Thursday, June 13, 2013

Conversion Question for Dan

So, Dan, not to put you on the spot but you used the phrase "illegal conversion" earlier today.  Maybe you could talk about (1) how you define the types of conversion in Messianic Judaism (i.e. spiritual vs. legal); (2) whether there is (or should be) such a thing as a "legal" conversion in Messianic Judaism.

I'll be offline for the rest of the evening but look forward to discussing this tomorrow since I'm off all day tomorrow.

Shalom,

Peter

23 comments:

  1. Conversion is not an act of joining a nation or people. Conversion is entering into a covenant with God. (Keritot 9a). The people of Israel functioned as a nation even before the giving of the Torah. God never demanded a physical act for entering the covenant.

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    1. Which conversions are "illegal" and which are "legal"? In other words, what is the "law" for conversion in your opinion? Keep in mind, I understand that there's a difference between being spiritually converted and being legally converted under halachic auspices.

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  2. Biblically, a ritual of conversion (proselyte) is illegal.

    Today, Derek's and Boaz' so-called conversion is illegal. No branch of Judaism recognizes their "conversion." Boaz and his father went to an obscure unauthorized to make conversion Rabbi, and the UMJC whom Derek is so proud to represent does not recognize his "conversion.

    It will be interesting to find out how many in the MJRC are actually halachically Jewish, which BTW is also not biblical.

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    1. You've stated that halachic conversion is illegal and you've implied that the Bible has standards for conversion (because you said that the halacha is non-Biblical).

      It seems like you're saying that the ancient Israelites didn't regulate conversion but that it was entirely between the convert and G-d. Do I understand you correctly?

      I think that conflicts with Exodus 12 and the command to prohibit uncircumcised men from partaking in the Passover meal. To me, this looks like a regulation.

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  3. This is only a regulation that prohibits someone to eat of the Passover. it is not a regulation that prohibit someone to be a covenant member..it is not a conversion item....

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    1. Fair enough.

      What if, though, we could show historically that there was a rabbinically mandated conversion ritual. Wouldn't Matthew 23:2 then become an endorsement of ritualized (i.e. legal) conversion? That is to say, if Yeshua said to obey those who sit in Moses' Seat and those religious authorities mandated a legal conversion process, would that change your mind on the legality of halachic conversion?

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  4. And let's say you are right, what body of Rabbis does have the authority? they cannot agree on anything...

    The rabbinic authority in Israel will accept reform and conservative "conversion if done outside Israel, but will not authorized it in Israel...What kind of a circus is that?

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  5. If a "conversion" is done with the aim of joining a group of people, or a nation, not God, then it is illegal.

    As of Matt. 23. Read Keritot 9a. The sages declared what conversion means, and it was not to join the Jewish nation. It for Joining God.

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    1. Then why does Ruth (a Moabite) say "Your people will be my people"? For her, the aim INCLUDED joining a group of people. Does that make Ruth's conversion illegal?


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  6. Why did you omit "your God is my God?"

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    1. Because that part isn't disputed.

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  7. Peter was already a Jew and yet Yeshua said to him "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."

    And the Apostles message to Jews, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted,"

    1) transitively
    a) to turn to
    1) to the worship of the true God
    b) to cause to return, to bring back
    1) to the love and obedience of God
    2) to the love for the children
    3) to love wisdom and righteousness
    2) intransitively
    a) to turn to one's self
    b) to turn one's self about, turn back
    c) to return, turn back, come back

    This is the meaning of a legal conversion.

    conversion may be different than sojourner and may be distinguished from redemption.

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    1. I should add "turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and children to the fathers" means" cause to convert

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    2. Anonymous,

      Allow me to explain some of the terms I've been using:

      Legal conversion: legally-recognized conversion.

      Spiritual conversion: having a right relationship with G-d.

      Example: an uncircumcised Believer in Yeshua is a spiritual convert but he can't make aliyah under the Law of Return because he doesn't have a legal conversion.

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  8. BTW, Ruth was already a part of the people when she married Kilyon. She married a Jew while still a gentile.

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    1. Dan,

      Can we agree that the State of Israel needs to be able to legally define who is a Jew?

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    2. Ben-Gurion once asked: "who is a Jew?" And then answered: "anyone who wants to be one."

      BTW, Ruth Would have never been able to pass the Gyur (conversion) process in Israel today...

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    3. What would happen to the modern state of Israel if anyone who said "I am a Jew (because I want to be)" could come in under the Law of Return? Would that not be an existential threat to the State of Israel?

      And if it is an existential threat to the State of Israel, why not to other Jewish communities?

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  9. I agree with what Dan has said so far, and I want to add a little.

    Conversion as known today, is anachronistic to the days of Biblical Judaism(this is in reference to a period of time). Now of course, some will say that things change in time and this is allowed, in other words, God has allowed these changes... I would argue yes and no. The scriptures are clear on what God intends for Israel, to be a nation of 12 Tribes with distinct borders and callings, this is not happening today, and has not since the days of Biblical Judaism and will not happen again until the Messianic Kingdom. So what we have today, even in the case of conversion is a inadequate purpose, blurring the distinctions of Israel, granted they have been lost.

    If conversion was a biblical mandate, which tribe were converts brought into, they did not simply become Jews, as a people called "Jews" in a national sense, did not exist until the kingdoms split, thus conversion as we know today, ignores the biblical distinctions setup. Israel was not represented by a group of people called Jews, instead it was represented by 12 Distinct Tribes.

    The fact that God will again resestablish these distinctions means, what we see today, is not the goal, neither before and neither after. In fact what was established in the Torah will be restored, not a new concept, but an old one. Many people say, well we don't live back then, things change, well things will change back to back then, so we should start shooting for what was originally, not what is now, people who try to further the now, are ignoring the future.

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    1. Zion,

      I asked this question to Dan but I'd like to pose it to you as well:

      "What would happen to the modern state of Israel if anyone who said "I am a Jew (because I want to be)" could come in under the Law of Return? Would that not be an existential threat to the State of Israel?

      And if it is an existential threat to the State of Israel, why not to other Jewish communities?"

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    2. Well, Peter, there are almost 3 million Arabs who live in Israel, almost 50% of the Alya from the former SSSR were not Jews, there are many many people who live in Israel and are not Jews. Do you see any exsistential threat so far to Israel? do you here of Israel being ready to change from a Jewish country to something else?

      You can say the same thing of Jews who live outside Israel. Their assimilation rate is over 50%, so do you see any threat to world Judaism?

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    3. "What would happen to the modern state of Israel if anyone who said "I am a Jew (because I want to be)" could come in under the Law of Return? Would that not be an existential threat to the State of Israel?

      And if it is an existential threat to the State of Israel, why not to other Jewish communities?"


      This is happening and has been happening to Israel, especially from Russia and the Ethiopian areas, the threat is already there even with the so called checks in place.

      Also, did you know that some Jews hate Israel, in fact there is a whole movement of Jews who denounce the state of Israel, I am not agreeing with them because like you we both believe the state of Israel to be a fulfillment of prophecy, however even those Jews are an existential threat to Israel, yet some how they are not a threat to their own communities?

      The reality today is that anyone can become a Jew, they can even fake the whole thing... Just look at many in the Messianic Movement, that threat exist no matter what.

      It is believed that ritual conversion was developed for these reasons during the period of the Maccabees and some were forced conversions and others were converted out of fear or the opportunities available, are those people really Jews? These are questions for people to play around with, but they really have no impact on what scripture teaches.

      Israel can do whatever it wants, but that does not mean it is doing what God wants, we have a whole bible showing that. Yeshua when He reigns as the King of Israel will establish the Law correctly and these issues will be corrected. I don't have a solution for Israel other than the Messiah's rule. In the meantime, they will continue to do what they believe is right, whether right or wrong and we will continue to support them as a nation, and simply look forward to the restoration of all things... :D

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  10. Dan and Zion,

    I'll be going offline now but will check back after Shabbat. I've enjoyed this discussion very much. Hope everyone has a good Shabbat!

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