A Recommended Read on Our Witness to Jewish People

My friend and someone I regard as a mentor, Rabbi Stuart Dauermann, has just posted an article on an overlooked aspect of witness to Jewish people, whether it comes from a Messianic Jewish context or a Christian context. I highly recommend you read this. Here is the link:

http://rabbenu.blogspot.com/2007/05/some-thoughts-on-reading-darrell-guder_16.html

Disclaimer
I am not agreeing with the following statement by Dr. Rabbi Dauermann: “According to this construct, all Jews are necessarily going to hell, except those few who believe in Jesus—that’s bad news.” I have written and am preparing again an article on reasons why God is exclusive and requires faith in Yeshua for inclusion in the life to come. Rabbi D and I disagree about this issue, but agree about a great many other topics.

Derek

About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
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18 Responses to A Recommended Read on Our Witness to Jewish People

  1. Amy Downey says:

    Derek,

    Could you provide me with a little background because for you to recommend Stuart Dauermann’s blog is somewhat of a surprise to me.

    I first met you in September at the TTJF Conference in NYC that was sponsored by Chosen People Ministries. Stuart Dauermann had just spoken and mentioned that basically he thought the work of Jewish evangelism should be left up to Jewish believers. In other words, no Gentiles need apply. You stood up and confronted him on this view and appeared to be more in the Messianic Jewish camp that advocated the tearing down of the wall which separates Jewish and Gentiles believers. From what I have read on your blog, you appear to have swung clear to the other side. Am I wrong? Am I reading you incorrectly? Just a little explanation.

    Amy

  2. Amy Downey says:

    September 1999. The year should have been specified.

  3. Amy:

    Great to hear from you again. I did add a disclaimer to my post suggesting one statement in Dr. Rabbi Dauermann’s paper I disagree with.

    Regarding the issue of Gentiles having a witness to Israel, I do not believe I have ever changed my mind about that. I am a Gentile (seeking conversion) and I have shared Messiah with many Jewish people.

    I’m not sure you have Rabbi D right on this issue either. Maybe he said something in 1999 he would not agree with now.

    But you are right about one thing, I have changed my views on a lot of subjects. In 1999 I was coming from a point of view hostile to Judaism while loving Jewish people. Now I am a practitioner of Judaism (to the extent I can as I await conversion) and coming from a pro-Judaism perspective. I now see Judaism not as a false religion, but simply the incomplete belief system of the elect people of God. In other words, Yeshua-faith does not replace Judaism, it is the essential addition which completes it.

    Anyway, I would be glad to hear from you more specifics about points which you may think we differ on. Feel free to email me at derek4messiah@gmail.com.

    Derek

  4. Rich says:

    I read Stuart’s blogpost with interest. In it he wrote:

    “Coining the term “crypto-supersessionism” might be of help here, which term means “supersessionist presuppositions functioning at a subconscious world-view level which, while unacknowledged, become evident in their effects.” Such crypto-supersessionism is evident even in dispensationalist Jewish mission circles where supersessionism per se is flatly rejected. Even in these circles, crypto-supersessionism is known by its fruits: anti-rabbinism, anti-nomianism, and anti-Judaism.”

    So even those who deny being supersessionist and who advocate positively for the Jewish people and for Israel, are really what they say they are not all about! They are *subconscious* supersessionists. And what is the evidence? Their fruit is the three “antis” enumerated above, which, as far as I can tell, are meant to describe any position that believes the (good, divinely given) Torah is not obligated under the New Covenant.

    I take it then, then even an ardent supporter of Israel, even for that matter a righteous gentile who has saved Jews, anyone who works for the betterment of the Jewish people, as long as they believe the Torah is no longer obligatory, are anti-Jewish. And no matter how high a view they may take of the Law, if they believe it is not a current covenant obligation in its Mosaic shape, are anti-nomian. And even if they write and argue against supersessionism, if they do believe that about the Law they are crypto-supersessionists.

    If this is what Stuart is saying, then we have lost all chance to dialogue because everything has been redefined and no one will be allowed to be what they say they are. If this is not what Stuart is saying, then perhaps he will be kind enough to clarify what he means.

  5. Amy Downey says:

    Just read Dauermann’s blog. You do realize he is heading down a very dangerous road … don’t you. My question is how long before he embraces some aspect of dual covenantalism?

  6. Amy:

    I am on record as believing inclusion in the Life to Come comes only through faith in Yeshua. Just wanted to make sure you weren’t attributing any beliefs to me that are not truly mine.

    First of all, I find it curious that people who love Israel get more alarmed by inclusivism than they do about supersessionism. How important to God is the election of Israel? How large a role does Israel play in the plan of God? How offensive to God do you think it is when people ignore something close to his heart?

    Second of all, it is not fair to compare inclusivism to dual covenant theology. I think you may be unaware of inclusivism movement (John Sanders, Gregory Boyd, Clark Pinnock). I disagree with these men, but inclusivism is a completely different issue than dual covenant theology.

    I happen to respect Stuart Dauermann while disagreeing with him on a few key issues. I think he has far more to offer in the positive sense that evangelicals need to hear than he has theological problems. You see, there is a kind of shunning that goes on, where people miss a great deal of truth and beauty because they reject someone over a pet issue.

    I do hope that you will not fall into that trap, Amy.

    Derek

  7. Amy Downey says:

    Derek,

    Thank you for the explanation. I also enjoyed your “trap” statement. It reminds me of how others debate in such a way that any response can be read as negative. Not condemning you but just acknowledging that it was good.

    As far as your question let me ask you one — what is the greater danger — supersessionism or an inclusivism that trends toward dual covenantalism? Both are dangers, wrong, and immoral, don’t read me incorrectly with my question. I loathe both positions because they lead to heresy. However, I have read Kinzer’s book and I see a growing trend in which inclusivism will one day become dual covenantalism. That is what alarms me more than anything.

    Let me ask a final question — what would you rather have a Reformed, replacement person who prays for the salvation of the Jewish people and does all that is in his power to reach the Jewish people or an inclusivist who does little to nothing? Just a question and I am curious about your answer.

  8. Amy:

    I know people of both types: Christians who love and pray for Israel but who hold to various forms of supersessionism and Messianic Jews who are inclusivist.

    Let me say from experience, when the well-meaning Christian speaks to Jewish friends about Yeshua, and when those Jewish friends convert to Christianity, a great tragedy happens. A Jewish family line is lost forever, 9 times out of 10, and the Jewish Christian not only misses God’s will for his or her life, but a great witness opportunity is lost. Jews who believe in Yeshua and retain their Jewish identity are a far better witness.

    Now, on the other side, when a Messianic Jewish inclusivist interacts with Jewish friends, they do attract people to Yeshua. Inclusivists are not against witness. Further, most Jews aren’t living Torah and will be challenged to do so by my inclusivist MJ friends.

    I can say that 100% I would prefer any Jewish person to meet an inclusivist MJ than a well-meaning Christian who has too little understanding of the importance of Jewish identity.

    Derek

  9. Stuart says:

    Clarification for Rich.

    I can’t take responsibility for how Rich “takes” what I say (his term). I certainly had no intention, nor did it enter into my mind, to categorically nullify discussion of differing views nor to categorically dismiss all who adhere to a given theological position. What I intended is this: that even in theological circles which disavow supersessionsm, world-view assumptions and tendencies typical of supersessionism may and often do persist, that is, the assumed and either implicit or explicit present spiritual vacuity of Jewish religious life and community, especially those which assume a general expiration of the privileged status that formerly pertained to Israel. Paul dealt with this tendency when he reminded us in Romans, “What advantage has the Jew? Much in every way!” To the extent that attitudes and assumptions fail to reflect his enthusiasm, they are, in my view, crypto-supersessionist. And I make this judgment not on the basis of exegesis but of observation. I do this not to foreclose discussion, God forbid, but to contribute my own views to the discussion. I trust this will continue to be allowable.

    This persistence of old assumptions is a fact of human experience in every area, as in cases where the management of a corporate entity changes, and yet, the assumptions of the former regime persist despite being formally disavowed.

    I trust this makes MY intent clear.

  10. Stuart says:

    Some comments for Amy,

    The position you attribute to me that “Gentiles need not apply” is of course not my position. I would not have come to Yeshua-faith were it not for the witness of a group of Gentile friends. In fact, the Messianic Congregation which I lead was planted by a gifted and called Gentile leader–who was also, by the way, clear about the unique calling of the Jewish people. Whatever it was you heard me say in 1999, and I have no idea eight years later what it was, it was NOT what you attribute to me, that “Gentiles need not apply” to the task of sharing Yeshua with Jewish people!

    I emphatically do not believe in a two covenant theory, nor does Mark Kinzer, my ideological associate. We both explicitly deny this, and I am afraid the “slippery slope” fears you express are more fear-driven than fact-driven.

    I don’t use nor like the term “inclusivism.” I think it is widely used as a stigmatizing scare word like “right-wing,” “left-wing,” “fundamentalist,” or “liberal.” My views are driven by my continuing engagement with Scripture.

    If I were to coin a phrase, I might use the term “diffusionist” to describe how Scripture repeatedly indicates that the benefits of salvation are not so much restricted and diffused within circles generally known only to God. For example, notice the scandal of God being willing to save all of Sodom for the sake of ten righteous people–what a scandal! And what shall we do with Acts 16:31 – “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved, you and your household!” Missiologists and missionaries understand that this is probably a case of the head of the household being culturally authorized to speak for his entire family . . . something still a strong reality elswhere in the world, even if not in the hyper-inidvidualist West.

    Or what about 1Cor 7:13-14, where an unbelieving husband and children are “sanctified” by the faith of the believing wife/mother? Again, the spiritual benefit diffuses. Or how about the end of Hebrews 11, where the blessedness that the Yeshua believing Jewish remnant enters into diffuses ad washes back over the cloud of witnesses who went before and did not believe in Yeshua? Or how about Romans 11:16, where Paul clearly says that what is true of the first-fruit is accounted as true of the entire lump/harvest, and what is true of the root is accounted as true of the branches.

    You can see from such passages, that there is certainly room in faithful thinking and theologizing for considering how God sees things, and how he and his spokespeople in Scripture make assumptions about diffusion of blessing which feel strange to us. But this does not make them false–just discordant with our assumptions.

    The great Christian preacher David Martin Lloyd-Jones speaks to this issue in his commentary on Romans Chapter six, where Paul says, “What shall we say then; shall we do evil that good may come?” He comments on Paul’s doctrine of justification by faith, that it can easily be misunderstood as teaching that actions make no difference. And Lloyd-Jones points out that one of the marks of faithful gospel preaching is that it can be open to such objections, because of the scandalous nature of God’s mercy in Messiah.

    By the way, that this view is not mine alone, nor some Johnny-Come-Lately Liberalism is evident from the fact that the Eastern Church has an entire doctrine called “pars pro toto” (the part for the whole), which is built on the same texts and others. However, I am not saying I agree with where they go with this insight–just stating that it is not mine alone. And again, it is not “inclusivism,” which sounds like a conviction existing in the head of a befuddled theologue. Rather, I am toying with the term “diffusionist” meaning that I observe that Scripture does not restrict blessing as narrowly as we often do, but speaks of diffusion Does it not?

    So, that you are alarmed by my views is not in itself indicative of their falsity, but may in fact be indicative of their truth. I continue to be driven by Scripture and, I believe by the Holy Spirit. I am driven also by a recognition that crypto-supersessionism needs to be recognized and repudiated as being false to the voice of Scripture.

    I guess I have given you more to worry about. But as Isaiah says in 8:20 – “To the word and to the testimony! If they speak not according to this word, they have no light of dawn.”

    Shalom, my friend.

  11. Stuart says:

    Correction to the beginning of my fourth paragraph. It should, of course read, “If I were to coin a phrase, I might use the term “diffusionist” to describe how Scripture repeatedly indicates that the benefits of salvation are not so much restricted AS diffused within circles generally known only to God.”

    Sorry for the gaffe.

  12. Dr Michael L Brown says:

    Stuart,

    Forgive me if I’m being a little thick here, but are you saying that God has made a way for Jewish people to be saved without explicit faith in Yeshua? Obviously, that is what two-covenant theologians hold and what inclusivists would suggest (albeit, normally with reference to people who never heard the good news about Yeshua).

    You repudiate both of those views (for yourself and Mark Kinzer), but then use the term “diffusionist” to describe your view — yet that view seems to be another way of stating that you believe God has made a way for Jews to be saved without explicit faith in Yeshua. Am I misreading you?

    Definitions are not as important as actual content, so, e.g., if someone says that he is not an anti-Semite and then turns around and says, “But I believe Jews are the worst people in the world and they deserve whatever they suffer” — then does the disclaimer really mean that much?

    So, you’re not two-covenant or inclusivist, but you may be diffusionist. Is the end result that different? Again, I’m not making an accusation; I’m looking for clarification as someone who sees a very real slippery slope and is doing whatever is possible to help people stay far from it.

    I’m sure you realize that there are other ways to read the texts you have cited (i.e., other than in salvific terms alone, etc.), but that is not the real issue right now. Rather, I just want to understand exactly what intend to convey. Is that too much to ask?

    Blessings,

    Michael

  13. Stuart says:

    Dear Michael,

    I suppose that people who want to cluck their tongues and gather together saying “Ain’t it awful what’s happened to Stuart Dauermann” will find ample fodder for their commisserating, and let them enjoy themselves.

    But as for me, I have no intention of stepping into the bullseye of anyone’s rhetorical target simply because someone I love and respect has asked to do so in the name of “clarification.”

    Just for the record, John 14:6 remains true: “I (Yeshua) am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to Father but by me.” Both Mark and I and our friends believe this wholeheartedly. Therefore, the name “dual covenant” and the accusation “slippery slope” seem to me to be more fear-mongering than fact-finding.

    I think that name-calling remains name-calling, and inclusivism is not the right term nor the right understanding of what I believe, nor is dual covenant.

    You said in your comment, “I’m sure you realize that there are other ways to read the texts you have cited (i.e., other than in salvific terms alone, etc.), but that is not the real issue right now. Rather, I just want to understand exactly what intend to convey. Is that too much to ask?”

    You asked “what (I) intend to convey.” What intend to convey is what I conveyed. For me, the text of Scripture is always the issue. With you, I know there are other ways to read the texts quoted. I hold that the questions I raise are valid ones, and the interpretive options I am exploring are valid ones, as does the entire Eastern Church. I think I should be permitted to raise the questions out there in public and all without being called on the carpet for doing so, don’t you agree? And being asked to clarify what I believe in a climate where I am being asked the theological equivalent of “Do you still beat your wife” is not something I am inclined to do.

    I know you understand. After all, we guys with PhD’s are nothing if not smart! :-)

    Stuart

  14. Dr Michael L Brown says:

    Stuart,

    Well, this is getting quite interesting! As far as I know, I did not ask you initially what you believed about any of these points, so I’m not the instigator. Rather, I was honestly, before the Lord, trying to get clarification as to you where you stood.

    In point of fact, I know people who fell off the very slippery slope of which I spoke, and I am concerned about a life-critical issue that is now being aired in varied forms before the MJ community. Shouldn’t it be treated with something more than curiosity and a careless yawn?

    Where I have an issue with you (and Mark Kinzer) is here: What you are both suggesting is quite radical in terms of, at the least, historic evangelical and MJ beliefs, and, explicitly in Mark’s writings, you are calling for a change in our witnessing posture partially based on that. That is quite serious, as you understand, and given the seriousness of the issues, you should be expected to be “called on the carpet” (although my email hardly was meant to do that).

    In any case, I honor your parameters here, and, in reality, you have said enough. As the rabbinic saying goes, A word to the wise is sufficient.

    Michael

  15. Dr Michael L Brown says:

    Stuart,

    One further note (of clarification on my end): Should you and Mark Kinzer say clearly, “We hold out hope that God may somehow have made provision for the salvation of our people and others beyond what we know, but this is merely a distant hope. Our assumption is that they are lost without Yeshua and therefore, with broken hearts and with earnestness of soul, we reach out to them, sharing the message of Yeshua and calling them to repentance and faith, assuming that without explicit faith in Him, they are separated from the Father in this world and will be separated from Him in the world to come” — had that been clearly expressed, I suspect there would be somewhat less concern about the related salvific issues.

    It is the very different counsel of PMJ that raises so many eyebrows, dear friend.

    Blessings,

    Michael

  16. Stuart says:

    Michael,

    Of all my professors at Fuller Seminary, Bobby Clinton stands out as the one who knows the English Bible far and away better than anyone I ever knew. Bobby was an Electrical Engineer and a Marine before coming to Yeshua-faith, and brings to his study of the Bible all of the discipline and systematic intensity that connotes.

    Some years ago I had a man in my congregation who was very rigid about women in ministry or in the life of the congregation. This young man was very biblical in his preoccupations. He told me if I ever even had a woman sharing from up front and if she ever slipped into exhortation, he would walk out.

    Bobby himself had come from a Fundamentalist Baptist background, and had come to a more egalitarian position on women in ministry, so I asked him if he would speak with this young man on the matter. To my surprise he said, “No.”

    When I asked him why, he explained, “Because it is my experience that unless and until a person is willing to reevaluate his own position, and has some doubts as to whether his position is the whole truth and nothing but the truth, that one wastes his time trying to convince him of a different position, no matter what evidendes one produces.”

    Accordingly, I am not surprised that you are unconvinced by my position or alarmed by it. When you tell me that “In reality you have said enough,” you make me feel that you are saying, “The battle lines are drawn now.” I, for one, despise any kind of polemical wrangling, and prefer to seek out contexts where people are allowed to think out loud and share views without being stigmatized, managed, or ostracized for doing so. I find such a climate of incipient threat stifling, and frankly, not in accord with the way God deals with me, because my experience has proven over and over again, “Where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty.”

    But not here.

    Shalom

    The mistake I made was in thinking aloud about texts I have been examining. Apparently that is not a safe thing to do: and THAT saddens me.

    I still feel there is an incipient threat of ostracism behind the ways in which I am being handled here, and I believe that is wrong. Even though some people believe that it’s fine to take the gloves off in matters of doctrine, I disagree.

    But perhaps I am just being overly defensive. I leave it to others to judge.

    Shalom,

    Stuart

  17. Dr Michael L Brown says:

    Stuart,

    I would be interested in starting a dialogue with you via email, so let me know if you’d like to do that. Where you speak of the fear of battle lines being drawn, I think in terms of clarification, so rather than add to potential misunderstanding in this setting, I’ll pursue e-contact directly.

    Are the issues weighty? Of course they are. Is this the best place to think out loud such issues? I think not, for several reasons. Should such issues be discussed? Absolutely, with the understanding that in the end, there might be strong differences.

    In any case, I’ll try to contact you privately in the coming days.

    Blessings and grace,

    Michael

  18. marcel says:

    hello
    inscrivez votre blog sur jewisheritage.fr
    bye

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