Responding to a Response: The Internet, Messianic Judaism, and the Myth of Biblical Judaism

Theology has implications. Part of the task of talking about God’s ways to concrete communities of faith is considering those implications.

In a post earlier this week I took issue with a blog by Nate Long because the implications of his thought, in my opinion, are harmful and destructive. Nate has responded by suggesting that I am misinterpreting him and attacking a straw man.

I wish that were true. I wish we could all just agree with everything and decide our differences are of small consequence. They are not. They affect real people and real communities. What I wish to accomplish here is to demonstrate to Nate and those who think as he does that the One Law position he espouses harms the cause of God in this world. That is not to say there is nothing good about One Law communities. There is plenty that is good. I am trying to call out the harmful elements and I hope the helpful elements will be retained.

Does the One Law Position Respect Judaism’s Interpretation of Its Own Torah?
I asserted that Nate’s article failed to respect Judaism’s own views of its own Torah. Before I begin, I hope I don’t need to convince anyone that the Torah is from God to Israel. Christianity also has a claim on the Torah, but it should be a claim that comes respectfully from the original audience to the expanded audience and not attempt to go around historical Jewish insight.

Nate says, regarding my critique, “In fact, I have great regard for what the Jewish people have said about Torah,” and “What axe are you grinding?”

Well, here is how I got from point A (Nate’s blog) to point B (my assertion that the One Law position disrespects Jewish Torah interpretation):

1. Nate does not agree with the universal Jewish doctrine that parts of the Torah (Sabbath, dietary law, circumcision, fringes) were given to Israel exclusively as a sign between Israel and God. Has he properly considered Jewish exegetical reasons for this belief? Or has he dismissed Judaism’s view casually?

2. Nate speaks of Judaism’s alleged inability to discern truth:

they [late first century Jews] refused to accept new revelation when it came. The contemporary use of the term “Judaism” refers to the religious descendants of those who formed a new variation on the biblical religion. . . . Judaism refers to the spiritual descendants of those who chose to reconfigure their observance of the Torah without Jesus.

3. Why this maligning of Judaism’s spiritual blindness if not to discredit Judaism as an arbiter of truth? The rhetorical strategy of Long’s words here is to argue Messianic Jews should identify with Christianity and not Judaism by demeaning Jewish thought. I conclude that this is disrespect for Jewish interpretation of its own Torah. Do I think mainstream Judaism got the Jesus issue wrong? Of course and mostly because the Church presented Jesus as the anti-Torah. Does this mean their views of Torah are corrupted? Of course not.

Does Judaism have a good reason for interpreting the distinctives of Torah as being uniquely for Israel? Respect for the tradition would require one to engage with it instead of doing an end-run around it. Quoting a few verses of the New Testament (and possibly misinterpreting them) is not engaging and respecting the tradition.

Does the One Law Position Set Itself Up as an Alternative the Rabbis?
In my post I said, “Nate Long feels that Torah is the provenance now of Christendom and that ‘Rabbinic Judaism’ took the Torah in wrong directions.” Nate objected, claiming I had misinterpreted him, “You read something into my thoughts and expression that simply is not there.”

How do I get from Nate’s original words to my assertion that One Law believes Torah is taken away from Judaism and given to Christianity?

Well, consider Nate’s own words:

. . . to use the term “Judaism” in today’s world to refer to Jewish Believers in Jesus or Gentiles who worship in a Jewish context is a misnomer.

Was the Sect of the Way a Judaism of the 2nd Temple period? Absolutely; however, the events of history change the connotation of words.

Judaism refers to the spiritual descendants of those who chose to reconfigure their observance of the Torah without Jesus.

[Messianic Jews] please don’t lead us to believe that you are returning to Judaism or that you are something other than fellow members of the Body of Messiah.

From Nate’s own words, I deduce that he believes:
(a) That Judaism is not the proper word to define Torah living.
(b) That Christianity began as a Judaism but the term Judaism has come to mean something else over time.
(c) That Judaism has changed (distorted?) its interpretation of Torah in a way that is not sound.
(d) That Messianic Jews are Christians and should not say they are returning to Judaism through renewal in Yeshua.

If Judaism is no longer the interpreter of Torah, then who is? According to Nate, Christianity (especially his One Law version) is the new interpreter of Torah. If I am to choose between the insights of Rabbi Judah HaNasi, Rashi, Nachmanides, and others versus One Law teachers or even Christians who allegorize or ignore Jewish interpretation, I’ll take the rabbis. I believe Christianity historically has gotten much right in Biblical interpretation and thus I agree with doctrines such as the Trinity. Yet I believe Christianity is not at its best when it ignores Israel and interprets Torah without reference to Judaism.

Does One Law Suggest that Jewish Believers Should Keep Torah Without Regard for Community Standards of Judaism?
In my post, I said: “When the believers at Antioch (in the book of Acts) began to be called Christians, says Long, this was the beginning of a new identity and called for Jewish and Gentile followers of Jesus to separate from the synagogues and keep Torah the Christian way.”

Nate objects to my interpretation of his words. He points out that he said, “I consider it axiomatic that neither Jesus nor Paul began a new religion.” I certainly agree with this statement from Nate, but he undermines his own statement later when he notes that Judaism began to go wrong after the death and resurrection of Jesus. He undermines his own statement when he says Judaism changed its way of keeping Torah. He undermines his own statement when he calls for Messianic Jews to identify with Christianity and not Judaism:

So the question is who do you primarily identify with? The sect that rejected Messiah [Judaism], or the sect that exalted Him [Christianity]?

[Messianic Jews] please don’t lead us to believe that you are returning to Judaism or that you are something other than fellow members of the Body of Messiah.

If Torah-faithful Jewish followers of Jesus are to identity with Christianity and not Judaism, then this means Torah now belongs to Christianity and not Judaism in the mind of Nate Long. This is a call for separation, not just now, but even in the early period since Nate already sees Judaism going wrong in the late first century.

Nate says the word “primarily” was key, as in Messianic Jews should not “primarily” identify with Judaism. I guess I should be comforted that I can identify with Judaism as long as I identify more with Christendom.

Conclusion
Nate says that I slandered him with my post. Slander means saying something untrue about a person. I hardly regard criticizing the public writing of another person as slander.

What is at stake in this debate?

I am not against non-Jews coming alongside Israel and being a part of Messianic Judaism. I am not against non-Jews keeping Torah in a respectful way as part of a Messianic Jewish community. I do not regard non-Jews in any sense as second-class members of Messianic Jewish synagogues.

What I do find harmful and destructive is people who feel the right to take Torah away from Judaism and claim it for themselves. What I argue against is replacement of Israel by people who feel that being “grafted in” means there are no longer Jews and Gentiles in Messiah (don’t think for a second this is a legitimate implication of Galatians 3:28). What I am against is, as Boaz Michael, my good friend at First Fruits of Zion, refers to as “silly, self-defined Torah observance.”

My hope is that those who are part of One Law groups and Hebraic Roots movements will over time grow in respect for Judaism and the Jewish community. I hope a day will come when people in the One Law movement will not tell Messianic Jews to identify more with Christianity than Judaism. I hope a day will come when all lovers of Israel, which One Law and Hebraic Roots people certainly are, will catch a vision for Judaism renewed in Jesus and not Christianity with Torah-observance. And I hope a day will come when One Law and Hebraic Roots groups will respect both Christianity as Torah-free and Judaism as communally Torah-bound.

About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
This entry was posted in Bible, Christian, Gentiles, Judaism, messianic, Messianic Jewish, Messianic Judaism, Talmud and Tradition, Torah. Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Responding to a Response: The Internet, Messianic Judaism, and the Myth of Biblical Judaism

  1. graspingmashiach says:

    I have read Nate’s post and your reaction to it with great interest despite the heat of the discussion that seems to be emitting from my computer screen itself :) Yet, I can’t help but notice what seems to be a lot of “double speak” here, especially in the conclusion that you make above. Your hope is that Gentile “one Law” or “Hebraic roots” advocates will not “tell Messianic Jews to identify more with Christianity than Judaism” yet your vision is for Judaism to be “renewed in Jesus” without attaching the label of Christianity w/Torah observance to it. My question is; is this possible? Can a Jew be “renewed in Jesus” and not evoke a Christian label in the eyes of greater Judaism?

    It would seem that this is a very difficult dilemma, even based on your personal encounter with the Orthodox shop owner related in your December 17, 2008 post “The Israel Journey and thoughts on MJ” (which I found to be very revealing and pertinent). Of course an ethnic Jew will always be considered an ethnic Jew despite his religious preferences and beliefs. Yet, once the line is crossed in embracing Jesus in the historic Christian understanding as G-d incarnate, a Jew with an undeniable pedigree and inscrutable adherence to halachah is still understood to be a Christian, a label applied to him by greater Judaism itself.

    In this way the very disrespect you find in Gentiles observing Torah outside of what is considered permissible to them in traditional Jewish, majority opinion (which discredits Judaism as an arbiter of truth and disregards Jewish interpretation of its own Torah) is the same disrespect that greater Judaism sees in Jews who embrace Jesus as G-d, for the very same reasons. How is it that Gentiles should not observe Torah like a Jew out of respect for the majority understanding of its uniqueness to Judaism alone, while a Jew who embraces the Orthodox Christological understanding of Jesus should yet be tolerated or accepted by Judaism despite the same disrespect for its majority opinion regarding the incorporeality of G-d?

    The irony in all of this is that in your understanding Gentiles should only observe Torah according to what Jewish tradition and majority halachah would consider permissible for them. Yet, the fact that current Jewish tradition and majority halachah considers Jesus as G-d to be antithetical to Judaism itself, is something the Messianic Jew has every right to disregard, for at this point traditional Judaism “didn’t get it right”. Couldn’t we then say that there is a double-standard being presented here?

    Respectfully submitted,

    Paula

  2. Graspingmashiach (Paula):

    You do make some good points.

    I hope you don’t feel too much heat radiating from your LED screen. I do value people like Nate and others who believe in Gentile Torah-obligation. I value their position as one very close to my own in many matters dear to my heart such as love for Israel.

    I think you make a good counter-argument to me that I will reword and simplify: Derek, you shoot yourself in the foot when you criticize Nate for disrespecting Jewish tradition while you yourself depart from Judaism on the important matter of faith in Yeshua and in his divinity.

    I think there are two issues here: (1) Have I spoken incorrectly about Nate’s alleged disrespect for Jewish interpretation? (2) Am I wrong to accept Jewish interpretation of Torah (in general) and yet reject Judaism’s decision that Yeshua-faith is apostasy?

    As to the first point, I would say, “You got me,” except for the fact that Nate does not merely disagree with Jewish interpretation regarding Torah, Israel, and the nations. Nate also makes statements about Judaism’s spiritual ignorance contrasted by him with Christianity’s spiritual enlightenment. Nonetheless, your point has merit and I will do a bit of editing in my response to Nate’s response because of it.

    As to the second point, I do not believe I am guilty of disrespecting Jewish interpretation of Torah because I accept Yeshua and the doctrine of his divinity. I believe, rather, that Judaism’s stance on Yeshua has nothing to do with Torah. It has to do with a reaction to supersessionist and oppressive Christianity. The church presented a false dichotomy–accept Jesus and reject Torah–as the gospel to Israel, and Jewish reaction to Yeshua has been based on those faulty assumptions bolstered by Crusades, Inquisitions, Pogroms, and anti-Semitism.

    In other words, I believe Torah is consistent with faith in Yeshua and with the doctrine of his divinity (I do not claim that Torah teaches faith in Yeshua or his divinity).

    Thanks for your challenging response.

    Derek

  3. James Prather says:

    Derek, well said. Respectful but with passion. “And I hope a day will come when One Law and Hebraic Roots groups will respect both Christianity as Torah-free and Judaism as communally Torah-bound.” I too pray for this day. Keep it up.

    Peace to you,

    James

  4. Christian for Moses says:

    Hi Derek,

    I think Paula has made a very good observation. Although you and I are somewhat on the same line when it comes to Torah observance for Gentiles and most certainly when it comes to the idea of One-Law, I do think you are not very consistent in your approach.

    I mean how careful are you in studying this whole issue, do you settle with a plain reading of the Gospels and the letters of Paul? Probably not or else you wouldnt have gotten to the whole idea of Yeshua and (!) Paul being Torah observant. I think this is the case for many people in MJ (or whatever label you would like to give it), when it comes to Torah observance they/you go out of your way to make the NT present a picture that does not abrogate the Torah but when it comes to Christology you are content with what the same Church Fathers taught you and simply dont question it, or at least not to the degree you question their stance on Torah observance [for Jewish believers].

    Im well aware that theres a certain fear, or at least can say that I had a certain fear of examining it but to simply accept it without thorough examination did not sit well with my attitude/approach to the NT that had led me to see the Torah in an ongoing positive way.

    Plz understand that I respect people’s understanding in the area of Christology and dont claim to have full truth, I just have doubts on the consistency in people’s approaches to these themes.

    Blessings,

    Daniel

  5. boazm says:

    Nate and Derek,

    Gosh guys, I cannot get this discussion out of my mind. I feel that I need to chime in, but I really have no energy for this. These are very difficult issues; I am sure the truth is somewhere in the middle—isn’t that the case most of the time? I will say that I find it profitable to have you both as friends and as individuals that I respect and consult. Your dialog here is no different that what we experience in your comments on the resources that you review prior to publication for First Fruits. We have wrestled through your issues and perspectives privately for years—perhaps that explains my lack of energy. It is tiring and exasperating—but critically important for a maturing Messianic Jewish movement.

    At minimum your thoughts should cause us all to pause and be more deliberate in implementing mitzvot, considerate of the broader community and culture that has carried the yoke of Torah, and respectful towards our shared faith with Christianity and Judaism. God willing discussions like this will result in a sharpened understating and a fruit-bearing walk of faith.

    I find it funny that I have such high regard and respect for both of you guys, even though you have such diverse perspectives.

  6. Connie says:

    “I believe, rather, that Judaism’s stance on Yeshua has nothing to do with Torah. It has to do with a reaction to supersessionist and oppressive Christianity.”

    Bingo! Historically, there’s a rather long list of men that some Jews have believed, at least for a while, were the promised messiah. But there is one who *cannot* ever be considered to have been messiah – Yeshua. This makes sense only in light of history. While there are parts of the book that I’d cut, if I were the editor, for a short, clear and to the point discussion try Michael Brown’s “Our Hands Are Stained With Blood.” Put yourself in the shoes of the descendent/recipient of this treatment and then look at Yeshua as your savior.

    Having had this conversation over and over with a number of Jewish neighbors, I truly believe there would be no barrier to the Messianic Jews, were it not for the 1,500-year-long nightmare they’ve suffered in the name of Jesus.

  7. louismmvii says:

    Great point Boazm! This is the very reason why I would like to butt in here for a minute. BTW Paula, great observation. Conflicting perspective of heart always generates interesting waves. So, I would like to pose a reconciling question that would help me with a current endeavor.

    -Derek, Nate, and other readers of this blog I would very much appreciate your thoughts.

    I am an artist working on a literary/musical masterpiece (to me). Now don’t take me wrong here, as an artist we know the impact of each work/project and consider the importance of each based on our very own enthralled affinity. And by this, careful research is of transcendent significance. Hence my interest in your discussions, that,perhaps could find their way into this project.

    Anyway, the book is rather large in page number and covers even ages through the here and now. Amongst many important figures the story focuses on three individuals. Basically a modern day fairy-tale set out to prove kismet.

    What I am asking for here are your actual thoughts or ruminations on the personality of the real life Yeshua. This requires you to think for yourself, not just go and cite some scripture, because scripture and its transcending commentary only depict so much and are indicative of your personal beliefs anyway. And Derek, I mean even Rambam commentary, which undoubtedly has influenced your thoughts on HaMashiach. Nate, your thoughts, which are as important, although I don’t know if your literary/scholarly influences are of Maimonides as I suppose with Derek(and I may be wrong), which is even better, because the contrast in disagreement yields more succulent fruit. So, if you truly believe in Yeshua then your commentary albeit contrasting would be most interesting.

    So, for example, what is your thoughts on the modern, this day and age Yeshua? He promised to return, but how would that happen? Didn’t Y’shua cleverly open all doors on this thought? “In the clouds of glory” and “Like a thief at night” Would he re enter the world through the womb? What land, what city? How would G-d have kept him hidden from modern day Herod’s? Would G-d alert the wise star/time watchers and direct their attention to his secret surprise? What kind of personality would he have?Would he really be a glory seeker, or would he do his thing covertly? And of course, what about Mary? If Yeshua left the earth wanting to marry Mary, would his search for her be first on the to-do list ? What do you think Mary would be like as a person? Would it be the same thing all over again? She the youngest of 3 from affluence, he not so affluent…….

    Once again I would appreciate all your scholarly input.

  8. louismmvii says:

    Wow Connie! Strong words. Are you saying that Yeshua is the best choice of the long list of promised messiahs to come back? To apologize to Israel for all the trouble his followers caused….1,500 years worth. What the heck, let’s just make it 2,000 years. Great point!

    Interesting! I’m going to put this twist in my novel.

    Thanks;)

  9. mchuey says:

    Looking at all of the opinions present on this, and its previous post, I would first like to concur on how the independent One Law Messianics generally take a view of the Torah that is a-traditional, if not sometimes anti-traditional. If such people ever hope to make an impact on the greater Jewish community–and even have internal stability among themselves–this approach will need to change and the halachah of the Synagogue will need to be integrated to a greater extent.

    Yet at the same time, our identity as Messianics–even Messianic Jews–is predicated on the assumption that we do not adhere to all strains of Jewish theology. We believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, after all! It is not at all surprising that we might have some other major differences with the Synagogue, such as Torah applicability for the nations and Christology. These would be areas where some of us might feel that the message and trajectory of Scripture has been missed by Jewish theology, and the Christian theological tradition is, in fact, a bit closer.

    I would respectfully submit that some of the sentiments and responses that I have seen to these posts are a bit naïve. We already see Messianic congregations divided along the lines of Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform. In the future, more fractioning is likely to take place. Sub-divisions of Calvinists, Arminians, charismatics, non-charismatics, complimentarians, egalitarians, pre- and post-millennial, Young Earth Creationists vs. Old Earth Creationists, etc., will begin to manifest themselves. It is only a matter of time.

    To me, this is either evidence that the Messianic movement was only a temporary move in order to bring salvation to a generation of Jewish people, something to fraction and then fade into history–or we will instead witness a distinct transition from a Messianic Chapter 1 to a Messianic Chapter 2. I think we can all agree that regardless of which position we take on the above issues, things will be getting more complicated in the future. I would submit that when we discuss issues of Torah applicability, non-applicability, etc., that in the future we start on what we agree on first–then carefully and tactfully work through our differences.

    JKM

  10. MCHuey:

    I don’t think continual fracturing is the future of MJ. I think the future of MJ is the part of the movement that takes Judaism seriously (mjti.com, umjc.net, hashivenu.org, etc.).

    I think MJ is a term that should be reserved for the Judaism that is centered in Messiah Yeshua. The many fine groups who are Christians practicing Torah are increasingly being seen as outsiders to MJ. Hebraic Christianity is really something different and over time more and more people are seeing that.

    Louismmvii:

    Wow, man, you and I are not on the same page at all. I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I can’t help you with something I don’t agree with at all.

    Connie:

    Spot on, as usual.

    Derek

  11. mchuey says:

    The big debate that will emerge in the years to come is whether the current approach of Messianic Jewish Believers to non-Jewish Believers embracing a life of Torah obedience is something warranted from an honest assessment of Biblical missiology. Does “Commonwealth of Israel” (Ephesians 2:11-12) mean some kind of a British Commonwealth of Nations, where non-Jewish Believers are like Canadians or Australians–whose monarch sits far across the seas–or will it be like the Commonwealth of Virginia or the Commonwealth of Kentucky, where all who reside in the domain are required to observe the same set of laws and statutes? Which view actually does justice to the proper ancient defintion of [I]politeia[/I]?

    JKM

  12. MCHuey… your issue is really with the Apostles, and not with Messianic Judaism (which, for whatever strange reason and as a “Two House” advocate you seek to redefine in your own image shaped by your personal experiences as a non-Jewish person outside of the mainstream MJ.)

    Your so called “Messianic Chapter 2” is not based on the reality on the ground nor scripture – it’s just your personal theory – nothing is coming “in the years to come” to bring your “egalitarian” vision about within the mainstream MJ. It will have to stay within the pages of your website.

    The Apostles’ ruling is clear on whether Jews and Gentiles in the Body are subject to exactly the same “set of laws and statutes?” (is ANYONE subject to the SAME rules?):

    “…that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself [GS: the Jew Paul] also walk orderly and keep the law. But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that THEY SHOULD OBSERVE NO SUCH THING, except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.” (Acts 21:24-26)

    Gene

  13. mchuey says:

    Gene, I and my family were involved in a UMJC congregation for a number of years in the late 1990s–Marty Waldman’s congregation Baruch HaShem in Dallas, TX in fact–so please do not treat me as being someone entirely outside of Messianic Judaism.

    I pray that the Lord may bless you abundantly today!

    JKM

  14. mchuey says:

    Oh and Gene, next time please quote from more reliable and older Bible manuscripts, and not the unreliable Textus Receptus:

    “But concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we wrote, having decided that they should abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication” (Acts 21:25, NASU).

    “THEY SHOULD OBSERVE NO SUCH THING” does not appear in the oldest texts. I wonder why later copyists thought it necessary to add this? Please see Metzger’s Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, pp 484-485.

  15. MCHuey…

    Sorry for being a bit brash with you.

    I can deduce from what you said that you’ve been out of the mainstream MJ for the last decade or so. If that’s the case, you’re still outside of the movement commenting on what’s going on on the inside. Being not Jewish, you feel that Jews discriminate against Gentiles in the MJ by not giving them equal say – is that the reason you left? At what time did you pick up the Two House/One Law theology – did you become open to it as the result of being “spurned” in the MJ by Jews? Curious… you can post the reply on your own blog.

    As far as the reliability of Textus Receptus goes, we can debate that until blue in the face. My Russian version of the Bible also includes “no such thing”. Whatever the case, even without those words, the meaning of that statement remains the same.

    Shalom. Gene

  16. mchuey says:

    Gene, our two ministry websites explain our experience in the broad Messianic movement. Our family has always had to make its own way, even among the independents with whom we have likewise had our (major) differences. This is undoubtedly why we promote a third way that has largely yet to be seen.

    Let’s do Derek a favor, and if you wish to discuss what we have in common/or and what we see differently, let’s do it civily and privately. If not, this will be my last post.

    JKM

  17. judahgabriel says:

    J.K.,

    God bless you for the long-suffering and patience I’ve seen you demonstrate in these posts and in the other blogs, time and again.

    You suffer insults and belittlement and being painted as an outcast, yet you respond with blessings? Man. Praise God.

    Thanks, man. Your attitude is such a refreshing drink. I praise the Lord for it.

  18. Judah… don’t make a martyr out of MCHuey (or yourself), PLEASE. Being long suffering doesn’t make up for the promotion of destructive teaching – and I have little patience for false teaching you promote. Even the long-suffering Shaul wasn’t very gracious or patient with those who he saw as seeking to enslave those who are free, namely teaching Gentile believers that they are equally obligated to follow Mosaic Law – which is what both of your actively advocate. (Galatians 5:12)

    Shaul didn’t extend his blessings, but I will: may G-d bless you both richly with wisdom to discern truth.

    Gene

  19. judahgabriel says:

    Hahah.

    Dear blog readers, I’m going to restate that last post by Gene as I read it:

    “Shame on you, Judah, for praising God for J.K.’s patience. I don’t like his views. I don’t like your views. I hate both of your views, and I will say nasty things about your views. May God bless you both with the ability to see things my way.”

    What a joke, man.

    —–

    J.K., thank you for your righteous example. God continue to bless you as He has.

  20. mchuey says:

    FYI for all…McHuey is the name of the blog where I am one of multiple posters. My surname is actually McKee, and the other posters’ surname is Huey, members of my extended family.

    This is why I sign all posts with my initials JKM.

  21. That’s was really funny Judah (I really laughed, seriously!) – you should be a comedian, but probably not a translator.

    Please contribute to the discussion on the topic, next time. And, feel free to attack me on my theology – I don’t mind and I don’t take it personally – if my views are wrong, they would be exposed (and so will be yours, if you they are not rooted in truth). I welcome a little sharpening.

    Gene

  22. judahgabriel says:

    Oh, Gene, what are we to do with your silly maneuvers? I won’t be drawn into another fruitless, negative debate with you, as you’ve proven to be the condescending teacher, and never the student. This servant of Messiah has enough scars from your bruising attacks.

    Signing off, and with apologies to Derek for hijacking this thread,
    -Judah

  23. Gene:

    You and I are on the same page and I hope you will keep reading and commenting. I have to say, though, today you went a bit into the negative range, it seems to me. We all have bad days. But I value Judah and JKM (and Nate and Daniel and Graspingmashiach) and others who come here. I find them to be respectful and the dialogue to be fruitful. I know I get a little mean myself sometimes too (Nate might think I have been a bit harsh on him, for example).

    Anyway, peace and love.

    Judah and JKM (MCHuey):

    Hope you guys keep coming back. Sorry for the nastiness. While we have our disagreements, I have not written you guys off by any means. Judah, in fact, has become a friend and I know we will hang together either when he is in Atlanta or I am in Minnesota.

    Derek

  24. mchuey says:

    Thank you, Derek. I have enjoyed our conversations and I have found you to be a gentleman. It has always been my hope that brothers and sisters can first focus on Yeshua (1 Corinthians 2:2), and work through their differences in a manner that brings glory to Him. We actually have more that binds us together than separates us. I would say that we only have *respectful* disagreements, rather than contentious ones.

    You are actually much closer to me than Judah!

    JKM

  25. Derek… will try to keep things a little more civil, but can’t promise no future theological skirmishes (or rather, defenses), some may be intense. After all, it’s half the fun around here, as most would agree. And, mo name calling, as usual.

    JKM & Judah… I’d have a beer with both of you if I were in your neck of the woods. Nothing personal.

    Gene

  26. peterygwendyta says:

    As a Christian who has been very interested in the hebraic roots of my faith and have many contacts within the messianic movement there are a few things which trouble me. There seems to be a lot of anger, with papers and counter papers over issues such as the Two House theology. I am not taking sides on this as I have read both arguments and both are equally persuasive. While there has been so much heat generated from this and other topics, on other topic which are more serious in my opinion there has been virtrual silence. Last summer there was the teaching of polygamy but I have not heard very much responce from anyone in the mainline messianic movement. There was also the teaching of the Whole wheat leavened bread teaching and the teaching stateing that Jesus was actually a leaper. While I may disagree with someone position on the Two house issue, there is nothing in this issue which would stop me fellowshipping with others of different opinions. But when someone teaches polygamy or that Jesus was a leaper then I am sorry but I cannot fellowship with them anymore. I know hundreds who up until last summer where learning a lot about hebraic roots and some where even on the verge of joinging Messianic congregations but when these issues started being taught they left. It wasn’t so much because of the groups that where teaching this but rather because many within mainstream Messianic Judaism not only did they not speak out against it, most did not even ackowledge it as an issue. I am still reading and learning about hebraic roots but it will take me years before I ever considered leaving Christianity to the Messianic Movement. If something similar to this had happened within Christianity you would have heard shouts, books, radio and Tv Programs against it or in favour of it, but the one thing you would not have had was people sticking their head in the sand and hoping the issues would go away. I am not saying this to attack Messianic Movement, but rather to help them understand how many people view what has happened in the last year. Up until last year this movement was growing rapidly but now they have lost 1000’s of people because of this. I am sorry for rambling. Just my thoughts,

    Peter

  27. Peter:

    I wouldn’t want anyone to get the idea that these arguments you are talking about have anything to do with Messianic Judaism. I considered deleting your comment because people might think from reading it that Messianic Jews have been arguing about the permissibility of polygamy or if Yeshua was a leper. But I decided instead to answer your email so people can get a clear message.

    Those debates did not happen in the Messianic Jewish movement. Fringe groups use the label Messianic Judaism to give themselves credibility. Messianic Judaism does not exhibit the kind of freakish theological insanity you are describing.

    These debates happened in various fringe groups. These are the kind of groups where you would not be too surprised to find someone offering goats in their backyard. These are groups who live in silly, self-made Torah observance and not in the traditions of Judaism.

    The debate Nate and I are having here is not about getting a third wife (big love) or the alleged leprosy of Jesus. Nate is a sound theologian with whom I have a quibble about Gentile roles in Torah.

    Messianic Judaism as it should properly be known is rooted in the tradition and teaching of Torah from the rabbis and sages of Judaism. Regarding Jesus, Messianic Judaism believes as historic Christian orthodoxy about his person and work. Messianic Judaism is not liable to weird theological and practical issues such as polygamy because both Jewish and Christian traditions answered these questions long ago.

    Derek

  28. Pingback: Last Week’s Firestorm « McHuey’s Weblog

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