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.
We are finally able to begin posting a rebuttal to Asher Norman’s Twenty-Six Reasons Why Jews Don’t Believe in Jesus. We had to go through several posts on prefatory materials (see earlier posts). However, and for now, we will look at each reason given by Norman along with a brief response to him. Because of space, a full and detailed response is not possible; however, and because of the desire to keep each post a manageable read, some of the rebuttals to the reasons will require two or three parts.
Norman’s “First Reason” is his argument that Christianity and Judaism are not compatible and that faith in Jesus is not “completed” Judaism. I would like to begin my response with the following statement:
Before I get into his argument phase for his reason, I would like to point out two or three important things to consider. First, if one fails to consider the Hebrew Scripture (Old Testament) roots of the Christian faith then our faith is shallow. Believers in Jesus cannot have a faith in Jesus without seeing His fulfillment of Tanakh prophecies, feasts, etc. Second, the phrase “completed Jew” is an unfortunate phrase and I believe that Norman is reacting to it. You will never see this blog use that phrase except to contradict its argument. Jewish believers in Jesus are not more Jewish than anyone else; however, they are not as Norman will argue less Jewish. They are simple Jewish people who believe in the truth of Messiah Jesus.
Okay?! Now for Norman’s arguments for Reason #1 (along with a brief rebuttal):
- Norman argues that the Jewish Bible provides the case that Jewish people are bound by the 613 Torah Laws while Gentiles are responsible to abide by the Noahide Covenant.
First, I would like to ask him where this is stated in the Hebrew Scriptures (OT). Norman makes a lot of claims but never validates his arguments with Scriptures. Second, as has already been shown in previous posts it is impossible for Gentile Christians to follow the Noahide Covenant because we affirm the truth that Jesus is God the Son or the Son of God (take your pick!). Therefore, if Norman truly believed this statement should he not be leading out the call to Christendom to abandon this faith instead of allowing us to follow what he sees as heresy. Because, and the third reason, the Jewish people were called in Isaiah 42 to be a light to the nations and to bring the truth of God to the rest of the world. Their failure to do so is one of the root causes for the Babylonian Captivity. Scripture contradicts Norman’s argument as well as logical reasoning.
- Norman also argues that there is no sense of the Messiah coming to die for the sins of the people and that faith in this belief is silly.
Have to give credit to Norman on this cleverly worded paragraph. He focuses on Messiah ben David (2nd Coming of Jesus) and neglects the ancient intertestamental arguments that Messiah ben Joseph (1st Coming) would come to be a sacrificial servant — Isaiah 53 — for the people. BTW, this argument of Messiah ben Joseph was prevalent until the time of Rambam and Rashi.
Regarding the issue of faith. Norman fails to consider the arguments of Habbakuk 2:4 and Hosea 6:6. Habbakuk reminds us that the righteous will live by faith but Isaiah 64:6 reminds us that our righteousness is as filthy rags before God. Therefore, the faith that we can have is not through our own merits but through the righteousness of God himself. A righteousness that is impossible for humanity to achieve without the sacrifice of someone greater than ourselves. Furthermore, our efforts at sacrifice and holiness don’t cut it as Hosea 6:6 reminds us. We can put on a good show of fidelity but God knows the heart and it is wicked without the sacrificial gift of Messiah Jesus on the cross and His triumphant resurrection.
Part two of Rebuttal #1 will deal with the writer’s incomplete understanding of Sin, the Torah, and a good definition of God. FYI — This might be a long series!