Dinner Topics for Monday
Judeo-Christian Definition: Christianity and Biblical Morals
Definition of Judeo-Christian: A term worth defending
By Ed Vitagliano
We are a nation founded on Judeo-Christian values. Most evangelicals have a Judeo-Christian worldview. Our Judeo-Christian principles are under attack.
We hear the term Judeo-Christian used quite frequently, but what does it mean? Here are a few ideas to consider regarding the term as used at American Family Association.
1. It does not refer primarily to Judaism.
Judaism itself can be a term that is frequently misunderstood. Usually, it refers to the religion of the Jewish people, rooted especially in the Law of Moses and the Old Testament.
Judaism also includes the more than 6,000 pages of commentary – developed over the last 2,000 years – incorporated in the Talmud, which explains the meaning of the Law.
2. It is not a term of religious equivalency.
Most Christians rightly examine the Old Testament as a source of religious teaching that informs their faith. Paul says in Romans 15:4, “Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction.” (See also 1 Corinthians 10:6.)
However, using the term Judeo-Christian does not mean that Christianity and Judaism are viewed as equally valid faiths. The Bible is the Christian’s final authority on matters of faith, and the New Testament clearly teaches that Christianity supplanted Judaism as the revelation of God’s redemptive purposes in the earth. Hebrews 8:13 says that a New Covenant has been established through Christ, and thus God “has made the first [covenant] obsolete.”
As a result, the clarion call for this age is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ – and that call goes out to both Jew and Gentile alike.
3. It is a moral term.
Since Christianity flowed out of Old Testament Judaism, there is a perceived theological kinship between the Christian and the Jew that does not exist between, say, Christian and Muslim or Christian and Hindu.
As a result Christianity and Judaism share something – what Christians call the Old Testament. Paul, for example, gives great honor to the Jews – his own people – as those who “were entrusted with the oracles of God” (Romans 3:2; see also Acts 7:38; Romans 9:4.)
It is here that Judeo-Christian begins to come into focus, for it is the equivalent of referring to the religious and moral principles shared by both Jew and Christian.
Those principles would include monotheism, religious law such as the Ten Commandments, ideas concerning the nature of man, biblical (as opposed to pagan) morality regarding human sexuality, marriage and family, the prophetic tradition of a holy people, the state subject to God Himself, etc.
Morality, of course, is not the same as religion. By “morality” we mean how men and women ought to live before a holy and just God, and how they ought to order their lives, families, communities, etc. People of different religions can share moral views; people who agree on morality can disagree on religion.
4. It is a cultural term.
These moral principles have become more important as they have increasingly come under attack, and so the term is used more and more in the context of the culture wars.
Judeo-Christian is therefore frequently used in contrast to those ideologies that have sought to overthrow the biblical view of marriage, for example, or the sanctity of human life.
Ironically, secularists who demand that America be cleansed of its Judeo-Christian heritage are simply advocating a return to pagan – or pre-Christian – views on these important issues.
Both Jews and Christians lived under such regimes, devoid of the law of God; and neither Jew nor Christian should ever want to return to those times of spiritual darkness.
That is why the battle to preserve Judeo-Christian values must continue in America.