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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.

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Shouldn't Messianic Judaism See Itself As A Renewal Movement Within Judaism?

(This is an expansion of a reponse to a comment elsewhere on this blog).

The Messianic Jewish Movement will only enter into its greatest power and usefulness when and as we see ourselves as *a renewal movement within Judaism.* This will require us to deeply understand what God is up to among the Jewish people--entailing communal study, discussion, prayer, and thought, and sacrificial change. As I say elswhere on this blog, as part of the Remnant of Israel, Scripture indicates we are called to be a sign, demonstration, and catalyst of this covenantal purpose. Until we understand this covenantal purpose and make it our own, we cannot and will not play our part, and can never experience that spiritual power we are fond of claiming to be our inheritance as Messianic Jews.

Individuals, congregations and movements experience spiritual power to the degree that they align themselves with their unique calling and gifts. For example, I am a gifted teacher: when I teach, I experience and demonstrate empowerment, and my congregants recognize this to be so. Yet, when I function as an administrator, I experience frustration and dysnfunctionality, and everyone knows it! There is no spiritual power for me outside my gifts and calling. Another example: My congegation is called to move toward and stand for a sane and approachable Torah-based covenantal faithfulness that honors Yeshua. To the extent that my congregation seeks to be other than what God has called us to be, we will experience powerlessness and aimlessness. So must it be for our movement. We will only experience and demonstrate God's empowerment as we align ourselves with what God has destined, called and gifted Messianic Judaism to be and to do. It is not someone else's calling that we must embrace, it is not yesterday's calling that we must embody, but rather what God is calling us to do in our time, place and context. Only then will we demonstrate and experience the empowerment God intends for us.

Returning to the issue of seeing ourselves as a renewal movement within Judaism: If we simply see ourselves as standing outside the Jewish community "calling them to Messiah," we will be embracing a goal that is clearly inadequate because it is both falsely positioned [outside of the Jewish community], and because it is not comprehensive enough. Such a goal fails to take into account the broader context, God's stated purpose for the Jewish people as a people.

God's purpose for Israel is to bring the seed of Jacob to full covenant faithfulness through Yeshua the Messiah in the power of the Ruach haKodesh. Any form of Messianic Judaism which sees Jewish covenantal faithfulness as "a nice option, if that's your thing," is a caricature of the will of God that ignores the sweep of Scripture and is out of step with what Hashem says He will be up to in these days.

Yeshua is the King of the Jews through whom God's covenantal purpose for His people Israel is destined to be brought to consummation. It is understandable that the Church has forotten this. But it is tragic whenever and wherever Messianic Jews buy into the Church's amnesia. Isn't it high time we remembered Messiah's role in the restoration of all Israel to covenant faithfulness and its attendant blessings? And isn't it time for us to align ourselves with these things?

Here's to the development of a Messianic Judaism that is truly a renewal movement within Judaism, serving God's purposes as a sign, demonstration and catalyst of a national return to covenant faithfulness of all the seed of Jacob, through the hitherto unacknowledged Presence of Yeshua the Messiah, in the power of the Spirit.

How would Messianic Judaism be different if we really saw ourselves as having been raised up by God to be a renewal movement within Judaism toward these ends? How is God calling us to change and to grow as individuals, leaders, congregations, and as a movement? What sacrifices have we yet to make that God's will might be done in and through our movement? What will be the consequence of bypassing these sacrifices? In what ways are we seeking to prop up and defend expiring paradigms, structures and agendas? What forces exist among us and around us seeking to thwart redemptive change and to create a broad road where the will of God is a narrow gate? What is the direction of redemptive transformation for ourselves and our movement? Think about these things!

As for me, the goal mapped out in Scripture is quite well summarized in the siddur - "Hashivenu--Bring us back to your Torah, bring us near to your service, and cause us to return to you in perfect repentance" [Fifth benediction of the Daily Amidah]. And may all of this be done in the power of the Ruach haKodesh and to the honor of Yeshua, our Righteous Messiah.

At 6/26/2005 5:00 PM, Anonymous menachem said...

Bravo

 
At 6/27/2005 9:57 AM, Blogger jon cline said...

your vision is inspiring my friend.

 
At 6/27/2005 2:15 PM, Anonymous Menachem said...

What was the context of that comment anyway Stuart? Can't seem to find it.

Menachem

 

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