Myth: Pro-Jewish but Anti-Judaism

I wrote the following several years ago at the very last meeting I attended at a certain annual conference of Christian missions to the Jewish people. There are still many high-quality people in the organization in spite of the way this isolated quote might make things appear. Nonetheless, the attitude I decry in this piece is prevalent enough I withdrew my participation. I came across this in someone else’s blog and thought I would run it here. The value, I think, is in challenging the way some Christians and Hebrew Roots groups view Judaism:

Many in LCJE are still infected with anti-Judaism while at the same time being pro-Jewish. It is as if we imagine you can love Jews and oppose the religion that has preserved Jewish identity. It is Judaism that has held Jewish people together, even though many do not practice it. Judaism the religion is what led to the succession of Brit Milahs through the ages, entering Jewish boys into the covenant of God. It is Judaism that led Jews to marry other Jews and not assimilate into the surrounding cultures. It is Judaism that has caused Jewish people to remain distinct, keeping Sabbath and dietary law as God commanded in the Bible. Without Judaism there would clearly be no Jewish people.

Thus, when God tells us, “All Israel will be saved,” we should ask, “Who is Israel?” If our generation is the one that receives the promise, how will God define Israel? If it is a generation hundreds of years from now, how will God define Israel? The only answer consistent through history since the time Jesus wept over Jerusalem and Paul declared that all Israel would be saved is rabbinic Judaism.

Rabbinic Judaism is God’s ordained instrument to preserve Israel for the last days and God’s restoration. Seen in that light, rabbinic Judaism is not quite the enemy many have made it out to be. Ought we not to work with God and not against him? Should our methods encourage Jews to abandon the distinctives of rabbinic Judaism?

It was true then and it remains true.

About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
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6 Responses to Myth: Pro-Jewish but Anti-Judaism

  1. Pingback: Is Rabbinic Judaism God’s instrument? « Epistles of Thomas

  2. sidefall says:

    Thanks for repeating this eloquent piece, Derek, which I believe you first presented in April 2006. We need to be reminded of it continually, as the attitudes you so rightfully reject are still commonplace. I can’t help contrast your logical reasoning with those who irrationally condemn rabbinic Judaism without thinking through the consequences. I was just wondering – surely it was a sign of both Hashem’s love for Israel, and Israel’s ongoing faithfulness to her calling, that resulted in Judaism continuing after 70CE, despite the need for a major rethink being needed because of the destruction of the temple and diaspora. This again paints rabbinic Judaism in a very positive light.

  3. warland52 says:

    There is a core of truth in this post. I could pick around the edges and qualify it …but the core is there.

    You’re a good man Derek.


  4. yochanan says:

    this was an important piece and a powerful statement.

    as one who began my messianic jewish journey i know that we were ingrained with a pro-jewish people mindset tied to anti-judaism. those still in the “missions culture” either don’t see this or refuse to. it is the essence of what rabbi stuart calls crypto-supersessionism. keep up the good work.

  5. geoffrobinson says:

    You are confusing ordained means with something good in and of itself. Islam may be the ordained means for keeping certain ethnic groups together in order to receive blessings from God. I’m still not too keen on Islam.

    Rabbinic Judaism is anti-Messiah. Period. It is. There are many things about it I like. But those are the facts we just can’t get around. It isn’t the same as the biblical faith of the Old Testament. This would be like saying Roman Catholicism preserved many great Christian things and knowledge of the Scriptures, etc. True enough. It still over time distorted the gospel and is corrupt.

    And for all the things it preserved, what didn’t it preserve? The need for an atonement, particularly a blood atonement? I could go on, but you get the point.

  6. yochanan says:

    Something I heard at a recent conference is valuable for this discussion,

    “If you are practicing Judaism today, The only Judaism today is rabbinic Judaism”.

    It is a short but profound statement. If you light Shabbat candles, even with a Messianic blessing or even have a “Christ in the Passover” service you are observing practices given to us from Rabbinic Judaism.

    So even those who are anti-Judaism amongst us use elements from Rabbinic Judaism, even though they may tie it to the manufactured “Biblical Judaism” that is still bantered around in MJ circles.

    As there are problems with Judaism of today, so are there problems with Christianity and just because of the Church’s long history of persecution of the Jews doesn’t invalidate it and the fact that Yeshua faith was passed down to us through a vehicle that included a pagan Sun worshipping emperor like Constantine and the anti-Jewish rantings of Martin Luther.

    It is unfruitful to try to tear down modern Judaism to try to raise up Yeshua faith.

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