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Torah, Is It Still Considered As The Foundation Of Christianity?


Juanster
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On the majority of occasions when I've posted to any of the forums here at TCPC, and I've referenced biblical scripture, I've always included

Chapter and Verse as sources. Not only for veracity sake, but to aid in the searches for those references.

This was the case in my latest responce that for some reason didn't pass muster when all that was necessary was to read the scriptures I referenced to get God's take on the issue. That is, if Torah is still held in the esteem it was when it was elected to be the foundation of Christianity. IMO,locking out Biblical Scripture, equates to denying the authority of God and His word.

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Hi Juanster,

 

I was never aware that the Torah was the foundation of Christianity even though it is reported by many as such. I thought and have experienced that Christ was and is the foundation. It seems even the Bible reports that they were first called Christians in Antioch. I seriously doubt that all those called Christians considered the Torah at that time "the foundation of Christianity". In my studies, Gentiles receiving Christ didn't have to become Jews first nor learn the Torah. The church system may see it otherwise but my answer to your question from an individual perspective would be no and i don't believe the word "still" in your question is valid as it wasn't and in my experience isn't now a reported requirement to be a follower of Christ or be Christ-like..

 

Just my personal view,

Joseph

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. IMO,locking out Biblical Scripture, equates to denying the authority of God and His word.

 

On this point, i hear what you are saying and if you research the many threads here on the Bible and what it means, i believe you will find conclusively that a majority of progressive Christians here do not equate the Bible to the authority of God nor everything written in it to His word. Most in my view agree that it contains inspiration and historical information of a people and teachings concerning God but at least to me (and i believe many others here from reading those threads) it is more the record of man concerning his views on God than it it is God speaking.

 

Speaking for myself,

Joseph

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Most in my view agree that it contains inspiration and historical information of a people and teachings concerning God but at least to me (and i believe many others here from reading those threads) it is more the record of man concerning his views on God than it it is God speaking.

 

Speaking for myself,

Joseph

 

Well said.

 

George

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if Torah is still held in the esteem it was when it was elected to be the foundation of Christianity. IMO,locking out Biblical Scripture, equates to denying the authority of God and His word.

 

I understand that many Christians consider their faith a derivative of Judaism, and hence; show deference toward the Tanakh - at least in terms of picking out verses that support their worldview.

 

Historically speaking, the people we call Christians today certainly did have their original fellowship amongst the Jewish community in the First Century. Indeed, Jesus himself, according to legend and scripture, was Jewish. Bishop Spong has done a wonderful job illustrating how even the Christian gospels follow the order of weekly liturgy in the Jewish calendar (Liberating the Gospels: Reading the Bible with Jewish Eyes).

 

However, this is where the similarity ends in my view.

 

I have a unique perspective on this issue having been raised as a Christian but converted to Judaism later in life.

 

I see modern Christianity and Judaism as polar opposites in religious terms. Christianity emphasizes rewards in the afterlife while Judaism seeks peace and redemption in this world. Christianity utilizes a dualistic orientation to reality (sacred / secular, heaven / hell, etc) while Judaism stresses unity of body, mind and spirit (Shema). Christianity approaches G-d as an individual (through the intercession of Christ) while Judaism focuses on the Community (that's why we have so many freakin' holidays!).

 

It is hard for me to reconcile the two expressions of the deity in my mind.

 

I have concluded that Christianity no longer is dependent on the Tanakh for validation. It can stand alone with only the so-called New Testament as its text. Since most of the commandments in the Tanakh are ignored in the Christian expression, it would make sense to just separate it from Holy Writ.

 

BTW, although I am Jewish, I do not hold to the view (as do the Orthodox) that the Tanakh is the unique Word of G-d. I believe that the authors were just men - perhaps with an innovative twist on the G-d principle compared to their contemporaries.

 

My 2 cents.

 

NORM

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I see modern Christianity and Judaism as polar opposites in religious terms. Christianity emphasizes rewards in the afterlife while Judaism seeks peace and redemption in this world. Christianity utilizes a dualistic orientation to reality (sacred / secular, heaven / hell, etc) while Judaism stresses unity of body, mind and spirit (Shema). Christianity approaches G-d as an individual (through the intercession of Christ) while Judaism focuses on the Community (that's why we have so many freakin' holidays!).

My 2 cents.

 

NORM

 

Norm,

 

I am pleased that you have found a religious group you are comfortable with, but I don't think it is fair to make this distinction. Perhaps the ones you are personally familiar with represent these poles, but that would be a mis-generalization of both religions. Neither is monolithic: There are some very conservative strains of Judaism and there are some very progressive strains of Christianity.

 

George

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Norm,

 

I am pleased that you have found a religious group you are comfortable with, but I don't think it is fair to make this distinction. Perhaps the ones you are personally familiar with represent these poles, but that would be a mis-generalization of both religions. Neither is monolithic: There are some very conservative strains of Judaism and there are some very progressive strains of Christianity.

 

George

 

Yes, I guess I should have qualified that commentary by referring to Confessional or Evangelical Christianity. I only attended what may be called a Progressive Christian church for a short period of time, and it was an overall negative experience, so I use my own experience as a frame of reference. The Christianity I was indoctrinated with and am most familiar with, was as I described it; individualistic, dualistic and focused on the afterlife. I think that paradigm is the dominant strain in the Christian market, is it not? If so, Judaism is its exact opposite.

 

NORM

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The Christianity I was indoctrinated with and am most familiar with, was as I described it; individualistic, dualistic and focused on the afterlife. I think that paradigm is the dominant strain in the Christian market, is it not? If so, Judaism is its exact opposite.

 

NORM

 

Dominant? In the U.S., the largest Christian groups are the more fundamentalist variety. They are clearly the loudest. The Catholic church is by far the largest in membership followed by the Southern Baptist. But, they certainly do not represent the whole. And, even within these, there are some who are more progressive and open minded - Jimmy Carter (a Baptist) is a well-known example. Ted Kennedy (a Catholic) was another. I suspect that they are not just isolated outliers.

 

This forum would seem to suggest that there are some 'Christians' who are not "indoctrinated, dualistic and focused on the afterlife."

 

George

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I guess I'm misunderstanding your challenge to me. You seem to say on the one hand that the majority of Christians...

 

... are the more fundamentalist variety. They are clearly the loudest. The Catholic church is by far the largest in membership followed by the Southern Baptist.

 

Both of those groups, in my experience, approach G-d in an individualistic, apocalyptic and dualistic manner. Am I wrong?

 

I appreciate the fact that there are many folks on this forum who do not share the traditional view.

 

However, my contention throughout this exchange; that the most dominant, popular strains of Christianity appear to me to be antithetical to the Jewish orientation toward the (supposed) same G-d.

 

Therefore, I see the Tanakh as superfluous to the Christian doctrine.

 

Do you suppose that Kennedy or Carter would have maintained a non-dualistic, individualistic, non-traditionalist view of their Christian faith?

 

I have actually had occasion to speak with President Carter while I was publicity director for our local Habitat for Humanity, and I got the clear impression that he kept his religious views separate from his humanitarian views. I could be totally wrong, but not entirely inconsistent with my overall experience of some 40 years within the Christian community (and quite actively involved, I might add).

 

NORM

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Hi Juanster,

 

I was never aware that the Torah was the foundation of Christianity even though it is reported by many as such. I thought and have experienced that Christ was and is the foundation. It seems even the Bible reports that they were first called Christians in Antioch. I seriously doubt that all those called Christians considered the Torah at that time "the foundation of Christianity". In my studies, Gentiles receiving Christ didn't have to become Jews first nor learn the Torah. The church system may see it otherwise but my answer to your question from an individual perspective would be no and i don't believe the word "still" in your question is valid as it wasn't and in my experience isn't now a reported requirement to be a follower of Christ or be Christ-like..

 

Just my personal view,

Joseph

Hi Joe,

You state that this is your personal view, so let me ask; Who were these people before they were thought to be Christians? If you recall Christ's instructions to his diciples; It was to go to only the Lost Sheep of Israel with his Gospel. Was this Gosple founded upon Torah Law? Would it have been logical to send his representatives to a group that wasn't familiar with Torah Law or wasn't cognizant of what the Diciples were even talking about?

 

"Mt 10:5-7]:

 

[Go only to the lost sheep of Israel and preach that the Kingdom of Heaven is near]:

 

(v. 5) '''These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans.

 

(v. 6) Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.

 

(v. 7) As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' " '''

Although these suedo messengers went to the Gentiles,and were viewed and Called Christians in Antioch for the first time, It was in violation of Jesus' instructions to his own selected Diciples. Which if you care to ask Rabbi Ben, Paul and Barnabus, the first two called Christians, were both students of Hillel and Gamaliel and adhered to the Pharisaic teachings of these two proselyte Jewish Rabbis.

 

In regards to the level of esteem Jesus held the Pharisees and the Sadducees, His esteem for John-the-Baptist's opinions should clarify this issue;

"But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: 'You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?"(v. 8) Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.

 

(v. 9) "And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham."

 

So, If these two sects were not of the seed of Abraham, then of whose seed were they? Can you say J-A-P-H-E-T-H?

This is the Prophetic Manefestation of Genesis 9:27. which continues until this very day. As futher proof of the accuracy of these allegations that support Jesus and John the Baptist's opinions and for your own edification: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=154&letter=JMy link

 

—In Rabbinical Literature:

 

Japheth is considered by the Talmudists to have been the eldest son of Noah (Sanh. 69b; Gen. R. xxvi.). The reason why Shem's name always appears first is that the sons of Noah are named in the order of their ability (i.e., as wise men, among whom Shem excelled; Sanh. l.c.). According to the Midrash, the prosperity of Japheth is alluded to in Ps. i. 3: "and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper" (Gen. R. l.c.). In the act of covering Noah's nakedness it was Shem who first took "the cover"; but Japheth came afterward to help him and was repaid therefor in that his descendants Gog and Magog were granted burial (Ezek. xxxix. 11 et seq.; Gen. R. xxxvi.).

 

The words "yaft elohim le-Yefet" (Gen. ix. 27) are interpreted as alluding to the construction of the Second Temple by Cyrus, who was descended from Japheth (Yoma 10a). Bar Ḳappara interpreted the passage as meaning that the Law will be explained in the language of Japheth (Gen. R. xxxvi.; Deut. R. i.); R. Ḥiyya b. Abba, interpreting "yaft" as derived from the root , meaning "beauty" (see Japheth, Biblical Data), explains it more clearly thus: "The Law will be explained in the beautiful language of the Greeks, descendants of Japheth" (Meg. 9b). According to the Targum pseudo-Jonathan (ad loc.), the passage means that the descendants of Japheth will become proselytes and will study the Law in the schools of Shem.

 

When God blessed Noah and his sons (Gen. ix. 1), He in blessing Japheth promised that all of his sons should be white; and He gave them as their portion deserts and fields (Pirḳe R. El. xxiv.).S. S. M. Sel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=154&letter=J#ixzz1NbpmXaAL

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Juanster,

 

Perhaps i have not expressed myself as well as i had first hoped. If i am a new creature in Christ, who i was before, has nothing to do with that new foundation. Whether i was Jew or Greek, Samaritan, male or female, saint or sinner, it has no bearing on the foundation of Christ.

 

What i am saying in essence is that who i was or no book or letters for that matter can be the foundation of Christianity. In my view Christianity, in the letter which even the Bible records as killing but the Spirit making alive, it is the Spirit which i believe moved Jesus to say the things he said and do the things he did, While i have no real proof that all that he is recorded saying is accurate, i have found a similar Spirit that is recorded in much of his recorded words both in myself and others that leads me to believe that the foundation of Christianity is not really in word or letter but in that Spirit which measure can be found in all of creation.

 

It is that Spirit, Christ, that makes us alive and to me is the foundation of Christianity. A record is a record and can point to something but it is what it points to that i believe is the real foundation and not the record itself. That foundation manifests itself in revelation, kindness, patience, love , joy, temperance and the like which to me although manifesting in both word and deed has its foundation in a Spirit smeared together with God called Christ. One who manifests these things can be identified as Christian if he/she so desires but i do not believe that Spirit is subject to labels itself.

 

Joseph

 

This entire post has been edited by Joseph at 5:32AM 5-28-2011

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Most Christians believe the NT has superseded the Mosiac law and that Gentile Christians aren't required to follow it but are to follow the teachings of Jesus. Many of these Christians though still believe the OT and the NT are equally divinely inspired by God. Other Christians take a more liberal approach and see neither the OT or the NT as 100% inspired. There are also some Christians like the Messianic Jews who believe in Christianity but still practice Jewish rituals. I've heard before that Judaism has always taught that the Gentiles were never required to follow the Mosaic law and that the so-called conflicts in the NT between the "old law" and the "new law" represent more of a polemic between the early Christian groups rather than a historical representation of what the Pharisees and Jewish law were like. Does anyone know if this is true?

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I know this one.

 

Jews are taught that The Law is intended for all of mankind, but only "the chosen" are required to obey them all. As for Gentiles (the rest of mankind), G-d only requires adherence to what are called the 7 Noahide Laws:

 

  1. Idolatry is forbidden. Man is commanded to believe in the One G-d alone and worship only Him.
  2. Incestuous and adulterous relations are forbidden. Human beings are not sexual objects, nor is pleasure the ultimate goal of life.
  3. Murder is forbidden. The life of a human being, formed in G-d's image, is sacred.
  4. Cursing the name of G-d is forbidden. Besides honoring and respecting G-d, we learn from this precept that our speech must be sanctified, as that is the distinctive sign which separated man from the animals.
  5. Theft is forbidden. The world is not ours to do with as we please.
  6. Eating the flesh of a living animal is forbidden. This teaches us to be sensitive to cruelty to animals. (This was commanded to Noah for the first time along with the permission of eating meat. The rest were already given to Adam in the Garden of Eden.)
  7. Mankind is commanded to establish courts of justice and a just social order to enforce the first six laws and enact any other useful laws or customs.

There is much debate and division among the several factions of Judaism in whether or not adherence to these 7 laws will allow Gentiles admittance to the World to Come.

 

NORM

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The words "yaft elohim le-Yefet" (Gen. ix. 27) are interpreted as alluding to the construction of the Second Temple by Cyrus, who was descended from Japheth (Yoma 10a).

 

Juan,

 

Where in the world did you get this? The root of the 'Yaft' is P.T.H. with the meaning of 'be spacious, wide, open.' According to the JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh, it is a "play on Hebrew yapheth 'Japheth." The RVS translation is "God enlarge Japheth . . ."

 

Further, this is a story that was put in writing c. 1,000 BCE and surely had circulated in oral tradition much longer. Cyrus didn't come along until c. 600 BCE, some four hundred years later.

 

It seems to me that someone has a basic misunderstanding of the Hebrew and is reading way too much into this verse.

 

George

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I know this one.

 

Jews are taught that The Law is intended for all of mankind, but only "the chosen" are required to obey them all. As for Gentiles (the rest of mankind), G-d only requires adherence to what are called the 7 Noahide Laws:

 

Is it also true that the Mosiac law only applies when there's a temple but since the temple no longer exists, the Mosiac law can no longer be enforced?
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Is it also true that the Mosiac law only applies when there's a temple but since the temple no longer exists, the Mosiac law can no longer be enforced?

 

No, prayer has been accepted as an appropriate alternative to conducting rituals in the Temple. A prayer is said each morning and afternoon (for the Orthodox - and particularly the Zionists) hoping for the rebuilding of the Temple.

 

NORM

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