Anyways, I (ahem...) ended up skipping to the comparison of faiths at the end after reading through about 45% of the book and promising myself I would go back to it. But the comparison of faiths was awesome at the end. Especially the Judaism one.
Reading it I started thinking to myself: 'Hey. Maybe they have got it spot on... maybe I should be converted/accept the Torah etc'
But then I remembered 'to do that I would have to renounce Christ'.
I would have been happy to if Jesus wasn't the Messiah, or if I did have serious doubts about Him as the Messiah. And although reading the rebuttal, it made sense to me...* (except how they say that through things like the death penalty, sins of Israelites can be atoned - which I still do not comprehend as a fulfilling answer to God's justice, particularly when justice in this life is not consistent with experience - i.e. as Ecclesiastes says that 'time and chance happens to them all', 'the race is not to the swift, riches not to the wise' etc, etc) but could I say that Jesus wasn't God?
I now know that I cannot. Not because primarily of my need for Him to be God (as I once thought), because if He wasn't I'm sure that I could embrace the Torah at this late age and join the flock of God... yet, there is still no doubt in my mind that He is.
I was weeping through the later Christian rebuttal - not because it could be said to have 'won' or 'lost' - if anything the debate between Christ vs The Torah knows no end due to a different mindset; but because one that hasn't been touched by God's Spirit in the way the Prophets were, in the way Jesus was and the forefathers were, cannot understand the trinity... the revelation of God which we say was in part in the Old Testament and made complete in the New, when God's true nature was revealed to us through His Word and His Spirit.
I know now that the differences are simply understood, but in no way reconcilable. Christianity looks to the future. The Jewish scholar said that Christians read the Bible backwards, which in some ways is true. We see the promises as being dealt with in the next life only. Even if we must suffer (which indeed living in this cursed world, is in part a type of suffering) now.
But however the Jewish reading of the scriptures is not this way. Looking instead to the past and the now (xian zai - sorry. Chinese just sounds more... instant).
In what I read where he said:
That conflict was joined at the very outset in the language, "You have heard it said... but I say to you...
In regards to Sola Scriptura and the implications in the N.T of changing the Torah's message instead of fulfilling it, scared me.
That's the clincher. If we've got it wrong then that would mean we have to throw our whole interpretation - the teaching of Jesus on His fulfillment of the Scriptures - out.
However, the fact that we see such things as the definition of Israel - being any of those in the faith, as those had faith before us - differently should not bring fear. Jesus said the Scriptures and the whole Scriptures testify of Him. But it is also written that one without the Holy Spirit cannot grasp this.
"For no one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Spirit of God".
Man is special and made in God's image. And I still have no doubt that His love was and is still being shown through Christ and through each other (although rare enough to see even from professing Christians).
We fail. God is faithful.
Similarities are many. But the difference is big. It's Christ/the renewal of Him who embodied the law (and the communication of God through the Holy Spirit as promised in the 'latter days') or the renewing of the Torah.
Which is hard, because I still believe in the Torah as right, but Christ fulfills it. If you can live life by the Torah without Christ, I commend you. But if you can't - like me - you need Christ, not only to be your mediator, but also your friend/brother/savior/high priest and many other roles only He can fill.
I could not live without Him.
* of course now I realize that it should make sense seeing as though Judaism is our heratige and very much still integral to our faith. Big 'duh'. But I'm thankful to know a little more than I did before. Praise God!