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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I was updating my web review of Tivkvat David/Hope of David, a Southern Baptist Messianic church plant in Georgia, when I ran into the blog of the leader of Tikvat David, Derek Leman. Pastor Leman (who likes to call himself a rabbi) stated that he converted to Judaism through the Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council.

This is a logical impossibility. Messianic "Judaism" has never actually been a part of Judaism. It began in the 1800's through the Church of England as a method of evangelizing Jews to Christianity and making the evanglized Jews more comfortable at church. The Messianic movement originally called itself "Hebrew Christianity" but later the term "Messianic Judaism" became popularized and replaced "Hebrew Christianity" in most situations. From its Church of England beginnings, the Messianic movement has been embraced by over a dozen Christian denominations worldwide, including Leman's Southern Baptist Convention. Messianic "Judaism" is exactly as connected to Judaism as other branches of Christianity, such as the Pentecostals, Baptists or Methodists. No matter how you dress it up, the history of the Messianic movement proves that it is a Christian movement, not a Jewish movement.

A Christian movement cannot convert a non-Jew into a Jew, just like my rabbi cannot convert me into a Muslim. As Messianic "Judaism" is a branch of Christianity, it has no ability to convert anyone to Judaism. Pastor Leman's conversion ultimately has no religious validity whatsoever and defies even the most basic of logic. But somehow, I am going to guess that he will still falsely present himself as a Jew to others.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Verses of Atonement: Proverbs 16:6

The Messianic movement claims that sacrifice is the only way to atonement. This claim is completely false. As we approach Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, I have decided to list some of the Biblical verses that give other paths to atonement. I will post each verse separately, posting one every few days or so.

Proverbs 16:6: By mercy and truth iniquity is atoned; and by the fear of the L-RD men depart from evil.

As we can see, mercy and truth are Biblically-approved methods of atonement.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Jewish Isaiah 53

A number of countermissionaries have banded together to form Jewish Isaiah 53, a collection of articles and lectures on what Judaism REALLY says about Isaiah 53. Check it out!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Coming Together...To Convert Jews

What should a few nice Messianic-Christian leaders do on a pleasant day....well, maybe get together to see how they can work more closely to convert Jews. On May 18-19, Messianic-Christian leaders gathered at the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board to figure out how they can bridge their differences to help reach their goal to get Jews to become Christians under the guise of "Messianic Judaism." Here are the list of organizations that attended:

North American Mission Board
The Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship
The Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (UMJC)
Word of Messiah Ministries
Chosen People Ministries
Joy of Freedom Publishing
New Covenant Forum
Light of Messiah Ministries

In addition, there were representatives from Southern Baptist Convention seminaries and universities along with leaders from other Messianic congregations

It is mind-blowing to me how much effort is being placed to convert the Jewish people, especially as these conversion attempts are being conducted in such a dishonest manner.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Jesus Lives On In Jerusalem?

In what can only be called a puff piece or glam article, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth published an article by Yoaz Hendel called "Jesus lives on in Jerusalem." This article must have been a dream come true for the Messianic movement. They could not have paid for a more pro-Messianic article. Hendel presents every idea that Messianics want the Jews to accept and not a single counter-argument against the movement. In fact, there is not a single quote from a rabbi or a leader of the Jewish community! What better way to avoid a religious counter-argument than to ignore the Jewish community!

Overall, the lack of research by Hendel is disheartening. For instance, the article attempts to directly connect the Messianic community to the original followers of Jesus. However, anyone who has studied the history of the Messianic movement knows that there is simply no connection. The Messianic movement (originally called Hebrew Christianity) was created by the Church of England in the 1800s as a method of converting Jews and making Jews more comfortable at church. This is why you never heard of a "Messianic Jew" or "Hebrew Christian" in the 200s, 900s or 1700s....they simply did not exist. The Messianic movement is no more directly connected to Jesus than the Pentecostal movement-and in truth, multiple Pentecostal organizations have created and sponsored Messianic congregations around the world.

The article further attempts to present the Messianic movement as being identical to Judaism except its followers believe that Jesus is the Messiah. This is a false claim. The Messianic movement is a branch of Christianity. Judaism and Christianity are different religions with wide differences in theology. Like all Christians, the Messianic movement believes in the Holy Trinity, that Jesus is divine and that you need to accept Jesus or you are doomed to hell. These beliefs are not similar to true Judaism, either in the present time or at any time in history.

Lastly, the article gives voice to the Messianic claim that Messianic beliefs are guided or based in Torah. In reality, their beliefs are counter to the Torah and all other sections of the Jewish Bible. The Messianic movement believes that Jesus, a man, is divine while the Bible (e.g. Numbers 23:19 and Hoshea 11:9) states bluntly that G-d is not a man. The Messianic believes in the Holy Trinity while the Torah states that G-d is One, Unified Being. Every day we say the verse from Deuteronomy 6:4, "Hear O' Israel, the L-rd is G-d, the L-rd is One." Messianics believe that Jesus was a sacrifice for sin and that there is no other way to gain forgiveness. However the Book of Leviticus, the third book of the Torah, is very clear that a human is not on the list of acceptable sin sacrifices. Further, the Bible gives multiple other methods of to receive G-d's forgiveness such as doing good deeds and acting mercifully to othes (e.g. Isaiah 1: 11-18, Proverbs 16:6, Micah 6: 7-8).

I cannot even hazard a guess as to why Yedioth Ahronoth, a major Israeli newspaper, chose to publish such a poorly researched article which read like a Messianic propoganda pamphlet. It reminded me of when the North Korean press writes fawning articles on their dictator while ignoring his true behavior. Frankly, it is just an embarrassment to the reputation of their publication.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

And His Name One

I was davening the Minchah service (praying the afternoon service) today when a particular thought came into my mind. Specifically, I was at the end of the Aleinu prayer where we say "And the L-RD will be King over all the earth; in that day the L-RD will be One, and His Name one." This verse is from Zechariah 14:9. It is the last part of the verse "His Name one" which got me thinking of an event from the previous day. I was with a Christian man who decided he needed to pray over some difficulties he was experiencing. Over and over during his prayer he called out to god but he ended his prayer with "in Jesus' name."

The difference between the Christian and Jewish prayers hit me strongly during the Michah service. When I pray to G-d, there is no other name that I am calling out to. Just like the Bible says, I am praying for a time when G-d's name will be "one." On the other hand, Christians call out to another name, Jesus. As Messianic "Judaism" is a branch of Christianity, the Messianic movement does the same thing. In Messianic prayers you often hear the addition at the end of the prayer of "b'shem Yeshuah" which means "in Jesus' name." This addition clearly conflicts with the theology of the Bible and the prediction of the future recognition of G-d's name being one.