The Watchman On The Wall

The Watchman On The Wall
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Verse 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Vatican Says Don't Convert Jews to Christianity

The ‘Jews for Jesus’ organization has denounced the Vatican for saying that the Roman Caotholic Church (RCC) must not try to convert Jews to Christianity. The pronouncement against converting Jews came in a major document recently released by the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. The Watchman believes this doctrine is evil. It means Christians do not care about our friends eternal salvation. Would we really want our Jewish or gentile friends and family damned to hell forever? I certainly don't. Next the RCC will say we do not have to evangelize Muslims because they believe in Allah (the moon god).

The new Vatican document, titled ‘The Gifts and Calling of God are Irrevocable’ said that the RCC is “obliged to view evangelization to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views…In concrete terms, this means that the RCC neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews.”
The document was meant to solidify the Vatican’s increasingly positive relations with Jews.

Jewish leaders praised the document and the way that RCCJewish relations had progressed. Rabbi David Rosen, the international director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish Committee, said “To its great credit, this document seeks to reflect a sincere comprehension of Jewish self-understanding,” noting that the document quoted extensively from Jewish rabbinical sources and recognized their interpretive validity, as well as the place of the Torah in the life of Jews.

Other views were not as flattering. David Brickner, executive director of Jews for Jesus, accused the Vatican of pandering to Jewish leaders. Jews for Jesus, which calls itself the “largest Jewish mission agency in the world,” has branches in 13 countries and 25 cities.

Brickner, in a statement issued Friday, stated that his organization finds the position “…egregious, especially coming from an institution which seeks to represent a significant number of Christians in the world.”

“How can the Vatican ignore the fact that the Great Commission of Jesus Christ mandates that his followers are to bring the gospel to all people? Are they merely pandering to some leaders in the Jewish community who applaud being off the radar for evangelization by RCCs? If so, they need to be reminded that they first received that gospel message from the lips of Jews who were for Jesus,” he said.

The Vatican document is yet another step towards cementing relationships with the Jews, at least in part due to the desire to close ecumenical ranks between the two faiths. It advises Christians to treat the subject of the Holocaust with sensitivity and repel any anti-Semitic tendencies.

“It’s a major step in Jewish-RCC relationships even that a rabbi and Jewish thinker were on stage with Cardinal Koch and Father Norbert (secretary of the Vatican commission),” said Rabbi Eric J. Greenberg, director of interfaith relations and outreach at the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees in New York City. “That they were invited to participate in a presentation of a Vatican document is such a great symbol,” he said.

This is a progression of efforts that gained major impetus under Pope John Paul II. As reported in the New York Times, he was the first pope to pray in a synagogue, the first to acknowledge the failure of individual RCCs to act against the Holocaust and the first to call anti-Semitism a sin “against God and man.

The controversy around whether or not to evangelize Jews to Christianity, however, raises some pertinent theological questions. It needs to be acknowledged upfront that the interpretation of Biblical salvation differs between RCCs and Catholicism teaches is markedly different from that of Protestantism. 

This is also true of several other major doctrines pertaining to Christianity, although there are many mutually accepted ones such as the virgin birth and the crucifixion of Christ. 

However, in the context of the Vatican document that now forbids the evangelization of Jews by professing Christians, the question needs to be asked: Are Jews saved because they are God's chosen people? Will Jews go to Heaven even if they do not trust in Jesus?" 

According to, the answer would be that Jews are not saved because they are God’s chosen people, but because they believe in Jesus Christ as their true Messiah. There are many Messianic Jews who have accepted Yeshua (the Hebrew word for “Jesus”) as their Messiah. further states that according to many modern rabbinical scholars, the Christian concept of salvation from sin has no equal in Judaism. Judaism does not believe that man, by his nature, is evil or sinful and therefore believes that man has no need to be “saved” from an eternal damnation.

The embracing of Jewish leaders of the Vatican document that discourages evangelization of Jews makes sense when viewed against the Judaism doctrine which dismisses the necessity of personal salvation. Judaism instead leans on obtaining forgiveness through prayer, repentance and doing good deeds, ironically much like the RCC.

It can be seen that those Jews who have not accepted Jesus as their Messiah still remain part of “God’s chosen people” simply by being born Jewish and would be partakers of the blessings accorded to them by virtue of their heritage as Jews – the nation of Israel, God’s chosen covenant people. 
However, the Bible teaches that they still need to experience salvation individually through the willful and active acceptance of Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Messiah. Just like everyone else, Jew or non-Jew (Gentile):

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (heathen) (Romans 1:16).

The New Testament further teaches that Jesus the Messiah is “the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father” but through Him (John 14:6).
Another of many other scripture verses confirms this: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). 

“His people” certainly starts with the Jews, of whom He was born one in the flesh.

Considered from that perspective, it would be wrong to ban or discourage the evangelization of Jews, who as individuals still require salvation from their personal sins. The RCC document’s intent would have more accurately applied to Messianic Jews, but seems to instead target all Jews. 

This despite the fact that not all have accepted Jesus as Savior/Messiah yet, or even believe in the concept of salvation outside of personal religious works which the New Testament teaches cannot save:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast”(Ephesians 2:8-9). 

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