Volume 7, Issue 4: Verbatim
Quotations on the Jewihsness of Christianity
Various Saints, Dudes, and Dudesses
Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets. . . . To perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to our father Abraham." (Luke 1:68,72)
"You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.' To you first, God having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you. . ." (Acts 3:25,26)
At the very beginning of the Gospel According to Matthew, we read, "The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." Immediately we are back in the Old Testament, for the very first thing that Matthew can think to tell us about our Lord is that He is of Hebrew descent. And so to know who Jesus Christ is, we must know something about the Hebrew David and Abraham. . . . Or to put it another way, Christianity did not start with the events recorded in the New Testament. The roots of our Christian faith lie deep in the Old Testament.
Because Christianity became predominantly Gentile, it seemed as though God had
abandoned Israel, and as though Gentiles had simply taken the place of Jews in
God's plan. But that was certainly not how Paul saw it! Of course he
himself contrasted the old and the new. . . . But he maintained to the end
that God had been at work in the past; that the Law itself had been given by
God, and that God had not abandoned his people. He saw continuity between his
past beliefs and his present faith, as well as discontinuity. In stressing the
new at the expense of the old, later Christians lost sight of something that
our New Testament authors were maintaining.
Calvinism is the most Jewish branch of Christianity, and as such was the first
to develop an interest in the Jews and their institutions.
Jewish and Christian worship spring from a common fount. . . . The first
followers of Jesus continued to join in the worship of the Synagogue and to
keep Torah. They formed, as it were, a new sect or party within Judaism,
differing from their orthodox Jewish friends only in their acceptance of Jesus
as Messiah. . . . As we might expect, then, there are numerous allusions to
Synagogue usage in the pages of the New Testament. . . . [Paul] enjoins
prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings. In the same and other epistles he
commands his hearers to continue the Synagogue practice of Scripture lections,
exhortation, and teaching. The use of psalms and hymns was likewise taken over
into the early Christian assemblies. In short, we are forced to conclude that
the Synagogue worship was the norm of Christian worship in the days of the
Apostles, even to the response "Amen" by the people at the close of
If the fascist theorists were able to accomodate a paganized Catholicism,
Protestantism was anathema. For Ezra Pound, Protestantism is only Judaism in
disguise. Pound blamed the Reformation for the revival of Hebrew texts and ways
of thinking, and thus for the decline of Europe. That is to say, the
Reformation reintroduced the Bible into Western culture. . . . Hitler himself
in Mein Kampf summed up the ambivalence of German Protestantism, which
tended to be patriotic, while having a core "Jewishness" that limited
its usefulness to his cause: "Protestantism . . . combats with the
greatest hostility any attempt to rescue the nation from the embrace of its
most mortal enemy, since its attitude toward the Jews just happens to be more
or less dogmatically established."
Our faith was also prefigured in Abraham, and that he was the patriarch of our
faith, and, as it were, the prophet of it, the apostle very fully taught, when
he says in the Epistle to the Galatians: "Even as Abraham believed God,
and it was accounted unto him for righteousness. Know ye therefore, that they
which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham." [Abraham's] faith and ours are one and the same.
I think myself that the shocking reply to the Syrophenician woman (it came
alright in the end) is to remind all us Gentile Christians - who forget it
easily enough and even flirt with anti-Semitism - that the Hebrews are
spiritually senior to us, that God did entrust the descendants of
Abraham with the first revelation of Himself.
The works of faith involve doing all that is commanded in Scripture. That is
why the Mosaic law is a "law of faith" (Rom. 3:27; cf. 9:31f.) . . .
. Every command in the Bible should be understood as specifying an obedience
which is inspired from knowing that God has promised to be one's God.
Surely one would not use God's name in a flippant manner (commandment #3,
Exod. 20:7) when in his own heart he is convinced that the happiness of his
whole future depends on God's being the God that is signified by his name.
A man whose hope is banked on God's promise that all that he is as God, he
will be for that man, will not feel he must resort to theft (commandment #8,
Exod. 20:15) in order to attain a happy future, for surely such a God will
supply all his needs. Neither will such a man be covetous or jealous of what
others have (commandment #10, Exod. 20:17), for if all that God is, as God, he
will be to him, then that person will be content with God's promise,
"I will never fail you nor forsake you" (Heb. 13:5).
All who believed in the Old Testament trusted in the Man of Promise who was to
come. Had this not been the method by which men and women were saved during
the Mosaic era, the writer of Hebrews could not have claimed that the same
gospel that had been preached to us was the gospel that had also been preached
to those who died in the wilderness (Heb. 4:2). The problem with those
rebellious Israelites in the desert was not that they refused to utilize
God's hypothetical plan of earning their salvation; no, it was that they
had failed to believe the gospel!
By the death of Christ, "the middle wall of partition . . . the law of the
commandments contained in the ordinances" - which was at the same time
a token of the enmity between God and sinners, and an occasion of distance and
alienation between Jews and Gentiles - was abolished; and believing Jews and
Gentiles were reconciled to God and united into one body.
You cannot say that Luther invented the idea of justification by faith alone.
Long before Luther it was taught by Augustine and Paul and Jesus and Moses.
Even . . . Adam and Eve realized soon after their sin that the fig leaves with
which they tried to cover their shame were woefully inadequate. The gospel is
given in Genesis 3:21 when Moses tells us that God clothed them. They needed
something they couldn't provide for themselves; and God giving man what
man needs to stand in His favorable presence is the essence of the gospel.
Luther merely restated what true Christians have understood for centuries, that
justification is by faith alone.
Christianity, sprung from Jewish roots and comprehensible only as a growth on
this soil, represents the counter-movement to any morality of breeding, of
race, of privilege: it is the anti-Aryan religion par excellence.
The followers of Jesus seem to have described themselves by various names in
early days. Many of these names were redolent of Old Testament phraseology.
"The saints" or "holy people" was a common name, implying
that they regarded themselves as the pious remnant or true Israel. . . . They
themselves constituted a separated "synagogue" or community within
the larger community of Judaism. But while the term "synagogue" enjoyed
some currency among them for some decades, it was gradually ousted by
its synonym ekklesia - church. . . . In the Septuagint,
ekklesia was used to render the Hebrew word qahal, the
"congregation" of Israel, the nation in its theocratic character,
organized as a religious community. The choice of this term was a further
indication of the early Christians' conviction that they were the
legitimate successors of the true Israel, bound by God to Himself in
covenant-relationship from the days when Israel first became a nation.
The Jews are not yet come in under Christ's banner; but God, that hath
persuaded Japhet to come into the tents of Shem, will persuade Shem to come
into the tents of Japhet (Gen. 9.27). The "fullness of the Gentiles is not
yet come in" (Rom. 11:25), but Christ, that hath the "utmost parts of
the earth given him for his possession" (Ps. 2:8), will gather all the
sheep his Father hath given him into one fold, that there may be one sheepfold
and one shepherd.
Abraham . . . was the father of believers in whose bosom (i.e., most
loving embrace) they are collected who partake of the fruit of the same faith
with him, as sons come together in the bosom of their father when they are
graciously received by him.
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