by such news.
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« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2006, 03:56:00 PM »

I am so dying to send this discussion to my Dad, the Jewish Buddhist.  I'd love to see what he has to say (and my mom the Convert!) Whatcha think?

Well, if there are any mistakes or misapprehensions in what I've written (not being Jewish, but knowiong some people who are practicing believing Jews) would you please correct me, Aurelia?    

Thank you

Ebor
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« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2006, 04:05:07 PM »

Ebor, ÂÂ

Excellent example.  I know that I would personally be devastated by such news.

Thank you.  I would also be very very upset.

Trying to actually imagine how other Human Beings might feel or think about situations (rather then putting our own opinions on them) and to realize that they are just as Human as we ourselves is better, I think, then just calling them names.

Ebor
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« Reply #25 on: March 31, 2006, 11:46:30 PM »

I am so dying to send this discussion to my Dad, the Jewish Buddhist.  I'd love to see what he has to say (and my mom the Convert!) Whatcha think?

It would be funny if he actually claimed that Buddha was a better Jew than Jesus.
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« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2006, 12:06:55 AM »

It would be funny if he actually claimed that Buddha was a better Jew than Jesus.

Why would Aurelia's father say that the Buddha was a "better Jew"?  Why would he say he was a "Jew" at all?  I'm sure that her father is clear as to Siddhartha Gautama *not* being Jewish.

Ebor
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« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2006, 03:58:32 AM »

Ebor, ÂÂ

Excellent example.  I know that I would personally be devastated by such news.

Ebor, you could make this example relevant by naming a nation where Messianic Jews constitute a majority and have a history of oppressing Rabbinical Jews.  Because Israel isn't such a nation, I have a hard time appreciating those Haredi Jews who firebombed a Messianic Jewish bookstore and chess club in August or who stormed a Messianic Jewish Congregation in Beer Sheva on Dec. 24 in order to disrupt the service, destroy furniture, rough up members, and throw the congregation leader, Howard Bass, into the mikvah ( baptistry ). ÂÂ
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« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2006, 04:49:55 AM »

Years ago, I visited for about a year a messianic Jewish Congregation in El Paso.  There were about 4 actual Jews in the congregation the rest were evangelical Christians who were trying to get back to the "real Roots" of Christianity.  At the same time I was visiting them I was also visiting Orthodox Christian churches in the area.  I soon came to realize that the Messianic Jewish Congregation was going through the same arguments that the Early Church went through in the first 6th centuries of the Church, I saw the congregation  breaking apart on the same lines that many of the early Christian bodies did.  It was then that I realized that the Orthodox Church had already gone through that trauma and by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Councils of the Church resolved those issues and has developed the church as it is today.

My friends in Messianic Judaism split and split until they themselves ceased to exist and some returned to Judaism others left to the 7th Day adventists, the Seventh Day Baptists, and other fringe evangelical churches.  Few went the way to historic, orthodox Christianity.

This is sort of how I ended up in Orthodoxy! I was convinced that the Catholic church (to which I belonged) had added to the repository of knowledge, and I felt that if I could some how rediscover the 'original' church, I'd be a better Christian. I ended up finding that the original church still exists; Orthodoxy
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« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2006, 04:51:28 AM »

I have a friend who is Jewish and quite comfortable in believing that Yeshua of Nazareth is the promised Messiah. This makes sense to me considering that the thousands of years of Messianic hope should have been fulfilled in at least someone. One thing that I don't get is why Jews who accept Christ are ostrisized from their community. God made a promise and as a Jew, one feels compelled to expect the fulfillment of that promise. I don't see anything wrong with that.

Peace.
They are one step closer to the truth, but the truth of Christ is not just that he was the culmination of promises to the Jews, but to show a way back to God; deification. The whole message of Christ is contained in Orthodoxy
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« Reply #30 on: April 02, 2006, 04:37:09 PM »

Hi all!

I'll have to ask all of you to please forgive me but it's 23:30 here & I'm just taking a quick look on the computer before going to sleep.  DW & I have been up late cleaning for Passover (SouthSerb99 can fill you in on what a major operation that is).  I will post a proper reply tomorrow.

Good night!

MBZZZZZ
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« Reply #31 on: April 03, 2006, 09:18:53 AM »

Hi all!

OK, I'm awake & I've just polished off mug #2 of Turkish coffee.  So...

Quote from: Matthew777
One thing that I don't get is why Jews who accept Christ are ostrisized from their community.

Because a Jew who "accepts Christ" has crossed the boundaries into heresy/apostasy.  Belief in, or acceptance of, Jesus as the Messiah/Son of God/person in a triune God/Incarnation of God/ is completely, totally & utterly incompatible with the beliefs of traditional, normative Judaism, and always has been.  This circle can never be squared; "Jews for Jesus" and the various "Messianic Jewish" groups, et. al. will always be unnatural jerry-rigged hybrids.  One can believe in Judaism or Christianity but not both at the same time, it's one or the other.  I certainly believe in honest & friendly (always!) dialogue between Jews and Christians, I also believe that such dialogue must be based on a recognition that ours are two separate faiths.

Quote from: Matthew777
God made a promise and as a Jew, one feels compelled to expect the fulfillment of that promise.

We believe that God made us many promises & we await their fulfillment.  Smiley

Quote from: Asteriktos
I don't think that any Orthodox in the west would throw a Jewish person out who believed in Jesus as God the Son...

A Jew who (God forbid!) adopts another faith, is still a Jew. However, until he/she repents & renounces the other faith that they have adopted, a number of disabilities are heaped on them. Such a person is to be shunned. If a man, he cannot be counted as part of the necessary quorom for group prayer; he may not be given any synagogue or community honor; he may not teach Judaism; act as a rabbi, mohel (ritual circumciser), or shokhet (kosher butcher). Under Jewish law, he is disinherited. If such a person dies unrepentant, I believe that he/she either may not be buried in a properly-consecrated Jewish cemetery or must be buried in a special section.

Quote from: Matthew777
I just don't understand why someone would be forsaken by his own people for accepting the promised Messiah of their religion.

As Hamet says, "Ay, there's the rub."  It is a principle of Judaism that Jesus is not "the promised Messiah of our religion."

Quote from: Matthew777
That's like getting punched in the face at McDonalds for ordering a Big Mac.

Except for seven of the over 80 McDonald's restaurants here in Israel (http://www.mcdonalds.com/countries/israel.html), McDonald's isn't kosher & no Jew should eat there.  Wink Roll Eyes

Quote from: Asteriktos
So, perhaps when a Jewish fellow comes to believe in Jesus as Messiah, this is viewed as going over to the enemy, to the goyim, to the people who persecuted and (even at best) generally ill treated Jews for centuries. I'm just guessing here, what some might think.

You're pretty close.  I hope this doesn't offend anyone (God forbid!), because I know it's going to sound harsh, but...Not for nothing did Dante place not murderers, not rapists, but traitors in the lowest circle of Hell. A Jew who (God forbid!) knowingly, willingly, and under no compulsion whatsoever, abjures Judaism for another faith is a rogue & a traitor who betrays his people and his God. I would pray that they repent but barring that I wish them ill. Why am I reacting with such vitriol? Well, I quote our Sages who say that, "All Israel is responsible one for the other." We Jews are a small people; we constitute one organic whole. Whenever a Jew abjures his faith, it is like having a limb ripped off or an organ torn out. It is a raw wound that never heals & which hurts more than you can possibly imagine. We all suffer, we are all diminished thereby. Thus, to those who knowingly inflict this on us,I react as I have.   We shun such heretics/apostates in order to quarrantine the spiritual infection they represent.  (Do you all hate me now?)

A Jew is anyone whose birthmother was a Jew or who underwent an orthodox conversion.  Thus, while many/most/some(?) so-called "Messianic Jews" may certainly be Jews, what they believe and practice is certainly not Judaism.

SouthSerb99's remarks about Lubavitch Hassidim & the late Rabbi Schneersohn are accurate.  However, any Jew who believes that a dead man is/can be/ the Messiah is treading on veeeery thin spiritual ice and is liable to fall into heresy.

Rabbi Schneerson passed away 12 years ago.  He was quite the scholar & charismatic leader.  This January 2002 Canadian Jewish News article (http://www.cjnews.com/pastissues/02/jan17-02/features/feature3.htm) & this Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) article (http://www.jta.org/page_view_story.asp?intarticleid=14191&intcategoryid=5) from June 2004 are a pretty good place to start.  They touch on both the controversy surrounding the Messianic claims of some Lubavitch Hasidim & the Rebbe's work in Jewish outreach.  This New York Jewish Week op-ed piece (http://www.thejewishweek.com/top/editletcontent.php3?artid=3518 from June 2004 is by the same Rabbi Berger referred to in the aforementioned Canadian Jewish News article.  This (http://www.icjs.org/info/rebbe.html) is a review by a rabbi affiliated with the Institute of Christian and Jewish Studies of Rabbi Berger's book (referred to in the Canadian Jewish News article) The Rebbe, The Messiah, and the Scandal of Orthodox Indifference.

Quote from: Matthew777
Why aren't Hasidic Jews ostracized for considering the Rabbe to be the Messiah?

Not all Hasidic Jews consider him to be the Messiah; in fact, most do not.  Many of those Lubavitch Hasidim who do so accept him are very subtle about it; many of those who are not are shunned.  I once had an orthodox Jew tell me to my face that such Lubavitch Hasidim are idolators.

Quote from: SouthSerb99
Well, actually those few Hasidim who thought Rabbi Schneerson was the Messiah are kind of viewed as a bit crazy.

I know I once had this discussion with MBZ (poster here) who is Orthodox Jewish and thought the followers of Schneerson who thought he was the Messiah are a bit over the top (to say the least).

To say the least!

Some of the foregoing is from the discussion we had.

Quote from: mathetes
Rabbi Akiva, who picked Bar Kochba as a messiah, remains a respected figure in history.

Correct.  But Rabbi Akiva suffered a horrendous fate/punishment (Romans tortured him to death by scraping his skin off with iron combs) for his terrible, and terribly erroneous, decision.  Our Sages are quite forthright in strongly criticizing his acclamation of Bar Kochba (as were many of his rabbinical colleagues at the time).  We accept & acknowledge his (sound & 100% orthodox) brilliance while rejecting his decision to acclaim Bar Kochba as the Messiah (his life- and career-ending mistake).

Quote from: mathetes
But any Jews who trust in Y'shua or Jesus are outcasts, no matter how much they may love the Jewish people and support the nation of Israel.

Quote from: SouthSerb99
I think those who thought of Rabbi Schneerson as Moshiach are certainly considered to be wrong and on the fringes of Judaism.

It's simple.  Buddha does not threaten the very underpinnings of Judaism the way Jesus does.

While I (obviously) disagree with Jews on this point, belief in Jesus, undermines the last 2000 years of Judaism.  To an extent, belief in Him also is a concession as to the the perversion of the Old Testament by Jews and straying from the laws as given to Moses.

While someone who believes in Buddha can simply be dismissed as wacko without their belief infringing upon the underpinnings of Judaism.

As usual, my Serbian Orthodox friend is correct.

A Jew accepting Jesus dredges up very bad, bitter & painful historical memories of such items as (the following list is representative, not exhaustive) discriminatory anti-Jewish legislation, blood libels, pogroms, the Inquisition, being accused of causing the Black Death by poisoning wells, seeing our holy books burned, forcible baptism of Jewish children (such as Edgar Mortara), repeated expulsions, the Crusader massacres, the Chimelnicki massacres, being forced to listen to conversionary sermons in our own synagogues, etc.  While, and I here I must correct my SO friend, accepting Buddhist polytheism also undermines the theological underpinnings of Judaism, Buddha/Buddhism don't conjure up the same communal historical memories.  We've had no contact with Buddhists.  We don't know them.  We've not felt the business end of Buddhist wrath up-close-and-personal the way we have with Christianity.

Ebor
Quote from: Ebor
Looking over the centuries at how Jews have been treated in Christian countries there is a long history of evil treatment that has left it's mark, as it were. A Jewish person becoming a Christian can be percieved as joining the group that killed and oppressed ones ancestors.  Try to imagine *their* feelings, not ones own as a Christian with the convert joining 'your group'...Maybe for many they look on Christianity as the background source of centuries of terrible treatment so that for someone to become Christian is to then become part of the system that was oppressive, a kind of 'sell-out' or betrayal maybe.
has it right.

Quote from: Matthew777
But it's acceptable within the Jewish community to consider the Rabbe the Messiah even though he's not accepted as such by most Jews.

No; outside of certain very narrow Lubavitch circles, it is not acceptable, absolutely not.

Quote from: mathetes
I have a hard time appreciating those Haredi Jews who firebombed a Messianic Jewish bookstore and chess club in August or who stormed a Messianic Jewish Congregation in Beer Sheva on Dec. 24 in order to disrupt the service, destroy furniture, rough up members, and throw the congregation leader, Howard Bass, into the mikvah ( baptistry ).

As an orthodox Jew, the thuggish actions of these criminals & louts shame me; I condemn them unreservedly.  This is not the way to counteract missionaries, not at all.

Howzat?

Be well!

MBZ

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« Reply #32 on: April 03, 2006, 10:53:59 AM »

MBZ,

     As usual, a brilliant reply to everything.  Thank you.  There is no need to hate you for sharing your opinions/beliefs.  That's what makes you a good Jew and us good Christians (for our unfettered belief in Jesus).  Your point about the recognition of us being two faiths is paramount.  We can certainly respect one another, engage in dialogue, with the recognition that the two faiths are mutually exclusive.  I fully agree with your analysis.

     Now, having said all of that, I have a question for you, which has puzzled me for quite some time, and I've never been given (what I felt) a satisfactory response.

     You said
Quote
A Jew is anyone whose birthmother was a Jew or who underwent an orthodox conversion.

     I've heard it a bit differently (from the guys in the office), but lets go with your premise above.

     In the eyes of Judaism, if I (a gentile) do not convert to Orthodox Judaism, but otherwise live a pious life, do I have a shot at salvation?  Or what about 7 year old Peter, the Orthodox Christian boy who dies in car accident.  Does he have a chance at salvation?  Having not been born of a Jewish mother, nor having had the opportunity to convert, because of age, what would be his fate?

     An Orthodox Christian answers these questions with "I cannot presume to know God's will and He and He alone will decide the fate of all".  Thus, to an OC, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that a non-OC will be saved.  Although to be completely honest, I'm not sure I can say the same for non-Christians.

     Based upon the answers I have been given in the office, it seemed like the law of "tough luck" prevailed in Judaism.  That is to say, if your mom isn't Jewish and you haven't converted, well then,  "tough luck".  Is that correct?  Thanks in advance.
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« Reply #33 on: April 04, 2006, 08:07:59 AM »

Hi all!

Egad, but cleaning for Passover (which DW & I can really only do when Da Boyz are either not around or asleep) is tiring.  I was too zonked last night to even look at the computer.

So...

Quote from: SouthSerb99
Quote from: MBZ
A Jew is anyone whose birthmother was a Jew or who underwent an orthodox conversion.

I've heard it a bit differently (from the guys in the office)...

Really?  Please do tell!

Quote from: SouthSerb99
In the eyes of Judaism, if I (a gentile) do not convert to Orthodox Judaism, but otherwise live a pious life, do I have a shot at salvation?  Or what about 7 year old Peter, the Orthodox Christian boy who dies in car accident.  Does he have a chance at salvation?  Having not been born of a Jewish mother, nor having had the opportunity to convert, because of age, what would be his fate?

(...)

Based upon the answers I have been given in the office, it seemed like the law of "tough luck" prevailed in Judaism.  That is to say, if your mom isn't Jewish and you haven't converted, well then,  "tough luck".  Is that correct?

No, this is most definitely not correct.  Shocked  Angry

Judaism most definitely does NOT believe that it's "our way or the highway to hell" (i.e. We don't believe that all non-Jews will necessarily go to hell). Our Sages say that, "The righteous of all nations have a share in the world-to-come." We believe that whereas there are 613 precepts/commandments in the Torah that are incumbent/binding on Jews, there are only 7 that are binding on non-Jews. Using the traditional methods of Jewish Biblical exegesis, our Sages infer these 7 precepts from Genesis 9:1-17 & believe that God gave them to Noah & his sons. Since Noah & sons were not Jewish, we refer to these 7 precepts as the 7 Noahide Precepts. The 7 are: 1) To establish courts of justice; 2) No blasphemy; 3) No idolatry; 4) No incest/adultery; 5) Do not shed blood; 6) Do not steal & 7) Do not cut meat from a living animal. ("Bnai Noach" means "Children of Noah" in Hebrew and refers to those non-Jews who abide by the 7 precepts. See http://www.noach.com/links.html for some interesting links.)

Our 18th century Sage, Rabbi Menachem Mendl of Kotzk (http://tinyurl.com/2xadc) says: "Just as we accept that our neighbors face does not resemble ours, so too must we accept that his views do not resemble ours."

Since Judaism does not consign all Jews to hell & since we believe that non-Jews can/do have a personal relationship with God, it follows that there is no need to "carry the Torah to them" as it were, i.e. missionize (we do, of course, accept converts).

Howzat?

Be well!

MBZ
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« Reply #34 on: April 04, 2006, 08:26:15 AM »

Hi all!

Egad, but cleaning for Passover (which DW & I can really only do when Da Boyz are either not around or asleep) is tiring.  I was too zonked last night to even look at the computer.

So...
Yes, one of the attorneys from my office is out for the next two and a half weeks, in preparation and then for Passover.

Quote
Really?  Please do tell!
Well, the discussion arose when my friends father remarried (he's Orthodox Jewish).  At the time of his remarriage, he was 56 and his new wife was 27 and Roman Catholic (only nominally).  They had a child who was conceived out of wedlock, but they were married before the Child was born.

     His wife never converted to Judaism and gave birth to a baby boy (Ethan - is now 4 years old).  She keeps a Kosher home, but does not go to Shul or practice Judaism in any other way.  Nor does she go to Church.  For all intents and purposes all Jewish holy days are followed.

      The issue came up in the office, when the most religious attorney in my office said, Ethan was not Orthodox Jewish (since not born of Jewish mother), nor could he become Orthodox through conversion, unless and until he was old enough to do it for himself.

     In other words, his father has had some "ceremony" performed (I'm not sure the exact extent of what that means), but he had it done, to ensure the boy was Orthodox Jewish.  David from my office disagrees.

      I was left with the feeling (from David in my office) that because this kids mother was a "Shiksa" (pardon the word - but David can be a little blunt at times), the kid could not be Jewish, until much later in life.  David is considered a bit of a hard a$$ at times, so maybe I misinterpreted what he was saying.

---------

The rest of what you wrote was really great.  I'm going to use it (verbatim) at lunch today.  The Shabbas Goy is really going to show them who knows his stuff today!!! LOL  Grin
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« Reply #35 on: April 04, 2006, 09:04:53 AM »

Hi SouthSerb99!

Quote from: SouthSerb99
The issue came up in the office, when the most religious attorney in my office said, Ethan was not Orthodox Jewish (since not born of Jewish mother), nor could he become Orthodox through conversion, unless and until he was old enough to do it for himself.

Unless the mother underwent an orthodox conversion prior to giving birth, Ethan is not a Jew, period.

DW & I adopted Yohanan here in Israel (under the auspices of the Ministry of Social Welfare's Child Welfare Service, which, by law has sole & exclusive jurisdiction over all domestic adoptions; CWS adoptions are closed & blind; private, USA-style adoption, is very, very illegal here) in May 1997, when he was 4-months-old. We adopted Naor (also under the auspices of the CWS) in November 2000, when he was a wee 2.5-weeks-old. (Yohanan marched into nursery school the next day & proudly announced: "I have a brother!" Smiley ) Both of Da Boyz were born here to (so we've been told) non-Jewish Russian/Ukrainian women who were working here illegally. Since Da Boyz' birthmoms were not Jewish, they were not Jewish & we had to be converted to Judaism (circumcision & dunking in a ritual pool known as a mikveh). Naor's bmom was told to leave the country after she voluntarily placed Naor with the CWS (she already had 2 kids & couldn't/didn't want to/ deal with a 3rd); Yohanan's bmom walked out of the hospital 5 days after giving birth to him (emergency c-section; he was in full breech & 6 weeks premature) & has disappeared without a trace (the police tried to find her & gave it up; all the identifying data she gave upon being admitted to the hospital was either bogus or stolen).  The CWS, by law, gives Jewish children to Jewish couples & Arab children to Arab couples. (Before we received Yohanan, we did a CWS workshop on adopting a first child with 7 other couples & 2 CWS social workers; one of the other couples was a Christian Israeli Arab couple.) In the Jewish sector, the demand for babies to adopt is far ahead of supply. In the Arab sector, the situation is reversed. There is actually a surplus of Arab babies, which the CWS places with Arab families in other countries; the CWS will NOT place an Arab child with a Jewish family. Children like Yohanan & Naor fall between the ethnic cracks, they're neither Jewish nor Arab. Since placing them with Arab families is not an option (the latter want only Arab babies), they're placed with Jewish families.  When Da Boyz reach Bar Mitzvah (http://www.jewfaq.org/barmitz.htm#Bar) age, they will have the option of appearing before a rabbinical court & renouncing their Judaism.  If they don't, their going through with the Bar Mitzvah is an admission to God, us & the community that they voluntarily accept being Jews & their conversion, which up until then will have been conditional (sort of), will thereupon become permanent.

I believe that Ethan would now be too old to do what we did with Da Boyz; I believe that he would have to wait until he is old enough to do the whole thing on his own (I'm not sure when exactly this is).

Quote from: SouthSerb99
In other words, his father has had some "ceremony" performed (I'm not sure the exact extent of what that means), but he had it done, to ensure the boy was Orthodox Jewish.  David from my office disagrees.

Huh

The (orthodox, of course) rabbinical court that oversaw Da Boyz's conversions first had to be satisfied that DW & I led an observant lifestyle & that we would raise Da Boyz as observant Jews as well; otherwise, it would not have sanctioned the conversions.  (Orthodox) Rabbinical courts have a problem with sanctioning the conversion of minors if their parents are not observant/traditional Jews and cannot satisfy the rabbinical court that they will raise the children as such.  Some (orthodox) rabbinical courts will be more lenient regarding the definition of "observant/traditional", others will be more stringent.

Let me know how lunch goes!

Be well!

MBZ
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« Reply #36 on: April 04, 2006, 09:10:17 AM »

How might all of this affect Ethan's  ability to attend an Orthodox Yeshiva here in NYC?
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« Reply #37 on: April 04, 2006, 09:17:34 AM »

Thank you for your response, MBZ.  

I'm relieved that you say I had my analysis right.  Wink

I was discussing this thread with a friend who came up with a kind of parallel example for the posters who don't understand why "Messianic Jews" are not Jews

Let us suppose that there was an organization started with fliers and billboards and ads and people showing up at churches called: "Christians for Mohammed".  Since the declaration that Mohammed is the Prophet of God and the final word is part of the formal conversion to Islam and it denies that Jesus is the Son of God, such a group would not be counted as "Christian".

Would that be a possibly similar idea?

Ebor
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« Reply #38 on: April 04, 2006, 09:21:07 AM »

Ebor, you could make this example relevant by naming a nation where Messianic Jews constitute a majority and have a history of oppressing Rabbinical Jews. ÂÂ

No, the example is relevant because "Messianic Jews" are not practicing believing Jews but *Christians* in the eyes of those who follow Judaism.  And it was the Christian nations/cultures that do have a history of oppressing the Jewish people.  

Ebor

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« Reply #39 on: April 04, 2006, 10:57:16 AM »

Hi all!

Quote from: SouthSerb99
How might all of this affect Ethan's  ability to attend an Orthodox Yeshiva here in NYC?

That depnds.  Is Ethan a Jew or not?  How did lunch go?  What did your colleagues have to say?

Quote from: Ebor
Would that be a possibly similar idea?

Close enough!

Be well!

MBZ
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SouthSerb99
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« Reply #40 on: April 04, 2006, 10:59:42 AM »

Hi all!

That depnds.  Is Ethan a Jew or not?  How did lunch go?  What did your colleagues have to say?
Hey, slow down, Mister "I'm in Israel getting ready for bed".  It's only 11am in NYC!!! Not even SS99, the glutton, eats that early!  Tongue
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« Reply #41 on: April 04, 2006, 11:04:07 AM »

Well, if you were British or in some other Commonwealth country, you could have been having "Elevenses" right about now and then had lunch 12:30 or 1.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elevenses

Maybe you could adopt a folk tradition from another country?  Grin  Wink

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I've just become a "guru"

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« Reply #42 on: April 04, 2006, 05:58:17 PM »

I appreciate the information, MBZ.
The 7 are: 1) To establish courts of justice; 2) No blasphemy; 3) No idolatry; 4) No incest/adultery; 5) Do not shed blood; 6) Do not steal & 7) Do not cut meat from a living animal. ("Bnai Noach" means "Children of Noah" in Hebrew and refers to those non-Jews who abide by the 7 precepts.
How is blasphemy defined?  Wouldn't, for example, belief in the Trinity constitute blasphemy?
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« Reply #43 on: April 05, 2006, 12:35:23 AM »

No, the example is relevant because "Messianic Jews" are not practicing believing Jews but *Christians* in the eyes of those who follow Judaism.  And it was the Christian nations/cultures that do have a history of oppressing the Jewish people.

Not all Jewish people reject Messianic Judaism as a form of Judaism. ÂÂ Reformed Rabbi Dan Cohn-Sherbok, professor of Jewish Theology and Director of the Centre for the Study of the World’s Religions at the University of Wales at Lampeter, says in his book Messianic Judaism that Messianic Jews and Messianic Judaism should be accepted as part of the Jewish community.

Of course, I don't presume to tell you, MBZ, or anyone else what to think.  As an inquirer on this board, I'm curious what Orthodoxy and Scripture have to say.  To borrow MBZ's words, the rub is the question whether Jesus ( Y'shua ) is the Christ ( Messiah ).  If Christians are right about the Messiah's identity, the New Covenant Scriptures may help us see whether Jews who trusted in Christ should be regarded as no longer Jewish.

Have you considered Acts 21: 17-25?

Quote
17And when we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. 18On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord. And they said to him, "You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law; 21but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. 22What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come. 23Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. 24Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law. 25But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality ( New King James Version ).

Please note that to the apostles, who were Jews, there were Jews who believed and Gentiles who believed.  The Orthodox Study Bible has this note:

Quote
21: 17-25  Paul meets with James ( v. 18 ), the overseer of the Jerusalem church.  James reports that numerous Jewish Christians, zealous for the law ( v. 20 ), are ill-disposed toward Paul on account of rumors that he advocates noncompliance with the Law even for Jews living outside Palestine.  James agrees that Gentiles are not required to practice the Mosaic Law, as the Apostolic Council had decided ( ch. 15 ).  Jewish Christians are not being asked to behave like Gentile Christians, but neither are the Gentile Christians asked to be like Jewish Christians.  Differences in tradition are recognized and treated with charity. ...

I like this note, especially the part where believing Jews are not required to live like believing Gentiles and vice versa.  I am concerned, though, about the terms "Jewish Christians" and "Gentile Christians."  They seem borrowed from modern culture.

The apostles didn't regularly use the term "Christian"; in fact, it appears in just three verses:

Quote
... The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch ( Acts 11: 26 ).

Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian" ( Acts 26: 28 ).

Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed but let him glorify God in this matter ( 1 Peter 4: 26 ).

From what I've seen, the term "Christian" was coined by unbelievers who looked down on the Jews and Gentiles who believed.  The apostles hardly used it; in fact, as can be seen from Acts 11: 26, the followers of Christ were considered disciples before anyone ever called them Christians.  This makes me think we should be reasoning, not in terms of Jews and Gentiles becoming Christians, but in terms of Jews and Gentiles becoming disciples -- which raises the question whether Jews who become disciples of the true Messiah cease being Jews.  From Scripture, I think they remain Jews.

Remember how St. Paul rebuked St. Peter? ÂÂ

Quote
11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.
14But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, "If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? 15We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified ( Galatians 2: 11-16, New King James Version ).

Please note that St. Paul saw no Jewish-Christian divide.  He regarded himself, St. Peter, St. Barnabas, and the other Jewish believers as Jews.  That's an old Eastern view of things, not our modern western take on them.

Something else: the concept of a religious teacher and his disciples is really Jewish.  It was not uncommon for a rabbi or rebbe to have a school of talmidim ( disciples ).  Our Lord Jesus, while on earth, would've been viewed as a rebbe or rabbi with 12 talmidim.

In Christ,
Mathetes
« Last Edit: April 05, 2006, 01:29:06 AM by mathetes » Logged

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« Reply #44 on: April 05, 2006, 12:41:22 AM »

Quote
That's an old Eastern view of things, not our modern western take on them.

Actually, it's neither western nor new, but was the view of all of Christianity from about 70 AD forward. I suppose that once the Temple was destroyed, and the Jewish people were scattered and exiled all over the near east, it wasn't that hard to get the Jews (probably most of them Greek Jews) that were left to go along with a more Hellenized form of Christianity. After all, many of Paul's words can be used to show that there wasn't a superiority in Jewish custom anyway, so why go through all the bother?
« Last Edit: April 05, 2006, 12:42:34 AM by Asteriktos » Logged

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