Bishops of England and Wales Call for Change to New Good Friday Prayer for Jews

Pray Tell reported earlier that the Catholic bishops of Germany called for the withdrawal of the revised prayer for the Jewish people written by Pope Benedict to replace the wording in the “Extraordinary Form” of the 1962 missal.

Now the Catholic Herald reports that the Catholic bishops of England and Wales say that the prayer should be “updated“”

Archbishop Kevin McDonald, chairman of the bishops’ Committee for Catholic-Jewish Relations, said the difference had caused “great confusion and upset in the Jewish community”.

He said: “The 1970 prayer which is now used throughout the Church is basically a prayer that the Jewish people would continue to grow in the love of God’s name and in faithfulness of his Covenant, a Covenant which – as St John Paul II made clear in 1980 – has not been revoked. By contrast the prayer produced in 2008 for use in the Extraordinary Form of the liturgy reverted to being a prayer for the conversion of Jews to Christianity.”

The prayer revised in 2008 by Pope Benedict for the solemn petitions of the Good Friday liturgy reads:

“Let us also pray for the Jews: that our God and Lord may illuminate their hearts, that they acknowledge Jesus Christ is the Savior of all men.”

In the reforms of the liturgy done after the Second Vatican Council, a new prayer was written to replace the preconciliar text:

“Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God, that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant.”

The prayer before the Second Vatican Council until 1960 was this:

Let us pray also for the faithless Jews: that almighty God may remove the veil from their hearts; so that they too may acknowledge Jesus Christ our Lord.

In 1960, Pope John XXIII ordered that the word “faithless” be removed from the prayer.

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44 comments

    1. @Ben Yanke:

      And as noted here last time this came up, we still pray for the Jews be converted to the true faith multiple times a year in the reformed rite, in the Liturgy of the Hours (i.e. Evening Prayer for Sundays in Weeks 3 and 5 of Easter, Evening Prayer for Easter Sunday, Evening prayer for the vigil of the 7th Sunday of Easter, December 31 at Morning Prayer, Evening prayer on Wednesday of the second and fourth weeks of Easter, and a weekly petition among the alternative intercessions).

    2. @Ben Yanke:

      I would consider it wise to simply delete the Prayer for the Jews in both missals (and, in the 1962 Missal, also delete the prayers for “heretics”, “schismatics”, and “pagans”). In the meantime before the pressing of new editions, clergy could be told to omit these prayers.

      If there is any community who must repent most strongly for past commission of evil, it is Christians and more specifically Catholics. Up to and certainly including the Holocaust, Christian laypersons and clergy have given tacit consent and even explicit participation in the manifest evils of pogrom, genocide, and also cruelty in the name of the solidification of monarchical power (ie. the Spanish Inquisition of the 16th century). Jews have long been the target of Christian evil. We cannot evade this by asking others (or The Other) to revolve around us.

      I sense, Ben, that you know few Jewish people as close friends. I grew up right outside of New York City, which has one of the largest Jewish populations outside Israel. I was educated in Catholic schools, which presented some barriers to interaction. Still, I have been surrounded by Jewish people, their religion, and culture my whole life. Should I define my Jewish friends and relatives solely by an erroneous interpretation of the Johannine passion? Learn more of what οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι means before jumping blindly into prayer for a community, an ethnicity, and a religion I and you do not know well.

      1. @Jordan Zarembo:
        “If there is any community who must repent most strongly for past commission of evil, it is Christians and more specifically Catholics.”

        That may be true, but that should not prevent us from praying for non-Christians (Jews or not) to come to faith in Christ. We’re not asking them to repent for the evils that those of their religion committed in the past, we’re praying for them to know Christ Jesus and to enter into this new covenant.

        ” We cannot evade this by asking others … to revolve around us.”

        I don’t think prayers for conversion to Christ are “us”-centered; at least, the pure prayer should not be self-centered. It should be a prayer of true charity, which seeks the best for the other. When I pray for someone I know to return from atheism to Christianity, it is not a prayer that his life revolve around me, but that his life might revolve around Christ.

      2. @Jeffrey Pinyan:
        I agree that praying for non-Christians to come to know Jesus is an appropriate and good thing. The problem is that there are several layers of context that make this prayer in question problematic.

        We’re praying specifically for the Jewish people on Good Friday, during the liturgy whose Gospel readings have long been misinterpreted and misused in anti-Semitic ways, and with a prayer that’s a new version of an earlier one (replaced *very* recently) that was explicitly anti-Semitic. In that context, it’s way too ingenuous to say, “Well, shucks, we’re just praying for non-Christians to get to know Jesus, too.”

      3. @Jordan Zarembo:
        I grew up outside New York City also. I have known many, many, Jewish people quite closely. There are two who are known to me as “Uncle”.

        With that said, I am happy to pray for their conversion, as that is what I want for my friends, the fullness of the truth. That the 1962 prayer is more direct and revealing, I think also makes it MUCH MORE HONEST.

        With that said, I am much less concerned about the language in our prayer than the ones that faithful Jews, like my Uncles, pray three times a day when they say the ברכת המינים.

        “For the apostates let there be no hope. And let the arrogant government be speedily uprooted in our days. Let the noẓerim and the minim be destroyed in a moment. And let them be blotted out of the Book of Life and not be inscribed together with the righteous. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who humblest the arrogant”

  1. Meanwhile, in a number of communities which actually make use of the Extraordinary Form for Holy Week, the Pius XII reforms are being jettisoned wholesale, save for the new times in most places.

    So I guess that the bishops of England and Wales can call for whatever they like. What difference that actually makes (aside from the better PR, I suppose, which is probably the point of this exercise) is another matter altogether.

  2. #1

    the answer for me would be “because they really don’t want to be.”

    How about that when the Church write these prayers for people, the Church should ask the people being prayed for if they want that prayer.

    Change the words to praying for the health and safety of Jewish people would probably get an approval from most Jews. Asking the Jewish people to leave their faith and join another would probably not. That’s when the prayer should not be said.

    1. @Ed Nash:
      I’m not convinced that this is a general principle that can be applied to intercessory prayer. I pray that the Islamic State might turn from violence, even though this does not seem to be something that its leaders desire. I pray that my non-church-going children might return to the Church, though I don’t think they are anxious for this to happen. I pray that those who are considering suicide would not kill themselves, though this might be what they deeply desire. So I don’t think we can say that we should never pray for things to happen to people that they would not desire for themselves.

      1. @Todd Orbitz:

        Todd, I agree that some Jewish prayers are barriers to Christian understanding of Judaism. This is also true for segments of the Talmud which are often deemed offensive to Christianity. Is disagreement or even offence a reason to pray for conversion? Perhaps not. Conversion (from any religion to Catholicism) should be the fruit of the conviction of a person’s heart and mind. Conversion should not be a cloaked coercion designed to lead a person away from prayers a Catholic finds offensive. Conversion should always be principally beneficial for the convert, and not principally beneficial for a Catholic who finds the previous religion of the convert difficult to accept or understand.

      2. @Fritz Bauerschmidt:
        Thanks Fritz:

        I too pray for an end to all violence. I hope that non Church going children find a faith they can live with and I too pray that people do not decide to take their life. The issue with me with the 2008 prayer is that the end result would be the cessation of the Jewish religion. If your prayer for the Islamic state were to end that you prayed they would stop the violence and then acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of all men, I think we might have crossed the line…If we ask those contemplating the desire to kill themselves to not carry out the act and then to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of all men …I think it crosses a line. Your prayers are personal and I believe they help define how you eventually relate with the people for whom you prayed. The 2008 edition is a corprate prayer and we could very well acknowledge that it too will help define how the corporate Church will define its relationship with Jewish people. History has shown us it does not end pretty if you are Jewish or Christian.

      3. @Ed Nash:
        Yes, it does cross a line, a line I think we should be prepared to cross. It crosses from “safe ecumenical prayer” into unabashed Christian prayer. I see nothing wrong with praying for any person or persons to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Savior of all men and women. Phil 2:10-11, right?

      4. @Ed Nash:
        I’m not sure that coming to faith in Christ means the end of the Jewish religion (depending, of course, on what one means by that phrase). Based on Philippians 3:5 it seems that at least Paul thought that he remained a Jew.

        I’m wondering what people make of the fact that Catholic-Jewish relations are the purview of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Does this mean that they already in some sense have faith in Christ, inasmuch as they look to God’s Messiah for salvation? Does this mean that our goals vis a vis the Jewish people should be analogous to our goals vis a vis the Baptists rather than the Buddhists–unity in Christ? Should our intentions in praying for the Jews be different from our intentions in praying for adherents of non-Christian religions?

      5. @Fritz Bauerschmidt:
        Bang on, Deacon.

        The reason the Jews have their own prayer is because the Church feels such a bond of kinship to them. It is like having a close family member of yours who rejects Christianity while you are devout. Prayers help to convert people to Christ, as we can all trust.

      6. @Fritz Bauerschmidt:
        re: Catholic-Jewish relations being under the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

        From memory, Thomas Reese in his book “Inside the Vatican” says that this is due to historical accident and not theological reasons. The predecessor organization to the PCPCU was created before or at the beginning of Vatican II; since it was the only Vatican office then dealing with ecumenical relations, it de facto handled Jewish relations also. (If I recall correctly, there were Jewish observers at Vatican II). At the end of or after Vatican II, when the predecessor organization to the Council on Interreligious Dialogue was formed, the Jewish organizations that had been dealing with the staff of Christian Unity preferred to keep on dealing with them instead of starting anew with the Interreligious Dialogue folk.

      7. @Bill Logan:
        Thanks for the info. I do wonder, however, whether there was any theological reflection involved in making the results of a historical accident a permanent arrangement. After all, the category People of God, so significant in Lumen Gentium, has two members: Jews and Christians. So there is a theological rationale for including Jews under the PCPCU, even if that was not the initial reason for including them.

      8. @Fritz Bauerschmidt:

        I suspect you will find the answer in the writings of Cardinal Bea, the Jesuit who was the first head of the PCPCU. Those writings reflect a strong ecumenical vision and opposition to anti-semitism. He was the natural leader on both causes, if they are two different causes, and probably the reason both were entrusted to the PCPCU.

  3. View from the pew
    Regarding: Good Friday prayers
    – It is a good that we pray for one and another.
    – Prayers ought not to be didactic.
    – Praying for others should be about about praying with them as oppose to at them. For instance, were we to pray for nature worshipers we perhaps could pray that our brothers and sisters would know and cherish the beauty of nature and its beneficence for all of humankind. A Christian’s accepts that God reveals God in nature and pretty much that is God’s job.
    – Considering this pray in its several forms: Those of us who have friends and family who are Jews know that God’s covenant with Jews is sufficient for salvation; who are we to gainsay what God has wrought.
    – Prayers by Christians for Jews ought to reflect or be modeled on how Jesus, a Jew, prayed. In which case the Good Friday prayers need to be reviewed as they pertain to other faiths or religions.

      1. @Jonathan Ziegler:
        Regarding: ““…God’s covenant with Jews is sufficient for salvation”
        Sincerely asking, is this consistent with Church teaching?”
        – Yes; Catechism 839, 840, 847 points to this.
        – God made his covenant with the Jews and made it everlasting. The covenant binds God to the Jews, and the Jews are bound to God. The covenant saves the people from whom came Jesus.
        – Those of us who accept salvation by Jesus see that this salvation by the promised Messiah is the only path to salvation. However, from the view of Hebrew Scriptures the Jews were saved by God and the covenant, inclusive of the promised Messiah, is salvation.

    1. @Charles Jordan:
      “Praying for others should be about about praying with them as opposed to at them. For instance, were we to pray for nature worshipers we perhaps could pray that our brothers and sisters would know and cherish the beauty of nature and its beneficence for all of humankind.”

      I think nature worshipers already know and cherish the beauty of nature and its beneficence for all humanity; that could very well be part of the reason that they worship nature. I’d rather pray that they would know and cherish the Creator of nature.

      How would you propose we pray “for/with” idol worshipers?

      1. @Jeffrey Pinyan:
        Regarding: “How would you propose we pray “for/with” idol worshipers?”
        – I take that you mean those who pray to god not the one and only god. That is you are not meaning those who turn images into idols by their practice.
        – Not in the way we pray with and for our elder brothers and sisters in the faith.
        – Perhaps the common basis for praying with / for idol worshipers is found in natural law. That is, perhaps, our prayers could recognize that move towards the good in which the divine is found.

  4. Prayers by Christians for Jews ought to reflect or be modeled on how Jesus, a Jew, prayed. In which case the Good Friday prayers need to be reviewed as they pertain to other faiths or religions.

    So, would you encourage a reintroduction of the fullness Imprecatory Psalms into the liturgy? Christ certainly prayed those regularly.

    1. @Todd Orbitz:
      Regarding: “So, would you encourage a reintroduction of the fullness Imprecatory Psalms into the liturgy?
      – No.
      – In the context of the Good Friday prayer under discussion it would be hard to understand how Jesus would consider Jews as the enemies of God deserving of curses, calamities, and judgements.

  5. Do people of other faiths pray for the conversion of Christians to their faith? Or do Jewish people pray for our re-version? I’d think if Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhist, Shintoists, etc. across the world are all storming heaven with the prayer that the others convert to their faith, the Almighty must get confused.
    Like when two Catholic High School basketball teams play each other.

  6. @Jordan Zarembo

    I wasn’t suggesting praying for the Jews even though they pray for us to be accursed approximately three times a day. Quite frankly, they should pray whatever they like. My feelings aren’t just whatsoever. I find it ironic that offense only goes one way… Unless, of course, you are offended by their prayers. I wonder what the reaction would be if you demanded they stop using it? In fact, it’s somewhat ironic that some take so much offense to language taken from 2 Corinthians, while nothing is ever said about the cursing prayer that is of more recent origin. Of course, I encourage my uncle’s to keep their commitment to praying it as they consider it a mikvah.

    @Charles Jordan

    Interesting that you say we should base our prayers on how Jesus himself prayed, and then you resist the idea of even reintroducing the very imprecatory psalms that He Himself most assuredly prayed. I think putting Our Lord’s prayers back into the liturgy would be a nice middling step.

    1. @Todd Orbitz:
      I think you got the question wrong, and are misunderstanding some basic Christian convictions and some important dynamics of this highly sensitive issue.

      For Christians, it’s not about ‘getting even’ or ‘it goes both ways’ or ‘reciprocity.’ It’s about being faithful to our convictions, whatever others do or don’t believe or pray. What the Jewish people pray about others is, strictly speaking, irrelevant to our intra-Christian discussion. As Christians we look at the issue as a whole, which involves the whole New Testament and not just a few ‘proof texts,’ and we look at tradition, and magisterial teaching, and of course ongoing theological discussion. The tradition develops; doctrine develops; prayer practices develop.

      [Some have had the misunderstanding the we Westerners shouldn’t grant religious freedom to Moslems until every Muslim country grants full religious freedom to Christians. But we Christians and we Westerners believe in religious freedom and hence have to guarantee it to everyone to be true to ourselves, whether others are denying it to Christians or not. We can’t use this as a bargaining point and be true to our own convictions.]

      I don’t find it the least bit ironic that ‘offense only goes one way.’ These positions we’re batting around don’t exist in a vacuum, they exist in the context of real histories. This thing called the Holocaust happened. Does it affect our theologizing? Of course! Given what Christians as dominant culture have done to minority Jews down through the centuries, this is not and should not be an even-up level-playing-field discussion. Our texts offensive to Jews carry much more symbolic freight, obviously. We Christians should be growing deeply in our empathy, precisely from our prayer practices.

      Your imprecatory prayer thing isn’t working as a ‘gotcha.’ What Jesus allegedly prayed is relevant, but the issue of course involves many, many other factors. We might start with why the Holy See has cut some of these texts from the reformed Office – there are reasons.

      awr

      1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB:

        What the Jewish people pray about others is, strictly speaking, irrelevant to our intra-Christian discussion.

        I am more than a little uncomfortable with treating this as a simply intra-Christian discussion, in relation to which the feelings of Jewish people are merely an object. Surely any respectful dialogue on these questions, while always being faithful to our convictions, must equally be an inter-faith dialogue where Jewish people are a party and not merely an object.

        But we Christians and we Westerners believe in religious freedom and hence have to guarantee it to everyone to be true to ourselves, whether others are denying it to Christians or not.

        The nature of the development of doctrine around this point demonstrates caution is needed before declaring the absolute application of any derivative principle. The work of Fr. John Country Murray, on which the acceptance of the development was based, was all about showing the contingency of these teachings on the historical and political circumstances. And the reality of religious repression in non-Western countries in one such historical and political circumstance which would be relevant.

        In truth, I don’t think Muslim denial of religious freedom should cause us to respond in kind, but the fact of development shows we don’t have an absolute principle on this point which could be betrayed by being sensitive to the facts on the ground if and where that was justified.

      2. @Anthony Ruff, OSB:

        “We Christians should be growing deeply in our empathy, precisely from our prayer practices.”

        First…this whole post and responses are fascinating.

        Your line from #21 (posted above) should be posted in Church bulletins everywhere. May we use it in ours?

  7. @Charles Jordan:

    Sincerely asking, is this consistent with Church teaching?” – Yes; Catechism 839, 840, 847 points to this.

    This paragraphs of the Catechism, and equally the authoritative sources on which they are based, do not support the view that “God’s covenant with Jews is sufficient for salvation”. Indeed 847, which is about “anonymous” Christians, speaks explicitly against it.

    That is paragraph 847 is asserting that, as with gentiles, Jewish people can only be saved by explicitly or implicitly accepting the grace of Christ (i.e. as actual or “anonymous” Christians, not as Jewish people qua Jewish people).

    The covenant saves the people from whom came Jesus … However, from the view of Hebrew Scriptures the Jews were saved by God and the covenant, inclusive of the promised Messiah, is salvation.

    The first answer to this has been provided by Fr. Anthony – It’s about being faithful to our convictions, whatever others do or don’t believe or pray.

    And from that perspective, the problem of two-covenant theology is that it does not get you very far. Sure, God keeps his promises, and thus his covenant(s) with the Jewish people still hold. Thus we can, with perfect Catholic orthodoxy, “affirm Jesus Christ is the saviour of all humanity, even as we affirm Israel’s covenantal life with God”.

    But St Paul in his letters is clear. The law, the Jewish covenant(s), it cannot save. Therefore the Jewish people, merely from their faithfulness to the Jewish covenant(s), cannot be saved per se. They, as with gentiles, can only be saved by explicitly or implicitly accepting the grace of Christ (i.e. as actual or “anonymous” Christians).

    God’s promises only contain what they promise, and it has never been the Christian understanding that the old covenant including a salvific promise. This can be seen both in the teachings of St Paul I have already referred to, as well as in the mention of Christ “descending into Hell” in the Apostles’ and Athanasian Creeds (as referred to by the Catechism at 636–7).

    That is, only on Christ death, were the just who had gone before him freed from their exclusion from Heaven: “It is precisely these holy souls who awaited their Savior in Abraham’s bosom whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into Hell” (CCC 633).

    Accordingly, it is not that the old covenant has been superseded, it is that it was never salvific to begin with without Christ’s redeeming death. And it should be noted that in this, the Church is picking up on some strands of thought which already existed in 2nd Temple Judaism, who similarly did not think the old convent was salvific in this way.

    1. @Scott Smith:

      What do you think is explicit in ccc 847? I’d read it as saying those “who do not know the Gospel of Christ…may achieve salvation.” But I’d also read it as irrelevant to this discussion because of 839.

      The Jews have a relatioship with God and the Messiah that precedes the birth of Jesus. As Christians, we should value every thing God has done and is doing. God chose the Jews and that choice cannot be revoked. We can’t ask for a conversion that would repudiate God’s call and choice of Israel.

      Does that mean God’s choice is “sufficient for salvation”? God only knows. We do know God first chose the Jews, and through them Jesus was born. It seems a bit presumptuous to pray that they turn away from those gifts.

      1. @Jim McKay:
        “We do know God first chose the Jews, and through them Jesus was born. It seems a bit presumptuous to pray that they turn away from those gifts.”

        Presumptuous like the Apostles. And it’s not praying for them to turn away from the gifts, and their whole heritage; it’s praying for them to accept the completion, the culmination of those preceding covenants. We’re praying for the end of a very long engagement, and the beginning of a marriage.

    2. @Scott Smith:
      Regarding: “Accordingly, it is not that the old covenant has been superseded, it is that it was never salvific to begin with without Christ’s redeeming death. ”
      – The ccc 839, 840, 847, having friends who are Jews, and knowing that my family history includes Jews, allows a reading of Hebrew Scriptures. In this reading God’s loving and merciful relation to the Jews saved the Jews. Part of saving the Jews is the promise of the Messiah. Without the covenant with a merciful God there is no Messiah.
      – How does one comprehend how a relationship with a loving and merciful God does not save?
      – Jesus, a Jew, was a man of the covenant. His actions and his words reflect the covenant of the merciful God to the Jews.
      – Staying on point: Good Friday prayer for Jews; we witness Jesus, a Jew, relate, pray with, and pray for other Jews. So, to write that we could pray for / with Jews the way Jesus prayed is to reflect how he prayed for / with his: mother, step-father, brothers & sisters, cousins, elders, pharisees, sinners, lepers, grandparents, teachers, priests, women, especially women friends, disciples, and so forth.
      – Being Christian means we would be like Christ, Jesus who, is a Jew, so thus we could pray on Good Friday how he would in those days.

  8. Jeffrey Pinyan : @Jim McKay: “We do know God first chose the Jews, and through them Jesus was born. It seems a bit presumptuous to pray that they turn away from those gifts.” Presumptuous like the Apostles. And it’s not praying for them to turn away from the gifts, and their whole heritage; it’s praying for them to accept the completion, the culmination of those preceding covenants. We’re praying for the end of a very long engagement, and the beginning of a marriage.

    Yes, praying for them to continue to grow in love and faithfulness is acceptable. Praying for them to convert, i.e. turn away, is not. Praying that they may be illuminated, as if God had not already sent a pillar of fire to guide them, is iffy. If it is not taken to mean all Jews are unilluminated, if is not taken smugly, if it is not placing a demand on them that God has not asked…

    1. @Jim McKay:
      “Yes, praying for them to continue to grow in love and faithfulness is acceptable. Praying for them to convert, i.e. turn away, is not.”

      Acceptable to whom, and by whose standard of acceptable prayer?

      And how is acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Messiah (as the Jewish Christians of the first century did) a turning away from God?

      “if it is not placing a demand on them that God has not asked”

      What demand is that? Is Acts 2:38 no longer acceptable? Are we a post-Acts Church now?

  9. Did any Jewish group request this change or is it just an idea that has come from the bishops? I suspect that very few use the EF prayers on Good Friday and wonder how this came to be such a priority issue.

    I see that the bishops say that they are following the German bishops. I can see whey they would be particularly careful about upsetting Jews. Africans?

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/11/26/german-bishops-site-accused-of-lazy-slander-against-church-in-africa/

  10. When I hear Catholics talking about praying for the conversion of other people to Christianity I assume they are talking about the Catholic Church. I then remember that when Cardinal Newman was criticized for not making converts, he said that his job was preparing the Church to receive converts.
    The question is what would we do with all those people if they became Catholics? There would be pressure on them to conform to local time bound versions of Catholicism. Church authorities did not know what to do with someone like Newman or even Ronald Knox. They both struggled to produce something for the Church out of their gifts . As for Jews, the issues have changed since Paul’s time. It would amount to the extinction of Judaism, the end of a covenant that has never been repudiated by God.
    If these Jewish converts retained the features of Judaism that are compatible with some version of Catholicism, I can imagine they would come into heavy weather from Catholics. And then imagine Catholics who could read Hebrew listening to Catholic priests speaking off the top of their heads about texts they really do not bother to read. It was a disaster for the Church that St Augustine could not read Greek and for whom the New Testament itself was closed off.
    What indeed would we do with the riches all these converts would bring to us in the Church. A buddhist monk….saying, “What you only meditate an hour or two a day?” Or a devout Jew saying, “Why don’t you send your chidren to Hebrew school? How are they going to read the BIble?”

  11. Jeffrey Pinyan : And how is acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Messiah (as the Jewish Christians of the first century did) a turning away from God?

    That is the question. How can we pray for Jews to convert, to turn away from their heritage to embrace their brother Jesus as the Messiah?

    There are several different ways to respond. We can drain ‘convert’ of meaning and say becoming a Christian is not all that significant. Or we could claim Jews are like other nonchristians, and exorcise evil spirits as part of the conversion process.

    Or we could acknowledge that God chose Israel, and remains faithful to that choice.

    1. @Jim McKay:
      “That is the question. How can we pray for Jews to convert, to turn away from their heritage to embrace their brother Jesus as the Messiah?”

      That’s not the question I asked, though. I do not consider embracing Jesus as the Messiah to be “turn[ing] away from their heritage”. I asked quite the opposite, how such an acceptance of Jesus could be consider a turning away.

      The promise of the Messiah is part of the Jewish heritage. Accepting WHOEVER that Messiah is, then, is part-and-parcel of faithful Judaism. So how could a modern-day Jew accepting Jesus as the Messiah be in any way construed as turning away from God or turning away from their heritage?

      I acknowledge that God chose Israel, but I think the language “[He] remains faithful to that choice” is vague and open to very wide interpretation. What does God’s faithfulness to His selection of Israel mean as it pertains to the question of the Jewish faith and their acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah?

      Paul desired to “make [his] fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them” (Rom 11, esp. v. 14).

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