My article entitled ‘Response to the Line of Fire 9″ ended with the following appeal to Dr. Michael L. Brown:
I would like to end this critique with an appeal to Dr. Brown.
The myth of the “blindness of the Jew” is an ugly stain in the history of mankind. Dr. Brown, instead of working to perpetuate this myth, I appeal to you to educate Christians of the fallacies of this myth. Explain to your audience that as long as the Jew sees the teachings of Christianity as a contradiction to the Scriptures with which we were entrusted by God – it is the moral duty of the Jew to REJECT those teachings. Encourage your audience to try to read the Jewish Scriptures as a Jew would have read them before the advent of Jesus. Encourage your listeners to attempt to acquire a complete world-view on the basis of the Jewish Scriptures alone – and ask them – how would they view the doctrines of Christianity in the light of the Jewish Scriptures.
Dr. Brown responded to this appeal on his blog with the following post:
Rabbi Blumenthal, to be sure I’m following your proposal, you are also willing to discard all Jewish tradition from your thinking — as much as possible — and look at the Tanakh alone to ask: What should the Jewish people been expecting 2,000 years ago, even though, from your own testimony, you ultimately know the Tanakh to be God’s Word because of that very tradition, and without that tradition you cannot rightly understand the Torah? Is that correct?
Also, we don’t have to speculate about what Jewish people were expecting 2,000 years ago, since we have numerous writings from different Jewish groups — the Pharisees being one of them — indicating a wide-range of beliefs (including eschatology as well as how to understand Torah). More importantly, our people often strayed from the path and God had to send prophets to bring us back to truth. Yeshua came in that respect as Prophet as well.
I could write much more (time escapes me again), but I don’t see the rationality of your proposal as you see it. Furthermore, for Christians here, they know the Tanakh is true because of Yeshua. If your arguments against him were true and he was neither Messiah nor Savior nor Son of God, they would have no reason to continue to believe in the Tanakh either. They have come to know the God of Israel through him, they have received forgiveness of sins through him, their lives have been transformed through him, and if he was not who he claimed to be, then for them, the Tanakh would be another book of myths and fairy tales. I might as well tell you, “The Torah is true but there is no God, so follow the Torah.”
Yes, we have the Tanakh in common, both you and I believing it to be God’s Word, but I ultimately recognize it as God’s Word because of Yeshua — the one who saved me from my sin and rebellion and darkness — not because of other important, but ultimately secondary reasons. (This is parallel to a counter-missionary rabbi telling me that he is ultimately sure that God exists because of the Jewish people.)
A Jewish fellow named “Goldberg” posted the following response to Dr. Brown’s response – I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
Hi Dr. Brown.
Let me make clear up front that I am an Orthodox Jew. Not that there will be any doubt.
I think that your last response to Rabbi Blumenthal seriously blurs the basic ground rules of what these dialogues are all about. With that said I’d like to take a step back and reestablish for your readers what I believe to some of the axioms of these discussions
1)Countermissionaries, like Rabbi Blumenthal, exist ONLY because there are missionaries like yourself. Jews do not believe in a compelling need to undo the belief systems of non-Jews. It is only because Christian missionaries engage in what they believe to be their sacred responsibility to persuade Jews to embrace Jesus that countermissionaries engage in their efforts to “counter” that activity. Fair is fair. Put more simply – and it is extremely important that your readers understand this – if there was no one engaged in any effort to convert Jews to Christianity, the likelihood is that almost all of the countermissionary works that we are discussing and that your readers find so puzzling, if not offensive, would never have been written. While Jews obviously don’t believe Christianity to be truth, they also don’t believe Islam, or Hinduism to be truth. One need ask then, why is there so little – if any – counter-islam and counter-hindu Jewish literature out there, despite the fact that the two faiths together outnumber Christians. To be honest, I find the title of your series “Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus” to be itself misleading and a tad offensive. (As if Jews, by their nature, walk around muttering the objections to Jesus. How medieval.) Jews don’t walk around “objecting to Jesus”. The more honest, if not market-friendly, title should have been “Answering Jewish Objections to Christian Evangelical Overtures” You know very well that it is almost exclusively in this context that Jews “Object to Jesus”. I received 17 years of Yeshiva education and I’m not sure I can recall a single instance of any teacher devoting any time to a serious discussion of Jesus. It’s a non-issue – untill the missionary raises it.
2)Sophisticated missionaries, like yourself, know very well that the theology of Judaism is based on the scriptures as defined by the OT canon. Moreover, sophisticated missionaries – like yourself – acknowledge that this belief system of the Jew is valid which is why sophisticated missionaries – like yourself – have written so many thousands of pages of material with the intended to demonstrate that belief in Jesus is not only justified but inescapable, purely on the basis of the OT on its own terms.
a. This is a fight picked by the Christian not by the Jew.
b. The burden of proof is therefore on the Christian not the Jew.
c. If the proof is there in the OT as you believe it is, then
d. You must concede that Rabbi Blumenthal’s challenge to those who would engage in this debate, to read the OT purely on its own terms and then and only then consider the case for Jesus, is not only a resonable challenge but a necessary precondition, or there is really no point to the discussion.
4) If however, the real point is, as you so eloquently put it in comment number 44 above is that “…we have the Tanakh in common, both you and I believing it to be God’s Word, but I ultimately recognize it as God’s Word because of Yeshua – the one who saved me from my sin and rebellion and darkness – not because of other important, but ultimately secondary reasons…”, then my response to you is, I am happy that you found a basis for cleaning up your life and living meaningfully.
So have I.
Have a nice day.
You can view all the comments on Dr. Brown’s blog here – http://www.lineoffireradio.com/2011/06/09/dr-brown-answers-the-rabbis-part-2/#comments
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal