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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


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Messianic Judaism: Moving From Fringe, To Focus, To Future

Anyone who has been among Jewish believers in Yeshua for forty years or more, as I have, has lived amidst a whirlwind of change. When I came to believe in Yeshua, there were effectively no Messianic Congregations, although some isolated experiments, more along the lines of Hebrew Christian churches, had been attempted here and there. The idea of Messianic Congregations simply did not enter our minds. Until the 1970’s, Jews who believed in Jesus routinely went to churches and tried to maintain or nurture their Jewish identity as a side issue, all the while being careful to balance that pursuit with the “higher purpose” of “preserving the unity of the Body of Christ.” While some sought to maintain their Jewish identities, almost no one ever asked, “How have I grown as a Jew lately?”

But, as Bob Dylan reminds us, “The times they are a-changing.” Now there are hundreds of Messianic Congregations, and, in the words of an old Jews for Jesus song, “eyes can finally see that Jewishness and Christ go hand in hand.” Today, thousands of Messianic Jews are eating kosher, keeping shabbat, debating halakha, and seeking to grow as Jews, phenomena both inconceivable and stigmatized just four decades past.

To understand these changes as being simply a matter of greater numbers, institutional growth, style, or organizational skill would be to misconstrue both the changes and the Change Agent. Leaders and laity, Jews and Gentiles, Church people and doctrinaire Messianic Jews widely agree that God seems to be up to something among Jews who believe in Yeshua. Not only are the numbers of Messianic Jews growing, Messianic Judaism is maturing, and becoming de-marginalized. Responsible leaders in both the Jewish and Christian communities are detecting a gravitational force moving Messianic Jews and Messianic Judaism from the periphery to the center, from fringe to focus.

Messianic Jews have come into focus partly because we have come into our own. It is as if we have awakened from a deep sleep. Now we are awake to our deep connection not only to the Jewish past, but also to the Jewish present and future. We see ourselves as we truly are, part of the Jewish people, the community of Jacob. Increasingly, we are recognizing how that citizenship obliges us to honor the covenants God made with our ancestors, both now and into the future. We are the community of the covenant. Increasingly, we realize that we have a collective destiny. We are a community of the future—in anticipation of the Age to Come.

This blog and related activities exist to serve this growing movement for Yeshua within the covenant community of Jacob, assisting both our leaders and our constituents in serving a destiny that draws nearer day by day. We want to be fully awake to what kind of movement we must be, and what kind of leaders we must have if we would maintain and hasten our transition from fringe to focus to future, serving the purposes of God.

Many Christians, alert to the identity of the Jewish people as a people of destiny, are drawing near to us as well, seeking to understand and respond to the impact of changing times upon their own identity and calling.

“The times they are a-changing.” This blog, and all of my efforts, are aimed at helping the Messianic Jewish movement not only to change with the times, but to be God’s instrument in helping make change happen.

May the favor of the Lord rest upon us.

"My servant David shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall follow my ordinances and be careful to observe my statutes. . . . My dwelling place shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Ezekiel 37:24, 27).

At 4/04/2007 3:47 AM, Anonymous Yonathan David said...

Good to see a quote from Dylan. Dylan is a good example of a Jew who mixed Judaism with Christianity.

 
At 4/04/2007 8:34 AM, Blogger Stuart Dauermann said...

Yonathan,

I am sorry that you must stoop to sarcasm simply because you find my approach or message offensive. I would wish you would take a more irenic approach, such as that taken by another Yonathan, the brilliant Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, who, in his amazing book "The Dignity of Difference," says this: "God has spoken to mankind in many languages: through Judaism to Jews, Christianity to Christians, Islam to Muslims . . . no one creed has a monopoly on spiritual truth. . . . In heaven there is truth. On Earth there are truths.... God is greater than religion: He is only partially comprehended by any faith."

Sacks also admonishes us to learn from our tradition where it states, "Who is wise? He who learns from everyone."

And just for the record, seeing Messianic Judaism as a mixture of Judaism and Christianity is one way to look at things, although not the way I see things. Such a view requires a polarized mentality we would do well to avoid, as does Rabbi Sacks. On the other hand, the Spanish Inquisition was postulated on just such a polarization, and we all know that did none of us any good.

Read Rabbi Sacks' book, preferably in the first edition. He was attacked by other rabbis for his position, and was pressured to neuter his language in his second edition. Apparently, there are some who will not allow positive statements to be made about Christianity, just as I deal with people on this site who will not allow positve statements to be made about Judaism.

Shalom to you in this season of our redemption.

 
At 4/04/2007 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My servant David shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall follow my ordinances and be careful to observe my statutes. . . . My dwelling place shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Ezekiel 37:24, 27).

does sound like

"God has spoken to mankind in many languages: through Judaism to Jews, Christianity to Christians, Islam to Muslims . . . no one creed has a monopoly on spiritual truth. . . . In heaven there is truth. On Earth there are truths.... God is greater than religion: He is only partially comprehended by any faith."

How do you justify the differences?

 
At 4/04/2007 6:33 PM, Blogger Stuart Dauermann said...

The point I was making to Yonathan David was that his apparent intolerance of Christianity is out of synch even with the brilliant Orthodox Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, who recognizes that no religion has a total lock o the truth. It is unseemly for people in the name of Judaism to dismiss Christianity as having any independent insights into and from God, and vice versa.

 

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