"" Movements like ours have called themselves by many names. In fact, we often get caught up in titles as we try to decide how to define ourselves. Titles serve not only to communicate with whom we identify, but also from whom we wish to distinguish ourselves. New titles crop up any time people feel the need to cut themselves off from others.
It is of no benefit to get hung up on labels and titles, but we have chosen to use the term "Messianic Judaism." Our point is not to exclude or criticize people who chose to identify differently, but we, like many others, feel that "Messianic Judaism" is a fitting description of our organization. What does this term mean to us?
By identifying our perspective and lifestyle as an expression of Judaism, we intend to communicate a sense of continuity between ourselves and the historical people, culture, nation, community, life, and system of worship found in the Torah. That people group—the group to whom Yeshua the Messiah himself belonged—is the Jewish people. His system of worship was Judaism, and he did not intend to abrogate that system or exchange it for another. Instead, his message was one of national and personal repentance within the framework of Judaism. Yeshua and his earliest followers did not see themselves outside of Judaism, but a part of it.
Historical Christianity, in general, has sought to define itself against Judaism, making a clean break with the people and religious system of Israel. We feel that this was a regrettable mistake. By using the term "Judaism," we intend to put our faith and observance back into its proper historical context.
This term also communicates solidarity with the modern Jewish people as a whole. We consider our movement a part of what God is doing with his Jewish people today. Although we have no mistaken impressions that we are accepted by other movements with Judaism, we are nonetheless proud to identify with them. We believe that the Jewish people remain chosen by God; his covenants with the Jewish people remain steadfast. Furthermore, we respect historical Judaism as having been faithful to preserve and carry out the Torah to which they have been entrusted.
However, we feel that it is appropriate to describe our movement further than simply "Judaism." There is something unique about us, and that is our devotion to Yeshua as the Messiah. Thus, in fairness to the greater Jewish community and in honor of our Master, it is important to identify ourselves as unique. Some argue that the term "Messianic" is not unique enough, as every branch of Orthodox Judaism espouses belief in the future coming of the messiah. Regardless, this term is now well known to identify followers of Yeshua.
Our use of the term "Messianic Judaism" is not meant to exclude or marginalize Gentiles, who are an essential part of God's Kingdom. Although it would not be accurate for a Gentile to identify as a Jew, the religion of the Bible is Judaism, and that is for all people.
The term "Messianic Judaism" in reference to Jewish followers of Yeshua is not new. Historical sources show that it was in use as early as 1915. Since then, it has been used to describe a wide variety of beliefs and practices. Some of those efforts have been noble, others not. Nonetheless, our desire is to identify with fellow followers of the Jewish Yeshua and contribute to the work that is taking place now. Our only hope to hasten the redemption is to foster unity and encourage a spirit of brotherhood. With God's help, we will see the Messianic Jewish movement enter a new era of peace, progress, and maturity."
Saturday, June 26, 2010
This nails it to the T!
This article accurately describes where I stand and what I believe no need to reinvent the wheel!!! HaShem bless men and women who are able to articulate things clearly.