I have a new job (see announcement above, “Career Shift and Other News”). My new responsibilities include overseeing publications for the Messianic Jewish Theological Institute (at this time, we have our old, simple site at mjti.org, but a new one is coming before the end of January at mjti.com).
One of the great treasures we have in our movement is Rabbi Dr. Stuart Dauermann, rabbi of Ahavat Zion Synagogue in Los Angeles and Senior Scholar at MJTI. I just had the pleasure, for about to 20th time, of being in a minyan led by Rabbi Stuart. He has the ability though his knowledge of numerous melodies for the prayers to add passion to them like no one else I know.
We are producing a booklet and have already produced a quick proto-type for the rabbis of the UMJC called Keeping the Faith in Interfaith Relationships. I will say more about it when the final volume is available very soon.
This booklet is a conversation between Rabbi Stuart and a young couple inter-dating (he is Jewish and she is an evangelical). The conversation takes place in a soup and salad restaurant.
In the course of the conversation with this young couple, Rabbi Stuart explains God’s plans for Israel and the world using the 37th chapter of Ezekiel as his outline.
It is the fullest explanation of the good news (gospel) I have ever heard.
To get the full benefit of Rabbi Stuart’s explanation, you will need to buy the book. But I will briefly summarize here the powerful message. The problem with many presentations of the good news is that they are only partial (how God will save you) and neglect the full picture (God’s specific plan to heal the world). Note the fulness of this outline from Ezekiel 37:21-28:
–First, God is going to bring all Israel back into the land (37:21).
–Second, God is going to bring Jewish unity (”I will make them one nation,” 37:22).
–Third, God will bring a spiritual renewal (”I will save them,” 37:23, see also 36:26, “I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I will put in you.”).
–Fourth, God will gather Israel around Messiah (”My servant, David, will be king over them,” 37:24).
–Fifth, all Israel will return to covenant faithfulness (”they will live by my rulings and observe my regulations,” 37:24).
–Sixth, they will experience the relational reality of the Divine presence (”my dwelling place will be with them,” 37:27).
–Seventh, Israel will be vindicated as God’s people and he will be vindicated as their God (”The nations (Gentiles) will know that I am Adonai,” 27:28).
I am grateful to Rabbi Stuart for this outline and the way he brings it to life. The good news from the perspective of the Bible comes through Israel to the nations and ends up healing the whole world.
I am not saying that this is the only way to explain the good news. I am not saying that when speaking of Messiah to non-Jews we must give an outline this full or even this Israel-centered. But when Christendom leaves Israel out of its explanation of the good news of Jesus, it is sharing a truncated gospel. You might not think it will matter to a non-Jew to know that the gospel comes through Israel to the nations, but when these non-Jews start reading their Bible, they will be far less confused if they have been told from the beginning that it works this way.
And as we explain to Jewish friends about our faith in Yeshua, I can think of no better outline.