I find myself repeatedly in conversation with non-Jews about Messianic Judaism. Many in particular want to ask my opinion because they know I am not Jewish, but that I am converting.
In this post, I will simply raise a few issues and then ask you to chime in. All viewpoints are welcome if stated with grace and not vitriol. You are allowed to challenge what I say . . . just be polite, is all I ask.
There are so many people drawn to the Jewish mission of Yeshua, which is a good name for what Messianic Judaism really is. You see, Messianic Judaism finds its origin in some ways in the book of Acts, where Peter in many ways heads up the Jewish mission and Paul the Gentile mission of the early movement.
There are a variety of positions on non-Jews and Torah in MJ circles:
(a) The Torah is for everyone and the church is in terrible error.
(b) The Torah is for everyone but this is something Christians must learn with grace as they grow in discipleship.
(c) The Torah is for Jews and also for the Ten Lost Tribes (of which many Christians believe they are members).
(d) The Torah is made up of moral, civil, and ceremonial laws with the moral laws still being in effect for all people, Jew and Gentile.
(e) The whole Torah is an obsolete covenant, remaining in the Bible for its historical value, and replaced by a new Law of Messiah consisting of a collection of laws from the New Testament.
(f) The Torah is God’s covenant with Israel, not with the nations, and it has application in many parts to the whole world, but it also has identifying marks of covenant relationship that are just for Israel (e.g., Sabbath, dietary law, circumcision, fringes, etc.).
I’m not sure I have captured all the major views. Can anyone send me a new category to add to the list?
Anyway, my view is the last one, “The Torah is God’s covenant with Israel, not with the nations, and it has application in many parts to the whole world, but it also has identifying marks of covenant relationship that are just for Israel (e.g., Sabbath, dietary law, circumcision, fringes, etc.).”
And here is a short list of practical points I wrote out in an email just this morning to a new friend:
–I do not believe that non-Jews must start living as Jews.
–I believe that God gave Israel some identity badges in Torah that are only required of Israel (Sabbath, circumcision, kosher, fringes, etc.).
–I do not agree that Acts 15:21 is saying, “Start these Gentiles with the basics and later, while attending synagogue, they will learn the rest.” (My Paul book goes over Acts 15 in some detail).
–I do believe that some non-Jews will have a calling to be involved in the Jewish mission of Yeshua in a major way.
–I do believe that God calls some people to convert and join their destiny with Israel (but this happens over time, with confirmation, and is not a hasty decision).
–I do believe God calls many non-Jews to be involved in the Jewish mission without converting.
–I believe that all Christians would benefit from learning Jewish roots and from some reclaiming of Jewish culture, especially of Passover.
So, whaddya think? Please make brief points. Excessively long comments will be deleted. It is better to make three short comments than one long one. But let’s discuss this.