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Theologian Wants Religious Issues Involved in Christian-jewish Dialogue

A leading Protestant theologian called here last night for a “seriously religious dialogue between Jews and Christians” from which a “more profoundly Christian religiousness can emerge.”

Dr. Elwyn Smith, Professor of Religion at Temple University and co-editor of the Journal of Ecumenical Studies, said at the annual dinner of the Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation that the secular alliance between Jews and Christians that precluded discussion of religious issues was partly responsible for the inadequate response of Christians to the threat of genocide that Israel faced in last June’s Six-Day War. “Christians tend to view the Jewish State in secular terms,” he noted “and very quickly their humanitarian sympathies were stirred by the pathos of suffering among politically deceived Egyptians and Jordanians rather than the victorious Israelis.”

“American Christian liberals,” Dr. Smith said “grasp ancient but not contemporary Jewish reality and think in public matters on a largely humanitarian and secular basis. When Christians recognize that Jews survive today, despite the holocausts prepared for them by Christians and pagans, not because of a stubborn human vitalism, but because God wills it; when they understand the existence of Jews today as part of the will of Jesus Christ himself, only then will they find the groundwork for a religious formulation of attitude toward that secular and religious phenomenon, the State of Israel.”

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