Weekly Bracha 14

Hope you all had a happy Purim!

Here’s the weekly roundup of the Messianic blogosphere and related news items:

  • Request to Dismantle Yad L’achim (PDF) – The Jerusalem Institute for Justice, an Israeli organization that has been fighting in Israeli courts for the rights of Messianics in Israel, has filed a suit with the Israeli government to dismantle the anti-missionary Judaism-shaming organization Yad L’Achim, which has threatened, bullied, harassed, and persecuted Messiah’s followers in Israel.
    We hereby ask you to exercise your authority pursuant to section 50 of the Associations Law, 5740-1980 (hereinafter: "the Associations Law") to request the District Court to dismantle Yad L’achim organization, since its activities are evidently contrary to the law and the democratic nature of the State of Israel, to the extent that it could be defined as a "terrorist organization" within the meaning of the law, in breach of sections 49(1) and 49(2) of the Associations Law.

    ...

    The Organization's publications, as reported in the media, have an aggressive and sensationalist character directed against Reform Jews, the Kabbala Study Center, members of ethnic minorities, Jehovah's Witnesses, Protestant Christians, New Age groups, Messianic Jews and others.
  • Haaretz ignores Jack Teitel-Yad L’achim connection – Despite a confession from Jewish terrorist and murderer Jack Teitel that he worked for Yad L’achim for 5 years, the popular Israeli paper Haaretz omits this information.

  • The Dangers of Exclusionary Messianic Judaism – Folks that don’t fit into the UMJC/MTJI frame of Messianic Judaism are often delegitimized and isolated, painted as a lesser, placed outside of Messianic Judaism. I’m such a person, I’ve experienced this. Messianic apologist J.K. McKee has experienced this. And popular Messianic blogger Joseph Weissman has experienced this.

  • Archaeologist sees proof for Bible in ancient wall – 3000 year old fortifications excavated in Jerusalem give evidence for the authenticity of the Biblical account of the kingdom of King David and King Solomon.

  • The Jewish No To Jesus, and the NT Responses – Jews said no to Jesus. This is a problem for the legitimacy of Jesus’ Messiahship, argues the author. So how did the NT authors deal with this problem?

  • HaYesod – Experience vs Rumor – A review of First Fruits Of Zion’s HaYesod discipleship program.

  • Worship vs Ritual – Aaron Sperry brings up a question that has long been on my mind: how do you balance pure worship with ritual? How do you ensure your own worship doesn’t degrade into repetition without meaning?

  • Justice and Mercy – James speaks frankly on the frustrations of unfairness and injustice in this life, but how we must yield to God’s ultimate justice and mercy.

  • J-BOM train is a-growin’ – More Messianic folks will be joining us for the Jewish Book of the Month club, or J-BOM. Seth from Judeoxian even gets a few more Messianics to start a blog and join us. Wahoo, nice job Seth!

  • Jewish origins of the hymn “King of Kings” – Aaron has a goods on the interesting history of the classic Christian hymn that goes, “King of kings and Lord of lords, glory, hallelujah”. Turns out, it’s from a Hebrew folk tune, possibly the Purim niggun Vayehi Bimei Achashverosh.

  • Don’t you know about Moby Dick? He eats people. It’s in the Bible. – Sorry, couldn’t resist. :-D   If anything, this serves to underline the importance of Bible literacy.

  • In Search of an Explanation – Daniel tackles the idea of gentiles eating kosher, and towards the end of his post, lets his mind wander into curious territory: what is the expectation of gentiles who attach themselves to Israel through Yeshua? A God-fearer? A convert to Judaism? Something else?

Video blogs

Podcasts

  • What Is The New Covenant, part 2 – Messianic apologist John McKee looks at what the New Covenant is – are we under the law? Are we in a post-resurrection era with different rules? Are gentiles part of this new covenant through Messiah, and if so, are they part of Israel? He explains that a significant part of the New Covenant is keeping God’s Torah, and being filled with God’s spirit. And mid-way through the podcast, McKee makes the bold assertion,

    Paul would not have opposed a proper keeping of the Torah by non-Jewish believers, because it first involves being transformed by God’s love.

  • The Messianic Secret – Messianic rabbi Derek Leman discusses why Yeshua was so hidden, so ambiguous, in his message. Why didn’t he simply say, “I’m the Messiah. Here are miracles to prove it. Here’s what you need to do.” Instead, he opted for personal revelations, parables, and “show-and-don’t-tell” methodologies.

  • Messianic Jews, Head Coverings, and Prayer Shawls – Hebrew Christian apologist and evangelist to Jews, Dr. Michael Brown, has some interesting things to say about Messianics and our traditions.

15 comments:

  1. "Folks that don’t fit into the UMJC/MTJI frame of Messianic Judaism are often delegitimized and isolated, painted as a lesser, placed outside of Messianic Judaism. I’m such a person, I’ve experienced this. Messianic apologist J.K. McKee has experienced this. And popular Messianic blogger Joseph Weissman has experienced this."

    Judah, what I don't quite understand is why do you seek legitimacy from UMJC/MJTI/WHATEVER or at least complain that they do not acknowledge you as part of Messianic Judaism as they see it? It reminds me of the time you made an issue with what you view as UMJC/MJTI trying to seek legitimacy from mainstream Judaism. If you already represent the more biblically and theologically correct, the most inclusive version of Messianic Judaism in your own eyes, just keep walking and don't complain that others do not accept you as "legitimate".

    If yours, John's, or Joseph's outlook is true (although I am not sure if he would include any pro-Gentile Torah observance movement into his idea for Messianic Judaism!), UMJC/MJTI/WHATEVER should be the ones seeking acceptance and legitimacy from you guys, not the other way around, right?

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  2. I sympathize with MJTI's desire to be accepted in the Jewish world. Said as much in that post, and then again in the comments.

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  3. >why do you...

    Because I think Messiah's flock can do better.

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  4. Independent Messianics are bad, mkay:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXnUZBD_qV4

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  5. "Folks that don’t fit into the UMJC/MTJI frame of Messianic Judaism are often delegitimized "

    Judah, which brings me to another questions that I wanted to ask you:

    What is your criteria for identifying a particular group claiming to be part of "Messianic Judaism" and worthy of the label?

    Is it simply about self-identification, with anyone, no matter who off-the-wall their theology or view of Israel/Jewish people may be, who claims his group as part of "Messianic Judaism" should expect to be accepted by others? Seems like an awfully slippery slope to me. Does anyone gets to decide such matters as to which group gets placed outside or inside?

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  6. There's no one way to have a Messianic fellowship, sure I think there's a lot of bad Davidic dancing out there, sure we could do better on many things.

    But it seems like a lot of the criticisms of independent messianics is criticising style and not substance.

    It's akin to teenage girls complaining about their peer with a bad fashion sense because they think it makes them look bad!

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  7. Obviously, my name has been thrown out there by Judah in his Weekly Bracha about myself (and also my family) not being entirely welcome by Messianic Judaism.

    I don't want to go into all of the details here, because I also do not entirely feel welcome in either the Two-House or One Law camps/organizations either. But I do agree with Gene,

    "...just keep walking and don't complain that others do not accept you as 'legitimate'."

    I have always said that time and a longer-term perspective have to sort things out regarding the broad Messianic movement. Even if some of us mention disagreements with some of the groups or sects out there, the question of what *you* yourself believe and stand for is more important. One cannot spend all of his or her time exclaiming "I don't believe XYZ...!"

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  8. Thanks for the links Judah:)

    I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the idea of non-Jewish followers of Yeshua falling in a category between God-fearers (w.r.t. Torah-observance) and converts (w.r.t. communal standing and complete renunciation of idolatry).

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  9. I guess you could have Messianic Noahides :)

    Even Chabad have Noahide "Hasidic Gentiles"!

    http://www.noahide.com/movement.htm

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  10. Daniel,

    I think you'll see a few of big Messianic organizations in the next few years make a shift towards viewing Messianic gentiles as "God-fearers".

    Personally, I think it's a terrible title. Of course a gentile in Messiah who has attached himself to Israel fears God. But the title promotes the idea of yet more inequality in the Messianic movement. Jews over here, gentiles over there. Real Messianics over here, those crazy God fearers over there. That isn't the New Testament model.

    In my view, gentiles aren't just God-fearers. They're first class citizens in the commonwealth of Israel.

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  11. "In my view, gentiles aren't just God-fearers. They're first class citizens in the commonwealth of Israel."

    Judah, the term "G-d fearers" does not imply "second class" within the commonwealth of Israel, no more than the word "Gentiles" itself implies that. Personally, I prefer designation "Gentile brothers and sisters" when speaking about Gentiles who are either within the Messianic Jewish movement or outside of it. Perhaps in the future using the term "G-d fearers" COULD be used specifically for those non-Jews who seek to attach themselves to Jewish congregations and choose to worship Jewishly (I don't believe that all Gentiles are called to do so nor do I believe that Christianity is not from G-d). Equality within the context of the Messianic Judaism, or within ANY organization or movement for that matter, need not demand sameness (I am sure you agree), and within the Body there are different parts performing very different functions, but all of them very much needed and equally indispensable.

    "But the title promotes the idea of yet more inequality in the Messianic movement. Jews over here, gentiles over there. Real Messianics over here, those crazy God fearers over there. That isn't the New Testament model."

    When it comes to the "independent messianics" - are they not free to create their own terminology and observance standards, as they've already done? I don't see why they would need the permission of the UMJC/MJAA/MJTI or any other related Jewish Messianic organization that falls outside of their sphere of involvement or influence.

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  12. Gene's words ring hollow in light of UMJC's infamous definition of MJ in 2003. They already settle the matter for all of us. They decided for the Jews, and for the Gentiles.

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  13. UMJC's definition of Messianic Judaism updated by the organization's delegates in 2005:

    "The Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (UMJC) self describes Messianic Judaism as a movement of Jewish congregations and groups committed to Jesus the Messiah that embrace the covenantal responsibility of Jewish life and identity rooted in Torah, expressed in tradition, and renewed and applied in the context of the New Covenant. Messianic Jewish groups may also include those from non-Jewish back-grounds who have a confirmed call to participate fully in the life and destiny of the Jewish people. UMJC is committed to embodying this definition in our constituent congregations and in our shared institutions."

    Sounds like UMJC is quite inclusive of non-Jews. It's even more inclusive, in fact FAR more inclusive in practice - it has ordained several unconverted (to any Judaism, not Yeshua) Gentiles as "rabbis," who today are leaders of several member congregations (at least those that I know of) - a practice that I don't agree with. However, I don't know if this type of ordination is still a common practice at the organization (I am not an UMJC member or insider, so perhaps someone more familiar with UMJC can pitch in).

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  14. May I suggest another podcast recommendation to add to the mix? I have been edified by the recent audio messages at Bereans Online, especially the latest one on "The Indivisible Law: An Answer to the Question of Its Applicability"

    Go to the audio page at:

    http://bereansonline.org/

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Husband, dad, disciple of the Jewish Messiah Yeshua, technologist. Author of Chavah Messianic Radio, MessianicChords, and EtzMitzvot. @judahgabriel


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