Saturday, April 20, 2013

Listen to Rudolph's Sermon: Do You Agree or Disagree that Yeshua Promoted Ethnically Segregated Congregations?

I'll post a link to the message at the end of this.  It's an audio message of a sermon delivered by Rudolph (author of "Introduction to Messianic Judaism") the other week.  In the message, Rudolph quotes from Matthew 10 and then says:

"Yeshua only sends his shlichim to a particular ethnic group--fellow Jews-- and he specifically says not to go to other ethnic groups.  Why was this?  Why was Yeshua so exclusive? …It's because that was his mission."

And then he answers a question from earlier in the sermon about whether it's okay to have separate congregations based on ethnic mission:

"So is it okay to have a Chinese church?  Absolutely."

I think Rudolph might've skipped the following passage:

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

At any rate, listen to the following sermon and let me know if you agree or disagree with Rudolph.  Is it good to have congregations segregated based on ethnicity?  Did Yeshua really say to do that?  Here's the link:


Here's a bit that Rudolph asked me to include for contextual purposes:

On one occasion, a Gentile woman appealed to Yeshua for help. The Messiah’s reply tells us much about the commitment he had to his mission....Yeshua answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:21-24).
The text goes on to tell us that the Gentile woman didn’t accept No for an answer, and in holy chutzpah she pleaded to Yeshua for help. Yeshua eventually acknowledged her impressive faith and granted her request. May all of us learn to persevere in our coming before the Lord as she did! Though Yeshua granted her request, the fact remains that he reluctantly did so. Why was this?  As Yeshua said to her, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” This was his mission.But did that mean Yeshua did not care about the woman? That he lacked compassion for the Gentile world? Far from it! Yeshua had a plan to reach the hundreds of people groups around the world, but only later, after he had gone to his own people. Yeshua’s plan was that, after his death and resurrection, some of his shlichim would continue his mission to fellow Jews while others, like Paul and Barnabas, would go to the Gentiles.Paul describes the dual mission that existed in his own day. He writes in Galatians 2:8-9:For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. So, is it okay to have a Chinese church? Absolutely. This is the way Hashem works. He calls different people and different communities to bring his besorah (his good news) to different ethnic groups, beginning with his people Israel.


  1. What did he command them to teach the nations? Our hint is Acts 15. It's pretty simple.

  2. "All that i have commanded you (to tach the nations)"

  3. Yah, MR. Rudolph...Like one cut of the knife will change one's ethnicity....That also begs the question,,,Is derek leman become a safaradic or Eshkenazi Jew?

    These guys are now scraping the bottom of the barrel.....

    1. Here's a little context for readers who may not understand Dan's reference:

      "Through the formal recognition of conversion, the rabbis created a legal and ritual process whereby biological fact was to be understood as altered by legal fiction...By accepting the terms of the Covenant that bound the nation together, one could become a member of that nation even though one lacked the biological or genealogical component of identity shared by other members..." [Gentile Impurities and Jewish Identities by Hayes]

      So, as strange as it may sound, groups like UMJC really do preach that a non-Jew can alter his ethnicity--at least in the legal sense.

    2. The Rabbis never taught that the biological line or ethnicity of a person was changed by the conversion process. This is an absurd representation of the rabbinic view on conversion that was spread by Tim Hegg and others. That it is clearly false can easily be demonstrated by the following.

      The Rabbis have always taught that some important obligations remain to one's next of kin, especially one's parents, remain in effect after conversion. This wouldn't be so if conversion actually changed the biological line.

      Another demonstration is that if what Hegg and others have said were true, this would result in permissible incest. For if a man and his sister both converted, they would be permitted to marry each other after conversion since their biological ties no longer would exist. The Rabbis never taught such monstruous ideas and always held that the conversion process only affects one's legal status. The effect of conversion is that a person of non-Israelite legal status obtains legal Israelite status. There are two ways legal Israelite status is granted to anyone. The first is proper natural birth, the second is rabbinic conversion.

      There occurs nothing mysterious in one's line of descent. Nor is there a legal fiction involved. It is a completely matter-of-fact legal procedure, which is on the same level as obtaining American nationality.

    3. The Rabbis never taught that the biological line or ethnicity of a person was changed by the conversion process.

      A convert was never to be reminded of their previous status, but they are now 'a Jew with a Jewish soul being restored to a Jewish body', this involves a biological aspect, it may not have been the full conclusion, but it was definitely part of the magical procedure.

      So what you are saying is simply not true.

    4. Messianic613,

      With all due respect, the term "Jew" denotes an ethnic descendant of Israel. So how then can the Rabbis call a ritual convert a Jew? They do it by creating a legal fiction. You seem to think that I'm disparaging the idea of legal fiction. I'm not at all. As someone who has been trained in American law, I understand perfectly well the usefulness of legal fictions.

      A legal fiction such as ritual conversion implies a legal system to enforce it. In the case of Jewish ritual conversion, we're talking about either the modern state of Israel or any of the various sects of Judaism. The question is: does the non-Messianic procedure of conversion take into account the reality of the New Covenant? I believe the answer is no.

      The reality is that non-Jews may join the New Covenant and become part of the Kingdom realm of Israel, citizens with rights bestowed by G-d to identify with Israel and to keep the covenant made with Israel. The mystery of the New Covenant is that it includes even non-Jews, elevating their legal status to be co-heirs with Jews. This is a grave responsibility given to provoke non-Believing Israel to jealousy.

      You could even say that in the New Covenant, the conversion of non-Jews is a type of legal fiction. After all, non-Jews (most of them) are not literal descendants of Abraham. Yet, according to Paul, that's precisely what non-Jewish members of the New Covenant become.

      Hope this helps to clarify...

    5. I wonder why The gentile converts in the Apostolic Writings were still called proselytes...Did they knew something that we don't?

    6. "Did they knew something that we don't?"

      To identify them. It's common to identify someone as a convert even today (because converts, for example, cannot marry cohanim), but the children born to them are no longer identified as such. In our siddur we have a prayer that blesses "righteous converts". Every membership/entry application (in Orthodox synagogue or school) that I saw requires the applicant to state if they are a convert and who converted them.

      So, it's not so strange to identify a convert as such today, and it wasn't strange in the first century either.

    7. It does not matter much whether the term 'Jew' is reserved for ethnic descendants of Israel or includes proselytes. Whether the procedure is called a legal fiction doesn't much matter either. The relevant point is that the Rabbis clearly acknowledge that the Gentile who has become an Israelite by legal procedure still has some obligations to his natural parents and relatives. This is part of the halachah. And thus it is clear that these ties are not simply erased, as is also clear by the examples I gave.

      It is also abudantly clear that proselytes were a recognized class in the NT.

      But to take the sting out of this debate, I would say that the existence of a conversion procedure need not at all be viewed as in conflict with a One-Law perspective. There are simply diverse levels of inclusion in the Covenant, as I said earlier. A born Jew and a proselyte are only included in the temporal (or this-world) aspects of the Covenant. To have an inheritance in the the World to Come both must have renewed hearts by saving faith in Messiah Yeshua. So it is saving faith which includes in the eternal aspects of the Covenant. As I said in a former comment, it could well be that Paul taught that conversion was unnecessary for Gentiles who had saving faith, since the inclusion in the eternal aspects of the Covenant (membership of the New Covenant) seems to imply membership in the renewed Sinai Covenant. These Gentiles are thus already members of the Sinai Covenant and there's no need for conversion.

      Paul does nowhwere attack the legal validity of legal conversion per se. He only warns believers not to enter it, since it would be a confession that were not yet covenant members. This would be a denial of the fact that they were actually covenant members in and through (their faith in) Messiah.

      Gentile converts who didn't believe in Yeshua, or who converted before they knew Messiah, were still recognized as proselytes. The concept of a proselyte is in itself not problematic in the NT. The only point is that it is not for believers in Yeshua.

    8. Messianic 613,

      If I understand you correctly, I think I agree with just about everything you said.

  4. The vision of Messianic Judaism is for it to become another branch of Judaism. This means they view it not as as being involved with the consummation of the Kingdom of God via the return of Yeshua...but instead that Messianic Jewish congregations are not too different from ethnic church groups, many of which assemble separately because of distinct language issues.

    1. Language is a barrier that be overcome usually within a year when classes are offered in the congregation. Here's my question for you:

      Do you think it's appropriate to segregate the Body based on ethnicity? And, if so, what would be the Scriptural justification for that?

      I'm interested in learning how others approach this issue.

    2. While there will always be some degree of specialization to consider with various groups (case by case), the general rule should not be the kind of separation often advocated by Messianic Jewish groups.

    3. "many of which assemble separately because of distinct language issues."

      I guess we need another Acts 2 event.....

    4. "I guess we need another Acts 2 event....."

      We need another Acts 15!

    5. Re: We need another Acts 15!

      Or a time-machine...

  5. "We need another Acts 15!"

    we have it with the UMJC and BE....De-Ja-Vu all over again...Gentiles who seek salvation have to become Jews, or get out....

    1. "Gentiles who seek salvation have to become Jews, or get out...."

      Not in this universe, Dan.

  6. Rudolph compares cultural church's(ie. a Chinese Church) to that of the understanding of BE, but the comparison or analogy fails, and here is why...

    I had a good friend at college, who was Hispanic and also a Christian. He invited me to his church, which was a culturally Hispanic church, full of Hispanics, that day I felt like the whitest man alive on the planet(being of Scottish decent). :P I remember thinking, they probably won't want me there, because I am not part of their culture, quite the opposite, I was like the token boy, but in a good way. They invited to participate in every way, me being Whitey McGee and completely not part of their culture was not a barer or a boundary.

    In the case of Bilateral Ecclesiology, my ethnic background is more important than my faith or at least my place within the Body of Messiah. I would not be allowed to participate in many functions, regardless if I wanted to or not, because of my ethnicity, and my children would be segregated from their friends on account of how they were born. It simply would not be a healthy environment for the Body of Messiah and especially not for children.

    1. "Rudolph compares cultural church's(ie. a Chinese Church) to that of the understanding of BE, but the comparison or analogy fails, and here is why..."

      I also think that this analogy (considering Jews as simply another cultural group among many within the "Church" with "rights" to its own modes of worship) fails. Israel the people (a.k.a. Jews) is of far greater eschatological significance, and this fact has has little to do with the modern construct of race or ethnicity (and especially mere cultural trapping).

  7. "Not in this universe, Dan."

    Tell it to them, Gene....

  8. "I also think that this analogy (considering Jews as simply another cultural group among many within the "Church" with "rights" to its own modes of worship) fails. Israel the people (a.k.a. Jews) is of far greater eschatological significance, and this fact has has little to do with the modern construct of race or ethnicity (and especially mere cultural trapping)."

    Only because Yeshua is Jewish, not because Gene or Dan are Jewish....