Friday, November 16, 2018

Jewish evangelism

One of the sore points in Jewish evangelism is the position that Jews are damned unless they believe in Jesus (i.e. the messianship, deity, and Incarnation of Jesus). Of course, that's not unique to Judaism. That's standard exclusivism, which applies to non-Christians generally. And there wouldn't be much point evangelizing Jews if it didn't matter what you believe about Jesus.

Many people naturally resent being told they're hellbound unless they become Christian. Suppose, though, we turn this around. Imagine if Christianity said all Jews are going to heaven. Would Jews be impressed?

Religiously conservative Jews think Christianity is an idolatrous, polytheistic heresy. So why would they care if a false religion gives their own religion the thumbs up? Isn't a Christian endorsement of rabbinic Judaism worthless from their standpoint? 


  1. That's a good point.

    What's more, I think this might reveal a tension in the popular beliefs of religiously conservative Jews if not their theology (i.e. many in Conservative Judaism, Orthodox Judaism, Ultra-Orthodox Judaism). On the one hand, religiously conservative Jews believe Christianity is a renegade Jewish cult that became filled with pagans and thus pagan beliefs (e.g. Christian "monotheism" is a corruption of the Shema, the Trinity is polytheistic, Christians worship the Virgin Mary, Christians idolize statues and paintings, Christians truly believe tehy are eating the real body and drinking the real blood of Jesus and are therefore engaging in some sort of ritualistic cannibalistic practice).

    What's more, religiously conservative Jews believe Christianity is inherently anti-Jewish. For example, religiously conservative Jews believe there's a bee line from Catholic and Protestant (Lutheran) statements and pronouncements against the Jews to the Holocaust.

    On the other hand, religiously conservative Jews think righteous gentiles will have a place in the world to come. Yet, how can gentiles who are Christians ever be righteous unless they renounce core Christian beliefs? After all, the Noachide laws include not practicing idolatry, yet from the Jewish perspective Christianity is fundamentally idolatrous.

    To be fair, religiously conservative Jews in the West are primarily evaluating Christianity in terms of Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism. In these cases, there is considerable truth to their evaluation! However, the Calvinistic Christian traditions have not only not been anti-Semitic but they've been outright philo-Semitic.

  2. Fascinating subject. Are all Jews bound for hell for rejecting the Messiah? Paul in Romans 11 seems to be saying that is not the case.

    1. Scholars dispute the meaning of that passage, but even on different interpretations, it seems to refer to messianic Jews. Jews who come to faith in Jesus. The exegetical dispute is more about the timing (preterist, amil, premil) and the percentages.

  3. Scripture clearly says that if you deny that Jesus is the Christ you are a antichrist,
    Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
    1 John 2:22 KJV

  4. They view it in terms of identity, so you're asking them to stop being Jews. That's false, since Jesus is the Messiah but that's how they view it.

    But this is also a more common objection which interprets this as just some random ticket you need to have to be saved. The picture should include a fuller picture.

    You're on a ship that is sinking (and you actively participated in hurting the boat) and you need to get on the lifeboat... that's my analogy. Telling people to get in the lifeboat isn't a random request. It's the means of escape.