Messianic Alarm

The following is a cross-post written by Dr Calvin Smith of King’s Evangelical Divinity School:

I’ve previously posted on some of the issues contributing to diverse expressions of Messianic Judaism (MJ, also Messianic Jews), for example MJ self-identity as both Jewish and Christian, the movement’s relationship with (and role within) the wider Church, and Torah observance. I’m particularly concerned at how vociferous anti-Israel sentiment within segments of Evangelicalism further complicate Messianic Jewish self-identity as believers in Jesus, together with their relationship with the Church. It can’t be very easy to identify oneself as both a Jew and a believer in Jesus while some in the Church openly and systematically demonise Israel (flatly refusing to see both sides of the story). Furthermore, it makes it so much harder for a Messianic believer to share his or her faith with another Jew if what is being offered is inclusion within a body which is critical and polemically one-sided in the current Middle East conflict. That the Church has a long history of anti-Semitism only compounds that point.

Thus Messianic believers are increasingly alarmed by some of the extreme rhetoric emanating from within parts of the Church. There is considerable disquiet at the harm it is causing MJ-Gentile Christian relations, together with MJ efforts to evangelise the Jewish people. There is growing criticism, too, of how some MJs are dialoguing with anti-Israel Christians, for example through the forthcoming Christ at the Checkpoint. An open letter posted yesterday to Messianic leaders and congregations raises this very point. It provides some insight into how the movement is feels under siege and seeks to respond to the current anti-Israel rhetoric and activism evident within Evangelicalism.

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4 Responses to “Messianic Alarm”

  1. Gordon Says:

    The cause of this problem is people confusing Israel with Judaism. SUrely the two are different things just as Scotland’s political structures and being Scottish are different things?

  2. Bob Says:

    This is a surprising thing to read, because in the US most evangelical groups are fervently pro-Isreal. Maybe the problem is that it is difficult for someone with strong feelings about Christianity to not have strong feelings about Judaism and Israel, but it’s 50/50 what those feelings will be? :-)

    Here in the US, I think Israel is expected to figure heavily in the end-time events, and a lot of people feel like it is our duty as Christians to protect Israel and help God out with bringing about his will in that area.

  3. Adrian Glasspole Says:

    “christian” anti-Judaism / anti-Zionism is one of the major causes of Jewish Missions having to make evangelists redundant. There are those whose views are taken note of, and sadly they are almost all in the “anti” camps. When Christians read and hear the likes of Burge, Sizer, Chapman and Stott, they become convinced that “Zionism is heresy” and so cease their support for CMJ, CWI &c. That, in turn, results in Jewish people not being given the opportunity to hear the Gospel.
    Intentional or not, Sizer & Co’s hate-filled books are a major reason for Jewish people not being given a chance of salvation.
    Heaven will be “Juden Frei”!!

  4. Andrew Says:

    There are two mistakes that I wish to correct. 1. It is possible to love Jews, while also seeking to hold the State of Israel legally to account for its actions (I am talking Mosaic Law here not the UN) . 2. I beleive that Christian Zionism needs to reinforce a dialectic dualism between replacement theology and Christian Zionism in order to justify its existence. Paul tried to break down barriers between Jews and Gentiles while building the Church that he believed was the true Israel formed on a Jewish root.

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