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

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

Topic

Viewing 15 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • #1435
      pathfinderlms
      Keymaster

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

    • #2730
      Hannah Straub
      Participant

      The difference between Christian and Jewish theology that was most surprising in these lectures was the different views on human nature. Jewish thought teaches that humans are good and can strive to follow God while Christianity traditionally ascribes to the depravity of all people. These differences posed thoughts for further study.

      I think there may be more in common between Jewish and Christian views of human nature. Both teach that humans are made in the image of God and both teach faith worked out by obedience. But I can’t say for sure without looking into it further.

      The differences most fascinating to me though stemmed from the history of Christianity. Hearing the way early Church fathers began melding in Greek and Pagan philosophy made a lot of sense. The Hebraic roots of Christianity were lost as more and more non-Jews joined the church. The question now is: how much of our Hebraic roots should we return to as the modern church?

      • #3146
        Hannah Paul
        Participant

        Hi Hannah!

        I found that difference to be really interesting as well! Along with your point, Jewish theology believes God gave us the Torah for our purpose of being able to follow it. As Christians, we believe that the Torah was another proven point God was making that we can’t live up to His standards no matter how hard we try. We are sinful and depraved and without Jesus we could not do it on our own. I agree that there are many similarities despite our differences. Both Christians and Jews believe that obedience to God is extremely important, however for Christians, we believe that works don’t get us saved but that they are the byproduct of our faith.

        Thank you for sharing!

    • #2752
      Kenneth C. Jackson
      Participant

      Yes! I have always felt that since Jesus came from a Jewish descent, the Jews would automatically believe his Messiah-ship. With all that God is doing for the Jewish people to date but refusing to believe his Messiah-ship is surprising to me. No wonder why Jesus Christ suffered from this own people. His words is now sinking to my heart, ‘Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country’ (John 4:44). Christ also said ‘no prophet is accepted in his home town’ (Luke 4:16-30), and ‘Only in his home town and in his own house is a prophet without honor’ (Matt. 13:54-57), and ‘Jesus left there and went to his home town…Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James…Jesus said to them, “Only in his home town, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”…he was amazed at their lack of faith’ (Mark 6:1-6). Personally, as leader, I have suffered and continue suffer same. For me, it is a situation to be more focused in our leadership and service to our own people. In addition, and concerning “Human nature” when the Jews say that “human nature is do what God commands” is surprising also. This is where Christians differ. However, all of what I have read on the similarities and differences has helped me to see the two religions through the eyes of Jesus Christ!

      • #2890
        Jamila White
        Participant

        Kenneth,

        Many Jews are actually coming to faith in Jesus as their Messiah. As one Messianic Jewish man put it, “Believing in Jesus as the Messiah was the most Jewish thing I could do. The New Testament is undeniably Jewish.” I have also found that the more I study while in seminary school, the more Jewish roots I see within the New Testament as well. This Messianic Jewish man made note that many Jews have misconceptions of the Christian faith and theology. I got a glimpse of this during a Shabbat dinner in Israel. We had a beautiful dialogue with the Israeli Jewish host. She had an honest question, which brought forth an amazing conversation. I believe that as long as we display the love of Christ, we can have sometimes difficult but amazing dialogue.

        Jamila

    • #2753
      Kenneth C. Jackson
      Participant

      Yes! I have always felt that since Jesus came from a Jewish descent, the Jews would automatically believe his Messiah-ship. With all that God is doing for the Jewish people to date but refusing to believe his Messiah-ship is surprising to me. No wonder why Jesus Christ suffered from this own people. His word is now sinking to my heart: In St. John 4:44, “For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.” The was repeated in the entire gospel (Luke 4:16-30, Matt. 13:54-57, Mark 6:1-6). Personally, as leader, I have suffered and continue suffer same. For me, it is a situation to be more focused in our leadership and service to our own people. In addition, and concerning “Human nature” when the Jews say that “human nature is do what God commands” is surprising also. This is where Christians differ. However, all of what I have read on the similarities and differences has helped me to see the two religions through the eyes of Jesus Christ!

    • #2802
      Ilona Chebotareva
      Participant

      I was interested to hear that the Jewish and Christian understanding of human nature differs. “Traditionalist and Modernist Jews teach that human nature is free to do what God commands. Christians differ there, teaching original sin—the inborn tendency to be selfish—to prefer myself to God and others. This means we require rebirth and regeneration through Baptism and faith, as well as grace from God.”

      The difference in this understanding of our innate human nature raises a few questions. If Jewish theology doesn’t start from the standpoint of our human nature being sinful, by that logic, is what compels Jews to keep covenant with God different from what compels christians? How so? And if so, what does that say about how Jews and Christians perceive their role to be in the covenant? Is there a perspective of indebtedness that Christians have toward their part in the covenant, and a feeling of ownership that Jews approach being in covenant with God? Does this difference in understanding even matter? Does it change the way we chose to live our our covenant?

      • #3406
        Alexandra Adair
        Participant

        Hey Illona,

        I wanted to add something to your post really quickly. One of the required articles goes deeper into this, but basically, the reason the Jews still follow the covenant is that a Jew “believes that man can come close to G-d by obeying Him and keeping His commandments.” Jews don’t believe that you become closest to God through an abstract relationship, but through concrete deeds in keeping the Torah. That is the purpose of the Torah for the Jew, which changes much about the differences in approaches to the covenant.

      • #3482
        Christina Sturgeon
        Participant

        Hi Ilona! I took a couple classes at a local synagogue in Northern VA and was intrigued with how much they stressed doing “good” things and helping the community yet the instructor didn’t point to the covenant or any power behind the good deeds. Instead, he mentioned how the world is in broken fragments and it’s our job to put the pieces back together. I was plagued with the “but how and why” given my base understanding of man as depraved. Different starting points made the conversation difficult; it was so natural/matter a fact for him that my question didn’t get a substantive answer.

    • #2889
      Jamila White
      Participant

      The similarities and differences between Christian and Jewish theology did not surprise me, because I had knowledge since college of both theologies. In my junior year of college, I took a Philosophy of Religion course, which covered the major world religions. Studying the Bible and interacting with Jewish people here in America and Israel gave me a much deeper and real life understanding of the similarities and differences. It is important to note that both groups should not be treated as a monolith. When I was in Israel in June, I found so many differences among Jews concerning theology and the Christian faith. I learned the importance of real dialogue and answering questions out of sincere curiosity. I have recently come across quite a few Messianic Jews, which bring an interesting dynamic. I see more similarities than differences. I do find that Jews and Christians have an unique relationship than any other group of people.

      Jamila

      • #3061
        Emily McCray
        Participant

        Hello Jamila.

        It was encouraging to hear that you had such a good foundation in learning about Judaism and Christianity. I agree with you that when one speaks to Jews that they need not have a preconceived notion of what they believe. Each person has different experiences and particular beliefs based on their own sect within the religion. My sister is well versed in the knowledge of the Islamic religion, and what she has found is that each person’s beliefs can vary in connection to one’s devotion to their religion.

      • #3277
        Stevin Surajin
        Participant

        Well said Jamila. I especially agree with your point that Judaism should not be treated as a monolith, since I feel that is something we can especially do as Christians. The idea that all Jews are alike in their beliefs would be doing a disservice to the rich cultural history that they possess. I agree that it is essential that we educate ourselves on the various differences that the Jewish people possess so that we are able to effectively communicate and foster relations with them.

      • #3392
        Iliana Owen-Alcala
        Participant

        Jamila, you make many good points and I totally agree. As Christians, our traditions come from theirs, thus, we are going to inherently be very similar in many senses. Thats so great that you got to go to Israel already and see everything you studied in real life. I’m sure that was a very impactful trip and I’m sure it gave you so much perspective on this subject. Taking a class in religious studies and learning from actually being in the place in which everything sort of took place are so different.

      • #3393
        Iliana Owen-Alcala
        Participant

        Jamila, you make many good points and I totally agree. As Christians, our traditions come from theirs, thus, we are going to inherently be very similar in many senses. Thats so great that you got to go to Israel already and see everything you studied in real life. I’m sure that was a very impactful trip and I’m sure it gave you so much perspective on this subject. Taking a class in religious studies and learning from actually being in the place in which everything sort of took place are so different.

    • #3002
      Deneisha Hollis
      Participant

      There are a lot of things that surprise me about the differences and similarities between Christians and Jewish theology. The first thing that surprises me is that the Modern Jews believe the return of the Messiah is an age instead of a person. As a Christian we are taught that Jesus will be coming back to judge all and that we have to remain faithful and live like Jesus would want us too. Jewish people think more of a symbolic statement as the return of God. A similarity that surprised me was the belief in the prophets that were in the old testament. I think that these prophets gave us a better understanding of why we worship God and how to get to heaven. Also both believe in a day of rest and that is something both the Torah and the Bible tell us. I think often we forget that whether we have the same way to practice our religion we ultimately want the same things from God.

      • #3043
        Dominique Hoffman
        Participant

        Hi Deneisha,

        The distinction between the Christian idea of a Messiah and the Jewish idea of a Messianic Age also surprised me. The idea of a Christ who will come back as the perfect judge is the fulfillment of the David king Isiah prophesies about, a theme the Matthean author emphasizes with the name of Jesus as the Son of David. The prophets of the Old Testament are extremely important to seeing Jesus as a fulfillment, not a replacement, of the Law. Where Christianity and Judaism depart is in the interpretations of the prophets. I find it interesting the Jewish idea of a Messianic Age is similar to the Christian idea of the Second coming and the new heaven and new earth to come.

      • #3454
        Lillian Gillespie
        Participant

        Deneisha, I found the idea of Jews believing the Messiah is an age rather than a person surprising too. For me, with my Christian perspective, it makes me wonder how one would recognize that the age is here. Would it be similar to Christian ideas of judgement and revelation? Would only Jews know that we had arrived at this new age? What would a Messianic age mean for us as Christians? Thanks for your thoughts!

    • #3042
      Dominique Hoffman
      Participant

      Listening to Dr. McDermott reminded me of the themes I learned researching for my senior thesis in undergrad. My thesis examined how Christianity and Judaism respectively intersect with politics and conflict, with further implications on how the West and Israel view the importance of the land of Israel. In my studies, and reviewed in this lecture, there were three differences in Jewish/Christian theologies that greatly surprised me. My early concepts of Judaism were greatly informed by my Christian upbringing. I knew the Jewish people were God’s chosen people with whom God created a covenant relationship through the Abrahamic covenant. I knew the Davidic covenant promised a ruler from the line of David. Lastly, I knew the Mosaic covenant helped establish Torah for the Jewish people. I grew up in a charismatic church that taught the exact opposite of Supersessionism, I would characterize it as prosperity gospel associated with Christian support for the Holy Land. However, with this theological framework I assumed that the missing piece for Jews was Jesus, they simply needed to see him as the Messiah. I learned in my many trips to Israel that the Jewish people do not see the nature of man as sinful which demands a Savior for redemption. According to a Judean worldview, the nature of man is not predestined to sin, rather, human nature is free to choose what God commands (with an emphasis on free will). Jews speak of a life of “decency,” which is achieved through a life lived by Torah. “The concept of original sin greatly divides the Jewish and Christian understanding of man’s ability to uphold Torah. For the Christian tradition, the commandments of the Old Testament are viewed as a moral guidance. Due to the sin nature of man, humanity can never perfectly keep God’s commandments, and thus, Jesus is the only perfect atonement for the law that man cannot perfectly keep. The concept of original sin, which occurred in Genesis 3 with the fall of man, is the cornerstone of Christian faith with the need for a perfect and sinless Savior. This concept is completely missing from Jewish ethics. Living a righteous life in Judaism means living and doing Torah, and Christianity upholds that righteousness through works alone can never be achieved and perfect adherence to Torah falls short due to man’s sin nature.” Therefore, the need for a Savior is not read into the Jewish tradition. Thus, the Jewish tradition does not necessarily see the Messiah as a person (there are different beliefs within Judaism), but commonly believed to be an age. “Judaism is less concerned with ​who​ the Messiah is, and more focused on ​what​ the Messiah will do. Judaism rejects the fundamental assumption of Jesus and Messiah, but also the Christian idea of Supersessionism and completion of the law. In the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, an ideal Davidic king is one of the most common ideas held of the eschatological redeemer. The idea that the Messiah will be a future king, an “anointed one,” is not a prevalent theme in the Tanakh.’Levenson highlights the Jewish idea of a Messianic Age vs. the Christian belief in a Messianic figure, “following the Tanakh, the focus of the texts is less on the messianic figure than on the Messianic Age, the time when God’s justice, rather than cosmic earthly evil rulers, would prevail.’ The Matthean author presents Jesus as a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, as Jesus is presented as the Son of David. Growing up I thought the Jews were waiting on their Messiah, a person, but in reality, they rejected Jesus because in their theological worldview He did not fulfill the Messianic Age they were waiting for. The last difference between Judaism and Christianity that surprised me is the lack of emphasis Jewish theology has on the afterlife. The binary of heaven and hell exists only in Christianity, greatly informed by the sin nature of man and the acceptance of Jesus who is the only complete atonement under the law. The Christian idea of a new heaven and a new earth ushered in through the second coming mirrors ideas of the Jewish Messianic Age. The nature of man, the need for a Savior, and our place in the world to come are the cornerstone of Christianity which is completely different from the Jewish worldview.

      * The parts in quotes are from my thesis, it perfectly fit the topic.

      • #3276
        Stevin Surajin
        Participant

        Dominique,

        Great, well though out response. I especially like how you pointed out the inability to adhere perfectly adhere to the Torah due to our sinful nature. I also find it interesting how you mentioned that Judaism is less concerned with who the Messiah is, and rather what would be done by the Messiah, as that thought had not crossed my mind! Excellent analysis!

    • #3051

      Growing up as a Christian kid, I’ve always been taught that Jesus is the Son of God, and that Christianity is the most followed religion. I had always believed that Israel is God’s chose nation and because of them, the world is saved and blessed.
      But shockingly to be enlightened about Jewish theology not accepting the believe of Jesus was mind-blowing. The rejection of Jesus by Jewish people is the biggest surprise of my life. I’m glad that I’ve been educated on something I didn’t know for years.

      • #3483
        Christina Sturgeon
        Participant

        Hi Moses! I found the article “Why Aren’t We Christians” by Rabbi Kaplan helpful in addressing the main reservations Jews have in accepting Jesus/the Christian meta framework. The Christian can easily turn to specific prophesies in the Old Testament that Jesus fulfilled. However, the Jew “refuses to accept the excuse that the major prophecies concerning the Messiah will only be fulfilled in a ‘second coming.'” Further, the Jew does not believe God can be in human-form, for it “diminishes both His unity and His divinity.” As a Christian very familiar with the Christian framework, it’s sometimes hard to see the message from another starting point. Even in writing this, I’m taken aback by the reality that yeah, we believe Jesus is God incarnate and exists eternally as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    • #3057
      Emily McCray
      Participant

      The difference between Christians and Jewish theology that was most surprising was the Jewish view of human nature. The fact is that they believe humans are free to do God’s commands and it is our responsibility to align ourselves with God’s will. There is nothing inherently wrong with this statement, however, it misses the Christian teaching of original sin and the need for grace. We do have free will to choose God’s will or not, but the Holy Spirit collaborates with man’s free will to open one’s eyes to God and His gospel. The similarity is how Christians and Jews view their Holy texts. The Jews believe each word is from God, and Christians would concur with that. We hold these truths regarding the Old and New Testaments, as Paul writes: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” (2 Tim. 3:16, ESV).

    • #3076
      Sarah Weiskopf
      Participant

      The main difference that surprised me between the Christian and Jewish faiths were that the Jewish people do not believe that their Messiah will be God. I grew up knowing a couple Jewish friends and knowing that they celebrated different holidays than I did and that their Messiah had not come yet. However, I assumed that the Messiah that they believed in would be almost identical to the Messiah, Jesus, that I believe in.

      It’s interesting because I believe the only one who could save me from my sin would be God, not a Messiah who was simply human or a prophet or an “age” like the Modernists believe. I’m curious to know if their Messiah would be glorified and praised more than their Father God (and our God), or if they would be equal in power & holiness. I absolutely have loved learning about this topic & I love how there are quite a few similarities between our faiths as well, because of the Old Testament that we both have a foundation on. Although Christians have the New Testament, the Bible is one story and the OT has a huge role to play in understanding the character of God and His son as well.

    • #3144
      Hannah Paul
      Participant

      One difference between Christian and Jewish theology that surprised me was that Jews believe that Paul rejected Jewish law and started a new religion. I never knew that piece of their theology. For Christians, we believe that Jesus came to fulfill the law, not to abolish it or contradict it, and we see that all throughout the New Testament. We see Paul’s conversion as God’s grace and forgiveness, that no sin is too terrible for the blood of Christ. I also found it really interesting that both theologies have a group that is more traditional/conservative and one more progressive/modern. Another difference I found interesting is that Jewish theology believes that the Old Testament never predicts that the Messiah will be God. As a Christian, we believe that there are numerous prophecies and predictions that point to the Messiah being God. I really appreciate learning about Judaism, not just for my own understanding of our roots, but to be able to understand the Jewish people more.

    • #3275
      Stevin Surajin
      Participant

      While I knew most of the differences between Christian and Jewish theology, I was very much surprised by some of the differences between the Modernist and Traditionalist Jews, such as the views on the covenant. Modernist Jews believe that if other nation choose God, they too can be chosen, and be under the covenant of Israel, which I found to be very interesting. Another surprising aspect was the fact that the Modernist Jewish view on resurrection, which they have a more ‘agnostic’ view on, which I find greatly interesting compared to the more Christian view of life after death, and our eventual final destination, which is due to the often referenced ideas of the afterlife as seen in the New Testament.

    • #3307
      Katherine Helmick
      Participant

      It surprised me most that Jewish theology differs from Christianity on the sin nature of humanity, because I had always understood the doctrine of original sin as rooted in the Old Testament. The disparity made me wonder how this doctrine developed, if not from the Jewish tradition. Is it found in Paul’s letters, if not the teachings of Christ in the Gospels? How do Jewish tehologians interpret the fall of Adam and the curse on his seed, if not as a corruption of our moral nature and the loss of our freedom to obey God? Though I had heard before that liberal Jews departed from tradition in their attitude towards the Torah and rules like keeping the Sabbath, I hadn’t realized how closely they resembled liberal Christians in their inclusivity (other nations can choose the covenant) and subordination of scriptures to human reason. On the question of original sin, however, they and traditionalist Jews concur. I’m curious to understand how the Christian doctrine diverged.

      • #3407
        Alexandra Adair
        Participant

        Katherine,

        I agree with this, as I’ve always wondered how Jewish theology interpreted “the Fall” of the world. Since this theology doesn’t assert that man is fallen, what significance does this event have on their foundation of thought? I’m not sure how that all works. I also wanted to address the liberal Christian/Jew comment. I have weird feelings about being inclusive, and I think it depends on the church’s actions whether this inclusivity can be good or harmful. While it is Christlike and expected to include and accept everyone, I think that promoting/advertising about that inclusivity can make people confused about the church’s stance on certain issues.

    • #3405
      Alexandra Adair
      Participant

      Definitely. I came into the class with the knowledge that the main difference was that Jewish theology asserts that the Messiah hasn’t come yet, while Christian theology believes in Jesus. I didn’t understand that the theologies begin with two different ideas about man (as in the article). A Christian believes that man is fallen and therefore cannot perform the acts of worship and good deeds required in the Torah to please the Lord, and that belief is all man can do. This is followed by good deeds, but not to the extent that these deeds are required for salvation. Jewish theology states that man is great because he can keep the Torah, and obeying God helps him connect with God. I had just followed the Christian line of thinking when trying to understand Jewish theology by thinking that the Jew thinks of himself as fallen as well, and therefore endures the struggle of keeping the Torah in order to become great. This way of thinking makes Christian theology seem much wiser because it assumes that Christians realize it is impossible to keep Torah, as opposed to Jews who miserably “keep trying.” Now that I’ve learned about this fundamental difference, I’m able to understand the wisdom behind Jewish theology, as well, and challenge the foundation of my thinking.

    • #3446
      Lillian Gillespie
      Participant

      I expected that Jewish and Christian theology would have similar understandings of morality and natural law. I was surprised when I learned that there are 800 additional New Testament commands. I know that the 10 commandments are not the only rules that Christians are supposed to follow, and I know that progressive/reform Jews (and even Traditionalist Jews) don’t necessarily adhere to all 613 Old Testament commandments, but 800 additional obligations was definitely a revelation for me.

      I liked Professor McDermott’s explanation of the different faiths’ views of human nature. The tension between being fully free to choose to do what God commands and the covenantal obligations of being God’s chosen people is clear in the Old Testament. The Israelites cycle between obedience to God and his prophets/judges and worship of baals and other idols. I think McDermott’s comparison of Israel being chosen by grace and Christians being saved by rebirth and baptism into Christ helps me understand how people of both faiths (and others) can be saved. Just like Christians choose to affirm Jesus as their savior and then make sinful choices, Jewish people can make choices that abandon the covenant and then reaffirm it. In both cases, it is God and his will and his grace that redeem and save us.

    • #2685
      Evan Crain
      Participant

      Dominic – I noticed the inaccuracies/misunderstandings of the article’s argument as well. It made me realize how often I criticize other beliefs on the same basis – using reason, arguing without correct assumptions. For every point made in the article, I could rationally refute it. That, and the historical Jesus is impugnable (i.e. not a freak/cult leader/scam artist/etc). Which leaves the crux of discussion to one thing: faith. Do you believe Jesus is who he says he is, or do you not? The article’s conclusion is ultimately to reject Jesus as the Messiah, which, again, is a matter of faith and not reason.

    • #2731
      Hannah Straub
      Participant

      Clay,

      I so appreciate your comment about the different questions that Jews ask. Christians today tend to focus on salvation as a moment or psychological decision, but Jewish thought leans more toward salvation as a process and way of life that leads a person closer to God. I love that you reference the Jewish question ‘How do I get closer to God?” I think that is a more holistic question and we could learn a lot from asking it.

    • #2754
      Kenneth C. Jackson
      Participant

      Dylan,
      Thanks for your point that focuses on “Foundational difference in perceptions of human by Jewish and Christian anthropologies.” I have always thought that Christian borrowed this idea from the Jewish anthropologists. But doing this course and reading that Christians differ with the Jewish perception concerning “human nature” was an eye opener for me. And I strongly believe that God’s free given to the first human race was not given in vacuum. I think the Jewish perception looks at it based on vacuum-related idea. This where many people or leaders miss it However, Christians sees it as something that needs to be evaluated and monitored.

    • #2755
      Kenneth C. Jackson
      Participant

      Patrick,
      Thanks for your point generally looking at the divisions in both religions. For me, the followers of both religions have missed out on the real issues. I want to focus on Christianity the one I belong where many of us have created for ourselves all kinds of divisions to the extent that we missed out on clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, shielding exposed and fighting for the poor and marginalized. It is the many divisions in Christianity that have given birth to schemism.

    • #2803
      Ilona Chebotareva
      Participant

      Ana, I was surprised by the fact that Traditionalist Jews don’t believe the Messiah will be God as well. The foremost reason being that the old testament never predicts that the Messiah would be God. It made me think of the passage of scripture where Jesus reads from the Isaiah scroll and tells the people in the synagogue and proclaiming the scripture fulfilled before their very eyes. But the people responded, “isn’t this Joseph’s son?” The duality of Jesus being God and Man, a prophesy fulfilled, was something that they weren’t able to accept.

    • #3391
      Iliana Owen-Alcala
      Participant

      Ana, I was similarly surprised by this too and I think it is a good point and one to be considered for sure. It was interesting to me that the Modern Jews believed the Messiah to be an age. Thank you for sharing your insight on the subject and your thoughts.

    • #2891
      Jamila White
      Participant

      Katelyn,

      I also traveled to Israel through Passages Israel! Israel definitely has a way of making one diving deeper into Scripture. I love what your Jewish peer stated. True biblical Christian faith, and not groups of people such as the Crusaders, misusing the Scripture, truly offers great hope. I would say that the biggest day-to-day difference I have notice, is relying on the grace, mercy, and strength of Christ through the Holy Spirit. There is true freedom. We are now able to work from love rather than working for God’s love. I do find the principle of respecting God’s consecration of time, such as the Sabbath, to be important lessons to learn. Sometimes when life gets busy, I do find it difficult to make Jesus Lord of my time. In a fast-food society, it is so difficult to rest consistently. I do admire how everything slowed down and stopped during the Sabbath while I was in Israel. It was one of the most peaceful evenings I have ever had. All in all, I try to find similarities and display true love to my Jewish brothers and sisters. In this, I have found true relationships emerging, even if we do not agree on every theological topic.

      Jamila

    • #3141
      Loncey Elie
      Participant

      Hi Katelyn,
      I loved how you were able to describe how Christianity and Jewish theology are similar. The idea that Christianity is based on a spirit of optimism and unity solidifies the shared values. The shared values of salvation, redemption, and sacrifice are essential values that make their theology stronger. The differences are clear, and the fact that it occurs is due to the laws of each theological principle. They can either be liberal or conservative in the way they portray these regulations. Despite our differences, we can find ways to unite and be stronger as a nation.

    • #2938

      Hi Clay, this was also something that surprised me. While I knew that there were different sects within Judaism, I didn’t realize how different their views were on key concepts like the Messiah. I wonder how each sect came to their conclusions on this and how much of it is based on the Torah. On your last point, I do believe that we have lost our Jewish roots. I feel like as Christians, we sometimes tend to emphasize only the New Testament and disregard the Old Testament entirely. We forget that the Old Testament is the beginning of our story, that the gospel was prophesied here, that it literally lay the foundation for our faith. I think the questions you raised are very important ones and they can help us get back to our roots.

    • #3004
      Deneisha Hollis
      Participant

      Hello Clay!

      I think you asked some good questions because I wonder were did we lose our Jewish roots in Christianity that made us separate ourselves from our beginnings. I was also surprised by the Modern Jewish beliefs and I think that it a very different viewpoint that would open a good conversation between them and me. I am very open to these ideas and I believe that we can learn something from each other and that is why we need to be in constant community with others.

    • #3044
      Dominique Hoffman
      Participant

      I think one of the biggest theological misunderstandings of Judaism of the Christian tradition is the idea that Jesus came to abolish the law, when He came to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17). Replacement theology sees Jesus as replacing the Jewish people (and his covenant) and transferring it to the Church. I never grew up with this theology but it is extremely prevalent in Christian thought. I agree with you that it is important for us (Christians) to aim to understand the Jewish worldview to better understand our differences and similarities. As Christians, it is impossible to effectively witness the Jewish people without understanding how their worldview rejects or does not make room for Jesus. I also think it is important to understand the differences in Jewish theology. Similar to different sects of Chrisitninty there is variance in Jewish belief.

    • #3059
      Emily McCray
      Participant

      Hello Clay,

      I appreciated your perspectives in your response to the main question. Interestingly enough, the Jewish Progressive views you mentioned were surprising to you I just learned myself recently. In recent months, I finished reading Ben Shapiro’s book The Right of History. In his book, he describes his religious views to some extent and the Progressive viewpoint shone through. The questions you pointed out at the end that we Christians need to ask ourselves are very important.

    • #2948
      Austin Pellizzer
      Participant

      Hello Clay,

      Thank you for your fascinating and insightful comment on how Christian and Jewish theology differ. When I read about the idea of Progressive Jews thinking the messiah would be a coming of age and not a person, one question stuck out to me. As age, as a whole, can be interpreted in many different ways, how would it be clearly defined and known when a new or ‘messiah age’ would begin? From my understanding, it sounds more like a cultural change than a complete change in views or theology. Who would have a say in these theological circles, and what as a whole would come about from it?

    • #3003
      Deneisha Hollis
      Participant

      Hello Tina

      It was really good to go to Israel and be exposed to the Jewish culture and their reasoning as to why the cross could be a negative symbol to them. I think this should allow us to have open conversations about why and what believe. Often times we forget that our same beliefs could be the same thing that oppresses others. We should just practice being conscious Christians and find the truth and break barriers in communication.

    • #3067
      Joshua Johnson
      Participant

      I want to respond to all of these wonderful comments! Like Clay, I have also not believed that Jesus abrogated Torah. Part of my religious instruction was in Messianic Judaism at a young age, so that may have influenced my view; but in the churches I have since been in, the view was taught that Jesus abolished the Old Testament, however I just quietly held my own views. I have not heard violent anti-semitism from the pulpit; it’s just the “little” things like that (“soft supercessionism,” I think Dr. McDermott calls it). Although one pastor did say something to the effect that G-d abolished his covenant with the Jewish people in A.D. 70 at the destruction of the Second Temple. I did end up leaving that congregation.

      I find it very amusing and interesting how we have been conditioned to read Matthew 5:17 (“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil,” KJV.)

      We often read fulfill as if has the same or similar meaning to abolish/destroy, but the simple rules of Logic suggest that they are the *opposite*.

      Jesus did not come to destroy the Torah and Neviim.
      He came to fulfill Torah.

      If Torah is not abolished, then what is?
      I think the problem comes from the English word “fulfill.” We often read it as if it means “to complete, to bring to completion, to end,” which is what you might come away with from reading the dictionary. But, clearly, abolish and fulfill have to be opposites due to the grammatical disjunction in the sentence. So fulfill can’t mean “bring to end,” which has the same meaning as “abolish” and “destroy.”

      The Greek word is pléroö, or pléröma (“fullness”), it literally means to fill something, as in to fill a ship with cargo, to satisfy, to fulfill a duty. The way I see it is Yeshua filled-full the meaning of Torah: he showed us what a life of Torah-discipleship looks like and lived out its prophecies in his life, he brought out its true meaning.

      A lot of this stuff requires deep contemplation and thought. But it is worth it (like the pearl of great price: the man gave everyone he had to acquire it = G-d’s kingdom and the word/wisdom of G-d).

    • #3079
      Sarah Weiskopf
      Participant

      Hi Kenneth,
      I loved what you wrote about missing the main point. In both religions, I can see how it could be easy to not focus on glorifying the God that we serve. I see this a lot going to a Christian college, as students can start to be focused so much on their specific denomination, or theological views, that we can often miss the love that Jesus wants to overflow through us as His vessels. Studying theology and more about who God is should allow us to love others more, love God more, and make the Gospel greater than us. If it doesn’t do that, then we simply have head knowledge and no love for others. Thanks for sharing!

    • #3145
      Hannah Paul
      Participant

      Hi Madeline!

      That is so awesome you were able to go to Israel and experience the land God chose to tell his story in and the people he chose to tell it through! You bring up a really interesting idea, the idea that due to them being chosen, they must follow God. For Christians, most are motivated because of Jesus’ sacrifice and his outpouring of love to save us from our sin. That gift we receive makes us want to live courageously and boldly for Him. I wonder if the Jewish community feels like they have to follow Him and it’s more of a chore rather than a willingness?

      Thank you for sharing!

Viewing 15 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.