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Pot-Shot Series: Objection 9: How about all the bad things that were done to the Jews in the name of Christ!

October 17th, 2011

If you have not done so, you might want to read the Introduction to this series.

“How about all the bad things that were done to the Jews in the name of Christ!”

This is an objection I have heard a number of times from my Jewish people.  It is wielded like a  great club, intending to beat down anyone who dares to talk about the Jewishness of Yeshua (Jesus).

The objection however doesn’t hold water.

First of all, there have been many atrocities done in the name of peace, liberty and even love.  Are peace, liberty and love bad things?  Of course not.

Just because people do things in the name of ‘something’, doesn’t make that ‘something’ bad.  You have to look intrinsically to the thing itself to determine whether it is good or evil.

Secondly, just because people do things in the name of ‘something’, doesn’t mean that it truly represents that ‘something’.  In 1994, Baruch Goldstein entered the Cave of the Patriarchs and massacred 29 Muslim worshippers, wounding over 100 others.  Few Jews would want to be identified with that sort of hatred and violence.  Yet Dr. Goldstein thought he was representing the Jewish people and the Torah.  Is that what the Jewish people and the Torah represent though?

The truth of the matter is that some people will find any excuse to do terrible things, including twisting the Scriptures to suit their need.  The fact that someone uses Scriptures to kill, to blow up abortion clinics, or to treat others with contempt does not reflect on what the Scriptures truly teach.

If you would agree with me on this, then why would you reject Yeshua (Jesus) on such a flimsy excuse as what others have done in his name?  Why not find out for yourself what Yeshua taught and proclaimed?

You would be surprised to find that the condemnation of the Jewish people would be the last thing that Yeshua would want.  He loved his Jewish people.  He yearned for them.  He died for them, as he did for all (Matthew 23:37-39; Luke 13:34-35).

Why don’t you lay aside your preconceived notions for a moment and check out what Yeshua really said?  Contact us and we will send you a B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) in the language of your choice (if we have it available).  We would also be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Identity, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Jesus, Pot-shot Objections, The Bible | No Comments »

Pot-Shot Series: Objection 8: Don’t even think about it!

January 21st, 2011

If you have not done so, you might want to read the Introduction to this series.

“Don’t even think about it!”

I have received this pot-shot objection several times.  What the person is trying to say is, “I’m too much of a Jew to even consider what you have to say, so don’t bother to talk to me about this – I won’t listen!”

Of course, the obvious answer to this – the one I try to get out if I have time – is, “Too late!”  I hope the humour of the response will break the ice.

If you see me coming with my “Jesus Loves You” shirt on and a tract in my hand outstretched to you, you know I’m already thinking about it.  If I have seen you, I already have aspirations that you will take the time to talk to me, and that I will have an opportunity to tell you why I, and others, believe that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah of Israel.

“Don’t bother!” would probably be a better declaration from our objector, but even that won’t stop me from bothering about him or her.  You see, it is because I believe so strongly that faith in Yeshua is the only way to obtain eternal life with God that I bother at all. 

If you are such an objector, I need you to understand this.  If I don’t try to share this message with you, it is because I couldn’t care less whether you have eternal life or not.  But I care, because God cares for you very much!

And so we come back to the original objection and my response.  I’ve already thought about it.  My question and my challenge to you is: why don’t you think about it!

If you haven’t thought about the Gospel message, then you have no basis for which to reject the message.  We are commanded to think!  We are told to ask God (Jeremiah 33:3).  We are told to study the Word – the Scriptures, not Talmud (Psalm 1:2).  We are told that the wise seek knowledge (Proverbs 10:14).

If you are rejecting Yeshua as Messiah without looking into it, without listening, considering and thinking; then you are like the fool in Proverbs 18:2:

“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his own opinion.”

I’ve thought about it!  Why haven’t you?

The Gospel message is simple:

  • We are sinners, we cannot help but transgress against God by thought, word or deed (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:23).
  • Our sins separate us from God (Ezekiel 18:4; Isaiah 59:2; Romans 6:23).
  • God has given us atonement for our sins through substitutionary sacrifice – the blood of another to pay for our guilt (Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:23-28).
  • Yeshua came to be that sacrifice for our sins once and for all by dying an ignominious death on the Cross, as promised in the Tanakh – the Hebrew Scriptures (Isaiah 53:5-6; Isaiah 53:10; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 John 1:7).
  • Yeshua was then resurrected – came to life again – as a testimony to his being Messiah and to give us the sure hope of eternal life (Isaiah 53:10; Luke 24:6-7; 1 Corinthians 15:4;  1 Corinthians 15:12-19).
  • When we put our faith in him, we have the covering of His blood – a free gift of God – and as we make him our Saviour and our Lord we are then born again in the Spirit, and set apart by God for eternal life (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Zechariah 12:10-13:1; John 3:1-21; Romans 10:8-13).

Consider the message of the Gospel!  Think!

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19

Contact us and let us give you the tools to consider the message.  Belief itself is in you hands, by the power of the Holy Spirit of God.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Evangelism, Following God, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Identity, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Jesus, Knowing God, Messiah in the Tanach, New Covenant, Pot-shot Objections, Resurrection, Salvation, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Pot-Shot Series: Objection 7: I was born a Jew, I will die a Jew!

January 19th, 2011

If you have not done so, you might want to read the Introduction to this series.

I was born a Jew, I will die a Jew!

There wasn’t much to chew over in responding to this pot-shot objection.  My answer is simple.  Me too!

The obvious inference here is that if one comes to faith in Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah and Lord, then one stops being a Jew.  He becomes a Christian.

There are a lot of difficulties, however, with this assertion.  Most of these difficulties revolve around deep misunderstandings.

First and foremost is the existential issue:  I still consider myself a Jew.  I still have Jewish sensitivities and sensibilities.  I think like a Jew.  I talk like a Jew (a Canadian Jew, of course).  I still like Jewish foods and Jewish customs.  I still love to celebrate Jewish festivals and recite Jewish prayers.  I love Israel in the same way as any Jew who loves Israel.

And I’m not the only one who considers myself a Jew, though I believe in Yeshua.  Most Orthodox rabbis would understand and agree that as a believer in Christ (Messiah), I am still a Jew.  They recognize that a Jew is always a Jew.  They would call me a bad Jew, but a Jew nonetheless.  I will die a Jew!

That is ultimately because being Jewish is not tied up simply in religious belief.  If that were the case, most Jews would not be considered Jewish.  Not only Jews who are Christians, but Jews who are atheists, Buddhists (and there are quite a few), New Agers (quite a few more), and Secular Humanists (lots) would no longer be considered Jewish if Jewish identity were tied up in rabbinic belief.

Furthermore, comparing Jewish and Christian is like comparing apples and oranges.  The correct comparisons would be Jewish as opposed to Gentile, and a believer in Rabbinic Judaism as opposed to Christianity.

When I became a believer in Yeshua, my parents did not become Gentiles, and so neither did I.  I am still of the seed of Abraham.  I am still a descendant of Israel.

But I would go even further.  When I became a believer in Yeshua, it is my belief that I was following the biblical truths that point to Him as the Messiah – the one who inaugurated the New Covenant promised by God through Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31-34).  From that perspective, my faith is a Jewish one. 

You might not agree with me.  That’s ok.  But let me ask you this: why don’t you agree?  Is it because the rabbis told you so?  That’s called indoctrination and it is certainly not a good reason for belief – nor a convincing one. 

Have you actually checked out what the Tanakh says about the Messiah, openly and honestly?  Have you checked out the claims of Yeshua in the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament)?  If not, why not?

I was born a Jew.  I am a Jew.  I will die a Jew.

And with all this, I believe in the Jewish Messiah who is the Saviour of all the nations!

Want to check out what God really wants a Jew to believe (or anyone else for that matter)?  Contact us, and we’ll give you something to chew on.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Identity, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Christianity, Jews and Jesus, Messiah in the Tanach, New Covenant, Pot-shot Objections, Salvation | No Comments »

Pot-Shot Series: Objection 6: You don’t know enough about Judaism!

December 6th, 2010

If you have not done so, you might want to read the Introduction to this series.

You don’t know enough about Judaism!

Implicit in this pot-shot objection is the assumption that the declarer does.  Often this is not the case, which makes this objection reek with insincerity.  There are those, however who certainly do know more about Judaism than I – of that there is no question – and I write this article with them in mind.

First of all, I would say that the case that this person knows more Talmud and halakha (rabbinic legal rulings) can, at best, put us on equal footing.  For though I do not know the details of rabbinic thought, neither do they understand the details of the Christian faith.  That is to say, I can as easily say they are not believers in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) because they don’t know enough about Christianity, as they can say about my not sticking to rabbinic Judaism because I don’t know enough about it. 

This argument falls short on a number of other levels as well.  First of all, there is the assumption that to understand Judaism is to understand all the innermost workings of rabbinic thought and teaching.  If this were the case, then it is doubtful that anyone could say that they understand Judaism. 

Having been raised a Jew, I certainly understand where rabbinic Judaism is coming from.  I don’t have to know all the details in order to reject the basic premise.  If, for instance, a flaw in a mathematical formula can be found, then one does not need to know every aspect of that formula to say that it is incorrect.  I have determined there is a flaw in the basic premise of rabbinic Judaism – if I am correct, then knowing more about Judaism is not necessary for that rejection.

There is a second assumption inherent in this objection, namely that if you know more about Judaism, you would not reject it and become a believer in Yeshua.  There is much evidence to the contrary.  Historically there have been a number of men, some rabbis, some yeshiva bokhers – men learned in the law and words of the rabbinic sages – and these men have come to believe Yeshua to be Messiah and Lord.  For more on this try this site about Jewish believers.

I would say, for those who proclaim this objection, that the shoe is on the other foot.  It is you who doesn’t know enough about the Good News of Messiah Jesus.  You don’t know, because you won’t hear – you won’t even consider.  You don’t know enough to understand the basic premise of the Gospel let alone the details.

Maybe, my friend, it is you who are wrong.  Maybe you don’t know enough.  Why don’t you take a chance and learn what faith in Yeshua is about, before dismissing it out of hand?  Why not contact us and let us tell you the message.  Then consider it well and come to an informed decision.

“But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. (1 Corinthians 2:7)”

 

Contributed by Daniel Muller, General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Identity, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jews and Christianity, Jews and Jesus, Pot-shot Objections | 1 Comment »

Pot-Shot Series: Objection 5: You are going straight to Hell!

December 1st, 2010

If you have not done so, you might want to read the Introduction to this series.

You are going straight to hell!

I’m always intrigued with this pot-shot.

The first question I have for such a person is, “Do you believe in Hell?”  Most Jewish people I have met, the secular ones at least, don’t.  And I have received this cruel exclamation from secular as well as religious Jews.  In such cases, I can’t take the pot-shot seriously because it is neither honest nor sincere.

However for those who say it and believe in Hell, I have a different question.  What do you think hell is?  Furthermore, on what basis do you think people go to Hell?  Most don’t have a clue how to answer these questions – I assume because they do not know.

I think these questions are worth exploring.

What is Hell?

In the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures), the concept of hell is certainly murky.  The word ‘Sheol‘, most often translated as hell, seems primarily to refer to the internment after death and to the “otherworldness” of it.  However there are places in Scripture – clues –  describing it as a bad place to be after death (Deuteronomy 32:22 as a place where God’s anger burns; Job 11:8, Psalm 139:8 as opposite heaven).

A fiery afterlife is promised by the prophet Isaiah:

“And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind. (Isaiah 66:24)”

On the other hand, there is a place worth going to.  David, in his well-known Psalm 23 concludes with these words, “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalm 23:6)”

So in the Tanakh there is a sense of two alternative existences after physical death.

In the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament), as God further reveals Himself, His will and His plan, we see a clearer picture of these alternatives.  Consider Jesus’ words,

“I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 8:11-12)”

Through Yeshua, we understand that hell is a place of anguish and pain.  Ultimately it is separation from God – a place of eternal hopelessness and sorrow.  It is a fate no one should wish on any human being, and to tell someone to “go to Hell” is about the most hateful thing a person can say.

How to “Go to Hell”

Hell is a choice.  God made that choice very clear to the Israelites when they were entering the land.

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live. (Deuteronomy 30:19)” 

The Lord may have been talking about the land, but the principal is true spiritually as well.  We read in Isaiah 18:4 that, ‘Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die. (Ezekiel 18:4)”  In context, God cannot be simply talking about physical life – he is talking more eternally.

God says the the one who wants this eternal life, “walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully–he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 18:9)”  It is walking in faith with God that makes us righteous and gives us eternal life.

In the time of Ezekiel, this was done by loving the Lord and obeying all the laws of the Covenant made on Sinai.  But now there is a New Covenant as promised in Jeremiah 31:31-34 – a covenant unlike the one made on Mount Sinai.

The alternatives are clearly expressed by Christ in the Matthew 8:11-12 passage above.  And the choice is made clear in these Scriptures:

“This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:11-12)”

“But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:8-9)”

Hell is a choice – a choice not to relate to God according to God’s standard.  That standard is Messiah Yeshua.  You can tell me to go to Hell, it doesn’t effect what will happen to me.  I have eternal salvation in Messiah.  What about you?  Please call us and let’s speak about hell seriously.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Following God, Jesus and Jews, Jews and Jesus, Knowing God, New Covenant, Pot-shot Objections, Salvation | 8 Comments »

Pot-Shot Series: Objection 4: Christians Hate Jews!

November 29th, 2010

If you have not done so, you might want to read the Introduction to this series.

This type of objection was somewhat dealt with in Pot-Shot Objection 1: The Holocaust.  However this more generalized statement is often used as well and needs to be dealt with.

Recently, I was having a chat with a couple of Jewish gentlemen when this objection was brought up.  Although in this case I had the opportunity to respond, this is often used as a pot-shot objection.

There are three reasons for this misunderstanding and they are all interconnected. 

  1. There is a confusion of definition, namely: what is a Christian? 
  2. There is an inability to distinguish between a community of culture and a community of faith.
  3. There is ignorance of what is biblical Christian teaching with regard to the Jewish people. 

These misunderstandings among Jewish people are exacerbated by the fact that many who profess to be Christian are also confused in these matters.

What is a Christian?

To quote from my previous article, “A Christian is anyone who believes in the atoning sacrifice of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) on the Cross and has accepted that sacrifice on his or her behalf.”  It means not just believing the facts of this Gospel message, but through its acceptance putting God and His will first.

Culture vs. Faith

This means that you cannot be born a Christian.  You cannot become one simply by going to church or obeying the Ten Commandments.  There might be a culture of Christianity (and indeed there are many cultures of Christianity), but to truly be a Christian is not a matter of culture.  It is an act of informed faith and a trust in the Word of God as expressed in both the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) and the B’rit Hadashah (the New Testament).

This is biblically consisitent.  A person is not in right relationship with God unless they enter into that relationship according to God’s standard.  Thus, when Elijah complains to God about being the only faithful one left, God speaks of an elect  seven thousand (1 Kings 19:9-18).  Among the great number of Israelites, there were only 7,000 who were truly children of God, regardless of their cultural distinction.

Now, God’s standard of relationship is through faith in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) as outlined above.  It is important to consider this in the face of hatred from one who says he is a Christian.

What is the Biblical Christian Teaching?

You see, because faithful Christians put God’s will first and trust in the Bible as God’s inspired Word to His people, Christians determine God’s will by His Word.  Now it is very clear from the Word of God that He loves His people Israel, even when they are disobedient, and He still has plans for them.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  (Jeremiah 29:11)”

“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 … On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.  (Zechariah 12:10, 13:1)”

Christ, himself, wept over Israel because he loved them (Luke 19:41).  Elsewhere he laments:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!  Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ (Luke 13:34-35)”

This passage shows his concern for Israel, but it also points to a future.  One day the promise of Zechariah 12:10 will come true and Israel will believe.  The apostle Paul expresses that same promise as he talks of his love for Israel:

“Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.   And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob’; ‘and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.’  As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.  For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.  (Romans 11:25-29)”

In this same Chapter  in Romans, Paul identifies himself as a Jew and talks about the remnant of Israel as well, those who have accepted Yeshua as Messiah and he still clearly sees them as Jewish.  He also sees a future in God’s plan for the nation Israel.  Earlier he says,

“I am speaking the truth in Christ–I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit —  that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.  For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.  They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.  To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.  (Romans 9:1-5)”

These are not words of hatred but of love.  These are words of concern.  These are the Words of God, and as Christians we must be guided by them.  A Christian of faith having a right understanding of the Word cannot hate Jews.  A faithful Christian takes very seriously the Words of Scripture which says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they be secure who love you! (Psalm 122:6)”

If you want to know more, or if you have any questions please feel free to contact us. We also would love to hear what you have to say, so feel free to comment but please do so in a polite manner. We do publish dissenting comments.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Biblical Interpretation, Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Following God, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jews and Christianity, Jews and Jesus, Knowing God, Pot-shot Objections | No Comments »

Pot-Shot Series: Objection 3: I’m a REAL Jew!

August 18th, 2010

If you have not done so, you might want to read the Introduction to this series.

“I’m a real Jew!”

I find this a fascinating response. For if I ask someone what it means to be a real Jew (assuming the person hung around long enough to answer,) he or she hasn’t a clue. Let’s face it, even the state of Israel struggles with what defines being Jewish.

This would be a very long article, if I were to discuss all the various thoughts and arguments that exist on the subject. I would much rather try to understand what God thinks a Jew is and to offer some thoughts from the Scriptures.

Abraham is considered the first Jew and not unreasonably so, since God’s covenant with him set him apart to become a special people (Genesis 12:1-3). Nevertheless it is very clear that the covenant passed down to Jacob (Genesis 28:13-16) to whom God gave the name Israel (Genesis 32:28). Neither Ishmael, nor Esau were recipients of this covenant. Thus the descendants of Jacob became the nation of Israel.

But the covenant was not just for blood relations. It was for everyone,

“throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money. (Genesis 17:12-13)”

So Israel became the descendants of Jacob and those who were in their midst.

Then God made a covenant with this nation Israel when he brought them out of slavery in Egypt and led them to Mount Sinai in the wilderness. The commands and statutes of the covenant is what came to be known as the Mosaic Law, but it is first and foremost a covenant of service, allowing the Holy God to dwell in the midst of His Holy people and to be a light to the Nations around them.

Here again we see that this covenant and its rules were not only for Israel, but also for the “stranger among you. (Exodus 12:49)” Thus even in the line of David we have Rahab the Canaanite, Ruth the Moabite and Uriah the Hittite as members of God’s covenant people.

What made Ruth part of God’s people was not anything like a ritual conversion as many rabbis claim, but the simple declaration, “your people shall be my people, and your God my God. (Ruth 1:16)”

Around the time of the Babylonian Exile, God promised a change. God, speaking through the prophet Jeremiah said,

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)”

Note that the Lord is speaking of a New Covenant that will be unlike the covenant of Moses, one that will be written on our hearts and in which forgiveness of sins is part and parcel. This New Covenant came to be when the Glory of God walked on earth in the form of Messiah Yeshua who died as an asham – a guilt offering for our sins (Isaiah 53:10).

Like Ruth there is only one way to enter this covenant and that is by a heartfelt wish to enter into that relationship with God and a heart-felt declaration of faith in Messiah’s sacrifice and Lordship. That is the most important thing anyone can do whether they are Jew or Gentile.

I believe that God still has a plan for the Nation of Israel that is the Jewish people. I see it in verses like Isaiah 45:17; Zechariah 8:23; 12:10; Romans 11:26 and Revelation 7:2-8.

Nevertheless, when it comes to spiritual matters and the important issue of a right relationship with God, we must remember the words of John the Baptist who said, “do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. (Luke 3:8)”

As the great Rabbi Saul of Tarsus points out: “Abraham ‘believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. (Galatians 3:6-7, citing Genesis 15:6)”

We believe that it is more important to be in right covenant relationship with God then it is to be Jewish. But, as a Jew, I must say that I can think of nothing more Jewish than being a believer in the Messiah promised by Moses and the Prophets – Yeshua!

Don’t agree?  Why not write a comment to tell us so.  We publish dissenting views if they are written in a respectful manner.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Identity, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jews and Jesus, Messiah in the Tanach, New Covenant, Pot-shot Objections | No Comments »

Pot Shot Series: Objection 2: You should be ashamed of yourself!

August 16th, 2010

If you have not done so, you might want to read the Introduction to this series.

“You should be ashamed of yourself!”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this from my Jewish people. My response is invariably, “why?”

Should I be ashamed because I am saying what I believe to be true and of import to my Jewish people? Should I be ashamed because I care enough about my Jewish people to let them know that their Messiah has come?

As one disciple has said before me,

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’ (Romans 1:16-17 [Paul is citing Habakkuk 2:4 at the end])”

This pot-shot statement is simply a defence mechanism, of course. When asked why I should be ashamed, the person has no answer. The truth is that they can’t answer. They don’t know why. Such individuals are ignorant of the Christian faith or the Gospel claims, and most don’t know what the Hebrew Scriptures say about Yeshua (Jesus), let alone the B’rit Hadashah (the New Testament).

Now I have no problem with them believing I am wrong – it is God who opens our eyes to the knowledge of His truth. So they have a right to think I’m wrong, just as I have a right to think them wrong. (That’s true tolerance by the way: graciously allowing others to disagree with us and respecting others when we disagree with them.)

As I say, I have no problem with them thinking I am wrong, nevertheless, I think if anyone should be ashamed of themselves it is the person who says, “You should be ashamed of yourself,” and then doesn’t give me an answer when I ask, “why?” If you are or ever have been a purveyor of such a pot-shot, let me point out why.

I share the Gospel because I have an absolute belief that Messiah has come; that he is Yeshua (Jesus) who was God come in the form of man (c.f. Genesis 18:1-33); that he came to earth to die for our sins and then was raised again to sit at the Father’s right hand, so that those who believe in him and in the efficacy of his sacrifice will have sure hope of eternal life. This is what I believe, as certainly as I believe that there is air that I breathe. And I care about you enough to tell you all this so that you can have that joy and certainty as well.

My question to you, oh purveyor of this pot-shot, is this: if you think I am wrong, why do you not stop and try to correct me when I ask you why? Where is your love and concern for me? If what I believe is foolishness, then why are you afraid to tell me why it is foolish? Where is your love for your fellow Jew?

I think the truth lies in the fact that you are certain of what the rabbis teach, even though you don’t really know the teachings of the rabbis. (I generalize here, of course – but I believe it to be a fair generalization.) The rabbis have told you that what I proclaim is wrong, but you don’t know why they say it, or whether they can be refuted. If you are ignorant of the facts and the arguments of the case – if you have never honestly and fairly explored whether or not there is truth in the claims of Jesus – then on what basis do you tell me that I should be ashamed?

You think I’m wrong? Then tell me why.
You think I should be ashamed? Then tell me why.
Leave a comment, if you wish.

But if you can’t tell me why, then at least be honest enough to listen and consider the facts as presented. In the end, I’m not asking you to believe me (or the rabbi), but to pray to God and ask him to reveal to you His truth. He promises to answer (Jeremiah 33:3; Matthew 7:7).

If you want to know more, or if you have any questions please feel free to contact us. We also would love to hear what you have to say, so feel free to comment but please do so in a polite manner. We do publish dissenting comments.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Jesus, Messiah in the Tanach, Pot-shot Objections | No Comments »

Pot Shot Series: Objection 1: The Holocaust – Argument 2

July 26th, 2010

If you have not done so, you might want to read the Introduction to this series. 
You might also want to start at Argument 1 of this discussion

The Holocaust: Argument 2 – Blaming Jesus and Christianity

Recently I was on a busy street corner in Toronto, handing out my literature, when a Jewish man came up to me and asked if I believed that 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust. I told him that, as I have family members who died in the camps, I believed in it of course. He then said that I should therefore be ashamed of myself and walked away. I called out to him to offer a response, but of course he didn’t want one.

This was what I call a pot-shot: an objection that is thrown into your face and, before you have a chance to respond, the objector runs away, probably thinking that they have done something clever. But they haven’t really.

There are really two different ways in which this particular objection is used. One is to use the Holocaust as a proof that God does not exist. The argument goes like this: if there were a loving and good God, he would not have allowed the Holocaust to occur. The other use of this objection is to blame Jesus and Christianity for the event and therefore denigrate both. Both of these arguments are answerable, of course.

Argument 1: see Pot Shot Series: Objection 1: The Holocaust – Argument 1

Argument 2: The Holocaust denigrates Jesus and Christianity

There are a number of problems with this objection.

First of all, the argument infers that Jesus – whose life example and teachings we must remember are the basis of Christian belief – would have supported the agenda and goals of the Holocaust. This is to misunderstand the teachings of Jesus and his heart-felt love and care for his people, Israel.

Not the teaching of Jesus

Jesus said he came to “seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:10)” The understanding is that many Jewish people had strayed from the faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and Jesus came to bring them back to God. He loved the Jewish people (as typified by his love of one young Jewish leader in Mark 10:21) and indeed all of mankind (John 3:16). He wept for the Jewish people (Luke 19:41) and was expectant that one day the Jewish people would recognize him for who he is (Matthew 23:39; Luke 13:35).

Although as Christians we do believe that the vast majority of Israel has remained in sin by rejecting Jesus as Messiah and Lord, Jesus himself said, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:17)” The Messiah will come again at a future time and he will come in judgment of all those who have rejected him, both Jew and Gentile. Until then, however judgment is withheld for both Jew and Gentile.

Historically some Christians have blamed the Jews for the death of Jesus and have used that reasoning as an excuse to persecute the Jews. Yet according to Jesus’ own words; “No one takes it [Jesus’ life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. (John 10:18)” If he lays his life down, then nobody can be accused of taking it.

What sent Jesus to the cross was the sin of mankind, and as Jesus’ disciple Paul says, “We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23; cf Ecclesiastes 7:20)” The teachings of the disciples, like Paul, support this same notion. Paul proclaimed to the believers in Rome that, “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen. [The Israelites] (Romans 9:2-3)”

For these reasons we can see that hatred of Jews is not a teaching of Jesus or his disciples and therefore cannot be acceptable to a true believer in Christ.

This leads us to the other problem with this argument. The objection assumes that the perpetrators of the Holocaust understood the teachings of Jesus upon which Christianity is based.

Perpetrators were not Christ followers

The reason for this is understandable. Many of the soldiers in the concentration camp considered themselves to be Christians and even would shout out to the line heading to the gas chamber that they were being slaughtered because they killed Jesus.

Clearly, in light of the above, these men and women did not have a true understanding of the Christian teaching about the Jewish people. It must also be understood, that the Nazi perpetrators that masterminded the Holocaust, were not Christians at all and planned to eliminate the Christian church as soon as possible. (for a good article on this click here.)

But for the common soldier like the ones mentioned above, even if some of them were Christians in the truest sense of the word, they were still ignorant of the true teaching of Jesus. This does not excuse their actions, but their actions do not reflect on the truth of Christ’s teaching and true Christian belief.

It also has to be remembered that true faith in Jesus – true Christianity – is predicated entirely on faith in Him and in the Word of God. As such, believers are compelled by the very Word to love all people, including the Jewish people. And though there are some who consider themselves Christian because they go to church, or give to the church, or obey certain commandments, yet they are not truly Christians if they haven’t entered into a proper relationship with Christ.

Conclusion

The upshot of all this is that though some horrible things have been done in the name of Jesus, they shouldn’t be a reason for rejecting the Gospel message – the good news that the Messiah has come to Jews and Gentiles. Many horrible things have been done in the name of Peace, Liberty, Love and a myriad of other seemingly good causes.

When exploring the Christian message, we must look to Jesus’ teaching and the whole of the Word of God. Jesus would never have condoned the Holocaust or any other horrible act towards the Jewish people (or any people) based on hatred and prejudice. Jesus would not condone it, nor should any Christian.

The Holocaust was a terrible event, as were the Inquisition. During both, there was suffering by both Jews and Chrsitians. But in the end, they have nothing to do with Jesus and his claims.

Check it out for yourself!

Contributed by Daniel Muller, General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jews and Jesus, Pot-shot Objections, This, That, The Other Thing | 3 Comments »

Pot Shot Series: Objection 1: The Holocaust – Argument 1

July 22nd, 2010

If you have not done so, you might want to read the Introduction to this series.

The Holocaust

Recently I was on a busy street corner in Toronto, handing out my literature, when a Jewish man came up to me and asked if I believed that 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust. I told him that, as I have family members who died in the camps, I believed in it of course. He then said that I should therefore be ashamed of myself and walked away. I called out to him to offer a response, but of course he didn’t want one.

This was what I call a pot-shot: an objection that is thrown into your face and, before you have a chance to respond, the objector runs away, probably thinking that they have done something clever. But they haven’t really.

There are really two different ways in which this particular objection is used. One is to use the Holocaust as a proof that God does not exist. The argument goes like this: if there were a loving and good God, he would not have allowed the Holocaust to occur. The other use of this objection is to blame Jesus and Christianity for the event and therefore denigrate both. Both of these arguments are answerable, of course.

Argument 1: There is no God

This argument forgets the nature of God’s relationship with humankind and our relationship with Him. God created man in His own image and gave us free will. We know this because Adam had the choice to obey God or not to obey God. (See Genesis 1-3)

God had the option, of course, not to give us free will, but then we have to ask ourselves the question: what is the consequence of that? If we were created so that we had to love and obey God, then what kind of love and obedience would that be? We would be more like automatons then lovers of God.

We can create a robot that is programmed to do only what we tell it to do, but can it love us? More importantly, can we love it in any meaningful way? So God, in his sovereign wisdom, determined that it was better for us to have free will than not.

The consequence of that decision is that we can and do sin (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Isaiah 53:6: Romans 3:23). All of us who are honest with ourselves would have to admit that we cannot always live up to our own standards, let alone God’s. Where there is sin, there is consequence; not only to ourselves but often to others as well. To stop it, God would have to take away our free will. To maintain our free will, God must allow the consequences of evil to take place.

Considering that we live in a world that has by and large dismissed God and has made individuals the real decider of right and wrong, is it any wonder that things like the Holocaust, or the genocides in Rwanda, or the former Yugoslav states occur.

The Holocaust is not a reason to disbelieve God, but a reason to recognize our need for God to save us from ourselves. That is where Yeshua (Jesus) comes in. Through his example we can see how to live a godly life. More importantly, through our faith in him we are enabled to live a godly life – perhaps not perfectly – but certainly more and more as we grow in him.

You can go to Argument 2, blaming Jesus and Christianity for the Holocaust.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jews and Jesus, Pot-shot Objections, This, That, The Other Thing | No Comments »

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