Do Messianic Jews Hate Christians?

fire-breathingThat’s a rather inflammatory title and it doesn’t really communicate everything I’m about to say, but I had to start somewhere.

Please, brothers and sisters, do not listen to the false teachings of “First Fruit of Zion” and Boaz Michael or anyone from the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations. You are NOT meant to stay in church on a permanent basis. You know this: doesn’t your spirit grieve there? I know that it does! Because my spirit grieves there too!

The Prophetic Expectation is that Non-Jews will grab hold of a Jew (in a nice way of course) and start down a path to learning the Torah of Moses (Acts 15:21).

I want to help the Christians in churches but my spirit cannot take it there much longer. And I’ll not have my daughter identifying with those who hate our Judaic heritage. May Heaven protect her from the spirit of lawlessness! And may G-d protect her bashert!

-Peter
“The Prophets vs. Boaz Michael: A Brief Look at the Prophetic Expectation for Non-Jews in the “Day” of the New Covenant Age”
orthodoxmessianic.blogspot.com/

I’m doing this against my better judgment. I know I could be letting myself be baited by someone you could think of as a troll. On the other hand, it disturbs me that so much disinformation is being spread, not only regarding the Messianic Jewish movement, Jewish people, and Judaism, but about a specific individual, namely Boaz Michael, and the organization which he founded and leads, First Fruits of Zion (FFOZ).

I know, this is a heck of a thing for me to post right before Shabbos and just days before I travel to Hudson, WI to attend the FFOZ Shavuot conference. The thing is though, I have a problem when I encounter what I believe to be injustice. I really don’t like bullies (though on occasion I feel sorry for some of them). But they need to be confronted. This has to stop.

What’s interesting about the blog owner I quote above and a number of the people who support his ideas, is that they not only appear to oppose the Messianic Jewish movement but the Christian church as well. That doesn’t leave many places left to look for believers.

As you can see from Peter’s words above, it’s as if Christians and the Protestant church are at least inferior to him/them if not down right opposed to the Word and will of God. On top of that, the very idea that the Jewish people within the Messianic Jewish movement might want to actually retain their own Jewish identity and uniqueness seems an undesirable outcome to them.

Do Messianic Jews Reject Christians?

There is a concern that, in order to be viewed as a legitimate branch of modern Judaism within the larger normative Jewish community, Messianic Jewish synagogues must expel all non-Jewish members and attendees. That seems odd, since most of the authentic Messianic groups of which I’m aware have a majority membership of non-Jewish worshipers. Furthermore if David Rudolph’s and Joel Willitts’ landmark book Introduction to Messianic Judaism (IMJ) can be taken at face value, then not only are Christians welcome within the ranks of Messianic Judaism, Christians and non-Jewish members of Messianic synagogues are absolutely required for the health of the body of Messiah!

Don’t believe me? I wrote eleven extensive reviews of different articles (the book has twenty-six different Jewish and Christian contributors) presented in the book which are collected on my blogspot. That single link leads to a page where you can review any or all of them.

On top of that, Pastor Jacob Fronczak, who periodically blogs for FFOZ, wrote an excellent review of the book, which takes much less time to read than my eleven missives. The upshot of all of those reviews and my experience in reading the book, not to mention my experience interacting with Messianic Jews, is that I am, as a church going Christian, not being set to one side as if I’m the left-handed, red-headed, foster child in the family. The fact that I’ve been invited for a second time to FFOZ’s Shavuot conference seems to indicate that I am welcome within their ranks.

If Messianic Jews were uncomfortable about the message having Christians attending their services and conferences is going to send to the other Judaisms in the world, you’d never know it by how many Christians actually attend their services and conferences.

No, I don’t feel rejected by Messianic Judaism, nor do I feel like a second-class citizen in Messianic Jewish groups or when I attend my local church. I don’t feel like Boaz Michael is treating me poorly by suggesting, both in his book Tent of David and personally as my friend, that I explore a church worship experience. After all, he and his wife Amber regularly attend a Baptist church in their own community when Boaz isn’t traveling. IMJ author and editor Joel Willitts regularly attends a Christian church in Chicago. And yet he is also close friends with IMJ co-editor David Rudolph and if they experience any dissonance in their personal and professional relationship, I couldn’t tell by reading their book.

churchesI doubt Messianic Judaism as an overarching concept and organization is perfect. I doubt each individual synagogue or all of the individual people who attend said-synagogues are perfect.

There probably are some Messianic Jews who have “issues” with large numbers of Gentile attendees in their synagogues. There are probably some who prefer a largely Jewish community rather than a largely Gentile community. I don’t blame them. Traditionally, any Jew who has publicly professed Jesus as Savior, Lord, and Messiah has been labeled a “Christian” by Jewish community and family and typically ostracized.

Also historically, the Christian church has typically required any Jew who “professes Christ” to surrender all Jewish worship and lifestyle practices and essentially to become a “goy.” If I were Jewish, I wouldn’t like that either (and having been married to a Jewish wife for 31 years, I have a little insight into that world).

So I, a Christian who goes to a small Baptist church in a suburban community in Southwestern Idaho, don’t feel rejected or pushed away by Messianic Judaism, nor have I ever gotten the impression that Messianic Judaism disdains the other Judaisms or Christianity.

Do Hebrew Roots Groups Hate Messianic Jews and Christians?

But what about Hebrew Roots or the subgroup in which Peter (and I really dislike calling out individuals for a “spitting contest” but sometimes enough is enough) purports to represent? How do they feel about Jews and how do they feel about “Christians?”

To be fair, every Hebrew Roots person I’ve ever met says they love Jews and they love Israel. I don’t doubt it. However, whenever Jews in the Messianic movement register distress at Hebrew Roots Christians mimicking Jewish religious and identity behaviors, typically Hebrew Roots people accuse the Jewish people of racism and exclusionism and other unpleasant things, seizing the “right,” based on various scriptures, to move into the Jewish space and claim everything in that space for Gentile use as “sharers” of all the “stuff.” It’s kind of like having your neighbors burst through your front door, raid your fridge for a beer, say that they’re moving in, and you have to “share” your stuff (food, bed, clothes, toothbrush) with them forever…and you don’t have a say in the matter.

Doesn’t sound very loving.

Actually, I’m more concerned about Hebrew Roots attitudes towards Christians and Christian churches. Granted, “the church” in all its iterations across history, has a rather poor track record in terms of supersessionism, pogroms, inquisitions and the like relative to the Jewish people, but that is slowly changing. However, regardless of how you feel about Christianity, no other group has kept the teachings of Jesus and his apostles and disciples intact for the past twenty centuries, just as the Jews have kept the Shabbat, the Torah, the Prophets, and the teachings of the sages for the sake of Israel and Hashem for as long and longer (much longer).

Most “Messianic Gentiles” I know in the Hebrew Roots movement go to church, at least occasionally. Most Hebrew Roots people who are Jewish (with either a Jewish mother, Jewish father, or both), are intermarried and some of their spouses self-identify as Christian and at least occasionally go to church. Many of the Hebrew Roots Jews and Gentiles have Christian family members and Christian in-laws, so it’s not like they are isolated entirely from Christian influences.

But when Hebrew Roots people characterize the Church as “Babylon” (which I’ve personally heard some of them say) or claim Christians are “lawless” or say they hate the “Judaic heritage” of Christianity, I take offense. Of all the non-Jews who claim to “keep the Torah,” the fact remains that probably over ninety percent of Gentiles who keep the weightier matters of the Law are church going Christians. Church going Christians donate food to the hungry, donate time in homeless shelters, donate time in food banks, visit the sick in hospitals, participate in prison ministries, mow the lawns of disabled people, shovel snow off the drives and sidewalks of the infirm and elderly in the winter, comfort the grief-stricken person whose spouse has just died of cancer.

I know Christian people who perform each of the mitzvot I’ve just listed and I’ve performed at least some myself as a “church going Christian.” If that’s not Torah, what is?

I have complained about my church experience in the past and I probably will in the future. It’s tough to get used to a new “culture” and the different ways people think about and do things within that culture. I also have been significantly challenged as far as my beliefs and my knowledge, particularly by the head Pastor of my church, who is highly intelligent, extremely well-read, who is fluent in Biblical Greek and Biblical and modern Hebrew (and other languages), who has lived in Israel for fifteen years, who maintains close friendships with Israeli Jews (believers and non-believers), and who vehemently opposes supersessionism and anti-Semitism in all their forms.

No, we don’t agree on everything, but I have to say that even when going “toe-to-toe” on some issue, I always encounter great integrity and respect in our transactions and never, ever have I been insulted, slighted, or treated poorly even to the smallest degree.

I can’t always say the same for many of my internet dialogues with “fellow brothers in Messiah.”

changing-courseI’m not writing this to change anyone’s mind. I know that’s probably useless. I’m saying this to show those people who think like me that you’re not alone. I’m saying that it’s possible to be a Christian, go to church, and still have close associations and friendships with Jews, both those who are Messianic and those who aren’t. I’m trying to see the best in people. That’s a Jewish and a Christian value. If that’s not your value, then maybe you need to re-evaluate what you believe and why? If you don’t love someone because they belong to a particular religious group, then maybe you need to reconsider whose teachings you’re actually following.

Dear Peter

You won’t like this, but I feel deeply sorry for you, Peter. I think sometimes you see yourself as the victim of both Messianic Jewish people and Christian people. I know you want to be accepted for the person you are and you really need to be right and to have others agree that you’re right.

You were right about one thing. You challenged me (on Gene’s blog I think) to get off the fence and go back to church. After all, you were attending a church and it was (I guess it’s not anymore) working for you and your family. You were right. I went back to church and it was the right thing to do. After a number of “settling in” struggles, I’m beginning to find my legs, so to speak. The transition period isn’t over yet, but I feel myself integrating into the community somewhat. I’m learning a lot of new things. My Pastor, as I said above, is a great person to talk to and he asks questions that aren’t always easy to answer. Those are really great questions.

And he’s willing listen and consider my point of view about the Messianic Jewish movement and how the modern movement connects back to the New Testament Jewish believers. If I had stayed in Hebrew Roots, as comfortable as it was and as much as I still love the people I fellowshiped with, I wouldn’t have learned any more than what I knew back then. Change is growth and I’ve changed and grown a lot. I’m not done yet.

So thank you for that.

One thing that is absolutely required in order to understand someone, in order to talk with someone, in order to learn from every person you meet, no matter who they are, is that you can’t continually feel like you are someone’s victim. When you always expect to be victimized, whether by Jewish people who are Messianics or non-Jewish people who go to church, the only response you can have is to become defensive and then to attack in order to protect yourself. No one learns a thing from someone if they are afraid of being attacked and are responding in kind.

The only reason I’m engaging you is that I see potential in you. I know, based on what you’ve blogged, that you have had some rough experiences in your life and you feel as if you’ve been treated unfairly. Most of what you blog about is a response from that position. If I thought you were just a jerk, you’d never hear from me again. I don’t think you’re a jerk but most of the time, it’s hard to tell the difference between a hurt and angry person and a bully. Because of that, I urge you to reconsider what you’re doing. It can’t turn out well. It never turns out well. It doesn’t communicate love for Jewish people and for Israel. It doesn’t communicate love for your brothers and sisters in the church, particularly those who are in the church you currently attend.

I don’t know what else to say to you, Peter. I don’t know what else to say to the thousands upon thousands of people out there like you who feel like you do…who feel like the church is their enemy…who feel like the church lied to them…betrayed them…kept the truth from them…people who feel like their Pastor or their friends in the church hurt them.

held-in-gods-handsMisunderstandings are only corrected through relationship and dialogue, but those conversations absolutely cannot be based on hostility, competition, or the desire to defeat or destroy the person you are speaking with. Until you reach the point where you can talk to people who you disagree with and not see it as a battle, you will never go any further in your path of faith or your walk with Messiah than the spot where you’re standing right now.

I know this won’t change you. As I write it, I hope it changes me so that I can be as compassionate as I want to be toward you and toward those who criticize me and disagree with me. I know God doesn’t love one of us and hate the other. Otherwise, why send Messiah to die for the whole world?

I don’t hate Jews. I don’t hate Christians. I don’t hate Hebrew Roots people (One Law, Two House, or anyone else). How could I when I know that even when I was Messiah’s enemy, he died for me? He displayed a love for an unbelieving and hostile humanity that he was willing to die for. Shouldn’t we try to live up to that, at least a little bit? We don’t have to die for each other (although we may be called to one day), but we can try to put down the boxing gloves, knives, and machine guns (all metaphors for our online arguments) and just talk.

Tuesday afternoon, I’m going to be showing up at Beth Immanuel Sabbath Fellowship in Hudson. There’s going to be a lot of people there. Some will be Christians. Some will be Jews. A lot will call themselves by different labels and titles. We probably won’t agree about everything we talk about. But we all have Messiah in common. That’s a start.

“Optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress.”

-Nicholas Murray Butler, American diplomat and educator

138 days.

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22 thoughts on “Do Messianic Jews Hate Christians?”

  1. I wish I had more time to weigh in on some of this, but alas, I don’t. I know everyone’s gut reaction is going to be to take sides here. It’s human. But it’s probably not helpful. I think there is a place for laying out this debate in a thoughtful, academic way — and even expressing positive criticism where it is warranted (criticism that seeks to build up, rather than tear down). Books are probably a better place for address the theological issues that have been swirling around lately (something dealing with footnotes, sources, scholarship, etc). In fact, there are already books out, and more forthcoming, on this exact topic — which most people haven’t even read yet.

    I understand your frustration James (though I thought your references to “Bullying” above were a out of place), and I also feel Peter’s frustrations. Which is why I, personally, don’t believe that blogs are the best venue for this kind of debate/discussion/criticism — the format simply doesn’t lend itself to the kind of rigorous study and analysis of biblical texts that are needed when coming to informed decisions, and seeing why others have come to the decisions they’ve come to.

  2. I understand your frustration James (though I thought your references to “Bullying” above were a out of place), and I also feel Peter’s frustrations.

    Greetings, Rob. If you’ve visited the blog post in question at Peter’s blog in the last few minutes, you’ll see he declined my invitation to dialog here, given that I imposed the condition of having his comments moderated.

    This is less about the factual, documented, educational, theological, and doctrinal aspects of our various expressions of “Jesus discipleship,” and more about the emotional and psychological dynamics involved. I specified Peter and his blog, not because I particularly wanted to pick on him as a personality, but because he typifies a good many people who I’ve met and personally interacted with in my time in the Hebrew Roots (One Law, Two-House) movement.

    There are a lot of people who are disenfranchised, feeling like Christianity somehow failed them and, out of those emotions, they respond with defensiveness and hostility. These aren’t bad people. These are hurt people. When “bilateral ecclesiology” Messianic Judaism sets limits relative to the definition of who is “Israel” and who is a “Jew,” these same people, who thought they had found a haven and an identity in the Messianic Jewish movement, re-experience that sense of alienation, betrayal, and hurt all over again, and respond (again) by attacking the people/entity that they feel injured them.

    Peter’s blog is replete with examples of how he feels victimized, especially by individuals within Messianic Judaism, and even in childhood by his Christian school experiences. Whether these experiences are real, exaggerated, or something else doesn’t change the emotional response of Peter or anyone else who feels victimized by “the other.” The response is the same.

    I hate to lay bare my perceptions of Peter and many others in the Hebrew Roots movement, but there’s a strong undercurrent in many of the participants within that movement (but certainly not all or even not the majority) of a similar dynamic and that dynamic colors the movement as a whole. That’s why so many blog posts, emails, Facebook comments, and so forth sent to various representatives of Messianic Judaism an its supporters are filled with such “emotionally charged” language (After FFOZ changed their stance away from One Law, the messages they received were legion and they were decidedly hostile…a lot of people felt horribly betrayed, and still do, more’s the pity).

    That’s also why Peter and others sometimes choose to call out individuals by their names rather than simply blogging on principles or ideas or what they’ve read recently. For them, study and practice of their religion isn’t solely for the purpose of drawing nearer to God, although I don’t doubt their intent or sincerity in desiring to approach God. Additionally, their actions and especially public expressions of their beliefs are for the purpose of achieving public significance, validation, affirmation, and even sometimes importance. Being “right” means that those they feel hurt them are “wrong.” It’s an “I win, you lose” mindset.

    It’s because of all this that most of the discussions we experience in the “Messianic blogosphere” go exactly no where. The basis of the arguments isn’t go gain truth, it’s to win and to make the other person lose.

    I don’t get that “vibe” from you Rob, but I don’t doubt you’ll disagree with me anyway, although if you’ve been in the Hebrew Roots movement for any time at all, I don’t see how you could have avoided some of these hurt individuals. I don’t wish ill on Peter and in fact, I wish that God would help him or send someone to help him in addressing his outstanding issues. I wish the wounded and injured in the Hebrew Roots movement and in the churches and those who just sit at home because they feel they can’t trust “organized religion” but still struggle in their relationship with God could be helped, could enter into healthy community, and even if they still disagree with normative Protestantism and Messianic Judaism, wouldn’t take those disagreements personally.

    You and I can disagree Rob, but as long as neither of us take it personally, there’s no real conflict…at least not an unhealthy one. My Pastor and I disagree on things but we are still forming a good friendship. My wife and I disagree on things, but we are still married after 31 years with three children and one grandchild. Disagreement between two people who can accept it on an adult level doesn’t mean that anyone has to “win” or “lose”.

    Disagreement doesn’t have to be a disaster. All I want is to redefine the framework in which we disagree. If we could do even that, then our conversations would be much, much more productive.

    Oh, the reference to “bullying” wasn’t intended to be insulting (though I certainly understand how it could be taken that way). A common dynamic for “bullies” is one where the person doing the “bullying” (hostile or intimidating behavior) is actually approaching the situation from a position of feeling hurt or victimized. The “bullying” behavior is a defensive response, not actually one of aggression. If they could learn to feel safe, then they could change their behavior without feeling at risk.

    I know I’ve opened up a huge can of worms, but this dynamic is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Everyone knows its there and no one wants to talk about it. Well, I decided to talk about it.

  3. “This has to stop.”

    Why? Since when it is forbidden to criticize someone’s or some group’s theology? Peter did not attack Boaz personally, did he? I understand you are upset, well I would have been too if I would have been drinking their kool-ade regularly…You need to cool it and stop circling the wagons, no Indians will scalp you….

    Now, I am going to read the rest of your post, see if it is worth something….

  4. Yes, please read the entire post, Dan. You might find the answer to your question in the body of my writing (I’m sorry it’s so long, but I had a lot to say). Disagreement isn’t what has to stop. Reacting to someone or some group because you (the generic “you”) think they hurt you and you have to hurt them back, is.

  5. “On top of that, the very idea that the Jewish people within the Messianic Jewish movement might want to actually retain their own Jewish identity and uniqueness seems an undesirable outcome to them.”

    You know that is not true, James, so why even go there? You have been in the OL movement and you know that they teach Jews remain Jews and Gentiles remain Gentiles…You are doing the same thing that you accuse Peter of doing, have you noticed?

    ” That seems odd, since most of the authentic Messianic groups of which I’m aware have a majority membership of non-Jewish worshipers.”

    OK, finally you found the real reasons why the Jews in the MJ movement want the Gentiles out…What took you so long?

    “The fact that I’ve been invited for a second time to FFOZ’s Shavuot conference seems to indicate that I am welcome within their ranks.”

    Sorry, James, despite yours and other many denials, FFOZ is not , one more time, IS NOT a Jewish organization.

    I will try to read the rest after Shabbat, as always you are too long to the point of boring….We have been hearing this songs and dances of yours for years…

  6. James, I guess you did not read my comment in detail. I asked, where in his last post did Peter attack Boaz personally? I wrote a reply to you on Peter’s blog, maybe you should read it…

  7. Dan, my commentary weaves in and out of addressing Peter personally and expands to addressing the wider Hebrew Roots movement, including people I’ve known and experienced off the blogosphere, so not every single thing I said is directed to him individually. When I said that some folks in Hebrew Roots find Jewish identity within Messianic Judaism as an undesirable outcome, it addresses how some Hebrew Roots people (including Peter) respond when some Messianic Jews ask that Jewish identity markers be respected (that is, “Dear Gentiles, please don’t wear tzitzit in public as if you are Jewish”).

    I still don’t find myself being “kicked out” of Messianic Judaism though in my blog, I acknowledged that there might be individual Messianic Jews or individual congregations that aren’t comfortable having folks like me around. Nothing’s perfect (and I should say that I don’t actually identify myself as part of Messianic Judaism. I’m a Christian and I go to church. I just have a different point of view than most Christians relative to the Messianic movement and Judaism in general).

    I know you don’t experience FFOZ as a Jewish organization, and that’s fine and dandy, but I assure you there will be some Jewish people in attendance, if my experience from last year is any indicator.

    I was less concerned with Peter’s attitude toward Boaz and FFOZ than I was with his attitude about the church. On the one hand, he encouraged me to go back (yeah, Peter really did…on Gene’s blog). I accepted the challenge and now he says that his spirit is grieving in the church. I’m sorry he feels that way, but it’s presumptuous of him to say that all his non-Jewish audience must feel the same way. Also, the implication is that all Christians and all churches everywhere are “bad” in some sense. He may feel grieved by attending a church, but promise you, I don’t.

    When I get a moment, I’ll pop over to Peter’s blog and have a look at what you said, but please keep in mind the fact that I don’t always have the time to participate in a dynamic conversation on two separate blogs.

    I will try to read the rest after Shabbat, as always you are too long to the point of boring….We have been hearing this songs and dances of yours for years…

    Yes, I do have a tendency to “drone on” sometimes. On the other hand, you don’t have to come here and read my content if you don’t want to, Dan.

  8. // Also, the implication is that all Christians and all churches everywhere are “bad” in some sense. He may feel grieved by attending a church, but promise you, I don’t. //

    It was not my impression that Peter was saying that churches everywhere are bad. His assertion was that those who come into a knowledge of Torah are not meant to stay in church on a permanent basis. Perhaps because you don’t keep a 7th day Sabbath James (correct me if I’m wrong on that), it’s much easier for you to find a home in a Sunday-keeping church (assuming the church you attend is Sunday-keeping).

    Speaking from my own experience at the baptist church I attended years ago, after coming to the knowledge that the Torah is for today, I spent many months trying to keep both the 7th day Sabbath AND attend my Sunday church — these were/are my brothers and sisters in Messiah, and I had no intention of severing my relationship because I had come into knowledge that they haven’t come into yet. But trying to keep a Saturday Sabbath AND attend a Sunday church is almost impossible for someone with a regular 9-5 job — and certainly not the ideal situation for any believer to find themself in. Not working all day Saturday, and then attending services/bible-studies/church lunches on Sunday is almost impossible for someone to do for an extended period of time. I’ve yet to meet someone who works a normal job and was able to do this with their family for an extended period of time.

    I’m guessing it is this kind of “difficulty” and “non-ideal” situation that Peter is referring to (plus the sermons on the “Jewish Law” being fulfilled in Messiah — those can be tough to sit through, while biting one’s lip!).

  9. James, why are you avoiding my question? I asked where did Peter attacked Boaz personally on his last post, and why is it suddenly forbidden to criticize one’s theology and teachings?

    BTW, I hate the “Hebrew Roots” label, as if MJ UMJC style has no “Hebrew Roots…”

  10. Meant to say: “(plus the sermons on the “Jewish Law” being fulfilled and thus nullified in Messiah — those can be tough to sit through, while biting one’s lip!).”

  11. “On the other hand, you don’t have to come here and read my content if you don’t want to, Dan.”

    And how would i know to deter you from writing silly things?…..

  12. I’m just chiming in to encourage you, James. I read most of your blogs even if I don’t comment and my impression is that your “voice” consistently advocates the application of tolerance, patience, understanding and love between all who believe in Jesus/Yeshua as the long-awaited Jewish Messiah regardless of their “flavor” or “style.” The voice of those who take such strong issue with you is [often] sadly lacking in that same tone of understanding and love; rather, I hear aggressive voices emphasizing division in an angered tone. In anticipation of a potential issue being taken with what I’ve just said: yes, I find do find statements like “We have been hearing this songs and dances of yours for years…” as disrespectful and immature, begging negative emotional reaction rather than encouraging understanding. I mention this in anticipation of defenses typically made by those who argue that such intolerant speech somehow qualifies as “mature and open discussion” or “adult dialogue.” It does not. Keep “givin’ ’em Heaven,” James. It is the tone of your voice of respect and reason that will bring believers together in the long run. It has the sound of the voice of the Master advocating His love for even your detractors through you.

  13. It was not my impression that Peter was saying that churches everywhere are bad. His assertion was that those who come into a knowledge of Torah are not meant to stay in church on a permanent basis. Perhaps because you don’t keep a 7th day Sabbath James (correct me if I’m wrong on that), it’s much easier for you to find a home in a Sunday-keeping church (assuming the church you attend is Sunday-keeping).

    Rob, to be fair, we can’t be absolutely accurate at assessing the motiviation of someone, especially since he’s chosen not to participate in this conversation, but the implication of his statement (for right or for wrong) is that the church is a “good” environment if it “grieves” one’s soul. As far as keeping Shabbos and so forth and still attending a Sunday church (yes, my church meets on Sunday), it’s kind of a bear, but keeping Shabbos can still be done. Most of the stuff Shabbos keepers offload onto Sunday morning needs to be shifted to other times in the week, depending on what they are. I can mow my lawn on Thursday afternoon or Sunday afternoon, for example.

    And yes, I have a “day job” though it’s usually from about 7:30 to 4:30.

    Meant to say: “(plus the sermons on the “Jewish Law” being fulfilled and thus nullified in Messiah — those can be tough to sit through, while biting one’s lip!).”

    Most of what my Pastor says from the pulpit is actually pretty good and often the highlight of my Sunday at church. If he says something that makes my toes curl, I just blog about it, then we discuss it the next Wednesday evening.

    Dan, I didn’t avoid your question…I answered it. Also, to clarify, it’s not just the current blog post of Peter’s that I’m addressing but his history of posting blogs and general “opinion” of people in Messianic Judaism.

    And how would i know to deter you from writing silly things?…..

    Your choice, Dan. 😉

    @Both of You: Peter doesn’t have to go to church if he doesn’t want to. He can explore other options. I don’t mind if he is personally “grieved” because of whatever experiences he’s having there, though he has indicated in the past that he’s forming friendships there and I haven’t gotten the impression that they were mistreating him.

    He can, as he has suggested in the past, form a home fellowship of Hebrew Roots oriented people. I think he needs fellowship and most of the people I’ve seen try to maintain their faith in isolation eventually have problems being “the Lone Ranger.” But his experience doesn’t generalize to everyone who has a “hebraic” bent. Also, expanding the conversation beyond Peter, I have listened to lots and lots of folks, in and out of the blogosphere, who blame the church and Christianity for just about everything this side of the Lindburgh kidnapping. It’s unfair to the countless Christians, both in the modern age and historically, who have faithfully served the Messiah to the best of their abilities by performing all the mitzvot I listed above and much, much more.

    Hebrew Roots (and sometimes Messianic Judaism) tends to focus on the anti-Semitic and supersessionistic history of the church as if that’s all there is past, present, and future. But church going Christians aren’t any more good or bad than Hebrew Roots congregation going people.

  14. I’m just chiming in to encourage you, James. I read most of your blogs even if I don’t comment and my impression is that your “voice” consistently advocates the application of tolerance, patience, understanding and love between all who believe in Jesus/Yeshua as the long-awaited Jewish Messiah regardless of their “flavor” or “style.”

    Thanks, Dan H. So far, the response to this rather long blog post hasn’t been as “harsh” as I anticipated. Still, you don’t start talking about the 100 lbs gorilla in the room and expect that it will peacefully ignore you. I’ve also gotten encouragement via email and on Facebook, so I suspect that there are more people around who share my concerns.

  15. “I have listened to lots and lots of folks, in and out of the blogosphere, who blame the church and Christianity for just about everything this side of the Lindburgh kidnapping. It’s unfair to the countless Christians, both in the modern age and historically, who have faithfully served the Messiah to the best of their abilities by performing all the mitzvot I listed above and much, much more.”

    I’ll bet my Shabbat Siddur, that not all of them are “Hebrew Roots?”

    “Hebrew Roots (and sometimes Messianic Judaism) tends to focus on the anti-Semitic and supersessionistic history of the church as if that’s all there is past, present, and future. But church going Christians aren’t any more good or bad than Hebrew Roots congregation going people.”

    I agree, with addition to the end, “and MJ people…”

  16. Just for clarity, when I say “Hebrew Roots,” I include One Law, Two-House, and any other non-Jewish directed organization that practices or takes on board the traditional practices of Judaism to any particular degree. There’s quite a bit of variation within that category so it’s not like “one size fits all.”

    When I say “Messianic Judaism,” I’m describing something fairly specific along the lines of what I described in this blog post. I know a lot of Hebrew Roots/One Law/Two-House/etc groups call themselves “Messianic Judaism,” but I conceptualize the term differently.

  17. “Just for clarity, when I say “Hebrew Roots,” I include One Law, Two-House, and any other non-Jewish directed organization that practices or takes on board the traditional practices of Judaism to any particular degree. There’s quite a bit of variation within that category so it’s not like “one size fits all.”

    This is like me saying that you are a Christian just like the Catholics and JW are…Where is the sense in that? You know quite well that OL does not teach 2 house…

    “When I say “Messianic Judaism,” I’m describing something fairly specific along the lines of what I described in this blog post. I know a lot of Hebrew Roots/One Law/Two-House/etc groups call themselves “Messianic Judaism,” but I conceptualize the term differently.”

    This is not what I was saying. i was just making the statement that MJ also has “Hebrew Roots,” Or maybe you think they have Muslims roots?

  18. That’s what I mean be “not one size fits all.” There’s a high degree of variability of belief systems under that general category, Dan. I’m not denying it.

    This is not what I was saying. i was just making the statement that MJ also has “Hebrew Roots,” Or maybe you think they have Muslims roots?

    Put that way, any faith based on the Jewish or Christian Bibles can be said to have “Hebrew Roots,” Dan.

  19. I always get nervous when you say we agree on something, Dan. 😉

    Good Shabbos to you and yours as well. I’ll pass on your regards to Boaz and his family.

  20. A very interesting dialogue. Many different opinions. That is good. One of the things to be learned from our Jewish brothers and sisters is that differences of opinion on doctrine or theology should never cause acrimony between us. We do keep Shabbat and go to Sunday churches in the locations we live during the summer and winter. And, we all love each other because we all love and are loved by Messiah Yeshua/Jesus. My opinion is that all doctrine is subject to discussion with one and only one exception. That is, “Who is your G-D?” If your G-D is YHVH, the G-D of the Bible, we are brothers and sisters, even if we don’t like it, but the Father who made us brothers and sisters is in charge and we have nothing to say about it. Dr. Marvin Wilson, in his book “Our Father Abraham, the Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith” clearly states that one on the no-no’s of learning is that we must never think of ourselves as superior to anyone because we have moved on from a position of our past that they still hold. G-D is good, ALL THE TIME.

  21. Greetings, Jerrold and welcome.

    I agree that we are all brothers and sisters in Messiah and that as such, we all worship the God of Israel. I also agree that there is no one individual or group that is better than another. That isn’t to say that people and groups can’t be different.

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