Jump to content
  • Sky
  • Blueberry
  • Slate
  • Blackcurrant
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberry
  • Orange
  • Banana
  • Apple
  • Emerald
  • Chocolate
  • Charcoal
Gwen

Fascinated with Messianic "Jews"

Recommended Posts

Gwen

Personally I frickin love random splinter groups just reinventing Christianity. It's great! Messianic Jews seem so strange to me. You can't combine two different religions literally, but people still do it somehow. Judaism and Christianity are two different religions that took a different path and there is nothing wrong with that. Then you have people trying to mush it into one and call it Judaism still. Not to mention it's pretty offensive. I have an idea for a new religion called, "Atheists for Allah".

 

Sacred Namers are also fascinating.

Edited by OnceUponATime
adding tags

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2xx1xy1JD

Fusions can happen organically, and there's nothing wrong with that. Sikhism, for example, arose in a setting that was Hindu and Muslim, and Baha'i incorporates Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Krishna, Buddha and Zoroaster.

My issue "Messianic Judaism" is that it is in large part a marketing effort, deliberately designed to sell evangelical Christian theology to Jews. Most of the core theology is thoroughly Christian - belief in the divinity of Jesus, belief in the trinity, belief that the death of Jesus atoned for all sin, belief in the New Testament, etc. The only real theological element that seems different is the face that they reject replacement theology (ie. they do not believe that the Jews were replaced by Christians as the chosen people). The parts that are Jewish are the external elements - the language/terminology and the rituals. They use Hebrew words for Christian terms (Jesus becomes Yeshua, New Testament becomes Brit Hadasha). The celebrate Jewish holidays instead of Christian ones - although they put a Christian interpretation on the things that they do. Despite the fact that the theology is pretty much identical, they refuse to call themselves Christians and try to insist on being recognized as a Jewish denomination. They also engage in active missionary efforts toward Jews. I remember seeing an ad in a retirement village newspaper, aimed at Jewish seniors. They offered free rides to Shabbat (Sabbath) services in large type, and used enough Hebrew terms to make the average English-speaking Jewish senior believe that this was a Jewish synagogue. In smaller font, they wrote that they were a congregation that followed the "brit hadasha" and worshipped "Yeshua". While I recognized the code words (Jews for Judaism was active on my campus), when I showed the ad to my parents and grandfather, they had no idea that it was anything but a regular Jewish synagogue. The deceptive marketing aspect and insistence on calling themselves a Jewish denomination is what generated most of the hostility toward them. I don't see the same sort of negative reaction to other Christian groups that may study Hebrew or observe certain Old Testament laws (eg. Seventh Day Adventists).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gwen

I thought about Baha'is when I was writing this. They don't mush two different forms of religion together like MJ's. They believe God progressively teaches humanity through Prophets. Their belief also says Hindus and Buddhists don't posses the original scripture and people have added man made conceptions and misunderstandings to God's divine religion. It's not smashing different religions together in the MJ sense. Plus they have their own Prophets they follow, their own law book, ruling body, and a lot of holy days, fast, festivals and a separate calendar.

Trying to convert Jews with fake Judaism is wrong. I hate the creepy gundis focus on converting Jews. I also hate the fundies making up crap about other religions they clearly know f-all about. Adventists observe the sabbath and don't eat pork but they don't celebrate Jewish holidays.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jenny_islander

When I first heard about Messianic Judaism, I was under the impression that there were at least some congregations out there composed of actual Jews who accepted Jesus as Messiah but didn't want the cultural baggage that went with church membership; IOW, converts attempting to practice Christianity without Christendom. But I guess I was wrong.

I talk with Messianics online occasionally. I am impressed by their sincere and thorough attempts to understand the context of Jesus' ministry and teaching--context, that dirty word to most fundamentalists. These are people studying Hebrew, researching Jewish ritual practices in the early decades AD, analyzing metaphor and parallelism in the prophetic books, etc. Unlike some Messianics profiled here, they aren't playacting. But I still think that as a descendant of horse-sacrificing, woad-wearing barbarians, I am not connected with, say, the Festival of Booths in the same way as a descendant of actual factual Jews.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2xx1xy1JD

I acknowledge that in any religious movement, there will be some variation and some shift over time. I've learned here about Christians who start getting involved in Messianic stuff, and I do think that it is theoretically possible for a Christian to develop an interest in researching the roots of Christianity in Judaism, or to say, "hey, why are we celebrating holidays with pagan roots but ignoring Old Testament festivals?" From my Jewish POV, gentiles aren't required to follow Jewish law, but if someone feels compelled to do so for their own sincere religious perspective, I don't have a big issue with it.

The issue that I have is with missionaries masquerading as Jews.

Here are some direct quotes from the Chosen People Ministries website:

http://www.chosenpeople.ca/?i=12567&mid=1000&id=336262

Chosen People Ministries starts Messianic congregations because such faith communities are a useful means to reach out to Jewish people with the Gospel and to disciple them through sound teaching once they have become believers.

Messianic congregations vary in their approaches to evangelism, but they are one of the major reasons why the Messianic movement around the world has been able to reach more Jewish people with the Gospel than ever before. Statistics on church growth show that the most effective means of reaching people is through a strong, well-rounded congregational program.

Jewish people are culturally raised to resist any consideration that Yeshua (Jesus) is Messiah. They must hear the Gospel numerous times before they begin to take it to heart. Once that happens, there is usually a time of deep personal reflection before they accept the Gospel, because of the stigma and conflict that this decision will generate from their family and community. To take that step within a community of faithful Jewish believers makes it not only easier to consider, but also provides support through the crucial, vulnerable stages as they begin their faith journey.

Messianic congregations address the greatest concern of Jewish people who are considering the Gospel: the fear of losing their Jewish identity.

If the Bible is taught from a Jewish perspective, expressing New Testament faith in a Jewish context, Messianic congregations can be a "seeker friendly" place for Jewish people. But if the congregation does not reach out to the Jewish community with the message of the Gospel, it runs the risk of becoming inward-looking and isolated.

So, there you have it. They clearly describe themselves as a marketing tool. The theological content is Christian, but it uses Jewish packaging in order to overcome Jewish resistance to conversion efforts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sister_Wife

There are Messianic Jews at the church I attended my whole life. (No longer attending)

The father is Jewish, married the mother (who converted to Judaism) they had children (daughter is my good friend) and then when the children were a bit older (9/10) they all converted to Christianity.

They are very Christian in their beliefs, but still observe some Jewish traditions, but I've always seen this as more of a way of keeping connection with their family, who are Jewish.

Also my friend (their daughter) lived a Jewish life for most of her childhood, so likes to incorporate some things into her daily life and that of her kids, observing sabbath, and celebrating a mish mash "Chrismakkah". She describes herself as a Christian. But will tell people she is ethnically a Jew...who loves bacon.

I personally left that church, due to the heavy lean on the congregation to be accepting of Jewish traditions being observed within the church walls. The pastor is a student of Hebrew and Judaism, living most of his young life in Israel. I know that is what has attracted many of the Messianic Jews to this church, and it's what's driven away many of the Christians. It is a Baptist church.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ahavaleah
There are Messianic Jews at the church I attended my whole life. (No longer attending)

The father is Jewish, married the mother (who converted to Judaism) they had children (daughter is my good friend) and then when the children were a bit older (9/10) they all converted to Christianity.

They are very Christian in their beliefs, but still observe some Jewish traditions, but I've always seen this as more of a way of keeping connection with their family, who are Jewish.

Also my friend (their daughter) lived a Jewish life for most of her childhood, so likes to incorporate some things into her daily life and that of her kids, observing sabbath, and celebrating a mish mash "Chrismakkah". She describes herself as a Christian. But will tell people she is ethnically a Jew...who loves bacon.

I personally left that church, due to the heavy lean on the congregation to be accepting of Jewish traditions being observed within the church walls. The pastor is a student of Hebrew and Judaism, living most of his young life in Israel. I know that is what has attracted many of the Messianic Jews to this church, and it's what's driven away many of the Christians. It is a Baptist church.

Do you live in Columbus, ga? Because you're describing my husband's uncle (and wife/children's situation) in eerie detail!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sister_Wife

Do you live in Columbus, ga? Because you're describing my husband's uncle (and wife/children's situation) in eerie detail!

No! In a whole other country! But considering the amount of similar families within this church, it must be a common story...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RainbowSky

I know some people who think that Jews for Jesus is some of The Chosen Ones who have realized that Jesus was the one way and want to believe in Jesus while keeping with the religion that God chose to be the Chosen. It just makes me bang my head. :?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dena

My husband and I were very involved with the messy's as I like to say. We were young, raised really with no religion, but knew we were Jewish. They sucked us in like a thirsty kid in summer sucks in kool aide!

That chapter in my life was a rather interesting one to say the least.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
spookyginger

Back when I was religious, my family and I went to a Seder led by a Messianic Jew. He brought up some interesting points about symbolism within the ceremony and how they related to Christianity, and it was interesting to experience a Seder, but beyond that I don't know what I really took from it. It became kind of a "thing" with Churches in our area to do Passover Seders with all Christians in the following years as a way of exploring the Jewish roots of Christianity. I remember my dad and a few other guys from the Church roasting a goat on a spit out back.

Years later, when I moved back to my hometown, the Episcopal Church was in the midst of its big schism because they had elected a gay bishop. One of our local Churches had a hard time with the people who split from the main Church and began calling themselves Anglican (aligned with the Church of England and South Africa, supposedly) and got kicked out of their building. A local synagogue started letting them have services there, and invited them to a lot of events. There was a member of the Jewish congregation who would come and speak to the Christian congregation and answer questions on a regular basis. It was pretty cool. No Messianic Jews there, though. Just people from two different religions acknowledging what they have in common.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
YPestis

Religions and religious beliefs intermingling can be a natural progression as different religions mix. I have no problem with people who try new ideas or combine various beliefs together. After all, we are all searching for the eternal truth, are we not? I don't like the Jews for Jesus people because they are not trying to combine different religious practices together, they are Christians pretending to be Jews, and trying to convert Jews to Christianity. That's just a deceptive practice, IMHO. If you trying to convert someone, be truthful. Proclaim your beliefs and try to find commonality with the other person's belief system and show them why your belief may be a good fit. Jews for Jesus and other Messianic Jews put on the veneer of Judaism with an eye to evangelizing. Not cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
patsymae

The other day I tuned to one of the TV programs by messianic Jews ("Jewish Jewels" or something like that) and just happened in on a discussion of why rabbis reject Jesus--and it turns out that its because they don't (are too stupid to) understand their own religion and don't accept Moses, either.

"If you accept Moses, you accept Jesus."

Then followed an explanation that modern rabbinic Judaism is different from biblical Judaism (probably the proverbial grain of truth in there somewhere)--and of course the message was that in creating modern (like the last 2,000 years?) Judaism the rabbis (all thousands of them) veered off course.

So Jews who don't accept "Yeshua" (the historical Jesus) are also rejecting Moses. :angry-banghead:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GeoBQn

That doesn't even make sense. Jesus was supposedly divine, while Moses was 100% human--and noticeably imperfect. A couple weeks ago I heard a great lecture about how Moses actually had poor leadership skills.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Arete

Uh, Moses was a political leader, Jesus was not. Moses was never considered divine, though he did have special status because he walked with God.

These Messianics are such tools.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
patsymae

I think they were referring to something that Moses said, not that he was divine, but in any case, yeah, it is royally stupid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NurseNell
There are Messianic Jews at the church I attended my whole life. (No longer attending)

The father is Jewish, married the mother (who converted to Judaism) they had children (daughter is my good friend) and then when the children were a bit older (9/10) they all converted to Christianity.

They are very Christian in their beliefs, but still observe some Jewish traditions, but I've always seen this as more of a way of keeping connection with their family, who are Jewish.

Also my friend (their daughter) lived a Jewish life for most of her childhood, so likes to incorporate some things into her daily life and that of her kids, observing sabbath, and celebrating a mish mash "Chrismakkah". She describes herself as a Christian. But will tell people she is ethnically a Jew...who loves bacon.

I personally left that church, due to the heavy lean on the congregation to be accepting of Jewish traditions being observed within the church walls. The pastor is a student of Hebrew and Judaism, living most of his young life in Israel. I know that is what has attracted many of the Messianic Jews to this church, and it's what's driven away many of the Christians. It is a Baptist church.

I have a friend who is a Baptist minister but is an ethnic Jew. He converted to Christianity as an older teen. He considers himself a Christian who is Jewish, not a Messianic Jew.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
patsymae

I have a friend who is a Baptist minister but is an ethnic Jew. He converted to Christianity as an older teen. He considers himself a Christian who is Jewish, not a Messianic Jew.

Exactly this. If you want to convert to Christianity, as is your right in this country, go for it, but be honest and call yourself a Christian. The problem with the messianics is both their arrogance (we are "completed" Jews, as opposed to the other Jews who are too stupid to understand their own religion), and their deception--presenting themselves as Jewish when their agenda is to promote evangelical Christianity. As noted, their main targets are people who know they are Jewish and may be curious about it and searching for roots (such as people from secular families who know they have Jewish ancestry, or Eastern bloc immigrants) but don't have Jewish education or connections. Their "Judaism" is nothing but cosmetic artifice to appeal to people who find rabbis, chuppahs, and talk about the Torah far less threatening than crosses, churches and Christians.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PennySycamore
Back when I was religious, my family and I went to a Seder led by a Messianic Jew. He brought up some interesting points about symbolism within the ceremony and how they related to Christianity, and it was interesting to experience a Seder, but beyond that I don't know what I really took from it. It became kind of a "thing" with Churches in our area to do Passover Seders with all Christians in the following years as a way of exploring the Jewish roots of Christianity. I remember my dad and a few other guys from the Church roasting a goat on a spit out back.

Years later, when I moved back to my hometown, the Episcopal Church was in the midst of its big schism because they had elected a gay bishop. One of our local Churches had a hard time with the people who split from the main Church and began calling themselves Anglican (aligned with the Church of England and South Africa, supposedly) and got kicked out of their building. A local synagogue started letting them have services there, and invited them to a lot of events. There was a member of the Jewish congregation who would come and speak to the Christian congregation and answer questions on a regular basis. It was pretty cool. No Messianic Jews there, though. Just people from two different religions acknowledging what they have in common.

Some of the splinter churches are NOT recognized as being in communion with the Church of England. I know that my husband is part of the Anglican Mission in America (I'm not, btw.) and it is not in communion with the CoE although the diocese that sponsors them in Rwanda may be. I really can't stand the AMiA as they were split off because they got their nose out of joint because of Gene Robinson. Not only that, but the schismatic church originally ordained women to the priesthood and then decided (after the influx of even crazier people) not to ordain women at all. This makes me really mad.

(Apologies for the threadjack.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
patsymae

Some of the splinter churches are NOT recognized as being in communion with the Church of England. I know that my husband is part of the Anglican Mission in America (I'm not, btw.) and it is not in communion with the CoE although the diocese that sponsors them in Rwanda may be. I really can't stand the AMiA as they were split off because they got their nose out of joint because of Gene Robinson. Not only that, but the schismatic church originally ordained women to the priesthood and then decided (after the influx of even crazier people) not to ordain women at all. This makes me really mad.

(Apologies for the threadjack.)

Especially during the 1990s or so, it was pretty common in some circles for Catholic and mainstream Protestant churches to have "community seders" in conjunction with more liberal Jewish denominations or "secular" Jewish institutions like the YW_YMHA, as well as interfaith horse-and-pony shows with a rabbi and a priest. It was a well-intentioned effort to foment understanding, and like many well-intentioned efforts it turned out to be kind of lame. I haven't heard of an "interfaith" seder in a long time--it's more like, if Jewish people want to invite you to their seder, and you aren't Jewish, you come as a guest. I think most mainstream Christians and Catholics have realized that appropriating the seder as part of a Holy Thursday commemoration is ignorant and insulting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.