Not Jewish Yet Drawn to Torah, Part 5

I have a friend who led a Messianic congregation with few Jews. In the early days, he assumed that non-Jewish followers of Yeshua could and should take on a life of Torah and even specifically Jewish ways of keeping the commandments.

But over time, he realized, “We are not a synagogue. We are not a Jewish group.” What did he do?

He changed the designation of his congregation. It is no longer a Messianic congregation. I won’t mention the name his group now uses (I’d rather not have people guess who I am talking about and besides, I know of several parallel situations so that this is not a lone occurrence). But what he is now is the leader of a group of Judaically-informed Christians who wish to worship with traditions drawn from Judaism and the Hebrew Bible. He is what I would call a Judeo-Christian congregation.

Is this a direction some Messianic congregations might want to go in? Is this a way for people to incorporate some Jewish traditions without assuming a shallow or false de facto identity as Jews?

I’ve laid out the history of the problems of Messianic Judaism and identity confusion in this series. See especially Part 4, where I summarize and restate much of what has been said before.

I am suggesting solutions because I hear regularly from a large number of Jews and non-Jews who love Torah, Israel, praying the Siddur, keeping Sabbath and dietary law. I hear from Jews who want Messianic Judaism to be a movement about renewing Judaism in Messiah Yeshua. I hear from non-Jews who care deeply about that aim as well and I also hear from some who, frankly, are motivated much more by a love of the worship traditions of Israel than a love for the modern Jewish community (many have no connection to the Jewish community).

I hear from all of these people whose love for God is beyond question. They are seeking something. They don’t want to be in a mess. They don’t want to do harm by perpetuating confusion and diminishing the importance of Jewish identity. Some of them just want to keep the Sabbath in peace. And some want to be part of what God is doing to renew his chosen people, the modern Jewish community, in Yeshua.

Here in Part 5, I want to suggest that a name makes a difference.

The name “Messianic,” I am arguing, and feel free to politely challenge me with reasons why you think I am wrong, should be reserved for groups involved in the Jewish community and attracting a constituency that is significantly Jewish and intermarried. We were the ones who first used the name. We used it to designate a movement of Jews in the late 60’s and early 70’s. The world hears “Messianic” and thinks it means Jewish.

Of course, so many non-Jewish “Messianic” groups exist, many outsiders may already have changed their expectation from “this group is Jewish” to “this is a group of Christians who act like Jews.”

But perhaps it is not too late to save the name, to redeem it.

And I like the name Judeo-Christian for a lot of reasons:

(1) This can be a group with Jews and non-Jews together. It is both Judeo and Christian.

(2) This name tells people right off what you are: Christians who are Judaically informed in tradition and belief.

(3) It emphasizes something many of us have realized for a decade or more: Judaism and Christianity are not opposites, but actually are complementary.

And I believe we should get to work, in Messianic Jewish synagogues and Judeo-Christian congregations, discussing ways to differentiate between Jewish and non-Jewish observances. Do we really want non-Jews making light of the irrevocable election of the people of Israel by God in the Torah blessing? That is, do we really want non-Jews saying the blessing to God who “selected us from all the peoples and gave us his Torah”?

Yeah, I know the arguments. You can say, “We can reinterpret this blessing in light of New Covenant realities. We non-Jews in Messiah are also chosen.”

But, the intention of the prayer is to say that God selected one people out of the peoples of the world. The Bible is clear that this refers to Israelites . . . literally. And the Torah is not given to Americans or Japanese or Polynesians or whomever. The Torah is given to the Jewish people.

Why should our rituals declare untruth and work against the truth that is precious to God? (I hope you don’t need me to prove to you, from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament that Jewish covenantal identity remains important to God).

There are many areas to discuss differentiation with regard to: Bar and Bat Mitzvah (for non-Jews?), a B’ris (for non-Jewish babies?), blessings written as if coming from members of Israel, patterns of dress that indicate belonging to a particular type of Jewish community (gentile Hasidim?), and so on.

In Part 6, I will address the reasons why non-Jews might want to be a part of Messianic Judaism proper. But remember, I define Messianic Judaism as a movement by and for Jews and intermarrieds. I am not against the full inclusion of non-Jews, even though this will make us vulnerable to criticism. I believe that some Messianic Jewish communities can model inclusion of non-Jews without diluting purpose.

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About Derek Leman

Rabbi, writer, Weight Watchers leader, blogger, geek. My main blog is DerekLeman.com/Musings and my health blog is LemansLoserBlog.wordpress.com
This entry was posted in Bible, Christian, Gentiles, Judaism, Judeo-Christian, messianic, Messianic Jewish, Messianic Judaism. Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Not Jewish Yet Drawn to Torah, Part 5

  1. Aaron says:

    I don’t mean to detract from your main point, but I thought I would offer a clarification.

    “Messianic Judaism” became a technical term for a particular segment of Jewish followers of Yeshua well over a hundred years ago, long before the resurgence in the sixties and seventies. It was quite controversial in its time. David Baron’s booklet entitled “‘Messianic Judaism'; or Judaising Christianity” published in 1911 gave quite a harsh critique.

    Ironically, in 1917 the Hebrew Christian Alliance of America adamantly declared in their quarterly journal that they utterly rejected those promoting “Messianic Judaism.” (This is, of course, ironic because in the seventies the HCAA became the MJAA.)

  2. jroush81 says:

    There was a time where this notion would have offended me. A lot.
    not anymore.

    this is really well laid out.

    This makes sense to me as it helps to clear the water a bit.
    However, I don’t really care for the term “judeo-christian”. It does the job, but as least in my mouth it just doesn’t feel right.
    Perhaps that is because the term is batted around in the politcal arena so often…

  3. Aaron:

    Thank you. Is there anywhere online we can get access to Baron’s booklet or any reviews or info about it?

    I was aware that the term had been used before. Didn’t Joseph Rabinowitz use it? And I seem to remember that Gaebelin also slammed the idea and used the term to describe the group he was slamming.

    19th century and early 20th century Hebrew Christian history is something I’ve begged some of the young scholars in our movement to research and write about. Currently the info is scattered. Here’s hoping Vine of David, over the next decade, brings much more to light. And kudos as well to Jorge Quinonez for his site with tons of scanned in documents:

    http://afii.org/jorge.htm

    Derek Leman

    • Aaron says:

      I don’t know if Rabinowitz used it, but I get the impression he would have since it was used to describe the kinds of things he and others like him were doing. Another fellow from South Africa named Philip Cohen had a periodical around the same time called “The Messianic Jew,” but I don’t know anything else about it or him.

      You can read Baron’s book here: http://www.zcpress.org/baron/judaising/JC1-index.html

    • justin david says:

      Blessings Derek;

      Yes, I agree that more work needs to be done cataloging and translating the texts from the Hebrew Christian movement of the 19th and early 20th century; I have completed one recently and have another underway. This must be done however, even when we find that some of the theology accepted then, differs from some of the theological views held today. I have recently completed a fresh translation of Joseph Immanuel Landsman’s ‘Principles of our Holy Faith'; a wonderful Hebrew Christian response to the 13 Principles of Faith produced by the Rambam. Landsman’s Principles were not written for the Church, as he wrote them for the Jewish community in Hebrew and Yiddish, as a way of explaining our faith in Messiah and he did so in a very Jewish way, for the Jewish people. However, his point of view has not been and probably will not be accepted by the current stream of messianic thinkers, especially regarding ‘gentiles;’ which is why I have endeavored to produce an in depth Messianic Jewish commentary for this work. One individual dismissed Landsman’s text because they inferred that he was not as well informed as we are today; if one had read any biographical information on Landsman, they certainly would not be able to arrive at this conclusion.

      Needless to say, as a Messianic Jew and the leader of a congregation with more saints from the nations than MJ’s, I am approaching this topic of discussion with extreme caution and have found that there are no easy answers for either side of the debate. Most Messianic Jewish communities would simply not exist if all ‘gentiles’ were to exit. To maintain Jewish identity, we need leaders who are willing to maintain that identity themselves, in my experience this trait is severely lacking. We also need fathers who are willing to teach their children and raise them as Jews in Messiah. Our identity should not become a theological battering ram against brethren. We have been called to be light to the nations, we must endeavor to pursue His mission. I am not sure where the criticism over ‘gentile’ inclusion would come from. Most of my friends in the traditional rabbinate are very intrigued by this.

      Derek I do love you as a brother but simply cannot, at this time, agree with some of your thoughts, even assuming for a moment that you are correct, as the end result may be devastating for many saints involved in this discussion. At the end of the day it is not FFOZ, as much as I love them or the MJTI who are leading our local congregations and it is not solely these institutions who are studying and considering these questions. Pursuing this line of thought as strongly as some are may only produce deeper fractures in an already fractured movement.

      Not expressed in anger or as a personal assault. Just my opinion.

      Shalom,
      Justin

  4. jroush81:

    I understand. As a writer, I look for terms that have name recognition and communicate well.

    Judeo-Christian can have some off-putting connotations, a term used in politics and history with, sometimes, some questionable assumptions.

    But it has name recognition and it communicates well. Hebrew Roots is already ruined (and has many problems as a term). Jewish Roots, the same.

    I’d love to hear other ideas for a name for a Judaically informed Christianity which organizes into congregations and keeps some or all of Torah in a way that maintains the uniqueness of Jewish identity.

    Derek Leman

    • Ovadia says:

      “keeps some or all of Torah in a way that maintains the uniqueness of Jewish identity”
      This is, frankly, either impossible or too difficult to be worth trying. I have yet to find, outside of the mainstream Jewish community, a non-Jew started who keeping the Sabbath for theologically-sound reasons; restorationist and supersessionist impulses abound. While individuals who began a Judaically-informed path for the wrong reasons may still be interested after repudiating those reasons, I have a hard time believing that many people will be interested in keeping the Sabbath “just because”, especially when such a variety of rich Christian options for faith community exists.

  5. Ovadia says:

    Derek:

    I have to ditto Jonathan’s skepticism about the name “Judeo-Christian”, it already has an established political use in the broader world. It is not a term that sits well with the (non-Orthodox, politically liberal) majority of the Jewish community, who often resent being co-opted into an agenda for “Judeo-Christian values” they do not share.

    Maybe there should not be a name for a distinctly “Judeo-Christian” approach to Christianity. These communities could identify simply as “churches” and express their distinct liturgical influence from Messianic Judaism as part of who they are without a simple label.

    Also, I think that trying to re-appropriate the term “Messianic” from the majority of people who now use it is something of a lost cause. Jewish followers of Yeshua practicing Judaism are probably less in continuity with the ideology and practice of early Messianic Judaism than the majority of the “Gentile Messianic” world, maybe we should be the ones coming up with a new name for ourselves. Just a suggestion.

  6. Ovadia:

    It is possible that you are right and that the name Judeo-Christian will not appeal to a young, left-leaning crowd of secular Jews. I’m not certain you are right, mind you. But, first of all, this group is not primarily trying to reach this subset of Jews. Second of all, a new generation has to define the seamless non-boundary between Judaism and Christianity (I used my terms precisely there, so not denying a boundary between Jewish and non-Jewish identities).

    Lost cause? No prob. So is healing the world, but I am not free from the attempt to try.

    No good reason for a non-Jew to keep Sabbath? I disagree. No compelling reason or obligation, true. But, I certainly think there are good reasons why non-Jews are drawn to Sabbath, the festivals of the Torah, and so on. Maybe that will be Part 7, legitimate reasons non-Jews choose to draw near to the age to come and its ways.

    Derek Leman

    • Ovadia says:

      Derek:

      “young, left-leaning crowd of secular Jews”
      I did not mean to refer to the young, left-leaning crowd that I normally hang around (FLABT, the “Jewschool” milieu), but the American Jewish community writ large, which has always been overwhelmingly non-Orthodox and Democrat. The American Jewish community that, by and large, stood/stands on the opposite side of the culture wars from Ronald Reagan and Dennis Prager.

      While these “Judeo-Christian” communities will likely have zero engagement with the Jewish community, if Messianic Jews are advocating a “Judeo-Christian” project, it will only exacerbate the Jewish community’s claims that we are playing fast and loose semantic games with the words “Judaism” and “Christianity” (which are often true) and increase the extent to which we are seen as evangelical outsiders by the Jewish

      “Lost cause? No prob. So is healing the world, but I am not free from the attempt to try.”
      Except with healing the world, we have God’s guarantee in Yeshua that it will occur, so that our futile actions now can be seen as a participation in God’s ultimate act of healing. We have no such guarantee for the term “Messianic” meaning what we want it to.

      Dan does raise a legitimate point: conversion (especially through the halachic procedures) is something that is still incredibly controversial in the Messianic Jewish movement and is incoherent from the perspective of early Messianic Judaism. We are the ones should be coming up with a new name for ourselves, not the Gentile communities who practice Messianic Judaism (evangelical Christianity with Jewish flavor), just devoid of Jewish people.

  7. robyn says:

    Why are the terms “Hebrew Roots” and “Jewish Roots” ruined? I’m just curious, because I wasn’t aware of anything–positive or negative–regarding those terms.

  8. jrickardj says:

    Well I sure do enjoy reading all these comments, and they cause me to ask myself questions. I am not Jewish, but have been part of the Messianic movement for 20 years. I’ve learned a lot, seen a lot, and mostly good things. I think I’ve postings on this blog more than any other, and I know I’ve posted more on this than other blogs, for this is an important topic, and issue. What do people like me call themselves? I know that most would say use the term Christian, but a lot of baggage comes with that term, and I don not call myself Messianic Jewish, for I am not Jewish, so what do I call myself? I know who I am in Messiah Yeshua, I know I try to keep Shabbat, try with the help of the Holy Spirit keep Torah, and I know that in most church circles I don’t fit in. I know I don’t fit in some Messianic Jewish circles, so where? There are a lot of people like me out here and some are looking for a home congregation where they will be accepted, and maybe some day become a leader in the congregation of some sorts. I do have to say in the first 10 years of being Messianic I was accepted in a lot of the Messianic circles, but not as much the past 10 years. I guess my question is why, and that I will find out. I as working on a Bible study, and the scripture I am reading now is Luke 2:52, and Yeshua increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with G-d and man. I try to be a disciple of Yeshua and hopefully I follow his example. I will try not to offend anyone who is reading and or posting on this blog. Blessings to you all in Messiah Yeshua

  9. robyn:

    Hebrew Roots has been used for so long as a term by people who did not understand Torah, Jewish identity, or even good theology. It has been co-opted by people with strange theological agendas such as he Sacred Name movement or people who want to intimate that they are Israelites from the lost tribes and so on. Jewish Roots has been used of teaching Christians the Jewish origins of ideas and practices. I also don’t like the idea of a non-Jewish group calling their congregation a Jewish Roots Congregation.

  10. jrickardj:

    Thanks and learning is what we all need. Learning together is best. I also learn from the commenters even when they are asking questions and not making points. I learn because the questions force me to rethink, defend, and rephrase things.

  11. danbenzvi says:

    Derek,

    Don’t mean to offend,but why should we follow a convert to Judaism that his conversion is not recognized by the group he claims to represet?

    And a convert shall lead them?

  12. danbenzvi:

    What happened to that great, touchy-feely last post you made when you retired from blogging? Are you back to being the grouch in the corner? I like the kinder, gentler side of Dan much better, the side that doesn’t insist on delegitimizing others in order to elevate himself . . . ooh, did I say that?

    Derek Leman

  13. Everybody, see Justin David’s reply to a comment above. It is a somewhat long comment, so you probably will find it easily.

    Justin, I don’t think we’ve met. Your comment is a good one and very respectfully offered. I think your main point is that if MJ’s make a distinction between Jewish and non-Jewish identities, we will cause a fraction. Is that about right?

    So, I want to be clear what alternative you are willing to accept. Ignore the fact that Jewish covenantal faithfulness to God is important to him? Ignore the continuing role of Jewish identity in the mutual blessing covenant of Genesis 12? Ignore the irrevocable election of Israel? Allow non-Jews to be confused and think only Jewish identity and worship is kosher?

    Neither am I angry when I ask you these questions.

    But here is the thing: I’m coming on here and putting it out on the line suggesting solutions. I don’t do so from any position of authority, by the way. I haven’t been appointed even vice assistant pope of MJ yet :-)

    So, we could just say, “MJ is broken and no one should try to fix it,” or we should propose solutions.

    Derek Leman

    • justin david says:

      Blessings Derek;

      No, I do not believe that we have ever met…nice to ‘meet’ you.

      No, my point is not that pursuing this line of thought will produce a fracture; my concluding thought was that we are already fractured and have been for a line time and it is getting worse. ‘Gentiles’ are not the only source of MJish issues.

      “Ignore the fact that Jewish covenantal faithfulness to God is important to him? Ignore the continuing role of Jewish identity in the mutual blessing covenant of Genesis 12? Ignore the irrevocable election of Israel? Allow non-Jews to be confused and think only Jewish identity and worship is kosher?”

      My friend, is it your practice to assume what another is thinking? In my post above I did not even hint at the questions you put forward. I live and teach these very principles each and every day, both in the MJ community in my area and the Church and have suffered tremendously for it…from both camps. My point is this, if we press the MJ or Jewish identity issue as strongly as has been of late, we risk alienating a majority of saints who call the messianic movement home…honest people who have a love and respect for Israel and have been delivered by Yeshua. Do we risk becoming a source of stumbling for other saints?

      We simply cannot diminish the importance of the saints who are from the nations. They too have an election, an adoption, a purpose and salvation through Yeshua, which is in harmony with Israel. Israel after the flesh is distinct from the nations. Israel of the spirit is a paradigm of relationship with Him. Saints from the nations need to be taught proper relationship, proper worship and yes, to understand the NT, they must have a foundation built on the Torah, they are grafted into our tree being fed from the same root source; I am not degrading the practices of the Church, only speaking to a specific issue.

      Derek we live and worship as one new man, yes this is a spiritual concept but this does not diminish its importance here in the flesh. You seem to take offense at ‘gentiles’ saying certain siddur prayers; but do you correct, or question some of the well known ‘gentile’ messianic teachers who not only say these siddur prayers but lay tefillin, wear tzitzit and kippah? If you do, Omein; but there seems to be some preferential treatment among some people who are embracing these positions. Am I offended by ‘gentiles’ saying these prayers? Only if they have no meaning for them. Ex. the prayer of the heretic in the Amidah, I don’t say it, it is meaningless to me within the historical context it was written in and who it was written for.

      “I define Messianic Judaism as a movement by and for Jews and intermarrieds.”

      What of MJish coverts? What are the children of these inter-marrieds if we only follow the halakah of traditional Judaism?

      Yes, Messianic Judaism is Judaism, perhaps in its most pure form, ideally; and many of the practices are meaningful, initially, only to Jews but does this exclude ‘gentiles’from learning and allowing meaning to develop for them? Remember, secular Jews who were raised without any Jewish identity need to grow in understanding as well.

      “I believe that some Messianic Jewish communities can model inclusion of non-Jews without diluting purpose.”

      This is the point, it is possible, as I see this each and every week. My community has not lost purpose even though we have ‘gentiles’ singing ‘Sh’ma’ and ‘Kaddish.’ My life and ministry is not solely to the Jewish people, it is also for the people of the nations, just as yours is! But we are and will remain a Messianic Jewish community.

      We must exercise extreme caution when deciding what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ for people who are partners of the same covenant promise we have in Messiah.

      I respect what you are posting, otherwise I would not read it. That respect does not extinguish my own inquiry into the ramifications of these theological arguments. I realize that questions need to be asked to fix what is otherwise a beautiful faith community; we just need to be mindful of the greater community as well.

      Sorry for the length of this post. Again, no anger or personal affront intended. I know that I did not cover everything but I didn’t want you to fall asleep before finishing this post!

      Shalom,
      Justin

      • Justin…

        Do you mind me asking? Were you born halachically Jewish (Jewish mother), or have your converted (if so, through what agency?), or have you assumed Jewish identity through practice?

        I think we’ve talked before elsewhere and I have gotten impression that you were part of some Gentile One Law group.

  14. Ovadya:

    You still haven’t proposed a better name. I would love our discussion to give people a dynamite vision and idea for the future. But so far, you’ve only told me that Judeo-Christian is doomed to offend the majority American Jewish community by looking like a Christian Coalition offshoot.

    Great. So just let the non-Jewish Torah movement have the name Messianic Judaism?

    I have proposed that and people shot it down too. I wanted to come up with a name. In Israel, the name Hasidei Yeshua is growing. But these people are all Orthodox in practice. What is a guy like me to do? I don’t want to wear a black hat.

    Derek Leman

    • Ovadia says:

      Derek:

      Gentiles playing Jewish dress-up (or observing parts of Mosaic Law without the dress-up) is hardly a “dynamite vision and idea for the future”. These commmunities you envision should just be called “churches”. They probably won’t agree to that label any more than they’ll agree to let go of their supersessionism.

      Messianic Judaism has already played enough semantic games; we have an entire translation of the Bible that consists 99% of playing “CTRL-R” with Christian-sounding vocabulary. Let’s not add the term “Judeo-Christian” to the list of Terms Messianic Judaism Redefined alongside “Biblical Judaism”, “Rabbinic Judaism”, “Torah”, “Kashrut”, “keeping the Sabbath”, “rabbi”, “Judaism”, etc. That’s all I’m saying. It already means something very different from “Jewishly-informed Christian practice”, something that already smacks of “evangelical Christians haphazardly mashing together Judaism and Christianity”.

      In order to get to the name “hasidei Yeshua”, the people who use it had to divest themselves of the idea of creating a separate denomination, and think of themselves primarily as religious Jews who happen to be followers of Jesus. We in the Diaspora are nowhere near being there yet, and our Diaspora context makes expressing that idea linguistically much more difficult.

      Aside: I haven’t seen any of them wearing black hats, and if you have a problem with a kippah serugah then we’re even further apart in hashkafa than I thought ;)

  15. danbenzvi says:

    Derek,

    I love you, but can you answer the question instead of killing the messenger? Are you giving me problem for trying to keep you honest?

  16. Everyone:

    It’s messy isn’t it? But these are real people, all the Jews and non-Jews in the sphere of Messianic Judaism and whatever-we-want-to-call-philo-Judaic-Christianity. We are all dear and beloved. No person can be marginalized.

    Perhaps my brain will clear tomorrow and I can summarize the salient points from the comments. I think Justin and Ovadya have some good points and some that need challenging.

    It would be a better forum if we could get all the leaders who care about these issues together and discuss them. Face to face we could see some commonality a little more easily.

    The real world and real communities do not turn out the way theory might assume. Who’d have thought the Exodus would have resulted in the tragic history of a Jewish people who have largely ignored God? Who’d have thought the resurrection of Messiah would have resulted in a church history so mixed with greed, power politics, and self-glorification?

    Many of you who read here see the vision of making this age more like the age to come. It is what Yeshua lived to show us. How do Jews and non-Jews who believe in Messiah do this? I’m not on the topic of the top ten changes I’d love to see in various Christian denominations or mainstream Jewish denominations. I’m on the topic of the collection of people who have gathered around the idea of a more Jewishly informed Christianity and a Judaism that is centered in Yeshua.

    I’m a natural pessimist. But I think solutions are possible because I have seen the power of community built around Yeshua. Have most of you seen that as well?

    It is a powerful thing and the darkness has not snuffed it out.

    Derek Leman

    • jroush81 says:

      “It’s messy isn’t it? But these are real people, all the Jews and non-Jews in the sphere of Messianic Judaism and whatever-we-want-to-call-philo-Judaic-Christianity.”

      Yes, it is incredibly messy…but I am thankful to run (mostly) with people who aren’t afraid to confront the mess. And I appreciate the opportunity to dig into this mess with people from across the continent.

      A dynamic of face to face conversation that I employ quite a bit is that I take advantage of the discussion to figure out how to say what I am trying to say. Sometimes this means people (temporarily) have the wrong idea of what I mean, or of what I am trying to get at.
      In other words, I allow the course of the conversation to help me solidify how I can say what I am trying to say.
      Sometimes it takes a few minutes…other times its taken months of dialogue.

      Of course, everyone involved has to be committed. Committed to what? Not committed to being right, or proving the other(s) wrong, but committed to the person/people you are dialoguing with.

      “We are all dear and beloved. No person can be marginalized.”

      Exactly.

      “Face to face we could see some commonality a little more easily.”

      Face to face is always better. Though possible it is much harder to caricaturize each other face to face.

  17. justin david says:

    “Justin…

    Do you mind me asking? Were you born halachically Jewish (Jewish mother), or have your converted (if so, through what agency?), or have you assumed Jewish identity through practice?

    I think we’ve talked before elsewhere and I have gotten impression that you were part of some Gentile One Law group.”

    Gene: Jewish, non-observant family, ‘spiritual seeker’ for years before coming to faith in Messiah. We have posted a few times on the same boards but I do not believe that we have ‘talked.’ Not part of ‘some Gentile One Law group.’ I don’t teach what is called ‘one law’ but I do believe, as Joel Chernoff sings, ‘Jew and Gentile, one in Messiah, one in Yeshua…’

    Derek: I believe that we both desire the same outcome, perhaps just looking at it from differing perspectives as we search for the answer. Be rested.

    Shalom;
    J

  18. thelordsgoat says:

    Personally, throughout my 14+ year association with the Messianic community, I’ve found describing myself as a “Messianic Gentile” most effectively: 1) distances me from the baggage associated with the “Christian” label, 2) preemptively addresses any false impressions that I consider myself Jewish by birth or conversion, and 3) leads to witnessing opportunities among Jews and Christians… all seemingly without leaving Jews or Christians confused about my feelings towards Yeshua or affinity for Jews, Judaism, and Israel.

    Warmest Regards,

    Michael

  19. Seth says:

    Even though my screen name is “JudeoXian,” I can see everyone’s points against it. Also, I have still had people confuse this designation and think that I’m Jewish. As if I was saying I’m a Jewish Christian.

    Ultimately, I think the problem with a name stems from the fact that we are trying to label too much (Yeshua following Gentiles with an affinity for Torah and love for the Jewish people). Our primary identity will always be in Christ. I think as long as our actions reflect our love and respect for Judaism, we won’t need an all-descriptive name. We should remain simply disciples or Christians. What’s more, this perspective shouldn’t be limited to any one movement or denomination. Labeling it, I think, would limit it and marginalize it.

  20. Baron Jet Jaguar says:

    Derek,

    Why not combine the two?

    Messianic Judeo-Christian. A reflection of Judaism and Christianity. People are already using this title.

  21. tripwire45 says:

    Derek, I haven’t had a chance to read all of the comments yet, but on the surface, it seems like the “Judeo-Christian” label has already been taken:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JudeoChristian

  22. tripwire45 says:

    I’ve taken the liberty (or risk) of responding to your series in depth in my own blog, Derek.

    Blessings.

    James

    P.S. I really appreciated your comments here, Justin. I think you represent the viewpoint of Jews in the movement who see both Jewish and Gentile believers as “brethren”. Thanks.

  23. Pingback: Not Jewish Yet Drawn to Torah, Part 6 « Messianic Jewish Musings

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