Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

How do the Orthodox relate to messianic Jews?


  • Please log in to reply
20 replies to this topic

#1 Sacha

Sacha

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 464 posts

Posted 02 September 2010 - 03:25 AM

The Apostle says in Romans 3:29-30:

29Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.31Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law."

How does Orthodox teaching understand what the Apostle is saying above? And as a corollary, do this passage in Scripture inform the church's ecclesiology in relationship to Messianic Jews outside of the church?

#2 Benjamin Amis

Benjamin Amis

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 134 posts

Posted 02 September 2010 - 12:26 PM

I speak from my opinion, and not that of the Church. When I speak correctly, I have learned this from the Church. When I speak in error, it is my own error alone.

That said, I believe we must properly understand how the Church views the Destruction of the Temple in AD 70. It seems to be the consensus of the Church that this was Christ's "coming in judgment" upon the Jewish authorities for rejecting Him. This marks the end of Temple Judaism, which was the central aspect of Jewish worship. There has not been a Jewish temple since Herod's Temple was demolished nearly 2,000 years ago by the Roman General Titus.

This marked the end of Judaism, truly. Without the sacrifices, their relation to God was severed. This judgment was the nullification of the Mosaic law. The purely Rabbic Judaism that followed, with only a vestigial Levite priesthood (which, was replaced by the Order of Melchizedek priesthood, as taught by St. Paul in his Epistles to the Hebrews). Therefore, Judaism is no longer "valid", in Western sacramental terms. There is no need for it, for the temple or the rabbis. We have a functional priesthood and sacrificial system through the Order of Melchizedek, of which Christ is High Priest, and the Eucharist. We maintain the Traditions of the Church as revealed by the Paraclete and maintain the Scriptures, both of the Mosaic Covenant of the Lord and the New Covenant of Christ. Whereas Judaism has not even kept the Mosaic Traditions, departing from them through an "Oral Torah" and the use of the biased and anti-Christian "Talmud"...not to mention the removal of books from their own canon due to their use by Christians to prove Christ. Keep in mind that, at the time of St. Paul's writing, this had not yet happened. The Jews, even as Christians, were expected to follow Mosaic Law. One could be a Jewish Christian, maintaining Mosaic and Christian traditions side-by-side. This became impossible after the Second Temple's destruction.

As for Messianic Jews of today. They aren't an ancient tradition. Messianic Judaism of today is not the "Messianic Judaism" (if you will) of the Jewish Apostles. The modern trend is only about 70 years old and draws from those faulty Masoretic Scriptures and rejects the Church's Traditions. Some Messianics even utilize the Talmud, and attempt to follow the Mosaic Covenant that is nullified by the destruction of the Temple. I don't believe them to be any different than the newer Protestant denominations that are seeking a "revival" back to the traditions of the Early Church. Their motives of most often pure, but unfortunately, like those other denominations, they are historically uninformed and highly inaccurate.

#3 Evan

Evan

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 481 posts

Posted 02 September 2010 - 02:23 PM

They have a zeal for God, but not according to full knowledge.


In Christ,
Evan

#4 Herman Blaydoe

Herman Blaydoe

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,157 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 02 September 2010 - 02:51 PM

Our relationship to Messianic Jews is the same as anyone else outside the Church. They are still outside the Church unless they decide to join themselves to the Church. The Church is the continuing People of God, the New Israel. WE are the "Messianic Jews" by adoption.

#5 Sacha

Sacha

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 464 posts

Posted 03 September 2010 - 02:11 AM

As for Messianic Jews of today. They aren't an ancient tradition. Messianic Judaism of today is not the "Messianic Judaism" (if you will) of the Jewish Apostles. The modern trend is only about 70 years old and draws from those faulty Masoretic Scriptures and rejects the Church's Traditions. Some Messianics even utilize the Talmud, and attempt to follow the Mosaic Covenant that is nullified by the destruction of the Temple. I don't believe them to be any different than the newer Protestant denominations that are seeking a "revival" back to the traditions of the Early Church. Their motives of most often pure, but unfortunately, like those other denominations, they are historically uninformed and highly inaccurate.


I think it's fair to say that many Messianic Jews would strongly object to the above. Saint Paul teaches that faith justifies the circumcised and the uncircumcised alike and there are no qualifiers in the text itself, in Rom 3:29-31 for making a pre AD 70/post AD 70 distinction. So I'm curious to know, is this distinction your own, or the teaching of the church?

#6 Deacon Jonathan

Deacon Jonathan

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 210 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 03 September 2010 - 07:56 AM

Saint Paul teaches that faith justifies the circumcised and the uncircumcised alike and there are no qualifiers in the text itself, in Rom 3:29-31 for making a pre AD 70/post AD 70 distinction.


Understandable, given that St Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans some time in the mid-50's A.D.

#7 Herman Blaydoe

Herman Blaydoe

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,157 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 03 September 2010 - 08:55 AM

They still are not "orthodox" in any sense of the word. The Orthodox Church has no special "ruling" on the subject of "Messianic Judaism"—outside is outside.

#8 Christophoros

Christophoros

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 404 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 03 September 2010 - 01:28 PM

Research on contemporary Messianic Judaism demonstrates it is an entirely modern phenomenon with no connection whatsoever with the historic Church of Christ. It is an attempt to recreate an early sect that died out because it was not in accord with the teaching passed on by Our Lord and His Apostles; it lacked the sanctifying grace which sustains the Body of Christ. It differs little (in its basic self-understanding) from those fundamentalist Protestant groups which believe the Church essentially ceased to exist - in terms of faithful adherence to the "true doctrines" of Christ - a century or two after Christ's death and resurrection. This makes a mockery of Christ's promise that the gates of hades would not prevail against His Church.

In Christ,
Chris

#9 Sacha

Sacha

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 464 posts

Posted 03 September 2010 - 01:36 PM

Understandable, given that St Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans some time in the mid-50's A.D.


What say you Jonathan, is it the church's teaching to declare that Judaism 'ceased' and that God's relationship with the Jews was severed after the destruction of the 2nd temple?

#10 Sacha

Sacha

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 464 posts

Posted 03 September 2010 - 01:41 PM

They still are not "orthodox" in any sense of the word. The Orthodox Church has no special "ruling" on the subject of "Messianic Judaism"—outside is outside.


Then if the church does not make a pre AD 70/post AD 70 distinction regarding the covenant of God with the Jews, and simply regards Messianics as outside, what then of Saint Paul's teaching in Rom 3:29-31?

#11 Benjamin Amis

Benjamin Amis

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 134 posts

Posted 03 September 2010 - 05:58 PM

The pre-/post-AD 70 distinction is taught by the traditional preterist understanding of eschatology which is in line with the Ecumenical Councils of the Orthodox Church and is largely taught within the Church.

#12 Sacha

Sacha

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 464 posts

Posted 03 September 2010 - 10:57 PM

The pre-/post-AD 70 distinction is taught by the traditional preterist understanding of eschatology which is in line with the Ecumenical Councils of the Orthodox Church and is largely taught within the Church.


I have been deeply troubled by the attitude and actions of the Orthodox towards the Jews from the early church fathers and councils onwards to the present day. Nevertheless, if you can point me to some patristic references specifically focused on this idea of true Judaism having 'ceased' and therefore somehow negating Holy Scripture and the Apostle's teaching, I would greatly appreciate it.

#13 Archimandrite Irenei

Archimandrite Irenei

    Community Moderator

  • Administrators
  • 495 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 03 September 2010 - 11:11 PM

Dear Sacha, you will not find much in the way of specific claims on a definitive end-point to Judaism as a distinctive religious group / sect, contained in the Church Fathers. They rarely spoke or speak in terms of defining the contours of groups apart from the Church, except so as to identify error, etc. But what you will find, amply, in the patristic writings is reference to the fact that Israel is the Church, and that any group claiming to be 'Jewish' apart from the Church is so only by clinging to a remnant of the past. That Judaism of the past, i.e., Judaism that does not see and understand Jesus as Messiah and the Church as the true Body of the people of Israel, is for the Fathers a dead and lifeless religion. In this sense, 'Judaism' in that sense ends with Christ, for, from the testimony of the incarnation, Judaism external to the Church is not really Judaism. It is a new religion; something different and aberrant from the faith of the Patriarchs - which is Christianity.

As to the specific question on 'Messianic Judaism': it must be remembered that this is a very recent, modern movement, problematic precisely because it attempts to find in Jesus the Messiah within a context outside the Church. So it creates yet another fragment.

In terms of identifying contours that the Fathers would know and which represent their thinking, it is probably best to refrain from the title 'Jew' or 'Jewish', which has since taken on extraordinarily divergent meanings. From most Fathers' perspective, the matter is fairly straightforward: only one religion is authentically that of the patriarchs, of the covenants of Abraham and Isaac, etc., of the chosen people and the true Israel: the apostolic Church of Christ. Any group may claim to be 'Jewish' by any number of means (bloodline / ancestry, belief, heritage), but in terms of the religion of the covenants, this is solely Christianity.

INXC, Fr Irenei

#14 Sacha

Sacha

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 464 posts

Posted 03 September 2010 - 11:18 PM

I don't see how it can be said that messianic judaism is a recent modern movement when Saint Paul himself says:

Romans 3:29-30:

29Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.31Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law."

Saint Paul is clearly saying above that God will justify, dikaoisei, future tense, active voice, singular, and therefore could be transliterated as 'shall be justifying'. In other words, he is saying that God will put these jews to rights because they placed their faith in Christ and not in their circumcision or other works of the law. And yet, they were still very much jews, otherwise the distinction between them and the gentiles would be moot. They therefore clearly could not have been considered to be part of the Orthodox church, but rather messianic jews in their own right.

#15 Kosta

Kosta

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,516 posts

Posted 04 September 2010 - 12:04 AM

It is indeed the church's understanding that the destruction of the temple and the extinction of the saducees was judgement from above. The jewish council of Jamnia in 90 a.d. excommunicated jewish-christians as heretics and cast them out of synagogues, severing christianity from judaism. This enstrangement is the extinguishing of grace from the jewish community. The withering away of the fruitless figtree.

#16 Father David Moser

Father David Moser

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 3,581 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Cleric

Posted 04 September 2010 - 12:08 AM

I don't see how it can be said that messianic judaism is a recent modern movement


Oh, trust me, what today we see as "messianic judaism" is indeed a modern movement with no continuous connection to the past. What we call "messianic judaism" today could just as easily be called "jewish protestantism" This group for the most part rejects the Gospel teaching of sacraments and the priesthood. They do not maintain any kind of "liturgical" worship (other than that which can be found in most any charismatic baptist or pentecostal church). They do not keep the law in any manner that would be recognizable to an Orthodox Jew today. They are people of jewish heritage who have embraced protestant Christianity and who want to recognize/honor their jewish roots. As a young man, I was closely involved in "messianic judaism" - worshipping with them, learning from them, even passing out tracts on the street corner with Jews for Jesus. They are not anything that the Apostle would recognize as jewish.

There are some whom I would call true "messianic jews" and those are those jews who have embraced Orthodox Christianity. There are many out there, some quite "high profile" (such as Fr James (Aaron) Bernstein in Seattle), but many who are not at all known, simple men and women who worship in our parishes. When asked they will tell you that the Orthodox Church is truly the continuation of that religion that was once called "judaism" (as opposed that that religion which today claims that name).

Fr David Moser

#17 Antonios

Antonios

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,039 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 04 September 2010 - 05:28 AM

I don't see how it can be said that messianic judaism is a recent modern movement when Saint Paul himself says:

Romans 3:29-30:

29Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.31Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law."


What same faith? The same beliefs?

Demonstrate to me the apostolic succession of the Messianic Jews. Of course, having apostolic succession isn't the most important thing, as faith in the Risen Lord is. But it is however a necessary thing in order for a group of believers to claim to be the original church, let alone the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church. The Lord's closest disciples became the pillars of His Church. Those same who sat and fed with the Lord after His Resurrection and whom He revealed the mysteries of the Kingdom. Those who watched Him ascend to the right hand of the Father surrounded by angels, they were also given a charge: To go out to all the world and preach His Gospel and become the shepherds of His flock. Where is this flock?

Who revealed to those Apostle the sacrament of priesthood? The Jews, or the Incarnate Son of God? Who instructed them to lay hands, and to pray, and to spread far and wide and set up churches and ordain bishops and presbyters and deacons? Was it the scriptures, or the Living Word of God? And how did they perform miracles and convert entire lands? By the Torah, or by the Holy Spirit of God.

And the Lord told Simon Peter: "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Do we dare to assume we have such authority, the sinners that we are? Who amongst us has stepped off a boat and walked on the surface of the water towards the Lord before them, and has not allowed the winds and the raging waves of worldly concern distract them? I sink with my very first step! After Pentecost, St. Peter did far greater things than these by the Grace of God.

The Lord has only One Bride, and that is His One Church. He has many servants and hirelings, but only One Bride.

The Lord has only One Body, and that is His Church. And to those whom prepare and purify their hearts, are fed by Him in spirit and in body. Becoming living temples of the Holy Spirit.

Glory to the Lord Jesus Christ! The promise of the Patriarchs! The hope of the Jews! The God of all creation! Glory to Him in the highest!

#18 Jean F. Mayer

Jean F. Mayer

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • 1 posts

Posted 04 September 2010 - 02:54 PM

Just a small side remark: I have read a few books/articles of academic research on Messianic Jews over the past three decades, and it seems that a not small number of people who are involved with Messianic Jewish worship are people without Jewish roots, but who like the kind of atmosphere they find in such groups. It is a mixture of elements of Jewish tradition and modern cultural aspects (e.g. songs with an Israeli flavour) that is attractive to them - along with the feeling that they are re-linking in some way with a supposedly original, Judaizing Christianity. I agree entirely with other comments about the very modern nature of that movement

Obviously, for some people coming from a Protestant background, I can understand how this makes sense - especially since it culturally linked to some sections on Evangelicalism. But as Orthodox Christians, it can hardly be attractive, in my view.

I would definitely make a difference between people who are of Jewish background, are finding their way to Christ and are attempting to find some ways of dealing with their faith in Christ along with their Jewish heritage (without being aware of the Orthodox Church, but usually involved with Evangelical groups), on the one hand; and people of non-Jewish background who are attracted by a somewhat exotic, "Judaizing" form of Christianity. (For Messianic Jews, the life in Israel is far from always being an easy one - they raise once again the issue of assessing "who is a Jew?")

As a small additional information: on issues of Orthodoxy and Jewish identity in contemporary Russia, with the conversion of thousands of Jewish Russian intellectuals to Orthodoxy in the 1960s and 1980s, the is an inetresting book: Judith Deutsch Kornblatt, Doubly Chosen: Jewish Identity, the Soviet Intelligentsia, and the Russian Orthodox Church, University of Wisconsin Press, 2004. There are a few mentions of Messianic Jewish activities throughout the book.

#19 Sacha

Sacha

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 464 posts

Posted 07 September 2010 - 08:41 PM

It is written:

"13I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." 20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. 22Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!"

Romans 11:13-24

#20 Herman Blaydoe

Herman Blaydoe

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,157 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 07 September 2010 - 11:46 PM

And if they decide to join the Church they will be welcomed with open arms.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users