Texas Church converts en masse from Christianity to Judiasm

This is a truly fascinating story: after careful reflection, discussion, angst, and many painful community divisions, a Christian minister and many members of his congregation convert to Judaism, and discover new insights and heritage to explore. In a world where outspoken evangelical movements like Jews for Jesus get all the press, it’s fascinating to read about a community of believers who instead of being recruited to a religion, reached out for a non-evangelical one instead.

Not that my godless two cents matters, but I’ve still always found Jewish apologetics about what their scriptures really say about the messiah and other matters to be far more convincing than Christian apologetics.  Jewish interpretations just seem more robust, consistent, and scholarly.  Once you really understand what a fundamental repurposing of Judaism that the Christian movement entailed, you’ll understand why speaking glibly about a “Judeo-Christian” anything is far more misleading than enlightening.

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8 Responses to Texas Church converts en masse from Christianity to Judiasm

  1. Sam Cox says:

    I’ve heard of this happening before in fundamentalist congregations. Many Christians are turned off by notions of mercy, faith and forgiveness. The more such people study the life and treachings of jesus, the less they like what they find. They prefer the idea of obeying the commandments and teachings of a religion as the basis for receiving God’s acceptance and blessing- and acceptance within the church.

    I’m not sure these ex-Christian folks completely understand the spirit of closeness and loyalty within the Jewish community…which typically is very supportive of its members, even under the worst circumstances. While I’m sure the Jews appreciate those who truly wish to share their religion, I’m also inclined to believe that those who are Jewish by heritage would probably not feel comfortable being a part of such congregations- not at least until generational changes took place in their outlook!

  2. […] to think rightly about Scripture 28 11 2007 Just came across this interesting post over here about a church in Texas converting to Judaism.  I found two things very convicting.  First, the […]

  3. frodo441 says:

    not exactly in the tradition of the Gnostic’s but why not…

  4. oceallaigh says:

    Fascinating. And highly ironic. For, according to what I know of the history of the faith, the earliest split in what became Christianity was between those Jews (and the Gentiles they proselytized) who followed Torah and those who did not. James in Jerusalem, and Simon Peter in Rome, led the Torah group; Paul in Asia Minor led the others. Had the Romans not chosen to sack Judah and obliterate the Temple in 66-70 CE, both Torah-following and Torah-free “Christians” might have survived to the present. As it was, post-Temple Judaism drove out all who named Jesus of Nazareth “Messiah” (no true Messiah would have permitted the sack), leaving little incentive for those driven out to continue observing Jewish law.

    The New Testament’s misquotations of the Old Testament bothered me until I learned (a) that the New Testament quoted from the Greek (Septuagint) translation, not the Hebrew/Aramaic text; (b) many quotations are composites, and illustrate the newspaper precept “never let the facts get in the way of a good story”; and (c) such “prooftexting” was common in the commentaries on Old Testament texts made by the Qumran “Dead Sea Scrolls” community, and hence was a known element of theology two centuries before Jeshua bin Joseph “of Nazareth”.

    The most striking short description of the difference between Judaism and Christianity as currently practiced appeared in, of all things, a novel by Harry Kemelman. In which the rabbi (author as character) points out that, to the Jew, God is, by definition, unknowable. And therefore, the Christian claim to know God by knowing Jesus is impossible. The claim marks Christianity as a mystic religion, which Judaism is not. And I can imagine few fundamental precepts less conducive to scholarship than the Christian idea that all things be taken on “faith”.

  5. Bad says:

    Not sure why you got caught in the spamfilter oce (links seem to be a culprit, but I don’t see why just one should get someone flagged), but I’ve retrieved you. Good comments. I’ve always thought that rabbis could take theologians in a knife fight any day of the week. :)

  6. oceallaigh says:

    Thanks, Bad. Check under Options > Discussion in your Dashboard, should give you some control over the links phenomenon. I obviously agree about the rabbis. But their very sophistication makes them reluctant to receive converts (apart from the difficulty of actually belonging to a chosen people among whom you were not born). Because it’s hard to know what an unknowable God wants, unless a prophet appears to announce it. And there haven’t been any of those in like two millennia.

  7. Bad says:

    I already had it set not to get all crazy unless there were at least three links, but, whatever. It’s criminal enough that they don’t have preview or html functions built into commenting. Heck, I’m no javascript master, but I can whip up ajaxified user-friendly commenting systems better than this in a jiffy… and have.

    I, and probably a lot of atheists, actually find the non-evangelical nature of Judaism refreshing, of course. And, at least not since the time of the Biblical Kings, the Jewish understanding of Chosen people has always seemed more like “chosen to please god and be his people under his law” rather than anything like chosen to rule or chosen to be superior to all others.

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