This Friday marks both the murder of Jesus and the Exodus of the Jews from Egyptian slavery. This morning I received the following email:
I hope you receive this with love as that is how I am sending it. Tomorrow you Jews will celebrate your escape from Egyptian slavery, but not your escape from sin. You were freed so that you could freely accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, but instead you accepted the false god of Law. But My God doesn’t give up on you that easily. Tomorrow I invite you to accept true liberation by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. God forbid you should fail to do this and die during the coming year. You will find the fires of Hell far more tortuous that the slave pits of Egypt. Please, Rabbi, you know in your heart what is True: Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, (John 14:6). Accept him.
This is what I wrote back in response:
Thank you for your heartfelt concern for my salvation. And please know that regarding your invitation to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I would if I could, but I can’t. Let me explain.
First the notion that any God, let alone the God of Love, would threaten me with eternal damnation in Hell simply for not believing what you believe is so appalling to me, that I reject that God out of hand.
Second, the notion that someone has to die in order for me to get right with God is something I simply cannot accept. Priestly Judaism shares the same idea, but my understanding of God requires no person or animal to die on my behalf. And
Third, as for what I know in my heart it is this: All beings are a manifestation of the One Being I call God; to the extent I recognize this I engage the world with compassion and justice; to the extent I fail to recognize this I engage the world with fear and oppression. I believe Jesus knew this. I sense you do not.
So I am afraid that this year too will see me decline the invitation to become a Christian. But, in the spirit of love no less authentic than your own, let me invite you to celebrate Passover and seek to free yourself from enslavement to ideas that perpetuate the brutality, arrogance, and chutzpah common to so many who claim to people of faith.