Ecumenical Christian

Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations

An Ecumenical Response to "Dabru Emet"

The Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, meeting in Houston, Texas, expresses its deep gratitude to the scholars and rabbis who wrote and issued the statement Dabru Emet ("Speak the Truth"). We also call on the leaders of the member communions of the National Council of Churches, and on all Christians, to read and carefully consider the affirmations and the invitation to further dialogue which the statement offers.

Released in Baltimore and New York on the eve of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), September 10, 2000, Dabru Emet is addressed to both Jews and Christians. It is a response to the many public statements that Christian churches and councils have made in recent years, making clear the churches' rejection of anti-Semitism, and asserting their conviction that the Jewish people continue as recipients of God's love and grace.

We welcome this public recognition by Jewish leaders of the changes that have begun and continue within our churches in relation to the Jewish community and in our teaching about Jews and Judaism. It is with thankful and humble hearts that we, as Christians, find ourselves given the grace, after such a history of animosity and violence, to now be in a renewed, renewing and reconciling relationship with Jewish sisters and brothers.

We welcome, also, the "eight brief statements" made in Dabru Emet, and commend them to our churches and fellow Christians for study, and as gateways to further dialogue. The document addresses theological issues as well as the meaning and conduct of everyday relations between our two communities. While we may not agree with all that is affirmed in the document, there is much in it that many among us will readily embrace.

The careful wording of these eight points is itself a helpful contribution toward our understanding of each other, and provides a very useful basis for further Jewish-Christian dialogue. Discussion of Dabru Emet will certainly figure in the agenda of future theological reflection of our Interfaith Relations Commission. We commend it to Christians in the United States for individual reading and reflection, and for use as a resource in conversations between local churches and synagogues, and in other arenas of inter-religious dialogue.

We thank the drafters of this statement for their work, which is a gift to all those who seek understanding and the life of the kingdom of God. To God be all glory and our humble thanksgiving that, "made in God's image, we are created to live a life of relationship and called to claim the unity in our human diversity" (Interfaith Relations and the Churches, NCCC Policy Statement, 11/99).