I met a young man in Israel, though he is from another country. We shared a late night conversation in Jerusalem. It was a planned meeting because we knew each other from our respective blogs.
This young man is a Christian, but recently spent a period of his life living as a Jew. Actually he was part of a movement that confuses the boundary between Jews and non-Jews. He believed for a while that being a follower of Yeshua made him, in essence, a Jew.
This remarkable young man, and I don’t give praise lightly, rapidly grew in knowledge and understanding of Judaism. But he eventually found the lifestyle, of a Christian living as though a Jew, to be a lie. He realized not only that this was not in line with New Testament teaching, but that this was harmful to his spiritual life, since he was not called by God to convert and join with Israel. In short, he was attempting to be what he was not.
He has emerged from this odyssey with several changes. For one thing, he is a devoted fan of the commentary of Rashi, the 11th century French Jewish sage. Though a Christian, he is now a regular reader of intense Jewish commentary on the books of Moses.
Yet he has also emerged with doubts about the deity of Yeshua. In the aftermath of his sojourn in the realms of this Gentile Torah movement, my young friend went through a re-evaluation of his beliefs. He encountered arguments that rocked his childhood faith in the idea that Yeshua is God who became man.
We have been having a dialogue about all this on his blog. And I have been having my tuches handed to me on a platter by some bright and wonderful young thinkers. I will give a link to the discussion at the bottom.
I have learned a few things already from this dialogue. First, I have never really gotten into defending the concept of Yeshua’s deity with intelligent objectors who share my faith in Yeshua as Messiah. And in discussions of Messiah’s deity in the past, I realize I have settled for weak arguments and easy answers.
You see, the faithful talking amongst themselves are all too often willing to be comforted by arguments that would not stand muster when reviewed by an intelligent objector. This is one reason why, after going to a conservative Christian undergraduate school to learn the Bible and Theology, I then went on the Emory University. At Emory, very little of my faith was shared by my “Christian” professors. And I had to learn how to talk about faith with incredibly intelligent people who would challenge virtually every line of everything I wrote.
The second thing I have learned from my dialogue thus far, is that Yeshua really is God who became man. Even though I am far from “winning” the debate, I have begun to see the preponderance of evidence in the New Testament.
I hope to bring some of that dialogue here in a series of short posts (I won’t bore anyone with a long treatise) considering some of the most pertinent observations and interpretations. I hope we will get some dialogue here at Messianic Jewish Musings on this topic as well. All Christian and Jewish viewpoints are welcome here (Muslims, please talk on your own sites). If you do not accept the idea that God would become man, feel free to say so and explain your position. If you are unsure and simply wish to join the discussion, do not be embarrassed to argue a position even if you end up adhering to a different one by the end.
In the meantime, I find that it would be lovely to own a certain volume that is out of print. I wonder if anyone has a copy and would sell it to me at a reasonable price: Murray Harris, Jesus as God. This volume is an exegesis of the theos texts of the New Testament by one of the finest exegetes of the 20th century. Good used editions run about $55 plus shipping.
Help! Anybody have a copy collecting dust on their shelf and want to sell it to me?
Here is where I have been getting bloodied and bruised in a dialogue with some great thinkers: