ORIGINALLY POSTED 01 AUGUST, 2004
Anyone who has surveyed the Messianic movement—whether it be Messianic Judaism, the One Law/One Torah sub-movement, or Two-House sub-movement—knows that it is very broad and diverse. There is a broad array of theologies and opinions evident in the Messianic movement, just as in Christianity or Judaism. There are those who are theologically conservative, and those who are theologically liberal. There are those who believe that God has the ultimate control over their lives, and those who believe that they can determine their own destiny and dictate to God who He is, ignoring His direction. There are those who think deeply, and there are those who think simplistically. There are those who let themselves be tossed and swayed by religious politics, and there are those who do not allow entangling alliances to have an influence over them.
Since the 1990s and 2000s, it is not surprising that an age-old theological controversy, going back to the Second and Third Centuries C.E., has arisen in the broad Messianic movement: Who is Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)? Is He God—or is He just a human man?
This has now developed into a debate that is not so easily delineated along any kind of denominational, organizational, or ministry lines, as it affects everybody. While various Messianic associations and ministries have rightfully taken strong stands against those who would deride Yeshua the Messiah as being the Divine Savior—the fact is that individual people who may attend congregations which officially affirm Yeshua as God, may themselves only think of the Messiah as a good man who was connected to God in a special way, or some kind of exalted supernatural being, yet ultimately created. It is certainly true that there are many Christian people who attend church every week, being members of denominations which officially affirm the Divinity of Jesus, who themselves do not believe in it and only think that Jesus was a good teacher. So, individual people denying Yeshua’s Divinity is not at all an isolated incident, nor is it uncommon to the world of Christian religion, at least.
What can make things in the Messianic movement much different, though, is our relatively small size, and the fact that many sub-groups and cliques are becoming more and more reliant on promoting themselves by various modern communication media. It is very easy for an outspoken individual in the assembly, who does not believe that Yeshua is Divine, to cause quite a stir. In the past, this would have only taken place by a person passing out questionable literature on the side, not too different from a dealer offering free samples of illegal drugs. What happens now is usually seeing various opinions expressed via a personal blog page or YouTube channel. All too often, individuals are caught broadsided when various arguments are made or encountered, not quite knowing what to do. Too many can be persuaded, even if just for a little while, into thinking that Yeshua the Messiah might not really be God.
Sadly, too many of today’s Messianic congregational leaders do not know what to do about this. And, given the fact that apostasy is indeed prophesied to be a sign of the Last Days (2 Thessalonians 2:3), people denying major tenets of our Messianic faith is something that we are all going to have to deal with in increasing numbers as the Second Coming draws nearer. Pockets of individuals here and there denying Yeshua’s Divinity is sure to be followed by much larger groups, and in time it will be found in some Messianic congregations’ leadership and whole ministries. Those of us who are true to what the Scriptures tell us about Yeshua the Messiah, however, can have confidence that He is indeed the LORD God, and He is indeed Divine! There are fair-minded, Biblically-rooted answers for the questions and criticisms being made. You do not have to be broadsided by some of the main, yet decidedly weak arguments, that are being bantered around.