God Let the Gentiles In (to Messianic Judaism)

God At Work

Shhh…dear blog readers, I’m going to tell you a secret. Don’t tell anyone, this is just between me and you, so I’ll whisper. You’re not gonna tell anyone, right? Good.

You know that whole Messianic Judaism thing? Yeah. This “Messianic movement” thing? Right. This Torah & Messiah faith? Well, by some estimates, it’s now 80% gentile.

Similar to how Messiah’s original followers were all Jews, only to be overwhelmed by a massive gentile following in the decades after, the same has been true in Messianic Judaism. Initially almost entirely comprised of Jewish believers in the 1970s, Messianic Judaism has attracted a large number of gentiles who are fed up with the church and wish to return to the faith of Messiah and the disciples.

Naturally, this has re-opened those aged theological questions of the 1st century. Questions like, how much of the Torah is applicable to gentiles? Is Torah required for salvation? Can gentiles become part of Israel? Should Jews be distinguished from gentiles in a congregation and should they be treated differently? Is it a problem that we’re dominated by gentiles? Do gentiles need to formally convert? And what do we do with all these crazy gentiles?!

Derek Leman, a Messianic gentile who is formally converting to Messianic Judaism, asks the question, Who Let the Jews Out of Messianic Judaism? In that post, now harboring 87 comments of Jewish-gentile debate, Derek suggests yes, there is indeed a problem with Messianic Judaism being dominated by non-Jews:

“[Back in the 1970s] God, as I see it, was moving the hearts of Jews not only to follow Jesus as the long-promised Messiah, but also to identify as Jews and eventually to return to Judaism.

Increasingly, however, in the 1980’s and 1990’s, Messianic Judaism became a haven for non-Jews looking to find a restoration of a perceived early church or some alternative to a church that had grown soft on Biblical practice and strong on revivalist tradition.

In other words, something God had been doing amongst Jewish people became a predominantly Gentile movement.”

Derek then suggests certain gentiles ought to leave the Messianic movement and “form their own movement” distinct from the Messianic movement.

Derek’s employer and affiliated Messianic organization, the Messianic Jewish Theological Institute (MJTI), is an organization on one extreme end of the spectrum: it calls for a clear separation of Jews and gentiles, desires for a completely-Jewish Messianic Judaism, and essentially asks gentiles to go back to the Church. MJTI leader Stuart Dauermann writes in his blog,

“We are a family friendly community of Jews and Intermarrieds. There is a place for some Gentiles in a Messianic Jewish congregation (besides the intermarried), but … how does such a person help us to honor our identity and achieve our goals? Gentiles who are not helping us get these jobs done serve as a hindrance to their accomplishment.

Gentiles not intermarried who are members of my congregation are a distinct minority, and must be people with a demonstrated calling to and involvement with the Jewish people, and not just those who "love the feasts," who want to keep the Sabbath and Torah.”

Dauermann even suggests that gentiles applying for membership in Messianic congregations should first answer a questionnaire that, in order to keep a Jewish majority in Messianic Judaism, is designed to send them back to the arms of Mother Church! He suggests gentile congregant-wannabes answer the following questions before being allowed membership:

  1. Do you believe in the basic legitimacy of the Church, in its many varieties, when it confesses the historic creeds; that its celebrations and sacraments are legitimate?

  2. Do you believe that Gentiles have a different relationship to the Torah than Jews and are not responsible as Jews for the Jewish patterns of life within the Mosaic revelation but only responsible for the universal ethical teachings of Torah as also expressed an applied in New Covenant teaching?

  3. Do you believe that as a Gentile believer in Yeshua, joining a Messianic Jewish congregation, you have a special calling to the Jewish people but reject the view that the Messianic Jewish congregation is a more ideal form of congregational life for all?

I’m certain God loves Rabbi Dauermann deeply and that God is using him in numerous ways, so I don’t wish to attack this brother in Messiah or the way God is using him. (Thank you, Lord, for Rabbi Dauermann!) One can be used by God and still have bad theology. (Isn't that true for all of us?) In this particular instance, I find Dauermann’s theology shameful.

No, Rabbi Dauermann, I do not believe in the basic creeds of the church, many of which are thoroughly anti-Jewish and ought have no place in the life of a Messiah-follower. And yes, gentiles grafted into the commonwealth of Israel should hear God’s Torah preached in the synagogues every sabbath, follow what they can, join Israel and become first-class citizens in God's kingdom.

A human policy which treats Jews and gentiles differently invariably leads to mistreatment and racial discrimination. It’s the 1950s policy of separate-but-equal, only with a religious twist.

Indeed, before my family found our Jewish ancestry, we experienced this very discrimination in certain Messianic congregations in our trek all over the United States. I told Derek Leman in a blog comment,

Before my dad knew of his Jewish biological grandparents, as God was moving us towards Torah, towards keeping His commandments, we were a gentile family visiting MJ synagogues. During this time, certain Messianic congregations discriminated against us:

We were allowed, reluctantly I think, to attend, but never to do music, have any kind of leadership position, speak in front of the congregation. Basically, sit in the back and be cheerleaders. Be seat-fillers and money-givers.

After my dad found our Jewish ancestry, it made a world of difference. As a teen at the time, I remember it well. Suddenly, we were treated as first-class citizens in MJ synagogues:

Please, come speak to our congregation.

Please, will you lead music?

Please, be on our board of directors.

It was as if we were blacks in the 1950s US who suddenly woke up one morning with white skin.

The Ephesians 2 “wall of hostility” is very much alive. Efforts to create a purely-Jewish Messianic Judaism invariably create this wall, intended or not. Don’t get me wrong; I understand the need to preserve Jewish culture and Jewish expression of faith, but surely this “Jews here, gentiles there” approach isn’t the right way to do this!

So what do we do with this fact that MJ synagogues are 80%+ gentile?

Look at Messianic Judaism bigger than “Jews following Yeshua”. While some look at it that way, and it indeed encompasses that, as for me, I look at Messianic Judaism as God’s move to restore Israel. I include gentiles in the Commonwealth of Israel. I do not see gentiles in MJ synagogues as a hindrance to this goal, but as a part of God’s overall plan. Just as God is drawing Jews to Yeshua, who’s to say it isn’t God drawing the gentiles into Messianic congregations? Such a thing is hard to swallow for those in favor of a purely-Jewish Messianic Judaism, but maybe, just maybe, it is God at work.

Gentiles in the Messianic movement? I believe this is God at work. Rather than arguing how to “fix” the issue of gentiles in the Messianic movement, I say we ought to be rejoicing that God has brought Jews to Yeshua and gentiles to walk more righteously, more in-line with His commandments. The idea that we need a congregation made up entirely of Jews at the exclusion of gentiles is one not supported in the apostolic Scriptures, a fact ignored by proponents of an exclusively Jewish Messianic Judaism.

“Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted gentiles by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.”

-Peter, addressing the disciples in Acts 15

Fine blog readers, what do you think? Is it a problem that Messianic Judaism has become inundated with gentiles? Should gentiles be treated differently than Jews in a Messianic congregations? Should gentiles go back to the church; is Messianic Judaism just for Jews? Or is this Messianic movement something bigger?


  1. Judah, like yourself, I read with interest the various comments on the blogs you mentioned over the past few days. I refrained from saying anything as my thoughts would likely be drowned out in the sea that still has not calmed--and I've seen this all before.

    The vision of Messianic Judaism has not changed since my parents and our family were first involved in 1995. They were told that they were only at [MJ congregation name withheld] to provide financial support for its Jewish mission. After a few years, we left. The difference is that today in 2009 is that Messianic Judaism is not the only "Messianic" expression on the market anymore. Hate to bring the Dow Jones quotient into it...but such is reality.

    My own personal view of the independent Messianic movement is that it needs to be as close as possible to mainline Messianic Judaism--itself a mirror of Conservative Judaism--with equality emphasized for all people. Jewish custom and tradition must be respected and honored, while at the same time our evangelical Christian heritage should likewise not be discounted. We should allow the Holy Spirit to mold us into a Commonwealth of Israel that can be used as God's missional community for the world. When the Lord moves me from the Orlando area in the next few years and our ministry does plant a congregation, such will be our focus.

    If I disagree with Messianic Judaism over anything, it is that its vision seems rather limited. But such is freewill.

  2. On a more positive front, send me an e-mail and I can link you to some rare Star Trek soundtracks from the TV shows. These are MP3s that were never produced on CD. Something for you to listen to as you blog!

  3. J.K.,

    One positive thing I read in all those comments to Derek's blog was from Amiel:

    "As one who was asked to resign from my local Reform Synagogue, after I finally plucked up the courage to confess that I am a Jew who believes that Yeshua is our promised Moshiach, I have mixed feelings about anyone who chooses to attend in a mainstream synagogue. Of course I understand the reasons and I deeply empathize with anyone who struggles with this issue. On the other hand, it raises as many questions as it answers.

    To be blunt, I care much more about whether the Ruach HaKodesh is moving people than whether they are Jewish or not. I am proud to be a Jew and always call myself a Messianic Jew and not a Christian. But at the same time, I don’t get hung up on labels."

    I like that kind of thinking.

    Take care, J.K.

  4. I appreciate those thoughts as well, as we have met many sincere Messianic Jews over the years who are true to their faith in Yeshua, and are also willing to recognize that it what we do that is more important than who we are.

    Yet rather than get dragged into this debate once again, I think it is more beneficial that we just do the work of the Kingdom and let the chips fall where they may. Eventually, you can get so caught up on what someone else does (or does not do), that you fail to do the work God has given to you.

    And as you know--I have a lot of work to do!

  5. Judah,

    I really appreciate hearing your thoughts on all of this as I've been reading through Derek's (and others) blog(s), as I've been left in a state of distress. I've found a bit of solace in your post here (first found on Derek's blog).

    A bit of background on me: My parents joined the MJ movement when I was about 3. Both Gentile.

    Being a gentile who has grown up in the MJ movement(i don't remember anything before) leaves me in an odd place.
    I feel like an abomination of sorts(in light of what i've read in other blogs)...A gentile essentially raised as a jew (not a strictly observant jew, mind you)...However, apparently (according to some) I am now "ok" because I am an "intermarried".

    HOW IS THIS? How can I go from being a tolerated 'guest' at 1 moment to suddenly being welcomed with open arms the next?

    I agree with your take on the "separate but equal" notion. Thankfully, the community that I am apart of (for 25 years) has never had these particular issues, though I've run into them as I've traveled out of my immediate area.

    My question would be: Is MJism such that we must treat it as an endangered species? To weed out the impurities (we're talking about people, mind you) in hopes of a more pure movement?
    If so, at what cost?

  6. Shalom,

    Don't worry - Gentiles are and will still be welcomed in Messianic Judaism. Not to mentioned than many Jews are married to Gentiles. Which means that this has nothing to do with "race" (and since from the looks of it Jews nowadays come from just about all races and ethnicities, color and shades, it's a mute point normally raised only by anti-semites).

    The only folks that have to be concerned are the following:

    1) Christianity-haters: yes, all those who hate Christians and churches and view them as pagans. Your kind should not pollute Messianic Jewish congregations - you hate your own brothers and thus guilty of their "murder".

    2) One-Law Judaizers - those who wish to turn Gentiles into Jews by condemning those Gentiles who are not "Torah-observant". These tend to call Christians "pagans" (thus, heathen and not "saved"). Don't tell me you're not Judaizing and it's not about salvation - by calling Christians pagans and Christianity a "pagan religion" you are giving your true colors away.

    3) Two-House "Israelites" - those who spread the myth that just about any Jesus-believing Gentile is actually a physical "lost Israelite". They sow confusion in the Body.

    4) Those who are in love only with Jewish customs, love claiming to be "Jews" when they are not, come only for the "feasts" or traditions, and come with their own self-serving agendas, instead of being in love with the Jewish nation (like Ruth was).

    It's my prayer that all three types (and most of them are interchangeable to a large degree) with repent and move on.

    Messianic Judaism is not the restoration of the "first church" - we have moved on. Rather, its primary goal is the restoration of the Jewish people (specifically) to the faith of their fathers, restoration of the their faithfulness to the covenants which G-d has made with Israel with Yeshua as the center. Those Gentiles that join us MUST share that vision - is that racist?

    BTW, there were Gentile congregations composed of Gentiles (read Romans 16:4).

  7. Judah:

    Keep in mind, my finalized thoughts have not yet been made known. They are, in fact, still in development.

    I plan to try my hand at a theology of Gentiles in MJ in the near future, but I am not there just yet.

    And it is important for you, as a passionate believer in Israel's restoration, to not just complain "apartheid" but also deal with the question: how can Israel be revived if its revival movement gets hijacked by people with their own selfish agenda?

    That is the real question. What percentage of Gentiles involved in MJ are really interested in being part of Israel's renewal would you say? What percentage are there for other reasons (alternative to church, inferiority complex, Adventist type theologies, etc.)?

  8. "BTW, there were Gentile congregations composed of Gentiles (read Romans 16:4)."

    If this is directed towards what I said: There definitely were. I'm not purporting that there weren't.

    My line of thought does not lend itself to imagining a great homogenized entity. However, I do question the veracity of a needed "us and them" deliniation under the umbrella of the "unity of the Spirit"...

    Derek: I believe these are questions that need to be answered, though first they must be asked with a measure of dimplomacy.

    So what of Judah's personal example though? One moment he was there as a gentile...maybe for any of the reasons you listed...but the very next his presence was instantly validated. But what of those questions? Couldn't the motivation be same regardless of heritage? Is a jew with those motivations 'ok' while a gentile with them not?
    Are the people who ultimately are turned away, diminished or relegated to a lesser role considered unavoidable yet regretable collateral damage? Are they of less import than the "target audience"?

    Also, could I get your working definition of "Israel's renewal"?

    Thanks for provoking thought and all the questions. haha, I know they are a bit rapid fire and off the cuff...forgive me for that.

    always navigating...

  9. Judah...

    "After my dad found our Jewish ancestry, it made a world of difference. As a teen at the time, I remember it well. Suddenly, we were treated as first-class citizens in MJ synagogues: Please, come speak to our congregation. Please, will you lead music? Please, be on our board of directors."

    I am curious, what did your father do - did he take advantage of his new-found "Jewish privileges", or turned down all the offers in solidarity with his slighted Gentile brethren?


  10. Here's the deal, without going into all the details.

    For a gentile to accept HaRav Yeshua, he becomes betrothed to HaShem instead of being "without hope and without Elohim". He is "saved" (from Torahless-ness) at this point.
    Now, the Nazarene Sanhedrin under Ya'aqov HaTsadiq gives the ruling from this point.

    In Acts 15, HaTsadiq lists the Noahide Laws which are not assumed to have been already kept by the gentiles of that day and region.
    It is ruled this way in order not to throw the Torah upon them all at once; and says that the gentiles will hear the Torah preached in the syangogues every Shabbat - therefore obviously, they will learn and understand more year by year.

    After the 3 year cycle of weekly Torah readings (as it was read universally in those days), the gentile would have heard all the Torah and would now be obligated to either marry HaShem (which would make him now an Israelite) by circumcising himself and taking the whole yoke of Torah upon himself - or he can annul his betrothal and go back to Torahless-ness, thus walking away from salvation.

    So it would only be natural for only Israelites to be in power in a faith that is called Judaism. There should be no gentiles in leadership. If they have become Israelites and are no longer gentiles - they're no longer gentiles. That distinction must be made.

  11. But I would also like to add that a Jew who is not Torah observant shouldn't be in leadership either.
    While being Jewish is an ethnicity as well as a religion, in this case it is the religion/observance/faith that counts, and not merely ethnicity. A ethnic gentile can be a Jew/Israelite by conversion; and it is his observance that makes him such, not his ethnicity, obviously.

  12. I appreciate some of the critical remarks that have been made about what is going on. Without them, those of us who believe that all of God's people should follow His Instruction, would not be able to refine what we believe is important. I abhor all of the negativity issued about our Christian spiritual heritage, anti-Semitism expressed toward mainline Jewish tradition--and don't even get me started on the whole Sacred Name issue!

    One of the things that we have to keep in mind is that there is a whole slew of people who are getting their teaching and spiritual instruction from the Internet. This includes people in Messianic Judaism, various indpendent Messianics, and people in normal churches. No one group is entirely innocent. Going to the proverbial "billybob.com/bible" site and being instructed, and then passing that on to a congregation or fellowship giving it your own spin, is beyond irresponsible. Yet this is a great deal of what we are confronting today.

    The independent Messianic groups also have a tendency to promote a great deal of conferences. What these conferences breed is the need for various speakers to produce sensationalistic, hypey messages so they can get attention. No progress on theology, spirituality, or in people conducting real research is ever conducted at these events. Opportunists and charlatans run rampant.

    As I have requested in past postings, if given time the extremists will minimize themselves, and reasonable voices will emerge that focus on the Scriptures and in exegeting them properly. But that will assume that we can all give one another some space, and the time we need to do the work we feel is important. We can't get our theology from who talks the loudest on blogs, but from the Bible and by properly employing the diligence of all those who have preceded us in faith.

  13. J.K. McKee, that's absolutely true about all the sensationalist, hyped-up people who lack lots of real research and knowledge and instead cling to their hard-held views without any room for discussion or civilized debate, since they're right and the others are dead wrong.

    There's a big difference between seeing things black and white and being one of the above mentioned; the other problem are some of those who are always arguing for civilized behavior, that they will sometimes mistake one for the other. This is not much surprise since the tone of things and the intentions are not always well conveyed through the internet.

    What we need to do is to discuss, and disagreements should never lead to sectarianism. Nazarene Judaism, my religion should not be separate from similar faiths which are based upon the Torah so much. We should view it as if each group has a local Beit Din, a status quo of halakha they adhere to. Even if there are lots of differences, as long as they are based on some key, foundationary teachings, some sort of cohesiveness should be found.

  14. Judah,

    Nice post, very well thought out and presented. I appreciate your willingness to bring up and discuss a difficult subject. Well, difficult at the human level anyway.

    My only comment is this:

    if someone really thinks that being "Jewish" or "Gentile" means more than being a son or daughter of YHVH through faith in Messiah, I can only hope that one day soon they see the real reason why Yeshua came here to this earth. Because as long as this type of argument continues the reality of our relationship with our Heavenly Father will be blurred, just out of reach.

    It would be a sad commentary for us here at the end of the age, with the destruction of the nations and His soon return just around the corner, if the final days were spent trying to figure out where everyone fits based on their physical lineage. We should be past this by now.

    The gathering of the people of YHVH is a work of His Spirit, regardless of where our parents came from. How we walk with Him will not be defined or improved by any committee of men trying to sort out Torah or anything else. It did not work before and it will not work now.

    I know it seems a safe harbor for many who want someone to tell them what to do and when and how to do it, but it doesn't work that way. Not if we are following Him by His Spirit within us. I can't define someone else's faith for them nor they for me.

    If our fellowship is not in Him, then we will not have true fellowship. We will only have separate gatherings where people happen to agree on some thing or another.

    And of course there are Jews who want "Jews only" fellowships. No one gets too upset about that, it has always been that way. But let a "Gentile" fellowship say that Jews are not welcome and you will hear the shouting all the way across town. Probably across the world these days.

    Just some thoughts. Take them or leave them.



  15. Efrayim...

    "It would be a sad commentary for us here at the end of the age, with the destruction of the nations and His soon return just around the corner, if the final days were spent trying to figure out where everyone fits based on their physical lineage. We should be past this by now."

    I am not trying to figure out anything. I know who I am and where I fit in. You're are the one pushing your Two-House Israelite identity myth. My choosing to worship primarily (but not exclusively) with my own people and living as a Jew should be none of your concern - concentrate on your own walk.

    "If our fellowship is not in Him, then we will not have true fellowship. We will only have separate gatherings where people happen to agree on some thing or another."

    Efrayim, you mean I can often find you hanging out and worshiping with the Baptists or Presbyterians at a church service Sunday mornings? Or is that a bit too pagan for you?

    "And of course there are Jews who want "Jews only" fellowships. No one gets too upset about that, it has always been that way. But let a "Gentile" fellowship say that Jews are not welcome and you will hear the shouting all the way across town. Probably across the world these days."

    There's only one problem with that argument - we have about 80% Gentile population in our "Jewish" congregations. For a group so "discriminated, oppressed and excluded" by Jews, the percentage is amazing - isn't it? I mean how far can your discrimination argument go with that kind of percentage and this kind of evidence? Especially, and think about this for a moment please, since it's safe to assume that no-one forces any of them to come or stay...

  16. Gene and all,

    In the name of our Messiah Yeshua, I would like to wish you all a blessed Shavuot this day, and that the Lord's favor would be on your remembrance! May we all be filled with the presence of the precious Holy Spirit, and demonstrate the temperance that the Spirit should bring to each one of our lives.

  17. Thank you, J.K. - many blessings to you as well.


  18. Well, hey there Gene. You seem a little grumpy today. Perhaps it escaped your attention that I didn't mention you personally in my post.

    So for you to respond with a personal attack on me, or others you think may be like me, comes across as petty and vindictive, and goes a long ways towards proving the very thing that Judah was explaining in his original post.

    Your opinion is well known here as is mine. Could we simply address the subject at hand without the vitriol?

    My point was this:

    If YHVH was determined to keep the two people groups separate (Jews and Gentiles), then why send His Son to remove the wall of partition that had been erected?

    Does scripture support that partition? If so, someone please show me the verses. Because after almost 40 years of reading that book I haven't come across them yet.

    Shalom and have a blessed Shavuot.


  19. btw, Gene, you completely missed the point of my post.

    Maybe you could take stab at responding to what I actually said instead of what you think was being indicated.


  20. "My point was this:

    If YHVH was determined to keep the two people groups separate (Jews and Gentiles), then why send His Son to remove the wall of partition that had been erected?

    Does scripture support that partition? If so, someone please show me the verses. Because after almost 40 years of reading that book I haven't come across them yet."

    I am not sure what wall of partition you're talking about. I am fellowshipping with my Christian [Gentile] friends almost daily. I pray with them, I worship with them, I party with them. They are my brothers and sisters in Messiah. I love them just as much if not more than my Jewish friends.

    But if by "wall" you mean that I purposely refuse to preach to my Gentile friends that they need to abandon their "pagan churches", that they need reclaim their lost "Israelite identity", or that they need to start living a "Torah Observant" lifestyle and adopt Jewish customs and traditions, or that their "churches" are somehow inferior to our "synagogues" - then yes, I am guilty as charged.

    In reality, others are building some type of a wall to divide the Gentile followers of Yeshua. Some are trying to separate Gentile believers into "Torah observant" and into "Pagan Christians".

    Do you know what I am talking about?

    Blessed Shavuot to you as well.


  21. The partition wall that is mentioned by Sha'ul in Ephesians is the one I was referring to, not anything you are doing personally.

    It sounds to me from what you said that you are part of the solution, not part of the problem.

    May others be so inclined as yourself. Then I'm sure much could be accomplished.



  22. I think a little forebearance might be necessary if we intend to fairly discuss the issues at hand.

    There is a huge amount of variance not only within groups, fellowships, and ministries that fall into the classifications of One Law and Two-House, but even Messianic Judaism. The broad Messianic movement is no different than any other religious movement that has preceded it.

    I agree with Gene, that much of the anti-Christian "paganism" rhetoric seen in the One Law and Two-House groups is appauling. It is not Yeshua, it is not Torah, and there is no way it can be the future. I have spoken against it many times, and have made various people angry at times for doing so.

    At the same time, when I peruse Gene's own website, I see a kind of Messianic Judaism presented that is not like the standard Messianic Judaism I was introduced to back in 1995. His congregation does not represent a style of Messianic Judaism consistent with the Conservative-Reform Synagogue, but something that is much more fundamental in approach and closer to the Chabad. While we may have some disagreements about the applicability of the Torah for God's people, as well as what the end-time restoration of Israel specifically involves, I would probably sit to the Left of Gene on many issues.

    Interestingly enough, though, Gene has reproduced an article that endorses Theistic Evolution. Even though I abandoned a 6,000 year chronology a while back, I still absolutely believe that Adam and Eve were created by Divine fiat. I know Gene's position on the creation of humanity might not sit well with many in his own Messianic Jewish circles.

    So as you can see, there are plenty of things that separate us that we can really make an issue of. Every single one of us can improve our attitude and approach to a variety of issues. Blogging can be good for dialogue and networking, but it is no substitute for actually examining the Holy Scriptures, and doing the work every teacher and leader is called to do.

  23. From Toddd: I also refrained from commenting on Derek's but thought the posts were interesting. Ironically, though a Catholic, I generally tend to agree with Gene's views on these matters. Because I care about the Jewish nation, I am interested in the MJ movement. The problems are real and thorny and I don't have any answers. By the way, Jewish Catholics struggle with some of the same issues raised in the comments on Derek's blog about passing on Jewish identity etc.


  24. Judah,
    I just love a good debate. But, more than that I love Yeshua...although when HE saved me from a self-destructive life-style and years of wandering, I knew Him as Jesus.

    It's amazing that the flesh goes from pit-dwelling pauper to Prince(ss) to self-righteous Legalist so quickly. I'm in recovery for that. Yeshua said the world would know us by our ACTIVE LOVE for another, not our positions and acquired knowledge.

    And as this Gentile girl struggles to learn, love, and teach the Word that changes hearts, to my Gentile group of women who, yes, are tired of the rhetoric and lack of both Truth and Love in our churches, I exhort them to NEVER forget that our purpose is to glorify God by bearing MUCH Fruit (then others will see and put their trust and confident reliance in the LORD- Psalm 40/John 15:8).

    If my relationship with Yeshua has been reduced to what I know or what position I've managed to attain, RATHER than Who He is in me, then I've 'missed the mark' entirely.

    Isn't Yeshua's prayer that 'they may be completely one (just as We are one), and the world thus realize that You sent Me'?

    I constantly struggle in this battle against the world, flesh and the Adversary to REMEMBER in my learning not to forsake becoming. (Romans 8:29)

    I see it EVERYWHERE I look, God's people refusing to become one...and meanwhile the sheep remain blind, deaf, dumb...and starving to death to eat the bad theology of false teachers.

    I believe you're right Judah. I believe both groups have what another needs. How can we 'become one' if we're relegated to consume the empty-calories that is being taught so prevalently in our Gentile churches? I don't believe it's b/c of bad intentions on some Gentile church's parts, I simply believe it's a lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6)

    I don't expect my 11 year old son to act like he's a 35 year old man. Here's where we can all learn to give others the space, grace, and time to grow. HE gives the increase, afterall...we just sow and water.

    But this is just one Gentile girl's perspective who remains strongly concerned for the Sheep...all of them.

    I hope I've expressed myself well...if not, I'm blaming it on my four little blessings runnin' around me just now (I've only played referee five times during the writing of my comment)!

    Shalom Bro, and thanks for always a thought-provoking, delectable post...yum!

  25. You expressed yourself VERY well, Carmen, as has Judah. It sure would be wonderful if this "ugly duckling" (me) could find a swan pond to swim in someday, somewhere. I just got banned from another forum for posting the treatise that appears on my blog, "Israel's New Covenant." I was banned for preaching "another Jesus" when it is these antinomian hyperdispensationalists that are preaching "another jesus." And some of you want to send non-Jewish Messianics back to the churches?! There's got to be a place for us somewhere, but even in cyberspace we are disfellowshipped on blogs and forums and can find no like-minded fellowship.

    Check out the views at this forum (link below) where I have been booted. Maybe it will inspire "messianic leaders" to double their efforts to provide at least some type of online forum fellowship for those of varying views to "sharpen iron" .....through fruitful and respectful discourse.

    Judah, I very much appreciate your blog and the tone that you take in your discussions of these issues. You strike a balance between kind-hearted diplomacy and boldly "telling it like it is."

    AV1611 forum

  26. Thank you for this post Judah, your concern and insight are refreshing.

    I am new to the messianic movement, I am a Gentile and have been blessed with a deep love, appreciation and respect for the people of Israel. I am so grateful for this.

    I didn't know the concern that many of our Jewish brothers/ and sisters have expressed in these forums existed, but I do understand. And I personally want to support Israel wherever and however I can, and if I should ever be asked to take a step back, or leave, or whatever, I would do so gladly, and respectfully.

    I have been visiting a MJ synagogue for the past year and am praying about rather or not to join. I have been shown overwhelming love and support and truly feel home there.

    But if, for some reason it is brought to my attention that its best I not be there, I would understand.

    On another note, I think that the overwhelming number of Gentiles is just a part of our fullness that is being worked out in God's work in the earth...I think it has been this way for a long time because God has willed it so. I don't think that carries anything negative, I just think it a part of the greater plan for God's beloved...

    Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean-Romans 11:12

    For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?-Romans 11:15

    Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,

    "The Deliverer will come from Zion,
    he will banish ungodliness from Jacob";-Romans 11:25-26

    just my two cents, much love to everyone on here. I am so grateful to be a part of this, these are amazing times, and we are all so greatly blessed.

  27. Danny... you'd be welcomed in our synagogue any time. People like you need not step back one inch.

    The issue is not at all that our non-Jewish brothers and sisters want to worship or fellowship together with us. The real issue and the problem discussed here is that SOME non-Jews who are attracted to Jewish Torah observance, or have an unjustified inferiority complex and self-hatred of their G-d given (British, German, Hispanic...etc.) identity, or have cultivated a hatred of Christianity, have been deceived by theories, myths and misinterpretation of scripture by countless false teachers.

    Prompted by these teachings (but lacking any physical evidence), they have decided to claim a Hebrew/Israelite identity of the Ten "Lost" tribes for themselves. This has been causing an identity crises among Gentiles in the "messianic" movement for the last 15 or so years and much frustration among the Jewish believers in Messianic Judaism. Look up info on British Israelism/Armstrongism. Many today teach that Gentiles should observe Mosaic Law to be pleasing to G-d (new "Galatians").

    Thank you for your love for Israel and her people.


  28. Was the ancient issue in Galatians really non-Jewish Believers being convinced that they had to add Torah observance to their salation experience? Or, was the issue in Galatians how one was to be reckoned a member of God's covenant people? "Works of law" (sectarian halachah) or "faith"?

    Gene, I know you are not going to take the time to read through my almost 200-page Galatians commentary (which includes engagement with modern commentators like Hans Dieter Betz, James D.G. Dunn, Richard Longenecker, F.F. Bruce, and Ben Witherington III), but please do take the time to read through my article "The Message of Galatians":


    At the very least, you can see that there is another approach out there regarding this letter, that simply reading the English in bits and pieces will not give you.


  29. J.K.

    "Gene, I know you are not going to take the time to read through my almost 200-page Galatians commentary..."

    I'll try to skim through it when I get some time.

  30. Shalom Rabbi Gene,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. That means a lot.

  31. Shalom, Judah. As long as the MJ community leads with its head instead of its heart, we are never going to see it worked out. You do very well at keeping your focus on the Messiah. I pray that as you continue to use this site to grow the kingdom that you don't lose that focus.

  32. Shalom Judah,

    Excellent post. We posted an article on Gentiles and Torah http://jerusalemcouncil.org/articles/faqs/torah-for-gentiles/

    The bottom line is that Torah is a standard HaShem holds Israel to, and this includes both Jews, and proselytes, but not the Gentiles; although eternal life is equally available to all who come to faith in Messiah Yeshua.

    Uncircumcised Gentiles are welcome to receive the blessings of Torah obedience, provided they submit to Jewish halacha (no more tzitzit on the belt loops), but if they want to go beyond this, to receive the mission HaShem gives Israel in order to teach Torah to the nations as a kingdom of priests, then they must commit themselves to the Covenant through formal conversion and so be held accountable to the Covenant on a higher level of expectation, just as HaShem holds his leaders to a higher standard of behavior (ie the people rebelling against HaShem in the incident with the spies, compared to Moses striking just the rock; the result: both lose entering the Land in their lifetimes).

    Yet just because conversion to Judaism is offered doesn't mean Torah-observant Gentiles should be pressured to convert. In fact, Gentiles shouldn't be pressured to keep Torah either, let alone convert; but neither should the Jewish community within Messianic Judaism wholly deny the opportunity, nor deny the congregation of united fellowship Jews and Gentiles all have in Messiah Yeshua.

    Yes, the ultimate role model is for the Jew, who is held accountable to G-d for not keeping Torah more so than a Gentile, to be the one responsible for setting the standard in keeping Torah. We should not ignore that "to the Jew much advantage is there, they are the keepers of the oracles of G-d," to which Stephen in Acts says is the "Torah handed down" by Moses.

    Jews in MJ need to take the responsibility to teach Torah to the Gentiles, and they also need to offer conversion when they and HaShem determine that a Gentile is ready for that lifelong commitment. Like Abram, being told to get circumcised is something HaShem approaches every Gentile on the way to conversion, individually. And like Abraham, therefore, the Covenant is made before the actual legal recognition of that fact (conversion).

    In order for Messianic Judaism to move to the next level, we need to go beyond where the early congregations in the 1st and 2nd Centuries fell behind in: Jewish education, and recognition of the special calling upon the Jewish people, and only offering Jewish conversion to Gentiles that would be converting for the right reasons. At the same time, a singular, equal level love for each other must be fostered based on our shared need for Messiah Yeshua, whether Jew or Gentile.

    The Gentiles need to recognize their responsibility to such love, and not cause their Jewish brothers to sin; and likewise Jews need to recognize their responsibility to love, and show mercy and grace to such Gentiles who do not wish to walk in the fullness of Torah, let alone consider conversion and thus greater accountability to Torah.

    This, I believe, is the right way forward.

  33. Indeed how are Messianic Jews to be a light to the nations while discouraging those very same "nations" from becoming a part of their congregation?
    Fantastic article. Thanks for sharing it.