Before we begin, I need to give you some similarities between our backgrounds. I was raised within an Orthodox Jewish family and I assume you were raised in a Traditional Roman Catholic family. Each of us have loved ones who modeled a deep faith in our respective religious systems. These were and are people we trust and respect. We owe our spiritual moorings to them.
Our spiritual leaders both in Synagogue and Church, my Rabbi and your Priest respectively; gave us small portions of Scripture in their sermons. These Scriptures were generally used to support official interpretations, opinions of learned men and the traditions of the Synagogue and Church throughout time.
When we were able, we both began studying our belief systems within the context of the faiths we were raised in. Judaism provided the Torah (5 books of Moses), and the Writings, the Prophets, plus 30 volumes of rabbinical commentary over 1000’s of years. Catholicism provided an Old Testament with additional books not given by God to the Jews along with the New Testament, plus 1000’s of years of Church traditions. Both faiths are steeped heavily in pomp, ceremony and liturgy.
In both faith systems the Word of God is filtered to the masses, (that also means you and I), through man’s (Rabbis, Councils, Pope, Priests etc.) traditions. These traditions, representing fallible mankind, are held above the authority of God’s Word. This is backwards. We need to view fallible man’s traditions through the telescope of Gods unchanging, inerrant Word. God’s word is the only truth and authority in our lives. Yes, traditions that rest solidly on the rock foundation of the Bible are to be followed and accepted, but nothing else. God’s word is the filter or telescope to judge truth. Man looks through the wrong end of the telescope to justify himself before God and his fellow man.
The latter is why it would be easy for a Jew who has become a believer in Christ to cross over to a similar faith system or religion like Catholicism and worship the Messiah PLUS Mary. That word plus is my biggest problem with the Roman Catholic faith.
God’s word stands on its own throughout time as The Source of Revealed Truth. Again, the traditions of fallible men are never to be received with the same or higher status as the Word of God. Dreams, visions, prophecies and learned men’s opinions must line up with the Word of God and never contradict it. Our faith and practice must be guided by it. Our ideas and thoughts must conform to it. Our explanations must always faithfully expound it. We must not read anything into it, but only faithfully draw out what is there.
As you can see I hold God’s Word as the only authority over us. Traditions whether from Judaism (The Talmud-Rabbinic Commentary) or Catholicism (Papal decrees, Church Traditions) I find wrong and misleading. I feel you are following a religious system that openly contradicts the Bible in many areas including worship. My Jewish friends also worship a religious system that openly contradicts the Bible in many areas.
I was given this gift of faith in Christ by God’s Grace through the Holy Spirit and even though I cling to Christ’s feet at the foot of the cross, I know He upholds me with His Mighty hand. It is Jesus alone who holds my attention! It is by GRACE, through FAITH in JESUS ALONE that we are SAVED. There is No Other Redeemer.
Many Catholic friends have told me how excited they would be to go to Rome and see the Cathedrals, to see the Pope, to walk were Paul and Peter the great fisherman walked. Well I also have a dream…to go to Israel and Jerusalem…to see where JESUS walked….That is the difference between us…..You are Jesus PLUS and I am Jesus ALONE.
I do not want our differences to come between us. I respect your profession of faith in Jesus, but I cannot accept the additional trappings that go along with it. My views are filtered through God’s word alone, not traditions. Scripture in its original canon is the only truth! Adding to Gods Word with additional books brings condemnation from GOD.
You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Revelation 22: 18-19
For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Blessings in Messiah to you