A Thumbnail Sketch of Judaism for Christians - page 5


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From the Fall 2015 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

A Thumbnail Sketch of Judaism for Christians

by Gerald R. McDermott, Ph.D.
Jordan-Trexler Professor of Religion, Roanoke College


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  David Gelernter, a Jewish computer scientist at Yale, writes widely respected books and articles on theology and politics. Reflecting the thinking of some fellow Jews, he has said that he cannot accept Christian faith, and Jesus’ claims at the center of it, because of Jesus’ incipient pacifism. “Turn the other cheek” and “Do not resist the evildoer” are teachings that cannot support a robust resistance to evil which this age of terrorism demands.
  Yet Christians would say that there are New Testament reasons why most Christians in history have supported the just-war tradition, which says there are times when Christians can and must fight wars to resist evil. They look to passages such as Romans 13:4 (“The [civil] authority does not bear the sword in vain!” NRSV) and say Jesus’ admonition not to resist the evildoer was probably a restatement of Psalm 37:1 (“Do not fret because of the wicked” NRSV), not a sign of pacifism.
  Even if Jewish people do not agree with us about who Jesus is, we Christians can build bridges through our common beliefs in what we call the Old Testament to meaningful discussions about Jesus as we know Him from the New Testament.

Gerald McDermott is Jordan–Trexler Professor of Religion at Roanoke College. He grew up in Boston, New York and Philadelphia, went to a Jesuit high school in New York City, graduated from the University of Chicago (B.A., New Testament and Early Christian Literature).He lived in religious communes for seven years, started and ran a private school for three years, pastored for five years in Iowa, and earned a Ph.D. in religion at the University of Iowa. He is an Anglican priest who serves as Teaching Pastor at St. John Lutheran Church in Roanoke, VA. He is married to an artist, Jean; they have three sons and seven grandchildren. 


Recommended Reading:
Michael L. Brown, 60 Questions Christians Ask About Jewish Beliefs and Practices (Chosen Books, 2011)

Respected scholar and Messianic Jew answers sixty common questions Christians have about Jewish people, culture, practices, and the Jewish background to the New Testament.



COPYRIGHT NOTICE:  Knowing & Doing is published by C.S. Lewis Institute; 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 301; Springfield, VA 22151. Portions of the publication may be reproduced for noncommercial, local church or ministry use without prior permission. Electronic copies of the PDF files may be duplicated and transmitted via e-mail for personal and church use. Articles may not be modified without prior written permission of the Institute. For questions, contact the Institute: 703.914.5602 or email us.
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