Considering Messianic Jewish Fears of Replacement and Irrelevance

ORIGINALLY POSTED 05 AUGUST, 2013

At this still relatively young point in my experience as a Messianic writer and teacher, I have lost count of how many times I have begun an article, or included a statement, along the lines of: The Messianic movement has seen a generation of Jewish people come to faith in Messiah Yeshua, as well as many evangelical Christians embrace their Hebraic Roots in a tangible way… To some of you, these remarks seem rather obvious, and perhaps even a bit mundane. To others, though, these remarks are not only controversial, but they are also quite subversive. But, while you might expect these “others” to principally be various Christian leaders and theologians of influence—these “others” may actually compose some significant Messianic Jewish leaders and teachers of note. They do not like much of what they see in the contemporary Messianic movement, which they widely believe should be an almost Jewish-exclusive community.[1]

One of the most significant issues that is dominating all of the contemporary Messianic movement, at present, is the future. Many are of the conviction that even though we are living in the end-times, that there are a number of things which need to transpire via the emergence of the Messianic movement, the salvation of the Jewish people, and the restoration of Israel—which will require some more time to see properly develop. Outreach Israel Ministries and Messianic Apologetics have been among those who have recognized this reality, and have tried to approach the whole subject of the “end-times” very, very carefully.[2] Yet, even within a broad Messianic vision of anticipating the salvation of the Jewish people and restoration of Israel’s Kingdom (cf. Acts 1:6), one will encounter a huge bevy of competing visions for the future of the Messianic movement. Some of these have been composed in various popular books, which you may see in the Judaica shop of your local Messianic Jewish congregation, or may be encountered via various popular Hebrew Roots conference events, articles, and blog postings.

A significant feature of the modern Messianic movement, which the early Messianic Jewish pioneers of the late 1960s and early 1970s, did not at all anticipate—is that this is now a majority non-Jewish movement. At first, probably into the mid-to-late 1980s, it was believed—and it still is by many—that the main reason various evangelical Christians were being led into Messianic Jewish congregations and assemblies, was so that they could help out and assist in an ancillary capacity. Obviously, the Messianic Jewish movement would need workers for Jewish ministry, and would need the resources of many people in order to continue. But by the late 1908s, and into the 1990s, it became quite obvious to many that non-Jewish Believers were being led into the Messianic Jewish movement for more reasons than just to help Jewish Believers and Jewish evangelism; these people were being led by the Lord to embrace their Hebraic Roots in a very tangible way, being sovereignly directed by Him to live in obedience to the Torah as Yeshua Himself lived (cf. Micah 4:1-3; Isaiah 2:2-4; Zechariah 8:23). They believed that the modern Messianic movement was, in many regards, supposed to mirror the First Century Body of Messiah, of Jewish and non-Jewish Believers sharing sacred space and fellowship with one another. This has been recognized as valid by many Messianic Jews, but then has also been rejected by other Messianic Jews.

Since the late 1990s and to our present, the early 2010s, the Messianic Jewish movement has seen various splinter sub-movements emerge (i.e., the One Law/One Torah sub-movement, the Two-House sub-movement), which are widely composed of non-Jewish Believers embracing their Hebraic Roots in various ways. Most of these people see themselves as being grafted-in to Israel via their faith in Messiah Yeshua (Romans 11:16ff), and that they are not a part of some separate “Church” entity. Some of these people, in their quest to recapture a lost appreciation of the Torah and Tanach, try to be respectful to the Jewish and Christian people who have preceded them—but then many others are quite dishonoring of Jews, Christians, and those who have preceded them. There are diverse views about what the Commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:11-13) composes, and whether being a part of Israel means possessing citizenship in an enlarged Kingdom realm of Israel alongside of Messianic Jewish people, keeping the same basic Torah Instruction (the One Law/One Torah sub-movement), or even whether it means that many, if not most, of today’s non-Jewish Messianics are members of the Ten Lost Tribes and need to return to the Holy Land (the Two-House sub-movement).

Suffice it to say, even with many Messianic Jewish congregations, and their leadership, being places where non-Jewish Believers can expect to be welcomed in various degrees—many non-Jewish Messianic Believers, per the issues that they face in embracing their Hebraic Roots and a life of Torah obedience—have not at all considered some of the concerns of Jewish Believers. Not enough have often paused for a moment, and considered the views of those Messianic Jews who are afraid that the Messianic movement will be so overrun by non-Jewish people, that there will be no place for Jewish ministry, mainline Jewish traditions and Jewish culture, and that Messianic Jewish children are in serious danger of all being intermarried out to non-Jewish spouses, with Jewish identity lost in one or two generations. As obvious as it might be, recognizing that you cannot have an authentic restoration of Israel without the Jewish people, and that a noticeable level of Jewish distinction must be present, has been overlooked and forgotten by many non-Jewish Believers embracing their Hebraic Roots at present.

I have collected a few important thoughts for each of us to consider, as we contemplate some of the fears that today’s Messianic Jewish Believers have of replacement and irrelevance, in this current season. Obviously, there are no easy answers, but I hope that these thoughts will ably communicate how I am not trying to replace the Jewish people via my Messianic convictions, and neither am I trying to pass myself off as though I were ethnically and culturally Jewish.

Click here for the complete version of “Considering Messianic Jewish Fears of Replacement and Irrelevance”

Considering_Messianic_Jewish_Fears_of_Replacement_and_Irrelevance_TORAH

reproduced from the Messianic Torah Helper

There are many aspects regarding the subject matter of “the Torah” for today’s broad Messianic movement to consider. These range from: the validity of the Torah or Law of Moses, the historicity and reliability of the Torah, the degree of applicability of the Torah to Jewish and non-Jewish people, the role of tradition in following the Torah, and changes affected to the role of the Torah in the post-resurrection era via the sacrifice of Yeshua (Jesus). Some of these aspects surrounding Messianics’ study and appreciation of the Torah are handled quite well by the current generation, and some of them are frequently avoided or handled rather poorly.

The Messianic Torah Helper is a valuable compilation of articles and analyses designed to assist you, your family, and your friends in approaching those important areas of the Torah which need to be considered. How have Jews and Christians approached the Law of Moses in their theology? What are some of the controversies surrounding the Pentateuch? Has the Law been abolished? Are Jewish and non-Jewish Believers in Israel’s Messiah both supposed to keep the same basic Law? Does Jewish tradition play any kind of role in following Moses’ Teaching? Are non-Jews who keep the Torah trying to replace the Jewish people? These questions, and many more, are some of those considered in the Messianic Torah Helper.

If you have ever inquired about a wide range of Torah-related issues, then the Messianic Torah Helper is definitely something for you. This book is an excellent follow up to the extensive study The New Testament Validates Torah by J.K. McKee.

564 pages