I picked up this book to find fault. I admit it. I tend to be critical of anything I am not comfortable with.
I started to read it years ago, and put it down, without getting too far into the first chapter.
Recently, it beckoned me again, and I have found a book that is irenic in its approach to the Jewish way of thinking. The way of thinking, and somethings what they think. The author describes his many times of visiting a Jewish Chever Torah, a meeting for Jewish folk to discuss their faith.
During these meetings, the author found their manner of discussion to be unlike those in the Christian Church.
Let me explain by use of the authors words.
“…Rabbi Stern fires off another question. No one answers. He offers a provocative observation – something controversial to stir the pot. Still, we are silent. Finally in frustration, he exclaims, “Come on people! Somebody disagree with me! How can we learn anything if no one will disagree?”
Wow – That is a radical thought. Disagreement for the sake of thinking!
The author comments a bit further on.
“Unfortunately, most theological conversations I have had in church have been the self-reinforcing kind: a group of people sitting around telling each other what everyone already believes. If some brave soul interjects a radical new idea or questions one of the group’s firmly held views, it is usually an unpleasant experience We shift in our seats uncomfortably until someone rises to the bait. The discussion remains civil, but it seems that any challenge to the groups theology must be corrected, so all comments are solidly aimed at that one goal: arriving at a preconceived answer”
I don’t know about your experience, but I have often asked a question within a Sunday School class or Bible Study setting only to be ignored, told that we will address that later, mocked, or worse yet, asked to not return.
If we have the truth in the pages of the Word, why can we not ask tough questions? Sure, some questions have no answers and we need to accept that. Some questions have answers that cause theological tension. We need to accept that tension, struggle with it, and understand when another believer hasn’t considered an opposing view. This is where the Chever Torah process would build the immature believer into a thinking, and more mature believer.
I suppose I come off as a bit of a problem in some get togethers, and I readily admit that I enjoy a good discussion – some might call it a debate. In recent years, I have found theological stances that have challenged my faith, struggled with them and accepted some as valid, turning my Christianity on it’s head somewhat.
Has it been uncomfortable? You bet.
Have I lost friends. In some ways my fellowship has been strained with some brothers, and it hurt at first, but when I consider my brothers perspective, I understand.
Have I regretted the pursuit of growing in my understanding? Not at all.
Considering “The Gospel according to Moses” I would recommend the book for the challenges it presents. It will supply comparisons with the Jewish faith that are very interesting.
Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.