I think you need to re-read my paper, based on the exaggerated comments you present here. On my end, I have read and re-read Dr. Kinzer’s book, going over several sections very carefully, especially after having some brief e-dialogue with Dr. Dauermann on this very blog. Without question, the warnings I have set forth are relevant, without question, the direction that PMJ is taking is ultimately the wrong direction — although it may take another decade or two to fully demonstrate this — and without question, there has been a negative progression over the last 25 years (although, thankfully, not throughout a large portion of the MJ movement).
Since I do not think you are dishonest, I will simply assume you are still a newcomer. Let’s compare notes in a decade, God willing.
Readers who want to know what I actually believe about the points raised in Derek’s blog would do well to read my paper firsthand at: http://realmessiah.org/postMissionary.htm. Also relevant (and based on firsthand experience) is: http://realmessiah.org/tradition.htm.
I have many friends in the MJ movement — congregational leaders in the US and Israel — and I honor what God is doing in their lives and congregations. It is my privilege to be a blessing and help to them. My issue, then, is not with MJ in general but with PMJ, and the better Dr. Kinzer is understood, the more concerned we should be.
Michael L. Brown
It was no exaggeration to say that the ENTIRE point of your paper is that PMJ is on a slippery slope away from Yeshua faith and into Orthodox Judaism. The ENTIRE point of my article, “My Weekend Experience With PMJ,” was that congregations who practice many of the truths found in PMJ are alive in the Spirit and not on a slippery slope away from Yeshua faith. Why can
Over the last 35 years in the Lord, I have had to apologize publicly and privately for words spoken or written, and I expect that I will be apologizing in the future as well. So, if I felt in any way that my paper went too far, I would modify it in a heartbeat, also asking forgiveness of anyone I had offended. In point of fact, one reason for re-reading parts of PMJ and entering into further dialogue with various MJ/PMJ leaders or adherents was in order to see if I had gone too far.
I am, however, convinced by the Word and by practical experience that I did not go too far in my paper, and I do believe that the way you stated things presented an exaggerated picture, as if there was not spirituality to be found in PMJ congregations or as if there was no desire to see Yeshua exalted. Rather, I pointed out the dangerous direction in which PMJ is going, and I have not the slightest doubt about the accuracy of the warnings and concerns I raised at LCJE — otherwise, I would not have communicated in such forceful terms.
The very fact that some issues are being put on the table in PMJ — in particular, issues concerning the salvation of our people Israel and issues regarding submitting to rabbinic halakha — only indicates that concerns I and others raised decades ago are proving true.
Let’s give this ten or twenty years and see where it goes, and let’s continue to challenge one another to seek the Lord, dive into His Word, and glorify Yeshua, where by life or by death.
Each of us will stand before God and it is ultimately to Him that we must give account.
Blessings and grace,
So we see where it lies. Dr. Brown is convinced that Messianic Congregations worshipping Yeshua from within Judaism, repecting rabbinical tradition, and viewing Judaism positively are destined to lose faith in Yeshua and become Orthodox Judaism.
I am convinced that old-school Messianic Congregations will be as non-existent in 20 years as Hebrew Christian Associations are today. I am convinced that Jewish Missions looking down on Judaism and converting Jews into Christians will be gone. I am convinced that Yeshua Judaism (a new term I coined which is growing on me) will grow and, should God choose, will bring Spirit revival in Israel.
If I had the slightest doubts before, my weekend experience at the UMJC NE Regional convinced me to believe. This is right.
I hope the readers are all aware that not all that is called Messianic Judaism is really that.
To understand exactly what I have stated, please read my own words rather than Derek’s version of them. I hate to sound like a broken record here, but I am jealous for the truth.
As for Derek’s predictions and mine — we shall see!
You keep saying people should read your words and not believe my version of your words. I quoted your words, words like: “the path to postmissionary Messianic Judaism is the path to the negation of the true Messianic faith.
Yes, I believe the path articulated by Dr. Kinzer in PMJ is ultimately the path away from the true Messianic faith, which is also why his book finds support in the work of many non-evangelical scholars, some of whom quite plainly state that Jews do NOT need to believe in Jesus to be saved.
My statement, however, about the direction in which PMJ is going is not the only statement in my paper, and I am all too familiar with folks taking a portion of what I write, putting it in on the Internet in inflammatory contexts, and thereby painting a misleading picture. Critics do this to me all the time (with postings and/or comments going into the thousands), and I virtually never reply. But since you are a fellow believer, and since you put out a call for me to respond to your blog, I felt it right to engage you during these recent weeks, always to see the truth be set forth plainly.
In any case, since you make reference to me in such a way as to imply that I believe that, e.g., there is no spirituality in PMJ. readers would do well to read my entire paper, to read Dr. Kinzer’s book, and then to ask, “Have I gone too far?” Feedback I have received from other leaders in recent weeks would tell me that, in some instances, I have not gone far enough.
When your ideas are subjected to strong criticism it seems that there is always something immature or inflammatory or inaccurate about the critique. You play the personal game a lot.
I believe my quotes from your paper were not out of context. I said I would list some of your strong warnings and I did. How is that out of context? What did I say that is inflammatory?
You say that you never denied that PMJ congregations have spirituality. You’ve equated PMJ with Orthodox Judaism, a religion you believe to be false (I merely believe it to be lacking something). So is the spirituality you admit PMJ has a false spirituality? Does it deserve the title spirituality? Is the spirit of the spirituality the Holy Spirit?
Out of one side of your mouth you say PMJ has spirituality. Out of the other side you say it is dangerous, on a path to abandoning Yeshua faith, and that it embraces Orthodox Judaism. Well, which is it?
I, for one, am very respectful of Orthodox Judaism and I see Yeshua within it (unrealized). I do not embrace it. But my experience has shown me that PMJ has something vital that Orthodox Judaism needs: the Holy Spirit and the power of redemption in Yeshua. Yeshua is central in PMJ, not peripheral, as your criticisms suggest.
I hope I was not too inflammatory (sarcastic maybe, but inflammatory . . . ).
It’s really sad (and also a little humorous) to read both your comments, Dr. Brown and Derek!
I have a feeling that both of you are very sincere and are zealous for the truth. Derek, I got to know you over the weekend, and boy, we really got along! And Dr. Brown, do you remember signing a copy of your book “Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus” Vol 2, for a girl named Leah who stopped by at your Fire School in NYC? I have mostly skimmed through it, and you make a lot of good points there!
What makes me sad is that the dialogue you, Derek, have with Dr. Brown is another example of the divisiveness that exists in the world in the name of Messiah Yeshua. Yet Messiah prayed for his disciples: “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23). It is by our unity that we can show the world that Yeshua is really sent by God and that His love is in fact powerful enough to heal our world. But we violate his love every time we get intolerant with the other or accuse the other of insincerity or incompetence. (Derek, wasn’t Dr. Brown more tolerant of you then you were of him?) Of course we all have slightly different visions of how to live out our Messiah’s teachings. So did Paul and Peter. That’s OK. But let’s not put down each other or dismiss each other’s visions out of hand. Each of our Messianic leaders would do well by saying about the other leaders the words of Rabbi Gamliel, “Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourself fighting against God” (Acts 5:38-39). If a normative rabbi could be so generous when it came to tolerance of Messianic Jews, how much more so should we, who are siblings in one Body, show tolerance to each other?!!
In terms of theology and eccliseology (sp?), I am very much in the PMJ camp. In fact, if PMJ did not exist, I would not be a believer in Yeshua (or alternatively, in order for me to believe in Yeshua, I had to come up with a PMJ-type vision for myself–even before I met any other PM Jews.) But that doesn’t mean that PMJ is for everyone. Clearly, you, Dr. Brown, feel that PMJ is way too rabbinicly oriented. And for you that is true! If you had been at the Monday Shacharit service lead by Dr. Kinzer, you probably would not have felt anything. But many other people who were there were relishing the richness of the traditional davvening! Why can’t we accept that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to expressions of Messianic faith and life-style? Some people need more charismatic worship while others need more structure. Similarly, some people need to see the world in black and white (saved vs. not saved) while others need a more inclusive, liberal vision of Messiah’s love. Some people need more grace and others need more moral instruction. Some people prefer to emphasize John 3:16, others Rev. 22:12; some Acts 2:4 and others Mat. 5:17-20. We may feel that our emphasis is absolutely crucial. But let’s be accepting and loving of each other–and give God the chance to be gracious to whom he would be gracious–for the sake of that ideal unity in Messiah Yeshua/Jesus Christ our Lord.
With Blessings to you both,
I fear that if you do not understand my position after reading my paper, talking with me by phone, and having many exchanges here on the blog, then another post won’t do it. However, if you’d like to talk again by phone to try to clarify things, let me know by email and we’ll pursue it. As for your claim that I play the personal game a lot, I don’t remember being accused of that over the years — and I’ve been accused of a lot of things! — and it is those kind of comments on your end that make me regret any involvement on this website.
Leah, thanks for your comments, which I very much appreciate. In point of fact, I do not believe that one size fits all, and for many years, I have not made an issue about MJ’s who are rabbinically oriented. I differ with it, but I do not raise it as an issue, not claiming that my practices are the only correct ones. However, when a MJ leader writes a book calling on all MJ’s to submit to rabbinic halakha and states that we are commanded by God to be Torah-observant (also in a rabbinic way), when he urges us to get out of the churches and into MJ congregations, when he calls on Gentile believers to change their witnessing posture to Jews, when he calls on Jewish believers to enter into a post-missionary mentality, dancing very closely to a two-covenant theology, then I need to speak up, hence my paper at LCJE, to which Derek took angry exception, based on the contents of that paper.
The reason Derek and I spoke by phone weeks ago — at my suggestion — was that I was not happy with the tone of our emails (and I apologized to him on the phone for a combative tone on my part), and I was about to drop out of these blogs entirely until I spotted Derek’s latest post. In any case, time does not permit my continued involvement in this blog, so I pray for blessing and grace on all involved and welcome private interaction from Derek.
Pingback: Hakim Abdullah
We had a visit from a Muslim blogger named Hakim. He left a link to an article on his website.
It is an interesting article on correlations between Muslim and Jewish prayer traditions. I encourage readers to follow the trackback to read Hakim’s article, “How Do Jews Pray?” at:
I ran across this posting, was impressed by what you wrote and wondered if I could share a few thoughts. As you kindly pointed out, I was there as well. I have a few observation to make about the interesting conversation with Dr Brown and would also like to comment on what Leah said:
my weekend experience at the UMJC NE Regional Conference…did not find sterile liberalism. I did not find an embrace of Yeshua-less Judaism. I did not find a lack of passion for witness to Yeshua within the Jewish people.<<<<<
I would definitely agree with this assessment. I saw none of those things either.
You know this is a very interesting post. I love What Dr. Brown said and Derek (Congrats on the new baby, he’s sooo cute) what you said made sense also. Me personally, I wouldn’t mind being more orthodox. I wouldn’t mind it at all. However, as much as I have prayed to HaShem about this, He has not changed my situation. So evidently, not now. I don’t know how much more time that we have. Yesterday my sister was given a revelation from HaShem. I drove all the way down to Merced for her to tell me this. He told us that English was not the pure language, it was the end time language and that when the english language spread throughout all the world, then the one world government/religion would begin. I got a “do not study this” on the kabbalah. I had been reading this teaching on the book of Hebrews, etc. He also said “Stay away from any man made religion.” Exact quote, people. Also, to learn to love him like David did, (that was for me also) have an effective, articulate spirit like Stephen, and there is a correlation between the two sons and the father and the vineyard. He also told me to study the book of the Psalms. Any suggestions? Commentaries?
Oh, also before I forget. My sister and I had an argument about the best translations of the bible. HaShem told my sister to ask me some questions.
Did I trust Him?
Did I believe that He parted the Red Sea for Israel to cross?
Did I believe that He put a cloud to guide Israel?
And Who was I to question him about the translation of the bible?
He had chosen before the foundation of the world ( I think that’s right) who would translate the language of the bible. Each person was divinely chosen for that task.
He also said that when we were in trouble or persecuted, he would be there with us. I think this is all he said, it’s late here and I can’t call my sister to make sure I got everything. If I forgot anything I’ll post it later. Now I have to go and sing to my father for my prayer language. He said I could have it today. Whoopee!
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