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4.4 out of 5 stars
Our Father Abraham: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 2 October 2003
This excellent, Scripturally based study is written with compassion and authority and reveals how the roots of Christianity run deep into "Hebrew soil", showing the Hebrew heritage of the Christian Church to be rich and extensive.
The book describes at the outset how this heritage has been largely unexplored/ignored by Christian seminaries, colleges and other educational institutions.
Through a Biblical, historical and cultural study, the book examines what our "predecessors" in the Judeo-Christian faith have delivered to the Church of today. The opening chapters of this work provide a historical perspective on the Jewish origin of the Church with the book going to great lengths to emphasise the fundamental truths that "Jesus Christ Himself was a Jew" and that the Bible declares "Salvation is of the Jews" (John 4;24).
This work tells us that as far as the Gospel record is concerned, Jesus spoke from "within Judaism" and never abandoned His "ancestral faith". The book also describes how a prime facet of Old Testament/Jewish thought was the promise and fulfilment of Biblical prophecy in relation to the coming Messiah. Something which the earliest Christians, themselves Jews, found resolved in the person of Jesus Christ. The book educates the reader regarding how this Jewishness affects our understanding of the teachings of Christ.
The book also proceeds to study the centuries of "de-Judaization" that followed the early Church, plus a study of the negative consequences resulting from the Church being "severed" from it's Jewish roots. The correct Scriptural interpretation of the Church being "grafted in" to it's Jewish roots is explained in some detail. The doctrine of "Replacement Theology" is also examined, wherein the Church is cited as being the "new Israel" and usurping the Biblical promises pertaining to the Jewish people and nation. A process that is described as developing from what was initially the de-Judaization of the Church into the concept of anti-Semitism itself. All these issues are commendably discussed in the contents of this book in their appropriate context with Scriptural references readily provided.
Other sections of this study include a section devoted to understanding "Hebrew thought" plus an analysis of the Church & theological conflict.
The book also investigates the Judaeo-Christian heritage to the Holy Land and recognises that Judaism is so embedded in it's relationship to the Land that it is utterly inseparable from it. Jerusalem itself is also examined in a similar context and outlines that Jesus was born into a Jewish family near Jerusalem (Bethlehem, Judea), He later taught there, died there, rose from the dead there, ascended to Heaven from there and said that He would physically return there. (Readers should be aware that whilst the book makes some reference to the present day situation in the Holy Land, it does not delve into the complexities and the political quagmire of the current situation. Indeed, that was never the purpose for this study.)

This is an extremely comprehensive, readable and informative study on the Jewish roots of Christianity to which the latter is permanently indebted & a "must read" for anyone wishing to obtain a Hebraic perspective on the New Testament. For those interested in this subject I would also respectfully recommend "Jewish Roots; A Foundation Of Biblical Theology" by Dan Juster. Thank you for your time
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 1998
Dr. Wilson has written a book here that explores the Jewish foundations of Christianity in a comprehensive, readable, and informative way. He clearly articulates the issues and educates the reader regarding how this Jewishness affects our understanding of the teachings of Christ. His chapters on the Wisdom literature is some of the best I've ever read. He also gives guidelines for establishing dialog between Christian and Jew. This is must reading.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This great, edifying work deals with the profound spiritual bond between Jews and Christians. The book is not only a biblical, historical and cultural study, but above all a call for Christians to search out and embrace their Hebrew roots in order to live a more fulfilling and rewarding life in a world that seems to become ever more dangerous.

Part One examines these roots of Christianity, explaining what it means for Gentiles to be spiritual Israelites, grafted into and nourished by the original olive tree which is Israel. This section deals with the meaning of our Hebrew heritage and addresses certain problems like the terms Judaizing, Hellenism, The Law and the teachings of the Apostle Paul. The concept of a new spiritual family is very well explained here.

Part Two surveys Jewish-Christian relations through the last two millennia. The Jewish origins of the Church and the eventual separation of the two faiths are chronicled here, including how the loss of the Jewish connection led to strange dogmas and anti-Semitism in the Church. It includes discussions of the first (AD 66 - 73) and second (132 - 135) Jewish revolts against Rome.

Part Three considers how vital the Old Testament and other early Jewish writings are for understanding the message of the New Testament. The three major areas in which the Church has abandoned its Jewish roots are identified, and correctives provided in every case. This part includes fascinating insights into the Hebrew language, the power of poetry, block logic and meditation.

The extremely significant Part Four deals with the Jewish heritage and the Church under headings like Marriage and the Family, Passover and Last Supper, Study and Learning, and Attitudes towards the Land of Israel today.

The chapter Jews, Christians and the Land is particularly relevant for our times. It contains an overview of the question that includes discussions of biblical history, Zionism and various Christian approaches to the State of Israel. The author rejects the idea that the Church has replaced Israel. He is also cautious about a deterministic approach with its over-emphasis on eschatology.

He supports a different option. In this view, one's understanding of the right of the Jewish people to a secure homeland is based primarily on justice, morality and history. It is incumbent upon Christians to support Israel, but without imposing their particular religious or political agenda upon Israelis. It is our duty to pray, to encourage and to work for a permanent and lasting peace. God is on the side of justice and mercy for all people.

Part Five: Restoring Jewish Roots, suggests a number of ways in which Christians may reconnect to their Jewish heritage.This includes Jewish-Christian dialogue in a spirit of humility, continued study and personal growth, and social action. The author concludes this part by emphasizing that the greatest commandment is Love.

For the interested reader, I highly recommend the following books: Understanding The Difficult Words Of Jesus by David Bivin, Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Jesus and the Original Church by Ron Moseley, Restoring The Jewishness Of The Gospel by David Stern, Your People Shall Be My People by Don Finto, DNA & Tradition by Yaakov Kleiman and Standing with Israel: Why Christians Support Israel by David Brog. And since words alone are often not enough, the music CD The Sacred Names by Anjani Thomas will be a balm to the soul. May God bless you in rediscovering the nourishing root of our faith.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 1999
A learned look at the roots of the Christian faith.Essential to help understand the context of Jesus sayings and teachings as related in the Bible as it shows the context in which Jesus lived and taught and the mindset of the time.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 9 May 2007
This title provides a lot of very interesting information and is best red as a reference book as the first few chapters can get a little bogged down. Wilson makes a point about Christians needing to understand and look to Judaism for their roots and such. He nails the point down after a few pages but manages to drag it out for about five chapters and keeps alluding to it throughout. I have nothing against the idea, but the repetition of it gets a tad tiresome after a while.

I really liked the chapter on Hebrew thinking and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in challenging some of the modern day thoughts and theologies. It is good overall.
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on 15 June 2015
This is a helpful book in understanding some of the Jewish background to the gospels and the context in which Jesus operated in. It does not claim to be a systematic study of this area but more an introduction. Definitely worth reading and thinking about, as well as being generally helpful.
There are three main consecutive themes. The first is an introduction to the historical context of the early church. In this section he looks at Rom 11 and explores the meaning of being grafted into the olive tree. While acknowledging a different interpretation, the author is insistent on his interpretation of the root of the olive tree being Israel and the patriarchs. I found it useful to think about this and it is good to be challenged rather than just reading things that you agree with, but I remain convinced that an alternative explanation is more in keeping with scripture. The author continues to refer to his understanding of this, which I found unnecessary.
The second theme is a history of the contempt that the church has had in the past for Jews. Whilst this was helpful to understand why the church has forgotten the Jewishness of its origins, I found that the contempt was emphasized and dwelt on more than was necessary.
The third section was the most helpful in which characteristics of Hebrew thought, including attitude to marriage, the Passover and the last supper and an attitude of learning throughout life. It also considers extrabiblical sources of information.
One other point I would make is that there is extensive references to scripture, which is excellent, although on occasions I found that the reference did not always say what was being suggested, sometimes this might be a matter of interpretation.
My review perhaps reads a little negatively, but the points I have made are really the only down side and in my opinion have resulted in 4 stars rather than 5.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 March 2014
I believe that the church has lost contact with its Hebrew roots. This book covers the whole spectrum of the Hebrew origins of the church and how Christianity cannot be understood without not only understanding the origins but seeking to be joined to that which has been lost. It is written with easy to follow argument and application. The best book I have read in this area.
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on 27 February 2015
My University dissertation was about Jesus in light of the Hebrew Bible back in 2001. I wish I had known this book was available then. It was while reading Rob Bell who obviously has a passion for the Hebrew scriptures that I came across this book in his bibliography.First time I have come across an author who refers to Jesus as the living Torah although missed the meaning of the Feast of Weeks. However, the book has renewed my passion as a Hebrew scholar. Thank you Marvin Wilson.
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on 31 January 2014
Easy to read and understand. A must read for all Christians - it explains the origins of our faith which is essentially Jewish.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 1999
Dr. Wilson's book offers a counteractive to the deleterious effect of neglecting the shared Jewish heritage. The book, however, does fall into emotional pleading, and somewhat glosses over the reasons why Rabbinic Judaism rejected the incipient Messianic Jewish movement.
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