Ask The Pastor
January 16, 2001
Your question involves a complicated answer. You asked:
> What is the difference between a Messianic Jew and
> Why don't they just call themselves Christians. Do they keep
> anything from their Jewish worship and/or Jewish ways into the
> Christian relationship and worship
On the salvation side, there generally would not be a difference,
But Messianics are like Christians in that there are all sorts.
First of all there have always been Jewish believers. Most of these
folk are brought to the Lord through a Christian witness, just like
others are. Most Jewish converts simply become Christians in the
full sense of the word. (According to religious demographics, 80%
of Jewish converts prefer to worship in a Christian Church.)
What has happened over time is that certain Jewish converts
who came out of a primary Orthodox setting, had a strong desire
to evangelize their own people. These evangelizers began to
establish Jewish works. At first they simply spoke of themselves
as 'Hebrew Christians.' The Hebrew Christians did not take airs
to themselves and were not trying to be in competition with
other Christians. They simply wanted to bring the Jewish kin to
the Lord. (This all took place before the modern Messianic
This bring us to the Messianics. The Messianic movement has
some connection with the Christian Hebrews, but there are also
very real differences. While the Christian Hebrews concentrated
on bringing the gospel to the Jewish people, the Messianics are
much more diverse. A great part of the Messianic movement is
not made up of Jewish believers at all. In many cases it is
merely charismatics on another trip. I realize this sounds unkind,
but the truth can seem that way at times.
If you are familiar with the history of the charismatic movement,
you will find that it seems to need something new to keep itself
going. (This does not apply to all charismatics. Some are very
real. Nor are Messianics from a charismatic setting.)
This is where the picture gets more complicated. Some of the
emphasis in the Messianic movement is a desire to return to the
early Church setting, which, by the way, was entirely Jewish. But
this presents special problems. For one thing, the Lord never
intended the Church to be a Jewish organization. Nor did He
ever intend the Church to dress itself up in Mosaic legislation,
that is, the keeping of feast days, Sabbaths, new moons,
wearing phylacteries, kosher eating, etc.
From my observation, the number one problem Messianics face
has to do with unbalance. And unbalance is most often the result
of having an unsettled spiritual life. If we are taking pleasure in
Jewish things rather than in a personal walk with Jesus Christ, the
result will always be self-righteousness. This holds true when we
make any 'other' thing a priority in our lives. (We can be self-righteous Baptist, Methodists, non-denominational, or whatever.)
The answer is Jesus, and Jesus alone.
Hope I've been able to help a bit.
The Lord bless you.
Bro. Buddy Martin - Ask
Lawrence "Buddy" Martin
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