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Today’s Issues, From a Biblical Perspective!

Today’s Guest: Rabbi Mark Strauss-Cohn

Posted by truthtalklive on May 3, 2007

Is the Rabbi right? Should we stop allowing prayer in the name of Jesus in government buildings because it might offend someone?

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10 Responses to “Today’s Guest: Rabbi Mark Strauss-Cohn”

  1. Brad said

    Of course the rabbi isn’t right Stu! We’ve only been debating this for weeks now! 🙂

  2. Rob said

    Of course Europe has forgotten God. They also have forgotten the holocaust. The Rabbi’s point of view is totally lacking in strength of any conviction! He has compromised and cannot even stand up for his God. (BTW: his God is Jesus, he just doesn’t know it yet…)

  3. Anonymous said

    I stand with the Rabbi. Let’s keep our government secular so we all can be free to practice our religions. Rabbi, I just wanted you to know that not all Christians are right wingers.

    Now Brad will tell us why we just don’t get it.

    Sigh…

  4. Rabbi Strauss-Cohn said

    Our prayerbook has a very important line: Pray as if everything depended on God. Act as if everything depended on you. Prayer is a personal matter that should drive us to connect with God and our innerselves.

    We need to do things in this world to help make this world filled with peace. I suggest we spend less time arguing over a minute of prayer at a government meeting and more time teaching our children how to read, how to respect others, how to care for the environment. We should be lobbying our government to make sure there is adequate health care for people, safe neighborhoods, and peace between neighbors.

    I am completely in favor of prayer – in private, in houses of worship, and in interfaith gatherings where we are working on the social well-being of our communities. Governmental meetings are public spaces where secular matters are handled. We don’t need to check God at the door because God is in our hearts. But we need to respect God and respect the space and remember that governmental meetings are not religious meetings in order to respect the entire populace.

  5. Anonymous said

    I agree with the Rabbi to a point.

    However, I hope he doesn’t mean to suggest that it is more important to “help make this world filled with peace…. teach[ing] our children how to read.. to respect others…to care for the environment” that it is to pray to Almighty God.

    After all, our righteousness is “like filthy rags” (Is 64:6). If we do these things without praying to God and without acknowledging God, then the message is all about OUR goodness rather than the overflowing goodness of God.

  6. Anonymous said

    A prayer to Jesus in public is not proselytizing.

    It is an acknowledgment by Christians that our intercessor, our bridge to God, our only way to approach God is through Jesus.

    For we believe what Jesus said:

    “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

    thus, to deny the Christian the right to pray to Jesus is to deny him/her the right to come to the Father.

    Surely, America has not reached this low a point?

  7. Brad said

    We won’t have what you think we should strive for (adequate health care, safe neighborhoods, peace between neighbors) without Jesus as the center of our lives. You’re wanting a perfect world without mentioning the name of Jesus in public in the perfect world, and it won’t happen.

    This is just more “politically correct religion” that many Christians are getting tired of hearing, me included.

  8. Anonymous said

    Rabbi Strauss-Cohn:

    Please read the New Testament and consider the claims of Jesus.
    Consider the magnificent way in which He fulfill the Old Testament prophecies. Consider Isaiah 53, Micach 5:2, Isaiah 9:6; just for starters — there is no other who can fuflfill these and many other prohphecies. He is indeed Yeshua Ha’Mashiach !!!!!

  9. mark jr. said

    You guys are perfectly demonstrating how to NOT talk to an intelligent Jew. Spitting out our knee-jerk verses that they don’t see as we see isn’t going to do anything.
    I’m not saying don’t use God’s word. I’m saying that there is something lacking (severely) in your whole approach to this man. He reads what you type and most likely thinks, “well meaning and dumb goyim. God bless ’em.”

    I recommend going to http://www.realmessiah.org FIRST and reading extensively before opening your mouth to speak to Jews.

    And get rid of your disgusting Replacement Theology that Luther gave you.

    Rabbi, on behalf of Jesus I’d like to apologize to you for what the “church” has done to world Jewry and for the slipshod manner in which the scriptures have been tossed on you.

    For you fellow christian brothers here who may perhaps think my words represent some kind of compromise, look at my blog first before railing me here.

    WTRU rules!
    mark jr.

  10. GeneMBridges said

    Wow, “replacement theology.” Uh-huh, and when dispensationalists stop reading the Old Covenant types and shadows apart from the New Covenant, we’ll believe that. Mark Jr., don’t start perfectly demonstrating how to NOT talk to an intelligent person from the Reformed tradition. The real replacement theology comes by way of 19th century dispensationalism to which Messianic Jews are partial, not the grammatical-historical method. Try going to Monergism.com first.

    That said, if we adopt non-sectarian prayers not to offend people, then why are Christians supposed to be the ones to eat it up. I happen to think that the repetitive use of the phrase “in Jesus name” is stellar example of ecclesiastical tradition (since you’ll not find a single NT prayer using it and no written prayer from the Ancient church using it either) and is a classic example of violating the 3rd commandment. Were I a Jew like the Rabbi, rather than offering an external critique, I think it would be more helpful for his cause to talk about the 3rd commandment and offer an internal critique of the use of “in Jesus name” by many Christians. I think, perhaps, if he’d look at the Reformed Christian tradition’s exegesis of the key texts on this issue, he might find some useful information.

    But, if the argument is that non-sectarian prayer is somehow “neutral” this is patently false. The 3 complainants in the case in Forsyth County are all Unitarians. Read the statement of beliefs for their church.

    A. They are, if they are consistent with the beliefs of their communion, asking for the right to pray to the God they worship, who happens to be the “nonsectarian” god. Their statement makes the classic Unitarian “all paths lead to the same God” move. Well, if that’s the case, why the offense about Jesus? If that’s just one version leading to the same God, there is no basis for their feelings of offense.

    B. Further, look at church history. In the 2nd and 3rd century, Christians were accused of Emperor worship. They were told what god they could worship, namely the Emperor, and they could, in private continue worshipping their own God, well to a point, depending on which era of persecution at that time, but the point is the same. This is no different. For the government to come along and list what titles of address are allowed and disallowed is not at all any different.

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