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A Discussion of Messianic Judaism, the Emerging Messianic Jewish Paradigm, and Related Leadership Issues from the Preoccupied Mind of Rabbi Stuart Dauermann, PhD.

All Contents ©2004-2007 Stuart Dauermann - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Monday, June 14, 2004

Of Graduations and Needed Changes

This week-end I was one of approximately 450 graduates of Fuller Theological Seminary. The ceremony was long, very well run and managed, and a sign to me of the desparate need for Messianic Jewish Theological Seminary to become a reality.

I want to go on record as saying that I received an extraordinary education in my sojourn at Fuller, which began fifteen years ago. My life and work is indelibly and positively imprinted through my relationship with the faculty and staff of that worthy institution. They have been more than gracious to me, and more than mentors, instructors and administrative expeditors: these people are my friends. Still, the graduation was culturally so "other" that it is apparent that Messianic Judaism needs its own institution. This is because education is more than information: is is formation. And there's the rub.

The songs that were sung, the repeated references to serving Christ and His Church, and the rhetoric of speakers was so "other" to the concerns and identity of Messianic Judaism as a movement under and for Messiah from within the Jewish people.

One unfortunate statement from the platform sounded like it was right out of the second chapter of my dissertation which decries the supersessionist mentality of the evangelical consensus. The reference was to how God is making a new people from every people, tongue, tribe and nation. Such statements undergird the "church is the New Israel" consensus which prevails in the Christian world. This is not something someone from the School of Intercultural Studies would have said. But it was said, and, unintentionally, it suggests supersessionism.

What Messianic Judaism needs is an educational experience "in Jewish space" that manifests the ethos of the Jewish people and imprints the students in every manner in Jewish ways, deepening Jewish identity in every way, at every step. This is not intended as a "slam" on my worthy Seminary. But the Messianic Movement needs something more, something else, and something soon.