Archive for July, 2010

Who is a Jew?

July 19, 2010

This question raises many problems amongst the Jews and the Israeli government. And it’s not surprising. The question is as old as the people of Israel. Of course there are rules in the Torah, but even that doesn’t make the ultimate sense.

The question is by which authority are we declared to be Jews? Real Jews? Jews circumcised by heart? Which Authority makes His people to be the elected ones? Who is adopted in that community?

It doesn’t belong to a certain land or to certain tradition. They are all around the world. Scattered to the end of civilization and beyond. But one people at the same time. What makes one to be a Jew? That’s a great question. It’s even seen in my own local Christian reformed church. Who belongs to the covenant?

Paul put it before our eyes: but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit not in the letter; whose praise [1] is not of men, but of God. (Rom.2:29) And once a time, may it be near, everyone should agree about this statement. And no other authority should cooperate in this matter anymore.

Chief Sephardic Rabbi: Bolt Coalition if Conversion Law Fails

[1] The word Jew derives from the word Judah, which means one who praises God.

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Higher

July 10, 2010

I’ll share with you another thought which came into my mind as I was in the huge mountains of Swiss. We stayed in a chalet on 1100 metres on a mountain to the south of lake Geneve. That mountain was about 2000 meters high. Some mountains around us were even higher. Probably you think you don’t have to climb any higher because 1100 mtrs is high enough. My experience however is I would climb higher and higher and higher. Whenever possible I would reach the top.

Why? Why does mankind always want to reach higher? Why such a happiness when you reach the top? The only thing you can touch there is a stone. Why wasn’t I satisfactory with where I stayed? Or why didn’t I go down to the even more beautiful areas? Why go up and not go down?

I think it addresses the problem of the fallen men. We are casted out of the satisfactory circle with God. And we have a kind of an instinct to reach this satisfactory. But our eyes didn’t see the (only) way. Therefore we are labouring on earth from scientific to common workers to get what we want. This is manifest in history all the times, as e.g. the tower of Babel or the industrial revolution in the late 19the century and nowadays the quest to decipher the genetic codes. We want to get higher and higher. And when we get a bit higher, we are proud with ourselves. Poor people we are! We don’t see the power of God who gave it all. And more problematic we don’t want to get rid of our own power in order to receive the power of the kingdom of God. That’s why we struggle with life.

A visit to L’Abri fellowship

July 10, 2010

Last Wednesday I went to the L’abri fellowship in Switzerland while I was there on holiday with my family.

I heart about the fellowship from a friend of mine and surprisingly a few weeks ago in my local bookstore I came about a book from Edith Scheaffer, the wife of Francis Scheaffer who founded it. The book is called Christianity is Jewish. A nice book. So my interest was awaken to give L’Abri a visit.

It was quite a long trip up to the mountains and finally I found the nice chalet from L’Abri with a great sight to other mountains with snow on top of it. I enjoyed it. Weird when it is near to 30 degrees to look at the snow.

A warm welcome was given and a very nice woman showed me the place where most of the students live. I asked her what is the main purpose of L’Abri and she told me that L’Abri means shelter and that’s what they will give. Many students from all over the world but mainly from the US and Canada come there to live together and to have a good and useful time. Most are 20-ers and come for 3-5 weeks when they have finished their study.

It has nothing to do with any church denomination and it is meant to let the students see what real community is. Cooking, eating together e.g. and on the other side learn about Christianity in a broad sense. To purpose is to give the students credits to take with them in their lives.

I was invited to join a lecture in the central place of the community which I attended. That was really interesting. A lecturer (who was a former professor in the US) showed the different interpretations of the literal text of Genesis 1. He told about the Gap Theory of verse 1-3 and many other things concerning creationism and the scientific challenges towards the believing people.

It looks to me as a very interesting opportunity to give a student-life an extra experience especially for those who have concerns about the truth of Christianity and a lack of a Christian lifestyle of love. The church has too often put young (intelligent) people into oppressing tradition with a lack of real life and love.

More than half of the students of the Swiss department are American. Sad to hear that there is such a few interest amongst the Europeans.