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By on January 27, 2019

Series: Christianity and World Religions
Today: Judaism
Genesis 12:1-5
Rev. Laura Brewster

The Scourge of Anti-Semitism. There is a long history of anti-Semitism in the world. Much of it has been perpetrated by Christians who wish to punish Jews as a result of bad theology. One reason we are now studying other faiths is to better understand that adherents of other faiths are human beings who were created by God, are loved by God, and should be loved by us. Note: Much of what I will say about the Jewish faith today is drawn from material written by Adam Hamilton.

Our Shared History. Christianity was born out of Judaism, so we share a lot of history. We also share many of the same scriptures. In fact, our “Old Testament” is the Jewish Bible.

Modern Judaism. There are multiple branches of Judaism. 1. Orthodox Judaism is the most conservative branch. Orthodox Jews generally believe that the Torah was literally revealed by God on Mount Sinai, and they adhere strictly to Jewish law. 2. Conservative Judaism is moderate in terms of theology. Conservative Judaism allows the ordination of women; allows local congregations to set their own policy regarding same sex marriage, and allows for the ordination of gay and lesbian people. 3. Reform Judaism is the largest Jewish denomination in the U.S. and is the most liberal strand of Judaism. Reform Jews consider Jewish law to be non-binding. They focus on ethical imperatives in Judaism such as pursuing justice and showing loving kindness.

Jewish Beliefs: 1. Jews believe there is only one God. God is the creator of the universe and worthy of worship. The central creed of the Jewish faith is the Shema: Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all our might.” (Deut. 6:4-5) 2. A second significant belief is that people are born with the tendency to do good but also with the tendency to sin. We need to be forgiven when we sin. Jews find forgiveness and atonement through prayer, repentance and taking seriously God’s call for us to seek justice and practice loving kindness. 3. There is no agreement among Jewish denominations about what happens after one’s earthly life is over. Jewish faith focuses on how one lives here and now, not on what happens after we die.

Areas of Agreement. 1) Like our Jewish brethren, we too seek to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and soul and mind. 2) Like our Jewish brethren, we understand that we humans sometimes use our free will to in ways that break our relationship with God and with others. As such, we need to be forgiven so that we can be in right relationship with God. 3) We understand that life should be focused on how we live here and now. We are to live each day in a manner that pleases God and advances God’s kingdom.

Area of Disagreement: 1) Christians believe in a Triune God – one God made known to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jews reject the concept of a triune God. To them it sounds like Christians are worshiping three gods. 2) Christians believe that Jesus was God incarnate. We believe that when Jesus was walking and working on earth – it was God in human form. Jews believe that Jesus was a great teacher but not the messiah.

Conclusion. Jews and Christians follow the same God, and we understand that God calls for us to show love. One way Christians can show love is by standing by our Jewish friends when they same anti-Semitism.

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Contemporary Worship 9:00am - Sunday Study Groups 10:10am - Traditional Worship 11:00am

7050 Village Center Drive, Austin, TX 78731 512.345.1743