A group of Orthodox rabbis — including very prominent ones — have issued a statement in which they call Christianity a gift to the world.
“We acknowledge that Christianity is neither an accident nor an error, but the willed divine outcome and gift to the nations,” read the statement published last week by the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation in Israel and posted Monday on the Times of Israel blog.
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“To Do the Will of Our Father in Heaven: Toward a Partnership between Jews and Christians” has been signed by more than two dozen Orthodox rabbis so far, including those from the U.S. and the chief rabbis of two European countries.
Citing renowned historical Torah scholars, the rabbis wrote that Christians will be rewarded for their work “for the sake of heaven”:
As did Maimonides and Yehudah Halevi, we acknowledge that Christianity is neither an accident nor an error, but the willed divine outcome and gift to the nations. In separating Judaism and Christianity, G-d willed a separation between partners with significant theological differences, not a separation between enemies. Rabbi Jacob Emden wrote that “Jesus brought a double goodness to the world. On the one hand he strengthened the Torah of Moses majestically… and not one of our Sages spoke out more emphatically concerning the immutability of the Torah. On the other hand he removed idols from the nations and obligated them in the seven commandments of Noah so that they would not behave like animals of the field, and instilled them firmly with moral traits…..Christians are congregations that work for the sake of heaven who are destined to endure, whose intent is for the sake of heaven and whose reward will not denied.”
Orthodox Jews often use a hyphen in the word "God" out of respect and in order to avoid deleting or erasing the divine name.
As partners in belief in God and the Bible, the rabbis called Christianity “our partner in world redemption, without any fear that this will be exploited for missionary purposes.”
The signatories noted the “historic opportunity” for Christian-Jewish cooperation following “nearly two millennia of mutual hostility and alienation.”
While Jews and Christians can work together “in redeeming the world,” the group acknowledged the differences between the faiths.
“Our partnership in no way minimizes the ongoing differences between the two communities and two religions. We believe that G-d employs many messengers to reveal His truth, while we affirm the fundamental ethical obligations that all people have before G-d that Judaism has always taught through the universal Noahide covenant.,” the statement read.
“Neither of us can achieve G-d’s mission in this world alone,” the group proclaimed.
Read the entire statement at the Times of Israel.