Tuesday, 15 March 2016
Seeing Judaism Anew: Christianity's Sacred Obligation,
Ed. Mary C. Boys, Rowman and Littlefield, 2002
Chapter 14, "Covenant and Conversion" (pp. 163-174), page 167-168
Starting with the seeming contradiction that since Christains proclaim that since salvation comes throuh Christ, grace is given by Christ, yet those who are not in Christ are without grace, Dr Spillman moves on to consider the role or position of Christ.
Christians can fully rejoice in the work of Christ only if Christ offers salvation to all, to both Christians and to those who know G-d apart from Cyhristianity.
I think that most followers of Yeshua would completely agree with the first half the the sentence, but wonder what the second was saying. Certainly, the offer is for everyone; of that there is no doubt. But let's give Joann a little more rope.
How G-d extends the grace, given in Christ, to those who are not Christians is not for Christians to determine. It is a matter for G-d's love. But we can be confident that G-d does extend grace to all, because G-d's love is unconditional and inclusive.
Once again, there must be significant agreement with this, since people from all walks of life, faith backgrounds and none hear Yeshua's call and decide to follow Him. Some Christians teach that it is impossible to heare and receive the gospel at all apart from G-d's grace, so that seems obvious. But there's still a nagging doubt that this is not what Dr Spillman means. She goes on:
This reasoning applies to members of all the world's religions, not only to the Jews.
That the offer is made and grace extended? Why, yes, of course. But have we defined our terms properly - what does Dr Spillman understand by the word 'grace'?
How might Christians envision the role of Christ in the salvation of those who are not Christians? There is no easy solution to this theological puzzle ... We might think off Christ as the one who mediates grace to all, whether the recipients know of His role or not. We might also speculate that all who know G-d, why whatever means or in whatever religious tradition, are experiencing Christ, the Word.
She may be prepared to do so, but I find it hard to see how a suicide bomber (of whatever religious persuasion) ploughing into and killing innocent victims, in the name of their religion, are experiencing Christ the Word in any way whatsoever. Such people claim to know G-d, claim to be acting in His name or on His behalf and for His honour, but this is not consistent with Christ the Word as demonstrated time and again in the Written Word - the Bible. Simply protesting, as
some might, that these people are deluded when they claim to know G-d, will not do. It seems very clear that they know something and that they do think it is G-d.