Ben Shapiro recently interviewed John MacArthur. All concerned seem to sense the import of such a meeting. The evangelicals swoon in rapturous joy, the Jews cry, “Oy gevalt, it’s anothah Shoah!”, and the Reformed squint a dubious eye at the whole affair.
While we commend his throwing of an apologetic gauntlet for Christ as Messiah, Johnny Mac only negates his own witness by drawing an equivalence between the god of Judaism and the true God. This is not a Christian sentiment but an ecumenical and frankly secular one.
That’s not all. Johnny goes on to say…
Jesus was the purest Jew that ever lived.
Here’s the problem: while Scripture identifies Christ as a Hebrew, Israelite, Judahite, Nazarene, Bethlehemite, and Galilean, it nowhere calls Him a “Jew.” The text actually goes out of its way to preclude this identification for Christ and the apostles, and reserves it rather for His foremost enemies.
When you ask me to show the variation between Judaism and Christianity, morally, no, there’s none.
Giving him the benefit of the doubt, the only way MacArthur can say this is if he has no conception at all of Judaism. More likely, though, I expect he is cognizant of Judaism’s contempt of Scripture (OT as much as NT) in favor of rabbinic tradition. Name a biblical law or principle of the OT and I’ll show you a point of irreconcilability between Jews and Christians. And this reality is borne out in Jewish social ethics and politics today: Jews reliably prove the most liberal element in America and the Western world at large. Their humanist morality is the diametric inverse of Christian morality. I mean, just read their own words on their support for gay marriage, their stance on abortion, their promotion of open borders, and of course their gleeful backing of the civil “rights” movement. Are these bulwarks of Christian morality?
Don’t even get me started on the variance between the Christian doctrines of limited jurisdiction and just war and the Jewish doctrine of universal total war.
The distinction between Christianity and Judaism is what we do with Jesus Christ.
Not really. But it is clear either way that that distinction is a conceptual lynchpin which determines incontrovertibly whether we are speaking of the same god or not. If their god is not the eternal Three in One revealed in Christ, theirs is a wholly different god than ours.
He further repudiates supersessionism — the position not only of historic Protestantism, but also that of the Roman and Greek churches from the beginning — as “anti-Semitism.” Which, in his lexicon, apparently means sin, even though such a category of sin goes unenumerated in biblical law.
Meantime, the consensus amongst Jews from the first century AD is that Christ and His witness are the apotheosis and taproot of “anti-Semitism.” According to Jews, Christianity is anti-Semitism. So when J-Mo denounces anti-Semitism Benny sees only a foolish shabbos goy denouncing Christ “for fear of the Jews.”
Enter Fred Butler, correspondent of the BTWN Network, who describes the Reformed response to MacArthur as “nitpicking semantic trifles” and further rationalizes …
First, if you listen to John’s specific comments again, he doesn’t focus on Jews and Christians worshiping the same God, but he says Jews and Christians have the same God. I think there is a difference. He then goes on to explain what he means by pointing out that the God of the NT is the same God as the OT. YHWH is not the same as Allah or the god of any other false religion, because He is the self-revealed God who alone is uniquely holy.
We should all at least agree on that fact.
Like the owl says, “O RLY?”
Butler’s apologetic is a distinction without a difference. Whatever you worship is your god. Jews reject Jesus Christ, who is Himself the God of the OT no less than the New. Therefore, their god is not God and cannot therefore be said to be the God of Christianity.
In fact, Maimonides “Rambam” (arguably the most influential Jewish thinker of all time), in his Guide for the Perplexed elucidated Jewish theology proper, insisting that HaShem (the common name of the Jewish god, unknown to Christianity) can only be known by negation, and never by positive attributes. This he argued is so because the Jewish god is total unity without plurality, and positive attributes would be admittance of plurality. This every Christian will recognize for a calculated pretext against the Trinity. And this conception of divinity as wholly transcendent without immanence makes the Jewish god much more akin to Allah than to Jehovah.
Because their god lacks positive attributes, he is ontologically unmoored. How, after all, can a being absent any positive attributes be said to truly exist, when existence is itself a positive attribute? It is on account of this metaphysical self-contradiction that Jews deem belief in his existence a moot point for determining who is or is not a Jew. Which is why it is so positively pedestrian to see orthodox rabbis in the company of and praising Jewish atheists and pornographers as “real menschen” and “good Jews.”
Unlike Christianity, Jewish identity is not creedal but purely ethnic/racial. They see their god of antithesis anchored to the blood of their people. Which is why modern Israel encourages immigration of Jews irrespective of their religion, but disallows the immigration of converts to Judaism. Likewise, while they have no religious test for marriage, marriage of an ethnic Jew to anyone other than an ethnic Jew is forbidden in modern Israel.
And having a god of antithesis, 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15 says, like their god, “The Jews . . . displease God and are hostile to all mankind.” Their god of negation has made them a people of negation.
But Fred assures us the Jews worship the one true God earnestly, albeit falsely:
That doesn’t mean now that Jews are trying to worship some different god altogether. It means that they worship Him falsely and their worship is truly vain.
This is another distinction absent any difference. To worship the true God is to worship Him in truth, according to His self-revelation. And to dissent from what He has revealed of Himself is to worship a different god altogether. And to dissent on the particular doctrine of Messiah — the very One of whom all the Scriptures testify from the beginning — is to reject the very essence of God’s self-revealed identity.
Besides which, St. Stephen disclosed the name of the Jews’ actual deity, before they murdered him, “Yea, you took up the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of your god Remphan” (Acts 7:43). Which was the same as the indictment of the Jews by the prophet Amos, “But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.” (Amos 5:26). Chiun/Remphan, (the “star god” of the Jews worshiped in connection with the so-called “star of David”) is otherwise known as Saturn. And by whatever craft the ancients learned it, I know not, but Saturn’s poles are stamped with the same hexagonal star!
So when Freddy quips, “When Jesus tells the Jews that they are of their father the devil, is he saying they worship the devil? Well of course not,” he is contradicting not only Jesus but also His prophets and apostles, who have identified the god of Judaism as none other than Saturn. Otherwise known as Satan.
The Fredster also argues that if the Jews had a different god, Paul would not have interacted with any aspect of temple worship or function in Acts 21. He says Paul’s participation at the temple proves he believed the Jews worshiped the true God. But this is merely a question of excluded middle: Paul could acknowledge the legitimacy (even if provisional) of the temple institution while simultaneously holding the Jews over it to be apostates and heathen. This was, after all, the same position taken by Protestantism in regard to the Roman church. And it is frankly, the same position genuine Christians are in when they visit institutional churches today!
The alternative that Fred suggests only presupposes Donatism — that old heterodox notion that the validity of sacrament or rite depends on the orthodoxy of the one conducting or administering it. The Reformers did not gainsay the validity of Roman baptism because the symbol is not validated by the heart of the administrator; the trinitarian invocation itself is Christ’s sign and seal which supersedes all else. It is the same with ordinances pertaining to the temple: their validity was not in the minds of priests, but in the ordinance itself.
But we needn’t get that abstruse because John tells us plainly, “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father” (1 Jn. 2:23). As Christ had emphasized prior, the Jews do not even know the Father (Jn. 8:19; 16:3).
Fred also interprets the partial hardening of Israel in Romans 11:25 as teaching this notion that the Jews worship the true God, but in vain. Which, we grant, tracks with MacArthur’s quasi-dispensationalist position contra supersessionism, but no such case can remotely be derived from the text in question.
At length, though, Fred confesses his primary objection to Christians denouncing the god of Judaism is that it might offend Jews. Which is to say, “for fear of the Jews.”
Listen, Fred, hopes of converting a Jew do not justify lying to them about their condition relative to God. Nor will it remove any stumbling blocks or lead to true conversion. Whatever number of elect God has reserved yet among Jews (and we admit there be some), you will add to that number not a whit by cunning or dissembling.
And the Scripture clearly teaches that the Church — all elect nations — are true Israel, not the satanists and atheists who comprise the people known as Jews. As Isaiah foretold, “And ye shall leave your name as a curse unto my chosen; for the Lord God shall slay you, and call His servants by another name” (Isa. 65:15). Clear supersessionism. Jews are Israel no more. Israel now is the elect of all nations. Of which the footnotes of the Geneva Bible furthermore state: “Meaning that He would call the Gentiles, who should abhor even the very name of the Jews for their infidelities’ sake.”
So were Calvin, Knox, Tyndale and the other Reformers involved in the collation of those notes and all the generations of Protestants who’ve read them without objection simply all “anti-Semites” “setting up roadblocks to Jewish conversion”? Or were they merely affirming the witness of the apostle Stephen?
“Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers –” (Acts 7:52)
Pst, Fred, I know that is going to offend your Jewish friends, but it is the truth. Authoritative, God-breathed truth. You and Johnny Mac need to pick a side — Christ or Saturn.