The Pope Says Christians Should Not Evangelize Jews

PopeRead this brief post from Scot McKnight at Jesus Creed. (Taken down without explanation after I posted.) Then read the full text of the Vatican’s statement. (It’s a little verbose, which is the nature of rationalization).

The position paper is from a Vatican committee and not signed by the Pope himself. But its issuance through official Vatican channels makes it clearly a statement of the Pope’s own position.

Among other things, the document says (emphasis mine),

In spite of the historical breach and the painful conflicts arising from it, the Church remains conscious of its enduring continuity with Israel. Judaism is not to be considered simply as another religion; the Jews are instead our “elder brothers” (Saint Pope John Paul II), our “fathers in faith” (Benedict XVI). …

From the Christian confession that there can be only one path to salvation, however, it does not in any way follow that the Jews are excluded from God’s salvation because they do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah of Israel and the Son of God.

That the Jews are participants in God’s salvation is theologically unquestionable, but how that can be possible without confessing Christ explicitly, is and remains an unfathomable divine mystery. …

In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews. While there is a principled rejection of an institutional Jewish mission, Christians are nonetheless called to bear witness to their faith in Jesus Christ also to Jews, although they should do so in a humble and sensitive manner, acknowledging that Jews are bearers of God’s Word, and particularly in view of the great tragedy of the Shoah [Holocaust].

I agree with much of what is written in the new position paper, until it declares that Jews are saved without faith in Jesus and declares it Catholic Church policy to have no mission activity toward Jews. This makes nonsense of Peter and Paul preaching salvation to the Jews in Acts and of Rom 9 – 11.

(Acts 13:26, 46 ESV)  26 [Paul said,] “Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those [Gentiles] among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation.” …  46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you [Jews]. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.

(Rom. 11:19-24 ESV)  19 Then you [Gentiles] will say, “[Jewish] Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.”  20 That is true. They [the Jews] were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear.  21 For if God did not spare the natural branches [that is, the Jews], neither will he spare you.  22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those [Jews] who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.  23 And even they [that is, the Jews], if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.  24 For if you [Gentiles] were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree [faithful Israel], how much more will these, the natural branches [unbelieving Jews], be grafted back into their own olive tree. 

If you love your Jewish friends and neighbors, you’ll tell them about Jesus and urge them to follow the Messiah.

It’s a sad day. The Jews are once again being victimized by the Christians in pursuit of — what? political correctness?

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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8 Responses to The Pope Says Christians Should Not Evangelize Jews

  1. Hank says:

    “If you love your Jewish friends and neighbors, you’ll tell them about Jesus and urge them to follow the Messiah.”

    Absolutely.

    And, if we love our Catholic friends and neighbors, we’ll tell them that the Pope doesn’t believe the Bible, thinks he can re-write it, and urge them to ignore him (the Pope).

  2. It is indeed a sad day. In the Middle Ages, Catholics inspired pogroms against the Jews because they were “Christ killers,: which of course they were as Peter charged on Pentecost Yet, he did not initiate a movement to kill Jews or destroy their homes. Instead, he did the loving thing – tell them about Jesus. He did this on Pentecost, before the Sanhedrin (for which he received a beating, along with the other apostles), and every other opportunity he got. We should love them the same way.

  3. laymond says:

    “And, if we love our Catholic friends and neighbors, we’ll tell them that the Pope doesn’t believe the Bible, thinks he can re-write it, and urge them to ignore him (the Pope).”

    Maybe they should ignore Jerimiah too?
    I am not a Catholic, but whether or not Jer 31:34 is true, is not something I choose to argue about.

    Jer 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
    Jer 31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
    Jer 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
    Jer 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. Jer 31:35 Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name:
    Jer 31:36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.
    Jer 31:37 Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.

  4. Ray Downen says:

    Anyone seeking proof that the Roman religion is not a Christian religion should not overlook this latest proof. The Jesuit now called a PAPA either does not know the truth or does not teach the truth despite knowing it. Every one of the 3,000 who were converted to Christ on the birth day of the church were JEWS, who ALL were told of their need of a Savior. Peter didn’t think as does this one who claims to be a successor of Peter.

  5. Nick Gill says:

    Scot seems to have taken down his commentary.

  6. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Thanks, Nick. I’ve so noted in the post. Very odd that McKnight would take the post down without explanation. The comments were especially interesting, many very thoughtful.

  7. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    I read Scot’s post on Friday. Very surprising that this came from the Vatican. The Pope is spot-on in some things that have challenged RC thinking, but when he is wrong…well, my goodness. Would love to see how he reconciles this new doctrine with the whole, “no one comes to the Father, except through me” thing. Who would have thought that celibacy would be more entrenched than the Messiah.

  8. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Kevin wrote,

    Who would have thought that celibacy would be more entrenched than the Messiah.

    My thinking exactly.

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