I used to be a frum Christian and now I want to convert to Judaism

Heshy,

Although I’m not Jewish I’ve been keeping track of your blog for a while now and it’s helped me map out the orthodox landscape.  You seem to be a guy who’s conversant with the world of ideas so I thought I’d bounce something off you…

I’m seriously thinking about conversion.  I’ve learned some Hebrew on my own and have read quite a number of books (there’s a small university in town with a fairly impressive number of books on Judaism).  Although my interest at the beginning only to find out about Jewish history from an academic perspective I quickly found myself identifying with the history I was reading, even wishing it was my own history. I began to read about Jewish religion and found myself drawn into what I was discovering.  Five years later these feelings have only gotten stronger.  At this point I believe if I am to make further progress I ought to get in touch with a rabbi, wherein lies my problem.

I used to be a very serious Christian.  I don’t mean to say that I was an evangelical-type, all binged on emotion and fired up for Jesus.  I was of the most “frum” variety of Christian there is, very scholastic and serious.  I went to seminary to be a minister for three years when I decided I could no longer be a Christian, much less a minister.  I could go on and on about why I made this decision but at the end of the day it all boils down to the fact that I began to find the “plot” of the Christian faith to be boring and it no longer felt as though Christianity had what I needed.  How do I communicate this to an orthodox rabbi?  Most of them really have no idea why a former Christian would want to be a Jew, let alone someone who knows it as well as I do.  Moreover I’m nervous that I will have to bash the Christian faith in order to prove my sincerity, which I won’t do.  There are gerim who have made a name for themselves by talking about Christianity in such a way that makes me conclude that they really don’t know what they’re talking about or are setting up a straw man.  I have no specific beliefs about Jesus, the Church or the Christian faith.  IS this enough?

Any insight you would have would be appreciated.  Also, if you want to use this in your blog please do so, omitting my name, location and email address.

Response: The closest non-Chabad (Chabad doesn’t like to deal with conversions)  is over 450 miles away from you and if you wanted a regular sized orthodox community you would have to drive 560 miles to get there. My response will be flawed mostly because I am not a convert but your email may prove that I am turning people onto Judaism and orthodoxy rather than off. I realize through the mail and people that have approached me over the years that overall I am having a positive impact through this blog. Unfortunately, convincing mainstream frumkeit of that is quite hard so thank you for your letter.

I don’t know what kind of Jewish books your university has, but have any of them explained that it is custom to push away potential converts 3 times – which will make us seem like a pretty unfriendly bunch, but it’s because we don’t want a bunch of flakes converting. Orthodox conversion is a big deal and a lengthy process that can take years and Rabbis who work in this area of Judaism want to be sure that the person they are working with is sure they want to convert. I would say that based on your intimate knowledge of the church and the fact you have read about some pretty strange issues within orthodoxy on this blog – that you are either very serious – or completely insane. I find most converts to be both.

There are a lot of converts and potential converts reading this blog, there are also a lot of Rabbis “gasp” who read this blog, many of them are closet readers, but I am sure they can add insight into this issue as well. Now I turn it over to the commenters.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • bukin86

    Heshy – There is a convert that comments sometimes on your blog, her name is Michal bas avraham, if you are in touch with her maybe she can help out!

    To the poster – May Gd guide you along your path with clarity!

  • Observer

    I am not a particularly competent person to advise you, so I won’t, nor am I particularly knowledgeable, so I hope that you will note that. However, several very obvious things jump out at me, and I will point them out to you. Presumably a beis din, if you get that far, will ask you much better questions. To let you know some of who I am, I am a BT, born and brought up more or less Jewish in a Christian atmosphere, who late in life decided to adhere to traditional norms.

    First, I would point out that while conversion to Judaism involves accepting the [orthodox] Jewish religion, it also involves joining the Jewish ethnos. This is particularly significant in the United States, where most Jews (so far) do NOT follow orthodox Judaism. In order to convert, you must be more Jewish than most Jews. This is not an opinion, but an observation of the facts. Look at ORTHODOX Jews. Why do you want to be one of us? Most Jews aren’t, you know.

    While there is certainly no need for you to “bash” your earlier religious identification, there is certainly a reasonable question as to how you now relate to it, and it seems to me to be difficult to answer the question from a Jewish point of view without saying some pretty negative things about it. Ignoring the last millennium-and-a-half of history for the moment, the very basis of Christianity, the so-called New Testament, is a joke. Do you actually believe that some Jewish guy with a name that came out through pagans as Jesus did the things detailed in the NT? Like hang out with zonot and “lepers?” Did you never wonder why the NT gives forth the idea that that same guy was a mamzer? Where do you stand on this? If you answer this question truthfully, aren’t you “bashing” Christianity?

    Hope this helps.

  • shim

    I would like to commend heshy and say that I think he is doin’ a wonderful job and to the anonymous possible ger I would say two things
    1. I think you have found the right way to compare the religions-by the philosophies/stories they tell themselves and not by the people–well done
    2.read up on the basic principles of faith there are a few different lists, the most popular being that of Maimonides-the 13. This is a good place to start if you wish to know what bounds the lines of permissible and non-permissible “beliefs” no matter how many times people will tell you that other things are principles of faith- thats just their opinion

    Good luck, I’m rooting for you and I hope we get more like you

  • Anonymous

    It’s likely that you will have to reject Jesus and assert that Christianity is false, since many are of the opinion that Christianity is an idolatrous religion, which in turn menas it violates the basic tenets of our faith.
    On a more serious note, I will warn you that the “plot” of Judiasm isn’t that much different than Christianity, except that the clergy are shtupping women and not men.

  • Adam

    I went to a talk by an English priest (now an Orthodox Rav) about his journey. Fascinating stuff!

    you might find it worthwhile to contact Shavei Yisrael (or Israel). They deal with descendents of Marranos and other hidden Jewish communities but may be able to point you in the right direction.

    B’hatzlacha!

  • BKL

    To the poster: You don’t have to bash Christianity. All you have to do is prove to the beit din that you don’t see that as your way in life & with Judaism, you do. It may seem otherwise, but I think a lot of it depends on the beit din you choose to do your conversion. We knew a woman many years ago who was a lay Baptist minister & she converted.

    (A side note: once she was at our house on Sukkot & some Jehovah witnesses or maybe Mormons came by. We invited them to come see our sukkah & while there, our friend totally messed them over. No matter what they quoted from the NT, she countered with another part of the NT that completely contradicted their quote. By the time they left, we all felt pretty sorry for them!!)

    However, what Heshy says about where you live – that could be a problem. I have a dear friend who has been living a frum life for over five years & desperately wants to convert. Why has she not? The beit din says she has to move to within a mile of the shul (currently she lives about 4 miles away). No matter that she’s been walking to shul for the last five years. They insist that she has to completely uproot her life. She is unable to move because she owns a home. When she bought her house, houses were going in ~$350,000. Now they are ~$850,000; she can’t afford the cost or the increase in property tax.

    This is classic frum idiocy & exactly the type of thing that makes me wonder why in the world ANYONE would want this life.

    I wish you all the luck in whatever path you take.

    • chevramaidel

      If rabbis do not want to be involved in conversions, they should just say so. Where does it say that a Jew must live within a mile of a shul? I suppose that if she did sell her house at a loss, the rabbis would turn her away because she didn’t have enough money. I hope that woman finds another Bais Din and that a generation of good Jews isn’t prevented from being born by a few idiots making up their own Torah.

  • geekygiyores

    From my experience, I wasn’t asked by any rabbi during my conversion to “bash” Christianity. I was asked about Christ’s divinity and priests acting as intermediaries (my family is Catholic); if I were a rabbi judging a potential convert’s sincerity, I would have asked those questions too.

    I thought dealing with my family would be the toughest part of conversion; however, it is precisely what Heshy talked about in his “If converts are on such a high level why won’t you marry one?” post that I struggle with the most.

    You’ll find your way, and it helps to find those who are/were in the same boat. Good luck!

  • Chuckie D

    Heshy the last two posts warmed my heart. I have mad respect for you. Carry on! As you were!

    • http://www.frumsatire.net Heshy Fried

      Thank you, but 6 months later I can imagine you saying something like “I’m not reading this blog anymore because you wrote something that deeply offended me” happens all the time – as if people come here and expect to agree with me even half the time.

      Thanks for liking it

  • Alex

    a comment that I imagine will not be popular:

    As a Jew who was raised in a mixture of reform/conservative institutions and is going to study at an orthodox one in a few months, you can convert with a Reform or Conservative rabbi and still have a meaningful, Jewish experience and be “authentically” Jewish, whatever that truly means. Granted, the Orthodox establishment doesn’t agree, but there you have it. I have a few friends who’ve converted with with a Conservative beit din and are very active, knowledgeable members of my community. Someone has to speak up for liberal Judaism around here:-)

    That being said, if–after converting–you wanted to move toward orthodoxy, you’d have to go through the whole conversion process again to be accepted as/feel/be “genuinely” Jewish within that community. Which is a bit unfair, seeing as someone lucky enough to have come from a Jewish mother (like myself) can slide or transition over time between denominations without people having grounds to question my legitimacy.

    So there you have it.

    • WACKY MAC AND CHOCOLATE PIZZA

      Why convert to a denomination that will not be accepted by mainstream Orthodox Jewry?

      • D.J.

        You say that as if converts are accepted by mainstream orthodox jewry. While this varies on an individual basis: converts are at best Tolerated by mainstream orthodox jewry. And BTs are not much better off.

      • Julie

        Many people don’t care what “mainstream Orthodox Jewry” think, otherwise they’d be converting Orthodox.

    • Julie

      Amen!

    • http://www.frumsatire.net Heshy Fried

      I completely agree – I always wonder why Jews who are part of one community would want to convert through another communities standards.

      • Chris_B

        You mean why double up or why take a different route to the same destination?

      • Mahla

        Because if they don’t convert by the most Orthodox of standards, it will hamper who their kids can marry, whether or not they can move to Israel — all sorts of stuff, and not just for the convert but for all the generations on down. That’s the reason.

      • Conservative apokoris

        “I always wonder why Jews who are part of one community would want to convert through another communities standards.”

        Well, there used to be a time when the Israeli Rabbinate was more reasonable about accepting conversions, and they pretty much accepted the conversions of most Orthodox rabbis, and most Orthodox rabbis would convert people even if they didn’t commit to being Orthodox. So even though you might have wanted to be a Conservative or Reform Jew, you might have gotten an Orthodox conversion so that your Jewishness would be accepted in the State of Israel. Well, now that the Rabbinate in Israel has gone of the deep Hareidi end and only accept converts who commit to becoming Haredi BTs, there’s really not point in bothering with Orthodox rabbis anymore, and, indeed, the Israeli rabbinate does not recognize conversions performed my most American Orthodox rabbis.

        • Observer

          “. . . conversions performed my most American Orthodox rabbis.”

          Most? I didn’t even know that one could be converted by a rabbi – I thought it took a beis din.

  • Kim

    I could also say that I was a very “frum” Christian. I might say this… please go as far as you can into Jesus and the Christian life as you can and make sure you really want to lose it. Try to prove to yourself, maybe with the Bible, which one is the truth and how you will convince an Orthodox Rabbi to convert you.
    As for me, I never could find a non-Chabad Rabbi either but it gave me more time to plan and think about what I want. Eventually, I decided to stay Christian, (I actually chose all over again to be a Christian as if I never did before and it was the most awesome thing that ever happened to me).
    There is nothing wrong in Christianity with observing Torah laws. Christians are allowed to do anything Jews do. I chose to stay Christian and be a friend of Israel and the Jewish people. Good luck with your decision! Jews are such a beautiful people, I still entertain the thought of converting once in a while, but most of the time I’m happy with the Christian life I chose. :)

    • Mahla

      Now THAT is interesting. Are you a Torah observant Christian? I would definitely like to hear more about that. What about Paul’s visions of Jesus telling him to eat treif, though?

    • chevramaidel

      I have heard of many Jews-by-choice who were once Christian clergy or scholars studying for Christian ordination. They are respected by the majority of Orthodox Jews for making that decision.
      In my experience rabbis approached by a prospective convert do not ask you to “bash” Christianity, they just want to be sure you do not believe in it, or any other religions. They will tell you to consider committing yourself to the religion of your birth instead of taking on all the positive and negative commandments that Judaism entails.

      • Kim

        Christians are not commanded to eat treif food. Paul’s vision only said it doesn’t hurt anything if for some reason there is not Kosher food available. Being Torah observant is not a requirement for Christians, but there is nothing wrong with it either. It actually makes Christians better informed about their own beliefs if they understand Torah and Judaism.

        • Kim

          There is a book out for Christians called the Torah Blessing by Larry Huch. It explains how Gentile converts to the early church were told to follow the 7 Noachide Laws, their Jewish teachers assumed they would learn about Torah observance later. Eventually, there were not enough Jewish teachers to keep up with the amount of Roman and Greek converts coming in. Those converts brought in their own traditions and formed the Roman Catholic church.
          Christians are in truth, supposed to keep up with the Jewish feast days and avoid treif food if they can. They are also supposed to keep the Sabbath (on Saturday). There is no Biblical evidence that day was changed to Sunday.
          The truth is, Christians can’t be condemned for not following the Torah, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t supposed to follow it at all. Christians got lost from their roots, but they are finding them again as we speak.

          • Mahla

            Ooh, I am totally gonna order that book from Amazon if I can find it there. Awesome. Thanks for answering Kim!

            Hey — are you affiliated with Seventh Day Adventism at all? And do you hold by the Trinitarian Godhead? I’m not trying to interrogate you, I am just curious.

            You don’t have to answer but I hope you don’t feel offended by those questions.

            Believe it or not, at one time I thought that Jews for Jesus were a religious group advocating Christians follow the Torah …. Now I know that’s not the case.

            • Kim

              I believe in the Trinity and am not involved with Seventh Day Adventism. I’m just a regular Protestant/Evangelical type Christian. (I’m not a Jews for Jesus or Messianic Jew either)
              There are so many books about Torah observances and Jewish traditions for Christians and they always have programs on Christian channels about Tallit prayer shawls and the connections with the number 613 and everything.
              Christians have a spiritual need for keeping the Torah and Jewish traditions, it doesn’t surprise me at all if they want to convert to Judaism. It is part of the spiritual heritage, not just because we want to “save” Jewish people from hell or whatever.

        • http://www.netzarim.co.il Anders Branderud

          Quote: “Being Torah observant is not a requirement for Christians, but there is nothing wrong with it either.”

          I will start my post with some important information and then I will reply to the above statement.

          A logical analysis (found in http://www.netzarim.co.il (Netzarim.co.il is the website of the only legitimate Netzarim-group)) (including the logical implications of the research by Ben-Gurion Univ. Prof. of Linguistics Elisha Qimron of Dead Sea Scroll 4Q MMT) of all extant source documents of “the gospel of Matthew” (which is a redaction of Netzarim Hebrew Matityahu (which was perfectly in harmony with Torah) and anti-Torah) and archeology proves that the historical Ribi Yehosuha ha-Mashiakh (the Messiah) from Nazareth and his talmidim (apprentice-students), called the Netzarim, taught and lived Torah all of their lives; and that Netzarim and Christianity were always antithetical.

          Ribi Yehoshua from Nazareth’s authentic teachings reads:
          [Torah, Oral Law & Hebrew Matityahu: Ribi Yehoshua Commanded Non-Selective Observance
          The Netzarim Reconstruction of Hebrew Matityahu (NHM) 5:17-20 (later Hellenized to “the gospel of Matthew” (which is anti-Torah))]
          [Glossaries found in the website below.]:

          “I didn’t come to subtract from the Torâh (“books of Moses”) of Moshëh or the Neviim (“prophets”), nor to add onto the Torah of Moshëh did I come. Because, rather, I came to [bring about the] complete [i.e., non-selective] observance of them in truth.
          Should the heavens and ha-Aretz exchange places, still, not even one ? or one of the Halâkhâh of the Torah of Moshehshall so much as exchange places; toward the time when it becomes that they are all being performed — i.e., non- selectively — in full.
          For whoever deletes one [point of] the Halâkhâh of these mitzwot (directives or military-style orders) from Torah, or shall teach others such, [by those in] the Realm of the heavens he shall be called ‘deleted.’ And whoever ratifies and teaches them shall be called ‘ Ribi’ in the Realm of the heavens.

          For I tell you that unless your tz?dâqâh is over and above that of the [Hellenist-Roman Pseudo- Tzedoqim] Codifiers of halakhah, and of the Rabbinic- Perushim sect of Judaism, no way will you enter into the Realm of the heavens.” (see NHM)

          Quote from http://www.netzarim.co.il ; “History Museum”

          The reconstruction is made using a scientific and logic methodology. One of the premises is that the historical Ribi Yehoshua was a Torah-observant Pharisee (why that premise is true is found in the above website, in which you also will find more information about why a reconstruction is needed).

          The historical Ribi Yehoshua and his followers Netzarim observed Torah non-selectively. The above website proofs that the person who want to follow the historical Ribi Yehoshua must do likewise; and that that the person who wants to follow Ribi Yehoshua must become a talmid (apprentice student) of the Netzarim (see the above Netzarim-website).

          This is also in complete consistency with Tan’’kh (including Torah) which requires of all of humankind to observe the mitzwot (directives) in Torah non-selectively (documented in this post in my blog: http://bloganders.blogspot.com/2010/07/humankind-are-required-to-keep-more.html).

          That this is the purpose of the Creator with humankind is also deduced in the blogpost: http://bloganders.blogspot.com/2010/06/which-religion-is-correct-one.html

          Thus, the statement “Torah-observant is not a requirement for Christians” is wrongly stated. In fact Torah-observant is required of all of humankind; and for Christians these means they have to leave Christianity.

  • WACKY MAC & CHOCOLATE PIZZA

    My husband’s mother used to be a regular church-goer, and she converted to Judaism because it made sense to her. If it makes sense to you, then you should seek out an orthodox Rabbi.

    My mother-in-law made lots of new friends and was very satisfied with her decision.

  • Anonymous

    We are strict to make sure you really mean it. I was FFB but I cannot say that I would want to be Jewish if I wasn’t born Jewish, as much as I have grown up with this religion and cannot imagine my life without it. For example, I know a girl who wants to convert to Judaism and she has been toying with so many religions, it almost sometimes seems to me like she is just having an identity crisis and this is her outlet, she seems a bit off. Not to be judgmental or anything.

    • Mahla

      A loved one bouncing from faith to faith is what got me interested in comparative religion, Anonymous. There are a lot of people like that.

      Some of them are truly unstable, others just lost & lonely. They’re searching for meaning and structure in their lives. To be perfectly honest, I’m thinking about my Mom.

      CASE STUDY: A partial description of one woman’s shifting faiths & derechs:

      – Hellfire and brimstone Southern Baptist childhood in the Bible Belt
      – Reform Mormon for like a month before I was even born
      – Elopes to another continent with a relatively secular Muslim
      – The Anglican Church for quite some time while overseas
      – REFUSED to convert to Islam, crazy huh?!
      – High Episcopalian overlapping with a Methodist phase; my one little brother and I were baptized in the Episcopalian church, but went to a private Methodist preschool
      – Vedanta Buddhist; can’t deal with the sexual imagery, moves on
      – Zen Buddhist, finds her Western mind unsuited to meditation and gives it up
      – Left-wing Presbyterian; my one little brother and I get confirmed in that faith, which was kind of a joke
      – Catholic up until the point of actually going through an adult baptism — YIKES! :^O A newly empty nest and spiritual emptiness will drive a person to crazy lengths, apparently,
      – Not Jewish but kept strictly kosher for less than a week, later admitted it was “just something to do”
      – Universalist Uniterian, left after the congregation was asked to sing “Puff the Magic Dragon” which somehow offended her,
      – American Baptist, that small congregation went into open schism over the relative conservatism of a new pastor

      I could go on but I won’t. It’s not even finished. Her latest religious enthusiasm is a return to Buddhism, this time with some Japanese flavor thrown in.

      If I had a dime for every time I have heard my Mom utter the exact phrase “I’ve finally found my true spiritual home,” I would be a wealthy woman. :^(

  • Esther

    Heshy – you’re doing a world of good with your blog and definitely turning people on to Judaism, rather than off. Keep up the great work!

    To the poster – I wish you the best of luck on your journey. If you are truly serious about converting, you will find your way. The right words will come to you, when its time to speak with a Rabbi.

  • V’Av

    I’m a very recent convert (1 whole month ago). At my beit din I was asked to explain how I came to Judaism and why it more appropriate for me than my former religion (Christianity). I didn’t have to bash Christianity, just demonstrate where my conscience and Christian theology part ways.

    The life of a convert is not an easy one, but for the sincere convert it is incredibly meaningful. On the one hand, a person who is by nature a thinker/learner will love studying thousands of years of Judaic scholarship. But be aware that, regardless of whether you convert through an orthodox rabbi or one of the other streams of Judaism (or how frum you act), there will always be people who will not consider you to be a “real Jew.” I encourage you to be open-minded about whether you want to convert via an orthodox beit din or another movement. (You might change your mind as you go through the journey – I actually moved to right, which surprised me.) Only you know what is right for you.

    Best wishes to you, wherever your path may lead.

    • Chris_B

      > a person who is by nature a thinker/learner will love studying thousands of years of Judaic scholarship.

      This is very true for me. I’ve taken up Daf Yomi as well as learning twice a week. Learning freakin rocks!

  • http://Shesnamelessfaceless.blogspot.com Nameless Faceless

    To the author of this post:

    I’m saying this in the most humble way possible: there are very few people more qualified to talk about this than me. Your situation sounds exactly like mine five, seven years ago. Can you please email me? I have a lot to say….

  • Mahla

    What I find kind of strange about Judaism is that, in order to be taken seriously as a legitimate convert across the Jewish spectrum, you have to commit from the get-go to the most stringent of doctrinal requirements.

    After that you can backslide to some degree, unless a Rabbi Tropper is lurking around the corner. (At which point you can barter sexual favors — joking of course.)

    Like, it seems as though the ‘bare minimum’ necessary to register as an authentic Jew is to promise the Creator you will honor 613 explicit demands, plus 10 more commandments on top of that, plus thousands of Rabbinical additions and extrapolations besides.

    Whereas in both Christianity and Islam, you kind of only need to proclaim your beliefs line up with a single formulaic utterance and then you’re pretty much good … as long as you can proclaim that your practices, while far short of Orthodox now, are at least ~progressing~ towards strict observance, and that’s acceptable.

    Anyone who really feels drawn to Orthodox Jewish observance, to the point they’re actively pursuing it, I say — more power to them. Surely they really do feel drawn to God, you know, drawn towards worshipping the God of Abraham in this specific way, or they would not even be interested.

    Those are just my rambling comments.

  • shim

    It is already possible to see what kind of adversity you will face from some jews from some of the posts here which is why I will reiterate read the literature and the philosophy see if you like THAT because at the end of the day thats more real than most peoples opinions

  • http://www.drewmazanec.com Drew Mazanec

    I’m not sure you’re going to find Orthodox Judaism any more plausible. It has its own theological issues. Anyone who denies that even one word of the oral or written law is directly from God loses his share in the world to come. You’ll need to believe without question that the reason Exodus 20:8 says “Remember the Sabbath” and Deuteronomy 5:12 says “Guard the Sabbath” is that God said both at the same time. Then, you’ll need to criticize Matthew 3:17 and Luke 3:22 for the former saying “This is my son” and the latter saying “you are my son” because that’s a blatant contradiction!

    You have to believe with complete faith, that not carrying on the Sabbath means you can’t have tissues in your pocket because then you’ll get cursed by God, unless they stretch fishing line around the perimeter of the community. Then God’s okay with carrying.

    You’ll have to believe in Talmudic chronology, which makes Zerubbabel, Malachi, Ezra, and Simeon the Just contempoaries, and makes the Persian period (Zerubbabel to Alexander’s conquest) last about 34 years.

    Want to make tea on the Sabbath? Well, you’ll have to use water already boiled in an urn, pour it into a second vessel, pour that into a third vessel, and put the teabag in. When you’re ready to take it out, you’ll need to use a spoon which will carry some of the tea with it, being careful not to squeeze the teabag. If you want lemon, you won’t be able to squeeze it directly into the tea, but will have to squeeze it into the sugar first. And you’ll have to believe with complete faith that God ordered this exact method to keep you from doing work on the Sabbath.

    Do you really want a life where you pretty much have to break off contact with most of the people you formerly knew? Sibiling getting married at a church? Sorry, you’re not attending. Parents cooking a meal for your family? Sorry, bud. You can’t eat that. Friends want to do something on a Friday night, or go out to eat at a non-kosher restaurant? Guess who’s not going with them!

    And if at some point in the future, you are tired of getting up extra early every morning to lay tefillin, tired of saying Birkat Hamazon every time you eat bread, and sick and tired of everything you do being disseminated into the community, oh man are you in trouble! Ask people who have gone off the derech after being married.

    Besides, if all you want to do is be Torah-observant, I hear the Seventh-Day Adventists are into that kind of stuff.

  • Berends

    This is the author of the post. Thanks for the replies.

    To the people who suggested that I become some sort of Torah-observant Christian: I`ve read too many commentaries on Galatians to want to do that. Moreover, if you deny even one of the articles of the Apostolic Creed you will “most assuredly perish everlastingly.“ I deny all of them.

    To those who want to know what I mean by bashing Christianity: Don`t get me wrong, I have no affinity for the Christian faith. I do know what it is, however. When I see former Christians who have successfully converted to Judaism, more often than not I am left wondering if they actually know anything about the faith that they so vociferously deny. For example: one person touting himself as an expert former-Christian provided a definition of the Trinity which is not only foriegn to the Christian religion, but condemned by it. When or if I make it to a Bet Din and am asked what feelings or beliefs I have about Jesus I want to say “I don`t have any“ and leave it at that.

    Thanks too all the encouragers.

    • Observer

      Don’t forget to say “thanks” to all the discouragers, too. Most or all of them also had your best interests at heart. Regard particularly Drew Mazanec’s post, above. He knows what he’s talking about.

    • Drew Mazanec

      First, who said that one who denies even one article of the Apostles’ Creed will make you perish everlastingly?

      And what do you mean that you deny all of the articles of the Apostles’ Creed? Do you deny the existence of God Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth? Do you deny the forgiveness of sins? The resurrection of the body? Then you won’t be able to convert to Orthodox Judaism!

      And not only are there Torah observant Christian groups, there is even a group of about 200,000 Sharia (Islamic Law) observant Christians in Bangladesh. If you followed them around, you would think they were Muslims. They only eat hallal (Muslim kosher), give zakat (Muslim tzedakah), and on Fridays, take their Juma (Muslim Sabbath), where they roll out their rugs and pray to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

      I would definitely have a lengthy discussion (at least an hour or more) with a pastor of a torah-observant Christian congregation, making a list of every question and objection you have and discussing all of them, first. There’s a big difference between getting information from books and being able to ask questions to an informed scholar.

    • G*3

      > For example: one person touting himself as an expert former-Christian provided a definition of the Trinity which is not only foriegn to the Christian religion, but condemned by it.

      Don’t the various Christian sects have differing interpretations of the Trinity, as well as other points of doctrine? Perhaps this former Christian was from a sect your denomination would consider heretical.

    • Christian

      There’s no such thing as the “Apostolic Creed.” There’s the “Apostles Creed” and, in more detailed form, the Nicene Creed (maybe you were thinking of the Apostolic Succession?) However many of the more extreme Protestants do not accept or use the creeds as statements of faith, being post-biblical. And the vast majority of said Protestants would say that you do not have to confirm or deny any elements of any creeds to inherit eterna life– you merely need to have faith in the saving power of Jesus Christ. The fact that you apparently don’t know this makes me wonder how much you actually know about Christianity? (And, of course, if you belong to a liberal Protestant denomination like the Episcopalians, you can not only deny each and every element of the Nicene Creed, you can pretty much make up anything you like to take their place.)

  • Tirtzah

    Thanks for sharing and I wish you the best of luck.
    Reading you might find interesting:
    1. Playing with Fire by Tova Mordechai
    2. Strangers No More by Shlomo Brunell
    3. Anything by Sara Yocheved Rigler

  • FrumGer

    All I have to say is convert my friend convert, the world need less christians……

    • Shulamit

      The world doesn’t need less Christians. The world needs more Jews! ;)

    • Ruth

      I find your statement pretty ludicrous. I know so many Christians today who believe it is there spiritual duty to defend Jews or support Israel, and the Christians I know love Jews. It’s just interesting to see that some Jews (not all) can’t return the favor, but instead seek to look down upon Christians collectively. It’s not idolatrous to believe G-d can come in the form of man, when in fact the Old Testament has some verses where G-d manifested his glory in the likeness of man. Genesis 32:24-30 for instance.

      Now in spite of your views, I still love Judaism and like learning about it, even though I am a non-Jew.

      • Orpah

        I find your statement pretty ludicrous. I know so many christains of yesteryear who crusaded us, burnt us at the stake, burnt our talmud, launched inquisitions against us, and sat by silently as 6,000,000 of us were bruttaly murdered. Dont worry we wont return the favor

        • Ruth

          Did you ever take into consideration that those Western Christians, influenced by medieval Europe and a need for land, were only using religion as an excuse or outlet to persecute a group who rose to wealthier positions (as Jews generally went for professions like being doctors, bankers, merchants, things that made them successful). During the Crusades, Jews, Muslims, and Eastern Christians were all slaughtered, and defenders of this tactic said “G-d would sort them out in the end” to defend the killing off innocent people or Christian kin.

          You already returned the favor, but just because the leaders of the Young Turks had Jewish ancestry and practices, and led the “crusade” against killing Greeks, Armenians, and Assyrian Christians while the Jewish population was untouched, it does not mean I blame Jews at all for those evil crimes. After all, every garden has a few bad apples, and I refuse to use the worst of the lot to bring down the best. Aka, Jews are an awesome people, despite the nuts about them, just like Christians are an awesome people, despite the nuts about them.

          Peace, I love your people, and G-d bless you~!

  • http://juliesandburg.com/blog Julie

    You will possibly find yourself forming unfavorable opinions if you live in the secular world at all and interact with people of different religions whose entire objective revolves around “saving your soul” and aren’t shy to tell you that your beliefs are wrong, you’re so going to hell, even though they can’t even read the original language that the Torah was written in and have crazy ideas about what’s in it.

    So, instead of thinking of it as “bashing Christianity” — it’s about crossing over to another side and aligning yourself with a people who have historically been killed and exiled just for existing.

    Read “Constantine’s Sword” by James Carroll, former priest. It’s a rather dense and dry history of the Church and Jewish people but it pretty much made me sure I could never be a Christian even if I wanted to be anymore. Might not be as powerful if you were Protestant and don’t give a toss about the Catholic Church anyway, but it traces the history of antisemitism back to the “New Testament” anyhow.

    (For the record, I don’t care if someone’s Christian or anything — my entire family is composed of people who celebrate Christmas either excited-religiously or halfheartedly-religiously, and I love them very much! It is just an eye-opening experience to go from the “Christian side of history” over to the “Jewish side of history” and I think the writer is very early in their exploration and hasn’t fully come to terms with what conversion means.)

  • Frum female

    This just made me cry. What an inspiration!

  • Berends

    Drew,

    The Counsel of Nicea re-affirmed the Apostles Creed, stating that if a person denies a part of it they’re anathema by virtue of that fact. Moreover, note that the creed does not mention “I believe in God Almighty” but “I believe in God the Father Almighty” and then goes on to define every other article of Christian belief in in view of the Trinity. Clearly then, no Jew could affirm the creed.

    I have no interest in following Sharia and from my perspective being a Torah-observant Christian is only slightly less problemactic than being a Trinitarian Jew.

    • Mahla

      Torah & Sharia observant Christianity and Trinitarian Judaism … oh my goodness. My mind is spinning. These are all really thought-provoking comments!

    • Christian

      Are you a Catholic or Eastern Orthodox? If yes, your statement stands. Otherwise, have you heard of the Reformation? All of the non-liturgical Protestants reject the infallibility of the first three ecumenical counsels. I’ll bet my Protestant friends couldn’t even SAY the Nicene Creed if I held a gun to their heads. (Not that I would hold a gun to my Protestant friend’s heads.) They would tell me that salavation is all about simply having faith in Jesus Christ. So it’s simply not true that Christians have this long laundry list of things you have to believe or else you’re doomed.

      • Christian

        “Salvation” that is, although “salavation” is good too.

  • Berends

    And yes, thanks to the discouragers. I am aware that when you do this you have my best interests in mind.

  • Rafi

    In regards to drew’s post. I’m an orthodox jew in the ultra-orthodox yeshiva system. I had the same questions, thinking how ridiculous it all seems. But instead of emotionally rejecting it, i looked into how can a whole orthodox jewry could believe such things. So i looked into orthodox jewish philosophy, and traced their logical thought system. There is a logical process to orthodox jewish philosphy, although most of those that believe it dont know it…just lettin you know…

    you could always be a noahide!

    i could send u my notes on the orthodox philosophy if ur interested… rafhirs at hotmail

  • Chris_B

    Berends,

    I did not convert Orthodox, I was not a Christian, but I can say that with all my heart I’m glad I converted.

    Heshy,

    You wouldnt by chance be a fan of Kevin Smith would you?

  • Frumsatire Fan

    Best wishes from another convert here!

    For me, my earliest realisation was that you can’t be a Jew on your own, you need to find a community and a rabbi that you like. This may be a problem depending where you are. Explore shuls near you (unless you specifically want to be Orthodox, have a look at the others too) and if you don’t find your place, think about moving somewhere else.

    A good rabbi will encourage you to think, study, pray, and gradually take on mitsvot, without shoving a list of dogmas and opinions down your throat. Whichever denomination you choose, the point (I think) is to find your own way of making Judaism yours; it’s like learning to sound like yourself in a foreign language. And of course the bet din is not the end of the process.

    I’d recommend you to read A.J. Heschel’s The Shabbat (if you like it, check his other books), and Blu Greenberg’s How to run a traditional Jewish household.

  • “Rabbi No”

    Dear Author,

    May I suggest that you read Derech Hashem by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (“Ramhal”)(1707-1746). May help you attain a clear picture, as it is a succinct laying-out of the fundamentals of the Jewish faith touching upon mankind’s obligations in this world and its relations to G-d.

  • FrumGer

    Nicene creed apostles creed, nu is there really a discussion going on about all this. Bottom line Xianism is a fake religion, False Fake Phoney shame impostor, Gonif Shiester Religion Based on mistranslations of the Tanach…

    The apostles were back woods countryfied redneck hick jews living in Galilee, with out any religious education. They most certainly could not read Hebrew so then relied on the Septuagint for all their scriptural finds (hence the virgin birth…) they follow a dude that accepted the written Torah and Rejected the Oral Torah, though contradicted himself by saying that you should do what ever the rabbaim tell you to do because they sit in Moses seat… he was just a radical that wanted to be the Moshiach and died because of it.

    Because G-d Rejects the notion of a man laying his life down for the sins of another- as lined out in the Torah- we can realize that these hick opie dopey country jews that followed him did not know much Torah… And boy don’t we love our Gurus??….just ask the Sabbatians…

    I wont even get into Mitras and his worshipper (so called) St Constantine the founder of modern day… Mitraism… er… Ooops ….. I mean…. Christianity.

    Shulamit- No my Friend I had it right the 1st time……

    To all that think that Christians are our friend- they like or are nice to Jews for one reason because they want to save Jews from eternal hell.
    these so called evangelic churches that are so “PRO Israel” is only because number one when Yeshu comes back it is in Jerusalem so they would rather it be in Jewish hands than Muslim hands. Also They want to send missionaries there. These people are so kind and happy and moral, but bottom line they believe jews have been rejected by G-d been Replaced by a new Israel – them and we are going to hell if we don’t believe in Yoshki.
    I say F#&ck that….. and F$$CK Xianism.
    the Corperal Delusion and ignorance to scripture sickens me, most Christians do not even read or understand the bible they let their pastor do it all for them. But yet they still can have spiritual haught because their religion teaches them too.

    Muslims are little satans, poor dumb stubborn Jews are just too blind to scripture to save their own soul (HaHa) etc. everyone is wrong but them. they got it figured out.

    that was a long rant to say this- keep you nicene creed and apostles creed I converted from that false religion am proud to deny the false Moshiach Yeshu Am proud to keep the Torah and am waiting daily for the Moshiach to come.

    • http://2nd-son.blogspot.com/ G*3

      While Christianity borrowed at its founding from the myths of Mithras, Osiris, and other such figures, Judaism was similarly influenced by the myths of El, Baal, and their contemporaries.

      > everyone is wrong but them. they got it figured out.

      Yet you have seen the light, and now you know that it is Orthodox Jews who have “it figured out” and “everyone is wrong but them.”

    • Christian

      Well, our potential convert can then see that while he won’t be required to “bash” Christianity, he will be required to sit by quietly while folks like you launch into your hateful (and I may say, totally ignorant — sounds you read a pamphlet by some anti-missionary group) rants.

      Here is the interesting thing– Christianity always takes a [mostly deserved] rap for its persecution of the Jews — the Inquisition etc. (Although, actually the Inquisition had virtually nothing to do with Judaism per se — it was primarily an examination into the orthodoxy or lack thereof of Jews who had converted to Catholicism.) When the Pope re-authorized the Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews, everybody went nuts and said it proves what a bunch of anti-semites the Church still is. But most Christians have absolutely NO idea of the sheer viciousness with which some (although not all) Orthodox Jews routinely denounce Christianity.

      I’m I saying that Christians in general and the Church in particular have not been guilty of antisemitic beliefs and actions? Of course not. But you might want to consider that when you take up residence in somebody’s country and then literally spit on their religion (e.g., how Orthodox Jews spit on crosses being carried in Christian processions in Jerusalem) that possibly that is not going to do a lot to promote good will between the groups.

      • Christian

        And yes, I realize that in the case of the processions in Jerusalem, it’s the Christians who are in somebody else’s country. But it makes you wonder, has one-way direction of persecution between Christians and Jews (Christians are the persecutors, Jews the persecutees) been a function of something inherent in the two religions or simply a function of logistics and numbers? If there weren’t a secular state to protect them by force of law, how long would Christians survive in Israel? I assume that FrumGer would be in the front of the line driving them from the country.

      • Frumsatire Fan

        Although, actually the Inquisition had virtually nothing to do with Judaism per se — it was primarily an examination into the orthodoxy or lack thereof of Jews who had converted to Catholicism

        That’s like saying that the Inquisition didn’t actually kill anyone, as the victims were “released” to the bonfire crew who weren’t technically part of the Inquisition. The Inquisition “lobbied” until governments decided to give Jews the option of conversion, exile, or death (in Spain, 1492), and later to baptise them all by force (in Portugal, 1510 I think). Although I agree that it would be blunt to say that “the Inquisition was there to kill the Jews”, your take on it is too sophisticated.

      • G*3

        The attitude of many Jews towards Christianity (and Islam) is the RESULT of centuries of persecution, not its cause.

    • Anonymous

      FrumGer, just a small point about something you mentioned above.

      The evangelical Christians who are militantly pro-Israel aren’t that way because they believe that Jesus / Yeshu will return to Jerusalem and therefore want it to be in Jewish versus Muslim hands.

      They are militantly pro-Israel because they believe that the Second Coming of Jesus / Yeshu CANNOT OCCUR until the Third Temple is rebuilt by the Jews.

      This is how you end up with stuff like a Texas cattle millionaire trying to breed a perfect Red Heifer to help the cause of the Third Temple. Here’s an interesting piece from the New Yorker on that:

      http://www.lawrencewright.com/art-jerusalem.html

      :^)

  • Berends

    Well, if anything this exchange has been instructive and I’m thankful for this. In my reading about Judaism I have discovered that many “authorities” on Christianity within the orthodox world are content to repeat the same ideas about Paul, Mithraism, Gnosticism and other theories that no real scholar of Church History or NT exegesis has had time for since the end of the 19th century. Many (not not all) of these “experts” make no attempt to understand why this is.

    Here’s something to chew on: Christians are into discovering what Second Temple Judaism (the context into which Chrsitianity was born) was all about. As opposed to holding onto the very wooden and forced (and dare I say Lutheran) understanding of the Pharisees and their religion that has dominated in Protestant circles, many Christians are beginning to challenge these presuppositions. I am one of these people. I have been a Noachide now for two years and am in contact with a number of others who came to embrace our requirements in exactly the same way. My point is this: Christians wanted to understand Judiasm in a more intelligent way than they were historically accustomed. Perhaps if more Jews were to offer critiques of Christianity which were more in keeping with current scholarship (and these days there’s tonnes of it) more people in the church would embrace the Laws of Noach or possibly convert. I remember once in a catechism class that I sat in on for youth we watched a video of one “expert” speaking about their conversion to Judaism. The idea was that the youth would watch the video and respond to the ways in which they thought the person in the video has failed to understand basic, Sunday School doctrine. None of them had a hard time doing so and they were all confused as how someone could make such basic mistakes. Not all people within Orthodoxy that speak about Christianity in such a way, and there are lots of examples of Christians talking about Judiaism in basically the same way. I could point you to a few sermons I preached myself. I’m just throwing it out there.

    • Frumsatire Fan

      Hmm, I’m afraid ignorant and insulting people are easy to find, more or less everywhere.
      I think all these “Jewish critiques of Xtianity” and “Xtian critiques of Judaism” are totally pointless. If anything, leave them to Comparative Religion scholars.
      If you’re interested in Judaism in a more personal way (rather than academic), I think the point is: do you think Jesus was a rabbi or a teacher, perhaps an interesting one, or do you think he was something more than that? Do you think he was the Mashiach? Do you think he was “G-d made flesh”? Do you think he affected the standing of the Torah, i.e. “brought it to completion”, i.e. the Torah is more or less superseded? What about the Talmud? Depending on how you answer those questions, you may be someone who’s choosing Judaism, or “a Christian who’s very interested in Second Temple Judaism”.

      • Christian

        Frumsatire Fan is exactly correct. There is no “long laundry list” of beliefs that defines a Christian. It’s actually very simple.

        Jesus asked Peter: “Who do you say I am?” Peter replied: “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”

        If you agree with Peter, you are a Christian no matter what else you may or may not believe or what you call yourself.

        If you disagree with Peter, you are not a Christian, no matter what else you may or may not believe or what you call yourself.

        You only have to look into your heart and ask yourself one question: “Who do you say I am?”

        • http://www.netzarim.co.il Anders Branderud

          The documentation in http://www.netzarim.co.il proofs that the first century Ribi Yehoshua ha-Mashiakh (the Messiah) ben Yoseiph was a Ribi (Rabbinic ordination that was granted only by the Nâ•si? and Beit-Din ha-Jâ•dol? (use the glossaries of the above Netzarim-website if you don’t understand all the Hebrew terms (necessary to understand the teachings of Ribi Yehoshua))).

          The current earliest manusscripts of “the gospel of Matthew” contains words a first century Ribi would never have said, and thus a reconstruction is needed.
          [Even according to the most authoritative Christian scholars, e.g., The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, what Christians call “NT” contains redactions (see quote from that book in the below website; click on "Glossaries"; click on "NT")]

          Netzarim Reconstruction of Hebrew Matityahu 16:15f reads:
          “Yehoshua said to them, “And you… what do you say about me?”
          Replying, Shimon “Keipha” Bar-Yonah said, “You are the Mashiakh, son of the Elohim of life, that has come in this world-age.” Replying Yehoshua said to him, “Happy are you to be, Shimon “Keipha” Bar-Yonah, because flesh and blood did not unveil this to you. Rather, it was of my Father Who is in the heavens.”

          Those words contains nothing anti-Torah. The words “son of
          Elohim” are used in Tan’’kh describing persons. It does neither imply that a person is divine, nor that he is a “man-g*d”.
          Those words have nothing to do with Christianity. The research in the History Museum of the above website proofs that Christianity started 135 c.e., and before this there was proto-Christianity.

          Furthermore the research in the Netzarim-website proofs that the followers of Ribi Yehoshua, the Netzarim, never deviated from Torah including mishpat; and always were in good standing in the Jewish community.

          Anders Branderud

  • justayid

    ‘I would definitely have a lengthy discussion (at least an hour or more) with a pastor of a torah-observant Christian congregation, making a list of every question and objection you have and discussing all of them, first. There’s a big difference between getting information from books and being able to ask questions to an informed scholar.”

    from what I can gather from the convo here, it is not at all clear to me that torah observant christians are in fact informed scholars – going by the standards of secular historical scholarship. I am particularly dubious of the claims that all early gentile converts to christianity were encouraged to follow the noachide laws, that early christians were allowed to eat treif only where kosher food was unavailable, etc. I sure wouldnt make that the center of MY religious life – but then I am a C Jew, not an O Jew, so my views on the importance of viable historical scholarship may not be shared by all.

    I also think that turning someone away, should be done with honesty and not exageration. There is a range of strictness of observance and tolerance for error or incompleteness in the O community, and of course there are C communities that are observant too.

    IF I was a ger, I would examine seriously all the mainstream approaches to Judaism.

    That said, of course being Jewish in ANY fashion involves obligations, and also exposes you to the hatreds of the world.

  • Anonymous

    “I am particularly dubious of the claims that all early gentile converts to christianity were encouraged to follow the noachide laws, that early christians were allowed to eat treif only where kosher food was unavailable, etc.”

    This isn’t one of those difficult historical questions that people debate the answer to!

    Paul and Peter thrashed this out on different sides and the decision came down on Paul’s side. And it’s right in the NT so it’s not one of these things decided by a council whose infallibility you may or may not accept.

    Decision: No Christian need keep any part of Jewish ritual (as opposed to moral) law, including those Christians who are actually Jews. If a Jewish convert to Christianity feels that it is incombent on them to keep Jewish law, they may do so, but that is only because, in the words of Paul, we are to accomodate the “weaker brother” (the one who doesn’t fully get the difference between Christianity and Judaism) lest his faith falter.

    • Christian

      That was me the wrote the above — I didn’t fill in my “handle.”

      • Christian

        I seem to have a plague of typos today viz “incombent” for “incumbent” “the” for “that.” Time to go do something productive :)

  • FrumGer

    Well Just to say for all of you about there that are upset by Frum Jews bashing the x-ian religion can you blame anyone??? this is a religion that claims with boldness to supplant the Jews. I know- I went to many many churches. I went to christian schools as a kid and most of the people I have lived with (ophan raised in foster care) have all been very religious. I understand xian precepts. You can shove it all off as just an anti missionary rant (which it is) but anti missionaries have a point- you all wont leave us the f alone!!! Look you are commenting on a frum jewish site, point proven. I am glad jews spit on the cross, the symbol of the cross is a shonda and shut be spat on. Many jews have been killed under that symbol…

    the Jews openly bash Xians- all I have to say about that is maybe in 1700 years the playing field will be even.

    The term Christian scholar is an oximoron because to be a scholor you have to be scholorly- following a religion that is based on mistranslating the hebrew bible is a big jump off point from the term scholor. its kind of like trying to drive a car w no engine it jus’ aint happenin’. Many kids believe in the tooth fairy, if one claims to be a for most expert on the tooth fairy, it means they are an expert on a lie. Bottom line xianism talks about messianic ideas without understanding anything about it. its a new religion that has nothing to do with the former.

    So if you are a practicing Xian you are automatically a dope, not a bad person but a dope.

    if you want to be a noahide great good on ya, if your a non converting xian- awesome (but I would read the source material of your faith because converting folks is all its about.)

    • Adam

      You need to chill out. Yeah we have had our problems with Christians, but you can’t generalize like that. You bring up the Holocaust and say that Christians did nothing, but they actually were the ones who defeated Hitler. I don’t see how you can be such a religious person when you have so much hate in your heart. In America we don’t have these kind of problems

  • FrumGer

    Anonymous- That what was what I was saying in a round about way… they want the 3rd temple built by the antichrist (our Moshiach i guess) and then the rapture comes after that. ( well some believe the rapture comes before and some believe it happens after.) If Palestine or Israel was in muslim hands then obviously there would be no Temple.

    • Mahla

      Cool. I was that Anonymous, by the way; I wasn’t being cowardly, I just hit “submit” and realized a fraction of a second later I had not put in my name. :^)

  • FrumGer

    G*3 – you mistake me I dont care how Goyim live thier life. I dont care what they have figured out. Judaism is not a proselytizing religion… I believe its right for me. what others do is up to them I dont care.

    Baal and El traditions are like Judaism in what ways at all? because of the names? what way are pagan ideas like sexual orgies, human sacrifice etc at all like judaism? what about shabbos kashrus torah in general. they are nothing a like- nothing at all.

  • Berends

    Frum Ger,

    Saying a Christian scholar is an oxymoron because of a mistranslation of a text is like saying a Jewish scholar is an oxymoron because of a history of mistranslating Gen. 3:14. Not that I’m suggesting you do this, but a simple Google search will reveal a plethora of articles defending the translation of the word you bring up. Obviously I don’t agree but it’s not like the Christians have simply shut up about their Jewish critics.

    To answer your questions: I don’t believe anything about Jesus specifically.

    Christian,

    You’re right. What a person says about Jesus is the litmus test determining if a person is a Christian or not. Because this is the case, however, the church has developed a laundry list of highly abstract doctrines about Jesus that one must believe “or perish everlastingly.” Take a look at the Athanaisian Creed and the Definition of Chalcedon.

    • Christian

      What “Church” are you referring to? I asked you before — are you Catholic or Eastern Orthodox? If yes, what you say is true. If not, there is no “Church” which claims the infallibility to define doctrine as a matter of salvation. There are merely a million different Protestants sects — however none of them will state that belief in any of these doctrines is “salvivic.” A Baptist wouldn’t have the slightest idea who Athanasius was or what the Council of Chalcedon proclaimed. In fact, if you told them that you had to believe specific things defined by the ecumenical councils to be saved they would tell you were in bondage to Rome. Did you ever hear of “sola scriptura” ? It’s the basis of the entire Reformation. I’m a Catholic and I know that much.

      The Council of Ephesus proclaimed Mary to be worthy of the title of “Theotokos.” The Protestants call this idolotrous worship of Mary. BUT NOTE: Even the Catholics don’t say that if you deny any of the Marian doctrines you aren’t going to be saved. Just that you can’t be a Catholic.

      May I, in all humility, suggest that there is much you could learn about the many many forms of Christianity before you begin to look outside it?

  • Berends

    Christians,

    All historic Protestant sects affirm the Ecumenical Creeds, historic Baptists included. The churches of the Reformation have never affirmed the Counsel of Ephesus.

    You also misunderstand Sola Scriputra. The Protestants affirmed the Ecumenical Creeds inasmuch as they conform to scripture. I’d quote from every major Protestant confessional standard to prove this point but I’m sure the other readers would not appreciate this, which brings me to my next point…

    I’m not here to discuss Christianity. I have tried the other brands of the faith and have found it its not the church, per se, that I reject, but Jesus himself. Clearly, therefore, there is no “form” of Christianity “for me.”

    • Anonymous

      Well, not to make Wikepedia a source of scholarship, but it says

      “Anglicans and some Protestants, most commonly Lutherans, accept either the first seven or the first four as Ecumenical councils”

      In other words, liturgical Protestants that purport to have the Apostolic Succession. Certainly not the Baptists.

      Of course the Protestants who do not recognize the Apostolic Succession (e.g., the Baptists) accept every and any thing that anybody on the planet says (including the Catholic Church) provided that it can be “proved” by scripture, which is simply another way of saying that they accept nothing that is not clearly stated in the Bible and they accept the infallibility of no authority beyond that. So, in short, they don’t give a rat’s $%# what the ecumenical councils say about anything.

      But the point of this whole exchange was that a commentator said something to the effect of “do you really want to belong to a religion that requires that you accept without question thousands of minor points of belief” and you essentially replied “Christianity is the same” and I replied “it totally isn’t unless you are referring to the churches that have or purport ot have the Apostolic Succession and even that doesn’t come within a mile of the requirements of Judaism.” Since you’ve never told us what church you belong to or used to belong to (though I get this feeling of Lutheranism) we are totally talking in circles here.

      The grass is always greener on the othe side of the Torah. To look at someone’s history and say you ‘wish it was yours” is to ignore a very very deep and rich history which IS yours, although perhaps you have not explored it fully.

  • Berends

    Anon,

    Close, but no cigar. I was one of those black-coffee Reformed, Calvinistic types. Oddly enough throughout my seminary days I was often accused of being a crypto-Lutheran.

    With regard to your claim that Baptists, at least historically, don’t give a hoot about the “historic” faith I’d suggest you take a look at the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. It’s basically a baptistic rehash of the Westminster Standards.

    There are about 30,000 Christian groups in the world, no one says they’re the same. The very little they do have in common, I don’t share. It’s therefore not a matter of moving from Geneva to Canterbury, Wittenberg, Rome, Constantinople or even Azusa Street. They won’t have me in any of those places and I don’t want to go.

    • Anonymous

      Well, Calvinism has got to be the most unpleasant form of Christianity ever invented — which is going some when you take a religion that is all about love and radically redefining equality (“In Christ there is neither male nor female, slave nor free, Jew nor gentile”) and the love of God for humankind (“for God so loved the world etc.”) and making it all about how totally wretched human beings are and how most of them, no matter what they do, will fry in hell because that’s what God wants. I can hardly blame anybody who wants to get as far away from that as possible.

      Still, it seems strange that you would exchange a religion that says only the elect will be saved but the good news is that salvation is a free gift for one that says only a tiny group of humans have a special “Jewish soul” (everyone else is on a lower level) but even they have to fulfill a long list of requirements to “earn” salvation.

  • FrumGer

    Berends,

    A christian scholor is an oxymoron because they believe in a false messiah and read text through a christian understanding, their logic is cyclical and believe the Septuagint translation. they find scripture to prove what they are saying, mostly out of context of its original meaning, this is ok for a gamatria or a midrash. we argue these things… but this is not ok for the foundation of a belief or religion. thats why they are dopes… they see all things through a pink glass. the Rabbaim are not trying to prove anything so they have no need to see things other than what they are. (midrash excluded)

  • shim

    @ Anonymous
    actually its trading “only the elect-
    [read people who subjugate their ability to reason and throw out a very large portion of their own holy writings practices in favor of one trait and a self-contradictory belief system]
    -will be saved but the good news is that salvation is a free gift”
    for
    “anyone can be saved if they do these seven things, no strings attached. AND if you want to have a special relationship with God himself or just want to make yourself a little Godly then there are more guidelines to follow but in the end of the day the work pays off”
    I think that one of these is slightly more reasonable here

  • Mahla

    Calvanism, septuagint, midrash …. Without ever having meant to be such, Heshy’s blog is SO one of the coolest places online to ‘eavesdrop’ on everyday people talking about stuff like this.

    Has anyone ever seen those hardline Calvinist t-shirts that say T.U.L.I.P. and underneath that it says “Flower Child”?

    http://www.calvinistcorner.com/tulip.htm

    I want to buy one of those to add to my collection. T.U.L.I.P. standing for:

    Total Depravity
    Unconditional Election
    Limited Atonement
    Irresistible Grace
    Perseverance of the Saints