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THE FRUIT OF ECUMENISM

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  • Fr. Panagiotes Carras
    On September of 9, 10 and 23, one of the most influential American newspapers, The New York Times, published several articles on Judaism and its relationship
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 4, 2000
      On September of 9, 10 and 23, one of the most influential American
      newspapers, "The New York Times," published several articles on Judaism
      and its relationship toward Christianity.

      On September 9th an extended article by Laurie Goldstein was published
      stating that the time is ripe for Jews to reevaluate their relationship
      toward Christianity. The author related that in the next Sunday issue
      of the newspaper there would be published an official Jewish statement
      on Christianity. Indeed, such a declaration (occupying a full page of
      the newspaper) was published as a advertisement, under the title "Dabru
      Emet", which means, to speak the truth to one another. The margins were
      surrounded with 150 names and titles of the authors of this declaration.

      The declaration came as a result of meetings of Jewish rabbis over
      several years and was published with the consent of more than 150
      rabbis, representing 4 Jewish factions: reformed, conservative, orthodox
      and reconstructed.

      The foreword of this declaration was its printed in bold-face and in
      total had 8 separate paragraphs, which are signed by three doctors of
      various USA universities and one Canadian. One presumes that each
      signature presents its own faction.

      This rather extended foreword stated:
      'In recent years, there has been a dramatic and unprecedented shift in
      Jewish and Christian relations. Throughout the nearly two millennia of
      Jewish exile, Christians have tended to characterize Judaism as a failed
      religion or, at least, as a religion that prepared the way for, and is
      completed in, Christianity. In the decades since the Holocaust,
      however, Christianity has changed dramatically. An increasing number of
      official Church bodies, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, have made
      public statements of their remorse about Christian mistreatment of Jews
      and Judaism. These statements have declared, furthermore, that
      Christian teaching and preaching can and must be reformed so that they
      acknowledge God's enduring covenant with Jewish people and celebrated
      the contribution of Judaism to world civilization and to Christian faith
      itself.

      We believe these changes merit a thoughtful Jewish response. Speaking
      only for ourselves - an inter-denominational group of Jewish scholars -
      we believe it is time for Jews to learn about the efforts of Christians
      to honor Judaism. We believe it is time for Jews to reflect on what
      Judaism may now say about Christianity. As a first step, we offer eight
      brief statements about how Jews and Christians may relate to one
      another.

      In the first paragraph it is stated that 'Jews and Christians worship
      the same God' and that 'as Jewish theologians" Jews 'rejoice that
      through Christianity hundreds of millions of people have entered into
      relationship with the God of Israel'.

      The second paragraph notes that both Jews and Christians find authority
      in the Bible, but that the Jews and Christians interpret the Bible
      differently, however, those differences should be always respected.
      The next paragraph states that Christians can respect the claim of
      Jewish people to the land of Israel, which after the Holocaust became a
      Jewish state in the Promised Land. 'As members of a Biblically-based
      religion, Christians appreciate that Israel was promised and given to
      Jews as the physical center of the covenant between them and God". To
      verify this there are statements of support on the part of various
      Protestant groups.

      Then these Jews say that Jews and Christians accept the moral principles
      of Torah.

      The fifth paragraph asserts that "Nazism was not a Christian
      phenomenon', but "without the long history of Christian anti-Judaism and
      Christian violence against Jews, Nazi ideology could not have taken hold
      nor could it have been carried out. Too many Christians participated
      in, or were sympathetic to, Nazi atrocities against Jews. Other
      Christians did not protest sufficiently against these atrocities. But
      Nazism was not an inevitable outcome of Christianity...

      The sixth paragraph says that "The humanly irreconcilable difference
      between Jews and Christians will not be settled until God redeems the
      entire world as promised in Scripture. Christians know and serve God
      through Jesus Christ and the Christian tradition. Jews know to serve
      God through Torah and the Jewish tradition. The difference will not be
      settled by one community insisting that it has interpreted Scripture
      more accurately than the other: nor by exercising political power over
      the other. Jews can respect Christian faithfulness to their revelation
      just as we expect Christians to respect our faithfulness to our
      revelation..."

      In the two further paragraphs Jews are told not to fear that their
      relationship with Christians might lead to loss of Jewish way of life or
      assimilation.

      From a report in the paper dated September 23rd it is clear that even
      such a diplomatic declaration, which took Jews several years to develop,
      was published after a number of very stormy meetings, in which the
      participants yelled at each other or left the meeting in disgust and
      then returned back to continue.

      One of the cosigners of this document, David Sandmel said: 'in history
      and in contemporary times there are reasons for Jews to be very wary of
      Christians. But the Christian world today is very different than it was
      50 of 1 00 or 500 years ago'. What a splendid characterization by Jews
      of contemporary "Christianity"!

      This declaration was simultaneously published in the newspaper, "The
      Sun" of Baltimore by an independent inter-religious organization, the
      Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies.

      It is interesting to note that this declaration was not published in the
      newspaper 'The Jewish Press," nor in the NY Russian language newspaper
      "Novoye Russkoye Slovo."

      ARTICLE IN "CHURCH NEWS", VOL. 12, NO. 7
    • TR
      ... From: Fr. Panagiotes Carras To: EGROUP HOCNA Date: Monday, December 04, 2000 9:20 AM Subject: [hocna] THE FRUIT
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 4, 2000
        -----Original Message-----
        From: Fr. Panagiotes Carras <pcarras@...>
        To: EGROUP HOCNA <hocna@egroups.com>
        Date: Monday, December 04, 2000 9:20 AM
        Subject: [hocna] THE FRUIT OF ECUMENISM


        Honestly, I do not believe in conflict for it's own sake. I admit that I
        have a tendency to be combative, but it is something I truly try to refrain
        from.

        With this said though, no matter how pacific one is trying to be, no one can
        claim an interest in "truth" and agree with the statements found in this
        text that this "pan-Jewish" congress has released.

        I agree that these Jews have accuratly assessed the views of most
        "Christians". And I think it goes a long way in demonstrating just how
        correct the outcries against Ecumenism that have come from amongst the
        remnant of Christians has in fact been.

        I remember reading a story not too long ago, about Cardinal John O'Conner of
        New York. Under his eyes, this "conservative" prelate of the Roman Catholic
        Church, more or less approved and blessed the conversion to Judaism of a
        former Roman Catholic. While ideally no one on this list believes that
        young man was best being served as a Roman Catholic, I hardly think someone
        claiming to be a "Christian" can approve of any act of apostacy, let alone
        turning to Judaism.

        The sad truth is, is that there will always be an emnity between the Church
        and the Synagogue, so long as either remains faithful to their respective
        positions. As is always the case, Christian involvement in ecumenism always
        costs the Christian party, and the "closer" that party is to Orthodox faith,
        it seems the more they stand to lose.

        Speaking as someone who has already abandoned the errors of Papism in his
        heart, and is seeking the True Faith, I can tell any Orthodox Christians
        reading this, that NO ONE has ever been GENUINELY attracted to Orthodoxy,
        has been attracted to it in some comprimised form. It is precisely the
        authenticity, antiquity, and distinctivness of Orthodoxy, as OPPOSED to
        other religions, that draws those of good will, who are actually interested
        in becoming Orthodox.

        Allegedly, ecumenism has been meant as a way of somehow drawing erring
        persons into Orthodoxy. In this regard, it has shown itself to be an
        absolute failure, and a means of inviting contamination, instead, into the
        midst of Orthodox Christians. And if one's goal as an ecumenist is anything
        but bringing strangers into the Church, then as far as I can tell such
        persons are betrayers of truth, and have no business pontificating at all.

        Please pray for me, any who read this, for while I know that Orthodoxy,
        correct belief, is what I truly want, I am weak...not to mention rather
        bewildered by the strife amongst those proclaiming themselves to be
        Orthodox.

        Timothy
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