A perceptive reader asked a question that I thought was worth posting. I’m sure a lot of other people would wonder the same thing. Feel free to send questions to email@example.com and I will answer if I can.
Also, if you have something to add or want to suggest I have got it wrong, I’d love to hear from you. Discussion makes us all better.
The question was:
Hope this email finds you doing well. I’ve been enjoying your posts on the The Jewish Gospel of Jesus. As I read through your latest one, I wondered, “Why?” So I thought I’d solicit your thoughts. Why do you think that over time Christianity, especially contemporary, Western Christainity, has lost sight of the Jewish nature and heritage of the gospel? Perhaps you’ve already answered this question elsewhere. If so, just point me in the right direction!
My answer . . .
There are several reasons why Christendom has lost sight of the Jewish origins of the gospel:
1. Conflict with synagogues in the late first and throughout the second century.
2. Competition with synagogues in some places in the third and fourth century (many were choosing Judaism instead of Christianity, causing Chrysostom to preach a series of anti-synagogue sermons).
3. The temptations of syncretism to spread the influence of the church.
4. A preference for Greek philosophy and culture which led to a lack of interest in Hebrew thought and culture.
5. The spread of tradition over the centuries moved Christendom further and further away from Judaism.
6. It is difficult for a large movement to go back and change with all the momentum of centuries moving away from Judaism.
The good news is we are seeing movement back toward a recognition of Jewish origins in academic theology as well as in many forms of popular Christianity.