Critical Review Of Voices of Messianic Judaism – Confronting Critical Issues facing a Maturing Movement (Compiled by Dan Cohn-Sherbok, General Editor)

Posted December 10th, 2012 in para-DOX parABLEs and tagged , , , , , , by Just para-DOX

The premise of the book states that Reform Rabbi, Dr Dan Cohn-Sherbok, believes Messianic Judaism may become considered a branch of Judaism in the near century. A century is a long way to go and the Messianic movement has a long way to go in my opinion. Just as the Azusa Street Revival and the work of Charles Fox Parham had a long way to go, but if you look at the growth of Pentecostalism in the last century and its connection to the Restoration of Israel and support for the Jewish people then we have a lot of hope.

I have always said Pentecostals and Intercessors are Messianics best friends and though I’ve tended to look more towards Orthodox or Conservative Judaism as a more authentic branch of Judaism. It seems the Reformed movement is taking a liking to Messianic Judaism and despite or misgivings about some of their anti-biblical stances on perse gay marriage and other controversial issues I would say we might want to use this bridge over troubled waters into a community that needs our message.

There are more Reformed and Conservative Jews than Orthodox this is a community we need to speak to. With there passion for interfaith dialogue we have an open door to start to build bridges of relationship and communication. With Reformed programs like Synagogue 3000 studying what things Churches do that work well that they can implement to help Synagogue growth and books by authors such as A.J. Jacobs The Year of Living Biblically and Benyamin Cohen “My Jesus Year.” Both authors lean more Reformed now, even though the later is a son of an Orthodox Rabbi, the both find value in Christianity and say that “Jesus has made me a better Jew.” I hope that we can grow on this tradition of Yeshua helping Jews become more Jewish while helping them connect with Mashiach as their Savior or Keporah for sin.

I dive into this book with interest because it seems to follow the path of reading I’ve been doing on my own and want to see what can be gathered. I am intrigued by Dr Cohn-Sherbok’s fascination with Messianic Judaism and prophetic utterance that Jews will accept it’s as an authentic branch of Judaism. In my personal opinion if you can accept Reformed and Chabad, why can’t you accept Messianic believers? I understand the thousands of years of abuse done in the name of Jesus of Nazareth by Catholicism and Crusaders and the barriers we as ministers of reconciliation have to repair. But I see hope in the majority of intermarried Jews who are usually between Christians and Jewish couples trying to decide whether to do Christmas and Chanukah or Chanukamas as some have dub the joint ritual of doing both for both sides of the family.

I see a great opportunity to education the Church on its Hebraic Roots and to prepare to rebuild the bridges long ago burnt down and abandoned. I see a great opportunity to present a Messianic Judaism that is as true Judaism as it is to its Messianic ideals and Mashiach Yeshua most vitally. I see a Messianic Judaism that not only has Congregations, Shuls, Temples, Synagogues, Yeshiva’s and outreaches but is intrinsically apart of the local Jewish communities, is a contributing member to the local Jewish aid programs, is involved in the community and the Jewish festivals as a vital part of the Jewish community. Yes, making disciples of Yeshua but also connecting with people on a human and humanitarian level. I see the level of humanitarian and social justice within the Reformed community and the outreach of Chabad and see area’s where we can learn and connect with Jewish people in similar ways. As they are learning from us, we can learn from them and share a mutual love for Israel, its Messianic Redemption and its people. So the concept of a book orchestrated by a Reformed Rabbi intrigues me. I love it. Lets dig in and eat, hopefully its a good feast.

Here are my off hand answers to the questions on the rear cover.

Should Messianic Jews only attend Messianic Jewish Congregations?
To me the answer would have to do with the spirituality of the Jewish person and the Messianic Shul, Temple or Congregation for some it may be better joining a Church before joining a Messianic congregation depending on the solidity and doctrinal and liturgical clarity of the Messianic Fellowship. This isn’t my preference it however is a cautionary tale to advise one of the pitfalls and shortcomings of some. If there is a Messianic Congregation that is properly representing the Jewish Messiah in a Jewish context, then yes. If not then they may be better off attending a Church to connect with Yeshua until they get to a solid place in Messiah. Then when they desire to connect their faith in Messiah with their Judaism and be a light to the Jewish brethren then may then want to wisely seek out a Messianic Congregation that is suitable to reach the Jewish people without offending or sending the inquiring seekers back to synagogues or to churches to find Yeshua.

This is an area in my opinion that the Messianic community needs growth. I would leave it up to the Jewish seeker and say that once there is a developed steering committee that is capable of maintain a strong sense of Judaism in its right Messianic context that can train Christians and Jews seeking the Hebraic Roots of Christianity what they need to be effective lights to the Jews and provide sanctuary for Jews seeking spiritual growth and connection. It’s a mixed bag and there is no set answer. Just work to be done.

Is intermarriage acceptable for Messianic Jews?
I hope so. It’s probably the best for of interfaith exchange. You get to see passed the liturgy or ritual of a religion and see how people live it out. I think intermarriage in Messianic Judaism is essential to the growth of dialogue and I believe that reaching out to interfaith families trying to find how to bridge Chanukamas is an essential place Messianics should focus their outreach, but not exclusively. However you have a intermarried family that needs to learn how to have interfaith dialogue. What better test tube for the interfaith dialogue of those who truly seek to be a Judeo-Christian expression in this modern world. It’s essential to deeper understanding. It’s the best form of cultural immersion, and cultural immersion is essential for understanding and communication on a reputable level.

Where do Gentiles figure into the future of Messianic Judaism?

I see a great harvest of Jewish believers coming only preceded by a large equipped body of Gentile and Jewish believers who come out of the major denominations who have established a good laboratory of training tools and equipment to effective educate Jews and Christians of the Hebraic foundation of the Messianic Faith and the confusion and pain between the broken history between Judaism, and Catholicism, through the Crusades and Pogroms; It is time to breach the gap (or bridge the gap), mend the fences, rebuild the bridges, repair the breach and build the biggest net to harvest the next great revival. In my opinion Gentiles should have an equal share in the Messianic community as teachers or Rabbi’s, as their mission is to provoke the Jewish believers to jealousy, not through inaction but participation in the Jewish community however there needs to remain a distinction between those who are ethnically Jewish and those who are ethnically of the nations (Goyim). We must avoid the snares of Americanisms, or the ideals lifting American and Western ideals over the missionary purpose of all Christianity, even Messianic faith. Gentiles play one of the key roles and they must be fully embraced and educated to be culturally sensitive and biblically trained to use history, geography, the bible and the wisdom of the elders to help point the Jewish people to Mashiach.

How should outreach be accomplished?
Now that’s a question for the ages being that Judaism is anti-Missionary we must find ways to involved ourselves in the community of Jewish people everyday, to avail ourselves to being involved in their Jewish Festivals in a presence evangelism and outright declaration evangelism being wise, gentile or sensitive and lead by the Ruach of love.

Our Synagogues should be full of declaration evangelism. However we need to establish ourselves in the Jewish community as friends in solidarity with them. Sometimes being there and not confronting them, but just simply befriending the Jewish baker at the Kosher market where you get your Challah for Kabbalat Shabbat or showing up at Jewish Festivals and participating doing traditional dances and singing traditional songs so you can become apart of the community.

There are not that many low income Jewish families in America but providing tickets for Pesach and inviting them to Holy Day celebrations at Messianic Congregations are things that can be done. Doing work for the elderly and needy here in America when we find them. Of course making disciples, not just seeking to add notches to how many responded to an altar call. Yes we must present a Jewish Gospel and show the Messiah from the Tanakh which is the Emmaus Road Revelation, that Yeshua is the Author of the Torah and the Gospels. Showing Jewish people they don’t have to deny their Jewishness or reject the Adonai ordained festivals. Giving them a place to express their Judaism whether it be through Shabbat, Festivals or Prayer Services (which honestly I haven’t seen many Messianic prayer services patterned after the Siddurim with a Messianic Minion).

We must seek to present a Messianic Judaism that encompasses the whole family and the Jewish life cycles authentically. Yes we must preach the saving gospel of Yeshua as the promised Messiah of Israel in season and out of season. We must season our messages with salt, and be spiritually discerning and use “the Samaritan Woman at the Well” method of prophetic and spirit led evangelism that is in tune with what the Holy Spirit is saying and speaking to the specificity of each individuals needs. I believe in a spirit filled and Ruach sensitive approach to the words we speak in Evangelism. We must use the Tanakh, the Gospels and the teachings of the Sages to help them see Yehsua Ha’Mashiach as the Messiah of Yisrael.

To say that my interest is peaked in what a Reformed Rabbi is doing in compiling a work on Messianic Judaism and stating it will be embraced as a form of Judaism in the next century is an understatement.

Let’s dive into the review of the book after that precursory reaction to the book and its mission.

How Much Liturgy Should We Have In Our Services?

The Importance of Jewish Liturgy by Stuart Dauermann
I do agree with Rabbi Dauermann that we must create a Jewish space and that should carry into our personal lives and home life. We must be authentic and not found faking or wanting. The anti-missionary sentiment in Judaism is a strong one and when they find something that smells fishy they tend to run away from it. The principle of Mah Zot placing something to make people ask “what is this” is another good point. He makes the point that we should show our identification with the Jewish people. He also advocates that Messianic Jews must live differently than our Christian counterparts because we share corporate solidarity with the Jews which must not be overlooked because if our mission is to be missional then we should also be contextually and culturally accurate in presentation.

I agree that Jewish people look for connecting points with the Hebraic liturgy it is what they are familiar with. If we come off to Charismatic it can be a turn off to Jewish seekers. He makes the point that Jews in Diaspora will tolerate more liturgy than they understand if they feel the service is meaningful. He states that many do not understand Hebrew but find the Hebrew liturgy meaningful, a connection to their ancient past. I totally agree that if we contextually want to reach more we must seek to maintain every possible connection with the wider Jewish body.

Being that 70% or so are intermarried and about the same are Conservative or more likely Reformed it is important to note the current values and needs of the Jewish people and meet those felt and real needs. He also makes a good point about commonality. He calls it the “Dodge Van” principle. If you have something in common it gives you more to talk about. Just knowing about Jewish tradition isn’t enough; there must be some level of practice and experience with Halakha, Life Cycles and Festivals, etcetera…

Being able to speak the language of the people and relate to the cultural experiences I have always found in any missionary endeavor from Mexico, to Spain, to Holland, to Hip Hop, contextuality and shared experience is a vital key to connect with people and not alienating one’s self. I totally agree with the point he makes on the need to educate and instruct our congregations in Hebrew and Liturgy, even Cantilation. He also makes the point that the training should be ongoing so people can learn the deeper meaning and experience a depth of worship due to having right Kevanah (intention).

Liturgy is a way we can connect with Elohim and associate with His people. And if we are to build a bridge over the troubled waters between Christian and Jewish history for the last 2,000 years we have to get out of our comfort zones and do what’s not natural to some of us become a “Jews to the Jews” so we might by some way win some. Being a Gentile to a Gentile is easy (it s relatively easy to point out sin and there need for salvation), being “a Jew to a Jew” is not natural for many of us grafted in partakers of the Covenant with Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov (So that takes much more learning, experimentation, trial and error). It is true that leadership apathy and ignorance can be a problem to contextual ministry. Many want to do Jewish Lite or Messianic Lite and Christian or Hebraic Roots heavy.

I wholeheartedly agree that Congregation leaders and opinion makers in Messianic Judaism must be trained in and be able to perform liturgy. If they can not what’s the point, your missing the point of the daggers tip, the double edged sword isn’t going to be as sharp or as effective if you don’t sharpen it on the leather of some well rounded and spirit filled tradition that can be found in leather bound prayer Siddurs. There is nothing wrong with that good ole religion. There is something wrong when people’s hearts aren’t in it and the Shechinah of Adonai isn’t present. One of the beauties of the halackha, laws of purity and mitzvot is that it is focused on experiencing the Presence of Elohim in our daily lives. This is an important, missing component to many peoples understanding of the why of much of Judaism. Yes, its ancient religion but its goal is to bring the divine presence into our homes and everyday lives, to go from Revival to Habitation is how I like to put it. The amount of liturgy present should relate to the education of the congregation. The less people understand the more confused they may become and leave out of despair. We must use our liturgy and draw to Yeshua not just Jewish Liturgy we should include Liturgy from the Brit Chadasha.

Messianic Jewish Revival and Liturgy by Joel Chernoff

I like Joel Chernoff’s focus on Messianic Revivalism. I have experienced the MJAA SW Conference and seen how there services are. They are very charismatic, of the Pentecostal norm I’m used to in Assemblies of God churches and Revivals I’ve been to; Exuberant praise, Davidic worship which is Messianic Worship (a new creation), with a call for an offeratory, preaching and altar call including prayer for the sick. I am comfortable with this. As in the confines of the Jesus People and the rise of Messianic Judaism and Messianic Jewish Music I understand the points he makes about having free flow to the services.

As for the period we are in and in which we are seeking to reach the larger Jewish community I’m not sure his advocacy for less Liturgy is the best route for the next wave. I think our people are sophisticated enough to enjoy, understand and appreciate the Hebraic Liturgy. I do agree we need to make room for the Ruach move to breathe life on Dead Bones and bring about the healing and restoration of Israel. I have enjoyed Hebrew liturgy and it has helped me connect with the Hebrew Roots of Christianity and with the Jewish people.

I see many people seeking something new and different than the “Church” experience, Jew and Gentile like, so I see a place where people like to enjoy and appreciate Judaism. Contrary to the opinion of Rabbi Chernoff I have seen that alot of the prayers in the Siddur are based in Scripture. I do enjoy Davidic or Messianic Worship. Some Reformed Synagogues have taken to a similar style of instrumentation and music as messianic Worship and Contemporary Christian music. Some Reformed writers have expressed a sense of joy and desire for more Davidic style worship in their Shuls. I do enjoy Messianic Worship and it adds a worshipful presence of the Divine that helps us enter the Holy of Holies in worship and brings about healing and the moving of the presence of Adonai.

I personally prefer a service that has good Messianic Worship and good liturgy as a balance. Having a time to call the elders to pray for the sick and those who are in need of salvation is an essential Messianic addition. I do believe in tongues and the prophetic, so if things are descent and orderly and the spirit of Elohim moves, that should be allowed and made available. Prophecy in the Congregation should be preferred, and Tongues should include interpretation. All believers in Yeshua Ha’Mashiach should seek the infilling of the Holy Spirit and the gift of speaking in Tongues, it is an essential part of worship and a spirit filled prayer life. We need the presence of the Holy One, Blessed be He in our services. I love how the Jewish people have a blessing for nearly everything, it reminds us to be thankful and pray always.

How Should Scripture Be Viewed?

Biblical Authority by Dan Juster
I agree with an Appreciate Dan Justers chapter on the application of Scripture. I believe in the contextual and historical particularity of Scripture. With the proper use of understanding of Hermeneutics and understanding of the biblical languages the intent of the author and plain or pashat meaning of scripture can be discerned readily. He discusses the cannon of scripture that is authoritative for legal use for halachah and proper application of scripture. I agree with his discussion on the cannon of scripture that we use today both old and New Testament.

I agree that one can use the text as they are inspired under the Holy Spirit under charismatic or prophetic unction however I would not say that is of any use other than in sermonizing. I wouldn’t hold anything used under unction of the Holy Ruach as a new doctrine or a different teaching. We must always uphold the doctrine found in the text of scripture over Charisma or Prophetic utterance. Torah and the Gospels are the foundation of all faith and practice and should be looked through the lenses of a proper understanding of the text, accepting textual criticism and that our modern Hebrew and Greek text are pretty reliable but only the original manuscripts are infallible which we don’t currently possess. We can rely on what we have to discern what is intended and discern the meaning. I prefer to focus on a Pashat or plain meaning of the text. I enjoy reading Midrashic discussions of the text and information that we gather from historical resources such as the Talmud, writers like Josephus and Philo. The bible is infallible in its original inspiration. There is no equal to biblical authority. Pauls Midrash on the New Covenant is intriguing.

Scripture and Tradition by  Marks S Kinzer
“it is ironic that the contempt for tradition comes from tradition.” Yeshua and Paul understood, respected and used tradition, even reflecting midrashic motifs. All attempts at sola scriptura fail. Our existential existence in the flow of history and tradition forming our reading historical scholarship; Our existential existence in the flow of history and tradition forming our reading. Historical scholarship is essential to tanakh and gospels. each community held their traditions close, respecting tradition and recognizing their predecessors. Scriptures always requires a historical particularity and understanding of the context of the language, the land and the people. Many have been accompanied by tradition, and the varied interpretive traditions, the di-vision of Jews and Christians, left ancient Messianic lost. The exclusivity of Church denying Jewish and Jewish denying Christian; The Ethno covenantal community Torah “carried” by Jews, gospels “carried” by Christian, the traditions and translation have been carried. There has been 2,000 years of dialogue between the sages Rambam, Rashi, Ibn, Ezra, Akiva, Gamelil, and others.  You can hear the Jewish voice and seek to understand the Jewish text. We must enter the discussion ourselves, sages say to translate is to lie. We must study the original biblical languages. The church is made up of multi-ethnic people. We must focus on the primacy of scripture; we have an important role in the ongoing dialogue of the holy write.

Personal Caveat: I have was raised with no inherit culture, I was born believing I was a Goyim I recently found out that I am actually deeply Ashkenazi Jewish, raised as a Jehovah’s Witnesses. We were not involved in society, didn’t observe holidays or birthdays, there were no life cycle events. We did play sports, we were apolitical, we had no patriotism. Our life was very Omish-esque. Being called out to embrace a culture, I can relate to Avraham. I’m a blank slate. I tried to get into sports, just not interested, I tried to become patriotic, I love Israel more than any other people. I love the Jewish people over any other. I enjoy the biblical festivals. Hip Hop was the first form of expression I learned to listen to, relate to and use to communicate. Hip Hop gave me a way to communicate and relate. Hip Hop has lost its culture to industrial greed. I’ve sought to embrace the Biblical heritage as my culture; yes I’ve embraced Jewish culture and tradition, “When in Rome does as the Romans do.” Adonai called me to be a Jew to a Jew, which I found odd since I’m a gentile. I love cultural immersion. I’ve been on Missions to Spain and Mexico and embraced their culture, food and lived as they did. I loved it. I believed culture is a tool to communicate and deliver a message that is relevant to the audience. Having no inherent culture or patriotism, no passion outside of scripture, I have no identity outside of Yeshua. I’m a riddle wrapped in an enigma. It’s easy to embrace a culture with meaning a people with purpose. I’m committed to Adonai Yeshua, Scripture, Yisrael, The Jewish People and the Salvation of Lost souls. I didn’t have relationships or personality before Messiah the JW’s and growing up in a love vacuum of abuse left me with a blank slate. I got all I have from Adonai, joy, life, humor and I’ve felt lead to join to the Jewish Heritage, as a gentile grafted in because I don’t related to anything else.

Halakhic Responsibility by Russ Rusnik
Being Halakhicly informed, maintaining an authentic form of Judaism, albeit Messianic Judaism. We can’t loose the “Josh’s” in the sea of Messianic Praise, Davidic Dance, Charismatic Worship, & Ministry, all things in order, we must create a Jewish space of familiarity to connect with Judaism & Mashiach. We need balanced Messianic & Jewish Halackha, not too much and not too little. We must allow unity in diversity. I like how Beth Emunah would have a Traditional Shavuot and a Pentecostal Shavuot. Halakha is how we walk out Torah, it is how the Torah comes alive, it is a witness to our belief in Adonai’s Emet. Halakhha is the application of Torah. Christian’s follow there hearts, Jews follow the directions. Halackha is essential to build a community and to stand as an authentic member of the Jewish community and tradition. There are limitations to Halakha’s use, in some form even if only a small amount Halakha is a connection with the Jewish modernity and historically. The Gospels and Epistles determine Halackha through Torah eyes before glancing at the sages views. Yeshua is the greatest sage of Torah; Paul is His second hand man. Yeshua as the Living Torah claims divine authority over tradition; He is Torah in the Flesh. Paul says Children of an unequally yoked couple would be unclean.
The conditions for Halackha:
1) Build Messianic Judaism as a Jewish movement for Yeshua, not a Church movement for Jewish Roots. Stay connected to the Larger Jewish community.
2) Couple a high view of scripture with the needs of a contextual life, contemporary and modern, even Judaism does this.
3) Provide structure for Halakhic midrash.
4) Ask the right questions. What is the Messianic Jewish purpose in Halackha, a. connection and continuity of Judaism, b. pointing to Yeshua as Israels Mashiach.
5) Be willing to allow diversity and difference for the sake of community practice, uniformity, a central prayer book, need commonalities and consistency.

Finding a Congregational Home

Messianic Jews should attend Messianic Jewish Synagogues by Bruce L Cohen
If you can remain urban, Asian or African, there should be no issue allowing someone to remain Jewish, multi-national people. The Gospels advocate Jews remaining Jews and carrying out Jewish Patriarchal traditions. The Galut (Diaspora)  complicates issues. Preserving and restoring Jewish identity  is key to the end time revival. The outpouring of the Ruach Ha’Kodesh and the Restoration of Israel has gone hand in hand. Scripture assumes that Jews maintain a Torah-centric life. The term Synagogue and Ekklessia are used throughout the New Covenant writings. Luke 4:16; Hebrews 10:25 says “Don’t forsake the Synagogue.” Acts 21:25 shows us the first Jerusalem Council and may we work Towards a Second Jerusalem Council a restoration of the ancient paths of our faith. Cultural and national identity should not be suppressed. You should remain as you were called.  The new wall of division says you must leave Judaism and become wholly Christian. Some have left their Judaism; we need to maintain an authentic Judaism. Judge not feasts; festivals or new moons. We must embrace life cycle events. This is an area we can make more inroads into the Jewish Community. We must seek to understand the S’yag Torah (fences around Torah) and Takkanah (Doctrinal Revision). We must identify with all of Israel. We must be an advocate and defender, to be our brothers’ keeper, to be a good Samaritan to our Jewish neighbors.

Messianics Jews may join Bible-Believing Churches by Jim Sibley
“Gasp” really? Yes, they can but is it good for them and the body of Mashiach to continue a pattern of assimilation and anti-Semitic thought. I admit at times it may be the best option given some of the choices but I pray and wish that would change. We need to work toward the salvation of the Jewish people. Jim Sibley tells a story about a pastor of a Church split who embraced a messianic fellowship within the Church to reach the Jewish people. According to Sibley due to the youth of the movement and agonizing choices is why Jewish believers should go to church; it is important to instruct Gentiles in the Jewish Foundation of their faith and to deepen the Jewish identity and heritage. We can look to the future where the Messianic movement may mature; then the majority of Jewish believers in Gentiles Churches can safely come to the Messianic Movement. “Can a Jew go to Church and still be Jewish.” Encountering Church bashing Messianic is another reason he gives that Jews should go to Church. This is a bias fallacy I can not accept. I disagree fundamental. Yes, Salvation is the goal, so is the Restoration of Israel, so Mashiach can return. He states that no Jew should become a gentile and not gentile should become a Jew. Becoming a blended amalgam is not a good look, many Jews and gentiles do not want assimilation. Yeshua accepts both Jew and Gentile Congregations. We must embrace diverse cultural expressions.

How should an association of Messianic Congregations be structured?

A representative presence by Barney Kasdan
Three keys to Messianic Congregations they must have:
1) A Representative Presence
2) Directive Policies, &
3) Interdependent Participation
A representative presence means that we should represent the voice of the people and should fit into the locale, culture and context of the community. Directive policies require core values, shared vision, centrality of structure, and the use of prayer books and Siddurim. We need Messianic Jewish Simcha, trained in liturgy to decide Halackha much like the Jerusalem council. We need solid biblical leadership with Bishops (Overseers-Superintendents-Presbyters), Elders (Congregational Teaching Ministers) and Deacons (Ministries of Help and Support). Interdependent participation means we need cooperation, unity, diversity, collusion, and credibility. Judaism does this well. We have hope that Judaism may one day accept Messianic Judaism as Dan Cohn-Sherbok declares. I agree with much of what it stated in this article.

A centrally run organization by Robert Cohen, IAMCS
A centrally run organization is better than a democratic organization according to Robert Cohen. The HCAA (Hebrew Christian Alliance of America) became the MJAA (Messianic Jewish Alliance of America). The MJAA is a top down whereas the UMJC is Presbyterian in style. The UMJC’s mission is to strengthen Messianic Jewish congregations. The IAMCS/MJAA’s Purpose is to foster Messianic Jewish Revival. The writer focuses on the MJAA versus the UMJC, the author seems to prefer the MJAA. You should not pressure anyone to do or not do what they feel called to do or want to do in grace and in sound doctrine. I disagree with the concept of a centrally run non-democratic organization, I prefer Congregational locally and Presbyterian accountability toward polity.

Educating ourselves and our Children

Messianic Jewish Higher Education an integrationist approach by Michael Rydelnik
We need Messianic Jewish Hebrew Schools for Jewish continuity; the chosen people of “the Book” plus books, the Mishnah, Gemara and Midrash. The medieval period brought higher education standards in sciences, math, history, etcetera. Modern Jews study Haskalah enlightenment in which they apply Hebrew thought to secular subjects. Emancipation allowed the stud of secular subjects. This is antithetical to a religious movement. We need Messianic Jewish education. We need Messianic Jewish theological education that is not westernized or Hellenized. We need Messianic Yeshiva’s that are graduate school level. Many go to Evangelical Bible schools for sound scholarship, broader perspective, integration and influence. The future of the Messianic Jewish movement depends on well trained leaders. I agree with a lot that is stated. I see where there are Messianic Jewish institutions for those who can afford them or have access to them. I see a need for more and a broader scope and a larger education base.

Messianic Jewish Institutions of Higher Learning by Paul Saal
We need to invest in Messianic Jewish learning. We need an inter-dialogue between Messianic and Jewish in Higher Learning. Paul Saal stated he felt he had “to go it alone” and to “chart his own course.” Many in Messianic Judaism have had to distill multiple learning tools to create a sound education. We need indigenous and integrative higher learning institutions. Having Messianic Hebrew schools for our youth is vital for a continued Jewish life, not all can home school their children. Having a wide variety of qualified and accredited schools of higher learning is essential.

Messianic Jewish Childrens Educations and Church Resources by Eva Rydelnik
The V’ahavta emphasis on Jewish educations; Yeshua embraced the Children. Christian publishing houses offer resources. We don’t need to re-invent the wheel. Messianising and adapting Church material can be beneficial. This seems flawed due to the morbid depiction of the Elohim of the Tanakh along with divergent views of covenant and the use and purpose of Torah. We need to add Jewish teaching to culture, anthropology, geography, theology, history, and etcetera. We need a Messianic Hebrew school movement that is anti-assimilation and not focused on and in Christian teaching, it can use and adapt some, however the focus should be on Judaism and Messianics. We need to train up our children in the ways of Messianic Judaism and there are fundamental beliefs that we need our children taught that Christian’s don’t event discuss.

Each Generation Must Teach the Next by Jeffrey E Feinberg
Messianic Jewish learning must integrate Tanakh and Brit Chadasha. There should be a focus on traditional elements such as learning Hebrew, Purity, Kosher, Prayer, Moedim, etcetera. One must learn to make Aliyah to the Torah, to ascend to the Bema. We must study Halackha, Jewish Day School, Beit Midrash and Yeshiva. Hebrew school is usually an additional 14 hours of school a week. We must teach Torah Cantilation, Ahavat Tzion (Love of Zion), Bikkur Holim (Visiting the sick), Biddur P’nai Zaken (Respecting the Elderly), Ma’akhil Re’evim (Feeding the Hungry), Haknasat Orbim (Welcoming Guests), Tzedakah (Charity) and Chesed (Acts of Loving Kindness). I like this paper and agree with a lot that Jeffrey Fienberg says and I enjoy his materials on Searching the Sidra, learning Hebrew and Cantilation.

How does Intermarriage impact our community?

Intermarriage can have a positive effect on Messianic Judaism by David Randolph
Intermarriage is permissible. Intermarriage is forbidden with 7 Cana’anite nations (Deut 7:3-4), and 4 additional nations (Duet 23:2-9). Intermarriage was allowed in Torah Adonai commanded Israel to take 32,000 Midianite Virgins (Numbers 31:25-47). Technically the Midianites are descendants of Avraham through his wife Keturah, therefore they were circumcised and taught Torah. Moshe spent 40 years in the tents of Midian under his father in law Yitro. Intermarriage is allowed, to any nation except those specifically forbidden. The benefits of intermarriage in Messianic Judaism, Here are some key points:
1) It increases and enhances our #’s
2) It helps increase Jewish continuity
3) It brings about a desire to find a compatible partner.
4) It helps remove prejudice.
5) It brings broader perspective.
It also helps with interfaith dialogue and better understanding of Jewish and Christian faith. I agree with this article it makes some solid points.

Intermarriage can have an adverse effect on Messianic Judaism by Michael Schiffman
According to Dr Schiffman intermarriage can lead to assimilation, which is detrimental to Jewish continuity, it can affect the paternal lineage and can adversely affect conversion. I do share concerns about protecting Jewish Identity and continuing Jewish lineage, I see intermarriage as a great door for Messianic and Jewish dialogue on maters of shared faith and experience. As these concerns of Dr Schiffman are valid I believe the personal choice of who one feels called to marry shouldn’t be challenge by those who have intellectual bias. This should be a matter of personal choice and spiritual discovery.

Gentile involvement in Messianic Judaism?

A Case for Jewish Leadership by Tony Eaton
Jewish movement for Jewish should be lead by Jews. A Rabbi is a Jewish appellation. We must be in unity with the larger Jewish body. “Avoid learn as you go” Dr Schiffman. We must follow Jewish norm’s to connect with and remain in unity with Judaism. We need to have solid Bar-Bat-B’nai Mitzvah programs for all members who join the movement to at least acquire a solid education in the foundations of Judaism, Hebrew, Liturgy and Messianic Judaism.

Equal participants in the community by Patrice Fischer
Patrice states there was a convoluted formation, and individual congregations that came from gentile congregations. Many Messianics are coming out of churches. She asks “how gentiles who are attracted to the movement should be treated.” We need to be Jewish in expression and find a place where gentiles fit it. Converts to Judaism have been rejected by the Messianic movement because their loyalty isn’t clear. Some righteous gentiles are flaky and lack commitment, they bring they gentile ways. Conversion is generally condemned. The blocks to openly accepting “Righteous Gentiles;”
1) Incomplete-Incorrect Understanding
2) Some nominal Jews lack experience
3) Some are misguided about the goal of gentiles
4) some have misguided views of the New Covenant
The G-dfearers present an opportunity.

I agree that we have to explore the place of Gentiles and provide right training for them to appropriate their purpose in supporting us.

Conversion of Gentiles, “No Way” by Michael Wolf
Michael claims there is no foundation in scripture for gentile conversion. He claims there is no way for a Get to convert in Torah and notes the book of Esther as an exception. Traditional Jewish conversions not accepted in the Messianic community. Two problems:
1) There is no consensus in Messianic Judaism
2) Messianic Jewish conversion of Gentiles by Messianic Jews is apparently its a bad idea to attempt conversion since it won’t be accepted by Israel or other non-Messianic Jews.
Apparently Messianic Jews don’t have the authority to convert. Conversion of gentiles in Messianic Judaism doesn’t confirm one as apart of the people of Israel.

Whereas these points maybe true if one desires to go through B’nai Mitzvah and learn the fundamentals of Jewish life why should be hold it back if a person desires to do so. Scripturally, there were Converts, Proselytes and G-dfearing Gentiles in the early Messianic faith. It is anti-scripture to deny one who wishes to become a light to the Jewish people that opportunity. This is why Gentiles have left the Messianic movement to start One Law errors and the Ephraimite errors because they want to quantify their call to the Jewish people when denied their spiritual desire for more. Don’t advocate it but why without it from those who spiritually desire to do so?

The Legitimacy of Conversion by John Fischer

An unnamed Rabbi in 1978 said that the “Messianic Movement would demonstrate it is a credible part of Judaism when it had a viable, active process of conversion.” The UMJC presented a paper with 8 problems with Gentile Conversion;
1) Most Messianic Jews are against gentile conversion
2) Conversions to other forms of Judaism are not accepted
3) 1 Corinthians 7:18 addresses conversion (actually circumcision)
4) There is no example of conversion in the New Testament
5) Conversion is unnecessary if one is living in unison with Messianic Judaism
6) Conversion is not accepted in Israel or by other Jews
7) Gentiles are second class citizens
8) A non-obligatory conversion would be considered heretical by many churches
The Torah makes provision for Conversion, for one to become a G-dfearer, however mandatory conversion is anti-Gospels.

I agree with the issues at hand, I believe some form of B’nai Mitzvah, or Aliya to Torah training program should be provided to educated Gentiles on their place and function and the difference between Ethnic Jews and the Sign commandments to Israel and the place of righteous Gentiles.

Senior Congregational Leadership-For Men Only?

Women Can Be In Leadership by Ruth Fleischer
In the bible some women had roles to play. There are changing views of women in the Church and in Judaism. The worlds views about women may change however I tend to learn towards Pauls views and ancient Judaism that is more male centric in leadership. There is a time and place though for female ministry, it’s the exception not the norm.

Male Leadership & The Role of Women by Sam Nadler
Women in ministry normally have support roles, women may pray and prophesy. There is a record of a woman judge in Israel. Women in ministry may teach and testify to women and children. Women are general silent in congregation. Women have been persecuted for the good news. In congregational settings women are limited in ministry to men. We all have equal standing before Elohim. Women must submit to their husband in affairs of the household and ministry. Just like there is a distinction between Jew and Gentiles, between Male and Female, we are one in Mashiach and in Salvation. We are distinct as to gender roles and ethnic backgrounds. There must be biblical authority for congregational leadership. There are other leadership and teaching opportunities. Teaching is a viable ministry for women. May have diversity of opinion, however must have unity in policy. I like the scripture distinctions that Sam Nadler clearly defines it gives and example for healthy body ministry.

How Should Outreach be Accomplished?
The Traditional Jewish Mission as Model by Ruth Fleischer
Traditional Missions model to Ethnic groups planting indigenous Messianic Congregations, being flexible in methodology, you must be attuned to contemporaneous Jewish culture, self-governing and self-supporting. Honestly, I haven’t participated in this much so I’m not sure I can speak to it. I’m new to all of this.

Messianic Keruv: Gathering In, Reaching Out by Kay Silberling
Keruv means “ingathering,” Inward ministry towards unity and community. Keruv was developed over centuries of persecution and family practice. The Jewish people are great and building and solid Keruv. This is a unique trait we can learn a lot from. The self proliferation and characterization as Christian, not Jewish seems to be factors that hinder, along with Jews attempts to diminish Messianic Jewish dialogue through alienation and disenfranchisement. Cultural identities create  a shared narrative and developing identity through constructed memories are keep components to Keruv “Ingather” or internal ministry in the body. There is a strong Jewish gathering in around community solidarity developed over centuries of Jewish life and persecution. We can learn a lot for Jewish Keruv.

For Christians in the 19th century Jewish assimilation who adopted the sameness with Western Europeans there was much fear and apprehension. Modern Jews see Messianic Jewish as the same type of threat in a similar danger and anxiety. Porous and fluid boundaries threaten Jewish and Christian elites; the heightened threat of terror and danger, the effects of multiculturalism and a high rate of intermarriage. Both Jewish and Christian missionary organizations they adopt a posture acquisitioned marketing. Well financed, using terms like “lost” “dying” an “deceptive.” The language of cultural violence enhances the anxiety of Jewish and Christian communal elite. While comforting them their message is being defended. It is a fallacy for Messianic Judaism to join the biases. We respect Jewish and Christian dialogue. We need to change our dialogue to define who we want to speak to, if its Jewish then we need to speak in Jewish terms. If it’s Christian then we should speak in Christian terms, Messianic should to find ways that do not represent an attempt to control the others social identity but to respect it.

Our relationship with the Land of Israel

Messianic Judaism’s role in Diaspora by Murray Silberling
We must preserve and protect Jewish identity, we must seek to maintain continuity and cohesion with Judaism. Diaspora is of significant value to Jews and Messianic Jews. There is experimentation in Diaspora. Diaspora is an important construct for the future of God’s purposes for Israel. Redemption happens at a Ha’Makon “The Place” a holy place. Diaspora was a a transitioning point in classical Zionism. Making Aliya was a scriptural mandate for all Messianic Jews. The do’s has seen less focus on Aliya and more on establishing congregations. The precious component of Jewish identity and practice are an issue of “who is a Jew,” according to the law of return and other ministry of religious affairs issues. Diverse religions Judaism in Diaspora we must be aware of forming Jewish continuity. Messianic Jews are marginalized American Jews live a life of choice. Jews in Israel, as members of Jewish polity are compelled by law and custom to participate in Jewish communal life. I feel uncomfortable taking advantage of Diaspora to influence Jewish thought personal I would rather engage in normative Jewish life, practice and dialogue in a Messianic context.

Messianic Jews should make Aliya by David H Stern
Aliya means going up immigrating to Israel. The land is Israel’s priority. David Stern states we must remove our excuses and go. He asks where our allegiances lie. He discusses the law of return and Messianic Jews and how the Supreme Court of Israel won’t allow it even when Jewish religious law (halacha) considers us Jewish.
Messianic Jews are the only group being denied the Right of Return. You only get one chance to get it right. The Law of Return provided Oleh Jewish descendants whose Grandparent has a Jewish mother. A spouse In this case is also entitled to Oleh.

Messianic Judaism and the End Times

Eschatology and Messianics Jews: a theological perspective by Arnold G Fruchtenbaum
The dual citizenship of Messianic Jews and The remnant of Israel, provide interesting paradoxes in the end time scenario. The definition and beginning of the Church, and the composition of the body provide a unique opportunity. Again Arnold emphasis the application of the dual citizenship in Israel and in the Church, that the Rapture, Subsequent events in heaven, Great tribulation, and the Messianic kingdom, provide a context to working of the dual citizenship of the remnant in the kingdom.

Observations of Messianic Judaism

Challenges to Messianic Judaism by Shoshanah Feher

The statement that “The past shows our future,” is deeply fortuitous and should be studies. We must seek continuity and making sense of Judaism. We must learn how much should a person Judaize its parent organization (Christian and Jewish) and how much to distance
Messianic Jews vs Messianc Gentile. We need to navigate the hierarchical issues of Jews over Gentiles. The imbalance of One New Man in practicum in Messianic Congregations result equals Gentiles trying to find Jewish lineage. This affected Gentiles to act and seek to be more Jewish when they are not and this is not their call. When one is diminished because they are a gentile this causes confused identity. We need to clearly address how to deal with Jewish/Gentile reaction. We don’t have to be the same and we need to define where Messianic gentiles go. Some claim there is not strong enough messianic vision. Some leave because they feel Messianic Judaism catered more to Gentiles so Jews sought more Jewish experience. Some found the level of Judaism exaggerated and stifling to the exclusion of Gentile upbringing. Those wanting less “Jewish hierarchy” could go elsewhere, and those wanting a stronger “Messianic vision” can attend a more Jewish centric congregation
Gentiles stifled by the degree of Jewish expression leave for evangelical churches. A few messianic Jews have discouraged Messianic Jews and become members of non-Messianic Jewish synagogues. We must look at who left and why they left. It is easier for Gentiles to move out of Messianic Judaism because they don’t have a Yiddishe N’Shamah a Jewish soul, they feel less tied to Messianic Judaism. Gentiles pass through for a few years for a new experience and tend to move on. Many share their views with their new congregations and come back for the high holidays. We must pass the faith on to the next generation. Messianic Judaism is still new. Second generation Messianic Jews are few, it is usually easier for second generation. School choice or homeschooling is an issue

Thoughts from a Longtime Friend by Arthur Glasser
Glasser expresses experience with ministry that advocated joining a church lacked continued outreach to Jewish community. He was getting discouraged because churches turned Jewish believers to unbelievers. There are also historical and cultural problems resulting from the Holocaust and Nazi controlled churches along with anti-Semitic views. Jewish hipped got saved and started Messianic Movement. We must deal with the false replacement theology. Hebrew or Jewish Christians must remain apart of Israel. Torah needed to be re-established for the Jewish people.

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