- Pathfinder

Reply To: Did any of the similarities or differences between Christian and Jewish theology surprise you? If so, which/why?

Erik Nilsen

Neither the similarities nor differences between Christian and Jewish theology surprise me much. Rather, what surprises me is the rhetorical gymnastics mainstream Judaism employs to deny that Jesus is the Messiah, despite the explicit prophecy of their own Tanakh.

In the article titled “Why Aren’t We Christians?” featured previously in this course, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan presents a number of supposedly biblical excuses as to why mainstream orthodox Jews deny Christian doctrine. Among them, he claims, “Furthermore, any talk of the Messiah as being the ‘son of G-d’ is totally unacceptable. In no place do the Prophets say that he will be anything more than a remarkable leader and teacher.” This is demonstrably false, for both Psalms 2 and 110, which are messianic prophecies, refer to the Messiah as the Son of God.

I do acknowledge that the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 is a partial fulfillment of biblical prophecy, and likewise I recognize that the persistence of the Jewish people as a distinct ethnic and cultural identity affirms God’s promises to them in the Scriptures. However, Jesus clearly states, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Clearly, Jews cannot have communion with the Father except through faith in Jesus Christ, the same as everyone else. There are not two paths to salvation, one for the Jew and the other for the Gentile. To that point, I am deeply uncomfortable with the notion of Christians partnering with Jews on matters of religious significance.

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership can righteousness have with wickedness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-15)