SPECIAL NOTE: This post was originally written in 2008; however, I am bringing it out as a commenter recommended this book as a good response to Christian missionaries. Actually, this book is not very well written and is easily debunked; however, I am taking the time to bring it back out for discussion.
As mentioned in the introductory post on this issue, Asher Norman wrote Twenty-Six Reasons Why Jews Don’t Believe in Jesus as an anti-missionary response to those (i.e., me and others) who long to see the Jewish people realize the glorious truth that Jesus is the Jewish (and Gentile) Messiah.
Obviously it would be easier to go response for each reason; however, Norman very cleverly writes out some very crucial comments in the prefatory material that must be responded to as well. Therefore, this post (Rebuttal #P1) and the next one (to be called Rebuttal #P2) will begin where Norman begins “at the very beginning.” For convenience’s sake, I am going to bullet point Norman’s statements and then block off my rebuttal argument. Hope that makes sense … we shall see! Let me know.
- Norman contends that he bears no animosity towards American Christians and does not desire to convert them to Judaism (page xxi).
Interesting statement which I could examine in greater detail. However, he contradicts himself in later sections in which he argues that non-Jewish people are redeemed by the Noahide Covenant. In order to affirm the Noahide Covenant, Christians would have to deny the deity of Jesus. Something that is impossible for us to do. Therefore, and in order to defend the claims of Rabbinic Judaism, Norman must attempt to undermine the faith of Christians … except of course he does not wish for Christians to read this book (see previous post).
- The writer suggests the absurd sum of over one billion dollars has been given to missionary organizations dedicated to Jewish evangelism (p. xxi).
Where does this large dollar amount come from? There is no citation. There is no evidence to back up his claim. In reality, and this is a great tragedy, many churches and Christians give little evidence that they are concerned over the salvation of God’s Chosen Ones. I realize that this is a good claim (albeit unprovable) to make but the evidence is just not there. If it was true, the work of Jewish missions would not be as difficult as it is.
- Norman advocates that Jewish people are awaiting the arrival of Messiah ben David to usher in the Messianic Era as this man is a descendant of King David (p. xxiv).
In another part of this series, I will respond in greater detail about the anti-missionary claim that Jesus’ lineage is suspect (it is not!). However, the interesting focus in this sentence is on the Messiah ben David argument. The question left hanging by Norman is whatever happened to the concept of Messiah ben Joseph from intertestamental times in which everyone understood that the Messiah must come first to suffer for His people? Isaiah 53 anyone? Jesus anyone?
- The writer acknowledges that Christian missionaries to the Jewish people are both good at debate but are unaffected by “rational” arguments. Norman even admits that there are translations of the Tanakh that “superficially appear to refer to Jesus” [emphasis mine] (p. xxiv-xxv).
Wow …! I feel both complimented and insulted all in the same sentence. I also appreciate his begrudging admission that just perhaps it could be interpreted that Jesus does appear to be present in the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures and/or Jewish Bible) … but more on that later.
I pray this series will be both informative, enlightening, and provide evidence that the Jewish Messiah is none other than Jesus the carpenter from Nazareth. I also pray that these words will be written in compassion and love and kindness.