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1782Re: Jews for Jesus

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  • Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
    Sep 22, 2007
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      Robert Nusom,

      You wrote:

      << I am afraid that I have to agree with Mr. Tillman on this one. In
      my opinion, Jews for Jesus or the "Messianic Jewish" movement or
      whatever name they go by at any given moment is not about Judaism,
      but Christianity. >>

      I never said that Jews for Jesus represents the religion called
      Judaism. I said that the organization represented Jews who believe in

      You wrote:

      << It is a window dressing for Christianity that, whatever Christians
      want to believe, still adheres to Paul's ridiculous assessment of the
      Mosaic Law being a "curse". >>

      You're off to a flying start, labeling Paul's view "ridiculous"
      without first making sure you have understood it (on the dangers of
      doing this, see the Jewish wise saying found in Proverbs 18:13).

      Paul never said that the Mosaic Law was a curse. He said that those
      who rely on their performance of the works required by the Law as
      their basis for being right before God are under a curse (Gal. 3:10).
      The Messiah, Paul said, redeemed us from this "curse of the Law"--
      meaning, not that the Law is a curse, but that the Law pronounces a
      curse on those who seek to justify themselves (Gal. 3:13).

      You wrote:

      << There is no basis in the Hebrew Scriptures for such a
      presumption. The Mosaic Law is a blessing, it is what sets the
      Hebrew people aside as God's Priestly people. >>

      Paul likewise affirmed that the Law is holy, righteous, and good
      (Rom. 7:12). The problem is not with the Law, but with us. Paul is
      absolutely clear on this point. It isn't the Law's fault that we
      cannot be saved by Law-keeping.

      You wrote:

      << Of course, there are many other aspects of the so-called "Jews for
      Jesus" movement that make it absolutely incompatible with Judaism,
      but the above is enough to establish it absolutely as abhorrent to
      the Jewish faith. God taught the Jewish people that the law is
      forever, not that it is a temporary thing. Jews, real Jews understand
      this. >>

      The Law as a revelation of God and his holiness is forever. The Law
      as the constitutive form of the covenant between God and his people
      is not forever, because God's own prophets revealed his intention to
      make a new covenant with them (Jer. 31:31-33). That is the
      everlasting covenant (Jer. 32:40).

      You wrote:

      << God also says that he is the God "I am", not the God "We are". >>

      Well, God does say, in the Hebrew Scriptures, "Let us" and "one of
      us" (Gen. 1:26; 3:22). Christians fully affirm that there is only one
      God. We simply hold that God has revealed himself to be more complex
      than a simple unitarian conception would indicate.

      You wrote:

      << This is a subject for which I feel great passion. >>

      I don't wish to discount your feelings, but passionate rejection of
      something you don't understand adequately is problematic.

      You wrote:

      << I have looked at the "Jews for Jesus" movement as well as those
      who try to soften its image by calling themselves "Messianic Jews"
      or "completed Jews". It is a movement steeped in dishonesty and
      deception. >>

      Sadly, the truth is that your criticisms are steeped in
      misunderstanding and caricature.

      You wrote:

      << it is financed by Christians, follows a dogma that is defined by
      Christians and seeks to pervert cultural Jewish symbolism and
      language into paganism. >>

      This simply is not true. You are in effect saying that Christianity
      is pagan. Even many Orthodox Jews would disagree with such a judgment.

      You wrote:

      << The fault, though, is not in the Christians who try to "witness"
      to God's chosen people or even in those unfortunate Jews who are
      seduced to a belief system that is only marginally acceptable even
      for Gentiles. The fault lies squarely on the shoulders of the
      leadership of the so-called "reformed" or "conservative" Jewish
      movements. These movements have rejected much of the law that God
      gave Moses and in so doing choose not to teach their adherents from
      the Tanach but almost exclusively from the Talmud and the Midrash.
      Their adherents are told of the wonders of the Tanach, they are
      taught that it is the word of God, but they are taught nothing of
      what it says. Instead they are taught cute little Hebrew prayers and
      how to light a candle or what to say at which event. They are given
      exta-biblical accounts of stories from the Tanach without delving
      into the scriptures at all. >>

      I think our views of these non-Orthodox versions of Judaism are
      pretty similar. I would agree that they have abandoned historic
      elements of the religion of Judaism.

      You wrote:

      << Interestingly, while I have seen many "Jews for Jesus" claim that
      they were once Orthodox Jews, I have yet to see that claim actually
      hold up. In truth it always turns out that maybe their parents were
      Orthodox or more likely, their grandparents were. Perhaps they have
      an aunt or an uncle who was, but they never were. >>

      This is an interesting generalization. How many of these claims have
      you investigated? Have you actually contacted Jews for Jesus to ask
      them if they have members who were bona fide Orthodox Jews prior to
      believing in Jesus?

      You wrote:

      << When a Christian tries to show his "proof texts" to an Orthodox
      Jew, he gets a patiently induced chuckle, followed by a real
      explanation, in context, as to the meaning of the Scripture.
      Usually, then the missionary moves on to easier victims. >>

      I wonder how you know this.

      For myself, I have offered some arguments on this discussion list in
      favor of interpreting Isaiah 53 as referring to an individual
      Israelite. If you think this view is easily refuted, feel free to
      review and refute my arguments.

      You wrote:

      << Sadly, it is rare that the missionary really listens to the Jew,
      as I have. >>

      I'm a little confused. Are you an Orthodox Jew? If not, why not?

      In Christ's service,
      Rob Bowman
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