Friday, August 27, 2004

Christianity of death

I ran across an interesting review of The Passion by a Jewish rabbi who finds fault with the movie's celebration of Christ's death. "The Christianity of life concentrates on what Jesus taught his disciples about to how to living virtuously, the Christianity of death distillates the Christian message into the single maxim that Jesus died for mankind’s sins." I haven't seen the movie, but my impression (and the reason I've avoided it so far) is that the suffering of Christ is portrayed without balancing it with His resurrection. If Jesus did not conquer death, He would have been a common criminal, not my King.

But I suppose I am an advocate of the "Christianity of death", because the Christian message really is that Jesus died for mankind's sins. Obviously Jesus had lots of things to teach us, and I wouldn't for a moment discourage anyone from learning them, but His work was not finished until He had given Himself over to death. A careful examination of what Jesus actually taught makes me wonder how anyone could expect to live up to His standards. Hope, for Christians, comes not from His life, but from His death.

I know why a modern Jewish rabbi would want to find common ground with Christianity, but the same differences that existed between Christians and Jews 2000 years ago are still separating us.

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