I’m not going to say anything angry in this post. I am going to state positively what Post-Missionary Messianic Judaism is. I will not quote Dr. Mark Kinzer’s book and some will say I am not interpreting him correctly. Well, here goes.
Missionary Messianic Judaism is a Messianic Judaism hostile to Judaism. How can there be such a thing? It is a Judaism that uses Jewish symbols to attract Jewish people to Yeshua but which does not respect the Jewish symbols. It is liable to the oft-repeated charge that Messianic Judaism is a bait-and-switch deception. Missionary Messianic Judaism denounces Judaism as a false religion. Missionary Messianic Judaism says, “Believe in Jesus, eating pork chops, and breaking the Sabbath and you will be saved.” (I am aware that varying degrees of Torah observance occur in Missionary Messianic Judaism, but I am simplifying for the sake of argument — besides, such partial Torah observance is often self-defeating).
What other people have been told, “Deny your humanity and believe in Jesus and you will be saved”? Only the Jews.
When Dr. Kinzer points out that the Jewish no to Yeshua has been a yes to God, this is what he means. God said to Israel, be holy. God specified it meant things like circumcision, dietary law, and Sabbath observance. Then Christendom misinterpreted the New Testament as a document repealing these things for Jews (when instead it is a document affirming that God never required them of non-Jews).
So, in order to say yes to Yeshua, Jews were forced to say no to God’s commandments.
Imagine if someone said, “Go on a drinking spree and carouse with the opposite sex in order to prove you are not trusting in your good deeds; then you will be ready to believe in Jesus”? Am I stretching the analogy too far? This is what Dr. Kinzer means by saying the Jewish no to Yeshua is a yes to God.
So here is what Post-Missionary Messianic Judaism is: a Messianic Judaism that is really a Judaism and is really about Messiah Yeshua at the same time. It is Post-Missionary because it does not take the stance of superiority to Judaism. It does not say, “Judaism is wrong. Abandon it and choose Yeshua instead.” It says, “Yeshua is within Judaism and if you see him within it, your Judaism will be fulfilled.”
Let me illustrate the difference with a simple comparison. Missionary Messianic Judaism is symbolized by the pamphlet handed out on the street corner. One person can put a pamphlet in the hands of several hundred Jewish persons in a few hours (plus multiple times as many Gentiles). What will the effect be? I can tell you from experience: the only effect, with a few very rare exceptions, will be angering people and turning them further against Yeshua.
That same person can be a Post-Missionary Messianic Jew and not hand out any tracts. Instead, they can live as Jews in the Jewish community. There are ample opportunities for conversation and interaction at Jewish events and in public places in which Jewish people find one another. A Post-Missionary Messianic Jew may interact with several hundred Jewish people in a year (not in a few hours).
What will the effect be? Well, I can tell you that the process is largely untried. Few are doing it. But I know that being a witness from within creates a lot less anger. I know from experience that when Yeshua is seen positively in the life of a Jew who respects Judaism, the chances that a Jewish person will take Yeshua seriously are greater.
Why then, you might ask, do Jewish missions have more numbers? The answer is simple. The church (remember those millions of non-Jewish believers?) are sharing their faith with their Jewish friends. The Jewish missions largely get credit for those interactions which sometimes lead to faith.
Ask any Jewish mission leader honestly, “Are the Jewish people who decide to believe in Yeshua mostly cold-calls developed through street evangelism?” The answer is no. The street evangelism is what brings in the money, however. Christians give when they see numbers and pictures of street evangelism. I am not saying that Jewish missions are being deceptive in order to get money. They truly believe their street evangelism is prophetic and is planting seeds. But they also know that it brings in money.
What is the effect of Missionary Messianic Judaism? The Jews who do come to faith will mostly assimilate. They may maintain their Jewish identity for a generation or two, but most end up just being Gentiles. If they do not, their children will.
What would be the effect of a more widespread Post-Missionary Messianic Judaism? What would happen if more Jews integrated their faith in Yeshua with their Jewish identity and practice? What would happen if more Messianic Jews were active in the Jewish community? I hope we will find out someday. The process is only beginning.