Few Jews Following Yeshua?

Just a quick thought for today. I am reading Luke Timothy Johnson’s commentary on Acts for the Daily D’var, an email list commentary through which I send out readings from the Chumash (five books of Torah) and the Gospels and Acts.

I came to Acts 2:37, “Now when they heard this, they were acutely distressed and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘What should we do, brothers?’”

Johnson’s comment is as follows:
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At the death of Jesus, Luke showed the reader a people ready for repentance; when they observed the death of Jesus, they had turned back to the city beating their breasts in a gesture of remorse (Luke 23:48). Now, hearing Peter’s message, they are ready to do what is required by God’s action.
The Acts of the Apostles. (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1992), 60.

My comment, a few sentences from my Daily D’var email on this passage:

Luke does not emphasize Israel as rejecting Yeshua but shows the segment within Israel open to the work of God revealed through Yeshua. In Luke 23:48, many witnesses of Yeshua’s death go home beating their breasts (Johnson). Here in Acts 2:37 those who hear Peter’s message are stunned. Later, in Acts 21:20 we will hear of the tens of thousands (muriades, mistakenly translated as thousands in many English versions) of Jewish believers.

We are used to the idea of few Jewish followers of Yeshua. In the first century and now, it seems there are so few. What do we do with the “fewness” theme?

We can see it the other way as a sort of muchness. Johnson goes on the say that when Peter quotes from the book of Joel, he uses the Septuagint version (the LXX). And though he does not quote this particular verse, it is adjacent to one he does quote, and in midrashic thinking the unspoken next few words of a passage are often meant to be the main point: For it will be in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem that there will be a remnant, just as the Lord said, and they will be preached the good news (Joel 3:5b, LXX version, 2:32 in modern Christian Bibles). The Hebrew text doesn’t say “remnant” or “be preached the good news” but rather “those who escape” and “will be those whom the Lord calls.”

Could it be (Johnson thinks so) that Peter has in mind especially the idea that his audience, Judeans at the Temple hearing the good news of Yeshua, are the remnant to whom good news is preached?

I get a question from Christians with regularity: why are there so few Jewish followers of Yeshua? My response is: why are there so few Gentile followers of Yeshua? I might also say, are there really few Jewish followers of Yeshua?

It depends on how you look at it.

Where are the Messianic Jews today? Well, very few are in so-called Messianic Jewish congregations. I’d be surprised if there were more than 3,000 actually Jewish Messianic Jews in the Messianic Jewish congregations in the U.S.

So where are we? There are three other places to find us: in churches, in mainstream synagogues (of the non-Yeshua-believing type), and staying away from both church and synagogue.

Those in churches, I hope will discover the importance of belonging to the Jewish people and will in the future be drawn to community with other Jews. Sadly, most will not know they are Jewish anymore in one generation. If you don’t know what I am talking about or think I am wrong, think about it.

What about Yeshua-believing Jews in mainstream synagogues? They exist in all branches of Judaism, from teh Hasidim to the Reform and Reconstructionist. I’m not saying this is a major number of people. But it happens.

And why do Jews stay in churches and mainstream synagogues instead of joining Messianic Jewish synagogues? Well, many have experienced unusual things including: Messianic congregations that have no Jews, Hebrew Christian fellowships that are really churches and not synagogues, weird theology and practices, an environment lacking love and maturity, unqualified leaders who are an embarrassment, and so on.

Churches and synagogues look pretty good compared to 90% of the so-called Messianic congregations (I mean the 90% literally).

And why do some Jewish Yeshua-believers stay away from all kinds of religious communities? First, they buy into radical individualism, the idea that personal faith is sufficient. Never mind the fact that God’s promises are communal and that neither the Hebrew Bible nor the New Testament know anything of solitary worshippers who resist joining with the community. Second, postmodern shallowness leads many to think Yeshua is an interest or intellectual/spiritual pursuit to be compared with other interests like eco-kosher or organic gardening or reading political blogs.

The challenge for Messianic Judaism’s future, and we are discussing it here at the class I am taking in L.A. through MJTI, is to engage the Jewish world with the power of Yeshua’s name expressed through loving, ethical communities involved in healing and serving in this broken world. I think along with this power there must be sound knowledge as well, knowledge of both the Jewish and Christian traditions expressed in a thoroughly Jewish and radically Yeshua-empowered form of worship that is true to Judaism and faithful to the identity and message of Yeshua which we share with Christianity.

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, Judaism, messianic, Messianic Jewish, Messianic Judaism. Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Few Jews Following Yeshua?

  1. moderatelycatholic says:

    Hi! I enjoy your blog, and as someone who is just now learning more about the Jewishness of Yeshua and the significance of that realization, I find your thoughts as a Messianic compelling since it is interesting to learn what challenges other faith communities, especially one so marginal, are experiencing as my own faith journey continues.

    In regards to your topic at hand, I think Amy-Jill Levine sums up the dichotomy rather well when she says in her book “The Misunderstood Jew”:

    “Jesus of Nazareth lived and died a faithful Jew. That does not mean, however, that his followers today should see themselves as “faithful Jews,” or even that the members of the Pauline churches of the 40s and 50s of the first century should have seen themselves as such. There are certain elements of Jesus’s Jewishness that the church, today a gentile institution, should not claim.” (p. 206)

    As I understand her, Jews and Christians were historically segregated for a reason and that reason is still applicable today, thus chapter six is appropriately titled “Distinct Canons, Distinct Practices.” While the initial emissaries were sent to proclaim the gospel to the Jews, Jewish identity was extinguished as the church became increasingly gentile – and thus it remains. Churches have the monopoly on Yeshua, and conversion necessitates social conformity on a local level. To become Christian involves discerning what type of Christian. A person cannot have two masters.

    As I’ve considered my own interest in Messianism, as a Gentile, my initial concerns are the fact that the only Messianic community in the area is some 30 minutes away, which is an awful long way to drive on a Friday evening when I normally want to relax after a rough week at the office, and even though I’m not required to, I enjoy my pepperoni, sausage and bacon pizzas and peeled-and-deveined shrimp too much to even consider observing Torah. Thus, as Levine states, there’s not much reason for me to consider jumping ship from my local parish to the not-so-nearby Messianic synagogue. If I were a Jew, I think I’d feel similarly: why change? Why should I leave my cozy synagogue where I volunteer regularly and have many friends, where I feel welcomed and appreciated despite my “intellectual interest” in Yeshua, for a smaller Messianic synagogue where I’d have to start all over again?

  2. moderately catholic:

    I want to make sure you did not hear me wrongly. I did not imply that Christians should live a Jewish life or attend Messianic synagogues. I was talking about Jewish followers of Yeshua.

    Amy-Jill Levine is a defender of MJ to a degree. She sees us as a valid expression, a sort of hybrid that can have its own integrity.

    I assume the citation you gave from her is about non-Jewish Christians, saying that they should not see themselves as faithful Jews.

    But if she means Jewish Yeshua-followers should not see themselves as faithful Jews, I disagree.

    As for the idea than Yeshua-following Jews should be comfortable remaining in mainstream synagogues, I do not believe this is good for their spiritual existence. They are missing out on the power of Yeshua and I do not say that lightly. Yeshua in community is powerful and I am sad for those who stay away from the Shechinah to believe from afar.

    Derek

  3. moderatelycatholic says:

    Derek,

    I did not hear you wrongly, but wanted to address, in some form, why Messianism isn’t rapidly growing like the churches. The reason why I quote Levine is to highlight my later point that there isn’t much reason for gentiles to start attending a Messianic synagogue and participating in the festivals (unless the Spirit so compels them) since gentile-culture is church-culture and vice versa. I imagine if I had known more about Yeshua’s Jewishness and what Messianism proclaimed some three years ago, I might have considered converting; however, at the time, I was entrenched in looking for the original, historical church and something that I could belong to. From a gentile perspective, I know I’m not alone in this and thus why Messianic synagogues aren’t rapidly growing.

    Your post concerns Jews, though, and to some degree my original comment and the paragraph above is a digression, for which I apologize. I do question your concern that Yeshua-following Jews should not be comfortable remaining in mainstream synagogues. As I can rightly attest, there is a certain amount of internal anguish when you come to believe in ways contrary to your house of worship, but a house of worship is so much more than just a house of worship, it’s a community and for some people it’s the place they’ve known since they were babes. Sometimes the internal anguish of belief must be suppressed in order to avoid the external anguish of communal rejection or, more personally, loneliness.

  4. moderately catholic:

    Thanks and yes, I agree. It is hard for a person to leave a synagogue and move because they now have faith in Yeshua. I think this is the kind of choice Yeshua would call for, though. And yes, in some ways, even a good Messianic synagogue will be a downer compared to a larger, more established, better funded synagogue. Not to mention leaving friends and community to join a new one is painful.

    I blame no one for deciding the stay in a synagogue, especially knowing that circumstances are complex (for example, perhaps one spouse follows Yeshua and the other does not or perhaps children and extended family raise issues).

    But I can say that those who make the choice to be part of a mature, vibrant Messianic synagogue are: (1) helping build a better future for Yeshua-believing Jews and (2) entering into a community where the power of Yeshua is expressed in many ways and will add wonderfully to their lives with God.

    Derek

    • Gene Shlomovich says:

      “It is hard for a person to leave a synagogue and move because they now have faith in Yeshua. I think this is the kind of choice Yeshua would call for, though.”

      I don’t think Yeshua would necessarily call for such a choice (certainly not in all cases). At most we are called to proclaim the Messiah to our Jewish people and we are called to do so from inside, not to voluntary abandon our Jewish communities/synagogues. Of course, things have changed “a bit” in the last two thousand years when apostle Shaul was being invited to speak about Yeshua from the bimah – being open about one’s faith today is often an automatic ticket out of the Jewish community (but not always). In the absence of a solid JEWISH “messianic” synagogue in one’s area (and many “MJ” congregations are not Jewish or just full of intolerable mishigas), I would still say it would be preferable to stay in one’s Jewish community and be a member of a solid Jewish [traditional] synagogue (preferably openly, if not asked to leave), and then try to connect to other Jewish believers in one’s area for at least a weekly home fellowship. G-d will provide you with opportunities to share one’s faith (not that many MJs get to share their faith openly with many unbelieving Jews anyway while being nicely tacked away in their MJ congregation, far away from any involvement with a Jewish community).

      This is a choice that an increasing number of Jewish followers of Yeshua are forced to make or choose to make. I seem to recall that some MJ folks (like Gavriel Gefen and others) recommend this approach as a CHOICE for a Jewish believer who is seriously committed to both a Jewish life and a truly Jewish community, to be a representative of Messiah from within our people.

  5. Gene:

    Yes, I tried to indicate that the choice is complex and many factors count. Not having a Messianic Jewish synagogue that is mature and vibrant is one reason to stay in a mainstream synagogue even if you believe in Yeshua.

    But, and I mean this in a major way and not as a minor consideration, the need for communal life with Yeshua-followers is not to be ignored. A private Yeshua-faith in a mainstream synagogue, apart from a strong connection with the community of Yeshua, is a formula for either disaster or great sadness or lack of power and peace.

    As you recall, when Gavriel made his presentation on the “post-congregational” model, he had very little affirmation in the room. And his model assumed a fellowship of Yeshua-followers outside of the synagogue (for example, a meeting with Yeshua-followers on a Tuesday night and mainstream synagogue for daily minyan and Shabbat).

    Derek

  6. danbenzvi says:

    Derek,

    Where can we find statistical evidence that Jews in Churches cease to be Jews within 3 generations?

  7. wordmachine says:

    As far as for the Jewish people in churches, wouldn’t it be better for them to be with Gentiles in Messianic Jewish synagogues than in churches, even if there are a lot of Gentiles in Messianic Judaism? I would think that the Jewish people in mainstream synagogues would have more of a problem with that though, but as their thoughts start thinking about Yeshua I think it wouldn’t bother them so much to be with Gentiles in Messianic synagogues. If we had the right kind of baptism our minds starting becoming Jewish, so we’ll all have the same kind of mind anyway no matter what our physical birth was like. Would you agree with this?

    • Gene Shlomovich says:

      “As far as for the Jewish people in churches, wouldn’t it be better for them to be with Gentiles in Messianic Jewish synagogues than in churches, even if there are a lot of Gentiles in Messianic Judaism?”

      wordmachine, it’s all sounds nice, to compare what would be better, churches or gentile majority messianic places, one or the other, for a Jew. For one, often times, other than a name, there’s very little difference between the two (actually, I find that most churches are far-faR-FAR more sane places for Jewish believers, theologically, practically and ‘love’-ingly) – and that’s where G-d is keeping most of them for now (I wonder why?). If I HAD to choose between a solid Gentile church and a Gentile led/Gentile majority “messianic” place where people pretend to be Jewish and view churches as pagan, I would choose a church (but if I really had a choice, I would go to a mainstream synagogue).

      One thing people often forget to account for is a necessity for Jewish person and his and her children to be with his/her OWN people, in a Jewish community. It’s not just about names, theology or some observances. A JEWISH COMMUNITY living a Jewish life with Yeshua as the Messiah – that’s what Jewish believers really need to live a Jewish life and thwart assimilation.

      “If we had the right kind of baptism our minds starting becoming Jewish, so we’ll all have the same kind of mind anyway no matter what our physical birth was like.”

      That’s the problem in the so called Messianic Movement – thinking that if only all the non-Jews in it acquired a “Jewish mindset,” the right theology and became Torah observant, those things will magically make them into “spiritual Jews,” and that’s all that a Jewish person and his/her family will need. It just doesn’t work that way.

      • wordmachine says:

        Gene, so where do you think the Gentiles should go when their minds start receiving Jewish-related thinking because Christ starts giving them His mind? If’s it’s awkward for them to be in Messianic Judaism, where is it that you think they fit in? I hope that the afterlife does not include separate places for Jews and Gentiles, if that’s true I would probably be grieving after I die.

  8. k3z7 says:

    Our family has left the Messianic Jewish scene and opted for a non-messianic Synagogue for all of these reasons and more. We held out for years – waiting for a ‘change’ … and the fact is, most Messianic Jewish congregations see no problem with their Hebrew Christian/ Gentile majority/ Evangelical culture. What we have experienced is simply not Jewish. We have children to raise – they will not learn how to live as Jews from this environment.

    ‘Wouldn’t it be better to attend with Messianic Gentiles? Wouldn’t we all have the same kind of mind in the end?’ NO. That assumption can only be made by someone who has not lived in or experienced true Jewish space, thought, culture, etc. It is just different. A tallit, kippah and ‘Sabbath’ observance does not make a Gentile a Jew. A Gentile can hardly impart all of what it means to be a Jew to a Jewish child. A group of well-meaning Gentiles cannot help a young Jewish couple coming out of Christian assimilation learn how to live, think, make Jewish choices. G-d bless those who have tried – but it just does not work.

    We will not assimilate into the Church. So, we only have 2 options: Join a mainstream Shul or move thousands of miles away to one of the few Messianic Shuls that would be worth the sacrifice. I’m not opposed to moving – but it would take a financial miracle to make that happen. So here we are – stuck with one option – and yes, many times feeling very, very alone.

  9. Gene Shlomovich says:

    wordmachine :
    Gene, so where do you think the Gentiles should go when their minds start receiving Jewish-related thinking because Christ starts giving them His mind?

    That depends what you mean by “Jewish-related thinking.” If by that you mean that Gentile followers of Yeshua should “realize” that they must start observing Mosaic Law as given to Israel, take on Jewish customs, dress, talk and live like Jews, well – I don’t think that kind of “thinking” comes from Christ, because that’s not His plan for the Gentiles in the Body (it’s not his plan for an arm to become a leg).

    However, if by “Jewish-related thinking” you mean that Gentiles should realize that without Israel and the Jewish people their faith is incomplete and that G-d did not sever His Covenant with Israel, His People, that’s a different story. However, think about this – should these Christians not teach other Christians/Gentiles in churches about the new found understanding instead of LEAVING to start yet another sabbatarian Christian denomination? Is that’s what’s happening today? Instead, we have is Gentiles starting “messianic synagogues,” and teaching other Gentiles that they should become ‘Torah observant’ and de-facto “Jews” (even adopt Hebrew names, as most indeed go on to do!) – all while being anti-rabbinic (and often anti-Jewish) at the same time!

    wordmachine :
    I hope that the afterlife does not include separate places for Jews and Gentiles, if that’s true I would probably be grieving after I die.

    We’ll all be in One Kingdom of G-d (which will be set up on Earth)! However, as is quite apparent from scriptures, G-d will preserve the various nations that HE created and even preserve their geographic boundaries. He will finally make peace between Israel and the nations (Isaiah 60:14), and Israel will be hated and oppressed no more. There will be love between all people of G-d. Nations will go up to Jerusalem year and after year to worship the King Messiah (Zechariah 14:16). The Messiah, the Living Torah, will rule all nations from Jerusalem (Psalm 2:6-9.)

    According to Isaiah 14:1 we read that at least some Gentiles, however, will indeed settle in the Land of Israel (as has always been the case) – I don’t know who they will and what the criteria will be (perhaps it will those who truly love Israel today?). In any case, there will not be any uncertainties as to who is who, and who does what, where and with whom – but ALL G-d’s people, Jew or Gentile, will serve the G-d of Israel and adore the Messiah as one.

    • wordmachine says:

      Gene, if Yeshua puts it upon a Gentile’s heart/mind to do some things that Jewish people do in the Mosaic Law than I believe they should do it.

      • Gene Shlomovich says:

        wordmachine :
        Gene, if Yeshua puts it upon a Gentile’s heart/mind to do some things that Jewish people do in the Mosaic Law than I believe they should do it.

        wordmachine, who can argue against such thinking which claims that it was G-d/Yeshua himself who spoke to/led someone directly to do something, right? Does not everyone claim the same thing, no matter what they do? I find that many folks (especially from the Charismatic circles) use the “I am being led by the Spirit,” or “G-d told me…” as an excuse to justify all kinds of practices (even if it contradicts scripture and common sense).

        Has anyone of these folks ever stop to think: may be it’s just their own idea to do something, instead of blaming it on G-d so as to justify it in their own minds and to thwart any criticism?

      • wordmachine says:

        Gene, I’m not going to argue with you. My first post was not even directed at you. Go vent your anger on someone else who wants to argue.

      • Gene Shlomovich says:

        Sorry, wordmachine, I didn’t mean for my answer to upset you so. I am sure you are utmost sincere in your beliefs.

      • wordmachine says:

        No problem, Gene. I just didn’t want to argue.

      • k3z7 says:

        Sort of off topic but… Gene- I agree, and I think it is frightening how this very subjective, more emotionally motivated group can actually encourage someone (or a group of people) to do or believe something “G-d told them” … that may very well have originated not with G-d but within themselves. I say this having been involved several years in such a group… I’m a naturally curious person, willing to see many sides of an issue… but my experience with this kind of group has given me some insight into just how easily a person can get derailed and misguided (and even manipulated)- all in the name of G-d.

      • k3z7 says:

        wordmachine- I think seeking G-d is very important. In our seeking, we must not discount the information HaShem has already given us. With a combination of prayer AND study, it becomes easier to discern the path to take.

        I do think Messianic Judaism as a whole does the Gentile a disservice in not giving Gentiles a clear directive. The One Law types see that gap and rush to fill it. I wish people had seen this coming earlier. Would have saved a lot of trouble.

      • wordmachine says:

        K3Z7,

        Thanks for the info. I don’t believe in the One Law theory though. What I do believe is that Gentiles should be able practice certain parts of Torah as He puts in on their minds and hearts though. I think a better description of what some Gentiles mean when they try to describe this could be explained through Romans 2 (maybe specifically Romans 2: 14-15). It describes the heart and the mind issue that some Gentiles have regarding Torah, and it sounds like it’s perfectly okay for them to think that way. After coming across that verse it makes me never want to go through a conversion process because I know I will fall short if I make a promise to submit to all of the Law. There are others that probably know they can do it though. I would rather just practice Torah as the Lord puts it on my mind and heart.

        I wish there could be more cooperative learning instead of competitive learning for me in MJ, but maybe that will happen more in the future.

  10. Wow! This thread’s demonizing of Messianic congregations with gentiles in them is sickening. Really, I’m sickened reading the evil speech said about these congregations and the people in them. FUD tactics being employed here, mud-slinging away!

    If we were to believe Derek and Gene, all congregations that are not MJTI/UMJC-style not only are devoid of God’s spirit, but are in fact evil creations from the hand of Satan himself!

    Reality is this: there are Messianic congregations that do not align themselves with MJTI or UMJC. They are homes for Jews and gentiles that are looking for God’s righteousness. They’re filled with people seeking God, people who are drawn to Torah life and Messiah. God’s spirit is there. They — we — are Messianic, Torah-honoring, God-fearing people.

    Contrary to what Derek would have you fine blog readers believe, there are good Messianic congregations filled with God’s spirit, they are Messianic, and they are not MJTI- or UMJC-affiliated, and they are good homes for Jews and gentiles. (Praise God!)

  11. Judah:

    I’m pretty sure I did not demonize the non-Jewish messianic groups. I did not deny that love, Holy Spirit presence, and truth exist in them. I simply said that they are a place unwelcome to many Jews, Jews who care about remaining connected to the covenant with God.

    The crux of our disagreement, my good friend, Judah, is that I claim the theology of non-Jewish messianic groups denies Jewish identity (if the Torah covenant is not what makes Israel the unique elect people of God, then one has to either say that the election of Israel is no longer meaningful or say that that election is based on ethnic identity alone).

    My opinion is well-known: this is not healthy for the non-Jews who attend these fellowships and it is not healthy for Jews.

    But I do not deny that genuine worship of God, love for each other, and the blessings of the Spirit are evident in such fellowships. If God withheld his Presence from communities due to error, none of us would have the Presence.

    Derek

  12. danbenzvi says:

    Derek,

    How can you say this? How healthy is it for Gentiles who attend MJ MJTI style congregations, when all you do is saying that they are not welcome?

    A classic case of the pot calling the kettle black…..

  13. danbenzvi:

    I think you misunderstood me. I was talking about non-Jews attending non-Jewish messianic groups. I wasn’t talking about the non-Jews attending Messianic Jewish synagogues which follow our Hashivenu (bilateral ecclesiology) model. That is an entirely different subject. The non-Jewish members of my own synagogue community have a very healthy respect for Jewish particularity and support what God is doing in and amongst the Jewish people. We also have a healthy respect for Christianity and do not put down the churches in our speaking.

    But what I was saying to Judah is that I do not deny the presence and power of the Spirit in the non-Jewish messianic congregations. While I feel there is a terrible error in theology and practice in these groups, this does not cause me to doubt that real love, worship, and union with God happen in them. If I said that error kept away the presence and power of God, I would deconstruct myself and my own community. Thank God he doesn’t leave us to ourselves because of our many errors and sins!

    Derek

  14. danbenzvi:

    To further clarify, what I am speaking against is not a non-Jew who wishes to be part of a Messianic Jewish synagogue. I am speaking against non-Jews who deny the uniqueness of Israel’s covenant and calling. By saying that in Yeshua the Torah is for non-Jews, this is exactly what happens. The only unique aspect of Jewish identity in the One Law view is ethnic identity. It is not easy to maintain and build a theology which makes God to be a respecter of race. But those of us who believe, from Torah and tradition, that Torah is uniquely Israel’s covenant, see the election of Israel as being about a priesthood from which blessing comes to all nations (and not about the racially chosen people whose ethnicity is somehow chosen above others). Israel’s unique place is about relationship and covenant and the distinction between Israel and the nations lies in the role of Torah.

    Derek

  15. Gene and wordmachine:

    You can’t always tell about people from anonymous words on the internet. Gene, I can tell you that wordmachine is a sensitive and intelligent person who is seeking God’s will and who cares very much for Jewish people. She has different teachers telling her different things and is working it all out for herself.

    I’m not at all sure she will end up in the same theology that you and I have.

    But I can attest that the confusion caused by the many One Law teachers affects real lives like hers. I hope she will forgive me for saying so, but I can vouch for the goodness of her heart and that her emerging position in favor of One Law is ultimately the responsibility of those teachers who have pounded its ideas into her head.

    It is hard for people to accept our paradigm. Centuries of anti-Jewish Christian thought have led to an over-reaction, in my opinion, so that people think Christians should take hold and virtually become Jews (One Law). Our voice is in the middle, calling quietly for diversity in Yeshua’s body — Torah faithfulness for Jewish believers and a modified and restated form of Torah for non-Jewish believers. The One Law way is simpler: one path for everyone. The One Law rhetoric is strong: the Church is wrong and we call everyone to live Israel’s Torah covenant as if it were given to all people. The One Law way is dogmatic: to disobey Torah is sin. Our way is nuanced, affirming even of the Church and Judaism: the Church is not called to follow Torah and so is not in sin and Judaism is right to supplement Torah with a living tradition.

    How can the people who are caught between these opinions hope to solve the issues? They were hard for us to solve in light of all the presuppositions and false starts of our movement.

    A lot of people who are genuine gold and a pure delight to God struggle with these issue just like wordmachine.

    So, go easy on her. And, wordmachine, you have every right to your opinion and to the struggle you have over these issues. I hope your mind is not made up and that you are still open to learning.

    Derek

    • Gene Shlomovich says:

      Very well stated, thanks, Derek. There’s certainly a major difference between teachers/promoters and followers – I agree, we should to be especially sensitive to the former.

    • wordmachine says:

      Derek,
      I don’t believe that all Gentiles are supposed to be under the Mosaic Law, I just think if Yeshua puts it on our minds and hearts to be involved with certain parts of the Mosaic Law that we should be allowed to. I did agree with some church teachings but disagreed with others when I was there. So, since I decided to do away with most of the theology I learned there, and have given up most of my participation there what do I replace it with? It sounds like I can only participate a little bit on the side in MJ and that’s mostly what I’m struggling with. It sounds like I’m going to get a little bit of it while I sit back and watch people get a lot. Not every MJ synagogue teaches that.

  16. danbenzvi says:

    Derek,

    “I am speaking against non-Jews who deny the uniqueness of Israel’s covenant and calling.”

    This, again, shows that you are not at all familiar with the teaching of One-Law.
    You will be hard pressed to produce evidence from the apostolic writing that support the idea that there exists a “unique calling” for Jews as over against Gentiles within the body of Messiah. Where in the AW the term “calling” is used to describe a call for Judaism? The fact is, that the term “calling” is always used as a call for salvation. Start with Yeshua (Luke 5:32), did He call for Judaism to be unique? continue with Paul (Rom. 1:6; 8:28; 1 Cor. 1:24; 1:9; Eph. 1:4; 4:4; Go to Peter (2 PT. 1:10-11) Jude (1:1), and John (Rev. 17:14).

    In the NC Jews and Gentiles participate in precisely the same calling, a call to faith in Yeshua as God’s way of salvation, and the life of holiness that such faith produces. One-Law does not deny that God remains fathful to the physical descendants of Jacob, nor does it teach that That Jewish and Gentile identities are lost within the body of Messiah. (The fact is that hashivenue is promoting this. You are a prime example, undergoing the ritual of a proselyte and thinking that it will erase you ethnicity).

    This “unique calling” business is an invantion of Juster and Resnik. It has no Scriptural support.

  17. danbenzvi says:

    Derek,

    Nice words to wordmachine and Gene. But they ring hollow coming from the mouth of member of an organization who discriminate against Gentiles….

    You cannot hide the fact that were you not “converted,” You, and your family would not have been welcomed in Dauermann’s congregation…..

  18. danbenzvi:

    You contradict yourself. You say on the one hand, “nor does it {One Law} teach that the Jewish and Gentile identities are lost in the body of Messiah” and on the other, “You will be hard-pressed to produce evidence from the apostolic writings that supports the idea that there exists a unique calling for Jews.”

    So, Jews have no unique calling, according to One Law. Yet you assure me that One Law recognizes Jewish identity as unique? Unique in what way? In the Romans 11:2, 15, 26-29 way?

    Sounds like your belief is more like, “Jewish identity as a covenantal reality doesn’t matter but we do make note of Jewish identity as an ethnic reality.”

    Derek

  19. k3z7 says:

    Judah and Dan –

    Wow, I am amazed at how much you seem to not ‘get it’ … We have differing opinions, yes, but I have not seen ‘mud-slinging’ and all of the other accusations you claim taking place here. These are serious issues that must be dealt with. How can anyone discuss differences if everyone is constantly worried about stepping on someone’s toes? It won’t happen. And, IMO, the saddest part would be that the loudest most emotional end of the spectrum would be heard and reason and logic lost. Everyone has a right to their opinion – including MJTI.

    What I have seen is a deeply ingrained (but perhaps subconscious)lack of respect for Judaism within the One Law movement. An over-zealousness, as Derek pointed out… Inaccurate teaching from the leadership that has confused many, many people and contributed to Gentile identity crisis… and unfortunately, another subtle form of replacement theology.

    I do not see MJTI discriminating against Gentiles at all. If you want so much to be a part of the Jewish community, live as a Jew, follow Torah in all that it encompasses… then convert to Judaism.

    I fully support Derek’s conversion and think it strange how many in the One Law group criticize conversion when it has been a viable option within Judaism for centuries.

    I think there are 2 very different groups here and one of these groups does not qualify as a “Judaism” at all.

  20. danbenzvi says:

    Hello….Derek…..

    Ethnic distinction is not a unique calling…..No contradiction here…..There is no covenant uniqueness in case you did not know, we are all under the NC now, unless of course your wing of MJ is going to start teaching us that there are two different covenannts? Wait! Wait! did not Kinzer already teaching it?…..

  21. danbenzvi says:

    K3z7,

    And that of course is Your opinion. Uneducated but respected.

  22. danbenzvi says:

    >>I think there are 2 very different groups here and one of these groups does not qualify as a “Judaism” at all.<<

    Orthodox, Reform, and conservative Judaism will totally agree with you as far as MJ goes…..LOL!

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