Yisroel Blumenthal and the Book of James

Rabbi Blumenthal: doesn't like the book of James

Rabbi Blumenthal: doesn't like the book of James

Prominent Messianic scholar Michael L. Brown and Jews For Judaism rabbi Yisroel Blumenthal are keen to stress that they are friends. They are full of compliments of each other, as good friends should be.

Rabbi Blumenthal recognises Dr Brown’s powerful oratory skills, and – like Moses and Paul before him – bemoans that he is a better writer than a public speaker.

Rabbi Blumenthal challenges Dr Brown to a written debate, not a spoken  debate. This way, both sides get to analyse the evidence and consider the facts in their own time. In a written debate, it’s not about who can think fast or speak convincingly. Just the facts.

So Rabbi Blumenthal has started a blog, writing in an entry about “works“:

Christianity teaches that no good works of men are counted as righteous before God. It is difficult to think of a concept that is more contrary to the Jewish scriptures.

That’s not exactly the case – I pointed out in a comment that Christianity actually places a high value on good works, which should be inspired by grace and motivated by faith in Yeshua.

Martin Luther: never liked the book of James

Martin Luther: never liked the book of James

I wrote that Martin Luther hated the book of James, because he considered it to be obsessed with law and works, so clearly a forgery.

However, Luther was not an apostle and James was.

James’ epistle is still considered as Holy Scripture, and Luther’s commentaries are not.

So the New Testament clearly teaches that good works before God are commendable.

Here’s a quote from James 2, verse 14 onwards:

My friends, what good is it to say you have faith, when you don’t do anything to show that you really do have faith? Can that kind of faith save you? If you know someone who doesn’t have any clothes or food, you shouldn’t just say, “I hope all goes well for you. I hope you will be warm and have plenty to eat.” What good is it to say this, unless you do something to help? Faith that doesn’t lead us to do good deeds is all alone and dead!

Suppose someone disagrees and says, “It is possible to have faith without doing kind deeds.”

I would answer, “Prove that you have faith without doing kind deeds, and I will prove that I have faith by doing them.” You surely believe there is only one God. That’s fine. Even demons believe this, and it makes them shake with fear.

Does some stupid person want proof that faith without deeds is useless? Well, our ancestor Abraham pleased God by putting his son Isaac on the altar to sacrifice him. Now you see how Abraham’s faith and deeds worked together. He proved that his faith was real by what he did. This is what the Scriptures mean by saying, “Abraham had faith in God, and God was pleased with him.” That’s how Abraham became God’s friend.

You can now see that we please God by what we do and not only by what we believe. For example, Rahab had been a prostitute. But she pleased God when she welcomed the spies and sent them home by another way. Anyone who doesn’t breathe is dead, and faith that doesn’t do anything is just as dead!

Now, I understand how this passage may be hard to deal with for an anti-missionary. If it’s your job to show how Christianity is so opposed to good works, and someone points out to you that good works are commended in the New Testament, then it makes your job a bit awkward.

Ironically, it might be in the anti-missionaries interest to paint a portrait of the New Testament most hostile to Jewish ethics, in order to convince other Jews that the NT isn’t Jewish.

So, despite posting my comment about the book of James on Rabbi Blumenthal’s blog twice, it still hasn’t appeared. I appreciate how WordPress can be hugely fiddly, and I understand it can be tricky to manage comments, especially at the beginning.

If this is the case, that’s perfectly understandable. But if Rabbi Blumenthal has begun deleting comments, it rather questions his commitment to a fair and honest written debate.

(Update: R Blumenthal writes in:

First of all – if you have any accusations against me – and you are serious about the truth – then please write to my personal e-mail which you now have as an administrator of this website – otherwise – I may not find out about your accusation at all – I just happened to chance on this one.

Second

I did not delete any comments from my blog)

So Rabbi Blumenthal – what of this comment I wrote?

And, more importantly, do you agree with Martin Luther that the Book of James has no place in the New Testament?

106 thoughts on “Yisroel Blumenthal and the Book of James

  1. Blooming heck Rabbi Blumenthal that seems a bit dubious, calling for a written debate with one Messianic Jew and then suppressing a written debate on your blog with another one, presumably because he is a better writer than you, that is after all why you refuse a verbal debate with Michael Brown, he was better at it than you, isn’t it!

    • Are you saying that you have chosen your religion on the basis of the oratory gifts of its proponent, rather than on the unvarnished relative strength of the argument and evidence in favor of the religion’s credibility?

      Ordinarily, I’d find such a decision process startling. But, in the case of a Jewish evangelical, obviously the critical analysis function is out of order….

      • Anonymous.

        If you spent a moment properly reading the post, you would hopefully appreciate how silly your comment appears. I fear that in your haste to denounce the authors article, you missed the real message. You should spend less time concocting amusing demonstrations of wit and more time trying to understand the authors point, otherwise you come over as a half-wit! :-)

      • Give him a break Levitt, anyone who has read RPP for any length of time knows poor old Anonymous has zero credibility whatsoever anyway!

      • Yawn,

        Why doesn’t Anonomouth change his name to UtterlyBoringTripe instead? It’s the same old error filled bigoted ranting, devoid of factual content. I hardly every bother even looking at his comments now. It’s like the BBC constant repeating of the same old stuff. Wouldn’t mind so much if some of it was even funny. At least some of the other AM’s are eccentric and batty enough to be funny, but Anon is boring us to death. Maybe that’s his plot, to termintate us by tedium!

      • Joseph,

        Hey, where did you find that terrific picture of Luther?

        And, more importantly, how do you include images in your blog postings?

    • Hey, let’s depersonalize this conversation and take some of the toxicity out of the atmosphere. It doesn’t matter what Rabbi Blumenthal says. What matters is what G-d said, what He wrote in His holy Torah, the Jewish Bible.

      Instead of raging about whether someone has Internet access or not, I think we’d all be better off considering whether or not Jesus aligned with the messianic prophecy of the Jewish Bible: Is the world at peace? Have the Jews all returned to Israel and rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem? Is all of mankind serving the god of Israel?

      In the final analysis, it matters very little whether or not Rabbi Blumenthal is reading his emails, but very much whether or not it’s proper for any Jew to think of Jesus as a messiah, or, heaven forbid, a god. So, let’s get serious, shall we?

    • Hi Gev
      You can look at my post entitled “works” and you can see that Joseph’s and other’s comments are there. The reason I don’t want to debate Brown verbally is not because he is a better debater than I am – but that the entire concept of a verbal debate is no indicator of the truth – I suggest you read my articles “The Elephant and the Suit” and “Contra Brown” and try to answer for Dr. Brown yourself – if you are a believing Christian – you wouldn’t want to rely on some one else’s arguments to get you into heaven – would you?

      • I think he’s done lots of good things, but I must confess I’m not Dr Brown’s biggest fan and I definitely don’t rely on his arguments for my faith.

      • Sorry I’ve tried posting this on the JforJ website and run into technical difficulties.
        Here’s a few thoughts on the Elephant and suit, which is certainly interesting and does expose some important areas for thought.

        Dear Yisrael Chaim

        The elephant and the suit is an interesting piece, and I agree with Jo about its measured tone, and you may be right about inconsistency in the use of the Talmud, I can’t defend MB since I’ve only read one of his volumes. However the piece also makes some large claims and ones which don’t seem to show much acquaintance with Christian exegesis. For example the claim that the matrilineal descent of Messiah (apart from his adopted patrilineal line) is based on Isa.7.14 alone, shows no awareness of the significance of a Zelophadite inheritance, that the second coming is based only on Daniel 7.13 a remarkable poverty of acquaintance with Gentile interaction with the prophets, that the book of Jonah shows no evidence of the importance of a blood sacrifice for repentance, when Jonah himself was sacrificed (1.14, a key aspect of the sign of Jonah), and if he had not been would Nineveh have been saved?, that covenants in their essential nature, lying at the root of the Divine relationship with man as they do, require a blood sacrifice for ratification – why else was the firstborn Isaac required, then substituted?
        Much more could be written, but the rather confident tone is not justified by most of the arguments.

  2. I personally know rabbi Blumenthal and can assure you that he would do no such thing.
    Here’s the explanation: Rabbi Blumenthal has no internet access at home beyond email access. He tries to access Internet to interact with blogs etc as time permits. He’s also new at blogging and is most likely unaware how to allow comments that get stuck.
    You can be rest assured that he has not censored your comments.
    No, I’m not rabbi Blumenthal :)

    • Joseph 1 as you say you are not Rabbi Blumenthal so you don’t really know do you, unless you have been in his office recently. However it is strange to only have email access without or beyond internet access isn’t it?

    • Shalom,
      If I may venture an opinion about Rb. Blumenthal’s ‘email but no internet’ aspect, it could be a way of guarding against exposure to the secular. He does have a Facebook account, but it is probably administered by someone on his behalf.

      …and I’d prefer to refrain from the name calling and nicknames.

    • bubby,

      how is this attacking Rabbi Blumenthal??? It’s only stating facts…and His Name is “Yeshua HaMashiach”…that is the correct Name of Israel’s Messiah.

      • how is this attacking Rabbi Blumenthal??? It’s only stating facts…and His Name is “Yeshua HaMashiach”…that is the correct Name of Israel’s Messiah.

        again, you diminish Rabbi Blumenthal to a strange man who doesn’t use the internet, its quite disrespectful and doesn’t prove your point about jesus.

        Show me in the Torah where this yeshua hamashiach is call this?
        don’t you know this was something that started in the 1960′s to draw jews to jesus? all of the jewish believers in jesus before that time were
        hebrew christians and would laugh at the thought of giving jesus a jewish title. You should really read more about the history of the hebrew christians. they didn’t want to be called messianic. Also, what strikes me that is even more odd than not having an internet service is that so called messianic jews are outnumbered in a messianic chat…there are only 2-3 jews in here who believe in jesus.

  3. Isn’t it ironic how the anti-missionaries are always accusing MJs of pretending to be Jews, now (Ken)onymous is an anti-missionary pretending to be a Jew!

  4. Alanis and you know this for sure? Tell me Alanis are you a Jew? and how would you know that anonymous is pretending. Actualy the pretenders are messianic leaders who call themselves rabbis; the majority can’t even read hebrew. quite odd, dontcha think?

  5. I don’t think this quote from James is difficult at all for the contra-missionary. I think it underscores a debate within early Christianity, in this case between James and Paul and cast serious question on the irrerrancy of the New Testament.

    Basically Martin Luther held like Paul, that works have no place in Christianity, and that one could not claim righteousness through works.

    I believe that James disagreed with this idea, and in so doing, actually quoted the same verse that Paul used to demonstrate that Abraham was only considered righteous by his faith, and not by his works.

    Somehow, both texts found their way into the New Testament.

    Now most of protestant Christianity are spiritual heirs of Martin Luther, and totally emphasize Paul over James. Calvinism is particularly extreme in this regard. Aside from Joseph quoting James here, you don’t see that quote too often.

    The other problem with the James quote is it doesn’t fit into the Christian idea of original sin too well, i.e. man being so corrupt that he can’t possibly save himself. If those good works that James is talking about are really good, it does not seem as if man is so corrupt, and be in need of a (spiritual) savior. This idea of original sin is an emphasis of the gospels, suggesting that their authors also took Paul’s side over James.

    I once was discussing this issue with Jewish Christian who stated that Paul and James were “two sides of the same coin.” The only problem was that he couldn’t really describe what that coin really was.

    I don’t think Rabbi Blumenthal is suppressing anyone’s comments. There aren’t really any comments on those page. You should take a lesson from Orthodox Jews and be “Dan L’Chaf Zchus” i.e. judge others favorably.

    • “I don’t think Rabbi Blumenthal is suppressing anyone’s comments. There aren’t really any comments on those page. You should take a lesson from Orthodox Jews and be “Dan L’Chaf Zchus” i.e. judge others favorably.”

      Agreed, I don’t want to say what R. Blumenthal’s intentions are or aren’t, and I think he’s a really nice rabbi – just wanna make sure the issues are discussed. Thanks for the comment tho

    • “Now most of protestant Christianity are spiritual heirs of Martin Luther, and totally emphasize Paul over James. Calvinism is particularly extreme in this regard. Aside from Joseph quoting James here, you don’t see that quote too often.”

      That’s a fair point.

  6. Whenever I argue (that is, “present ideas”) about historical religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam, I always want to start with the verifiability of the historical record. I have done so with Eli and Yash13 on their blogs, and I have recently done so with Rabbi Blumenthal, which he hasn’t replied to yet (for good reasons, I am sure).

    Eli and Yash don’t give me (what I consider) satisfactory answers on historiographical issues. Eli doesn’t even (want to?) believe that Jesus existed, which I find irrational. I hope Rabbi Blumenthal won’t do the same. Here is what I asked him
    http://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2010/08/31/works-2/#comments

    Hi Yisroel (which is my father’s name, now deceased).

    Hope you don’t mind me calling you by your first name.

    I’ve seen you on Yash613′s blog. I’m a bit of a bulldog on Yash’s blog, but hopefully do not talk (too much) bull. I’ve also seen you on the RoshpinaProject blog. I am a Jew who believes in Ye(ho)shua.

    The reason why I believe in Yeshua is that after studying historiography I came to the conclusion that the NT is a genuine historical document. In other words, the rational basis of my faith is based on exegetical considerations – as far as I can achieve this – and not on theological presuppositions. As you know the first followers of Yeshua were all Jewish and undoubtedly Torah observant, as much as you are today. They also had problems with the relationship between the Law and Faith. And the problem has never gone away for Jewish believers in Yeshua.

    Yeshua said that faith in Him rather than works was central. There is a problem because the NT does seem to contradict – which you’ve pointed out – many of the verses you quote. The fact that you point this out indicates that you believe the NT is an historical document.

    My question is: do you think that Yeshua preached what you consider blasphemy or do you think that it was not Yeshua but others (like Paul) who preached (what you consider) blasphemy?

  7. Matt N

    You said:

    “I don’t think this quote from James is difficult at all for the contra-missionary. I think it underscores a debate within early Christianity, in this case between James and Paul and cast serious question on the irrerrancy [inerrancy] of the New Testament.”

    “Basically Martin Luther held like Paul, that works have no place in Christianity, and that one could not claim righteousness through works.”

    Matt, I think you misunderstand. Let’s start with the father of faith: Abraham. The Tanakh and the NT are in total agreement that works without faith (an analogy would be sacrifice for sin without repentance) is dead. Abraham was justified by faith; his works were evidence of that faith. It’s exactly the same with the whole Torah right through to the prophets and the writings.

    The NT continues in the same faithful vein but Jesus makes this point more explicit, which reaches a HIGH point in Paul. Not that Paul is deeper that Jesus, but that Jesus put that depth (of revelation) into Paul.

    There are at least two aspects to “righteousness”: these are justification and sanctification (holiness). Abraham, Moses and Paul could only be justified by faith, that is, made right (righteous) in God’s eyes through faith. The next step: justification is then exemplified (“incarnated”) by our works. If our works procede from faith (analogously if our sacrifices procede from repentance) then the righteousness of our faith “rubs off” on to our works. If we have no authentic faith, the works are like menstrual rags. THAT is what the Book of James is about.

    6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy (Hebrew: menstrual עִדָּה iddah) rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

    7 No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and have given us over to our sins. [NO ONE CALLS BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO FAITH].

    NOW HERE COMES THE FAITH

    8 Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. 9 Do not be angryl beyond measure, Lord; do not remember our sins forever. Oh, look on us, we pray, for we are all your people.

    • Bography:

      Let’s take a step back. Let’s say that I were a naive individual ripe for evangelization and you were going to share the gospel with me and I were to say, “I don’t really need the gospel because I feel I do good works. I go to synagogue. I give charity. I keep kosher. I keep the Sabbath. etc. etc.” You would likely invoke Paul in Romans who stated that we are not really Justified by our works but are faith. (Now I have a particular faith. It’s just not the “right” faith by your estimation.)

      Now what about James in this regard? I might naively retort to you that a salvation based purely on faith would produce individuals totally devoid of good works, and therefore not truly deserving of salvation. You would respond that your faith is proved by actions you undertake on behalf of your faith: giving charity, going to church every week, bible study, setting up missions in 3rd world countries etc.

      Here is the problem:

      Let’s say instead of sharing your faith with me, you instead attempt to share your faith with the Chofetz Chaim. A man, that likely from your or my perspective at least, lived a sinless life (I am not exaggerating). Even if 10% of the stories that are told about hime were true, his works were based on an incredible and clear faith, but again, from your perspective, the wrong faith. This was an individual who wrote a book on the practical Jewish laws of speech. He shook up the Jewish world at the time, who had not been studying these laws, and certainly not applying them. There were certain people that wanted to “trip him up” so to speak and catch him violating the laws that he wrote about in his own book (which G-d knows is all too easy to do) . He never, ever slipped up. Nobody ever heard him speak so called “evil speech”.

      So to go back to Paul and James, an individual trying to evangelize the Chofetz Chaim might be able to invoke Paul in Romans, but he’d have a problem with James, because it is way more than likely that the evangelists works to back up his faith would pale in comparison to the works of the Chofetz Chaim. (I.e. the evangelist would have no business whatsover telling the Chofetz Chaim that his works were “rags” in the eyes of the L-rd)

      So to be honest with you bography, I don’t buy your argument that James was trying to take Paul’s thesis to the next level. The idea of actions backing up faith is a simple enough concept. Why didn’t Paul stress this?

      Further, admittingly taking a critical view of the NT, I do believe that James and Paul differred on this topic. THe book of Acts itself goes into the dispute between Paul and the Jerusalem Church regarding circumcision and gentiles in general assuming Jewish practices. This fits very well into James believing that the works of circumcision and other Jewish practices were essential to expression of the early Christian faith, whereas Paul, who clearly stressed faith over works, did not think they were important.

    • I just thought of something else bogrophy.

      If we summarize the argument and the various players, it goes as follows:

      Rabbi Blumenthal: The NT [Paul] states that it is not works that makes one righteous, it is only faith. This concept is contrary to the Jewish scriptures.

      Joseph: Oh no Rabbi Blumenthal.. Actually James states that works are righteous too.

      Matt N: Perhaps the NT is not truly inerrant, and this reflects a debate within early Christianity between James and Paul.

      Bogrophy: No Matt, actually James and Paul totally agree with one another. Really, Paul is stating that one is righteous only by faith. James is only saying that if there are no works to accompany the faith, one was not really faithful to begin with.

      It seems what you have done in the end, Bography, is that now you agree with Rabbi Blumenthal and disagree with Joseph.

      Check it out if you don’t believe me.

  8. Pingback: Faith and Works: Would I rather be a Jewish Sparrow or a Catholic Snail? Neither « OneDaringJew

  9. You will find when you argue with Jews (for Judaism) (and their Muslim kissing cousins) that they will rarely concede that the Jesus of the NT is a historical figure. It’s either those duplicitous Appletosstles or – a very big Yawn – Constantine, who, by the way, was a theolgical ignoramus. But these Jewish critics are just as ignorant of the the historiography of the New Testament. And, of course, there’s the strong possibility that they are trying to covering their backs, just in case Jesus turns out to have really said: “I and ther Father are one.” No, silly, not merely one in intention.

    By the way, how can we be sure that the Dead Sea scrolls are not just made up stuff as Shlomo Sand – a self-proclaimed Chazar – claims, with tenure at Tel Aviv University, and a berstpseller in the land he claims belongs to his 1000-more-Jewish-than-him Palestinians?
    http://onedaringjew.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/the-invention-of-shlomo-sand-a-thousand-jews-make-one-palestinian/

    Well, a good place to start, if we want to be as sure as we can be, for we know that history is not a science, is with textual criticism; which I keep on bringing up with the Eli’s, Yashes, and Yisroel’s of this world. Alas, they are so cocksure of their own history that they tell this poor old Raphy G to go – in not so many words – rot. I might as well bring it all up in a paper bag.

    Not so loud Yash and Yisroel, I heard that!

    Why do I believe the Torah is true. ‘Cause Jesus said it was. That’s good enough for me.

    • bography,

      You wrote: “‘Cause Jesus said it was. That’s good enough for me.”

      Some 2,000 years ago, Jesus announced that he was about to fulfill the whole slate of Jewish messianic prophecy (world peace, end of disease, end of disparate religions, etc.) within the immediate lifetime of the people within his earshot:

      * “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” (Matt. 24:34)

      * “Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.” (Mk. 13:30)

      * “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.” (Lk. 21:32)

      A saying comes to mind: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Believing in something on the basis of testimony from a proven liar is a fools errand.

      If Jesus’ say so were the only reason for believing that G-d gave the Jews a true Bible, there would not be a Jewish people today.

      • Hi Anonymous

        Good question.

        In answer to your question ““Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”, you have to take the verse in it context.

        Matt. 24:32 ¶ “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.
        Matt. 24:33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!
        Matt. 24:34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.
        Matt. 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

        So the context of the generation passing away is when the fig tree puts out leaves. Look at the rest of 24:4-35 for the context. The context is a period of coming trouble. Matt. 24:15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place”. That is the tribulation refer Daniel 9:27. So the generation relates to those in the tribulation, those who see the abomination of desolation. That is the generation that will not pass way.

        The other verses are the same teaching, just synoptic.

        My favourite passage that you did quote is this

        * Matt. 24:23 “Then if anyone says to you, “Look, here is the Messiah!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it.

        * Mark 13:21 “Then if anyone says to you, “Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it.
        Mark 13:22 For false Messiah’s and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
        Mark 13:23 But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.

        Shalom Levitt.

      • Levitt,

        I have to run just now, but I’d like to read and respond to this later if you’ll point me to it again.

        Incidentally, are you Jewish?

  10. Anon

    At last! a Jew(??) who admits that Jesus existed. As you know, Anon, liars can’t not exist. Now be careful ’cause Yash , Eli and Yisroel are going to scold you for allowing yourself to be suckered – by a poodle; not an ordinary poodle but Yash613′s own adopted poodle – Poodle613 (Yash, I’m still smarting).

  11. I have seen Dr. Brown speak on TBN, and he is a great motivational speaker. I also tried to read one of his books, and I can say he is not a very convincing debater in writing. Of course, I am biased against his beliefs.

    Rabbi Blumenthal said he is better at writing, but I don’t think his style is convincing right now. I think he shouldn’t list a million quotes to prove all of his arguments. No one is going to take the time to check each quote.

    They both just say the same old things like recordings, so they both like arguing with each other because neither has to actually think when they talk to each other. I think both of them are the same in a way, so neither will have any effect on each other’s beliefs even if they talk by phone every week.

    I read that Dr. Brown only debates rabbis and qualified anti-missionaries. I think he just likes to debate people who say the same things over and over, so he can say his same things over and over. Some day he will have to deal with my arguments, and he won’t be ready, and he won’t know what to say because he’s never heard any new ideas before.

    I tried to read one of his books, and I know he says that so far no one has tried to write a book refuting his five books. That’s probably because there is no reason to answer him. His books are just the same things you can read for free on many internet sites. They are just over-hyped by people who don’t really understand what he is saying and how it is just the same old stuff.

    I think Rabbi Blumenthal is wasting his time talking to Dr. Brown weekly. Actually, they are both wasting each other’s time. Right now, they are both considered authorities in the missionary and anti-missionary world, but they are both having no effect except they repeat the same pointless information over and over while they preach to their respective choirs.

    Kenneth Greifer
    http://www.messianicmistakes.com/

    • bography,

      You’ve already bored us all to death. Now, why not cut to the chase and answer the simple question of whether or not you meet the Jewish definition of being a Jew?

      I’m not willing to be bored by you anymore. I’m not going to read the fourth installation of the 5th volume of your life chronicle. If you want to maintain secrecy on this matter, so be it. We’ll all just presume you’re a gentile. They’re the only ones who hedge on this question.

    • Oh, and bography: not that there’s anything wrong with that. But you ought to stop calling your blog by a name that is obviously intended to communicate you have an identity you are loathe to establish clearly and truthfully.

  12. First of all – if you have any accusations against me – and you are serious about the truth – then please write to my personal e-mail which you now have as an administrator of this website – otherwise – I may not find out about your accusation at all – I just happened to chance on this one.
    Second
    I did not delete any comments from my blog
    Third – the book of James may speak of the great goodness of works but the isue is not the book of James – the issue is the grand total of the Christian Scriptures – many Christians conclude that the grand total of the Christain Scriptures teach that works cannot be counted as righteous before G-d and only faith is counted as righteous before G-d based on Paul’s comments on Genesis 15:6 – these people seem to have forgotten Psalm 106:31
    If you happen to agree with me on this issue – fine – I am sure you will find other articles on my blog that you disagree with such as the article entitled “To Whom Should Our Hearts Belong”

    • Third – the book of James may speak of the great goodness of works but the isue is not the book of James – the issue is the grand total of the Christian Scriptures – many Christians conclude that the grand total of the Christain Scriptures teach that works cannot be counted as righteous before G-d and only faith is counted as righteous before G-d based on Paul’s comments on Genesis 15:6 – these people seem to have forgotten Psalm 106:31″

      Interesting point.

  13. It is not only the Jew who thinks the NT view of grace is crazy; everyone born of flesh does.

    Faith gives evidence of its existence by righteous living. James is about professing Christians who have a faith which is idle, barren, and unfruitful (James 2:17). He is saying that dead faith does not justify and it is useless (James 2:20). Only genuine faith is alive and bears fruit.
    Mike Gendron
    http://www.reachingcatholics.org/unmerited.html

    “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes (reckons, credits to one’s account) righteousness apart from works” (Romans 4:4-6).

    The Bible says that the person who “does not work” but “believes” is justified by God. Justification is not a reward for your works. it is a free gift (=undeserved) of grace. Works are not the ground/basis of one’s acceptance before God. The righteousness of Jesus is the only ground for the believer’s justification. “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him… by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:9, 19).

    Faith without works is dead. Works are the evidence of faith. But works do not (help to) save you – as unbelievable as this may appear to the natural mind. But that is what the Bible says:

    “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-1).”

    “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes (reckons, credits to one’s account) righteousness apart from works” (Romans 4:4-6).

    Even a Jew can understand that – and hate it; naturally, as any mitzvot Jew, like Yisroel, does.

    • Bography:

      the problem with this response to R. Blumenthal is as follows:

      Rabbi Blumenthal: I think the NT is incorrect when it states that G-d counts our righteousness according to faith only. Take a look at Psalms 106:31 which contradicts this premise.

      Bography: Rabbi Blumenthal, it is natural for you to take issue with this idea of the NT because you are born of flesh.

      The problem Bography, is that Rabbi Blumenthal doesn’t disagree with the concept of being justified by faith only because he phiolosophically disagrees with it or because it doesn’t make sense to him. He thinks it contradicts Tanach (See Psalms 106:31).

  14. Matt, good point.

    Here is the verse in context:

    Psalm 106

    29 they provoked the LORD to anger by their wicked deeds,
    and a plague broke out among them.

    30 But Phinehas stood up and intervened,
    and the plague was checked.

    31 This was credited to him as righteousness
    for endless generations to come.

    The Rabbi, as far as I can make out, is not concerned with whether faith iself is something we “do” as in the knotty problem of the meaning of Abraham had faith in God and that faith counted as righteousness – Genesis 15:6. Phew that is a much harder one.

    What the Rabbi is arguing – I gather from his reference to Phinehas in Psalm 106 – is that it is our works that justify us. As you know Matt, this problem also looms large between Catholic and Reformed (e.g. Calvin) theology.

    The Rabbi is saying that faith is not enough to justify a sinner before God, because works (mitzvot) are what justification is also (mainly?) about.

    Paul’s argument (Galatians, Romans and elsewhere) is that faith alone justifies, that is, makes us right with God. “Faith,” (in the NT) is not merely a mental assent but a deep commitment, which itself is the expresssion of a new life that Christ has planted in us (“born again”).

    Now, righteousness is not only linked to faith, but also to works. This brings us to the meaning of salvation. Salvation starts with faith, which produces good works (the law of love – love of God and “neighbour”), which produces holiness (sanctification), which results in eternal life. This is summed up in that wonderful verse (for followers of Jesus) in Romans 8:29-30) – the golden chain of salvation/redemption.

    “For those God foreknew (foreloved) he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

    Between justification (the gift of faith) and glorification (eternal life) there is holiness (sanctification).

    Righteousness runs through the whole chain of salvation. If you have received (the righteousness of) genuine faith, you will become holy (do good works); THAT is implied in Romans 8:29-30, and made explicit throughout many parts of the NT (for example, John’s letters).

    Have I understood, Matt? Don’t mind if I haven’t (yet). It’s not easy stuff.

    • bography,

      I’m afraid that you don’t understand the difference between right and wrong.

      This is a Jewish Web space, with a Star of David at the top, and a title that indicates it is a discussion of a form of Judaism. It is a discussion forum for Jews about their religion.

      You are a gentile, preying here on what you view as mere potential converts. But in fact, the Jews here are full-fledged human beings, with rights no less than yours, who deserve the respect from gentile missionaries not to have their space intruded upon by gentiles passing themselves off, as you intend to do, as Jews.

      Your presence here, your participation in Jewish religious conversations in a Jewish-themed Web site, is a reflection of your own ethical failure and is a manifestation of hate toward Jews. Please leave us alone.

  15. Ok. then I’ll contact my deceased father and tell him that he has no right to the name of Yisroel, your namesake, for G-d’s sake.

    • Bography, I notice you are just mentioned your deceased father,
      is your mother a Jew?

      The reason I am asking is because somehow among the messianics,
      it is very fashionable to claim one is a Jew, however, most of the time,
      they are not considered Jewish according to Jewish Law; either their
      fathers are Jews and their mothers are non-Jews.

      If in fact, you mother is a Jew and her mother was Jewish, then, even though I don’t agree with your beliefs about jesus; you would be in fact a Jew.

      I have no problem telling anyone that I am a Jew and if I wasn’t a Jew,
      I would have no problem with that as well. So I am asking just to clarify things. Please don’t send me links and please dont be defensive; I am
      not asking you this question for any reason other than I like to know about people I interact with.

      Also, why the sarcasm? I would think if you were a Jew, you would
      just come out and say it.

  16. Bubby, the reason why I don’t make a fuss of being a Jew is because WE Jews make it so VERY important, as ANON (a Jew??) makes so clear. As a believer in Jesus, what I like to stress is not my Jewish genes but my non-genetic adoption in the family of God, which Jesus (ok, Yeshua; what does it matter?) stresses above race.

    I don’t care whether there is a mogen dovid on the frontispeice of this site. And now this will perhaps make you squirm; it’s the cross that ULTIMATELY matters to me, that hated symbol of Jewish oppression through the ages. Of course, it’s not the cross but its distorted churchy configurations that are mostly to blame.

    And my mother’s name was FEIGE, FEIGELE, FANNY

    You say no more links, But you won’t be able to resist the Feige connection.
    http://onedaringjew.wordpress.com/2009/09/13/the-gilinskys-my-mother%E2%80%99s-branch/

    Enough alrrready before this tagel turns into a pletzel.

    • Yeah, I’m unconvinced. Either Feige was not Jewish, or she was not your real mother, or there is something else to the story, I suspect. That it took this much prying to get you to provide this information is very, very suspicious, as is your continued bizarre insistence that Jewishness, a purely spiritual condition, is primarily a function of DNA. You’re very far from “making a fuss” of being a Jew; it is a matter that can barely be wrenched out of you, and remains in doubt.

      Furthermore, your failure to recognize the profound impropriety of seeking to bring Jews who have congregated, under a Star of David, to the cross reflects a lack of shame that is specifically a non-Jewish character trait.

      Most of what you’ve written, bography, should make any Jew squirm, and while I acknowledge your freedom to choose to say it, I can only respect you if you don’t say it in this Jewish forum–respect is always, and only, a two-way street. When you can begin to respect the Jews enough to allow them their space, and to stop pouncing on every Web site you can find demarked with Jewish symbolism, then you’ll deserve to have the respect of Jewish and, really, all people of good will. Until then you get what you deserve.

    • Ok, so lets make a pletzel here…and by the way, you cannot make a tagel
      into a pletzel. a tagel is full of honey and a pletzel has onions on it…….
      much the way no matter how hard christians try…one cannot make a Jew into a christian.

      So do you mind if I ask you a few question? I am trying to be objective about this; but this is very emotional for me. That you are actually a Jew
      and make the comments that you do is heartbreaking, not just for me,
      but for any Jew who would read your postings.

      I am not squirming, if that was your intention, you failed. I would like to know how you became a believer in jesus and why is it so important for you to call him by a Jewish name? Also, I understand all of your justifications for saying the things you do, but what would you do if you
      found out that jesus was not the messiah?

      I also know the lets blame the “church history” shtik….

      I am not clear about your link on several issues. Were you raised in an orphanage?

    • bography,

      I’m going to ask you to be a bigger person than I have been.

      I have been re-reading our exchanges and I have not been pleased with what I’ve seen. I grew frustrated with your protracted refusal to answer what I thought was a simple question, and I in turn began to make conclusions about you, your background and your honesty that I had no basis to reach, and I began to communicate with you via postings that included a tone and a message I had no right to hurl at you. If I’d thought a bit before clicking “post comment”, I wouldn’t be in this situation, but now I am. I regret much of what I’ve written to you lately, and since it’s impossible for me to retract it as the non-owner of this blogspace, I have to simply throw myself at your feet and ask you to forgive me.

      Before I do that, let me make a few points. Then I will ask you for forgiveness.

      First, I do take you at your word that you’re a Jew (underscoring for me, especially in light of the day of judgement quickly approaching, appeasing you and securing your forgiveness).

      Second, while I really do believe that you’re quite religiously confused, as evidenced by the array of faith communities you’ve progressed through in your lifetime to date, I don’t think that means you’re crazy, which is something I regrettably insinuated in an earlier post I should never have sent.

      And third, not in spite of your Christianity but because of it, as a fellow Jew–and yes, I do think that’s very important–I would feel terrible if you left this chat space on the sour note of my having sent you packing. I definitely want to continue a dialog with you.

      So for those three things, and for anything else I may have thoughtlessly written that insulted you, I want to beg you to excuse and forgive me.

      I’m sorry.

  17. Anon,

    So much good has come out of our exchanges, and now this wonderful gracious act on your part, which I receive with all my heart. Thank you. I really think our exchanges have been most worthwhile, and, of course, I would never dream of leaving. Like the wandering onedaring, wondering Jew, where else can I go? You have the words that bring all my pain, all my joy, out of me, and a fair amount of meshugas as well.

  18. Bubby you say

    “no matter how hard christians try…one cannot make a Jew into a christian.”

    A Christian is a follower of Christ, obviously. Surely, the first few thousand Christians were Jews. And don’t leave Jesus out of the picture; He, a Jew, said: “I and the Father are one.” (But you might say that no one is sure what he said. That’s a historiographical matter).

    You ask “why is it so important for you to call him (Jesus) by a Jewish name?”

    Didn’t I make it clear when I wrote: “what I like to stress is not my Jewish genes but my non-genetic adoption in the family of God, which Jesus (OK, YESHUA; WHAT DOES IT MATTER?) stresses above race.

    You asked: “Were you raised in an orphanage?”

    Yes, the Cape Jewish Orphanage (CJO). Now I know you hate links but I have several posts on the CJO, which includes the rolle of Isaac Ochberg.

    Please forgive, but here I go AGAIN click on this link http://onedaringjew.wordpress.com/2009/09/15/chapter-2-the-cape-jewish-orphanage-origin/

    and if you want to read more!!!!! on the Orphanage, you will find at the bottom of the page Cape Jewish Orphanage (2) →

    And if you want to read how I became a Christian, you’ll have to read http://onedaringjew.wordpress.com/2009/11/19/the-rabbi-the-evangelist-and-coming-home/

    Do you know the story of Hans Herzl? I taken a special interest in Herzl and his tragic family. As you might know, Hans went through a very turbulent religious like me: Jew, Baptist, Catholic, and other things, and then suicide.

    Hmmm.

    You asked me what would I do if I found out that Jesus was not the Messiah?
    It’s like me asking you what you would do if you found out that he was. I can only act on the light that I believe I have.

    • Thank you I am going to read your links. Listen, you are giving me
      pat answers about the Jewish christian thing. The truth is that every
      Jew has a Jewish Soul, you were not created by mistake as a Jew, it wasn’t an afterthought; Jews were not created to believe in christianity, and believing in jesus involves being a christian. Yes, I am well aware that there are Jews who believe in Jesus; there are Jews who do a lot of things, it doesn’t mean that Jews should believe in jesus.

  19. To get back to our muttons of James and works:

    Matt

    I think my response of September 6, 2010 at 10:22 am has tried to answer all the points you raised in several of your posts. Here are your points from various posts:
    September 3, 2010 at 3:07 am
    Matt N

    Now most of protestant Christianity are spiritual heirs of Martin Luther, and totally emphasize Paul over James. Calvinism is particularly extreme in this regard.

    September 6, 2010 at 2:40 am
    Matt N

    The idea of actions backing up faith is a simple enough concept. Why didn’t Paul stress this?

    And

    THe book of Acts itself goes into the dispute between Paul and the Jerusalem Church regarding circumcision and gentiles in general assuming Jewish practices. This fits very well into James believing that the works of circumcision and other Jewish practices were essential to expression of the early Christian faith, whereas Paul, who clearly stressed faith over works, did not think they were important.

    September 6, 2010 at 2:51 am
    I just thought of something else bogrophy.
    If we summarize the argument and the various players, it goes as follows:
    Rabbi Blumenthal: The NT [Paul] states that it is not works that makes one righteous, it is only faith. This concept is contrary to the Jewish scriptures.
    Joseph: Oh no Rabbi Blumenthal.. Actually James states that works are righteous too.
    Matt N: Perhaps the NT is not truly inerrant, and this reflects a debate within early Christianity between James and Paul.
    Bogrophy: No Matt, actually James and Paul totally agree with one another. Really, Paul is statin
    g that one is righteous only by faith. James is only saying that if there are no works to accompany the faith, one was not really faithful to begin with.
    It seems what you have done in the end, Bography, is that now you agree with Rabbi Blumenthal and disagree with Joseph.

  20. Matt
    Your point about
    “THe book of Acts itself goes into the dispute between Paul and the Jerusalem Church regarding circumcision and gentiles in general assuming Jewish practices. This fits very well into James believing that the works of circumcision and other Jewish practices were essential to expression of the early Christian faith, whereas Paul, who clearly stressed faith over works, did not think they were important.”

    I need to study this issue more. It’s a good observation.

  21. Joseph
    You wrote in your original post that this may be hard to deal with for anti-missionaries
    Know ye that nothing is difficult with anti-missionaries. the status quo is that Jesus is not G-d, not the Messiah, and not a prophet (no one was able to make these claims before he was born). The burden of evidence rests entirely on the shoulders of those who are attempting to prove that these facts changed. The proponents of this view (that the facts changed) have been working for 2000 years and the results are pathetic.
    It is not necessary for the counter-moissionaries to have every one of their arguments work out – as long as one of them works out – then teh ball is in the court of the Christians

    • “It is not necessary for the counter-moissionaries to have every one of their arguments work out – as long as one of them works out – then teh ball is in the court of the Christians”

      Yisroel, indeed. That is why Voltaire could say of Hizuk Emunah that all the arguments against Christianity could be found in this volume – despite the fact Voltaire was a deist and Isaac of Troki was a Karaite. Nevermind, Isaac gave Voltaire his best arguments.

      It is the same reason why you as a Lubavitcher are deeply influenced by the Karaite writings of Isaac of Troki – he provides your best arguments.

  22. Bubby

    I don’t want to criticise what you said, but I just want all of us to think about it, which we might have missed in the crush. It is one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever read. And I’m not being facetious. It gives me great insight into the mind of Jews on this site (and Eli and Yash’s site), who, in terms of the general Jewish population, don’t believe in the God of the Torah AS HE IS.

    Here is your paragamaRaph

    “The truth is that every Jew has a Jewish Soul, you were not created by mistake as a Jew, it wasn’t an afterthought; Jews were not created to believe in christianity, and believing in jesus involves being a christian. Yes, I am well aware that there are Jews who believe in Jesus; there are Jews who do a lot of things, it doesn’t mean that Jews should believe in jesus.”

    Of course, I can’t let ever let it go forever, so I would love to dive deep into its folds, and write about it some time.

  23. Who in history has had the effect in the world as has Yeshua of Nazareth?? Who has had more people come to believe in The One True G-d of Israel?? This is an answer not to many want to admit but the truth is a tough pill to swallow most of the time. There is much good said on behalf of Yeshua’s Name but there is a lot of negative and false accusations also said in His Name but nothing they can get from His historical life record!

    Let’s take a look what some of the most influential people of the world has had to say about The Man Yeshua who never left the tiny nation of Israel except for short period in Egypt when Herod was tying to take His life. Enjoy below: Yeshua’s Effect on History. It’s pretty long but you will enjoy!

    -Flavius Josephus, Jewish historian, became a Pharisee at 19, later commander, of the Jewish forces in Galilee. Captured by Romans and attached to their headquarters. Born: 34AD

    “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ, and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first, did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day.”

    -Pontius Pilate, Roman governor of Judea who ordered Christ’s crucifixion, first century A.D

    Wrote to the Roman emperor Tiberius Caesar:

    “And him, Herod, and Archelaus and Philip, Annas, and Caiphas, with all the people, delivered to me, making a great uproar against me that I should try Him (Christ). I, therefore, ordered Him to be crucified, having first scourged Him, and having found against Him no cause of evil accusations or deeds. At the time he was crucified, there was darkness over all the world, the sun being darkened at midday, and the stars appearing, but in them there appeared no luster; and the moon, as if turned into blood, failed in her light.”

    -Julian the Apostate, Roman Emperor from 361-363 A.D. and one of the most gifted ancient adversaries to Christianity.

    In his work against Christianity:

    “Jesus…has now been celebrated about three hundred years having done nothing in his lifetime worthy of fame, unless anyone thinks it is a very great work to heal lame and blind people and exorcise demoniacs in the villages of Bethsaida and Bethany.”

    But at the end of his life was forced to say:

    “Thou has conquered, O Galilean!”

    – He also affirms the authenticity of all four gospels.

    -Thallus, Samaritan-born historian, wrote A.D. 52. His writings have disappeared and we know of them only from fragments cited by other writers.

    One such writer is Julian Africanus, A Christian writer of about 221 A.D. who says:

    “Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away this darkness as an eclipse of the sun – unreasonable as it seems to me (unreasonable of course, because a solar eclipse could not take place at the time of the full moon, and it was at the season of the Paschal full moon that Christ died).”

    -Carnegie Simpson

    “Jesus is not one of the group of world’s great. Talk about Alexander the Great and Charles the Great and Napoleon the Great if you will…Jesus is apart. He is not the Great – He is the only.”

    -David Strauss, German theologian who applied Hegelian philosophy to the study of the Bible.

    Toward the end of his life

    “This Christ…is historical, not mythical, is an individual, no mere symbol…”

    -E. M. Blaiklock

    “Luke is a consummate historian, to be ranked in his own right with the great writers of the Greeks.”

    -Bruce M. Metzger

    “Today no competent scholar denies the historicity of Jesus.”

    -H. G. Wells, British writer, 1866-1946

    “In the reign of Tiberius Caesar a great teacher arose out of Judea who was to liberate the intense realization of the righteousness and unchallengeable oneness of God, and of man’s moral obligation to God…This was Jesus of Nazareth…Is it any wonder that to this day the Galilean is too much for our small hearts.”

    -Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of the French

    “You speak of Caesar, of Alexander, of their conquests and of the enthusiasm which they enkindled in the hearts of their soldiers; but can you conceive of a dead man making conquests, with an army faithful and entirely devoted to his memory? My armies have forgotten me even while living, as the Carthaginian army forgot Hannibal. Such is our power.”

    “I know men and I tell you, Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love; and at this hour, millions would die for him.”

    “I search in vain history to find similar to Jesus Christ, or anything which can approach the gospel. Neither history nor humanity, nor ages, nor nature, offer me anything with which I am able to compare it or to explain it. Here everything is extraordinary.”

    -Ernest Renan, French historian, religious scholar and linguist

    “All history is incomprehensible without Christ.”

    “Whatever may be the surprises of the future, Jesus will never be surpassed.”

    -William E. Channing, American religious leader whose writings and sermons led to the emergence of Unitarianism, 1780-1842

    “The sages and heroes of history are receding from us, and history contracts the record of their deeds into a narrower and narrower page. But time has no power over the name and deeds and words of Jesus Christ.”

    -P. Carnegie Simpson,

    Concerning Christianity said:

    “Is a fact of history recognizable as any other.”

    -H. G. Wells, British writer, 1866-1946

    When asked which person left the most permanent impression on history, he replied that judging a person’s greatness by historical standards:

    “By this test, Jesus stands first.”

    “I am a historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.”

    “Christ is the most unique person of history. No man can write a history of the human race without giving first and foremost place to the penniless teacher of Nazareth.”

    -Kenneth Scott Latourette, former President of American Historic Society

    In A History of Christianity:

    “It is evidence of His importance, of the effect that He has had upon history and presumably, of the baffling mystery of His being that no other life ever lived on this planet has evoked so huge a volume of literature among so many people and languages, and that, far from ebbing, the flood continues to mount.”

    “As the centuries pass by, the evidence is accumulating that measured by its effect on history, Jesus is the most influential life ever lived on this planet. The influence appears to be mounting.”

    “No other life lived on this planet has so widely and deeply affected mankind.”

    -George Bancroft, great American historian

    “I find the name of Jesus Christ written on the top of every page of modern history.”

    One Solitary Life

    Nearly two thousand years ago in an obscure village, a child was born of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village where He worked as a carpenter until He was thirty. Then for three years He became an itinerant preacher.

    This man never went to college or seminary. He never wrote a book. He never held a public office. He never had a family nor owned a home. He never put His foot inside a big city nor traveled even 200 miles from His birthplace. And though He never did any of the things that usually accompany greatness, throngs of people followed Him. He had no credentials but Himself.

    While He was still young, the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His followers ran away. He was turned over to His enemies and sentenced to death on a cross between two thieves. While He was dying, His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – the simple coat He had worn. His body was laid in a borrowed grave provided by a compassionate friend.

    But three days later this Man arose from the dead – living proof that He was, as He had claimed, the Savior whom God had sent, the Incarnate Son of God.

    Nineteen centuries have come and gone and today the risen Lord Jesus Christ is the central figure of the human race. On our calendars His birth divides history into two eras. One day of every week is set aside in remembrance of Him. And our two most important holidays celebrate His birth and resurrection. On church steeples around the world, His cross has become the symbol of victory over sin and death.

    This one Man’s life has furnished the theme for more songs, books, poems and paintings than any other person or event in history. Thousands of colleges, hospitals, orphanages and other institutions have been founded in honor of this One who gave His life for us.

    All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the governments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned have not changed the course of history as much as this One Solitary Life.

    -Daniel Webster, American politician., 1782-1852

    “All that is best in the civilization of today, is the fruit of Christ’s appearance among men.”

    -Will Durant, popular modern historian and philosopher

    When asked what he felt the apex of history was:

    “the three years that Jesus of Nazareth walked the earth.”

    -Ernest Renan, great French, Oriental linguist scholar who tried to tear the Bible to pieces.

    Later, he called Christ:

    “A man of colossal dimensions.”

    “The incomparable man, to whom the universal conscience has decreed the title of Son of God and that with justice, since He caused religion to take a step in advance incomparably greater than any other in the past and probably any yet to come.”

    From Life of Jesus:

    “Whatever may be the surprises of the future, Jesus will never be surpassed.”

    “The greatest among the sons of men.”

    “His suffering will melt the noblest hearts and bring forth tears from innumerable eyes.”

    –Shakespeare, scientists have ascertained that he had the largest vocabulary of any human being who ever wrote. Vocabulary is one of the surest measures of I.Q.

    “I commend my soul into the hands of God, my creator, hoping and assuredly believing through the merits of Jesus Christ my Savior to be made partaker of life everlasting.”

    -Tolstoi, the greatest genius of Russian letters

    “For thirty five years of my life I was, in the proper acceptation of the word, nihilist, a man who believed in nothing. Five years ago my faith came to me. I believed in the doctrine of Jesus Christ and my whole life underwent a sudden transformation. Life and death ceased to be evil. Instead of despair, I tasted joy and happiness that death could not take away.”

    -Alfred Tennyson, British poet, 1809-1892

    “And so the word had breath, and wrought with human hands the creed of creeds in loveliness of perfect deeds, more strong than all poetic thought.”

    -Philip Schaff, Swiss-born U.S. biblical scholar, 1858

    “This Jesus of Nazareth without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar, Mohammed and Napoleon; without science and learning he shed more light on matters human and Divine than all philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of schools, he spoke much words of life as were never spoken before or since the produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet; without writing a single line, he set more pens in motion, furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions…than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times.”

    -Lord Byron, great genius of letters (yet one of the most immoral men)

    “If ever man was God or God man, Jesus Christ was both.”

    -John Greenleaf Whittier, American poet, 1807-1892

    “The ground of hope for myself and for mankind is in that divine fullness of love which was manifested in the life, teachings and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.”

    -Richter,

    “Jesus Christ was the holiest of the mighty and mighty among the holy; who lifted with pierced hands empires off their hinges and turned the streams of centuries out of its channel and still governs the ages.”

    -General Lew Wallace, an atheist, military general and literary genius

    He and Robert Ingersoll agreed together they would write a book that would forever destroy the myth of Christianity. Mr. Wallace studied for two years in the leading libraries of Europe and America for information to destroy Christianity. While writing the second chapter of his book, he suddenly found himself on his knees, crying out, “My Lord and my God.” The evidence was overwhelmingly conclusive. Later, Wallace wrote “Ben Hur” – one of the greatest Christian novels.

    “After six years given to the impartial investigation of Christianity as to its truth or falsity, I have come to the deliberate conclusion that Jesus Christ was the Messiah of the Jews, the Savior of the world and my own personal Redeemer.”

    -Arnold Toynbee, British historian and educator, 1889-1975

    “As we stand and gaze with out eyes fixed upon the farther shore, a simple figure rises from the flood and straightway fills the whole horizon of history, there is the savior.”

    Goethe, German writer and scientist, 1749-1832

    Called Jesus:

    “The divine man”

    “The holy one:

    “The human mind, no matter how far it may advance in every other department, will never transcend the height and moral culture of Christianity as it shines and glows in the gospels.”

    -Jean Jacques Rousseau, one of the greatest intellects of France and a great opponent of Christianity

    “Shall we suppose that the evangelical history is a mere fiction? Indeed it bears no marks of fiction; on the contrary, the history of Socrates, which no one presumes to doubt, is not so well attested to as that of Jesus Christ.”

    -Charles Dickens, British writer, 1812-1870

    “I commit my soul to the mercy of God, through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I now most solemnly impress upon you the truth and beauty of the Christian religion as it came from Christ Himself, and the impossibility of going far wrong if you humbly but heartily respect it.”

    -Bancroft, great American historian

    “I find the name of Jesus Christ written at the top of every page of modern history.”

  24. Rey
    Thanks for this. As you are aware, with Jews and Muslims, it’s no use appealing to the historical record, unless it supports their theology. They’ll just tell you either that there is little evidence that these people (especially the ones that are closer to the time Jesus) wrote these things, or that it’s of no significant import to them what they said.

    Unfortunately, theological often determines the history one accepts.

  25. What do you make of this?

    Isaiah 6
    1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:
    “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”

    4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

    5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

    6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

    8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
    And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

    And what is the first thing Isaiah is sent to convey?

    9 He said, “Go and tell this people:
    ” ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
    be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’

    10 Make the heart of this people calloused;
    make their ears dull
    and close their eyes.
    Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts,
    and turn and be healed.”

  26. bography,

    that’s a very serious and scary Passage for the unbelievers!! (They wouldn’t even know that they are unbelievers, that’s scary too) HaShem has hardened their hearts because of their rebellion and unbelief!

    Also in John 12:39-41 is a direct quote to Isiah 6 and John says that Isaiah saw Yeshua HaMashiach in the Heavenly Temple!! This is amazinig!

  27. But Anon and my other dear friends will turn that round and say Isaiah is talking about you and me. We can talk freely because the others are not around; it’s shabbos.

  28. I know it’s almost Shabbos over here too…Shabbat Shalom my dear brother!!! Good Shabbes!!

    I know that it’s hard for them to understand, but they are bias towards The New Covenant and most importantly most folks reject Yeshua on weak grounds!! I pray that HaShem reaches many and opens their eyes, as i believe we are living in the last days, I can almost hear “The Footsteps of Moshiach”!! We must not grow weary when we are flat out rejected and ridiculed but we must be patient knowing that YHVH is patient with us too. We are planting seeds that will hopefully bring forth fruit, but that is ultimately up to G-d not us. He knows the hearts.

    I pray for you too brother, i pray that The Lord blesses and keeps you in His perfect will!! It is a testimony to me someone like yourself reaching out with love to the lost.

  29. when all these historians were praising Jesus’ influence – replacement theology was still in style – hating Jews was still an integral part of Christainity
    No man has more blood spilled in his name than Jesus
    These basic facts mitigate any positive influence he had
    In any case – Scripture never tells us to look for the Messiah on the basis of his influence in history

  30. Yourphariseefriend,

    Anybody who did not live according to what Yeshua taught was not and is not His disciple!!! He taught Torah! You or nobody can blame Yeshua for the acts of evil, ignorant, and blind people did in His Name. The same was done in The Tanakh by many false prophets,priest, and people but are you going to blame Moshe or any of the true Prophets for that?? These false believers did what they thought to be correct in the name of Moshe and Torah, are you going to blame Moshe or HaShem for such evil??

    Anyone who claims to be a true follower of another must do what that person thought and did!! But it seems to me that you have never read what Yeshua HaMashiach taught.

  31. Pingback: Jesus and the Pharisee under the Weeping Willow Tree « OneDaringJew

  32. I have written a piece based on YourPhariseeFriend’s (YPF) and Rey’s comments above.

    Here is an excerpt:
    YPF says:

    “when all these historians were praising Jesus’ influence… hating Jews was still an integral part of Christianity.”

    YourPhariseeFriend claims that even though they praised Jesus Christ, this didn’t mean that they and the Christian world did not hate Jews.

    It should be kept in mind that all – except Josephus – of the historians quoted by Rey were either atheists or had rejected Christianity (e.g. Pontius Pilate, Julian the Apostate, Roman Emperor from 361-363 A.D, Ernest Renan, Bonaparte, Goethe, Rousseau, H.G. Wells) as well as all forms of “revealed” religion, including Judaism. As far as we know none of these personalities were anti-Jewish.
    http://onedaringjew.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/jesus-and-the-pharisee-under-the-weeping-willow-tree/

  33. Rey and Bography
    Why do you consider only the nice things that Jesus said “what Jesus taught” – he said pretty nasty things as well – presenting them to an audience hostile to Jews and to Judaism – you have to be blind to deny Jesus’ evil influence on the history of Europe – for more information – you could read my critique of Dr. Brown’s volume 1 on my blog 1000 verses – for starters
    The fact that these historians were not Christians is meaningless – my point is that at the time that these historians were praising Jesus – Christianity did not exist according to you – unless you believe that Christianity that incorporates an integral hatred of Jews is real Christainity

    • If the information is not coming from Yeshua’s own Word’s according to The New Covenant then it’s not His teachings!! period. Yes He did teach some tough things, but all of it was The Truth!!

      If others come around and use those teachings for their own destruction than they will have to answer to G-d for that!! That’s the same thing that happen in The Tanakh, people twisting what Moshe and the Prophets said to their own destruction!

  34. Yisroel, first let me say that I am glad (I’ve told you this before) that you talk of Jesus as if it was HE who really said good, and yes, nasty, very nasty things.

    He talks more about judgment/punishment much more than he talks about salvation. But then Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and all the others, too many to name, speak far more about judgment/punishment that about Israel, apples and eyes.

    Recall, you were talking about the Christian accusation that Jews leave out Isaiah 53 for reasons known to all of us. You presented your argument that the haftorah portions in question focused on comfort passages. Now, we both know that if you put the “comfort” passages on the left side of the page (let’s do a Moshe Shulman) and the “devastation” passages on the right, you’re going to be left with an apple, a very tiny apple, on the left, and practically the whole (relatively much bigger) eye on the right. That “eye” (“I”) is eyed for judgment. But, as the Prophets say, “I have reserved 7000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”

    Now, Yisroel, no quips about me bowing the knee.

    As Rey said, it’s not what’s good, it’s not what’s bad, it’s not what’s ugly that counts, but what is true.

    Have to ride! There’s a posse of RealMessianics after me.

  35. Bography
    I wasn’t the one who spoke about the haftora – but that is besides the point
    The comparison between the Christian Scriptures critique of Jews and Judaism to the Critique of the Jewish prophets is morally corrupt
    The Jewish prophets wrote a critique for their own people – they included themselves when they criticised the people – their books were read throughout history as books of self-castigation – the Christian Scriptures on the other hand were read throughout history as a condemnation of the “other” – as a critique of a group of people who the reader of the book does not identify with – these are polar opposites

    remeber – you don’t speak in order to get the words out of your mouth – you speak in order to get ideas into your listeners heads – the fact is that the Christian scriptures poisoned humanity against God’s firstborn son (Israel) with deadly results – and continues to do so until this day
    I would suggest you read my critique of Dr. Brown’s volume 1 found on my blog – 1000 verses

  36. YPF Yisroel
    Would you consider the possibility that it was Jesus himself who called your Pharisee friends a “brood of vipers” (Matthew, 12:34).

    As for the scriptures poisoning humanity against Israel, let me say something about “poison” that you might know.

    Socrates was condemned to death and forced to poison himself with a potion of hemlock. Now “potion” and “poison” (not the Christian “poisson”; ANON’s “fishy”) come from the same root:

    Early 13c., “a deadly potion,” from O.Fr. puison (12c.) “a drink,” later “a potion, poisonous drink” (14c.), from L. potionem (nom. potio) “a drink,” also “poisonous drink,” from potare “to drink” (see potion).

    The difference between a potion and poison may be merely one ingredient.
    Now, I, as a Christian Jew (Uriyosef at Yash613′s site says that’s what I am) don’t blame the potion Jesus for being turned into a poison. We must blame, instead that particular ingredient that turns a potion into a poison – a deadly poison. And we both know what that is, on our context: sin (in this instance, anti-Judaism (I don’t like “antisemitism,” because Arabs and others are also Semites).

    “One man’s meat is another man’s poison,” or to put it another way,
    “one man’s potion is another man’s poison.”

    There’s that very definable difference, in our context: iniquity, transgression – the Jews’ and the Christiansl’ and whoever’s.

    Christianity is a love story – without, believe it or not, a smidgen of schmalz. But it’s unlike Romeo and Juliet, where poison got confused with potion. To be able to distinguish the two is – according to Jesus – a gift from God, and not, as a German would say, a GIFT (a poision) from hell.

    P.S. For Anonymous: Now don’t you go getting ideas and end up mixing your poisson with your poison. But even if you do, we’re always there for you.

  37. Raphael
    Since Matthew 23 was given out to the public – what percentage of people read it in a spirit of self-chastisement – and what percentage read it in a spirit of “look how evil THOSE Pharisees are/were?
    By the way – do you believe that the Christian Scriptures were written for a limited “target audience” – or do you believe that they were intended for anyone who should choose to pick them up?

  38. I think the correct way to read it is “look how evil THOSE Pharisees are/were” AND “in a spirit of self-chastisement.” Most people, however, ignore the second part. This ignorance is (the blight of) human nature, which Judaism, in contrast to Christianity, preaches is essentially good – where people are regarded as “much better than we think we are” (Twerski).

    Recall Isaiah 1, and many other places in the Tanakh where God is very angry with the apple of His eye. How many modern Jews, or any one else, take Hashem’s warning to heart? Very few. They don’t even take his existence to mind. And we know what a great influence modern Jews have have had on shaping the modern Western “soul,” e.g. Sigmund Freud, Viktor Frankl, Twerski, for whom “negative self-image” instead of the rejection of Hashem was the root cause of man’s unhappiness. If it only stopped there. Eli Wiesel is one of the most influential “greats” of our generation. What does he leave to his fellow Jews and the rest of the world? “God may still live but if he does, He has much to answer for.” (Heinze, A. R. 2004. “Jews and the American Soul,” p. 328). My garrulous mouth has been stopped.

    Here is the pertinent passage in Isaiah 1:

    4 Ah, sinful nation,
    a people loaded with guilt,
    a brood of evildoers,
    children given to corruption!
    They have forsaken the LORD;
    they have spurned the Holy One of Israel
    and turned their backs on him.

    5 Why should you be beaten anymore?
    Why do you persist in rebellion?
    Your whole head is injured,
    your whole heart afflicted.

    6 From the sole of your foot to the top of your head
    there is no soundness—
    only wounds and welts
    and open sores,
    not cleansed or bandaged
    or soothed with oil.

    7 Your country is desolate,
    your cities burned with fire;
    your fields are being stripped by foreigners
    right before you,
    laid waste as when overthrown by strangers.

    8 The Daughter of Zion is left
    like a shelter in a vineyard,
    like a hut in a field of melons,
    like a city under siege.

    9 Unless the LORD Almighty
    had left us some survivors,
    we would have become like Sodom,
    we would have been like Gomorrah.

    10 Hear the word of the LORD,
    you rulers of Sodom;
    listen to the law of our God,
    you people of Gomorrah!

    11 “The multitude of your sacrifices—
    what are they to me?” says the LORD.
    “I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
    of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
    I have no pleasure
    in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

    12 When you come to appear before me,
    who has asked this of you,
    this trampling of my courts?

    13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
    Your incense is detestable to me.
    New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
    I cannot bear your evil assemblies.

    14 Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts
    my soul hates.
    They have become a burden to me;
    I am weary of bearing them.

    15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
    I will hide my eyes from you;
    even if you offer many prayers,
    I will not listen.
    Your hands are full of blood;

    16 wash and make yourselves clean.
    Take your evil deeds
    out of my sight!
    Stop doing wrong,

    In Isaiah 6 the LORD appoints Isaiah as a prophet. “Send me,” Isaiah pleads. And what is the first instruction from the LORD?

    8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
    And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

    9 He said, “Go and tell this people:
    ” ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
    be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’

    10 Make the heart of this people calloused;
    make their ears dull
    and close their eyes.
    Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts,
    and turn and be healed.”

    God’s potion contains large doses of suffering – and death, but its ultimate objective is “Live!” Man’s remedy is never a potion, always a posion.

  39. Raphael
    So you acknowledge that most people throughout history did read Matthew 23 as a condmenation of the “OTHER” – whoever wrote the book gave it to human beings – so he poisoned them and continues to do so – your last line about G-d’s words being a potion and man’s being poison – are exactly on the mark – may I remind you that Jesus was a man
    While some people fail to read the rebuke of the Jewish prophets as self-chastisement – but no one reads it as a condemnation of a group of people that they consider “OTHER” to themselves – and everyone who reads it recognizes that the nation who canonized these words – were canonizing words of self-criticism
    By the way – did you notice that throughout Scripture – it is Satan that argues for the essential evil nature of man? – the fact that G-d interacts with man – tells us that manis much greater than we think he is – the negative assessment that Chritianity gave to man – was not a positive factor in the history of mankind

    • Don’t the prophets also have many words of ear-tingling reproof for other nations? And rightly so, otherwise there was no compassion toward them. In one sense the Exodus is an act of chastisement for idolatrous Egypt, but not to death for the whole people, even as it is an act of glorious deliverance for Israel.

      This last paragraph is especially interesting and deserves a clear response. Throughout scripture is it true or false prophets who flatter human nature, who pretend sin is not a fatal wound, who declare to the self-confident peace, peace when there is no peace, who daub with untempered morter by ignoring serious idolatry? Wasn’t the fullness of the Spirit given to Micah to declare unto his own transgression and sin, to Isaiah to expose the full extent of the soul leprosy, and to Jeremiah to unrivalled deceitfulness and poison of the heart? Weren’t the very first words the seductive tempter uttered, ‘Has God said?’, his first emphatic assertion, ‘ye shall not surely die’ [for sin], and the first temptation, ‘ye shall be as gods’?

      Only the correct diagnosis leads to the correct remedy. What is the chaff to the wheat?

  40. Pingback: The Pharisee, the Potion, and the Poison of Anti-Semitism « OneDaringJew

  41. Pingback: Hans Herzl (2): He was always a Jew? « OneDaringJew

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