Judaism and Christianity – Blurring the Lines

This will get you all really annoyed. From the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah: A Forum for Orthodox Jewish thought on Halacha, Hashkafa, and the social issues of our time."

[b]Monday, April 27, 2015
Judaism and Christianity – Blurring the Lines

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin

One of the most epochal developments of the 20th century is the evolution of Jewish Christian relations.  The change in attitude by our Christian friends and neighbors towards the Jewish people and Judaism itself has transformed our relationship. We have evolved from centuries of Christian hatred and persecution to one of tolerance, camaraderie, and even brotherly love.

Vox Wrote:Note how this "evolution of Jewish Christian relations" all comes down to the Church, or the Jews' "Christian friends and neighbors," changing. Forget about the Talmud, the Toledoth Yeshu, the Tanya, the spitting on Crosses and while passing a Church, usury, Bolhsevism/Communism, anti-Christian social programs, Hollywood anti-Christian propaganda, defining Jewishness as "the state of having a Jewish mother, and not being Christian" (being an atheist, Buddhist, etc., is fine), etc.

The Church once considered us to have broken our covenant with God, thus losing His grace, and blamed us collectively and for all time for the death of Jesus. They had believed that Christians replaced the Jewish people covenantally in God’s eyes.

Vox Wrote:"The Church" -- meaning the Catholic Church -- still considers you to have broken your covenant with God, as does your own Jewish Scripture (Jeremias 31:31-34, for ex.: "Behold the days shall come, saith the Lord, and I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Juda:  Not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt: the covenant which they made void, and I had dominion over them, saith the Lord.  But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord: I will give my law in their bowels, and I will write it in their heart: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying: Know the Lord: for all shall know me from the least of them even to the greatest, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.").

And the Church never blamed you collectively, for all time, for the death of Jesus (Whose death your holy books exult in). The Catechism of the Council of Trent, issued by Pope St. Pius V (A.D. 1566-1572), taught:

    "Furthermore men of all ranks and conditions were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. Gentiles and Jews were the advisers, the authors, the ministers of His Passion: Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him, all the rest deserted Him."


    "In this guilt are involved all those who fall frequently into sin; for, as our sins consigned Christ the Lord to the death of the cross, most certainly those who wallow in sin and iniquity crucify to themselves again the Son of God, as far as in them lies, and make a mockery of Him. This guilt seems more enormous in us than in the Jews, since according to the testimony of the same Apostle: If they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory; while we, on the contrary, professing to know Him, yet denying Him by our actions, seem in some sort to lay violent hands on him."

I don't know why Jewish leaders seem to LOVE the idea of the Church teaching what She never taught!

They now reject the notion that the Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death; believe that Judaism is a legitimate ‘brother’ faith; and even offered apologies for their past atrocities against us in the name of their faith. Vatican II accomplished all that. The Church no longer seeks to convert us. At least not actively.

Vox Wrote:Learn what "Elder Brother" means here: http://www.culturewars.com/2012/ElderBro.htm

There've been no atroticites against the Jewish people in the name of the Church. Ever. Vatican II didn't change a thing with regard to Church teaching on the Jewish people, no matter how many newspapers keep reporting otherwise.  If you want to know what Vatican II's Nostra Aetate actually taught, listen to this MP3 file and let E. Michael Jones explain it to you.

And finally, "the Church" will always and forever try to convert you, until Jesus comes back. There might be a lot of misguided people out there in the human element of the Church -- many with some "rank" on them -- who are more catechized by the New York Times than by encyclicals and, so, don't try to convert you, but the Church's teachings cannot and have not changed.

The same is true for many Protestants. At least those that are termed Fundamentalist or Evangelical Christians. They too have in most cases abandoned trying to convert us. They see our destiny entwined with theirs. And act toward us by the directives expressed numerous times in what they call ‘the old testament’ (our Torah). That God blesses those who bless the Jewish people. I am convinced that this is - if not their sole motivation – by far their primary one.

This attitude has resulted in some amazing support for Israel and the Jewish people by virtually all Fundamentalist denominations. For example Pastor John Hagee an Evangelical minister whose church has more members than any other denomination has shown more support for the State than AIPAC – if that’s even possible. I will never forget for example the enthusiastic applause Pastor Hagee received when spoke to AIPAC for the first time.

Vox Wrote:All this, thanks to the Scofield Bible: http://www.israelshamir.net/shamirReader...-Bible.php

All of this is unprecedented. Not all that long ago the only thing we knew about Evangelicals was that they had a mission to convert us. That is by far no longer the case. I completely reject the notion by some that it still is. While I realize that there are still some organizations that do this (e.g ‘Jews for Jesus’), they are minuscule in number and do not represent the vast majority of Fundamentalist Christians in this country whose numbers have been estimated to exceed 60 million Americans.

Vox Wrote:
Yeah, apparently it's a good thing to think that there is only one Way, one Truth, one Life - and then not tell the Jewish people about it. Sounds hateful to me.

I have therefore long advocated that we do everything we can to strengthen the relationship we have with them. Never has there been a better time to do so. And I believe that is indeed being done.

Unfortunately with every rose, comes a thorn.  This new blessing which God has bestowed upon the Jewish people has also caused some very misguided  activity by  well meaning people. Activity that has been rejected as illegitimate by the greatest Halachic minds of the 20th century spanning all of Orthodoxy. Both Rav Moshe Feinstein and Rav Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik have completely opposed the idea of interfaith dialogue of any kind. Rav Soloveitchk could not have been clearer in his essay entitled ‘Confrontation’. Here is how he put it:

    "the language of faith of a particular community is totally incomprehensible to the man of a different faith community. Hence the confrontation should occur not at a theological, but at a mundane human level... the great encounter between man and God is a holy, personal and private affair, incomprehensible to the outsider..."

Theological dialogue between Judaism and Christianity was not possible. And certainly not anything remotely close to a joint prayer service. Two completely separate theologies that are anathema to each other.

Vox Wrote:
Hey, he said something I can agree with. Far out.

That is not to say that we should not interact with them in other ways. Of course we should. God gave us this blessing and we ought to accept it and develop it. Not on theological issues. But on those issues where our own religious values overlap. Of which there are many.

Many values of western civilization – especially in America - are based upon what has in recent times been referred to as the Judeo-Christian ethic.  Which means that we both Judaism and Christianity have in common many of the values expressed in the Torah. That ought to be the basis of our relationship. These values ought to be promoted together by Christians and Jews in our society.

Vox Wrote:Anyone who uses the term "Judeo-Christian" with a straight face is either really misguided, or a liar out to get something. It makes no sense whatsoever as a phrase. Aside from the Ten Commandments, which can be broken down into the Two Great Commandments, Torah is not the source of our "values"; the Gospel and the Church are. We can eat shrimp, sit on furniture previously sat upon by menstruating women, turn lights off on "the Sabbath," and so forth. But most importantly, for the Christian, "neighbor" means all human beings, where for Jews -- at least Orthodox Jews -- it refers to Jews alone.

Which brings me to Rabbi Shlomo Riskin. It appears that he has once again parted company with his Rebbe, Rav Soloveitchik.  It was done by Rabbi Riskin’s  protégé, David Nekrutman, who heads Rabbi Riskin’s Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC) located in Efrat.  The very existence of an organization that is in part dedicated to theological discussions with Christians violate’s his mentors directives. But their latest project has gone even further. By promoting and hosting a joint prayer service in an Orthodox Shul on Yom Ha’atzmaut. Christians were invited to join us and say Hallel and read scripture from the pulpit!

Opposition to this came swiftly from the Charedi community. But they were not the only ones.  R’ Shlomo Amar, former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel (and current Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem) quickly penned his strong opposition to it. So too did Rabbi Sholom Gold, a leading  Religious Zionist rabbi. Their strong words can be seen at the Jewish Israel website. I join them in opposition to this.

Vox Wrote:
As an aside, before the 19th c., all religious Jews were against Zionism. See http://www.truetorahjews.org/whatiszionism

I understand Rabbi Riskin’s motives. I am sure they are pure. He wants to strengthen ties with the Christian community.  I agree with that goal. But his methods have crossed lines that Poskim across the board have drawn. Lo Zu HaDerech. This is not the way to do it.

Which is why I am so disappointed in him. Again. I had always seen him as a champion of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. A role model for rabbinic leadership in the modern era. A man that has done so much in the furtherance of Judaism. He has inspired many Jews to take a closer look at their heritage and their faith and become more observant. And to foster a closer relationship with the Christian community.  I believe he still has these goals. But as important as it is to promote our common values, it is equally important to make sure our differences are clear. So that there never will be a blurring of the lines.

Vox Wrote:
I'm for a lot, LOT more clarity than I'd guess this rabbi is for.

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Judaism and Christianity – Blurring the Lines - by VoxClamantis - 05-04-2015, 10:27 PM

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