The Christian and the Pharisee : Two Outspoken Religious Leaders Debate the Road to Heaven
Letters between a renowned evangelical minister (R.T. Kendall) and a senior Jewish Rabbi (David Rosen) form a bridge of understanding between two men and two faiths.
This groundbreaking book reproduces a candid exchange of letters between two prolific and acclaimed theologians as each seeks to vigorously defend his own beliefs while he is challenged by the claims of the other. Though issues and beliefs separate the two theological camps, the heartfelt correspondence between Kendall, the former minister of Westminster Chapel in London, and Rosen, the former chief rabbi of Ireland, show that deep friendships can be made and strong alliances formed between Jews and Christians. Readers will see their own questions about the differences between Christianity and Judaism reflected in this discussion. Whether on one side or none, they will come away with life-changing inspiration.
In this uneven contribution to the literature of Jewish-Christian relations, minister Kendall (Out of Your Comfort Zone) and Rosen, former chief rabbi of Ireland, gather together their 2005 epistolary conversations, in which they discuss topics ranging from Jesus and salvation to Zionism. Rosen is the more nuanced, subtle thinker, and Kendall seems a bit out of his league by comparison. Rosen knows more about Christianity than Kendall knows about Judaism, and is thus able to tease out important differences between the two traditions, such as how they interpret the role of Messiah. Unfortunately, Kendall's evangelistic zeal--he pleads with his friend to "look carefully" at certain passages of Hebrew scripture, "honestly examine" them, and thus "accept Jesus... as your own Messiah"--dictates the shape of the book. Rosen is too often forced to explain Judaism on Christian terms (e.g., Jews don't believe in original sin), rather than on its own terms. Rosen remains generous and gracious throughout, stating that though he finds concepts like the Trinity baffling, he nonetheless respects Kendall's views and has no wish to disabuse him of them. (Jan. 3)
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January 02, 2007
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