Michael Brown and Post-Missionary Messianic Judaism

I promise, I will blog about other things. I was enjoying some posts of a more inspirational nature before this debate started. See

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14 Responses to Michael Brown and Post-Missionary Messianic Judaism

  1. Susan says:

    I gotta say something about pork, I heard on a local news station yesterday that pigs don’t have pores like us and other animals and pores help us to release toxins built up in our bodies (could this be the reason they roll in the mud to keep cool?) anyway, so when we eat pork , we are eating meat with built up toxins in it……..I just wonder if this is really true.

  2. Robert Efurd says:

    I have been reading the blog for the past few days thinking about Messianic Judaism and the world we live in.
    Today I was driving to work and noticed a large billboard that stated, “Jesus saved my wife from cancer.” As I stared at this two story sign, it revolved and changed to an ad for a local eatery. That sign really bothered me. Not necessarily the message -but it was the presentation.

    When I got to my office I went online and reviewed Dr Brown’s paper and I found the following passage that really spoke to my heart.

    “To be sure, my hundreds of hours of dialogue and discussion with the rabbinic community

  3. Tom Amiel says:

    Dear Susan. This link might be of some interest to you, as it is written from a Messianic Jewish perspective.


  4. Ralph says:


    I have hesitated to respond within this public blog. I generally reserve my comments to private forums where most of the people are known colleagues, and statements are not projected to whoever comes across the site. And as you know, in the past, in at least one of the private forums we both belong, some have expressed the concern over how instance email responses can quickly lead to people talking pass each other and to ad-homenim attacks and therefore they refuse to participate in the private forum discussions. How much more a public forum? Yet I was surprised that it seems that a few of those same people have weighed in on this blog. So I decided to join in on responding in a more public internet arena than I normally do.

    As you know, in a forum we both belong, I have already expressed my concern over your initial angry response concerning Dr. Brown’s paper.
    I will repeat the gist of it here. I have read Mike’s paper and I do not hold to the same premise that it was a hatchet job and full of add-homenin attacks. His paper in a number of places expresses his gratitude to Mark’s scholarship, acknowledges his personal commitment to the Lord, and even acknowledges that some of Mark’s premises were challenging and forced him to ask searching questions. He clearly states that many of the topics in the book have been presented in a clear, reasoned way that demands our attention. I felt the paper endeavored to avoid personal attacks and kept a balance between expressing perspectives that were both positive and negative. Although very bold in his presentation (which may be a negative to some, but not to me), I feel that Mike pinpointed areas that I know that others within MJ share similar concerns, where some are alarmed and others desire a greater clarity.

    In the software engineering world that I also participate, one of the products of think-tank groups is to put forth “white papers” expressing and defending new ideas to promote innovative solution to processes and problems. These solutions are usually a combination of established, sound defense of known and tried concepts that most see clearly and also a visionary part of ideas that have not been fully implemented. The white paper product of this group are full of expectations and models of how this new idea is “THE solution” . I view Post-Missionary Judaism in the same light as the white paper. It has elements that are clearly seen, known and agreed upon and it has a visionary dimension that has yet to be fully implemented and its outcome untested and thus somewhat experimental in nature. In the software world we depend upon engineers outside the group to weigh in on what is being proposed — offering counter arguments and alternative constructs and projecting possible negative outcome, because it can be too costly to go down a track that may have serious and potential flaws. I think Dr. Brown’s paper plays this part and we need to weigh his concerns in similar manner….for the cost could be great.

    I also add that I don’t see any foul in Mike adding his concern that the centrality of the Yeshua (my take) could be diminished by the implementations of the proposed Post-Missionary approach. Nor is he wrong to be concerned that it may be driven by a desire to be accepted in the larger Jewish world based on conversations he has had with students , colleagues and others within MJ. I am confident to say after 25+ years of being in the MJ movement, that I currently know and have known some who have expressed the need for acceptance and sadly some of them have forsaken Yeshua and are now at home in the Orthodox world. There are others who boldly state how they are part of this traditional synagogue or another as proof of Post-Missionary in action, yet when you press them for whether they are known to be believers in Yeshua — they sheepishly say no or you find that they are not allowed full expression. These are realities and although not tied directly to the PMMJ book, I think anyone discussing the topic will see that they are somewhat related. There is so much to say on this subject, and a blog may not be the best forum to cover it all.

    In any case, I am glad and commend you for dropping the angry arguments, being a mensch by adding a retraction to early mis-statements and moved on to focusing on addressing more substantial points in which you disagree. Maybe it will lead to some great exchange that will bring added insight into the matter.
    One of those in our circle that we both know and respect, challenged us in the area of communication to be able to state the weak areas of the views we hold. You have stated that you agree 99% of PMMJ book, what is the 1% you do not agree and what if any are the weaknesses of the 99% you do agree?

    Blessings to you,

  5. PB and J says:


    thanks for this latest post. i think it really clarifies the entire situation.


  6. Bill says:


    I apologize for the sarcastic remark on yesterday’s blog about engaging the substance of Brown’s five points (“Just a novel thought”). I was not aware of your thoughtful reply above.
    I commend you for sincere theological and practical nuancing here. Thanks.Point taken that the in-your-face street pampheteeting method does not define active witnessing.

    However,(which relates to Browm’s Point #5), I stand by my comment that Kinzer’s PMJ “comes close (not there yet), to “‘salvation by race.'” He draws from Markus Barth, who did hold this view. I do not know if Kinzer affirms that theme in M.Barth. But Brown’s warning is valid. Remember the Ebionites (who reverted to Yeshua- diminishing Judaism), and recall Pirke Avoth’s “All Israel has part in the world to come.” Though people or movements do not always reach the bottom of the slope, slippery slopes are real and if red flags are not heeded, many do reach the bottom. This because of the gravity of fallen human nature and the self-deception of pride of race. As to the danger of PMJ falling prey to the “Messianic Paradox” (Mark 8:35, seeking to save life, while losing it), I enclosed a link to an article I wrote for IJFM, in which I address the Messianic Jewish m’vt on this more in depth. See, especially the second-to-the-last sub-heading of the article entitled “Jewish Identity Crises and Fulfillment” at:



    Finally, a few brief comment on your rejecting #2 above:

    RE: Point #2- You rightly recall the abuses of the church’s supercessionism, and antinominianism. BUT, you and Kinzer seem to equate the Judaism of Yeshua’s day with current Rabbinic Judaism. Big difference! Since the parting of the ways, the “18 Benedictions”, etc., Rabbinic Judaism has morphed in an anti-Yeshua direction, and is at least as far or further from faithfulness to God as the church (“Everyone who denies the Son is aleo without the Father…I Jn. 2:22-23). According to most Rabbinic Judaism, you can believe most anyting (“JuBus”, Jewish atheists, etc), but to profess faith in the Jewish Messiah, you are ostracised. There is something perverse about that, that cannot all be laid to blame on the church. Yeshua remains the scandal, and He cannot be soft-pedaled, watered down, because of the sbuses of history.

    Thanks again for your honest engagement with the ideas above.

    Bill Bjoraker

  7. Derek,

    I apologize for my sarcastic remark on yesterday

  8. A response to some comments by my friend and neighbor Bill Bjoraker.

    Bill, you commit the genetic fallacy here–the assumption that because Kinzer aquotes from Markus Barth that he is infected with all of Barth’s ideas and must be held accountable for Barth’s views. Bill, this is not allowed in logical debate. And biblically, what will we do with Paul who quotes from two pagan philopsophers in Acts 17? Is he therefore accountable for and stained by all of their writings and views? If we are going to disagree on the web, let’s not let our passion drive us to such stigmatizing, unallowable, and proscribed approaches.

    Just for the record, as one who counts Dr. Kinzer as one of my closest friends, your conjecture is utterly unfounded. But now the problem is that the false asociation is out there.

    As for the Ebionites, more recent scholarship has demonstrated that the stigmatized description of them in early sources was politically motivated and not to be taken at face value, And as for

  9. Sorry for the typos in the previous post. Sigh . . .

  10. Stuart,

    So, are you saying that John’s language was more “inflated and intemperate” than divinely inspired? Personally, I would not be comfortable to use terms like “inflated and intemperate” when referring to the words of Yeshua as recorded by His apostles and as preserved in the Word.

    Were the similar statements of the prophets re: our people also “inflated and intemperate”? If I didn’t know you, I would say that expressions like these indicated a somewhat liberal approach to Scripture.

    Your comments?


  11. Bill Bjoraker says:


    I do not agree that I commited “the genetic fallacy” because I qualified what I said in the earler email (copied below): Note I said that I did not scour the text of PMJ to see if Kinzer affirms Barth on this specific point. I believe the warning is still valid. I also qualified the slippery slope argument, as you will see. So, you did not notice my qualifications, and so mischaracterized what I said:

    From my earlier posting:
    “Kinzer draws from and affirms Markus Barth, who believed exactly that about the Jewish people. I have not scoured the text of PMJ to see if Kinzer affirms Barth on this specific point, but the warning still stands. Not every person or movement that starts on a slippery slope reaches the bottom, but slippery slopes are real and if the red flags are not heeded many indeed reach the bottom.”

    As to Pirke Avoth, you may well be right that the rest of Pirke Avoth qualifies the universalist/inclusivist connotations of the opening declaration of the work, though I could not find such in “the very next verse” as you claim, nor in the several pages afterward in my translation (by Samson Raphael Hirsch, Feldman Pub.. Certainly, Paul qualified his statement “All Israel shall be saved”, one passage being– “For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel Rom. 9:6b).

    As to the atrocities committed by professing Christians of European Christendom against Jews, surely this is worse than anything done by Jews against Christians. At issue here is—were those professingf Christians true Christians? At the least, they surely were not following Jesus when they perpetrated such violence. By contrast, note the verbal violence (curses) in the Shmoneh Esrey against Yeshua and his followers, and the current verbal violence by Yad L’Achim, Jews for Judaism, against believers today, the orthodox Satmars in Arad, Israel who have physically acosted believers there, etc. But at the end of the day, this is not a competetion as to who is worse. As I said in my earlier posting, “in fact Paul includes both [Jews and Gentiles] under sin, equally in need of mercy. And regardless of historical reasons for Jewish rejection of Yeshua, everyone must bear their own responsibility and not shift blame, or play the victims.” I do not characterize all of Judaism in toto as negative. I agree with Mike Brown who said that of all religions, Judaism is the most beautiful. but in rabbinic Judaism’s rejection of Messiah, it has become only a human religion and ethical system, a shell of true Judaism.

  12. Bill Bjoraker says:

    Shalom Friends,

    Derek mentioned some of you had wanted to read my article discussing “Jewish Identity Crises and Fulfillment.” The IJFM site was down last week, and Time-Warner, custodians of the IJFM web site, had not fixed it. I understnd it is now up at

    http://ijfm.org (but not at- http://www.ijfm.org)

    Go there. Then search for: Issue 21:3 (July-Sept. 2004), article by Bill Bjoraker, “TO THE JEW FIRST…”: The Meaning of Jewish Priority in World Evangelization.”

    If this is still not accessible, please let me know.

    I here apply what I call

  13. Nancy Kurtz says:

    I just wanted to say that street evangelism isn’t all bad…..I was touched in a very significant way down town Chicago years ago when a street evangelist talked to me. I was very lost and in a spiritual fog. His words cut through all that and made an impact on me. Also, when I was in college, I was into the occult and some street evangelist was handing out tracts. I didn’t take one, but I picked one up off the ground when noone was looking and read it. I still remember those words to this day. They all helped me come to know and love Y’shua. Nancy

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