Messianic Apologetics

Addressing the Theological and Spiritual Issues of the Broad Messianic Movement

J.K. McKee – Books

This publication, Salvation on the Line: The Nature of Yeshua and His Divinity, affirms a high Christology. Not only does it affirm a high Christology of Yeshua being God, it very much defends the view that while understanding all of the intricacies of Yeshua being God is not required for salvation, recognizing Yeshua as the Lord (YHWH/YHVH) of the Tanach Scriptures (Old Testament) most certainly is required for salvation (Romans 10:9, 13; cf. Joel 2:32).

This publication, Salvation on the Line: The Nature of Yeshua and His Divinity, affirms a high Christology. Not only does it affirm a high Christology of Yeshua being God, it very much defends the view that while understanding all of the intricacies of Yeshua being God is not required for salvation, recognizing Yeshua as the Lord (YHWH/YHVH) of the Tanach Scriptures (Old Testament) most certainly is required for salvation (Romans 10:9, 13; cf. Joel 2:32).

Messianic Apologetics editor J.K. McKee has developed the workbook The Messianic Walk to specifically aid in acclimating people to today’s Messianic movement. This resource is a primer, divided into six units, covering: (1) The Messianic Experience, (2) Shabbat, the Appointed Times, Jewish Holidays, (3) Kosher and Torah-Based “Means of Grace,” (4) The Contours of Jewish Evangelism, (5) Our Place in the Congregation, and (6) A Survey of Messianic Theology. The Messianic Walk has been written in an as user-friendly and easy-to-read style as possible, as it introduces students to the Messianic congregational experience as it has developed by the third decade of the Twenty-First Century. It is a resource intended to be used in the new members classes of today’s Messianic congregations, either on its own or in concert with other materials.

An important part of our complete book commentary series has been to provide an Author’s Rendering appendix, based on the public domain 1901 American Standard Version, incorporating various renderings and translations proposed. The Apostolic Scriptures Practical Messianic Edition takes this a step further, and incorporates various other renderings and translations proposed, from an entire selection of Outreach Israel Ministries and Messianic Apologetics materials, from both completed Practical Messianic commentaries and the remainder of the New Testament for which we have planned future volumes.

In the commentary Hebrews for the Practical Messianic, Messianic Apologetics editor J.K. McKee tackles some of the difficult hermeneutical questions that are asked when we consider this text for today. Hebrews asks ancient questions that had to be answered by an ancient audience: Hebrews has background issues that cannot be answered solely by a surface reading of the text. Who wrote Hebrews? When was it written? How broad was its original audience? These are some of the many questions that surround Hebrews. The Twenty-First Century questions that Hebrews asks are difficult for many Messianics to consider: What should the role of the Greek Septuagint be in our theology? Do we ever make the mistake of uplifting the Torah over Yeshua? How do we maintain a high regard for Moses, but understand that Yeshua is superior?

The Pastoral Epistles for the Practical Messianic takes into consideration much of what has been offered by various scholars, not only in terms of the ancient setting of 1&2 Timothy and Titus, but also with how these epistles should be accurately applied in a modern setting. Messianic Apologetics editor J.K. McKee helps to probe these letters for the future development of the Messianic movement, weighing our strengths and weaknesses of them, in an effort to be an assembly that is no longer lacking an adequate understanding. What are the things that we have actually interpreted correctly from the Pastoral Epistles, and what needs to be improved upon? How might some Messianic congregations and fellowships change if we took a good, hard look at 1&2 Timothy and Titus, and implemented some necessary reform? How can we truly be all of the things that we can be in the Lord? This significant commentary asks these, and many more pertinent questions.

What important lessons are there for contemporary Messianic Believers to learn from 1&2 Thessalonians? How much have we left these two letters outside of our purview of Bible reading? What key insights and admonitions need to be incorporated into our spirituality, given some of the issues and difficulties that we currently face—presumably as we live in some of the final decades before the actual return of Yeshua (Jesus) to Planet Earth? Messianic Apologetics editor J.K. McKee elaborates on these, and various other key subjects, in the commentary 1&2 Thessalonians for the Practical Messianic.

In the commentary Colossians and Philemon for the Practical Messianic, Messianic Apologetics editor J.K. McKee shows us why today’s Messianic Believers need not be afraid of these two letters any more. A wide array of scholastic opinion is considered in regard to these two texts, especially the various proposals made about the false teaching that disrupted the Believers in Colossae. Contemporary applications for some negative trends being witnessed in today’s Messianic movement are also proposed, especially in terms of the false philosophy and worship of angels refuted by Paul. Colossians and Philemon are both important letters for us to understand, as today’s Messianic community strives to move forward in its reading of the Pauline Epistles.

In the commentary Philippians for the Practical Messianic, Messianic Apologetics editor J.K. McKee addresses many of the avoided issues that this text asks Messianic Believers. He takes into account the First Century Jewish and Roman background of Paul’s letter. He also considers the large amount of intertexual references that Philippians makes to the Tanach (Old Testament), deeply embedded in Paul’s vocabulary and mannerisms. Most importantly, he considers the centrality of Yeshua and His completed work for Paul, and how all human achievements pale in comparison to who He should be for us as born again Believers who have experienced His transforming power.

In the commentary Ephesians for the Practical Messianic, Messianic Apologetics editor J.K. McKee addresses the known and unknown questions that this important letter asks us as Messianic Believers. A large Jewish and Greco-Roman Mediterranean background is considered of the issues. Careful and detailed attention has been given to the opinions present today surrounding the dividing wall, and complementarian and egalitarian views of the household codes. References to Tanach (Old Testament) concepts in the author’s words are considered, along with careful consideration for how Ephesians challenges us as a faith community trying to achieve our Father’s objectives. Poignant questions as to how we can be molded into a mature people are asked for today’s season of Messianic uncertainty.

In the commentary Galatians for the Practical Messianic, Messianic Apologetics editor J.K. McKee takes a direct look at the issues of Paul’s letter as he rebukes the Galatians for errors that have crept into their midst. Engaging with contemporary Christian scholarship on Galatians, critical questions regarding common conclusions of Paul’s words are asked. Are Paul and Yeshua truly at odds when it comes to the Torah? Were the Jerusalem leaders and Paul at constant odds with one another? How do Paul’s Pharisaical background and views affect the composition of this letter? What were the spiritual dynamics present in Galatia? What does the term “works of law” really mean? These are only a few of the questions that are considered. Likewise, some of the proposals from the New Perspective of Paul in theological studies are also analyzed.

As today’s broad Messianic movement enters into the late 2010s, 2 Corinthians for the Practical Messianic—while surely presenting some important theological discussions—may surprisingly offer us more to consider about our present level of spirituality. There are First Century background issues involving Second Temple Judaism and Greco-Roman classicism to be weighed, but there are more vital questions to be probed about the difficulties faced by an individual person like Paul. How much do we not consider ourselves as beneficiaries of not just Paul’s letters, but his steadfast devotion to the Messiah? What overlooked lessons and necessary corrections, do today’s Messianic people need to take from 2 Corinthians—especially given the new challenges that we will be facing, as salvation history steadily moves toward the return of Israel’s Messiah?

Even with some discussion on parts of the letter of 1 Corinthians, here and there within the Messianic movement, 1 Corinthians still remains one of the most difficult and elusive writings within the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament) for our faith community to examine. This resource, 1 Corinthians for the Practical Messianic, intends to change much of the insecurity that today’s Messianic people may have. Messianic Apologetics editor J.K. McKee focuses Messianic people on: the text of Paul’s letter, various translation issues from Greek into English, background issues from either Second Temple Judaism or Greco-Roman classicism, and academic proposals such as various statements in 1 Corinthians not at all being remarks of the Apostle Paul, but instead Corinthian slogans Paul is having to respond to or refute.

This Messianic study on Romans is definitely one produced for the 2010s, and for the challenges that the Messianic movement presently faces! Messianic Apologetics editor J.K. McKee offers a compelling examination of this letter, appreciating the perspectives of Law-positive Christian traditions which have preceded us, but one which is also engaged with some contemporary perspectives. These include proposals present via the New Perspective on Paul, studies and thoughts regarding the “I” of Romans ch. 7, egalitarian views regarding figures such as Phoebe and Junia in Romans ch. 16, and most especially current Messianic handling of the topic of Israel in Romans chs. 9-11.

In the commentary James for the Practical Messianic, Messianic Apologetics editor J.K. McKee addresses what we need to learn as Messianic Believers today from James’ epistle. He takes into account the distinct Jewish character of James, considering various passages in the letter with statements made in the Torah and Tanach, the Apocrypha, Philo, Josephus, the Pseudepigrapha, Dead Sea Scrolls, and also the Mishnah and Talmud. He also considers the First Century history behind James’ letter, and also parallels that exist between statements in James and remarks made in Greco-Roman classicism. Most importantly, various important theological opinions that have existed over the centuries regarding James are addressed, especially as to whether or not the Epistle of James at all contradicts the theology of the letters of Paul.

Too many of today’s Messianics refer to Acts 15 without a great deal of consideration for the context of the events as they took place in the First Century C.E. We often assume things that we should not assume, and we overlook things that we should not be overlooking. This study critically examines Acts 15 in detail, is engaged with current Acts scholarship, and tries to properly compare and contrast the ancient setting of the Jerusalem Council with some of what we see going on in the emerging Messianic movement today.

A Survey of the Apostolic Scriptures for the Practical Messianic takes you on a journey through the New Testament from a distinct Messianic point of view. The student, in company with his or her study Bible, is asked to read through each text of the Apostolic Scriptures, jotting down characters, place names, key ideas, and reflective questions. Each book of the New Testament is then summarized for its compositional data and asks you questions to get a good Messianic feel for the text.

It is no secret that in both Conservative and Reform Judaism, as well as in many evangelical Protestant denominations, that both men and women can be ordained as either rabbis or pastors. For certain, both men and women can serve side-by-side within the leadership structure of various local synagogues and churches, as both facilitators and teachers. In stark contrast to this, most Messianic congregations are led entirely by males, few females serve within the leadership structure of the assembly, and almost no females would be expected to give a teaching on Shabbat.

This resource, Men and Women in the Body of Messiah: Answering Crucial Questions, engages with both Christian complementarian as well as common perspectives regarding gender roles witnessed in the broad Messianic community. It reflects an emerging egalitarian philosophy, where the gifts, talents, and skills of all Messianic men and women can be employed within our congregations and fellowships.

Is the ekklēsia an actual separate entity known as “the Church”? Or, is ekklēsia no different than the assembly of Israel itself—which takes Bible readers back to the mixed multitude of physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the welcomed persons from the nations, who received His Ten Words and Instruction at the base of Mount Sinai (cf. Exodus 12:38)? Did Yeshua the Messiah come to found a separate group of elect called “the Church,” or did He come to rebuild and restore His Father’s assembly of righteous ones (cf. Matthew 16:18; Jeremiah 33:7, LXX), restoring the Kingdom to Israel (cf. Acts 1:6)?

Israel in Future Prophecy: Is There a Larger Restoration of the Kingdom to Israel? addresses some of the controversies and problems that have been caused, by what is commonly known as the Two-House movement/sub-movement. This book attempts to sort through much of the religious politics and abuse that one commonly encounters when poignant questions are asked about what is happening in today’s Messianic community. It intends to provide some preliminary resolution to the issues which are Biblically-rooted, and are engaged with contemporary Jewish and Christian scholarship, providing some viable alternatives to the posturing more likely to be encountered.

This report is an expanded edition of one of our most controversial articles. It answers the top reasons why people believe in the pre-tribulation rapture from a Messianic post-tribulational perspective. It considers whether or not various pre-tribulationists have employed tactics of fear and faithlessness, and whether or not their ideology of escapism can be supported by a fair reading of the Holy Scriptures.

When Will the Messiah Return? is a unique book addressing the end-times from a Messianic perspective. The Messiah stated plainly that He would gather the saints “immediately after the tribulation of those days” (Matthew 24:29). Discussed are common false understandings as they relate to “the Church” being taken to Heaven for the duration of the Tribulation period, and instead how all Believers in Messiah Yeshua get to participate in restoration of Israel’s Kingdom via His return. Some overlooked elements regarding what has been prophesied in Scripture, may hold some of the insight for today’s Believers evaluating why the Messiah has yet to return to Planet Earth.

Torah In the Balance, Volume II is a book which recognizes that the Torah does regulate many physical actions to be performed by God’s people. Faith in the Lord is hardly just a series of abstract mental beliefs or doctrines; it is also something which is to be demonstrated in concrete works. But when we consider the importance of external works as a manifestation of our trust in Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), what is some of the variance seen in on-the-ground Messianic settings?