Archive for May 29th, 2011
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16 NASB
To the Jew first – Paul was not ashamed, but don’t cut his sentence short. He was not ashamed of the good news. Nor was he ashamed that the good news came to the Jew first. Paul wasn’t ashamed but apparently the Church is. Since 150 AD the Church has done all it could to be ashamed of the Jew. Abraham Heschel sounds the warning:
“A Christian ought to ponder seriously the tremendous implications of a process begun in early Christian history. I mean the conscious or unconscious dejudaization of Christianity, affecting the Church’s way of thinking, its inner life as well as its relationship to the past and present reality of Israel – the father and mother of the very being of Christianity. The children did not arise to call the mother blessed; instead, they called this mother blind. Some theologians continue to act as if they did not know the meaning of ‘honor your father and mother’; others, anxious to prove the superiority of the church, speak as if they suffered from a spiritual Oedipus complex. A Christian ought to realize that a world without Israel will be a world without the God of Israel.”
Heschel is just as critical of the decline of Jewish piety. “We have helped to extinguish the light that our fathers had kindled. We have bartered holiness for convenience, loyalty for success, wisdom for information, prayers for sermons, tradition for fashion.”
Perhaps we who wish to re-establish the vital connection between the father and mother and our current devotion to YHWH Eloheynu must ask ourselves how we have participated in the dishonoring of our spiritual heritage. Perhaps we need to ask if our religious practice has not bartered with the purity of El Shaddai. Perhaps we aren’t quite as zealous as we imagine.
I would weep for my contribution to the degradation of God’s people and the revelation of His word through their trials and tribulations. They paid so that I might receive this treasure. I would weep, but there are no more tears. There is only horror for the part I played without knowing it, for the years I taught doctrines of superiority, heresies of supersession. I would weep but it is too late. Hundreds were affected by my ignorance. I cannot recover them. I cannot call them back. What can I do now, Lord? What can I do? Would that I could have trod the road to Babylon, could have hidden in caves with David, could have heard the cry of Amos when there was time to repent. Would that I could have paid some of the price for my own freedom. But God had other plans. I was lifted up on the broken backs of the prophets, the devastation of the temple and the wailing of the captives. God spared me for something else, yet to be understood. But I know that I need to repay. To the Jew first.
Topical Index: Jew, first, Heschel, Romans 1:16, ashamed
 Abraham Heschel, I Asked for Wonder, pp. 144-145.
 Ibid., p. 141.