A Clarification/Retraction Concerning Carl Kinbar

Just a brief note. Carl Kinbar wrote an email to me last week which I posted as “Carl Kinbar on Gentiles, Torah, and History.” I then proceeded to incorrectly interpret one of Carl’s points and caused some confusion.

Carl does not believe that majority Gentile congregations need to leave the movement and become churches. He spoke in his article about majority Gentile congregations coming to grips with their identity, not as a Jewish congregation, but a mixed or predominantly Gentile one. What he had in mind was not their leaving the movement, but thinking about issues such as liturgy. There are parts of liturgy, such as the Aleinu, which assume those praying are Jews to whom Torah was given. Carl was suggesting that the ways Jewish distinctive practices are handled should be considered.

I regret that I misinterpreted Carl. I am going back to change my response to Carl to reflect my better understanding. Incidentally, it took a while for this confusion to come to the fore because Carl has been out of town and was unaware of my misreading.

Derek

About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
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3 Responses to A Clarification/Retraction Concerning Carl Kinbar

  1. Actually, I would suggest that those liturgical portions are written — or can just as easily be interpreted as being — about ISRAEL, not about JEWS, and a bedrock principle of our theology should be that we are all grafted into Israel by faith in Messiah (Romans 11). Therefore, non-Jewish Messianics can say those things with as much sincerity as Jews. They are adopted into the family.

  2. Adam:

    I sometimes delete your comments but decided to leave this one. I left it as an example of a POV I do not agree with, but which others should be aware of.

    I want to challenge you and those reading your comment to see something. This is a form of replacement theology. You believe that Gentiles who come to Yeshua become Israelites.

    You assume that “grafted in” means “become identical to.” Your interpretation fails to grasp the subtlety of the New Testament teaching on the subject. There are strong teachings in the New Testament to the effect that Gentiles do not become Jews (or Israelites).

    Where did you get your MRbs? It is not customary to sign yourself on with your academic degree. I find it a little pretentious.

    Derek

  3. Ralph says:

    Derek,

    Thank you for posting this clarification concerning Carl’s perspective on MJ congregations that are majority Gentile in membership. Assuming that your clarification is correct, I would like to respond.
    In pointing out the use of liturgy as an example of adjustment that a Gentile Majority MJ congregation may have to perform, a door is open for me to share some thoughts presented at a conference that both Carl and I were in attendance. At this conference, one of the speakers presented that the traditional siddur, although rich in depth and meaning, was pre-Yeshua (not necessarily in time but in position). Without even considering the ‘Gentile’ issue, adjustments are needed to the liturgy to bring forth the fulness of the life, death, resurrection and return of Yeshua. Many Messianic congregations have already made additions to the traditional siddur to emphasize the forgiveness and atonement found in Yeshua’s sacrifice.
    I am glad that Carl pick the Aleinu as an example, because I know that there are some MJ congregations that have made additions to it to emphasize New Covenant realities. Where the Aleinu saids ” We reverently bow before the King of Kings” some have added ” That at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Yeshua the Messiah is Lord”.
    Making additions and changes to a piece of liturgy is not something that only MJ congregations have considered. In fact, the Aleinu has been change from its original in some Ashkenazi prayerbooks, especially in the Reform tradition. The phrase, “For they bow to vanity and emptiness and pray to a god which helps not” has been removed from some prayer books. Some reform prayer books have even rendered the phrase “For God did not make us like the Nations of other lands” to “God has chosen us from the other nations”. In reconstruction circles they even put a qualification that even though Israel was chosen, that it does not preclude the importance of other nations. These communities adjusted the prayer to reflect their more progressive current thinking (and maybe sometimes to avoid persecution).
    As for the Gentiles saying the Aleinu, I imagine that the part Carl had in mind is “For God did not make us like the nations of other lands, and did not make us the same as other families of the Earth. God did not place us in the same situations as others, and our destiny is not the same as anyone else’s”. Before commenting on this, lets me say that the bulk of the Aleinu is not a problem for a Gentile who believes in Yeshua to recite. It speaks of the God of Israel as the Maker, creator, powerful, the only God who will one day fill the whole earth. In fact the last lines of the prayer speaks “…And in that day Adonai shall be King over the whole earth and his name shall be one”. No problem for a Gentile who confesses Yeshua here! Now back to the potential problem passage.

    First of all I think that even MJ congregation without any Gentiles would have to consider if in light of New Covenant Realities does it need to be adjusted. Although confirming the election of Israel apart from the nations that we all believe and we believe is irrevocable, does it reflect the reality that through Yeshua that the Gentiles who believe in Yeshua have become fellow citizens (Eph 2:19-22).Does the traditional phrase bring forth the mystery of Gentiles being fellow heirs and also being made a habitation of God and are no longer strangers and foreigners? It would not be hard for a MJ congregation with Gentiles to adjust this prayer to continue to reflect the election of Israel, while also showing forth that there is an election on Gentile followers of Yeshua as well.
    Also a thought comes to mind – to give honor to whom honor is due. It would not hurt Gentiles believers to acknowledge God’s choice of Israel and to rejoice in it. Its like having a Mother’s day celebration. Should the father’s get mad because the mothers are being celebrated? I think not. Instead they should rejoice with them.

    Ralph

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