Why I No Longer Think of Myself as “Christian”

Why I No Longer Think of Myself as “Christian”

The old woman gave a wink. “I have heard Brother Nathan was less than hospitable.” She addressed Dr. Baruch. “You did not tell him you are a Catholic.”

The doctor replied without bitterness. “I am not a Catholic. Not any longer. I am … since the war … since Auschwitz … a Jew first. That separates me from what the Church has become. This Franciscan would have been turning Jews over to the Nazis in Czechoslovakia if he was asked … for the sake of neutrality.”

… The nun continued, “Brother Nathan is a Syrian. His hatred of all Jews is long-standing. Ingrained, I fear.”

Baruch said brusquely, “As a Christian he wears the name of the greatest Jew who ever lived, and yet still in his small mind Jews are Christ-killers. He walks Via Dolorosa each Friday carrying the cross, but he does not know what the cross means. I tremble that a man such as this calls himself a Christian.”

Mother Superior said sadly, “But surely the smallness of his soul cannot make you deny your faith.”

Baruch looked her in the eye. “I deny those in the Church who deny the Jewishness of the Messiah. They have made Jesus a Gentile. One of themselves. For centuries Jews have known almost nothing about Jesus … Yeshua … and, because of hatred from men like Brother Nathan, have wanted to know even less.”

Mother Superior sat down wearily on the bench. “Not all have forgotten that we Gentiles are merely branches grafted into the root and trunk of Judaism.”

Baruch sat beside her, his hands open as though he held a book on his lap. “The Gentile Church has forgotten its roots. It is written … The way, the truth, and the life grew out of the covenant G-d made with Abraham. Those Gentiles who are grafted on do not replace the original branches. From the seed of Abraham all the nations of the world will be blessed. The blessing was, is, the Messiah, Yeshua, descendant of David. Shepherd and sacrificial lamb. King. Redeemer. Healer of the sick. Lover of the unloved. Bread of Life. He who calms the seas. He who goes into the battle to slay our giants. I know my Savior well, Mother, but I will never again call myself by the name Christian. Too much evil has been done in that name. I am a Jew who follows The Way.”

— from Jerusalem Vigil, the first book in the Zion Legacy series

by Bodie and Brock Thoene www.thoenebooks.com

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