Referenced Messianic Jewish Review Blog

The official blog of the Referenced Messianic Jewish Review. The Referenced Messianic Jewish Review studies the history, composition and theology of the Messianic Jewish movement.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Best Ever Explanation

As often as I try to explain to others that Messianic "Judaism" is a part of Christianity, I am baffled by people's inability to see this obvious fact. It seems that they have trouble accepting the idea that something that "looks" Jewish is not actually Jewish. But, courtesy of Chosen People's Ministries, I have found the best description of what a Messianic congregation really is.
From Chosen People's Ministries Messianic Congregations FAQ:

"How is a Messianic congregation different from a church?

Messianic congregations are the same in the sense that they support and teach the basic tenets of evangelical Christianity. They are different because they do so in a Jewish way, with Jewish liturgy, music and other features of Jewish community life, which adds a dimension not found in other Christian traditions. "

Exactly! Use Jewish features while teaching evangelical Christianity. The perfect, and accurate, description of Messianic "Judaism" and their congregations.

Be True!

As our Jewish young adults go off to college, they are faced with a myriad of hurdles. For instance, how will they manage their finances on their own? What will it be like to live with complete strangers in a dorm room? And what should they do when confronted with Christian missionaries?

This last question has become a focus of greater interest as more and more Messianic groups are Christian organizations are pouring in money to convert collegiate Jewish students, using professionally paid missionaries. Moreover, many Christian organizations are training their collegiate student groups to try to convert Jews. Not suprisingly, their Christian missionary methods have become increasingly devious, such as dressing up with Stars of David and presenting themselves as "practicing Judaism" to convert Jewish college and university students. With all of the growth and stress that students go through during their collegiate years, seeing through professionally-developed deceptive strategies is extremely difficult.

This is where Jews for Judaism comes in to help. Jews for Judaism is one of the top countermissionary organizations in the world. Jews for Judaism has always been aware of the missionary problem on college and university campuses. With the help of some generous donors, Jews for Judaism has created a program just for Jewish college and university students called Be True. Be True is designed to counteract the countless dollars and hours being spent on converting Jewish students. Be True will help Jewish young adults understand the truth of their faith, heritage and Bible. Check out the link below for more info:

Remember everyone, Be True to your Judaism!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hebrew Christian Conference of the United States

On a regular basis, I receive claims from Messianic "Jews" that they are truly Jewish, not Christians. They claim that, in fact, they have no interest in convert the Jewish people. I find this interesting since the movement originally was much clearer about it's Christian origins and it's desire for converting the Jewish people. Somehow, this clarity has been lost over time.

After all, "Messianic Judaism" is not the original name of the movement. The original name is "Hebrew Christianity." At the first Hebrew Christian Conference of the United States in 1903, the participants were clear about their Christian affiliations and whether they had been ordained as Christian ministers. Under each man's picture was the name of the Christian movement he had joined. A. R. Kuldell's listing, the President of the Conference, showed that he was a reverend of the Evangelical Lutheran church. Leopold Cohn's listing (Cohn is well-known for fabricating his history and claiming to be a rabbi) showed that he was an ordained Baptist minister. The minutes of the Executive Committee meeting talked at length about the importance of converting Jews and the movement's Christian sponsors.

It is difficult for me to call the beginnings of Messianic "Judaism", as Hebrew Christianity, "honest." "Honest" is not a word that describes the movement. However, it certainly is more honest than today's movement, which denies and obscures it's Christain basis and history. Perhaps a good first step for Messianic "Judaism" would be to return to it's original name, Hebrew Christianity.