A JEWISH STATEMENT
Dabru Emet is a statement dealing with Jewish-Christian relations. The
title was taken from Zechariah 8:16 and means "speak the truth."
signed by over 150 rabbis and Jewish scholars from the U.S., Canada, UK and
Israel. It was published in the New York Times and Baltimore Sun
during 2000-SEP. The statement was formally issued just before the start of Rosh Hashanah -- the Jewish
New Year and anniversary of the completion of creation -- which began at sunset
on 2000-SEP-30 (or the 1st of Tishri, 5761 AM in the Jewish calendar.) 1
21 centuries of oppression:
The Jewish people have been oppressed by various governments
and religions for thousands of years. During the past two millennia:
Empire maintained a harsh occupation of Palestine during their occupation of
Palestine which started in the 1st century BCE .
||Oppression continued under
Christianity even before it became the official religion of the Empire in the late 4th
||It reached a peak during the Shoah - the Nazi Holocaust during World
War II, when six million Jews were systematically murdered. 3
Early Christians' contempt for, and oppression of, the Jewish people took the
form of anti-Judaism -- a hatred based on religious belief. The more recent conflict is
in the form of antisemitism, a racial concept. Past Christians justified both on the basis of two
||That present-day Jews, and their ancestors as far back as the 1st century CE are
all personally responsible for the execution death of Yeshua of Nazareth (a.k.a. Jesus
Christ). Most people today feel that it is profoundly immoral to hold an
individual responsible for activities by their ancient ancestors from 80
generations ago. However, this belief was a long-standing teaching of the Christian church.
It has now been abandoned, except by some neo-Nazi, Christian
Identity and similar groups which
combine a Christian theology with racial hatred.
||The concept of supercession: "that
Christianity replaced Judaism and that God no longer has a covenant with the
Jewish people." 4 This is sometimes called the
"theology of displacement," "replacement theology" and
displacement theology. It relegates
Judaism to an inferior position relative to Christianity. It "regards the Christian Church
as the 'true' or 'spiritual' Israel." This belief was first
developed by Justin Martyr (circa 100 to 165 CE) and Irenaeus of Lyon (circa
130 to 200 CE). It was largely accepted within the church by the time of the
century. This belief has also been largely abandoned today, with the
exception of some very conservative Christian denominations. One
indicator that this belief has gone out of fashion even among
conservative Christians was a poll conducted by ChristianWebSite.com,
a Fundamentalist - Evangelical Christian Internet site. A significant
majority of their visitors who answered their poll, 86.3%, agreed with
the concept that Jews are still considered God's chosen people. 23.7%
Most Christian denominations have made remarkable changes since World War II
in their relationships with the Jewish people and their attitudes towards
Judaism. The Dabru Emet statement is intended to acknowledge this
progress. It also highlights areas where more change is needed in the future.
The Dabru Emet statement:
Some of the points raised in the statement are:
||Until recently, Christians viewed Judaism as a failed religion. At best,
it was only seen as a religion that prepared the way for Christianity.|
||Many Protestant and Catholic faith groups have issued official apologies
for their historical mistreatment of Jews and Judaism. |
||Jews and Christians:
||Both worship the same God: i.e. Jehovah, as described in the
Tanakh (a.k.a. the Jewish Scriptures or, called by many Christians, the
||Both seek authority from the Tanakh.
||Both accept the moral principles of Torah -- e.g. the sanctity and
dignity of each person.
||Both can respect each other's faithfulness to the revelation that they
||Should not be "pressed into affirming the teaching of the
||Must work together to promote justice and peace in the world.
||"Christians can respect the [historic] claim of the Jewish people upon the
land of Israel."|
||Without the centuries of Christian oppression and contempt of Jews, "Nazi
ideology could not have taken hold nor could it have been carried out."
However. "Nazism itself was not an inevitable outcome of
Christianity... We applaud those Christians who reject this teaching of
contempt, and we do not blame them for the sins committed by their
||An improved relationship between Jews and Christians will not weaken or
threaten Jewish practice. It will not increase assimilation, increase intermarriage,
cause more Jews to convert to Christianity, or promote a syncretistic
religion which combines Judaism and Christianity.|
Impediments to future Jewish-Protestant progress:
Dabru Emet mentions that many Protestant and Roman Catholic church
bodies have "made public statements of their remorse about Christian
mistreatment of Jews and Judaism. These statements have declared, furthermore,
that Christian teaching and preaching can and must be reformed so that they
acknowledge God’s enduring covenant with the Jewish people..." The
implication is that this reform process is currently incomplete, and must be pursued
The concept of supercession teaches "that
Christianity replaced Judaism and that God no longer has a covenant with the
Jewish people." 4 God is viewed as having
unilaterally abrogating a number of covenants that He had originally established with the ancient Israelites. These covenants are described in the
Tanakh as contracts which were to exist for all time. Although belief in supercession
has now been abandoned by most
Christian denominations, it is still taught by many Fundamentalist and some Evangelical
Christian denominations, including the largest Protestant organization in the
U.S. -- the Southern Baptist Convention. Many
religious conservatives believe that God has completely abandoned the Jewish
people. For example, Rev. Bailey Smith, a former head of the Southern
Baptist Convention, was loudly applauded by his audience when he said in a
public meeting that God does not hear the prayer of a Jew. 6 Many believe that anyone following the Jewish faith is doomed to spend eternity in Hell, just as will Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and others who have not trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior. This motivates many conservative Christians to attempt to lead Jews (and others) to a
"saving knowledge" of Jesus. They feel that to ignore Jews in
their evangelism efforts would be an act of discrimination. "If Jewish people are denied the opportunity to hear about Jesus because of Christian self-censorship, then Christians truly will be guilty of
The concept of supercession, long abandoned by most Christian denominations,
will probably continue to sour Jewish-Christian relations for the foreseeable
Impediments to future Jewish-Catholic progress:
Dabru Emet emphasizes that Christians and Jews each know and serve God
through their very different traditions. "That difference will not be
settled by one community insisting that it has interpreted Scripture more
accurately than the other..." However, it is not uncommon for one faith
group to believe that they alone know the full will of God, and that other
religious traditions are at least partly defective or deficient.
One example of this belief in superiority is a statement that was published less than two
months before Dabru Emet was released. It is "Dominus
Iesus" issued by Cardinal Ratzinger on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church.
It divides all faith groups into four classes:
||The Roman Catholic Church which was established by Jesus Christ:
"he himself is in the Church and the Church is in him...."
||Eastern Orthodox Churches which are "true particular
Churches." The Church of Christ is also "present
and operative" in these churches.
||Protestant and other denominations which are not "churches
in the proper sense." Their members are "incorporated
in Christ and thus are in a certain communion, albeit imperfect, with
||Non-Christian religions, presumably including Judaism: Some of their
religious practices may prepare their membership to absorb the Gospel.
However, those rituals which "depend on superstitions or other
errors... constitute an obstacle to salvation." Members of other religions are "gravely deficient"
relative to members of the Church of Christ who already have "the fullness
of the means of salvation."
Catholics believe that anyone lacking salvation will likely spend eternity in Hell,
a place and state of unceasing punishment.
In the immediate future, it is unlikely that the Roman Catholic church
will accept Jewish beliefs and practices to be as valid as their own.
There is little likelihood that they will soon view Judaism and Roman
Catholicism simply as two equally legitimate approaches to God, that have
a shared origin in the Tanakh.
"Dabru Emet: A Jewish statement on Christians and Christianity,"
The Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies, at: http://www.icjs.org/what/njsp/dabruemet.html
Leslie Scrivener, "Jews see Christians in new light: Statement
from rabbis released on eve of New Year," Toronto Star, Toronto ON,
2000-SEP-29, Page A27
Ian Kershaw, "Holocaust/Shoah: The road to Auschwitz was built by
hate, but paved with indifference." at: http://www.igc.org/ddickerson/holocaust.html
"Saving our souls," The Southern Shofar,
Birmingham, AL, at: http://www.bham.net/shofar/1996/0796/ss0796.html
R. H. Hamel, "Real anti-Semitism," The Globe and Mail, letter to the editor, 1998-MAY-27 Page A18
Rev. Bailey Smith, 1980 Religious Roundtable national affairs briefing in Dallas TX. The exact quote was:
"God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew." Smith later enlarged on this comment by saying:
"I am pro-Jew…I believe they are God's special people, but without Jesus Christ, they are
Christian Web Site has a home page at:
survey was taken between approximately 2002-AUG-28 and SEP-3.
Their question was: "Are Jews still considered God's
Copyright © 2000 to 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2000-SEP-29-
Latest update: 2006-MAR-06
Author: B.A. Robinson