An Open Response to Dalton Lifsey
You seem to have taken exception to my post entitled “Persuasion versus Education – a response to Dr. Brown”. After quoting my post where I assert that the missionary campaign is a campaign of “persuasion”, while the campaign of the Jewish community is one of “education”, you go on to write:
“I find it hard to believe that Blumenthal wrote this without a few dozen gut checks and a wrestling match with his conscience. The degree of intellectual dishonesty required to commit these words to print is astounding. Particularly the assertion that “the conflict between the missionary and the Jewish community is a conflict between the method of persuasion favored by the missionary and the method of education favored by the Jewish community.” This is coming from a man who offered 48 pages of extremely weak argumentation predicated on circular reasoning and shocking exegesis in response to a man who has devoted the majority of his adult life to writing prolifically, methodically, and faithfully to counter the theological, historical, and philosophical objections that his Jewish brothers have leveled against him. Brown is no light-weight when it comes to scholarship (You can browse Brown’s exceptional multi-volume series “Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus”[and other works] here).
The contrast between what Brown has contributed to the debate and what these biased and belligerent Rabbi’s have offered is quite telling.
If I were Mr. Blumenthal, I would delete the preface post about education and persuasion. It only serves to whittle the credibility of an already anemic polemic. And if I were any of these Rabbi’s or Jewish scholars, I would steer clear of a public debate with Brown. Not only does he have the upper hand on substantive argumentation, according to the Rabbi’s he is apparently quite capable of persuasively proclaiming them. But having said that, I pray that the debates continue so that these ultimate issues can be discussed in the public square. Whether these Rabbi’s ever recant and repent or not, their willingness to show up debate after debate only gives more opportunity for the Gospel to be proclaimed to more of the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The Rabbi’s know this (which explains their affirmation of Brown’s effectiveness in the debate forum and their unwillingness to take him on).”
Dalton; I stand by my original statement with a clear and unburdened conscience. The missionary campaign is a campaign of “persuasion” while the campaign of the Jewish community is one of “education”. I say this not only DESPITE Dr. Brown’s five volume work, but primarily BECAUSE I have studied Dr. Brown’s work. I articulated many of my arguments in three separate articles; Contra Brown, The Elephant and the Suit, and Supplement to Contra Brown. This is in addition to many other articles that I have written in an attempt to articulate my position. If you are judging my work by the number of pages written, “48” is not quite the right number. (From your words I get the impression that you did not even read my follow up article: “Persuasion versus Education Part II”.) Perhaps you fail to see the weight of my arguments, and I understand. We approach these issues from two different world-views, so misunderstanding is to be expected. It may enlighten you to know that others view my work differently than you do –
One more thing before I sign off. I want to put Dr. Brown’s insistence on the venue of a public debate in its historical context.
If the entire disagreement between Judaism and Christianity could be resolved in the superficial arena of “public opinion” – then there is no point in a debate. Christianity has won a long time ago. In the arena of public opinion – the score stands at about 2 billion Christians versus about 15 million Jews.
For 2000 years Jews have insisted that the only way to resolve this issue is through a serious study of the truth – and NOT through a superficial appeal to public opinion. It is not for nothing that for 2000 years, the people that were most qualified to pass judgment on the claims of Christianity; namely the Jewish people, have categorically rejected the claims of Christianity. After all, Jesus did not claim to be the Messiah predicted by the prophets of Gaul, Rome or Greece. He claimed to be the Messiah foretold by the prophets of the Jews as well as an incarnation of their God. The Gauls, the Romans and the Greeks, who did not have the necessary tools to evaluate the truth of these claims in their original Jewish context, were the ones who accepted these claims, while the Jews, who were in possession of the relevant information, have by and large rejected them.
What does Dr. Brown hope to accomplish in a public debate? Is he planning to present new information that he did not already include in his massive 5 volume work? I do not think so. If Dr. Brown would have come up with any new insight that would impact the Jewish-Christian polemic in favor of his faith, I think that he would have shared it with the world in writing, and not wait for the setting of a public debate. His commitment to his cause tells me that he would not withhold such information for a minute. The purpose of a debate is not to present new information. All of the information that Dr. Brown wants to present on the subject should be contained in his 5 volumes.
The Jewish community has already responded to the information contained in Dr. Brown’s 5 volumes. I have written three articles that systematically expose the fallacies inherent in Dr. Brown’s 5 volumes, but despite his assurances to respond, he has not done so (as of yet). It is Dr. Brown who is refusing the Jewish community’s invitation to respond to their challenge to his work.
Dr. Brown may not appreciate the seriousness of the challenge and he may see no need to respond. He is entitled to his position. I quote the following facebook message so that you may see why I feel that my work is not the “poor joke” that it appears to be from behind your Christian glasses.
This message is thanking Rabbi Eli Cohen for posting my article: “The Elephant and the Suit”
“Rabbi Eli Cohen, I want to thank you SO MUCH for these .pdf files showing the flaws in Dr. Brown’s presentations. You have no idea how you are helping a group of us Jews-by-birth here in **** who, through no fault of our own, were adopted into non-Jewish families right after birth or at very young ages. We were brought up in Xian homes with J-sus taking a very strong place in our lives. Not to be disrespectful, but for us it has been like going through detox for several years, having to get the “noise” of the NT out of our heads to see the beauty and simplicity of TORAH. Our hats are off to you, Rabbi, and to all the great Jewish people on Facebook who have friended us and helped us in ways you will never know.”
Yisroel C. Blumenthal
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal