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.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Tisha B'Av and Countermissionaries

Tonight starts Tisha B'Av, which commemorates the destruction of both of the Jewish Holy Temples in Jerusalem. The Rabbis state that the Second Temple was destroyed for the sin of Sinat Chinam, the baseless hatred of one Jew to another Jew.

Frequently, I (and I am sure other people involved in countermissionary work) receive comments stating that our criticism of the Messianic "Jewish" movement is essentially Sinat Chinam. I have been accused multiple times of Lashon Harah, the sin of talking badly against others, when bringing evidence against the Messianic movement and its leaders. After all, why can't all Jewish groups get along, including with Messianic "Jews." This "can we all get along" mantra sounds nice but misses out on reality for a false and hollow fuzzy warm feeling.

The reality is that the Messianic "Jewish" movement has never been a part of Judaism. It began as "Hebrew Christianity" in the mid-1800s, a creation of the Church of England as a method to convert Jews and make converted Jews more comfortable in church. "Hebrew Christianity" re-branded itself as "Messianic Judaism" primarily in the 1960s and 70s. When I, or any other countermissionary, say that Messianic "Judaism" is really Christianity, we are merely stating objective historical fact.

The fact is that Messianic "Judaism" has exactly the same historical ties to Jesus as the Church of England. When I argue against Messianic "Judaism" for true Judaism, I am not arguing about the relative merits of two Jewish groups. I am arguing about Christianity versus Judaism. Unfortunately, many people have difficulty with objective facts or are ignorant about facts. For instance, many Muslims truly believe that the World Trade Center attack on 9-11 was a Zionist conspiracy. Factually, they are wrong and there is no way of getting around fact. I also get many passionate and emotional e-mails from Messianic followers about how Messianic "Judaism" REALLY is a form of Judaism. But passion and emotion do not allow us to ignore the truth that Messianic "Judaism" is a form of Christianity. The simple truth is that it always has been part of Christianity. It has no more connection to Judaism than any other branch of Christianity.

Further, pointing out the fact that Messianic "Judaism" is a form of Christianity is not Lashon Harah. The Bible is clear that the Jewish people need to speak up against anyone, including Jews, trying to lead Jews to non-Jewish worship. The words of Biblical prophets such as Elijah are clear about this. Rambam (Maimonides), one of the greatest legal minds in the history of Judaism, stated that it is a Biblical command TO speak out against people trying to convert Jews to other faiths.

Tisha B'Av is indeed a sad for the Jewish people. However, it is not possible to connect the sin of Sinat Chinam which destroyed the Holy Temple to the justified, factual criticism of the Messianic "Jewish" movement.