Christianity's Jewish Roots
Nederlandse versie is te lezen bij de Nieuwe Koers September Editie (click here)
During the European Football Championship, several Pentecostal pastors from major churches claimed on YouTube and social media that God had spoken to them that UK would defeat Italy. In Latin America, pastors prophesied about the football results that Argentina would lose to Brazil. In the United States, there were pastors ahead of the election who "prophesied" and even prematurely celebrated Donald Trump's victory.
Such prophecies and remarks are worrisome. We seem to have forgotten one of the Lord's Ten Commandments: “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” (Exodus 20:7). This commandment, originally given to the Jewish people, emphasizes the meaning of God's name. As I already mentioned: the commandment was for the Jewish people. This touches on something that is very important to me, which is that Jesus Christ was a professed Jew. He grew up in Jewish and Galilean culture, and his teachings were based on Judaism. He spoke Hebrew and Aramaic. That is something many Christians forget today. There are Christians who completely ignore Jesus' Jewish roots and pretend that the God of Israel has always been a Christian. They have transformed God into a Greek, Roman and now American God.
Personally, I would like to apologize to my Jewish friends. For the moments when, perhaps unconsciously, I have expressed my Christian beliefs superficially in relation to the Jewish faith.
There are also Christians who become extremely 'Jewish' and follow all the ceremonial laws from the Old Testament. (Please do not mistaken with Jews who follow Jesus.) This sometimes results in strange theologies. Like a Christian brother who visited Israel a few years ago. On his return he had changed, as if he had been born Jewish. He brought a shofar to my office and asked me to blow it. "If you're not able to blow the shofar properly, if it doesn't sound right, that means you have a hidden sin in your life," he said.
There are Christians who completely ignore Jesus' Jewish roots and pretend that the God of Israel has always been a Christian. They have transformed God into a Greek, Roman and now American God.
I thought he was joking, but he definitely meant what he said. To claim things from Jewish culture and religion in this way without understanding them is, in my opinion, an affront to the Jewish faith and the God we all worship. I am not in favor of a full return to those old laws. But we must not forget that Judaism is the religion from which our faith is derived. Therefore, let's be careful about using the name of God superficially.
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob requires grace, not sacrifice. He wants acknowledgment, not burnt offerings (Hosea 6:6). Let's use God's name to teach love and justice, compassion and grace. Let's use God's name to point out injustice in the world, as did Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, and other prophets. Let us do what Jesus commands us: to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind. "This is the first and greatest commandment," He says. “The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. These two commandments are the foundation of all that is written in the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).
Personally, I would like to apologize to my Jewish friends. For the moments when, perhaps unconsciously, I have expressed my Christian beliefs superficially in relation to the Jewish faith. For the moments when I had little feeling for the Jewish cultural, religious and historical context of my faith. For the moments when I unconsciously dealt superficially with the texts from the Old Testament.
September is a Jewish holiday, which begins with the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. I would like to wish all Jewish people a happy new year.