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Main article: Roman Catholicism in Oman. Winter Middle East Journal. Archived from the original on 5 September Archived from the original on 23 November Department of State. Retrieved 7 November Durham E-Theses. Durham University. Retrieved 8 November Archived from the original on 24 February The Constitution Project.

Open Door. Archived from the original PDF on 8 November Archived from the original on 21 March Retrieved 18 November Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies. Archived from the original on 4 March Retrieved 22 October Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia. Archived from the original on 15 September Asia News. Archived from the original on 20 June May Encyclopedia of Christianity in the Global South, Volume 2.

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Download as PDF Printable version. Christianity portal. Judaism does not accept the retronymic labeling of its sacred texts as the "Old Testament", and some Jews [ who? Judaism rejects all claims that the Christian New Covenant supersedes , abrogates , fulfills, or is the unfolding or consummation of the covenant expressed in the Written and Oral Torahs. Therefore, just as Christianity does not accept that Mosaic law has any authority over Christians, Judaism does not accept that the New Testament has any religious authority over Jews.

Many Jews view Christians as having quite an ambivalent view of the Torah, or Mosaic law: on one hand Christians speak of it as God's absolute word, but on the other, they apply its commandments with a certain selectivity. Some Jews [ who? Examples of this are certain commandments that God states explicitly be a "lasting covenant" NIV Exod — Some translate the Hebrew as a "perpetual covenant" Exod — Christians explain that such selectivity is based on rulings made by early Jewish Christians in the Book of Acts , at the Council of Jerusalem , that, while believing gentiles did not need to fully convert to Judaism, they should follow some aspects of Torah like avoiding idolatry and fornication and blood.

Some Christians [ who? A minority view in Christianity, known as Christian Torah-submission , holds that the Mosaic law as it is written is binding on all followers of God under the New Covenant, even for gentiles, because it views God's commands as "everlasting" Ps , ; Ex , ; Lev and "good" Neh ; Ps ; Rom — Judaism and major sects of Christianity reject the view that God is entirely immanent although some [ who?

Both religions reject the view that God is entirely transcendent , and thus separate from the world, as the pre-Christian Greek Unknown God. Both religions reject atheism on one hand and polytheism on the other. Both religions agree that God shares both transcendent and immanent qualities. How these religions resolve this issue is where the religions differ. Christianity posits that God exists as a Trinity ; in this view God exists as three distinct persons who share a single divine essence , or substance.

In those three there is one, and in that one there are three; the one God is indivisible, while the three persons are distinct and unconfused, God the Father , God the Son , and God the Holy Spirit. It teaches that God became especially immanent in physical form through the Incarnation of God the Son who was born as Jesus of Nazareth , who is believed to be at once fully God and fully human.

There are denominations self-describing as Christian who question one or more of these doctrines, however, see Nontrinitarianism. By contrast, Judaism sees God as a single entity , and views trinitarianism as both incomprehensible and a violation of the Bible's teaching that God is one. It rejects the notion that Jesus or any other object or living being could be 'God', that God could have a literal 'son' in physical form or is divisible in any way, or that God could be made to be joined to the material world in such fashion.

Although Judaism provides Jews with a word to label God's transcendence Ein Sof , without end and immanence Shekhinah , in-dwelling , these are merely human words to describe two ways of experiencing God; God is one and indivisible. A minority Jewish view, which appears in some [ which? This theology is referred to in Hebrew as Shituf literally "partnership" or "association". Although worship of a trinity is considered to be not different from any other form of idolatry for Jews, it may be an acceptable belief for non-Jews according to the ruling of some Rabbinic authorities [ who?

Judaism teaches that the purpose of the Torah is to teach us how to act correctly. God's existence is a given in Judaism, and not something that most authorities see as a matter of required belief. Although some authorities [ who? The quintessential verbal expression of Judaism is the Shema Yisrael , the statement that the God of the Bible is their God, and that this God is unique and one. The quintessential physical expression of Judaism is behaving in accordance with the Mitzvot the commandments specified in the Torah , and thus live one's life in God's ways.

Thus fundamentally in Judaism, one is enjoined to bring holiness into life with the guidance of God's laws , rather than removing oneself from life to be holy. Much of Christianity also teaches that God wants people to perform good works , but all branches hold that good works alone will not lead to salvation, which is called Legalism , the exception being dual-covenant theology. Some Christian denominations [ which? Some [ who? The first group generally uses the term "faith" to mean "intellectual and heartfelt assent and submission".

Such a faith will not be salvific until a person has allowed it to effect a life transforming conversion turning towards God in their being see Ontotheology. The Christians that hold to "salvation by faith alone" also called by its Latin name " sola fide " define faith as being implicitly ontological —mere intellectual assent is not termed "faith" by these groups.

Faith, then, is life-transforming by definition. In both religions, offenses against the will of God are called sin. These sins can be thoughts, words, or deeds. Catholicism categorizes sins into various groups. A wounding of the relationship with God is often called venial sin ; a complete rupture of the relationship with God is often called mortal sin. Without salvation from sin see below , a person's separation from God is permanent, causing such a person to enter Hell in the afterlife.

Both the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church define sin more or less as a "macula", a spiritual stain or uncleanliness that constitutes damage to man's image and likeness of God. Hebrew has several words for sin, each with its own specific meaning. The word pesha , or "trespass", means a sin done out of rebelliousness. The word aveira means "transgression". And the word avone , or "iniquity", means a sin done out of moral failing.

The word most commonly translated simply as "sin", het , literally means "to go astray". Just as Jewish law, halakha provides the proper "way" or path to live, sin involves straying from that path. Judaism teaches that humans are born with free will , and morally neutral, with both a yetzer hatov , literally, "the good inclination", in some views [ which?

In Judaism all human beings are believed to have free will and can choose the path in life that they will take. It does not teach that choosing good is impossible—only at times more difficult. There is almost always a "way back" if a person wills it. Although texts mention certain categories for whom the way back will be exceedingly hard, such as the slanderer, the habitual gossip, and the malicious person. The rabbis recognize a positive value to the yetzer hara : one tradition identifies it with the observation on the last day of creation that God's accomplishment was "very good" God's work on the preceding days was just described as "good" and explain that without the yetzer ha'ra there would be no marriage, children, commerce or other fruits of human labor; the implication is that yetzer ha'tov and yetzer ha'ra are best understood not as moral categories of good and evil but as selfless versus selfish orientations, either of which used rightly can serve God's will.

In contrast to the Jewish view of being morally balanced, Original Sin refers to the idea that the sin of Adam and Eve 's disobedience sin "at the origin" has passed on a spiritual heritage, so to speak. Christians teach that human beings inherit a corrupted or damaged human nature in which the tendency to do bad is greater than it would have been otherwise, so much so that human nature would not be capable now of participating in the afterlife with God.

This is not a matter of being "guilty" of anything; each person is only personally guilty of their own actual sins. However, this understanding of original sin is what lies behind the Christian emphasis on the need for spiritual salvation from a spiritual Saviour, who can forgive and set aside sin even though humans are not inherently pure and worthy of such salvation. Paul the Apostle in Romans and I Corinthians placed special emphasis on this doctrine, and stressed that belief in Jesus would allow Christians to overcome death and attain salvation in the hereafter.

This is referred to as "being born of water and the Spirit", following the terminology in the Gospel of St. Most Protestants believe this salvific grace comes about at the moment of personal decision to follow Jesus, and that baptism is a symbol of the grace already received. Christians will often use the Greek of the Septuagint to make distinctions between the types of love: philia for brotherly, eros for romantic and agape for self-sacrificing love. Like many Jewish scholars and theologians, literary critic Harold Bloom understands Judaism as fundamentally a religion of love.

But he argues that one can understand the Hebrew conception of love only by looking at one of the core commandments of Judaism, Leviticus , "Love your neighbor as yourself", also called the second Great Commandment. Talmudic sages Hillel and Rabbi Akiva commented that this is a major element of the Jewish religion.

Also, this commandment is arguably at the center of the Jewish faith. As the third book of the Torah, Leviticus is literally the central book. Historically, Jews have considered it of central importance: traditionally, children began their study of the Torah with Leviticus, and the midrashic literature on Leviticus is among the longest and most detailed of midrashic literature see Bamberger Bernard Jacob Bamberger considers Leviticus 19, beginning with God's commandment in verse 3—"You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God, am holy"—to be "the climactic chapter of the book, the one most often read and quoted" Leviticus is itself the climax of this chapter.

The only statements in the Tanakh about the status of a fetus state that killing an unborn infant does not have the same status as killing a born human being, and mandates a much lesser penalty Exodus 22—25 [27] although this interpretation is disputed, the passage could refer to an injury to a woman that causes a premature, live birth. The Talmud states that the fetus is not yet a full human being until it has been born either the head or the body is mostly outside of the woman , therefore killing a fetus is not murder, and abortion—in restricted circumstances—has always been legal under Jewish law.

Rashi , the great 12th century commentator on the Bible and Talmud, states clearly of the fetus lav nefesh hu : "it is not a person. Christians who agree with these views may refer to this idea as abortion before the quickening of the fetus.

Judaism unilaterally supports, in fact mandates , abortion if doctors believe that it is necessary to save the life of the woman. Many rabbinic authorities allow abortions on the grounds of gross genetic imperfections of the fetus. They also allow abortion if the woman were suicidal because of such defects.

However, Judaism holds that abortion is impermissible for family planning or convenience reasons. Each case must be decided individually, however, and the decision should lie with the pregnant woman, the man who impregnated her, and their Rabbi.

Jews and Christians accept as valid and binding many of the same moral principles taught in the Torah. There is a great deal of overlap between the ethical systems of these two faiths. Nonetheless, there are some highly significant doctrinal differences. Judaism has many teachings about peace and compromise, and its teachings make physical violence the last possible option. Nonetheless, the Talmud teaches that "If someone comes with the intention to murder you, then one is obligated to kill in self-defense [rather than be killed]".

The clear implication is that to bare one's throat would be tantamount to suicide which Jewish law forbids and it would also be considered helping a murderer kill someone and thus would "place an obstacle in front of a blind man" i. The tension between the laws dealing with peace, and the obligation to self-defense, has led to a set of Jewish teachings that have been described as tactical-pacifism. This is the avoidance of force and violence whenever possible, but the use of force when necessary to save the lives of one's self and one's people.

Although killing oneself is forbidden under normal Jewish law as being a denial of God's goodness in the world, under extreme circumstances when there has seemed no choice but to either be killed or forced to betray their religion, Jews have committed suicide or mass suicide see Masada , First French persecution of the Jews , and York Castle for examples.

As a grim reminder of those times, there is even a prayer in the Jewish liturgy for "when the knife is at the throat", for those dying "to sanctify God's Name". See: Martyrdom. These acts have received mixed responses by Jewish authorities.

Where some Jews regard them as examples of heroic martyrdom, but others saying that while Jews should always be willing to face martyrdom if necessary, it was wrong for them to take their own lives. Because Judaism focuses on this life, many questions to do with survival and conflict such as the classic moral dilemma of two people in a desert with only enough water for one to survive were analysed in great depth by the rabbis within the Talmud, in the attempt to understand the principles a godly person should draw upon in such a circumstance.

The Sermon on the Mount records that Jesus taught that if someone comes to harm you, then one must turn the other cheek. This has led four Protestant Christian denominations to develop a theology of pacifism , the avoidance of force and violence at all times. They are known historically as the peace churches , and have incorporated Christ's teachings on nonviolence into their theology so as to apply it to participation in the use of violent force; those denominations are the Quakers , Mennonites , Amish , and the Church of the Brethren.

Many other churches have people who hold to the doctrine without making it a part of their doctrines, or who apply it to individuals but not to governments, see also Evangelical counsels. The vast majority of Christian nations and groups have not adopted this theology, nor have they followed it in practice. See also But to bring a sword. Although the Hebrew Bible has many references to capital punishment , the Jewish sages used their authority to make it nearly impossible for a Jewish court to impose a death sentence.

Even when such a sentence might have been imposed, the Cities of Refuge and other sanctuaries, were at hand for those unintentionally guilty of capital offences. It was said in the Talmud about the death penalty in Judaism, that if a court killed more than one person in seventy years, it was a barbarous or "bloody" court and should be condemned as such. Christianity usually reserved the death penalty for heresy , the denial of the orthodox view of God's view, and witchcraft or similar non-Christian practices.

For example, in Spain, unrepentant Jews were exiled, and it was only those crypto-Jews who had accepted baptism under pressure but retained Jewish customs in private, who were punished in this way. It is presently acknowledged by most of Christianity that these uses of capital punishment were deeply immoral. Orthodox Jews, unlike most Christians, still practice a restrictive diet that has many rules.

Most Christians believe that the kosher food laws have been superseded , for example citing what Jesus taught in Mark 7 : what you eat doesn't make you unclean but what comes out of a man's heart makes him unclean—although Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy have their own set of dietary observances. Eastern Orthodoxy, in particular has very elaborate and strict rules of fasting , and continues to observe the Council of Jerusalem 's apostolic decree of Act Some Christian denominations observe some biblical food laws, for example the practice of Ital in Rastifarianism.

Jehovah's Witnesses do not eat blood products and are known for their refusal to accept blood transfusions based on not "eating blood". Judaism does not see human beings as inherently flawed or sinful and needful of being saved from it, but rather capable with a free will of being righteous, and unlike Christianity does not closely associate ideas of "salvation" with a New Covenant delivered by a Jewish messiah, although in Judaism Jewish people will have a renewed national commitment of observing God's commandments under the New Covenant, and the Jewish Messiah will also be ruling at a time of global peace and acceptance of God by all people.

Judaism holds instead that proper living is accomplished through good works and heartfelt prayer, as well as a strong faith in God. Judaism also teaches that gentiles can receive a share in " the world to come ". The Protestant view is that every human is a sinner, and being saved by God's grace, not simply by the merit of one's own actions, pardons a damnatory sentence to Hell. In Judaism, one must go to those he has harmed to be entitled to forgiveness.

This also means that, unless the victim forgave the perpetrator before he died, murder is unforgivable in Judaism, and they will answer to God for it, though the victims' family and friends can forgive the murderer for the grief they caused them. Thus the "reward" for forgiving others is not God's forgiveness for wrongs done to others, but rather help in obtaining forgiveness from the other person.

To the contrary, we believe that just as only God can forgive sins against God, so only human beings can forgive sins against human beings. Both Christianity and Judaism believe in some form of judgment. Those who have accepted Jesus as their personal saviour will be saved and live in God's presence in the Kingdom of Heaven , those who have not accepted Jesus as their saviour, will be cast into the Lake of fire eternal torment, finite torment, or simply annihilated , see for example The Sheep and the Goats.

In Jewish liturgy there is significant prayer and talk of a "book of life" that one is written into, indicating that God judges each person each year even after death. This annual judgment process begins on Rosh Hashanah and ends with Yom Kippur. Additionally, God sits daily in judgment concerning a person's daily activities. Upon the anticipated arrival of the Messiah , God will judge the nations for their persecution of Israel during the exile.

Later, God will also judge the Jews over their observance of the Torah. There is little Jewish literature on heaven or hell as actual places, and there are few references to the afterlife in the Hebrew Bible. Another is a mention by the Prophet Daniel of those who sleep in the earth rising to either everlasting life or everlasting abhorrence. Early Hebrew views were more concerned with the fate of the nation of Israel as a whole, rather than with individual immortality.

Pharisees believed that in death, people rest in their graves until they are physically resurrected with the coming of the Messiah, and within that resurrected body the soul would exist eternally. Judaism's view is summed up by a biblical observation about the Torah: in the beginning God clothes the naked Adam , and at the end God buries the dead Moses. In Judaism, Heaven is sometimes described as a place where God debates Talmudic law with the angels, and where Jews spend eternity studying the Written and Oral Torah.

Jews do not believe in "Hell" as a place of eternal torment. Gehenna is a place or condition of purgatory where Jews spend up to twelve months purifying to get into heaven, [ citation needed ] depending on how sinful they have been, although some suggest that certain types of sinners can never be purified enough to go to heaven and rather than facing eternal torment, simply cease to exist.

Therefore, some violations like suicide would be punished by separation from the community, such as not being buried in a Jewish cemetery in practice, rabbis often rule suicides to be mentally incompetent and thus not responsible for their actions.

Judaism also does not have a notion of hell as a place ruled by Satan since God's dominion is total and Satan is only one of God's angels. Catholics also believe in a purgatory for those who are going to heaven, but Christians in general believe that Hell is a fiery place of torment that never ceases, called the Lake of Fire. A small minority believe this is not permanent, and that those who go there will eventually either be saved or cease to exist. Heaven for Christians is depicted in various ways.

As the Kingdom of God described in the New Testament and particularly the Book of Revelation , Heaven is a new or restored earth, a World to Come , free of sin and death, with a New Jerusalem led by God, Jesus, and the most righteous of believers starting with , Israelites from every tribe, and all others who received salvation living peacefully and making pilgrimages to give glory to the city.

In Christianity, promises of Heaven and Hell as rewards and punishments are often used to motivate good and bad behavior, as threats of disaster were used by prophets like Jeremiah to motivate the Israelites. Modern Judaism generally rejects this form of motivation, instead teaching to do the right thing because it's the right thing to do.

As Maimonides wrote:. It is not proper to serve God in this fashion. For one who serves thus serves out of fear. Such a way is not that of the prophets and sages. Only the ignorant, and the women and children serve God in this way. These are trained to serve out of fear until they obtain sufficient knowledge to serve out of love. One who serves God out of love studies the Torah and practices the precepts and walks in the way of wisdom for no ulterior motive at all, neither out of fear of evil nor in order to acquire the good, but follows the truth because it is true and the good will follow the merit of attaining to it.

When man loves God with a love that is fitting he automatically carries out all the precepts of love. Jews believe that a descendant of King David will one day appear to restore the Kingdom of Israel and usher in an era of peace, prosperity, and spiritual understanding for Israel and all the nations of the world. Jews refer to this person as Moshiach or "anointed one", translated as messiah in English.

The traditional Jewish understanding of the messiah is that he is fully human and born of human parents without any supernatural element. The messiah is expected to have a relationship with God similar to that of the prophets of the Tanakh. The Christian view of Jesus as Messiah goes beyond such claims and is the fulfillment and union of three anointed offices; a prophet like Moses who delivers God's commands and covenant and frees people from bondage, a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek overshadowing the Levite priesthood and a king like King David ruling over Jews, and like God ruling over the whole world and coming from the line of David.

For Christians, Jesus is also fully human and fully divine as the Word of God who sacrifices himself so that humans can receive salvation. Jesus sits in Heaven at the Right Hand of God and will judge humanity in the end times when he returns to earth. Christian readings of the Hebrew Bible find many references to Jesus. This can take the form of specific prophesy, and in other cases of foreshadowing by types or forerunners.

Traditionally, most Christian readings of the Bible maintained that almost every prophecy was actually about the coming of Jesus, and that the entire Old Testament of the Bible is a prophecy about the coming of Jesus. Leonard Feeney , interpreted as limiting salvation to Catholics only.

At the same time, it does not deny the possibility that those not visibly members of the Church may attain salvation as well. In recent times, its teaching has been most notably expressed in the Vatican II council documents Unitatis Redintegratio , Lumen gentium , Nostra aetate , an encyclical issued by Pope John Paul II: Ut unum sint , and in a document issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , Dominus Iesus in The latter document has been criticised for claiming that non-Christians are in a "gravely deficient situation" as compared to Catholics, but also adds that "for those who are not formally and visibly members of the Church, salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church, but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation.

Pope John Paul II on 2 October emphasized that this document did not say that non-Christians were actively denied salvation: " On 6 December the Pope issued a statement to further emphasize that the Church continued to support its traditional stance that salvation was available to believers of other faiths: "The gospel teaches us that those who live in accordance with the Beatitudes—the poor in spirit, the pure of heart, those who bear lovingly the sufferings of life—will enter God's kingdom.

The document stated: "Jews already dwell in a saving covenant with God" and "Jews are also called by God to prepare the world for God's Kingdom. In December , the Vatican released a 10,word document that, among other things, stated that Jews do not need to be converted to find salvation, and that Catholics should work with Jews to fight antisemitism.

Eastern Orthodox Christianity emphasizes a continuing life of repentance or metanoia , which includes an increasing improvement in thought, belief and action. Regarding the salvation of Jews, Muslims , and other non-Christians, the Orthodox have traditionally taught that there is no salvation outside the church. Orthodoxy recognizes that other religions may contain truth, to the extent that they are in agreement with Christianity.

God is thought to be good, just, and merciful; it would not seem just to condemn someone because they never heard the Gospel message, or were taught a distorted version of the Gospel by heretics. Therefore, the reasoning goes, they must at some point have an opportunity to make a genuine informed decision.

Jews, Muslims, and members of other faiths, then, are expected to convert to Christianity in the afterlife. Judaism is not a proselytizing religion. Orthodox Judaism deliberately makes it very difficult to convert and become a Jew, and requires a significant and full-time effort in living, study, righteousness, and conduct over several years. The final decision is by no means a foregone conclusion. A person cannot become Jewish by marrying a Jew, or by joining a synagogue, nor by any degree of involvement in the community or religion, but only by explicitly undertaking intense, formal, and supervised work over years aimed towards that goal.

Some [ which? In the past, scholars understood Judaism to have an evangelistic drive, [41] but today's scholars are inclined to the view that its was often more akin just to "greater openness to converts" rather than active soliciting of conversions.

Since Jews believe that one need not be a Jew to approach God, there is no religious pressure to convert non-Jews to their faith. Indeed, Scholars have revisited the traditional claims about Jewish proselytizing and have brought forward a variety of new insights. McKnight and Goodman have argued persuasively that a distinction ought to be made between the passive reception of converts or interested Pagans, and an active desire or intent to convert the non-Jewish world to Judaism.

The Chabad-Lubavitch branch of Hasidic Judaism has been an exception to this non-proselytizing standard, since in recent decades it has been actively promoting Noahide Laws for gentiles as an alternative to Christianity. By contrast, Christianity is an explicitly evangelistic religion. Christians are commanded by Jesus to " Therefore go and make disciples of all nations ". Historically, evangelism has on rare occasions led to forced conversion under threat of death or mass expulsion.

Many Jews view Jesus as one in a long list of failed Jewish claimants to be the Messiah , none of whom fulfilled the tests of a prophet specified in the Law of Moses. Others see Jesus as a teacher who worked with the gentiles and ascribe the messianic claims that Jews find objectionable to his later followers. Because much physical and spiritual violence was done to Jews in the name of Jesus and his followers, [ citation needed ] and because evangelism is still an active aspect of many church's activities, many Jews are uncomfortable with discussing Jesus and treat him as a non-person.

In answering the question "What do Jews think of Jesus", philosopher Milton Steinberg claims, for Jews, Jesus cannot be accepted as anything more than a teacher. Judaism does not believe that God requires the sacrifice of any human. This is emphasized in Jewish traditions concerning the story of the Akedah , the binding of Isaac. In the Jewish explanation, this is a story in the Torah whereby God wanted to test Abraham's faith and willingness, and Isaac was never going to be actually sacrificed.

Thus, Judaism rejects the notion that anyone can or should die for anyone else's sin. Judaism does not believe in the Christian concept of hell but does have a punishment stage in the afterlife i. Gehenna, a term that also appears in the New Testament and translated as hell as well as a Heaven Gan Eden , but the religion does not intend it as a focus.

Judaism views the worship of Jesus as inherently polytheistic, and rejects the Christian attempts to explain the Trinity as a complex monotheism. Christians believe that Christianity is the fulfillment and successor of Judaism, retaining much of its doctrine and many of its practices including monotheism , the belief in a Messiah, and certain forms of worship like prayer and reading from religious texts.

Christians believe that Judaism requires blood sacrifice to atone for sins, and believe that Judaism has abandoned this since the destruction of the Second Temple. Most Christians consider the Mosaic Law to have been a necessary intermediate stage, but that once the crucifixion of Jesus occurred, adherence to civil and ceremonial Law was superseded by the New Covenant. This position has been softened or disputed by other Christians [ who? New Covenant theology is thus in contrast to Dual-covenant theology.

Christians embracing aspects of Judaism are sometimes criticized as Biblical Judaizers by Christians when they pressure gentile Christians to observe Mosaic teachings rejected by most modern Christians. Dispensation Theology , formalized in the s by John Darby , holds that "God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Commonwealth Theology, on the other hand, recognizes the continuity of God's "congregation in the wilderness Acts " as presently consisting of the Jews house of Judah and the Nations Gentiles , among whom are abiding the historically scattered Northern Kingdom house of Israel.

The full realization of the "one new man" created through the peace between the Jews and "you Gentiles" made by His cross Eph. Some scholars have found evidence of continuous interactions between Jewish-Christian and rabbinic movements from the mid- to late second century CE to the fourth century CE.

Of particular importance is the figure of James the brother of Jesus, leader of the Christian Church in Jerusalem until he was killed in the year 62, known for his righteous behavior as a Jew, and who set the terms of the relationship between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians in dialogue with Paul. To him is attributed a letter emphasizing that faith must be expressed in works. The neglect of this mediating figure has often damaged Christian-Jewish relations.

Modern scholarship is engaged in an ongoing debate as to the proper designation for Jesus' first followers. Many see the term Jewish Christians as anachronistic given that there is no consensus on the date of the birth of Christianity. The very concepts of Christianity and Judaism can be seen as essentializing, since these are changing and plural traditions.

Clearly the first Christian communities would not have understood that they were changing one religion for another, as they understood faith in the resurrected Jesus as the fulfillment of Jewish prophecies, and the mission to the gentiles by Saul Paul of Tarsus came as a secondary activity.

Some modern scholars have suggested the designations "Jewish believers in Jesus" or "Jewish followers of Jesus" as better reflecting the original context. In addition to each having varied views on the other as a religion, there has also been a long and often painful history of conflict, persecution and at times, reconciliation, between the two religions, which have influenced their mutual views of their relationship over time.

Since the end of the Second World War, Christianity has embarked on a process of introspection regarding its Jewish roots and its attitudes toward Judaism. We decree that no Christian shall use violence to force them to be baptized, so long as they are unwilling and refuse. Without the judgment of the political authority of the land, no Christian shall presume to wound them or kill them or rob them of their money or change the good customs that they have thus far enjoyed in the place where they live.

Persecution, forcible conversion, and forcible displacement of Jews i. Pogroms were common throughout Christian Europe, including organized violence, restrictive land ownership and professional lives, forcible relocation and ghettoization , mandatory dress codes, and at times humiliating actions and torture.

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Internationally the World Council of Churches under its Programme to Combat Racism, contributed significantly to the liberation effort through providing solidarity and safe spaces for nationalist leaders and religious leaders to meet and strategize on ways to fight the colonial regime. Independence, the Church and Building of a New State After a protracted armed liberation struggle that was waged for more than two decades, the new nation of Zimbabwe came into being on 18 April The excitement and sense of promise amongst its African population at Zimbabwe's birth was marked by euphoric celebrations at Harare's Rufaro Stadium where legendary Jamaican reggae musician Bob Marley sang the iconic song, 'Zimbabwe'.

The new Prime Minister, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, set the tone for a new policy of reconciliation by extending a hand to the small white community: If yesterday I fought you as an enemy, today you have become a friend and ally with the same national interest, loyalty, rights and duties as myself.

If yesterday you hated me, today you cannot avoid the love that binds you to me and me to you. Much of the world also supported the new leadership which had suffered so much under the previous racist regime and which proved to be generous and forgiving to their erstwhile enemies who had feared ruthless retribution.

The majority of the churches, having supported the liberation movement, enjoyed a cordial relationship with the new government and were also in support of the new policy of reconciliation as it echoed biblical principle. Only the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, which did not speak out against Ian Smith's regime, choosing instead to denounce the liberation fighters as 'communists', found it difficult to gain credibility with the new government and fellow Christian bodies On the other hand, the new government was appreciative of the supportive role played by the churches during the liberation struggle.

The appointment of Methodist theologian Reverend Canaan Sodindo The first serious flashpoint in relations between the new Zimbabwe state and the churches came during the so-called 'Matebeleland Disturbances' that flared up from to Fearing an insurrection in Matebeleland where Joshua Nkomo's power base was strongest, President Mugabe ordered the deployment of the now-infamous Fifth Brigade which massacred more than 20 people, including civilians, in an operation code-named 'Gukurahundi' -the early spring rain that washes away the chaff.

The two parties were later to sign a unity pact on December 22, ending the violence, but the scars of this bloody period in Zimbabwe's history remain deeply etched in the Matebeleland and Midlands regions. Later President Mugabe was to offer a halfbaked apology at the funeral of Joshua Nkomo in , referring to the Gukurahundi Massacres as a 'moment of madness' which he deeply regretted.

When the Fifth Brigade was deployed into Matebeleland and the Midlands, the Catholic Commission on Justice and Peace CCJP recorded thousands of crimes committed against the people including killings, torture, enforced disappearances, rape and beatings. The report by the Chihambakwe Commission of Inquiry was not published and has never seen the light of day. The Church and Politics in Zimbabwe -The Third Decade Since the deterioration of the political and economic crisis that began in , the church in Zimbabwe has been heavily criticised at home and abroad for losing its prophetic voice and remaining silent and cowardly in the face of grave human rights violations and repressive rule under President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF Zimbabwe African National Union -Patriotic Front party.

In February , Zimbabwe's long-time ruling party suffered its first poll defeat when Zimbabweans voted to reject a new Draft Constitution, crafted and championed by a commission handpicked by President Mugabe. Facing a serious electoral challenge from the new opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change MDC , ZANU PF once again unleashed violence on opposition activists and ordinary citizens ahead of parliamentary elections in June Thirty two people were killed.

Civil society organisations reported numerous incidents of beatings, abductions and assault, with more than 50 activists also being reported as killed after months of intensive political violence. In a Easter message, the Catholic bishops deplored the violence used during farm seizures. The bishops followed up their Easter message with a pastoral letter condemning pre-electoral violence that had claimed dozens of lives ahead of the June parliamentary elections and encouraged citizens 'to vote without fear, for God-fearing people who would respect human rights and dignity.

The Role of Individual Church LeadersOnce [the bishops] turn political, we regard them as no longer spiritual and our relations with them would be conducted as if we are dealing with political entities and this is quite a dangerous path they have chosen for themselves. This is particularly poignant in the post-colonial era. ZANU PF politicians have organized public events at which they have invited clerics sympathetic to their party to attend and officiate, in a bid to legitimize the party's hold on power.

On March 1, , popular evangelist Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa ignited controversy when he officiated at a ZANU PF Anti-Sanctions March where the party faithful were launching a campaign against targeted travel and commercial sanctions against President Mugabe and about of his supporters. The youthful and enigmatic Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa is founder of the United Family Interdenominational Ministries and was declared the country's top newsmaker for by one of Zimbabwe's top newspapers, The Daily News.

He denies allegations that he supports any political party. In January , President Mugabe awarded Nzira a special presidential pardon after the cleric had served only a fraction of a 32 year prison sentence for a rape conviction. Before his arrest, Nzira had gained notoriety during the presidential election campaign by proclaiming that 'Mugabe was divinely appointed king of Zimbabwe and no man should dare challenge his office.

Dr Kunonga has since been leading a faction persecuting Anglican members across the country. Thousands of parishioners who are led by internationally-recognized Bishop Chad Gandiya have been locked out of their churches and now resort to worshipping in the open or in private homes while some are taken in by other denominations. President Mugabe, his deputy Joice Mujuru and other politicians have also courted the support of grassroots African Initiated Churches such as the VaPostori.

The VaPostori sects established in the early s are experiencing a boom in the number of adherents and are proving to be an attractive source of votes for Zimbabwe's political parties. However, some remarkable individual church leaders have risen to the occasion to stand up for democratic governance and human rights, risking their own lives and personal security.

Of these courageous leaders, Archbishop Pius Ncube stands out. Archbishop Pius, a former primate of the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe's Matebeleland Province, has been an outspoken critic of the ZANU PF government, castigating it openly for suppressing democracy and presiding over economic ruin which has led to poverty.

He often called for peaceful protests against the ruling elite, even in the full knowledge of the attendant risks which he referred to in a press interview: This phone is tapped. They could kill me any time if they wanted to. They say that when you have 20 people together, one or two of them will be Mugabe's spies.

He has infiltrated everywhere, even the Church. I don't care. I will say what I want to say. I will not be quietened. I am not their slave. I do get afraid. But there comes a time when you have to overcome that. I take a stand because I am convinced I am speaking the truth. And the church must always defend the poor. Other leaders, such as Reverend Dr Levee Kadenge, have at times rebelled against their mother churches and have been labelled as mavericks for their candid statements about repression in Zimbabwe.

Dr Kadenge has played a lead role in the formation of alternative ecumenical action platforms such as the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance and the Save Zimbabwe Campaign which is credited with pressuring the Southern African leaders into initiating negotiations between President Mugabe and opposition parties in Both leaders have used ecumenical diplomacy and lobbied international churches in trying to help Zimbabwe's political leaders to solve the national crisis.

Enter The Zimbabwe We WantThe immense human suffering, deepening national crisis, attacks from the state andcriticism from church members and partners in the post era pushed the Zimbabwean churches to a point where common reflections and action were the only answer. In June the Zimbabwean government embarked on a massive eviction and clean-up operation dubbed 'Operation Murambatsvina', Shona for 'Drive out the filth'.

During this operation thousands of shacks, unlicensed low-income homes, informal business premises and market stalls were demolished with very little or warning having been issued to citizens. The exact numbers of the people displaced and property destroyed remains a matter of contention but what is undeniable is the gravity of the suffering wrought by the government action.

According to the International Organisation for Migration , people were displaced whilst 74, homes were destroyed whilst local NGOs claim that 1 million people were displaced whilst , homes were destroyed Muchechetere, op. The churches in Zimbabwe reacted swiftly, speaking out boldly against the government action. The Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference all issued separate statements decrying the wanton destruction of property and cruel treatment of poor citizens.

The churches organized joint meetings with government ministers and also met with the UN Special Envoy on Habitats and Settlements, Mrs Anna Tibaijuka, providing evidence of the impact of the evictions and demolitions from testimonies of thousands of families who took up refuge in churches across the country. The General Secretaries of the umbrella bodies formed the secretariat of the new body.

In September the HOCD launched the Zimbabwe We Want discussion document moved by 'a common desire to bring an end to the daily suffering of our people', and to rally the Church to speak with one voice, one faith, one hope, and one vision in order to bring about the 'Zimbabwe We Want'. The vision document raised critical national issues such as the land question, constitutional reform, economic mismanagement and corruption, political intolerance and oppressive laws. The national media and the country's politicians took great interest in this church process and before the document was formally launched church leaders were invited to State House for a meeting with President Mugabe.

Sadly a process that started with much promise was to be compromised with some key parts of the original document removed or watered down to appease President Mugabe. Reclaiming Her Prophetic Office? President Robert Mugabe, independent Zimbabwe's only ruler, turns 88 in February and even though seeking re-election is clearly not going to be an integral part of a new leadership to take the country into the future.

Fresh elections are due in or and already there are many signs that Zimbabwe could be engulfed in another episode of devastating political violence and instability. Nascent democratic reforms agreed to under the country's new Inclusive Government IG have stagnated over the last two years as anti-democracy hardliners in President Mugabe's ZANU PF party have regained momentum in the fragile 'coalition of rivals'.

During much of the Southern African Development Community SADC and the South African government dedicated significant time and effort towards seeking agreement amongst Zimbabwe's co-governing parties on implementation of a road map towards fresh and credible elections that would restore legitimacy and democratic governance in Zimbabwe. Despite these efforts the SADC initiative has not managed to achieve a breakthrough to unlock the political impasse. On the ground operating space for church and civil society organizations continues to shrink as political tensions grow M.

Zakeyo, op. Cases of human rights violations such as arbitrary detentions, torture and attacks on freedoms of association and expression increased during as talk of new elections became dominant. Urban townships and provinces across Zimbabwe also witnessed an increase in political violence and intimidation. In Harare the Chipangano youth militia gained widespread notoriety after embarking on a campaign of violence against suspected MDC supporters across the capital, whilst war veterans unleashed terror in Masvingo province.

In February , social justice activists including former MDC legislator Munyaradzi Gwisai, were arrested, tortured and charged with treason for organizing an event where participants watched news video clips of the Egypt uprisings. Zimbabwe's churches have also been increasingly targeted as political parties battle to gain support from mass movements ahead of the next elections. Even after a high profile visit and meeting between the leader of the global Anglican Communion, Archbishop Rowan Williams and President Mugabe, the local Anglican Church continues to face harassment and persecution.

Bishop Kunonga has mobilized police support to take over Anglican Church properties and displaced priests, congregations, orphans and teachers. African apostolic sects with millions of grassroots members have also been a focus of infiltration and manipulation by political parties. Some church events have been disrupted by police or militia as was the case with the Christian Alliance prayer service in Harare, in April In the same month Catholic priest Father Marko Mkandla was arrested for presiding over a memorial service for the victims of the Gukurahundi massacres of the s.

The clearest asset of the church in Zimbabwe is its strength in numbers. In addition to this power from a huge membership, the church lives at the centre of Zimbabwesociety and thus possesses deeper knowledge of the sentiment and will of the people than any other organ, political parties included.

A new crop of leadership has recently begun emerging across Zimbabwe's main church organisations promising new ways of harnessing the power of the church and using it to make an impact in public affairs. A new Board of the ZCC was also elected ushering in a promising group of leaders many of whom were unconnected to the shortcomings of previous leaderships.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe has also experienced a change of leadership with the appointment of Reverend Lindani Dube as new General Secretary. At the ZCC the new leadership has immediately launched initiatives to re-engage international church partners who had been alienated by the lack of openness and refusal to allow 'outsiders' to make public statements on the human rights situation in Zimbabwe. The EFZ which has in the past been criticised for neglecting social justice and human rights issues whilst choosing to focus solely on 'spiritual matters' has recently announced that in focus will be on rallying evangelical churches to work for national restoration, reconstruction and transformation.

Another window of opportunity through which the churches could reclaim their position as one of the key social forces for good governance in Zimbabwe is their increased unity of action. Disunity and lack of coordination has been often cited as one of the major reasons for the failure of the churches to make an impact on public policy issues during the late s and s.

Even though joint ecumenical initiatives such as the Zimbabwe We Want and Ecumenical Peace Initiative in Zimbabwe did not end in resounding success, the churches already demonstrated the massive potential from unity in action.

In the aftermath of the violent March elections the churches have been working together in leading national prayers and action for peace and national healing across the country. In May , Zimbabwean churches under the Heads of Christian Denominations, launched the Zimbabwe Church and Civil Society Forum on National Healing as collaborative platform for facilitating transitional justice and national healing in the country.

Relations with mainstream church organisations such as the ZCC and EFZ however were strained for some time as the older organisations argued that the ZCA was 'too political' and lacked the legitimacy to speak on behalf of the churches since it had no collective church membership.

Ecumenical youth organisations have in the past been important platforms for forming church and national leaders and also hold potential to contribute to these efforts. One of the main threats to the ecumenical youth organisations has been the inaction of the churches on the political crisis which has resulted in some dynamic youths MarlonZakeyo LLB Hons University of Zimbabwe, LLM International Humanitarian Law, University of Geneva , born , is a Zimbabwean lawyer and human rights advocate.

From he worked as an intern for the World Council of Churches in Geneva. Since Marlon has been working with UN agencies, various international human rights and ecumenical organizations to advocate for human rights and social justice in Zimbabwe.

Chavhunduka, Dialogue Among Civilizations. Churches known as VaPostori have also been seeing phenomenal growth as Zimbabweans search for divine help in the face of economic and social challenges. In their work the 'Mother Bodies' are complemented by various specialized units and para-church organizations. Mutapa Empire on March 6, The Portuguese Jesuit had been sent from Goa, India, to evangelise in the medieval Shona kingdom, convert the King to Christianity and pave the way for Portuguese imperial control over the territories of Southern and Central Africa.

Sugirtharajah, , ;published online 11 February In , Robert Moffat from the London Missionary Society helped set up the country's first missionary station at Inyati, a feat made possible by his friendship with King Mzilikazi, ruler of the Ndebele state. When the wave of political violence was unleashed on Zimbabweans, the ZCC was unprepared and failed to speak up on behalf of victims. It was only after being lobbied by its international partners that the ZCC finally responded by leading an international ecumenical peace observation mission which took part in observing the June parliamentary elections.

However, the worst of the violence had taken place well before the actual polling days observed by the ecumenical mission. Video of the Year. Drake, "No Guidance". DaBaby, "Bop". Doja Cat, "Say So". Roddy Ricch, "The Box". Video Director of the Year. Benny Boom. Cole Bennett. Dave Meyers. Director X.

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AMERICAN SPORTS BETTING EXPLAINED

The Josephites formed in to meet the needs of newly freed people after the Civil War. The Josephites arrived at the South Central LA parish in the late s and early s, after African Americans had migrated to the city from Louisiana and Southeast Texas in search of jobs at aircraft construction companies, said the Rev.

Thomas Frank, vicar general of the Josephites, who served as pastor at St. Brigid from to Frank said the Josephites took over the parish at the written request of African American Catholics in the area. The church, which could accommodate about people, was struggling with dwindling attendance and was down to about core parishioners, who were mostly Black but also included a significant number of Latinos. Fernando Arizti, to connect with the Latino community, Frank said.

Hawkins came to St. Brigid around after her sister encouraged her to visit. She heard St. Brigid a visit and has remained there ever since. During a typical pre-pandemic Mass, an ensemble wearing dashikis and headdresses would sound African drums to call parishioners to gather for worship. A gospel choir would follow, sending congregants to their feet as they danced and waved their arms, giving God praise, glory and honor.

Inside the church, a Black crucifix is suspended above the altar. A wounding of the relationship with God is often called venial sin ; a complete rupture of the relationship with God is often called mortal sin. Without salvation from sin see below , a person's separation from God is permanent, causing such a person to enter Hell in the afterlife.

Both the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church define sin more or less as a "macula", a spiritual stain or uncleanliness that constitutes damage to man's image and likeness of God. Hebrew has several words for sin, each with its own specific meaning. The word pesha , or "trespass", means a sin done out of rebelliousness.

The word aveira means "transgression". And the word avone , or "iniquity", means a sin done out of moral failing. The word most commonly translated simply as "sin", het , literally means "to go astray". Just as Jewish law, halakha provides the proper "way" or path to live, sin involves straying from that path. Judaism teaches that humans are born with free will , and morally neutral, with both a yetzer hatov , literally, "the good inclination", in some views [ which?

In Judaism all human beings are believed to have free will and can choose the path in life that they will take. It does not teach that choosing good is impossible—only at times more difficult. There is almost always a "way back" if a person wills it. Although texts mention certain categories for whom the way back will be exceedingly hard, such as the slanderer, the habitual gossip, and the malicious person.

The rabbis recognize a positive value to the yetzer hara : one tradition identifies it with the observation on the last day of creation that God's accomplishment was "very good" God's work on the preceding days was just described as "good" and explain that without the yetzer ha'ra there would be no marriage, children, commerce or other fruits of human labor; the implication is that yetzer ha'tov and yetzer ha'ra are best understood not as moral categories of good and evil but as selfless versus selfish orientations, either of which used rightly can serve God's will.

In contrast to the Jewish view of being morally balanced, Original Sin refers to the idea that the sin of Adam and Eve 's disobedience sin "at the origin" has passed on a spiritual heritage, so to speak. Christians teach that human beings inherit a corrupted or damaged human nature in which the tendency to do bad is greater than it would have been otherwise, so much so that human nature would not be capable now of participating in the afterlife with God.

This is not a matter of being "guilty" of anything; each person is only personally guilty of their own actual sins. However, this understanding of original sin is what lies behind the Christian emphasis on the need for spiritual salvation from a spiritual Saviour, who can forgive and set aside sin even though humans are not inherently pure and worthy of such salvation.

Paul the Apostle in Romans and I Corinthians placed special emphasis on this doctrine, and stressed that belief in Jesus would allow Christians to overcome death and attain salvation in the hereafter. This is referred to as "being born of water and the Spirit", following the terminology in the Gospel of St. Most Protestants believe this salvific grace comes about at the moment of personal decision to follow Jesus, and that baptism is a symbol of the grace already received.

Christians will often use the Greek of the Septuagint to make distinctions between the types of love: philia for brotherly, eros for romantic and agape for self-sacrificing love. Like many Jewish scholars and theologians, literary critic Harold Bloom understands Judaism as fundamentally a religion of love. But he argues that one can understand the Hebrew conception of love only by looking at one of the core commandments of Judaism, Leviticus , "Love your neighbor as yourself", also called the second Great Commandment.

Talmudic sages Hillel and Rabbi Akiva commented that this is a major element of the Jewish religion. Also, this commandment is arguably at the center of the Jewish faith. As the third book of the Torah, Leviticus is literally the central book.

Historically, Jews have considered it of central importance: traditionally, children began their study of the Torah with Leviticus, and the midrashic literature on Leviticus is among the longest and most detailed of midrashic literature see Bamberger Bernard Jacob Bamberger considers Leviticus 19, beginning with God's commandment in verse 3—"You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God, am holy"—to be "the climactic chapter of the book, the one most often read and quoted" Leviticus is itself the climax of this chapter.

The only statements in the Tanakh about the status of a fetus state that killing an unborn infant does not have the same status as killing a born human being, and mandates a much lesser penalty Exodus 22—25 [27] although this interpretation is disputed, the passage could refer to an injury to a woman that causes a premature, live birth.

The Talmud states that the fetus is not yet a full human being until it has been born either the head or the body is mostly outside of the woman , therefore killing a fetus is not murder, and abortion—in restricted circumstances—has always been legal under Jewish law. Rashi , the great 12th century commentator on the Bible and Talmud, states clearly of the fetus lav nefesh hu : "it is not a person. Christians who agree with these views may refer to this idea as abortion before the quickening of the fetus.

Judaism unilaterally supports, in fact mandates , abortion if doctors believe that it is necessary to save the life of the woman. Many rabbinic authorities allow abortions on the grounds of gross genetic imperfections of the fetus. They also allow abortion if the woman were suicidal because of such defects. However, Judaism holds that abortion is impermissible for family planning or convenience reasons.

Each case must be decided individually, however, and the decision should lie with the pregnant woman, the man who impregnated her, and their Rabbi. Jews and Christians accept as valid and binding many of the same moral principles taught in the Torah. There is a great deal of overlap between the ethical systems of these two faiths. Nonetheless, there are some highly significant doctrinal differences.

Judaism has many teachings about peace and compromise, and its teachings make physical violence the last possible option. Nonetheless, the Talmud teaches that "If someone comes with the intention to murder you, then one is obligated to kill in self-defense [rather than be killed]". The clear implication is that to bare one's throat would be tantamount to suicide which Jewish law forbids and it would also be considered helping a murderer kill someone and thus would "place an obstacle in front of a blind man" i.

The tension between the laws dealing with peace, and the obligation to self-defense, has led to a set of Jewish teachings that have been described as tactical-pacifism. This is the avoidance of force and violence whenever possible, but the use of force when necessary to save the lives of one's self and one's people.

Although killing oneself is forbidden under normal Jewish law as being a denial of God's goodness in the world, under extreme circumstances when there has seemed no choice but to either be killed or forced to betray their religion, Jews have committed suicide or mass suicide see Masada , First French persecution of the Jews , and York Castle for examples. As a grim reminder of those times, there is even a prayer in the Jewish liturgy for "when the knife is at the throat", for those dying "to sanctify God's Name".

See: Martyrdom. These acts have received mixed responses by Jewish authorities. Where some Jews regard them as examples of heroic martyrdom, but others saying that while Jews should always be willing to face martyrdom if necessary, it was wrong for them to take their own lives. Because Judaism focuses on this life, many questions to do with survival and conflict such as the classic moral dilemma of two people in a desert with only enough water for one to survive were analysed in great depth by the rabbis within the Talmud, in the attempt to understand the principles a godly person should draw upon in such a circumstance.

The Sermon on the Mount records that Jesus taught that if someone comes to harm you, then one must turn the other cheek. This has led four Protestant Christian denominations to develop a theology of pacifism , the avoidance of force and violence at all times. They are known historically as the peace churches , and have incorporated Christ's teachings on nonviolence into their theology so as to apply it to participation in the use of violent force; those denominations are the Quakers , Mennonites , Amish , and the Church of the Brethren.

Many other churches have people who hold to the doctrine without making it a part of their doctrines, or who apply it to individuals but not to governments, see also Evangelical counsels. The vast majority of Christian nations and groups have not adopted this theology, nor have they followed it in practice. See also But to bring a sword. Although the Hebrew Bible has many references to capital punishment , the Jewish sages used their authority to make it nearly impossible for a Jewish court to impose a death sentence.

Even when such a sentence might have been imposed, the Cities of Refuge and other sanctuaries, were at hand for those unintentionally guilty of capital offences. It was said in the Talmud about the death penalty in Judaism, that if a court killed more than one person in seventy years, it was a barbarous or "bloody" court and should be condemned as such.

Christianity usually reserved the death penalty for heresy , the denial of the orthodox view of God's view, and witchcraft or similar non-Christian practices. For example, in Spain, unrepentant Jews were exiled, and it was only those crypto-Jews who had accepted baptism under pressure but retained Jewish customs in private, who were punished in this way. It is presently acknowledged by most of Christianity that these uses of capital punishment were deeply immoral.

Orthodox Jews, unlike most Christians, still practice a restrictive diet that has many rules. Most Christians believe that the kosher food laws have been superseded , for example citing what Jesus taught in Mark 7 : what you eat doesn't make you unclean but what comes out of a man's heart makes him unclean—although Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy have their own set of dietary observances.

Eastern Orthodoxy, in particular has very elaborate and strict rules of fasting , and continues to observe the Council of Jerusalem 's apostolic decree of Act Some Christian denominations observe some biblical food laws, for example the practice of Ital in Rastifarianism. Jehovah's Witnesses do not eat blood products and are known for their refusal to accept blood transfusions based on not "eating blood". Judaism does not see human beings as inherently flawed or sinful and needful of being saved from it, but rather capable with a free will of being righteous, and unlike Christianity does not closely associate ideas of "salvation" with a New Covenant delivered by a Jewish messiah, although in Judaism Jewish people will have a renewed national commitment of observing God's commandments under the New Covenant, and the Jewish Messiah will also be ruling at a time of global peace and acceptance of God by all people.

Judaism holds instead that proper living is accomplished through good works and heartfelt prayer, as well as a strong faith in God. Judaism also teaches that gentiles can receive a share in " the world to come ". The Protestant view is that every human is a sinner, and being saved by God's grace, not simply by the merit of one's own actions, pardons a damnatory sentence to Hell.

In Judaism, one must go to those he has harmed to be entitled to forgiveness. This also means that, unless the victim forgave the perpetrator before he died, murder is unforgivable in Judaism, and they will answer to God for it, though the victims' family and friends can forgive the murderer for the grief they caused them.

Thus the "reward" for forgiving others is not God's forgiveness for wrongs done to others, but rather help in obtaining forgiveness from the other person. To the contrary, we believe that just as only God can forgive sins against God, so only human beings can forgive sins against human beings. Both Christianity and Judaism believe in some form of judgment. Those who have accepted Jesus as their personal saviour will be saved and live in God's presence in the Kingdom of Heaven , those who have not accepted Jesus as their saviour, will be cast into the Lake of fire eternal torment, finite torment, or simply annihilated , see for example The Sheep and the Goats.

In Jewish liturgy there is significant prayer and talk of a "book of life" that one is written into, indicating that God judges each person each year even after death. This annual judgment process begins on Rosh Hashanah and ends with Yom Kippur. Additionally, God sits daily in judgment concerning a person's daily activities. Upon the anticipated arrival of the Messiah , God will judge the nations for their persecution of Israel during the exile. Later, God will also judge the Jews over their observance of the Torah.

There is little Jewish literature on heaven or hell as actual places, and there are few references to the afterlife in the Hebrew Bible. Another is a mention by the Prophet Daniel of those who sleep in the earth rising to either everlasting life or everlasting abhorrence. Early Hebrew views were more concerned with the fate of the nation of Israel as a whole, rather than with individual immortality. Pharisees believed that in death, people rest in their graves until they are physically resurrected with the coming of the Messiah, and within that resurrected body the soul would exist eternally.

Judaism's view is summed up by a biblical observation about the Torah: in the beginning God clothes the naked Adam , and at the end God buries the dead Moses. In Judaism, Heaven is sometimes described as a place where God debates Talmudic law with the angels, and where Jews spend eternity studying the Written and Oral Torah.

Jews do not believe in "Hell" as a place of eternal torment. Gehenna is a place or condition of purgatory where Jews spend up to twelve months purifying to get into heaven, [ citation needed ] depending on how sinful they have been, although some suggest that certain types of sinners can never be purified enough to go to heaven and rather than facing eternal torment, simply cease to exist. Therefore, some violations like suicide would be punished by separation from the community, such as not being buried in a Jewish cemetery in practice, rabbis often rule suicides to be mentally incompetent and thus not responsible for their actions.

Judaism also does not have a notion of hell as a place ruled by Satan since God's dominion is total and Satan is only one of God's angels. Catholics also believe in a purgatory for those who are going to heaven, but Christians in general believe that Hell is a fiery place of torment that never ceases, called the Lake of Fire.

A small minority believe this is not permanent, and that those who go there will eventually either be saved or cease to exist. Heaven for Christians is depicted in various ways. As the Kingdom of God described in the New Testament and particularly the Book of Revelation , Heaven is a new or restored earth, a World to Come , free of sin and death, with a New Jerusalem led by God, Jesus, and the most righteous of believers starting with , Israelites from every tribe, and all others who received salvation living peacefully and making pilgrimages to give glory to the city.

In Christianity, promises of Heaven and Hell as rewards and punishments are often used to motivate good and bad behavior, as threats of disaster were used by prophets like Jeremiah to motivate the Israelites. Modern Judaism generally rejects this form of motivation, instead teaching to do the right thing because it's the right thing to do. As Maimonides wrote:.

It is not proper to serve God in this fashion. For one who serves thus serves out of fear. Such a way is not that of the prophets and sages. Only the ignorant, and the women and children serve God in this way. These are trained to serve out of fear until they obtain sufficient knowledge to serve out of love. One who serves God out of love studies the Torah and practices the precepts and walks in the way of wisdom for no ulterior motive at all, neither out of fear of evil nor in order to acquire the good, but follows the truth because it is true and the good will follow the merit of attaining to it.

When man loves God with a love that is fitting he automatically carries out all the precepts of love. Jews believe that a descendant of King David will one day appear to restore the Kingdom of Israel and usher in an era of peace, prosperity, and spiritual understanding for Israel and all the nations of the world.

Jews refer to this person as Moshiach or "anointed one", translated as messiah in English. The traditional Jewish understanding of the messiah is that he is fully human and born of human parents without any supernatural element. The messiah is expected to have a relationship with God similar to that of the prophets of the Tanakh. The Christian view of Jesus as Messiah goes beyond such claims and is the fulfillment and union of three anointed offices; a prophet like Moses who delivers God's commands and covenant and frees people from bondage, a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek overshadowing the Levite priesthood and a king like King David ruling over Jews, and like God ruling over the whole world and coming from the line of David.

For Christians, Jesus is also fully human and fully divine as the Word of God who sacrifices himself so that humans can receive salvation. Jesus sits in Heaven at the Right Hand of God and will judge humanity in the end times when he returns to earth. Christian readings of the Hebrew Bible find many references to Jesus.

This can take the form of specific prophesy, and in other cases of foreshadowing by types or forerunners. Traditionally, most Christian readings of the Bible maintained that almost every prophecy was actually about the coming of Jesus, and that the entire Old Testament of the Bible is a prophecy about the coming of Jesus.

Leonard Feeney , interpreted as limiting salvation to Catholics only. At the same time, it does not deny the possibility that those not visibly members of the Church may attain salvation as well. In recent times, its teaching has been most notably expressed in the Vatican II council documents Unitatis Redintegratio , Lumen gentium , Nostra aetate , an encyclical issued by Pope John Paul II: Ut unum sint , and in a document issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , Dominus Iesus in The latter document has been criticised for claiming that non-Christians are in a "gravely deficient situation" as compared to Catholics, but also adds that "for those who are not formally and visibly members of the Church, salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church, but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation.

Pope John Paul II on 2 October emphasized that this document did not say that non-Christians were actively denied salvation: " On 6 December the Pope issued a statement to further emphasize that the Church continued to support its traditional stance that salvation was available to believers of other faiths: "The gospel teaches us that those who live in accordance with the Beatitudes—the poor in spirit, the pure of heart, those who bear lovingly the sufferings of life—will enter God's kingdom.

The document stated: "Jews already dwell in a saving covenant with God" and "Jews are also called by God to prepare the world for God's Kingdom. In December , the Vatican released a 10,word document that, among other things, stated that Jews do not need to be converted to find salvation, and that Catholics should work with Jews to fight antisemitism. Eastern Orthodox Christianity emphasizes a continuing life of repentance or metanoia , which includes an increasing improvement in thought, belief and action.

Regarding the salvation of Jews, Muslims , and other non-Christians, the Orthodox have traditionally taught that there is no salvation outside the church. Orthodoxy recognizes that other religions may contain truth, to the extent that they are in agreement with Christianity. God is thought to be good, just, and merciful; it would not seem just to condemn someone because they never heard the Gospel message, or were taught a distorted version of the Gospel by heretics.

Therefore, the reasoning goes, they must at some point have an opportunity to make a genuine informed decision. Jews, Muslims, and members of other faiths, then, are expected to convert to Christianity in the afterlife. Judaism is not a proselytizing religion. Orthodox Judaism deliberately makes it very difficult to convert and become a Jew, and requires a significant and full-time effort in living, study, righteousness, and conduct over several years.

The final decision is by no means a foregone conclusion. A person cannot become Jewish by marrying a Jew, or by joining a synagogue, nor by any degree of involvement in the community or religion, but only by explicitly undertaking intense, formal, and supervised work over years aimed towards that goal.

Some [ which? In the past, scholars understood Judaism to have an evangelistic drive, [41] but today's scholars are inclined to the view that its was often more akin just to "greater openness to converts" rather than active soliciting of conversions. Since Jews believe that one need not be a Jew to approach God, there is no religious pressure to convert non-Jews to their faith.

Indeed, Scholars have revisited the traditional claims about Jewish proselytizing and have brought forward a variety of new insights. McKnight and Goodman have argued persuasively that a distinction ought to be made between the passive reception of converts or interested Pagans, and an active desire or intent to convert the non-Jewish world to Judaism.

The Chabad-Lubavitch branch of Hasidic Judaism has been an exception to this non-proselytizing standard, since in recent decades it has been actively promoting Noahide Laws for gentiles as an alternative to Christianity. By contrast, Christianity is an explicitly evangelistic religion.

Christians are commanded by Jesus to " Therefore go and make disciples of all nations ". Historically, evangelism has on rare occasions led to forced conversion under threat of death or mass expulsion. Many Jews view Jesus as one in a long list of failed Jewish claimants to be the Messiah , none of whom fulfilled the tests of a prophet specified in the Law of Moses. Others see Jesus as a teacher who worked with the gentiles and ascribe the messianic claims that Jews find objectionable to his later followers.

Because much physical and spiritual violence was done to Jews in the name of Jesus and his followers, [ citation needed ] and because evangelism is still an active aspect of many church's activities, many Jews are uncomfortable with discussing Jesus and treat him as a non-person. In answering the question "What do Jews think of Jesus", philosopher Milton Steinberg claims, for Jews, Jesus cannot be accepted as anything more than a teacher.

Judaism does not believe that God requires the sacrifice of any human. This is emphasized in Jewish traditions concerning the story of the Akedah , the binding of Isaac. In the Jewish explanation, this is a story in the Torah whereby God wanted to test Abraham's faith and willingness, and Isaac was never going to be actually sacrificed. Thus, Judaism rejects the notion that anyone can or should die for anyone else's sin. Judaism does not believe in the Christian concept of hell but does have a punishment stage in the afterlife i.

Gehenna, a term that also appears in the New Testament and translated as hell as well as a Heaven Gan Eden , but the religion does not intend it as a focus. Judaism views the worship of Jesus as inherently polytheistic, and rejects the Christian attempts to explain the Trinity as a complex monotheism.

Christians believe that Christianity is the fulfillment and successor of Judaism, retaining much of its doctrine and many of its practices including monotheism , the belief in a Messiah, and certain forms of worship like prayer and reading from religious texts.

Christians believe that Judaism requires blood sacrifice to atone for sins, and believe that Judaism has abandoned this since the destruction of the Second Temple. Most Christians consider the Mosaic Law to have been a necessary intermediate stage, but that once the crucifixion of Jesus occurred, adherence to civil and ceremonial Law was superseded by the New Covenant. This position has been softened or disputed by other Christians [ who?

New Covenant theology is thus in contrast to Dual-covenant theology. Christians embracing aspects of Judaism are sometimes criticized as Biblical Judaizers by Christians when they pressure gentile Christians to observe Mosaic teachings rejected by most modern Christians. Dispensation Theology , formalized in the s by John Darby , holds that "God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Commonwealth Theology, on the other hand, recognizes the continuity of God's "congregation in the wilderness Acts " as presently consisting of the Jews house of Judah and the Nations Gentiles , among whom are abiding the historically scattered Northern Kingdom house of Israel.

The full realization of the "one new man" created through the peace between the Jews and "you Gentiles" made by His cross Eph. Some scholars have found evidence of continuous interactions between Jewish-Christian and rabbinic movements from the mid- to late second century CE to the fourth century CE. Of particular importance is the figure of James the brother of Jesus, leader of the Christian Church in Jerusalem until he was killed in the year 62, known for his righteous behavior as a Jew, and who set the terms of the relationship between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians in dialogue with Paul.

To him is attributed a letter emphasizing that faith must be expressed in works. The neglect of this mediating figure has often damaged Christian-Jewish relations. Modern scholarship is engaged in an ongoing debate as to the proper designation for Jesus' first followers. Many see the term Jewish Christians as anachronistic given that there is no consensus on the date of the birth of Christianity.

The very concepts of Christianity and Judaism can be seen as essentializing, since these are changing and plural traditions. Clearly the first Christian communities would not have understood that they were changing one religion for another, as they understood faith in the resurrected Jesus as the fulfillment of Jewish prophecies, and the mission to the gentiles by Saul Paul of Tarsus came as a secondary activity.

Some modern scholars have suggested the designations "Jewish believers in Jesus" or "Jewish followers of Jesus" as better reflecting the original context. In addition to each having varied views on the other as a religion, there has also been a long and often painful history of conflict, persecution and at times, reconciliation, between the two religions, which have influenced their mutual views of their relationship over time.

Since the end of the Second World War, Christianity has embarked on a process of introspection regarding its Jewish roots and its attitudes toward Judaism. We decree that no Christian shall use violence to force them to be baptized, so long as they are unwilling and refuse. Without the judgment of the political authority of the land, no Christian shall presume to wound them or kill them or rob them of their money or change the good customs that they have thus far enjoyed in the place where they live.

Persecution, forcible conversion, and forcible displacement of Jews i. Pogroms were common throughout Christian Europe, including organized violence, restrictive land ownership and professional lives, forcible relocation and ghettoization , mandatory dress codes, and at times humiliating actions and torture. All had major effects on Jewish cultures. From the fifth century onward Church councils imposed ever-increasing burdens and limitations on the Jews.

Among the decrees: marriages between a Jew and a Christian were forbidden Orleans, and ; Clermont, ; Toledo, and Jews were forbidden to appear in public during Easter Orleans, ; Macon, and to work on Sunday Narbonne, Only a few small and scattered communities survived. There have also been non-coercive outreach and missionary efforts such as the Church of England 's Ministry Among Jewish People , founded in For Martin Buber, Judaism and Christianity were variations on the same theme of messianism.

Buber made this theme the basis of a famous definition of the tension between Judaism and Christianity:. Pre-messianically, our destinies are divided. Now to the Christian, the Jew is the incomprehensibly obdurate man who declines to see what has happened; and to the Jew, the Christian is the incomprehensibly daring man who affirms in an unredeemed world that its redemption has been accomplished. This is a gulf which no human power can bridge.

Following the Holocaust , attempts have been made to construct a new Jewish-Christian relationship of mutual respect for differences, through the inauguration of the interfaith body the Council of Christians and Jews in and International Council of Christians and Jews. The Seelisberg Conference in established 10 points relating to the sources of Christian antisemitism. The ICCJ's "Twelve points of Berlin" sixty years later aim to reflect a recommitment to interreligious dialogue between the two communities.

Pope John Paul II and the Catholic Church have "upheld the Church's acceptance of the continuing and permanent election of the Jewish people" as well as a reaffirmation of the covenant between God and the Jews. The Statement Between Jerusalem and Rome does not hide the theological differences that exist between the two faith traditions while all the same it expresses a firm resolve to collaborate more closely, now and in the future.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Part of a series on Christianity. Jesus Christ. Nativity Crucifixion Resurrection. Bible Foundations. History Tradition. Denominations Groups. Related topics. Main article: Jewish Christian. See also: Christian theology. This section may need to be rewritten to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards. You can help. The talk page may contain suggestions. June This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. November Learn how and when to remove this template message. See also: Antinomianism , Biblical law in Christianity , and Christian anarchism. Main articles: God in Judaism and God in Christianity. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Main article: Shituf. April Learn how and when to remove this template message.

Main articles: Jewish views of sin and Christian views on sin.

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As a human rights practitioner who has and continues to work with churches and ecumenical organisations in Zimbabwe and internationally, the writer will also include observations from more recent experiences in the assessment. Religion and Spirituality in ZimbabweA great majority of the people of Zimbabwe like most peoples of Africa are a profoundly spiritual people in whose life -personal and communal -religion is a dominant force. Two distinguished scholars based in the Netherlands have born witness to the fact that "religion operates at every level of society in Africa where popular priests and prophets work in the areas where the poor live, while the rich may have their own more exclusive spiritual advisers" 3.

As far as social forces are concerned only politics and politicians can claim to have a hold as potent as that of the nation's priests and prophets. In fact, and inevitably, the two social giants, religion and politics, have from pre-colonial times to modern times interacted and intertwined, collaborated and come into conflict. Present day Zimbabwe is home to a diversity of religions, not least the traditional African religion, still widely practised across the country 4 , but the Christian Churches undeniably "control a major share of the spiritual market" 5.

Churches are dotted all over the country, under trees, in converted cinemas, community halls, tents and multi-million dollar complexes. Through the next chapters we will then evaluate how the Church has related with the State and political developments in the country. Early History -The Church and Colonisation of ZimbabweThe history of the church in Zimbabwe is as old as the history of the modern state of Zimbabwe itself.

In fact colonialism and Christianity came to Zimbabwe simultaneously. For much of Zimbabwe's first decade , the church played a serious role in complementing government efforts in nation building and fostering national development, particularly in the social welfare sector. Churches invested heavily in building, equipping and running rural hospitals and clinics as well as providing high quality education to previously disadvantaged communities.

Today, the legacy of the churches in the health and education sectors in Zimbabwe lives on. Much of the church in Zimbabwe remained completely silent during the massacres. The Catholic Church, however, was quick to see the signs of trouble in the region and issued a series of pastoral letters in the early s urging the government to embark on serious reconciliation. The bishops wrote to the nation saying:In a prolonged war, feelings of hatred, bitterness and hostility are aroused and the desire for revenge is strong.

It is essential for the peace and prosperity of our land, and for the happiness of our citizens, that these feelings be forgotten and former enemies be forgiven. The state bears the responsibility to foster such unity and reconciliation. Her laws, directives and public announcements should be aimed to this end, and anything which provokes and enflames past hatreds should be avoided. The police refused to act to defend the victims of violence. Several farmers were murdered, others were injured, more than farm workers were displaced and of the 4 white farmers who once owned land in Zimbabwe, only some would remain.

The initial response of the church to this political violence was very slow and when it came, was hampered by disunity, lack of confidence and courage. The ZimbabweCouncil of Churches ZCC was almost paralyzed by a crisis of leadership and increased isolation from local and international partners.

By the end of the s, the ZCC had retreated from its early work when it had been at the cutting edge of the development of civil society campaigns for democracy, constitutional reforms and economic justice. In , wary of being seen to be challenging the government, the ZCC abruptly pulled its support from the National Constitutional Assembly, an 20 Church recovered its prophetic voice and came out openly in defense of the marginalized and oppressed. The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference ZCBC issued hard-hitting pastoral letters that highlighted various aspects of the national crisis and exposed the falsehoods that were being broadcast by the state media.

At Having drawn mixed results from previous attempts to tackle critical national political issues the present generation of Zimbabwe's church leaders now stand at yet another crucial historical moment. Even though the churches clearly command massive following throughout the country many are still sceptical of the church's readiness to make decisive and meaningful contributions to the country's democratic transition and institutional reform.

To complicate matters further Zimbabwe's Christian constituency is divided on whether the church has a legitimate role to play in the nation's public policy affairs. The churches in Zimbabwe have not always held up to this standard but today there are many windows of hope opening across the religious landscape. Call where they called on the nation to pray together for peace and justice in Zimbabwe.

However these encouraging prayer events must be transformed into action that is of practical service to victims of political violence and human rights abuses. A cry from a Zimbabwe pastor in the midst of great suffering in drives this point home sharply when he says: I am pastoring a church known as the prayerful church but I also believe that praying and praying and doing nothing is not going to be much good. I believe something must be done -if it will cost somebody to die then he must die -but something must be done for the sons of the soil here in Zimbabwe to survive.

I believe there is something more we can do -let us not only pray, let us take action. However since making this confession in The Zimbabwe We Want document, the churches have made significant progress in reconnecting with regional and international ecumenical partners.

Since the churches have been collaborating with the Ecumenical Zimbabwe Network EZN , a solidarity and advocacy platform bringing together over 30 Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical and Zimbabwe Diaspora church groups. Together the EZN and the Zimbabwean churches have laid down the foundations of a new Ecumenical Peace Observation Initiative through which the churches will, among other activities, send peace observers throughout the country's districts ahead of the next constitutional referendum and elections.

The individual umbrella organisations have also maintained strong links with their regional and international compatriots such as The Evangelical Association in Southern Africa, All Africa Conference of Churches, the Inter-regional Meeting of Bishops in Southern Africa, Caritas Internationalis and others. The regional Catholic body is also leading an initiative to lobby Southern African governments to press for peace, free and fair elections and good governance in Zimbabwe.

Clearly the churches are getting stronger in fostering common reflections on key national issues, doing things together and strengthening internal participation and accountability. Zimbabwe's para-church agencies have in the past played a crucial role in raising pertinent social and political issues that mainline churches have often failed to address proactively.

Such organisations have utilised their specialised skills, dynamic structures and niches to support and catalyze the advocacy work of the churches and ensure that the churches remain abreast of political developments in the country.

A key example is the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance ZCA which was launched by a network of individual leaders frustrated by lack of bold and speedy action from the churches in the midst of Zimbabwe's worsening political crisis. The ZCA set out to build a critical mass of public opinion on issues of justice and peace, take a prophetic Christian stance with boldness in proclamation and action, mobilize regional and international solidarity and pressure, and contribute towards the selecting to leave and focus on working with political parties or secular civil society organisations where they felt they could make more impact.

The massive exodus of young Zimbabweans to countries such as South Africa, Botswana, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, initially affected the work of youth organisations but a core of committed youth have remained and have been engaged in community and national activities. A lot will now depend on the capacity of the churches to harness the energies of these para-church organisations and provide strategic leadership that will enable the general Christian constituency to bring its considerable weight to bear on national issues and help determine a stable and prosperous future for Zimbabwe.

Repression, infiltration, intimidation and targeting of activist church leaders and members has hampered stronger Christian advocacy and scared away many churches from taking an active part in national human rights campaigns. Even though they have responded by providing places of worship for priests and congregations displaced by Kunonga's gangs, Zimbabwean churches have not spoken out or launched any high visibility solidarity actions to force the political and security authorities to cease the persecution of the Anglicans and other churches that are being subjected to similar treatment.

In relation to internal threats that have been alluded to elsewhere above, the churches must work to achieve financial stability to enable them to implement innovative social justice and advocacy programmes as well as retain skilled staff. The churches have over the years suffered considerable staff haemorrhage as highly skilled staff left the country at the height of the economic crisis.

The ZCC is an example of a church organisation which has a history of attracting some of the most talented Zimbabwean intellectuals and activists. Some notable individuals such as Tawanda Mutasah and Deprose Muchena who were the brains behind the founding of the National Constitutional Assembly were part of the ZCC staff during the s when the council shone locally and internationally as one of Zimbabwe's strongest non-governmental organisations.

In recent years the ZCC has been unable to attract highly skilled lay persons such as lawyers, political scientists, economists and others due to funding problems and reduced clout. Zimbabwe's women being the majority of active church members are the pillar and unsung heroines of the churches in Zimbabwe.

However they continue to be sidelined from leadership and involvement in the high level work of the churches. For any grassroots and mass-based actions of the churches to stand a chance of success the male leadership of the church must seriously and urgently work towards enabling women to be at the centre of the social justice work of the churches. With all the historical factors and observations of the current situation considered, it is clear that the churches in Zimbabwe are a powerful social force located deep within the nation's fabric.

Despite the failings of the past and the opposition from illiberal politicians in the present, the church must build on recent improvements and urgently shape up into a formidable social movement with capacity to tackle political authorities and national issues. To be prophetic is to take risks Joseph, 'prophetic office' also remain a key discussion point within church, civil society and media circles within and outside the country. At the time of writing Zimbabwe is trapped in a fragile political transition and faces another potentially violent election and economic meltdown.

Stakeholders within the church and in broader society are already throwing questions on where the church is standing at this point. It is therefore apt to inquire what normative and qualitative contributions has the church in Zimbabwe made to the development of good governance and democracy in the country and what role it is likely to play in the future, based on its track record.

In attempting to answer this question it is important to trace the history of the church in Zimbabwe and its place in national affairs. A good place to start is right at the very beginning. Scholars such as Frans J. Verstraelen and T. Ranger have contributed significantly to the body of literature on the early history of the church, missionaries and the colonization of Zimbabwe.

Their analysis sheds light on the history of Christianity and its relationship with other religions and politics in the pre-colonial and colonial era. Prominent Zimbabwean scholars such as Paul Gundani and Ezra Lobengula refused to allow the European missionaries to venture and set up stations in other parts of the empire.

In the s in the aftermath of British suppression of black rule and rebellion, however, missionaries flooded into Zimbabwe and lined up to ask Cecil John Rhodes, leader of the British imperial effort, for huge tracts of land on which to build mission stations.

The missionaries' stance during these initial stages of colonialism was of complicity. But if the role of the early Christian missionaries was to lead to the alienation of the local population from the church, the role of the churches during the struggle against colonialism from the s onwards would win back many hearts and minds. A number of scholars have highlighted the contributions of various churches towards the nationalist struggle for independence and these include the role of the Catholic Church 13 , the Evangelical Lutheran Church, 14 and the African Independent Churches The churches also maintained health facilities in rural areas where the majority African population lived.

Internationally the World Council of Churches under its Programme to Combat Racism, contributed significantly to the liberation effort through providing solidarity and safe spaces for nationalist leaders and religious leaders to meet and strategize on ways to fight the colonial regime. Independence, the Church and Building of a New State After a protracted armed liberation struggle that was waged for more than two decades, the new nation of Zimbabwe came into being on 18 April The excitement and sense of promise amongst its African population at Zimbabwe's birth was marked by euphoric celebrations at Harare's Rufaro Stadium where legendary Jamaican reggae musician Bob Marley sang the iconic song, 'Zimbabwe'.

The new Prime Minister, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, set the tone for a new policy of reconciliation by extending a hand to the small white community: If yesterday I fought you as an enemy, today you have become a friend and ally with the same national interest, loyalty, rights and duties as myself.

If yesterday you hated me, today you cannot avoid the love that binds you to me and me to you. Much of the world also supported the new leadership which had suffered so much under the previous racist regime and which proved to be generous and forgiving to their erstwhile enemies who had feared ruthless retribution.

The majority of the churches, having supported the liberation movement, enjoyed a cordial relationship with the new government and were also in support of the new policy of reconciliation as it echoed biblical principle. Only the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, which did not speak out against Ian Smith's regime, choosing instead to denounce the liberation fighters as 'communists', found it difficult to gain credibility with the new government and fellow Christian bodies On the other hand, the new government was appreciative of the supportive role played by the churches during the liberation struggle.

The appointment of Methodist theologian Reverend Canaan Sodindo The first serious flashpoint in relations between the new Zimbabwe state and the churches came during the so-called 'Matebeleland Disturbances' that flared up from to Fearing an insurrection in Matebeleland where Joshua Nkomo's power base was strongest, President Mugabe ordered the deployment of the now-infamous Fifth Brigade which massacred more than 20 people, including civilians, in an operation code-named 'Gukurahundi' -the early spring rain that washes away the chaff.

The two parties were later to sign a unity pact on December 22, ending the violence, but the scars of this bloody period in Zimbabwe's history remain deeply etched in the Matebeleland and Midlands regions. Later President Mugabe was to offer a halfbaked apology at the funeral of Joshua Nkomo in , referring to the Gukurahundi Massacres as a 'moment of madness' which he deeply regretted.

When the Fifth Brigade was deployed into Matebeleland and the Midlands, the Catholic Commission on Justice and Peace CCJP recorded thousands of crimes committed against the people including killings, torture, enforced disappearances, rape and beatings.

The report by the Chihambakwe Commission of Inquiry was not published and has never seen the light of day. The Church and Politics in Zimbabwe -The Third Decade Since the deterioration of the political and economic crisis that began in , the church in Zimbabwe has been heavily criticised at home and abroad for losing its prophetic voice and remaining silent and cowardly in the face of grave human rights violations and repressive rule under President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF Zimbabwe African National Union -Patriotic Front party.

In February , Zimbabwe's long-time ruling party suffered its first poll defeat when Zimbabweans voted to reject a new Draft Constitution, crafted and championed by a commission handpicked by President Mugabe. Facing a serious electoral challenge from the new opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change MDC , ZANU PF once again unleashed violence on opposition activists and ordinary citizens ahead of parliamentary elections in June Thirty two people were killed.

Civil society organisations reported numerous incidents of beatings, abductions and assault, with more than 50 activists also being reported as killed after months of intensive political violence. In a Easter message, the Catholic bishops deplored the violence used during farm seizures. The bishops followed up their Easter message with a pastoral letter condemning pre-electoral violence that had claimed dozens of lives ahead of the June parliamentary elections and encouraged citizens 'to vote without fear, for God-fearing people who would respect human rights and dignity.

The Role of Individual Church LeadersOnce [the bishops] turn political, we regard them as no longer spiritual and our relations with them would be conducted as if we are dealing with political entities and this is quite a dangerous path they have chosen for themselves.

This is particularly poignant in the post-colonial era. ZANU PF politicians have organized public events at which they have invited clerics sympathetic to their party to attend and officiate, in a bid to legitimize the party's hold on power. On March 1, , popular evangelist Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa ignited controversy when he officiated at a ZANU PF Anti-Sanctions March where the party faithful were launching a campaign against targeted travel and commercial sanctions against President Mugabe and about of his supporters.

The youthful and enigmatic Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa is founder of the United Family Interdenominational Ministries and was declared the country's top newsmaker for by one of Zimbabwe's top newspapers, The Daily News. He denies allegations that he supports any political party. In January , President Mugabe awarded Nzira a special presidential pardon after the cleric had served only a fraction of a 32 year prison sentence for a rape conviction. Before his arrest, Nzira had gained notoriety during the presidential election campaign by proclaiming that 'Mugabe was divinely appointed king of Zimbabwe and no man should dare challenge his office.

Dr Kunonga has since been leading a faction persecuting Anglican members across the country. Thousands of parishioners who are led by internationally-recognized Bishop Chad Gandiya have been locked out of their churches and now resort to worshipping in the open or in private homes while some are taken in by other denominations.

President Mugabe, his deputy Joice Mujuru and other politicians have also courted the support of grassroots African Initiated Churches such as the VaPostori. The VaPostori sects established in the early s are experiencing a boom in the number of adherents and are proving to be an attractive source of votes for Zimbabwe's political parties.

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