Closing Arguments – Excerpt From Critique of Volume 5
72. Objection 6.18
Brown concludes his five volume series with an appeal to his readers to put their faith in Jesus. I will conclude my critique of this series with an appeal to my readers to put their faith in God, and in God alone.
I find it interesting that Brown chose to place his objections against the Oral Law as the “closing argument” in his five volume series. The entire debate about the Oral Law is not very relevant to the controversy between Judaism and Christianity. The Karaite Jews, who do not accept the Oral Law, are among the most vehement critics of Christianity. On the other hand, we find Christians that see no need to repudiate the Oral Law in order to maintain their belief in Jesus. It seems however that Brown considers the discussion about the Oral Law to be central to the divide between Judaism and Christianity. Protestant Christianity takes prides in her claim that her theology is based on the word of God, in other words, on the Scripture (both Jewish and Christian) and on the Scripture alone. From the standpoint of the Protestant Christian, the Jewish acceptance of the Oral Law is a fatal flaw in the faith structure of Judaism. The Protestant challenges the Jew: “How can you rely on the words of men?” The Protestant looks to his own faith and is satisfied that it is based on the words of God.
But is this truly so?
When we examine the matter just a bit beyond the superficial, it becomes clear that it is Protestant Christianity who relies on the words of men, while Judaism leans on the words of God.
Did you ever notice that NOT ONE of the core doctrines of Protestant Christianity are directly spelled put in the Jewish Scripture? The Protestant cannot point to one verse that says: “put your faith in the Messiah in order to receive eternal salvation”. There is not one passage in Scripture that says that belief in the Messiah effects atonement, and there is not one passage in Scripture that encourages us to direct our devotion to a human incarnation of God.
EVERY ONE of the core doctrines of Judaism are EXPLICITLY and DIRECTLY spelled out in Scripture. God introduced Himself to our fathers and said: “I am the Lord your God who took you out of the land of Egypt, you should have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:2,3). God explicitly said that repentance is all that is necessary to wipe the slate of guilt clean (Ezekiel 33:16). And the Scriptures explicitly declare that the path to the restoration of Israel is through observance of the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 30:2).
Furthermore, the entire faith of Christianity stands on the reasoning of biased men. No one ever SAW Jesus die for anyone’s sins, and no one ever SAW that Jesus is the second person in a triune godhead. What happened was that a group of people, who were already completely devoted to Jesus, came up with these theories (Jesus’ atoning death, and his alleged divine nature) as an INTERPRETATION of various phenomena they saw or heard. But it was a TWO-STEP PROCESS. They first saw and heard the phenomena (Jesus’ life, death and alleged resurrection), they then processed these events in their human minds, and only then did they came up with these theological theories as an EXPLANATION to the events that they believed had happened. The fact is that the Christian’s faith must lean on these explanations concocted by finite human beings.
Contrast this with Judaism, where the two pillars of faith were actually witnessed by the entirety of Israel – no interpretation was necessary and nothing needed to be explained. All of Israel SAW that God is the power (Deuteronomy 4:35) and all of Israel HEARD God talking to Moses (Exodus 19:9). Jews does not need to rely on anyone’s interpretation for the foundations of their faith; their perception of God, and the knowledge that Moses is His prophet.
The Scriptures openly declare that the Jewish people are God’s firstborn son (Exodus 4:22, Jeremiah 30:8) and His witnesses (Isaiah 43:10). It is because we trust God’s witnesses that we accept the canon of Jewish Scripture. We trust that God’s firstborn son is capable of sorting out the true prophets from the frauds and that they are capable of identifying God’s holy spirit when they see it manifest in a person’s life. The Jewish people testify to us about the authors of the books of the Jewish Bible – and all of them lived amongst the Jewish people – that these were Godly people who lived a life in line with God’s truth. These same witnesses testify about the authors of the Christian Scriptures – all of whom lived amongst the Jewish people as well – that they did not live a life that reflected God’s truth. If you want to trust God’s witness, go ahead and accept all of their testimony. If you choose to reject their testimony, please be consistent and reject all of it. The witness can be trustworthy or he can be a liar, but he can’t be both at the same time.
The underlying message of the Jewish Scripture is that God is the absolute Master of all creation. This core truth permeates every chapter and verse in the Jewish Scriptures. As God’s creations, we all owe all of our devotion to Him who gave us our hearts to begin with.
The calling of the Jewish people is to bear this truth and to carry it with them wherever they go. God established His testimony in Jacob through the events of the miracles and the Sinai revelation. These unparalleled evens planted the truth of God’s sovereignty into our hearts to the degree that even our children who stray far from the path of their ancestors, still cannot bring themselves to direct their devotion to a fellow creation of God.
I appeal to you, turn to your Creator. The One who provided for your every need can surely satisfy the yearning of your soul. The One who was lovingly maintaining your existence even while you sinned against Him, will surely forgive you if you just sincerely return to Him. Could there be a greater joy than the embrace of your Creator?
“Taste and see that God is good, happy is the man who takes shelter in Him” (Psalm 34:9).
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal