Challenging Stereotypes: My Journey As A Jewish Christian

Challenging Stereotypes: My Journey As A Jewish Christian March 31, 2024

 I’m Still Jewish

 

This past month has been difficult as I have encountered some animosity from my Jewish friends. Usually, I can always count on their support, but I believe they may have confused me with someone who is against them.

 

That is far from the truth. As a Jewish Christian (though I hate labels) I want to treat everyone with respect and love. Since I identify with both religions, I feel I’m uniquely qualified to comment on the unspoken tension between Jews and Christians.

 

This tension comes from our respective beliefs concerning what happens after we die. I’ve always been troubled by whether my family and I will be protected by God in the afterlife.

 

When I was a college freshman, there was a beautiful coed who asked me to study with her one night. My expectations were destroyed as she confronted me about Judaism. Seriously, the following conversation took place. It may sound like a script Steven Spielberg would write.

 

“Evan, you’re Jewish, correct?”

“Is that a problem?”

“Well, you do know if you don’t give your life over to Jesus, you’re going to burn in hell.”

“Thanks for telling me. Does that mean we are not hooking up tonight” I asked.

I was abruptly asked to leave the room.

 

So that “study date” didn’t work out well. Also, the beautiful girls’ statement about Jews going to hell stayed with me.

 

Jesus Doesn’t Want to Send Jews or Christians to Hell

 

This is the crux of the problem. Most believers of Christianity cling to John 3:16 which states “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV – For God so loved the world, that he – Bible Gateway

 

John 14:6 also contributes to the divide. “I am the way, and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 NIV – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the – Bible Gateway

 

Many fundamentalists shove those passages down our throats. It’s no wonder that Christians incorrectly insist Jews will burn in hell. But this is indeed a scare tactic that is untrue. It goes against the belief in Christianity that God is love.

 

I don’t believe Jews are going to suffer in hell. My God of love would never do this to people who have not been exposed to Jesus. I read the following article which spoke to me greatly: Are Non-Christians Condemned to Hell? (lifehopeandtruth.com)

 

Here, Isaac Khalil writes “The true God will not send people to hell for being Muslim or Jewish. His plan is much greater, more merciful and more fair than that.”

 

This is the truest statement I’ve encountered about Jesus and Christianity. As I said in my first column a month ago, Jesus is about love.

He would not do this as a result of his everlasting love for his people.

 

Misconceptions Between Jews and Christians

 

Unfortunately, I have read many Christian authorities falsely claim that since Jesus revealed himself to all people, those who abandon him are doomed to hell.

 

Many of these “experts” come from families that have had Christian pastors for decades in their family. They are unfamiliar with Jewish people who come from their own families filled with traditions and holidays.

 

Many evangelists are on television encouraging people to give their life over to Jesus.  However, they have not had the same experiences as myself, my fellow Jews, and even my father. It is unfair to contend that since we didn’t have their identical experiences, we are being sent to hell by a loving God.

 

I follow Jesus because when I asked him last Easter to help me understand him, he blessed me with a myriad of miracles. One of them showing me that my wonderful father was in heaven and at peace.

 

So, I’m following Jesus. He is the way for me.  It doesn’t mean I am condemning everyone else who doesn’t agree with me.

 

Let’s Love One Another

 

I will end this column with a more sincere conversation than the one I referenced earlier. This occurred when I asked my mother why so many of my Jewish friends were upset with me.

 

“Evan, it’s tough to be Jewish right now as there is a lot of antisemitism everywhere. They may think you’re ganging up on them.”

“That’s not the case, Mom.”

 

I am a Jewish Christian who loves people of all beliefs. I will not stop following Jesus, but I also will not join the antisemitic movement which has been on the rise since October 7th.

 

On this Easter Sunday, I want people to be reminded that Jesus is about love.  I think he would want us to know we are more alike than different.

 

Again, I remain open to your thoughts, regardless of where you stand.

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