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With so many religions in the world, how can we know which one is correct even if we’re convinced that God exists? Here I show why the most common arguments within Christian apologetics point to the Christian God specifically, and so if they work other religions have to be false. From the Spiritual Q&A class at Holy Treasure, Kettering.
Yeah, they sort of did. The new Catholic document The Gifts and the Calling of God Are Irrevocable states: “From the Christian confession that there can be only one path to salvation, however, it does not in any way follow that the Jews are excluded from God’s salvation because they do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah of Israel and the Son of God.” They also add: “In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews.”
The document is a sequel to 1965’s Nostra aetate, which was a good document: it condemned antisemitism and persecution. This new paper however takes it some steps further. It is mainly a long exegesis of Romans 9-11, and their conclusion is that the Catholic Church should not seek to institutionally lead Jews to Christ, even though they can’t stop individual Catholics from doing so.
My take on this can be found in the video. Jesus loves to heal and save His Jewish brothers and sisters, as He recently did in Tel Aviv, and it’s always strange when people tend to believe that the best way to make sure that you don’t hate or kill a religious group is to say that they go to Heaven. Evangelism doesn’t lead to antisemitism; stupidity, hatred and disobedience to Jesus leads to antisemitism. Let’s encourage both Catholics and Jews to seek the truth in Jesus, rather than trusting in the doctrine of man.
Was it really just to pray and worship with their Jewish brothers, or had they something else in mind?
I had a discussion with a friend the other day about church buildings; while I think that they are unnecessary for the most part and that we should focus on planting house churches instead, he enjoyed church buildings and saw no reason to diminish their role. One of his arguments for using church buildings was that the early Christians went to the temple and synagogues. My response was that they went to the temple and synagogues to evangelise.
Perplexed, he asked “Where in the Bible do Christians evangelise in synagogues?” Well, here’s a summary.
Jesus in the Synagogues
Let’s start with Christ. Luke 4:15 says that Jesus “was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.” Later, in verse 21 of the same chapter, we read: “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.'”
Today is 70 years since the Nazi death camp Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops, and it is also the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. We must never forget the horrible attrocities during the world war when approximately seven million Jews, Romas, disabled, homosexuals and others were brutally killed by the Nazi regime and their allies. And as Christians, we must never forget that many who participated in this called themselves Christians, and that parts of the church leadership supported Nazism – although there was a lot of Christian resistance as well.
A lot has been written about the religious views of Hitler himself, and it seems to be a bit self-contradictory and populistic – which isn’t too strange since he, after all, was a Nazi. I’ve heard several neo-Nazis and other racists today declare that they fight for “Christian values” while they also hate religion and, of course, revere pagan gods. This is obviously extremely paradoxical but could be explained by that for many racists religion is merely a suit, which importance is heavily subordinated the nationalist and racist values that one fights for. Hence, the Party Platform of NSDAP read in 1920:
“We demand the freedom of all religious confessions in the state, insofar as they do not jeopardize the state’s existence or conflict with the manners and moral sentiments of the Germanic race. The Party as such upholds the point of view of a positive Christianity without tying itself confessionally to any one confession. It combats the Jewish-materialistic spirit at home and abroad and is convinced that a permanent recovery of our people can only be achieved from within on the basis of the common good before individual good.”
The state-censored religion proposed here should be unacceptable to any descent Christian, but both Catholics and Protestants started to dance to the Nazi pipe after Hitler became dictator. Paul Althaus, one of Germany’s leading Lutheran theologians, wrote “Our Protestant churches have welcomed the turning point of 1933 as a gift and miracle of God”.