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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, May 28, 2006

A New Paradigm For Messianic Jewish Outreach: Catching Up With the Future

The following are my notes for a presentation I gave at the recent Northeast Regional Conference of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (UMJC) held May 25-28, 2006, at Sturbridge, Massachussetts. In large measure this presentation restates materials found elsewhere on this blog, but both the beginning and ending of this presentation are new.

Stanley Davis's "Future Perfect," is a book about the future. It has much to teach us about doing outreach to our people, Israel.

Davis speaks of “future perfect thinking.” The essence of future perfect thinking is this: We envision an ideal future, and fully immerse our imaginations in what that future will be like. Then we plan backwards, what Davis calls “before-math thinking,” as contrasted with “aftermath thinking.” In aftermath thinking, one analyzes in a post mortem fashion, after the deed is done. In before-math thinking, one conceptualizes as if already an accomplished fact the kinds of deeds to be done, the reality to be experienced, so that one plans in such a manner as to reach that reality, that nexus of deeds.

In other words, Davis calls us to learn to plan from the future backwards. Knowing what kind of future that awaits us enables us to plan for it. We need to catch up with the future. The future is like a train that has already left God’s station. If we are stuck in the past, or cemented in the present, we will miss the train. The train has already departed—we must know where the future-train is headed, we must know the direction of the future and catch up with it. Otherwise we will be left on the platform winded, disappointed, and irrelevant.

In today’s talk we are going to begin to do some before=math thinking—we are going to discuss what it is that we know about God’s future for the Jewish people, and begin thinking about what that means for us that we might make proper plans and take appropriate action to catch that future train .

Five Fullnesses of God

I find it helpful to sketch out the context of what God is doing in the world under the heading of five fullnesses which may be compared to the five fingers of your hand. These five fullnesses do not replace each other in the purposes of God: rather they supplement each other, build on each other, if you will. To grasp the metaphor, let's use the fingers of our own hands. If you are right handed, use that hand to grasp the fingers of your left hand; if you are left handed, then use those fingers to grasp the fingers on your right hand. We are going to returning to those fingers one at a time to help us remember where we are in God’s scheme of things, first one finger, then two fingers together, then three fingers together, etc.

Let’s begin with the smallest finger, the “pinky.” Grasp that finger with the fingers of your other hand. Feel the grasp. Now realize that this finger stands for the first fullness, “the fullness of Torah.”

The Fullness of Torah

The Bible reminds us in Psalm 19, “Torat Adonai temimah - The Torah of the Lord is Perfect.” Of course, this is not an isolated idea in Scripture. Just mining through Psalm 119, one will find multiple echoes of this assessment of the instruction of the Holy One. In the Newer Covenant, Paul refers to the law as “holy, just and good” [Romans 7]. And James/Ya’akov, our Messiah’s brother, refers to the Torah as “the perfect Law that gives freedom.” This last reference is echoed in rabbinic writings as well where they remark on the similarity of two words—“charut" and “cherut."

The Hebrew word “charut” means “engraved’ as in Exodus 32, “15 Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. 16 The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.” Ya’akov picks up on the observation of our tradition, that “charut” sounds like “cherut,” meaning “freedom.” So both the rabbis and James in the Newer Testament refer to the Torah as giving freedom, and in Ya’akov’s case, he refers to it as “the perfect law.” We read also in the Newer Covenant of Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Immerser, who “walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Law blameless.” The point then is well established—the Torah is a full, perfect thing. So much, for the time being, with the fullness of Torah.

The Fullness of Messiah
Now grab both your “pinky” and the finger next to it, to remind us that we are moving to the second fullness.

Scripture of course speaks of another fullness, the fullness of Messiah. We read, for example, how “when the time had fully come, God sent forth His Son, born under [the era of] the Torah, that we [in this instance, referring to the Gentile nations] might receive the adoption as sons" [Israel had already been adopted at Sinai!] And we read elsewhere of the Messiah, “of his fullness have we all received, and grace upon grace.” We read in the Pauline letters of “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Messiah.” Yes, there is a fullness from God that comes through the coming of Messiah—a fullness of blessing and of redemption, a fullness that came to us when the time had fully come.

But this is not all! Yeshua spoke of another fullness, and we have been beneficiaries of that fullness for nearly 2000 years. This is the fullness of the Spirit.

The Fullness of the Spirit

The old King James Version spoke of the coming of the Spirit on the Day Of Pentecost in these words, “when the day of Pentecost had fully come. . . “ and of course that language is helpful to our current study. But the term “fullness” is used elsewhere as well of the Spirit, as we are admonished to be filled with the Spirit. Ever since that special Shavuot, known to the Church world as “the Day of Pentecost,” there has been available a spiritual enduement, and a continuing imperative, “Be not drunk with wine, wherein there is excess, but be filled with the Spirit.” This means being under the control of the Spirit rather than under the control of wine or anything else that alters our inner life.

The Fullness of the Nations

In the eleventh chapter of his letter to the Romans, Paul speaks also of pleroma, of fullness. For example, speaking of how the Gentiles, the non-Israel nations, have been beneficiaries of things that happened among the Jewish people, he says “11Again I ask: Did they [Israel] stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!” Here we see that the Gentiles have experienced salvation, having received the spiritual riches provided through the gospel. Later in the letter, Paul will put it this way, “a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.” There we have it, the full number of the Gentiles, or, as other translations put it, “The fullness of the Gentiles.” There is another term for this in the Bible: the Great Commission. The fullness of the Gentiles is the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

But yet another fullness remains. And this brings us to yet another finger, in this case, the thumb, the fifth finger we have counted.

The Fullness of Israel

Paul speaks not only of the fullness of the nations, but of the fullness of Israel, another fullness. Remember, he says of Israel, “11Again I ask: Did they [Israel] stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring! [and that is the fullness of Israel]” This is another fullness other than the fullness of the nations. This means that what God is up to among the Jewish people is not simply an extension of the Great Commission—but is another work, a work he is going to do among the Jewish people after the fullness of the nations has come in. He says it again, later in the chapter.

25I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
"The deliverer will come from Zion;
he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
27And this is my covenant with them
when I take away their sins."

This fullness of Israel is mentioned frequently in the Prophets—God is up to something in the midst of the earth, and part of that something is his culminating purposes for Israel—the fullness of Israel.

So where are we now? If you have been using your hand as a learning device in the manner I suggested, then we are somewhere in the transition between the fourth and fifth fullness, somewhere on the web connecting your thumb and the pointer finger—somewhere in that time of transition.

Now using the fingers of your other hand as a learning device, what reasons do I have for believing we are in this time of transition? I have five reasons, corresponding to the five fingers.

Five Reasons We Are At That Time of Transition Now

1. Founding of the State of Israel
– The Bible prophesies that all of human history will culminate in a conflict in the Middle East, with the people of Israel living in their land. Zechariah, Chapter 12 puts it this way: “The word of the LORD concerning Israel: Thus says the LORD, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the human spirit within: 2See, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of reeling for all the surrounding peoples; it will be against Judah also in the siege against Jerusalem. 3On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it shall grievously hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth shall come together against it.”

This prophecy could not be fulfilled for 1900 years, while the Jewish people were in exile from their land. And of course, there are many other prophecies in the Bible which speak of Israel being scattered and then regathered to her Land, including Deuteronomy 30 and Ezekiel 36, among others. Because the people of Israel had been wandering the earth in exile for nearly 1900 years, it was easy for many to accept the verdict of Augustine of Hippo (354-430), who promulgated the theory that the Jews are a witness-people condemned to wander the face of the earth, like Cain, as a sign of what happens to those who kill the Son of God. 'Let them live among us, but let them suffer and be continually humiliated."' At the very least, supersessionist theology was emboldened by the "impossibility" of Israel ever being one people in their Land. That is, until 1948. Now the people of Israel are back in their Land, and this is a sign that we are living in changing times.

2. Liberation of Jerusalem - Of course this is closely related to our previous point. Prophecy not only speaks of Israel being regathered to the Land, it also speaks of the Jewish people dwelling in Jerusalem. This only became possible as of 1967, when Jerusalem was liberated and came again into Jewish hands. This too is a sign of the times.

3. Return of Jews from the Countries of the North - The Prophet Jeremiah speaks of a time, “that they shall no longer say, "As the LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,' 8but, "As the LORD lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them.' And they shall dwell in their own land” (Jeremiah 23:7-8). The country of the North” (Jer 23:7-8). It is generally agreed that the land of the north spoken of here is the former Soviet Union (FSI), which officially dissolved on Christmas Day, 1991. Only fifteen years ago, it was front page news when even one Jew got out of the FSI and emigrated to Israel. Persons attempting to do so but commonly denied legal sanction to do so were termed “refuseniks” people who had been refused permission to leave. Following the sagas of such people was something of a media preoccupation in the 1970’s and 1980’s. In the late 1980’s, as Mikhail Gorbachev brought glasnost and perestroika policies, and especially with the break-up of the FSI, the refusenik phenomenon disappeared. Since that time, some 1.1 million Jews from the former Soviet Union emigrated to Israel. One cannot find a Messianic Jewish congregation in all of Israel without its share of Jews from the former Soviet Union. This is an amazing sign of the times.

4. Spiritual renewal of the Jewish people - revival among our people. As we will see later in our study, the prophets routinely link the Jewish people’s return to the Land with spiritual renewal. In this connection, it is fascinating to note that many Jewish people have come to a lively faith in Yeshua and to spiritual renewal since 1967, when Jerusalem was liberated. This is true not only of Western Jews, but also of Jews from the FSI. The juxtaposition of a return to the Land with a manifest spiritual renewal is certainly a sign of the times. These are not matters that people could have engineered—they are surely the work of God.

5. The rebirth of a concern for Torah living among Messianic Jews. It is one thing to be gathered to the Lord, and another to be gathered to the Land, Both of these are joined in Scripture to another phenomenon—a return of the Jewish people to covenant faitfulness—to the ways of Torah.

Repeatedly, Scripture tell us that when the Jewish people turn to the Lord in the latter days, when they return to the Land in the latter days, when they experience spiritual renewal in the latter days, this return to the Lord and to the Land, and this spiritual renewal will be accompanied by a return of the Jewish people to the ways of Torah. We will be looking at this in some detail later in this presentation. But what interests us now is the recognition that there has been a renewed stirring among Messianic Jews for a return to the ways of Torah, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and to the honor of Yeshua the Messiah. This is a new phenomenon that would not even have occurred to us even thirty years ago. Now it is in the air, and people are lining up for and against a Messianic Jewish return to Torah faithfulness. When seen against the background of Scriptures such as Deuteronomy 30, Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36, this is most certainly another sign of the times—a sign that we are somewhere in the transition between the fourth and fifth fullness—the fullness of the nations being supplemented by another fullness, the fullness of Israel.

Let’s look at these matters more closely from a slightly different perspective.

At the 2004 Delegates Meeting of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations held in Boston, Massachussetts, just before the UMJC Annual Conference, one delegate remarked on “living in wonderful times when prophecy is being fulfilled and our people are returning to the Land.”

Such rhetoric is common in our movement. I myself really love the Bible, and am going through a refreshing of my zeal for reading Scripture. But I fear that despite how Scripture pertaining to the return to the Land is bandied about in our circles, we are failing to pay sufficient attention to the wider context of these references. These scriptures frequently also speak of the return being accompanied by a supernatural Jewish return to covenant faithfulness—a return of our people to honoring God though embracing a life ordered by Torah.

Although most agree that our people will “return to the Lord” in the latter days, we have forgotten to ask “What shape will this return take?” And Scripture is clear: that return will be evidenced in a return to Torah-based covenant faithfulness.
What I am suggesting today is a paradigm shift: a fundamental change in viewpoint that generates new questions and new answers, resulting in the expiration of formerly prevailing paradigms.

This paradigm shift includes fundamental changes in perspective in what we mean by effective outreach.

Among these expiring paradigms is the one which conceives of outreach as primarily a matter of making the sale, or closing the deal. In our evangelicalized culture, we are too wedded to a sales model of outreach. We make our pitch to the person we are “witnessing” to, who is called a “contact.” We know we have closed the sale when the “contact” prays to “accept Messiah as their personal Savior.” Forgive me, but this sounds too much like a person signing on the dotted line.

Another inadequate concept of outreach sees it primarily in terms of increasing the size of our congregational population. Outreach then becomes not so much a matter of sales, as a matter of advertising. This model is similar to various communications approaches to “witnessing.” Here again, the emphasis is on numbers, on statistics, on the bottom line.

A third expiring paradigm is the one which seeks to motivate outreach and reception of the message through a carrot and stick approach: "find heaven, avoid hell." There are many problems with utitilzing this motivation, and I will not cover all of them here. But it will do to point out that Yeshua and the Apostles do not use this motivation as standard operating procedure in their own outreach to Jews. In some circles, this is the motivation, the bottom line. I challenge such parties to search the book of Acts and the Gospels for evidence that this approach was foundational to the outreach ministries of Yeshua and the Emissaries, as motivation for either the messengers or their target audience. I do not want to minimize the significance of heaven and hell, God forbid. But, really, we know so little about these things. At the very least, it is highly suspicious that this motivational structure is axiomatic in some circles, and obviously not so in the preaching of Yeshua and the Emissaries, certainly not to a Jewish audience.

Yes, I am aware of the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. However, this was a parable about the consequences of heedlesss, heartless, determined wickedness. It certainly does not deserve primacy of place as a template for our outreach to our people! And, yes, Yeshua did preach to the Jewish people in view of a coming catastrophe--but, as Scot McKnight has highlighted in his excellent book, "A New Vision for Israel: The Ministry of Jesus in National Context," this coming catastrophe was the impending judgment/destruction of Jerusalem. And yes, Yeshua did speak of "the outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth," but again, neither he nor the Apostles/Emissaries used the "find heaven, avoid hell" motivation as a template for their approaches to the Jewish people--which contrasts sharply with those in our day for whom the heaven/hell issue is axiomatic and seen to be a touchstone of doctrinal and methodological orthodoxy.

In addition, on a purely pragmatic basis alone, since we know so little of heaven and hell, and since one is hard pressed to find anyone who truly believes in such, this constitutes a most inadequate motivation for outreach and for people to embrace the Messiah. It is as if we were urging people to accept Yeshua to avoid Martian Sand Fever. This is not an ailment they believe in, nor is it one they feel motivated to avoid.

Confrontational approaches are hardly more satisfactory. These seem to vitiate the very nature of the kingdom message, robbing it of its relational spirit. Such approaches are overly message-centered while treating respectful and real relationships as secondary or purely utilitarian. I remember a woman telling me that she could always expect a phone call from “her missionary” on Thursday night, because Friday was the day when statistical reports had to be handed in to mission officials. This kind of utilitarian approach which cares about the message, while treating the recipients as a means to other ends, is far from satisfactory. We recognize that this kind of approach does violence to the deeply relational nature of the God who is altogether good and His good news. This too is an approach that is expiring, and deservedly so.

All of these approaches are inadequate because they are products of our Western market mentality—they are not transcendent but limited cultural artifacts.
What then am I proposing? What is a better paradigm for effective Messianic Jewish outreach? And equally to the point, what kind of paradigm can we find that does greater justice to Scripture’s foundations for an understanding of Messianic Jewish outreach?

I am proposing that at the very least we need a new definition such as this one:
Messianic Jewish outreach is the Messianic Jewish remnant of Israel being what it should be, and doing what it should do with respect to God’s consummating purposes for the descendants of Jacob.

We are used to thinking of ourselves as part of the remnant of Israel. However, I wonder how many of us have given attention to the responsibilities of the remnant? Those responsibilities include at least the following.

(1) The Messianic Jewish remnant is supposed to serve as a sign that God has a continuing purpose for the Jewish people.

(2) The Messianic Jewish remnant is supposed to be a demonstration of that purpose - a proleptic preview, a sort of “preview of coming attractions.

(3) The Messianic Jewish remnant is supposed to be a catalyst assisting greater Israel toward that Divine purpose.

If effective Messianic Jewish outreach is inseperably rooted in God’s consummating purposes for the descendants of Jacob, then, if we would be effective in outreach, our first order of business is to root out and attend to the God-given cues, especially in Scripture, of this ultimate purpose. How else can we be a sign of that purpose, a demonstration of that purpose, and a catalyst toward that purpose if we don’t know what it is?

What does Scripture say about God’s consummating purpose for the descendants of Jacob?

Repeatedly and often Scripture portrays God’s ultimate purpose for Israel in terms of a national return to covenant faithfulness as manifest in Torah obedience. And often, this return to covenant faithfulness is linked to the return of our people to the Land. Time permits mentioning only a few passages of Scripture which portray this connection between a Jewish return to the Land, and our return to the Lord as expressed in Torah-based covenant-faithfulness

One example is the thirtieth chapter of Deuteronomy. Notice the repeated linkage of return to the Lord, return to the Land, and return to the Law, that is, Torah obedience.

30:1 Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God drives you, 2and you return to the LORD your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, 3that the LORD your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the LORD your God has scattered you. . . 6And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. . . . 8And you will again obey the voice of the LORD and do all His commandments which I command you today. 9The LORD your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand. . . 10if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Another example is the very familiar and central Messianic Jewish text, Jeremiah 31:31 ff., where again, renewal of the people is expressed in a return to Torah obedience.

The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Perhaps the strongest prophetic text on this end-time return to the Lord, to the Land, and to the Law, is found in Ezekiel 36, beginning at verse 24. This text reads like a checklist which we need to ratify in all aspects if we would be true to Scripture.

Ezekiel 36:24”For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.” (Regathering: We are all prepared to say “Amen” to this: Hallelujah, we believe in the regathering of our people to the Land). 36:25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.” (Renewal: We are all prepared to say “Amen” to this national spiritual renewal as well). 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (We say “Hallelujah” to this as well: national regeneration. . .a new heart of stone instead of a heart of flesh). But then things get “difficult”—at least for some of us wedded to an old and expiring paradigm. Read on.

36:27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Here is where we have for too long applied our brakes. But it is clear that this return to the Lord, this return to the Land, is evidenced and accompanied by a return to the commandments God gave to our people. This is all signed, sealed, and delivered through an “inclusio,” a verse ending this section which echoes what was said at the beginning of the section). 36:28 “Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.”

Nothing could be clearer: return to the Lord, return to the Land and return to the Law of God are all joined in Scripture. (And yes, I am well aware that it is reductionist to refer to the commandments, statutes and ordinances of Scripture, and to Torah in general as “Law.” But let’s face it, it makes for good alliteration).
In the Newer Testament, Romans 11 further explores aspects of this consummating purpose for the descendants of Jacob. Romans 9-11 ends in a doxology of astonishment. Paul is awestruck and astonished at the surprising outworking of God’s consummating purposes Who would have guessed that the people of Israel would turn down their Messiah when God sent Him? And who would have guessed that the nations of the world would come to a living relationship with the God of Israel without having to become Jews first? And who would have guessed that at the end of history, God would bring the Jewish people back to Himself in covenant faithfulness through this same Messiah—with the Jews returning to God in the context of Jewish life, in the power of the Spirit, and through the very same Messiah through whom the Nations of the world turned to this same God—while not having been required to embrace Jewish life?. How astounding! How miraculous! How unexpected and uniquely the work of God!

Is it not clear that this is what is astonishing the Apostle? Or do we imagine that the best God can pull off at the end of history, when “all Israel will be saved,” is that massive numbers of Jews will become Baptists, Pentecostals, or Presbyterians?
To just ask the question is to answer it.

We must remember that in Romans 11, Paul is contrasting Israel and the nations as aggregates. He is not speaking of Gentile and Jewish individuals, but of these respective groups, the same dyad as is found throughout the Older Testament: Israel and the nations.

God’s final act toward the Jews will be directed to us as a people—he will bring the Jewish people to covenant faithfulness to Himself through the one despised by the nation [Isaiah 49; Zech 12; Isaiah 53].

Therefore, as part of the remnant of Israel, our responsibility is as follows:

1. Our outreach is accomplished as we serve as a sign that God has a continuing purpose for the Jews, a consummating purpose of a national turning to renewed covenant faithfulness in obedience to Torah in the power of the Spirit through Yeshua the Messiah.

2. Our outreach is accomplished as we demonstrate communally that we are a demonstration of that purpose - an anticipation, a preview of that covenant faithfulness which will one day be true of all Israel: a return to Torah-living in the power of the Holy Spirit, and to the honor of Yeshua the Messiah.

3. Our outreach is accomplished as we catalyze and assist greater Israel toward that Divine purpose.

If this analysis of Scripture is true, what will be the results for how we pursue outreach?

First, outreach would no longer be adversarial and confrontational. We would commend all religious Jewish efforts toward Torah-based covenant faithfulness. For example, when religious Jews come to our conferences to oppose what we stand for, we would commend them for their attempt to honor God in the context of Torah obedience, while still differing with them in their disparagement of faith in Yeshua. In our communities, we would seek to assist and applaud all efforts by religious Jews to honor God in the context of Torah. We would not feel obliged to adopt some sort of adversarial posture.

Second, we ourselves would form communities committed to this kind of Torah-based covenant faithfulness, for we could not be faithful to our remnant responsibility unless we served as a sign, demonstration and catalyst of this kind of faithfulness with respect to God’s consummating purpose for all Israel. But our Torah faithfulness would be unique to ourselves in some ways due to the impact of Yeshua and the Emissaries on our halacha, our honoring of Yeshua, and our experience of the Spirit.

Third, our mission to the wider religious Jewish world would be to advocate faith in Yeshua and the power of the Spirit as Divine means toward their own greater covenant faithfulness. This moves outreach beyond simply individual soul salvation. While not discounting this, it would be bigger, and also true to the sweep of Scripture. We would be seeking to take the wider Jewish religious world further in the direction in which they are already heading—in the power of the Spirit and through Yeshua the Messiah.

Fourth, in addition to affirming and yet further catalyzing and challenging religious Jews, our ministry to secularized Jews would be very strong: a call back to the God of our ancestors and the ways of our ancestors, and a call back to Jewish community through Yeshua the Messiah in the power of the Spirit.

Fifth, the support of church people for our efforts would involve their applauding us for being fully Jewish rather than wooing us to be more like themselves.
They would realize that moving deeper into Jewish life is our Divine destiny and our remnant responsibility.

Sixth, we would be returning to a communal concept of outreach rather than an individualistic one.

Seventh, this paradigm provides us with deeper and better motivations for outreach to our people.

Such outreach proclaims the Name of Jesus, not the neediness of Jews.
Sometimes mission approaches to the Jewish people include the assumption or even declaration of the emptiness and inadequacy of Jewish religious practice and faith. In contrast, the apostolic motivation for outreach to Jewish people was driven by the realization that in Yeshua, the long awaited Messiah had come. The oft-quoted passage, “There is no other name given among mortals by which we must be saved,” comes in a context where Peter and John were seeking to lift up the name of Jesus rather than put down the Jewish people: “for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:12, 20). We would do well to imitate their example and lift up the name of Yeshua without denigrating the holy things already given to the Jewish people (see Romans 3:1-4; 9:1-5).

Such outreach is founded on bringing honor to God, which is the highest motivation we can have in all of life, including our outreach. Indeed, it was honoring God which was foundational to the Messiah’s Prayer—it is the first petition on the prayer—“Hallowed be thy Name.” The honor of God is enhanced, and His reign established, when His people honor the Messiah whom He sent.

Newer Covenant texts such as Matthew 23:39, Acts 3:19-21, and Romans 11:12, 15, imply that Israel’s acceptance of Yeshua will inaugurate the Kingdom, thus establishing and extending God’s reign. Looking toward that day, we seek to model and advance honoring Him among our people, Israel, that His name might be hallowed “on earth as it is in heaven.”

All of this is crucially important for a number of reasons:

(1) It is important because it better aligns Messianic Jewish outreach with the revealed purposes of God for the Jewish people.

(2) It is important because it is an antidote to culturally determined and limited sales-oriented approaches to the task.

(3) It is important because it instantly neutralizes the adversarial posture that we have inherited from generations past which ill-serves the greater purposes of God.

(4) It is important because it calls us also to a return to Jewish covenant faithfulness.

(5) It is important because it challenges us to expand and reevaluate the role of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our congregations and our Union. And finally,

(6) it is important because it addresses the biggest problem, the biggest obstacle, in Messianic Jewish outreach.

The biggest obstacle in Messianic Jewish outreach is the widespread assimilation of Jewish believers. The Jewish community has a right to assume that when the Messiah comes, he will make Jewish people into better Jews. When the perceived effect of the faith in Yeshua is that Jewish believers become assimilated and indifferent to Jewish life and community, the Jewish community has a right to say: “Don’t be ridiculous! Put your Bibles away and don’t waste your time trying to convince us! How could this Yeshua be the Messiah if he makes Jews into goyim?” This objection has all the truth in the world behind it. But our own return to Jewish covenant faithfulness, which is the will of G-d for the remnant and for all Israel, has the added benefit of making this objection null and void.

Is God’s final act in history going to involve making millions of Jews into Baptists or does Scripture rather affirm that God is going to trigger a massive return of His people to Him in Jewish covenantal faithfulness, where he will write the Torah of Moses on their hearts, through Yeshua the Messiah and in the power of the Spirit?
What kind of paradigm shift in Messianic Jewish outreach is this analysis calling us to? What is supposed to be the shape of Jewish faithfulness to God? And what does it mean for us to be the faithful remnant? What is the shape of this remnant faithfulness?

If we really care about Messianic Jewish outreach, if we are really the remnant of Israel, if we are serious about Scripture, shouldn’t we at least be giving deep consideration to what I have proposed by way of a fundamental change in perspective, a paradigm shift?

What is the remnant supposed to do? Can we as a movement be faithful to God without rightly answering this question?

As we come to the conclusion of our presentation, we would do well to consider why this matter of shifting paradigms is so very important. In order to do that, we might reference a story told by Joel Barker in his book “Paradigms : Business of Discovering the Future.”

In 1968, Switzerland dominated the world of watchmaking, with over 65% of the unit sales in the world and more than 85% of the profits. They were constant innovators and on the cutting edge of research in all aspects of their watches. By 1980 their world market share had collapsed to less than 10% and 50,000 of the 62,000 watchmakers had lost their jobs. What happened?

Something profound. They had run into a paradigm shift - a change in the fundamental rules of watchmaking. Everything the Swiss were good at - the making of gears and bearings and mainsprings, etc. - was irrelevant to the new way.

The irony was that this disaster was totally avoidable. The Swiss themselves invented the electronic quartz movement at their research institute in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Yet, when the Swiss researchers presented this revolutionary new idea to the Swiss manufacturers in 1967, it was rejected. It couldn't possibly be the watch of the future! So sure were the manufacturers of that conclusion that they let their researchers showcase their useless invention at the World Watch Congress that year. Seiko took one look, and the rest is history.

So what will it be for us? Will we catch up with the train of God’s future for the Jewish people? Or will we be left on the platform, rooted in the past, stuck in the present, but irrelevant to that future which is already on the move.

Curtis Mayfield put it this way:

People get ready
There's a train a comin'
You don't need no baggage you just get on board
All you need is faith
To hear the diesel comin'
Don't need no ticket you just thank the Lord

At 5/29/2006 3:56 AM, Anonymous David said...

Awesome stuff!

Two questions:

Where can I find more like this? (other than on this blog!)

When's the book coming out? !!!

At 5/29/2006 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

”God’s final act toward the Jews will be directed to us as a people—he will bring the Jewish people to covenant faithfulness to Himself through the one despised by the nation [Isaiah 49; Zech 12; Isaiah 53].”

Would “the one despised by the nation” be a reference to the relationship between Yeshua and Israel?

At 5/29/2006 12:11 PM, Blogger Stuart Dauermann said...

As to David, and the question of where other such materials are available, I would suggest you get and devour a copy of Mark Kinzer's "Post Missionary Messianic Judaism: Redefining Christian Engagement with the Jewish People." Mark is my opposite member: he, the theologian, me, the missiologist. Also read on this blog Derek Leman's report to the Lausanne Committee, and check the UMJC website for information on the most recent issue of Kesher, a theological journal, which includes world-class interaction with Mark's book. In addition, the next issue of Mishkan, an Israeli theological journal will also be interacting with Mark's book, including his rejoinders to the critiques found there. On the missiological front, I believe I am breaking new ground. I am hoping that my book will come out in 2007. It will deal with issues of this paradigm and our relationship to the wider Jewish world. both in terms of outreach and otherwise. Any prayers or encouragement offered for this project are earnestly sought and appreciated.

At 5/29/2006 12:15 PM, Blogger Stuart Dauermann said...

Response to Anonymous.

You ask, 'Would “the one despised by the nation” be a reference to the relationship between Yeshua and Israel?'

My perspective is, "Yes." However, that contempt does not negate Israel's chosenness/election as God's people. In fact, according to Romans 11, this contempt has divine origins [God hardened their hearts--Romans 9], with the result that the Gentiles might have opportunity to hear and receive the good news of Yeshua.

People who imagine that Israel's rejection of Yeshua is naught but a negative that also negates Israel's election and calling are not thinking deeply enough of what Scripture is saying.


At 5/29/2006 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Professor Dauermann,

I did not see you publish my previous post, I hope I did not offend you. I apologize if I did.

In this post my interest was picqued with the following:

"The biggest obstacle in Messianic Jewish outreach is the widespread assimilation of Jewish believers."

I couldn't help but smile. Some in the Jewish community already charge missionizing groups with misappropriating our symbols. I can't wait until the charge is expanded to misappropriation of our main problem: assimilation!

Further thinking led to my wondering, "what is the source of your problem?" Or better yet, "what exactly is your problem?"

Is it A: Jews convert to Christianity, join an church, and fail to move on to Torah observant messianic Judaism, thus assimilating into full Christianity?

Is it B: Jews participate in Messianic Judaism, but fail to move on to Torah observant messianic Judaism, thus assimilating into a Jewish-like Christianity?

Is it C: Jews participate fully in Torah observant Messianic Judaism, but are swayed to a less rigorous expression, thus assimiliating into either church or Jewish-like Christianity?

Is it D: Jews convert to Christianity, never move on to any form of Messianic Judaism, and drop from Church involvement, thus assimiliating into the general population?

Or do you have something else altogether in mind?

At 5/29/2006 5:16 PM, Blogger Stuart Dauermann said...

The "problem" for indidividuals and for our movement and all its sectors is ever and always the same: In this current situation what does it mean to know and to do the will of God "with all our hearts, with all our souls, and with all minds?" Knowing what I do about God, Israel and Torah, what ought I/we do to honor the Messiah and the One who sent Him?

At 5/29/2006 8:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One has to remember that all of 2 million Jews were called out of Egypt. Yet, all but but 4 Jews charted the route to go back to Egpyt and slavery after killing the 4 Jews who believed God could deliver what He promised. Only two of the nearly two million Jews made it into the Promised Land.

One only has to read Judges once to realize this isn't a Gentile
issue and the promise doesn't guarentee any one Jew's relationship with God.

God Himself had to protect the 4 Jewish believers from the millions of unbelieving Jews. And as a result, only 2 Jews that left Egypt actually made it to the Promised Land.

Once in the Promised Land, the continued hard heartednes of these chosen people lead them to Exile.

Jews who believe that their salvation is based on their bloodline and not faith needs to reread the book of Judges a few times. Or at least heed the words of the Messiah in Mt 24 to 26.

At 5/29/2006 10:23 PM, Blogger Stuart Dauermann said...

Dear Anonymous,

I am troubled by your consistent need to apply the brakes lest we believe too many good things about non-Yeshua-believing Jewish people. My instincts are in the opposite direction.

I don't see that "God himself had to protect these four Jews who went into the Promised Land from millions of other Jews." True, Torah contrasts the former with the latter, but this is far different from your polarized potrayal!

And if the Jews were as spiritually benighted as you portray them, they would scarcely have preserved Scriptures which routinely potray their sins in a glaring light. That the Jewish people have done so for thousands of years is a continuing mark of their moral greatness.

It is revolting that you must harp on negativities. as in this statement, "Once in the Promised Land, the continued hard heartednes of these chosen people lead them to Exile."

You then say the following: "Jews who believe that their salvation is based on their bloodline and not faith needs to reread the book of Judges a few times. Or at least heed the words of the Messiah in Mt 24 to 26."

No one believes that salvation is based on bloodline. It is based on the faithfulness of God. as Richard B. Hays has reminded us in his dissertation.

Your mindset makes you incapable of accounting for a passage like Romans 11:28-29: "28 As regards the gospel they are enemies of God, for your sake [you Gentiles]; but as regards election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable."

God made irrevocable promises to our ancestors about their physical seed. True, when Jews fail to seek to honor God, this is serious and spiritually dangerous. But God's purpose for the Jews as a people remains, and when we speak of religious Jews, who seek to honor their covenant relationship with God, it is sloppy at best to refer to such as "unbelieving Jews." They may not believe in Yeshua, but they are far from pagans, and their faithfulness is anything but a matter of indifference to God. even if it is such to some people.

At 5/29/2006 10:25 PM, Blogger jon cline said...

Thank you Stuart for your investment in our future. May we all grow in discerning the signs of the times with wisdom and responding to them with decisive action.

At 5/31/2006 6:22 AM, Anonymous David said...


Thanks for your reply.

I already have a copy of Mark Kinzer's excellent book (in fact I first heard about it through your blog). I'm a regular visitor so I saw the report by Derek Leman (which incidentally is now on the LCJE website as well, so will hopefully reach a wider audience).

I've just rechecked the UMJC website and clicking on the Kesher Journal link takes you to an "under construction" website with no content (as has been the situation for a while!).

Thanks for the heads-up about the next Mishkan - I'll look forward to that.

You and Mark are definitely breaking new ground, and, as I suggested earlier, there seems to be few (if any) others working in this field. I don't speak lightly by suggesting that perhaps the two of you are prophets in our time.

I will pray not just for your inspiration in writing your own book, but also that the concepts that you and Mark have been given will receive the support and adoption that they desperately need.

At 5/31/2006 7:22 AM, Blogger Stuart Dauermann said...

Dear David,

I wish I knew who you are exactly, because you seem to be a colleague in the work of the Kingdom and I would like to know you better and communicate with you privately.

Since these postings are moderated by me [they don't go onto the site until I give the go-ahead], if you choose to send me your e-mail address, I will see that it does NOT get posted on the blog.

Whatever your choice in that matter [and I value your privacy and will understand if you choose to not disclose your identity], thank you for your kudos and your assurances of prayer. I certainly need such.

I will pass on your comments to Mark.


At 6/01/2006 6:18 PM, Anonymous Melinda said...

Dear Stuart,
No words, just applause!


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