Christians and Jews share a special relationship within the community of world religions. Their recent experience in building mutual respect and understanding can provide a model for wider interfaith relations.
Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us?
- Malachi 2:10
The acknowledgment of Judaism as a co-community of faith carries with it significant challenges for the understanding of Christian faith and identity. These have to do both with our unique relationship with the Jewish people, to whom we are so closely bound by our shared history, and with the broader issues of religious pluralism.
Our relationship to contemporary Judaism requires both sensitivity to what we have in common and a respect for the independent right of Jews to define themselves as a community. A mature Christian respect for the work of God in Judaism thus affirms the faith and practice of Jews as more than a foil, a footnote, or a problem for our own identity.
Our two communities share historical and scriptural origins. We have also influenced one another in various ways over the centuries. Yet as Christianity has developed within diverse cultures and as Judaism has lived through its own rich history, both have grown beyond the terms of their original relationship. Christianity has often been called a "daughter religion" of Judaism; alternatively, the two have been viewed as siblings, both sprung from the ancient faith of Abraham and Sarah. In fact, however, both communities have matured to be separate and fellow "adults" within the diverse world of human faiths.
Then Peter began to speak to them: 'I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation, anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.'
- Acts 10:34
Questions for Discussion
"Talking Points" is a set of eight leaflets issued by the ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations to set forth propositions for discussion and debate on topics in Christian-Jewish relations. These Talking Points are not intended as position papers, but as discussion starters, with the hope of eliciting a broad range of responses to the point as stated in the box above. See below for information on how to offer feedback.
Prepared by the Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish Relations of the ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations.
Your ideas about these topics are very welcome and will be considered by the Panel in its further work. To submit personal reflections or the results of a group discussion, please use the accompanying Response and Evaluation form or simply send a letter to the Department for Ecumenical Affairs at the address below, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Read further information on Jewish-Christian relations. See also the comprehensive set of resources on the ecumenical Web site http://www.jcrelations.net
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