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Why Jesus Was Not a Christian

Exploring David H. Stern Ph.D's Restoring the Jewishness of the Gospel: A Message For Christians, Part 3.

by
Rhonda Robinson

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December 15, 2013 - 3:00 pm
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JewishChristian

Does it seem odd to you that the hottest debate within the early Church was whether or not a Gentile could become a Christian without a complete conversion to Judaism?

This week’s reading of David H. Stern’s Restoring the Jewishness of the Gospel A Message for Christians has brought to mind the obvious, yet seldom acknowledged as important: Christianity is Jewish at its very core.

Stern reminds us that the atonement of sin, the need for a sacrifice to God, is rooted in the Jewish sacrificial system. He goes on to point out how other aspects we typically consider uniquely Christian are rooted in Judaism. For example, the Lord’s Supper is rooted in the Jewish Passover.

Did you know that baptism is a Jewish practice? When it comes down to it the entire New Testament is built on the Hebrew Bible’s prophecies and promises of a New Covenant.

None of this may be new or shocking revelations to most Christians. We understand on a cursory level that these are our roots in general but we have little interest in understanding the culture and heritage of the one we call our Savior.

It has cost us.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Most of you folks simply do not know what you are talking about. Never has the oft repeated, " A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. ", been proven so conclusively true.
A couple of supermarket selected books and a movie or two do not an expert in Judaism make,
Rather than try to find meaning in Judaism the non-Jew is better served at simply studying the Seven Laws of Noah and trying to live by them.
That will make for a better world if that is truly your goal.


THE 7 LAWS

1
Acknowledge that there is only one G-d who is Infinite and Supreme above all things. Do not replace that Supreme Being with finite idols, be it yourself, or other beings. This command includes such acts as prayer, study and meditation.

2
Respect the Creator. As frustrated and angry as you may be, do not vent it by cursing your Maker.

3
Respect human life. Every human being is an entire world. To save a life is to save that entire world. To destroy a life is to destroy an entire world. To help others live is a corollary of this principle.

4
Respect the institution of marriage. Marriage is a most Divine act. The marriage of a man and a woman is a reflection of the oneness of G-d and His creation. Disloyalty in marriage is an assault on that oneness.

5
Respect the rights and property of others. Be honest in all your business dealings. By relying on G-d rather than on our own conniving, we express our trust in Him as the Provider of Life.

6
Respect G-d's creatures. At first, Man was forbidden to consume meat. After the Great Flood, he was permitted - but with a warning: Do not cause unnecessary suffering to any creature.

7
Maintain justice. Justice is G-d's business, but we are given the charge to lay down necessary laws and enforce them whenever we can. When we right the wrongs of society, we are acting as partners in the act of sustaining the creation.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
No, that would be because of the Rabbinic tradition that Jesus to some extent drew on. But there was something else.

Texts such as the Ancient of Days verses seemed to some to justify a divided or shared divinity, something along the lines of the Canaanite Ba'al/El theology.

The parting of the ways probably came due to the long, difficult struggle to rid Judaism of polytheism and idolatry. There clearly were some Jews who understood the Ancient of Days verses in a way that led them to they look for the expected messianic leader to be a son of God. They saw that redeemer in, among other claimants, Jesus.

Other Jews were more pure in their monotheism. They were the bridge to normative Judaism.

My guess is that such texts could be held in community until there began to be serious messianic candidates, at which both/and was no longer tenable. Hence the rejection of Jesus. Not long after, Judaism and Christianity worked hard to make it very difficult to have a foot in both camps. (Maimonides' Code in fact states that Christianity is idolatry; Christianity has returned the favor in many ways, as in Mr. Malone's ugly comment.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"his disconnection from the Jewish people has been a tragic mistake for both faiths." Really? My Jewish ancestors
Never accepted that man as Moschiach. The most tragic
Mistake was their innocent blood that was relentlessly spilt for 2000
Years, all in his name. I care not about this senseless conversation whether
That man was 'kosher' or not? Excuse me saying, but
Most Jews like myself couldn't give a damn. Have your own
Conversations in church this Xmas, in front
Of that cross Idol you seem to worship.
To be fair to that man let me say he may very well have
Been a fine, spiritual, even holy individual. So it's
Nothing personal against him when I say this. But it's very personal to
Jews like myself, regarding the church...the cult that was founded in his name, when I say this:
better he had never been born. That was tragic.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (58)
All Comments   (58)
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Everything written here could have come directly from my Catholic catechism. I am continually surprised when I find other Christians who don't understand either the cultural or the historical context of the faith.

One of my teachers liked to say that there are no such things as Catholic Christians; we're just the original reformed Jews.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A technical note: "ayin ra'ah" and "ayin tovah". The "ah" sound in question was, at the time of Jesus, a glottal sound (and still is, among descendants of North African Jewry); this may account for a mistranscribed "g".

I don't know if that mistake is in the book you reference. If it is, I have less confidence in a book that purports to explain the importance of understanding Judaism... and, in the process, makes a mistake in Hebrew that no Israeli kindergartner would make.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mark v,

I agree. You've not contradicted what Stern's is saying. You've just taken it a few steps deeper. He is a Messianic Jew, and is writing from a Jewish perspective. But yes, it goes back to the beginning of time.

"In fact, aside from the (rather serious) error I've pointed out, I don't see anything in the rest of the article that should be at all surprising new to any serious Christian. Again, this is basic stuff. Christianity 101.

That this is considered new, and (apparently) controversial by some Christians, is troubling."

Christianity 101? Of Course. More like elementary. However you nailed it. The very fact that this IS considered new or controversial is very troubling.


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"You've not contradicted what Stern's is saying. You've just taken it a few steps deeper. He is a Messianic Jew, and is writing from a Jewish perspective. "

Au contraire, I have contradicted him. He's flatly wrong. You can't excuse his very bad doctrine because "he is writing from a Jewish perspective". This isn't about perspective, it's about revealed Truth. His is really an anti-Biblical perspective. He is stuck in cultural Judaism, which is not the same thing as the Mosaic Law, neither of which is Christianity.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Most of you folks simply do not know what you are talking about. Never has the oft repeated, " A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. ", been proven so conclusively true.
A couple of supermarket selected books and a movie or two do not an expert in Judaism make,
Rather than try to find meaning in Judaism the non-Jew is better served at simply studying the Seven Laws of Noah and trying to live by them.
That will make for a better world if that is truly your goal.


THE 7 LAWS

1
Acknowledge that there is only one G-d who is Infinite and Supreme above all things. Do not replace that Supreme Being with finite idols, be it yourself, or other beings. This command includes such acts as prayer, study and meditation.

2
Respect the Creator. As frustrated and angry as you may be, do not vent it by cursing your Maker.

3
Respect human life. Every human being is an entire world. To save a life is to save that entire world. To destroy a life is to destroy an entire world. To help others live is a corollary of this principle.

4
Respect the institution of marriage. Marriage is a most Divine act. The marriage of a man and a woman is a reflection of the oneness of G-d and His creation. Disloyalty in marriage is an assault on that oneness.

5
Respect the rights and property of others. Be honest in all your business dealings. By relying on G-d rather than on our own conniving, we express our trust in Him as the Provider of Life.

6
Respect G-d's creatures. At first, Man was forbidden to consume meat. After the Great Flood, he was permitted - but with a warning: Do not cause unnecessary suffering to any creature.

7
Maintain justice. Justice is G-d's business, but we are given the charge to lay down necessary laws and enforce them whenever we can. When we right the wrongs of society, we are acting as partners in the act of sustaining the creation.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
One quibble:
Your assertion that Man was forbidden to consume meat prior to the Flood is not backed up by any Biblical verse that I'm aware of (and is opposed on circumstantial grounds by the verses noting Adam's descendants raising sheep), nor does it jive with more secular inquiries into the nature and history of Man.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Your assertion that Man was forbidden to consume meat prior to the Flood is not backed up by any Biblical verse that I'm aware of (and is opposed on circumstantial grounds by the verses noting Adam's descendants raising sheep)"

Not forbidden, but clearly they did not. The raising of sheep does not necessarily imply that the sheep were eaten. Dairy products, wool, sheepskin, and sacrificial animals were all sufficient reasons for raising sheep.

That they did not (which is different from, "were forbidden to") is clear from the instruction to do so given after the Flood. The context and structure makes it clear this was a new thing.

As for secular inquiries, piffle. They start with an agenda, and cram and trim and manufacture the evidence to suit themselves.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Actually, I have to include another, far broader quibble.
One of the descriptions of the messiah (as explained in the Old Testament, sorry, I'm old and don't remember the chapter and verse) was that he was the embodiment of the Law, sent to bring the Law to all peoples.

Christians definitionally believe that Jesus was the messiah, and necessarily have an interest in the Torah--for obvious reasons.
Really, the only debate between Christian sects on this point (and it *is* a major one) is whether the New Testament should be viewed through the lens of the Torah, or whether the Torah should be viewed through the lens of the New Testament.

;) The comment about supermarket books applies equally to Christianity and Judaism.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Really, the only debate between Christian sects on this point (and it *is* a major one) is whether the New Testament should be viewed through the lens of the Torah, or whether the Torah should be viewed through the lens of the New Testament."


"The New is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed."

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Teacher Yakov = You got it! Your comment sets out the beginning of the journey on the road to Heaven!

The New Testament:
John14: 15, Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
Matthew22: 36-40, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” “He (Jesus) said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

In Church, Priests will sometimes say, ‘It’s only one commandment. True love of God will produce true love of our neighbors.’ There is one grapevine and grapes come from the vine.

Jesus Christ is a Jew, both human and divine. There is only one God. Christianity teaches the Trinity of one God. It’s easy to read about it, but it’s a mystery that is believed through faith. ~A follower of Christ is someone that has been transformed.~ The commandments have to be schlepped from the brain into the heart and soul. People become ‘Christ like.’ Christianity explains freewill like this: Without God, I can't; without me, He won't.

God gives >everyone in the world sufficient grace to get into Heaven. God speaks to everyone through their conscience. I’m an Irish-Catholic; I can only speak to suffering as a Christian. That’s why I recommend the works of Roy Schoeman, as he understands both suffering as a Jew and as a Christian. I've only read his book and seen him on television.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm partial to Reformed Christian theology. I make no claims that it's perfect; anytime man tries to interpret scriptures through God's perspective, my guess is we're going to make errors, and have to have faith that they are not crucial errors.

But I think if you were to examine Reformed theology, you would find it is much more "Jewish" than Christianity is receiving credit for.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Jesus was not a Christian because the category didn't exist until after the Crucifixion.

Duh.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The grafted in part has been part of the congregations that I have known, consistently over the years. Thank you for the reminder, however.

Mankind wants to be free to erect its own systems for dealing with God and all things religious. God, however, insisted on doing salvation His way, and it is His choice after all. To bring it about, he needed a nation, a culture, a light to the world to welcome Messiah and to proclaim the truth. He chose Abraham, the Patriarchs, etc. An unbelieving world is scandalized that He would dare exercise His own choice in the matter, without consulting all the rest of us (or at least those of us whose opinions count, don't you know!). The very existence of Jews and Israel is a constant irritant to them. Ultimately, it has little to do with Jews or Israel or their real or perceived shortcomings. Down in the heart, it involves a deep seated hatred of our Creator and Redeemer. But then again, Jesus told the disciples that they should not expect the world to treat them any better than it treated him.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Roy H. Schoeman, a Jew by blood, has a book, 'Salvation is from The Jews.' He also has a website. ... Roy H. Schoeman converted and became a Roman Catholic. His books and articles are worth a look as he understands what it is to be a Jew by birth and a Christian by Baptism.

Inside of all Catholic Churches is an image of Jesus Christ on the cross. We are ALL called to >suffer and to unite our sufferings to Jesus Christ. (It's mystery, but through suffering God, brings about a greater good.) It's the mystery of Salvation. ~Christianity is the fulfillment of the promises made by God in the Old Testament.~

May God Bless you! Everyone can get into Heaven through this Commandment, "Love God above all things and love your neighbor as yourself." It's only ONE Commandment; just as grapes are the fruit of the grapevine, love of God produces love for our neighbors.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"By the works of the law shall NO flesh be justified."

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
To understand Christianity, >everyone needs to read and comprehend Matthew25: 31-46 in the New Testament. = In part, =

"Come, you who are blessed by my father. >Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me." ... (because of questions, Jesus said) ... "And the King will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me."

To cut to the chase. Jesus Christ establish a Church in the New Testament. It is the fulfillment of God's presence in the nation of Israel. We are all children of God. I'm a Roman Catholic. On the Internet I hear from people that are the 'pope' of their own armchair church. They have a computer & bible and pontificate about the scriptures. I've found it's impossible to converse with the 'many popes of various armchair churches.' As a question Mark v, >what church do you attend & how did you become the person speaking for God?

I just quote the teachings of the Catholic Church. = I'm just a conduit. In fact, anyone questioning Catholic teaching needs to contact THE Pope over in the Vatican.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"his disconnection from the Jewish people has been a tragic mistake for both faiths." Really? My Jewish ancestors
Never accepted that man as Moschiach. The most tragic
Mistake was their innocent blood that was relentlessly spilt for 2000
Years, all in his name. I care not about this senseless conversation whether
That man was 'kosher' or not? Excuse me saying, but
Most Jews like myself couldn't give a damn. Have your own
Conversations in church this Xmas, in front
Of that cross Idol you seem to worship.
To be fair to that man let me say he may very well have
Been a fine, spiritual, even holy individual. So it's
Nothing personal against him when I say this. But it's very personal to
Jews like myself, regarding the church...the cult that was founded in his name, when I say this:
better he had never been born. That was tragic.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't seek to insult Christians by my harsh words.
I know and respect many of them. But
It's often hard to separate the blood soaked
History of church inspired Jew-hatred from
The man. Whoever or whatever he may have
Been has been defiled or perverted by the institutions
That bare his name. So, have your conversation,
Please. Whatever you may believe...Do not
Preach to us or judge us any longer. Kindly leave us,
the Children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, alone to
Serve our G-d.
We continue to wait And pray for Moschiach...
Whether that pleases you
or not.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"the cult that was founded in his name"

Every religion is a cult. Even the Jewish one. Pot meet kettle.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Oh, please. "Cult" has two meanings, one academic and somewhat snotty, the other vernacular and pejorative. Yoelarry meant the latter. Rude, perhaps. Compared to supersessionist theology and "Christkiller" pogroms, pretty mild.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All religions start out as cults. It is only the distance of time that imbues them with the aura of respectability.

Yoelarry intended to insult when he implied that Christians are members of a cult.

He doesn't get a pass in the present because of the events of the past.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Tolbert. Thanx, we don't need anyone's 'pass'.
Besides, the 'events of the past' never ended.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Keep beating the victimization drum and we'll both end up deaf and to the detriment of each.



1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"To be fair to that man let me say he may very well have
Been a fine, spiritual, even holy individual. "


Sir, that's not possible. He claimed to be God Himself, the I AM of Moses. The Jews of his day knew very well what he claimed, as they repeatedly accused him of blasphemy. They heard his words, they knew what he meant, and all the fancy dissembling of modern scholars can't change that.

These are not the words of a holy individual. He is either a liar, a lunatic, or he is what he claimed to be.


Read your own prophets and see if he fulfills their words.


Zech 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn."


Read the prophets, sir, even the parts the rabbis say you should not read. You will find him there.

He has not wronged you - his followers have, to our shame. Do not blame him for what we have done in our sin.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Read your own prophets and see if he fulfills their words. "

In a word, no.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mistake was their innocent blood that was relentlessly spilt for 2000
Years, all in his name. --
Exactly. That is what was tragic and that was the main point. There were some that did accept him as Moschiach, at one time they numbered in the thousands.

Stern's book is to Christians. In hopes that we will understand our own mistakes and the tragedy it has caused the Jewish people. Most have no idea.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thanx Rhonda. I think Christians should read it.
I don't enjoy 'insulting' the beliefs of others but
We've been insulted and hunted down for a long
Time for our beliefs. And it's hard to forgive and forget.
Tolbert and others like him seems to think that's all 'events of the past' .
We could be on the brink of another Holocaust if Iran
Will be allowed to possess a nuclear Auschwitz.
And y 'know what? Just like the European Holocaust
The world is doing almost nothing to stop it. On
The contrary, AntiSemitism is stronger than ever
In the world. Only it's put on a mask of faux
Respectability and morphed to an Anti-Israel screed.
According to polls Today's Europeans consider
Israel to be the greatest threat to world peace! More
Than Al Qaeda or Iranian Nukes. In that respect Blaming Israel
Today Is no different than blaming Jews was in the 30's.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Just pointing out that the Jews persecuted in Medieval times almost universally turned to the Roman Catholic Church for protection, and that thousands of Christian clergy had their innocent blood shed when standing between the Jews and the enraged mob.

Of course, persecution of Jews in modern times hasn't been due to Christianity, either.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Do you still stone your women for adultery and whoring? No? Why not? The Muslims still do. You don't, because Jesus told you not to do this anymore. That's just one example. There are many. He was the Messiah, and the Pharisees saw to His destruction, because he was a threat to their power.

Were the Jews persecuted for 2k years? Yep. Very often, the Jews themselves helped with such pogroms, especially in the last century. The Jews... always quarrelsome, always a Judas in their midst. They gravitate toward Collectivism. Lots of Jews were tools of the Fascist and Communist States. Most American Jews vote for Democrats, about 78%. They support this evil regime, as they so often support evil regimes.

The devout generally vote for the Republicans, Jews and Christians alike. Devout Christians do more so than devout Jews. Why? Because Judaism favors the Collective. Christianity is all about the individual. Christ is a personal Savior.

Doesn't look like Christianity is the problem, here, does it?

Now, go back to stoning your women, Jew. Go back to "an eye for an eye", instead of forgiveness, Jew. Go back to being like the Muslims.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Prior to socialism, when Europe was emerging from feudalism into market economies, there was a great need for investment capital to fuel economic development. Jews, lacking the foolish Christian disdain for money-lending, became dominant in banking, and were instrumental in setting up the Industrial Revolution.

This is the origin of the modern anti-Semitic obsession with "Jewish bankers", which unifies Leftist anti-capitalism with Christian Jew-hatred of the moneylenders.

Jews are no more prone to collectivism than anyone else. Rather, they have tended to be in the vanguard of the cultural mainstream. When capitalism was the new thing, they were prominent as its financiers. When socialism was the new thing (and had not yet reached it's 20-century end-of-road http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM ) they took the lead there too.

I have to wonder when they'll realize that the Left is just their old Christian enemy in secular trappings, and take the lead in a genuinely new direction. I'm rooting for one Alisa Rosenbaum to be the guidepost there.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Another nazi comes out of the closet, Eh Malone?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Hi, Marc Malone.

To state that Jews tend towards collectivism as if this is inherent in their ideology is either a fallacious failing on your part, or it's intentional misdirection on your part.

The core of Judaism, of the Old Testament, is capitalistic in nature. Jews have most often been persecuted due to this capitalistic nature. It's specifically why they were targeted by Nazis. The Nazis were collectivist and Jews by their nature and their own scriptures were capitalists.

To say that some Jews will always turn against their brethren would be more accurate, but it would also mark the fact that all of humanity suffers from this same failing. What of it?

No, it seems as though you've been watching the "Elders of Zion" too often, and you're just propagating more anti-Semetism.

I don't know how any Christian can read the Old Testament and walk away with any other concept of what came before Christ. In fact it's a large part of the problem I personally have with Christ. It's easy to understand why the KGB had such an easy time pushing the "Liberation Theology" version of Christianity.

I've specifically gone through the New Testament and read Christ's words each time he's quoted. To me, he sounds like a Socialist. If you bother to read the context in which he's speaking, it still takes some mental gymnastics to walk away from this concept, especially concerning Matthew's writings.

The God of the Old Testament did lay down some harsh laws through Moses for the people of Israel, however, unlike your suggestions, those laws weren't part of the 10 Commandments. The Commandments were clearly "These things must be done and never undone."

The "Laws" as expressed by Moses had flexibility, and were flexed by Moses, himself. So, the idea that my God expects adulterer's to be stoned under all circumstances is nonsense.

Convenient nonsense for people like you, but still nonsense.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"I've specifically gone through the New Testament and read Christ's words each time he's quoted. To me, he sounds like a Socialist. If you bother to read the context in which he's speaking, it still takes some mental gymnastics to walk away from this concept, especially concerning Matthew's writings."

Where is this socialism you speak of? Where does Jesus support having the State take money from the unwilling rich to give to the poor? Do you think that addressing the rich about the condition of their selfish hearts is the same thing? Do you think that telling the rich that they ought to voluntarily give to the poor is the same at taking their money by force, without any regard to the condition of their hearts?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Christ was not a Socialist, but he helped supply its moral justification, in particular the fact and symbolism of sacrifice. Apart from the crucifixion itself, the story of the Widow's Mite is particularly instructive in this respect; it is the pain and sacrifice of the giver, not the actual benefit of the recipient, which is the measure of moral worth. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" was presaged right there.

Christianity and socialism have long been intertwined; "Christian Socialists" and suchlike have long been a regular feature of European politics. The association of Christianity with the putatively capitalist Right in America is a decades long, but nevertheless temporary aberration born of the Left's co-option and inversion of American liberalism.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In heaven, you will be the master, and your fat, rich masters will be your slaves.

That's just one example. I know it isn't a State transfer of wealth, but it is class-envy rhetoric.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
????

Where did you get that? I don't recognize that at all.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"You don't, because Jesus told you not to do this anymore."

I don't think this is at all accurate, Marc. The Romans took the power of capital punishment away from the nation of Israel, and they never got it back. They made no decision to forego capital punishment - the power was forcibly taken away from them. (This is why they took Jesus to Pilate to have him executed.)

In the New Testament, where we find the Jews about to stone someone, they were risking being executed themselves by the Romans. On occasions, their anger made them forget this momentarily, but they didn't carry it out, except in the case of Stephen. This was vigilante mob action, and may have (we don't know) resulted in some punishment by the Romans. (Or perhaps they just decided to let that one slide.)

After the destruction of the Temple, Judaism had to re-think a lot of things, but it was not the result of the teachings of Jesus. Rather, it was an attempt to reconcile their inability to act as a sovereign nation and to sacrifice as God had commanded, with their current reality, that of a people without a temple and without a homeland.

At that point, instead of recognizing their own sin, they started making up a lot of stuff to explain away the dichotomy between their former beliefs and their actual circumstances.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
> Christianity is all about the individual. Christ is a personal Savior.

Respectfully, I don't think the scriptures support this statement. I think the emphasis on the individual is American culture shining through, not the Bible.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
How is salvation accomplished, except individually? If you mean that the Scriptures don't support a "Lone Ranger" kind of Christianity, but rather the expectation, the norm, is for Christians to live in community, I agree wholeheartedly. The Lone Ranger can never be a healthy Christian.

But there is, necessarily, a completely individual transaction that must take place before anyone can be part of that community. And even within the community, individual relationship to God is as important as community relationship.

I think both are true. Christianity both individualistic, and communal by nature.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
> How is salvation accomplished, except individually?

Salvation is not a human accomplishment. Neither one of us quite understands the mechanism, so it can't really form the basis of any sort of scriptural proof. All we know, or need to know, is that the Lord chooses whom He will save and does not divulge His criteria; He does that by calling us forward to Him. Does He address us individually when He calls? At some level, probably, but I'm speculating.

But the Reformed practice of infant baptism is based on the Biblical notion of Christians as a covenant people, the new heirs of Abraham.

> I think both are true. Christianity both individualistic, and communal by nature.

I would tend to agree with this statement, but earlier you were saying "Christianity is all about the individual."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Salvation is not a human accomplishment. "

True, but that has nothing to do with whether or not it is individual or communal.

" Neither one of us quite understands the mechanism, so it can't really form the basis of any sort of scriptural proof. All we know, or need to know, is that the Lord chooses whom He will save and does not divulge His criteria; He does that by calling us forward to Him. "

True again, but see above.

"Does He address us individually when He calls? "

Certainly. Don't speculate - read the text. God's invisible work (by the Spirit, John 3) is not divorced from the public proclamation of the gospel. This may be made to crowds (e.g., Acts 2 & others) or to individuals (the Philippian jailer, Lydia, Apollos, and many others.)

And consider the salvation of Saul of Tarsus. Could anything be more individual? He was with a company, but only he heard the words, and only he was saved.

How about the call of Abraham? Individual? Or communal?

Tell me, was the giving of life to Adam an individual thing? Or communal? And what is salvation but the giving of life?

"I would tend to agree with this statement, but earlier you were saying "Christianity is all about the individual."

That was Mr. Malone. Marc, not Mark. ;-) I don't agree at all with that statement. I don't know how the communal aspect of Christianity can be denied.

But we digress..... ;-)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
> True, but that has nothing to do with whether or not it is individual or communal.

You asked, "How is salvation accomplished", and my response was salvation is not an accomplishment. We have to credit it to the Lord, and as I said, we don't understand the mechanism. We can't say to what degree it is individual or communal. We don't even understand what 'individual' means to the Lord with regard to His people. I'm saying that American -- Western, really -- notions of individuality may not apply here.

The Bible as a whole, quite simply, addresses "His people" much more than it addresses the individual, and much less than an American writer would.

> Certainly. Don't speculate - read the text.

Well, since you so stipulate, please direct me to the passage in the Bible where Jesus is characterized as your "personal savior."

I think this emphasis on the individual has weakened theology. The group-worship of the Lord becomes a "Me and Jesus" soliloquy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"You asked, "How is salvation accomplished", and my response was salvation is not an accomplishment. We have to credit it to the Lord"

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/accomplishment

ac·com·plish·ment
[uh-kom-plish-muhnt]
noun
1. an act or instance of carrying into effect; fulfillment: the accomplishment of our desires.
2. something done admirably or creditably: Space exploration is a major accomplishment of science.
3. anything accomplished; deed; achievement: a career measured in a series of small accomplishments.


It certainly IS an accomplishment. It's His accomplishment. Rather an amazing accomplishment, to put it mildly. A mighty accomplishment, one to be celebrated through all eternity.

"We can't say to what degree it is individual or communal. We don't even understand what 'individual' means to the Lord with regard to His people I'm saying that American -- Western, really -- notions of individuality may not apply here. "

Hogwash, unless we are going to adopt some kind of pseudo-Christian Brahmanism, where all the redeemed morph into one entity. There's nothing to even hint at that in Scripture. God clearly and repeatedly deals with individuals as individuals, and the individual personality of the redeemed in heaven is taught by Jesus in the parable of the beggar Lazarus and is seen in the Transfiguration, where two NAMED INDIVIDUALS appear with Him.

See also the letters to the seven churches in the Revelation, where each church is addressed in the collective, and the promise to the overcomer is expressed to the individual who overcomes. The contrast is deliberate and instructive.

As to the phrase, "personal saviour", I don't care for it, but then, I can't complain about it too much, as the Trinity isn't explicitly stated, either.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
> It certainly IS an accomplishment. It's His accomplishment.

Come on, Mark, refer please to my earlier posts. That's what I said.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Your earlier post:

"You asked, "How is salvation accomplished", and my response was salvation is not an accomplishment."

I was clearly using it in the ordinary sense of the word, definition 1 above. You quibbled, I responded to your quibble.

Now that we have that settled, back to the question of individuality?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
No, that would be because of the Rabbinic tradition that Jesus to some extent drew on. But there was something else.

Texts such as the Ancient of Days verses seemed to some to justify a divided or shared divinity, something along the lines of the Canaanite Ba'al/El theology.

The parting of the ways probably came due to the long, difficult struggle to rid Judaism of polytheism and idolatry. There clearly were some Jews who understood the Ancient of Days verses in a way that led them to they look for the expected messianic leader to be a son of God. They saw that redeemer in, among other claimants, Jesus.

Other Jews were more pure in their monotheism. They were the bridge to normative Judaism.

My guess is that such texts could be held in community until there began to be serious messianic candidates, at which both/and was no longer tenable. Hence the rejection of Jesus. Not long after, Judaism and Christianity worked hard to make it very difficult to have a foot in both camps. (Maimonides' Code in fact states that Christianity is idolatry; Christianity has returned the favor in many ways, as in Mr. Malone's ugly comment.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And yet you've got Obama as your avatar, and as a rabbi, even though he's treating Israel and other Jewish people terribly. Pot calling the kettle black, much?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

I think you have misunderstood the avatar. It's not praise of Obama, rather it's a calculated insult to Obama. It's intended to portray Obama as a Muslim cleric, which is completely consistent with your descriptions of Obama's actions, and with Yoelarry's Jewishness.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Okay, my mistake.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Stern reminds us that the atonement of sin, the need for a sacrifice to God, is rooted in the Jewish sacrificial system. "

Um, no. Not even close. In fact, it's exactly backwards.

The need for atonement precedes the Mosaic sacrificial system. The need for atonement, a sacrifice, arises from the very nature of sin. Because of this, God instituted the first animal sacrifice in the Garden of Eden, when he clothed Adam with skin.

The practice continued among the faithful from that time forward. The second instance of it is seen in the famous episode of Cain & Able. Abraham practiced it more than 400 years before Moses. It was formalized in the Mosaic system, and then ended, as far as God was concerned, with the culmination of what all of these pre-figured, the sacrifice of Christ, which was ordained before the foundation of the world.

It ended historically with destruction of the temple.

"He goes on to point out how other aspects we typically consider uniquely Christian are rooted in Judaism. For example, the Lord’s Supper is rooted in the Jewish Passover."

Hmmm. I find this statement odd. One would have to be a VERY poorly taught Christian to not know this. This is very basic stuff.

If you are accustomed to churches where this would be a new thought, something of a revelation, then you are attending very poor churches.

In fact, aside from the (rather serious) error I've pointed out, I don't see anything in the rest of the article that should be at all surprising new to any serious Christian. Again, this is basic stuff. Christianity 101.

That this is considered new, and (apparently) controversial by some Christians, is troubling.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Uhm, yes, exactly as she wrote it. The Old Testament is your source, and so it is with the Jews.

C'mon, Mark v, that much is clear. Is it not?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Um, no. If A predates B, then A cannot be rooted in B.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A is the Old Testament, which includes Genesis - your reference.

Maybe you're saying that Genesis occurred before the Old Testament was written, but the fact is you wouldn't know about Genesis if it weren't for the Old Testament.

Otherwise, I have no idea what you're talking about. Maybe you don't either?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Let me try to spell this out clearly for you, starting with the statement in question:

""Stern reminds us that the atonement of sin, the need for a sacrifice to God, is rooted in the Jewish sacrificial system. "

Saying that A is rooted in B, is saying that B is the origin of A.

This is backwards. It is backwards in principle, and backwards in chronology.

In this case, B, the Jewish sacrificial system, came far later than A, the need for atonement. The need for atonement, A, came at the time of The Fall, in the Garden of Eden. This is roughly 4000 B.C. Abraham is roughly 2000 B.C., and the Exodus, the first time that it anything could have been called "the Jewish sacrificial system", is roughly 400 years later. So A predates B by about 2400 years.

The need for atonement is NOT rooted in the Jewish system. The Jewish system is rooted in the need for atonement.

It might be more accurate to call it an expression of the need for atonement. It was instituted by God to call attention to a need which already existed. It is not the source of that need.

The need for atonement is the fundamental principle which gives birth to the Jewish system.

It is the foolish pride of some Jews which tries to make the Jewish system the parent, rather than the offspring.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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