Jewish Adventures in Church-Land

Many of you will remember Benjamin from Metropolis (not a real name, of course, as Metropolis is the city of Superman). Benjamin is a new follower of Yeshua from a religious Jewish background. He lives in a city that has no real Messianic Jewish synagogue. If you read yesterday’s post, then you’ll understand when I say Metropolis has a large Hebrew Pentecostal congregation and in the surrounding areas there are a number of other congregations that fit into various categories. None are a satisfying home for Benjamin, since he had a good life in Judaism before coming to Yeshua. (See “What a Jew Needs from MJ” and “How to Be a Messianic Congregation #1” for more of Benjamin’s story).

Benjamin and I stay in regular communication and, I hope I can say I am helping him through his early education in Yeshua-faith. He spent Rosh Hashanah here in Atlanta with our congregation. And even though we are, in the terms I shared yesterday, a Blended Messianic Congregation, it was like fresh water to Benjamin to see Yeshua at the center of a true synagogue service.

Now, on my suggestion, Benjamin is trying some churches (and looking to get re-involved in a mainstream synagogue, perhaps, since he can’t get Jewish prayer in a Messianic congregation there). His experience in Church-Land so far has been dreadful. I didn’t think it could be worse than in the so-called Messianic congregations, but at least in a bad Messianic group people are usually sympathetic to Jewish concerns on some level. Yes, you guessed it: Benjamin has already been told that it is wrong to be Jewish!

Christians, pastors, if a Jewish person comes to your church, I can only hope that you will handle your interaction with them far better than the Calvary Chapel near Benjamin’s home. Calvary Chapel is a denomination founded in Dispensationalist Christian theology (they believe in Israel’s ongoing election as the Chosen People but they equally believe the Torah was abolished in Christ). I had thought Benjamin might have a good experience at a church where it is a good thing to be pro-Israel.

In one of the first studies at Metropolis Calvary Chapel, the leader was . . . I’m not making this up . . . doing a study on the meaning of “the Jews” in the Gospel of John. What a week for Benjamin to visit. I got an email late that night: Derek, what do I say to this kind of anti-Jewish rhetoric in a church?

This week, Benjamin spoke during small group, since the small group leader asked for people to share stories of things that had “brought them closer to Jesus this week.” He spoke about a Jewish custom of mourning, remembering the anniversary of deceased loved ones, and how he had a moving experience this week with his faith and remembering his departed loved one.

The person leading this week’s small group time was “uncomfortable with my keeping the law,” says Benjamin. He “asked me to go home, pray for the Holy Spirit to give me discernment as to what Scripture says, and read Romans and Hebrews.”

I wish I had been there. I would have agreed to read Romans and Hebrews if the small group leader would read Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Acts 15, and Romans 11. Oy! Why do people whose knowledge of the Bible is limited strictly to the Pauline corpus, a bit of Revelation, a touch of Psalms, and Genesis 1-3 think they should be Bible teachers!

I weep to think of the hundreds of thousands of Jewish encounters over the years in churches. The gospel to the Jews, apparently, is this: “Repent from your Judaism and stop being Jewish so you can be saved by following a Jewish Messiah who went to synagogue, kept the law and traditions, and then died on the cross so no one else would ever have to keep those dreadful laws again.”

It is such a non-sensical gospel and asking Jews in Christ to quit being Jews is exactly what has made Jewish faith in Jesus so rare. Even Jews who don’t observe the Torah are generally offended by such anti-Judaism.

Just yesterday a Christian couple who knows better emailed me. They said they feel a sense of despair. They have connections and relationships in multiple churches. They try to influence people to be pro-Jewish and understand the wonderful Jewish context of the New Testament. They constantly run into angry teachers and laypeople who are convinced that the Church has replaced Israel and that the Torah is some horrid system of ceremonialism and asceticism which Christ died to free us from. They asked me: “What can we do to be more effective in opening the eyes of these Christians to a Jewish-sensitive reading of the very Jewish book we call the Bible?”

I told them, “One at a time.” We cannot finish the task. We cannot teach everyone. But neither are we free to desist from the task. Church-land needs to change. If you haven’t heard of the New Perspective on Paul or read any of the spate of books presenting the Jewish Jesus, where have you been hiding? This is not just an issue for people who live in Jewish areas. If you are a Christian, your Bible is Jewish. It is time you learned.

Commercial: You might start by reading my Yeshua in Context: The Life and Times of Yeshua the Messiah and Paul Didn’t Eat Pork: Reappraising Paul the Pharisee.

This entry was posted in Christian, Judaism, Replacement Theology, Supersessionism. Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to Jewish Adventures in Church-Land

  1. CybrSage says:

    I have actually been told that following any of The Law is an insult to the sacrifice made by Jesus. When I asked if that included the Ten Commandments (since they are not seperate from The Law), I was told no…I have to follow those. When asked if that included keeping the Sabbath Holy….I think you see where this went.

    Very sad…the man was VERY VERY angry at me from the start for even suggesting that Jews should uphold the covenant made to God by our forefathers.

  2. David says:

    Awesome post, Derek, although I have to say that it brought tears to my eyes. Kol hakavod!

  3. James says:

    This is exactly why I don’t attend a church. The split-second anyone in a church discovered that my wife is Jewish, I’d get the old song and dance about how they’d pray for her salvation or get berated for being “unequally yoked” and such.

    Derek, with all due respect, you should have known better than to send “Benjamin” into a traditional church setting. He’d be better off staying in a synagogue and exploring his “Yeshua-faith” with you and others privately.

  4. Derek Leman says:

    James, I hear you. Fortunately, Benjamin has a thick skin and he is still attending, enjoying the chance to present a challenge to the folk at this church.

  5. “Fortunately, Benjamin has a thick skin and he is still attending, enjoying the chance to present a challenge to the folk at this church.”

    It seems like a fun experiment for this Jewish believer, but it’s unlikely to have positive long term prospects, at least not if he has or is going to have a family with children to raise.

    • Kimberly says:

      So true. Ultimately, every one of us needs peace in the sanctuary. Regardless of whether we are Christian or Jewish, we should be able to sit down in peace (Luke 8:35; Luke 10:38-42; Matthew 11:28-30; Luke 1:74-75; Luke 1:77-79), to learn from the pure word of God instead of having to debate and strive to defend our faith at every turn. I’m an African American women and don’t have any Jewish heritage in my family, but I know what it’s like dealing with the kinds of assumptions, condescension, and downright condemnation that some modern churches have toward anyone whose family came out of the traditional church, and toward anyone who reminds brothers and sisters in Christ that they are forsaking or desolating the law. And, on the other hand, I can relate to having to contend with certain prejudices in the traditional church. It’s come to a point where I know I need a resting place, not just for my own sake, but so that I can do something as simple as invite my neighbors, and my brother, nephew and their families to church!

  6. With Hashem’s help, four local pastors in my area have embraced some form of broadly post-supersessionist interpretation, or in one case at least grown sympathetic to it after having rejected it totally earlier in life. But it took a big time investment on my part and a little something called tact.

  7. Michael Sisson says:

    Dear Benjamin,

    I’m delighted you’ve chosen to follow Yeshua. Personally, even as a Gentile, I’ve come to know Him as the “Despised Messiah.” Moreover, I’ve come to realize that following Him requires me to embrace being the object of some derision for His sake. I’m sure that’s all the more true for any Jewish follower of Yeshua. Still, let me encourage you to avoid a pitfall I see threatening many Messianic Jews.

    As you fellowship with Christians (which I’m defining a Gentile believers in Yeshua), you will constantly run into reminders that you follow the Despised Messiah. Some reminders will be subtle, others overt. On any Sunday morning, whether you catch a whiff of antinomianism, or run smack dab into a wall of anti-Semitism, guard against the invitation to become disdainful of the ignorant Christian. Instead, reflect the attitude of Yeshua.

    Mark 6:34 When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.

    Recognize few Christians bear any personal malice towards Jews, Judaism, Torah, or Israel. Rarely will you be confronted with an originally repugnant notion among Christians. More often, ignorant Christians are simply regurgitating ideas and attitudes they’ve been fed themselves. Like the Prodigal, some have fed upon pods. Show them grace. Slay the fatted calf for them. Present them a Jewish Yeshua.

    While I can understand why hearing a Christian leader announce that he’d lead “a study on the meaning of ‘the Jews’ in the Gospel of John,” would cause you to bristle, recognize you’re being offered a wonderful opportunity to present Yeshua on your turf. John has long been accused of being an anti-Semitic book. Acknowledge there are valid textual issues in John that need discussion, and be prepared to present your case. Writing in THE JEWISH NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY, in his note on John 1:19, Dr. Stern addresses the issues the Calvary Chapel leader will likely be raising, and Dr. Stern presents some compelling arguments.

    In choosing to follow Yeshua, you’ve chosen to be the square peg, the dissenter, the one to carry a message that will be the fragrance of life to some and the stench of death to others. When you’re among Christians, more often than not, you’ll not know the comfort of a like-minded kehillah. In some sense, you’re in the mission field. Love them where they’re at. Do it for the one or two that come to you after class…that one or two that “get it.” Do it for our Despised Messiah.

    • Derek Leman says:

      Nicely said, Michael.

    • Loren says:

      Very well said. I am a gentile believer. I grew up reading my Bible for myself and was taught to ask Him for wisdom. I have always had a deep love for the Jews. I have never understood disspensational theology. Over the last 30 years I have seen a change – a glow- a realization of the missing part of the church. There will always be a large percentage of people who confess Jeshua who don’t know Him, but James said you can tell a persons faith by their works.

  8. James says:

    OK, Derek. I’m quoting this blog in tomorrow’s “morning meditation” along with a news story from YNET News.com. It works out well in illustrating the difficulty in “interfacing” Christianity and Judaism and to some degree, matters of intermarriage.

  9. Derek Leman says:

    This comment is a test. For various reasons I needed to change my contact email for this blog to rabbileman at gmail. I’m just making sure it works before I go and make all the other dozen changes. I feel like George Jetson complaining, “Oh, it was terrible! I had to change contact emails for twelve sites today!”

    Derek Leman

  10. louise says:

    Derek, thank you for keeping this forum going….and the interesting guests and friends you have…..

    Michael Sisson’s comments are Living Water. Thank you Michael, this is exactly what some of us in regular churches are doing. Your words are encouraging, and true.

  11. wordmachine says:

    I have been involved with Christianity for most of my life and I have never seen any situations where they chase Jewish people away. There were probably some times when Christians have had a standoffish attitude towards Jewish people but that was probably because they didn’t fully understand Jews and Gentiles are supposed to have unity in Yeshua. In my opinion, I’ve seen Gentiles treated worse in more of the Messianic synagogues I’ve been at than I have seen Jewish people treated in the Christian churches I’ve been at. That could be because God mostly has had me spend the most time in churches that reach out for unity with other denominations (a congregation reaches out and the other congregations that want unity reach back). There has been so much peace in the unity I’ve experienced from congregations that have reached out like this.

    • “I have been involved with Christianity for most of my life and I have never seen any situations where they chase Jewish people away.”

      Considering how few Jews are in your average church and thatyou are not Jewish yourself, it’s hardly surprising that you have never seen or especially experienced what Jews experience. Regardless, in our times, most if not all Jewish Christians I know are accepted precisely because there’s nothing remains of their Jewishness (and more often than not, their fellow Gentiles Christians do not even know they are Jews!). However, I’ve witnessed what happens when these Jewish Christians finally start to explore their Judaism and start asking uncomfortable questions.

      “I’ve seen Gentiles treated worse in more of the Messianic synagogues”

      Gentiles constitute a great majority of nearly all Messianic congregations, the majority of elders and teachers are not Jewish, and many of the top leaders are also non-Jews. Today, Jews are a small minority in the Messianic Jewish Movement.

      • wordmachine says:

        No, I’m not Jewish but the people I know in the Christian churches that I’ve been involved with that last seven years know I have been attending Messianic Jewish congregations for awhile. Most of those people don’t know that I’m not Jewish and although some of the people have a standoffish attitude towards me sometimes because I attend MJ congregations a majority of them accept me no matter what congregation’s denomination I attend. So, yes there is unity out there between Christianity and MJ one just has to search for it if they want it. If some of the Christians are willing to reach and accept people in MJ than I welcome it and I hope others will too.

    • Michael Sisson says:

      wordmachine wrote:
      “There were probably some times when Christians have had a standoffish attitude towards Jewish people but that was probably because they didn’t fully understand Jews and Gentiles are supposed to have unity in Yeshua. In my opinion, I’ve seen Gentiles treated worse in more of the Messianic synagogues I’ve been at than I have seen Jewish people treated in the Christian churches I’ve been at.”

      Your remark contrasting your experience in Christian and Messianic Jewish congregations brings to mind two incidents in my own life…

      The first incident led to me dating my future wife. We both were members of a large Bible study, and I’d had my eye on her for months. In fact, in fellowshipping after class, we had met three times. Yet, I apparently left little impression on her. Finally, following a class in which I had articulated the Jewish perspective on some New Testament passages, she inserted herself into a discussion I was having with others in order to evangelize me. Today, she confesses that she had incorrectly assumed I was Jewish and, therefore, unsaved. Personally, I think both bad assumptions somewhat grew out of her Church of Christ upbringing. All that to say, in my experience, Jews may receive special attention (even especially warm receptions) in churches from well-intentioned Christians operating under some bad assumptions.

      Conversely, in a completely separate incident, I recall working along side a Messianic Jew, who was my fellow congregant and deacon in my synagogue, to ready a bookshop his son was openning. As we were washing windows together, he asked me, “So Michael, how long have you been a member of our kehillah (community) now?” I replied, “Two years.” After a long, thoughtful pause, he responded, “Two years?!…Hmm, I guess you’re legit.” What he was saying was, in his estimation, I was not just passing through, but rather I was legitimately committed to their Messianic Jewish community.

      For me, the last incident epitomizes that standoffishness in Messianic congregations that you’re articulating and that I’ve experienced. However, personally, I’m comfortable with that (though it’s the kind of thing Gentile members of a kehillah should quietly explain to visiting Christians) given what I’ve witnessed after years of being part of a Messianic community.

      Now let me be REALLY frank… the typical Messianic communities that I’ve witnessed are collections of mutts. They are NOT the demographically homogeneous, upwardly mobile collection of nuclear families that typify most Protestant churches. To a greater degree, they’re congregations of misfits who’ve gone through longer searches for a sense of place than most Protestants. They come from a broader and more diverse denominational background than most Protestant congregations. In my experience, many Messianic has experienced more wounding (or, at least, they’re more willing to confess wounding), less acceptance, and greater disappointment than most Protestants I know. Furthermore, they’re use to getting more visitors passing through their congregations for a season than the typical Protestant churchgoer. All that serves to make Messianic Jews a bit standoffish as you’ve described. On the other hand, perhaps that also makes them a bit more Jewish. Israelis aren’t call “Sabras” for nothing… prickly on the outside, but sweet on the inside. Be gracious, show fidelity, and invest in them over time, and you’ll find them as loving and accepting as any followers of Yeshua.

      • Loren says:

        Concerning the statement “‘Sabras’ …prickly on the outside, but sweet on the inside.” As a gentile I find this oddly refreshing- what you see is what you get. There is sometimes a seemingly brutal honesty that I have encountered with my Jewish friends. But this is an integral part of why they are my friends.

  12. DianeS says:

    It is grievous to hear such things as these goings on in the “church” of which we are all apart of, like it or not if we are really believers in Yeshua. Certainly there are misconceptions in the Body of Christ over this. But what a blessed thing to finally be dealing with this! The fact that our Jewish brothers and sisters are coming to the saving knowledge of Christ is a true move of God. I have been a believer for over 30 years and the past 5-7 years I have seen more understanding of our beautiful connection to “Jewishness” than ever before. To understand the bible in the context of Jewish customs and traditions is a beautiful thing! It enriches every word with deeper revelation. I believe these traditions are primarily God inspired; as I’m sure there is a bit of “man” in everything any human touches. With this in mind, we are told to love one another and forgive one another – as we are an imperfect people. I pray the understanding of ALL believers in Yeshua would be enlightened by the power of the WHOLE word of God collectively old and new and that we would seek to preserve the beautiful gift that He has given us in each other through all our differences creating the Glorious Church without spot or wrinkle that He desires us to be.

    • Derek Leman says:

      Thanks, Diane. Yes, there is a marked increase in interest in the past decade in Jewish context. This is happening both in the academic world (New Perspective on Paul, historical Jesus studies heavily in the Jewish direction) and the church world.

    • Andrew T. says:

      “I believe these traditions are primarily God inspired; as I’m sure there is a bit of “man” in everything any human touches.”

      Like the Bible itself. Actually, there’s far more than just a bit of “human” in the Bible. Read Joshua or Kings and tell me there isn’t.

      I really find it difficult to even talk to a person that doesn’t concede this much.

  13. Dan Benzvi says:

    And then they come to Derek’s congregation and find the signs in the picture hanging over the Oneg table where they serve ham sandwiches…(No Jews, only Christians) which is true the the BE, BS……LOL!

    • Derek Leman says:

      In case anyone does not know this about Dan, he’s a kidder and a grouchy one too. Ham sandwiches?

  14. Andrew T. says:

    Derek,

    Let’s take this from the top: why did you send this Jewish believer into a fundamentalist church that supports Israel only because it fits into their crazy Tim LaHay eschatology and has no respect for actual Judaism? What good could come of that? The amount of tact and perseverance needed to persuade fundamentalists to change their views is not worth it.

  15. Derek Leman says:

    Gee, I’m catching a lot of grief for suggesting Benjamin might be involved at a church. A few clarifications:

    1. There is no perfect church or synagogue.

    2. This is to attend a Bible study, not to find a primary community of reference.

    3. Benjamin is well-connected in the Jewish community and with Jewish learning.

    4. I am not anti-Christian or anti-evangelical. I get along quite well in evangelical churches. Given certain directions happening in the younger leadership (and the older leadership still given to learning) I have much hope for the present and future of evangelicalism (as soon as they learn neither to pander to the political right or, as is now the fad, the political left). I give as an example Scot McKnight’s work and especially his latest two books: One.Life and The King Jesus Gospel.

    So, well-meaning friends, there it is.

  16. James says:

    Like the Bible itself. Actually, there’s far more than just a bit of “human” in the Bible. Read Joshua or Kings and tell me there isn’t.

    This is what I’ve been trying to talk about on my own blog today. You can’t separate the human influence on the Bible from the “influence” of God. People searching for the “pure word of God” without human iimpact will probably search in vain. I think it’s why you need to understand what was written within the historical, cultural, linguistic, and “mystic” context in which it occurred. That’s why you can’t just read the Bible and understand everything its trying to tell you in absolute terms (sorry to take a detour off the beaten path, Derek).

  17. James says:

    Calvary Chapel is a denomination founded in Dispensationalist Christian theology.
    I think both bad assumptions somewhat grew out of her Church of Christ upbringing.
    …the demographically homogeneous, upwardly mobile collection of nuclear families that typify most Protestant churches.

    Sorry to chime in again, but over lunch, it occurred to me that I have a continue to be confused in understanding the differences between the variety of “flavors” in the Christian church. The only church I worshiped at for any length of time before my sojourn in the Messianic realm (having now shot out the other end into whatever may await me), was a rather large Nazarene in my area. With my scope severely limited, I haven’t the faintest idea what makes an Evangelical church different from Calvary Chapel or a Baptist church or anything else that calls itself Christian or how anyone finds out, except by going to them all for any length of time.

    This is probably another reason that makes me shy about attending any church is that I’d have absolutely no idea of which denomination or sect would be more or less likely to accept an idiosyncratic “nutbar” like me. I’ve heard “rumors” of the occasional church that “loves Jews” but from what I’m able to gather, these churches aren’t necessarily associated with a particular branch of Christianity, but rather, are driven by the passion and heart of the Pastor who indeed has a love for not only Israel the country, but Israel the people.

    I think this ties into your previous blog post Derek in that your choice of a church for “Benjamin” was connected to the type of church it is, just as you would select a particular type of Messianic congregation to worship with if you weren’t at home.

    I think this is one of the reasons by some people say they are spiritual but not religious.

    • Andrew T. says:

      So, what brought you out of the Messianic realm (I’ve never been in it)? Is there a Messianic fellowship you think you might actually be comfortable in, if it were in your area?

      • James says:

        Long story, Andrew. I stopped being Messianic for 2 basic reasons. 1: After much study, I could no longer support the One Law assumption and the congregation I was attending (I was on the board of directors and taught frequently) was basically One Law, and 2: I wanted to have the opportunity to study/worship with my wife who is Jewish and not Messianic.

        It would take a lot more space than I’m sure Derek would want to donate here for me to give all of the details. If there was no “religious dissonance” between my wife and I, probably, I would have stayed with my congregation with the proviso that I could not teach from a One Law position. Given the amount of resistance I received to my leaving my former group, they probably would have been OK with this.

        My wife doesn’t go to shul all that often, but I’m hoping we can take a class or two together this Fall/Winter. There are some “dynamics” that make this somewhat challenging, but I’ve tried to remove as many of the barriers as I have control of to achieve the goal of attaining a more unified religious life in my family.

        It’s up to Hashem now.

        • Andrew T. says:

          You’re in quite a unique situation, aren’t you? I hope your wife has given Yeshua at least some serious consideration; you seem to have done quite a lot of homework on Judaism.

          Come to think of it, FFOZ is offering the Levi Hirsh Memorial Edition of the Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels as a free gift for those with Jewish family members or friends who do not yet know their Messiah. Perhaps that would be a blessing to the both of you.

          • James says:

            My wife and I originally accepted faith in Christ together many years ago, then she asked me to join her in attending a Messianic congregation. Long time later, I continued in my faith toward Jesus as Messiah while, in her exploration of her Judaism, left Jesus and affiliated with the Reform and Chabad synagogues.

            Thanks, I have a copy of the DHE Gospels and I don’t expect my wife to pick up a copy any time soon. To paraphrase the Chabad’s Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, “this is the life God has given me to work with.” Unlike television or the movies, I don’t know how it’s going to turn out. Each morning I awake up, I anticipate what Hashem is going to do next. Sometimes I’m surprised.

            We’ll see.

  18. Elayn says:

    I am learning alot from you Derek. I have attended a Messianic congregation – still not sure where we fit in your comparisions from yesterday’s blog. We are lead by an former orthodox jew, got saved – now a rabbi. A few things bother me, like “Jesus” has no meaning, his name is Yeshua”, Hebrew is G-d’s prayer language. I have talked to my rabbi about these things, then he talks in circles. My G-d is lot bigger than being stuck in Hebrew. He speaks Spanish, Mandarin, English, etc. It’s funny, my dear friend is a Messianic Jew (yup born a Jew) and SHE calls him Jesus. LOL.
    I get told I, (as a Gentile for sure, possible Jew on Mom’s side), have put myself back under the Law. I was taught as a Christian that the Entire Bible was G-d’s word – so now that I’m actually reading the Old Testament and following the G-d told us, now I’m back under that law. Hmmm – gee, if I’m a Gentile that has been grafted in maybe I’m supposed to ignore the vine I am grafted into? I think not.
    We all have a long way to go!!!! I have much to learn and we all have much to pray about – all to recognize the Jewish-ness of the Gospel!!!

    • Derek Leman says:

      Elayn:

      Thanks for commenting. Your perspective is helpful so people can see the variety of what is out there.

      Jewish prayer is primarily in Hebrew, from the Siddur, but it is not forbidden to pray in other languages. Perhaps, though, you are reacting to the liturgy and prefer spontaneous prayer. A synagogue should have much liturgical prayer and be based on the Siddur. I think your rabbi is right about this. Those who attend a synagogue should accept that this is the Jewish way. But there is nothing wrong with also having spontaneous prayer in English, especially at chosen times and appropriate moments in and out of the main service.

      If the rabbi is telling you that as a gentile you must keep all of Torah, including Sabbath, dietary law, circumcising sons, and so on, then it is a One Law Synagogue as far as the types of congregation from my post yesterday. I am surprised your former Orthodox leader would not understand the different role gentiles have in relation to Torah.

      I did an 8-part series here called “Not Jewish Yet Drawn to Torah.” It would be a good series for you to read starting from Part 1. If you have trouble finding it with the search window, I can post links.

      Derek

      • Elayn says:

        Please send me the link. I can’t find in my search, though I’m doing all of this on my old not updated IPhone. You definitely having me wondering and talking to Yeshua a lot!! Digging into the Word as well. 🙂

  19. david valentin says:

    I married a jewish believer in messiah, 5 1/2 years ago. the second the people in my church found out my wife was jewish, they where bent in “converting “her, my wifes refusal to eat pork, her resolve to circumcise our boys and any expression of her jewishness was received with disdain. “jesus freed us from that”that’s the law” and other stupid antisemitic pagan ignorant rants followed.
    I started to HATE CHURCH!!, but Hashem is so loving because one day he let us to a messianic congregation here in orlando, where i met my messiah for who he really is!!!, blessed be the name of YESHUA!!, we havent looked back, we have lost friends,people that use to go to church with us are”praying for deliverance” since we have been “fooled by satan”, darn fools!!, blind leading the blind…. i uphold RTorah, the written and the living in messiah YESHUA!!. i am messianic, xstianity is paganism, i pray the scales come of the bored,stagnant church and see the light. BTW “holy land” park in orlando is the most antisemitic place i have ever seen, hitler would be proud to spend his vacation there

    • Derek Leman says:

      David, I can hear the anger. I think it would be good to resolve some of that anger, but I respect the fact that rejection by people is what brought you to feel this way. I pray you will see the good in Christianity sooner than you expect. I have found much, much beauty in Christianity and it is possible to look beyond the smug, uninformed, anti-Judaic stuff that exists out there.

      • david valentin says:

        Yes,dereck. i am angry, i will not hide it. my rabbinical friends make joke with me that i am “jewish light” or at least my wife is out of the pagan goy church etc. judaism is beauty, messianic judaism is sublime, to welcome the shabbat, to eat oneg with my mishpachah, to recite the prayers during the Torah service, just elevates me to a place that church nevere did for me. my rabbi is a loving wise believer in Yeshua. a NY jew just like my wife who i love more than my own life. i beleieve you and i are friends on FB, i attend services at gesher shalom,in orlando. i pray that Yeshua plants the seed of forgiveness in my soul, because more than anything i feel betrayed by those that called themselves my brothers as long as i worshiped as they do. as a gentile born in the church i see it for what it is “paganism lite”, just like i respect my wifes opinions in jewish matters, my opinion about my “own “people is rock solid i find in the church a flawed theology where good people are traped because they are ignorant at the option they have with MJ. I love your musings and read them and share them, L’chaim B’Yeshua!

        • Andrew T. says:

          The Church is wrong on the Jews, Israel, and Torah, big time. But it is not “paganism lite” (such words are far too harsh). Huge interfaith gains have been made in the very recent past (look especially at how much better Catholic-Jewish relations have become), and if Christianity comes around on these issues, it will be all the more beautiful. It is just a matter of time. Christians need to learn that Jews doing what God has commanded them to do (i.e. keeping Torah) and meriting salvation are two separate issues. The Torah-Grace dichotomy is an absurdity on stilts.

          I am sorry you were rejected like that and being prayed for in a patronizing manner. I’d be angry, too. But Christianity is not the whore of Babylon.

          • Andrew T. says:

            Then again, you may be more correct about Christianity than I give you credit for. I have very little hands-on experience with Christianity, but it seems you’ve had plenty.

  20. Steven Cross says:

    “Repent from your Judaism and stop being Jewish so you can be saved by following a Jewish Messiah who went to synagogue, kept the law and traditions, and then died on the cross so no one else would ever have to keep those dreadful laws again.”

    Before coming to Judaism, I grew up in the christian church. I believed that before Jesus came, the Jews did not like living by the Torah and were waiting for the messiah to come so that they would not have to keep the dreadful law ever again. I very much agreed with the lie quoted above. I was never taught that Torah is a blessing, rather taught the Jews were cursed with it. I thank Hashem he has showed me what the Torah really is. I could never go back to my former life before Torah. Now that I am more Torah obedient, my friends and family are bent that I have “left the faith” and they think that I think I am saved by my works. If they could even know the deeper love I have for Yeshua that I have now then in my christian church days. It makes me sad more then anything that they don’t know the blessing of keeping Torah, and it’s not a curse.

  21. James says:

    I married a jewish believer in messiah, 5 1/2 years ago. the second the people in my church found out my wife was jewish, they where bent in “converting “her, my wifes refusal to eat pork, her resolve to circumcise our boys and any expression of her jewishness was received with disdain. “jesus freed us from that”that’s the law” and other stupid antisemitic pagan ignorant rants followed.

    Hi David. I really hate to say this, but your comments confirm all of my concerns about attending church again. I’m not Jewish but my wife is (she’s not even slightly Messianic) and I’d just as soon not have to be confronted with people who feel that my wife is some sort of “problem”. All that said, I have met some very good people in the church who are kind and do their best to conform their lives and behaviors to the highest principles taught by the Messiah: feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, helping the poor, but Judaism seems to be a “blind spot” for many Christians, simply because the church has taught against Judaism for so many centuries.

    I think there are churches who have gotten past this, or that are trying to, but it’s a slow process and it’s tough to overcome that much inertia. I’m glad you found a place where you can be yourself and worship the Moshiach.

    Blessings.

    • david valentin says:

      hi james, we got tired of “explaining” things to people. my wife tried to attend messianic congregations in NYC, but some are nothing more than churchs where jews go, her words not mine. the thing about messianic judaism is this, people not born jewish, i like this term better than gentiles, always will be the dominant group. my synagogue is about 35% jewish, and most come from churchs, in other words,with a understanding of Yeshua as the goy see it. our rabbi who is jewish and comes from a strong jewish background and who went from rabbinical judasim to messianic judaism. all i can tell you is we are happy and our spiritual life is better, my days in the church are over.

  22. Elayn says:

    Derek, I don’t mind the prayer in Hebrew, not at all. In fact I have been praying for HaShem to help me learn the Hebrew. We pray the Hebrew then the English or vise versa. It’s just the comments about Hebrew being G-d’s language, and Jesus having no meaning that bother more than just me. I have invited friends and they have told me they won’t be back. They liked the Hebrew/English and the shofar; but those comments were are mentioned everytime there are visitors are not encouraging but discouraging. :(. I will definitely check out your series!!! I’ll let you know if I have trouble finding it

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  24. Loren says:

    Obeying the Law is good for many reasons- it sets us apart as different from the world, it places a mirror before the unbeliever to show their sin, it points to the one who gives us the power, and obeying the Law reminds us constantly that we all fall short “for by a single sacrifice He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified”. The power to obey comes from seeing how much He has done for us and how holy He is. ” We love because He first loved us” and love is the fulfillment of the Law.

  25. alisa hope says:

    God’s blessings on your calling to unite His Chosen people! I visited your site because it always comes up in the google search for my site. I’m very glad I finally clicked your link!

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