Wednesday, January 1, 2014

UMJC to Non-Jews: "First Reject Yeshua THEN We'll Accept You as a Fellow Jew"

The other day, a reader asked me a question about the UMJC.  He asked why the UMJC seemed to have so many problems.

I struggled to think of a short answer.  But I have it now!

UMJC rabbis (e.g. David Rudolph of Tikvat Israel) openly teach that non-Jews do not belong at Messianic Synagogue.  BUT...if a non-Jew goes through any non-Messianic conversion process (which involves rejecting Yeshua through communal and/or halachic norms) then that non-Jew may return to the UMJC and be accepted---as a Jew!

Here's Tim Hegg describing this same phenomenon (though he doesn't reference a specific organization):

"[The desire to be accepted by the unbelieving Jewish community] causes a subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) rejection of Gentiles within some Messianic congregations.  While most would never speak it directly, many leaders openly discourage Gentiles from joining the Messianic Synagogue, voicing their opinion that Gentiles should find other communities of worship and leave Messianic Judaism to the Jews.
     On the other hand, those who come into the Messianic Synagogue as 'converts' to Judaism (whether in Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform settings) are welcomed and accepted.  The logic in this is astounding!  Theoretically, if a Gentile believer desired to be fully accepted in this form of Messianic Judaism, he could go to the non-believing Synagogue, convert, and then return to the Messianic congregation with paper in hand and be accepted as a Jew.  This gives him the right to a 'unique relationship to the Torah' which he did not have before.  Where is the Scriptural basis for that?" pgs 137-138 of Hegg's "Fellow Heirs"


  1. I thought Ephesians 2:14-15 was quite clear. Perhaps I am missing something ? "For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace"

  2. This seems strange, but I can somewhat understand the logic. A person who has converted to Judaism has gone through intensive study and evaluation. This is not just liking Jewish stuff. I am not aware of any other ethnic group that has been overwhelmed and dominated by those outside the target group. That is the problem. How can you invite your friends and family to a "messianic," congregation where Jews are in the minority? And not only does MJ attract gentiles in

  3. But look at how this worked out in history: The one new man ended up swallowing the Jews among them along with all the Jewish practices, and then turning with a vengence upon the Jewish people.

    So, I don't believe in being unkind and unaccepting, but at the same time, a non-Jew in Jewish space has to (whether this is considered fair or not) undergo scrutiny as to their motivation and willingness to learn and serve, not rule and dictate to us or seek what is comfortable for them. They have plenty of places to do this. We have already seen lots of bad fruit of this. As far as I know, there doesn't even exist a "Jewish Only," space on social media, much less in a congregation.

  4. How it worked out in history is irrelevant. God's word stands true regardless what mankind does with it. God has set the standard and by that standard we will be judged.

  5. Great quote from Fellow Heirs. "Where is the Scriptural basis for that?" sums up this problem well.

    I wrote about this topic some time ago in Messianic Judaism has an inferiority complex, driven by the desire to be accepted, it shuns non-Jews seeking God's Torah.

    It is neither Scriptural nor logical that we would turn away gentiles seeking Torah unless they first convert to Judaism, which typically involves rejecting Messiah.

    The counter argument is that conversion can be done without rejecting Yeshua, e.g. through the MJRC. And yet, gentiles converting to Judaism -- even if retaining faith in Messiah -- is something the New Testament opposes, particularly in Paul's letters.

  6. So, Gentiles should renounce Y'shua and accept Judaism first? For the sake of Jewish what? Shalom? I thought that came from Someone else.

    Granted, the Torah commands separation from the nations. But what is absent in this heretical presentation is this: Yah left the door wide open for the nations to attach themselves to Israel through Torah. I would quote examples from scripture from Ruth to Cornelius, but they are already known and ignored.

    What I see David Rudolf doing is displacing the Torah mechanism for Gentiles to join with Israel by renaming it. The 'Christian' claim is now, "It is based on faith in Y'shua that Gentiles become clean". But last I heard, Y'shua is the Word. He is the Living Torah. When seen in this light, this false dichotomy becomes a difference without a distinction. All who come to the Father, come through... Who? An orthodox Jewish Rabbi Who taught NOTHING but proper Torah observance - for Jew and Gentile alike. He is welcome to read into the teachings of Sha'ul all the errors he likes for the sake of Jewish preeminence in shul and Jewish cultural markers. But it all starts and ends with the Living Torah - Y'shua.

    He is correct about separation of Y'srael unto Yah via Torah. He simply doesn't acknowledge or express the rest of the equation. Bene Adam are all His children. Ultimately, He wants all His children separated unto Him through His instruction, His Word, His Torah. That too is the Law. He wanted the Jews to minister to the Gentiles so that they could 'enter in' also. But the Jewish leadership of Y'shua's day didn't drop the ball. According to Messiah, they hid it; causing Gentiles to become twice the children of sheol! They blocked their entrance through Torah to Israel and to Yahuah. So says Y'shua, His Word, His Torah.

    I see from his remarks that Jewish attitudes haven't changed much. If we as Jews have sooooo much faith in our Creator, why are we so concerned about being outnumbered in shul by converts? We should celebrate our successes to His honor, not whine about being outnumbered! Democracy in church is a greek tradition. In shul? Not so much. Let's put the focus back on Him, shall we?

  7. Shalom shalom my dear chaver,

    I do not accept that the Brith Chadashah teaches non-conversion. History teaches that Messianic Jew and Gentile observed all mitzvot and moedim as they became more indoctrinated by learning Moses each shabbat.

    I believe that Sha'ul taught avoidance of the tradition of the Elders on the matter of 'the Circumcision' because it added to Torah; much as Y'shua taught about tithe, hand washing and so many other things.

    I cannot agree more on your other comments, especially on the topic of Bipolar Ecclesiology. ;)

  8. Hi Princess,

    The history that you speak of was the result of a political entity (ancient Rome) that fomented antisemitism for a specific purpose. Their agenda was to co-opt Messianic Judaism and turn it into a new national religion: Christianity.

    I don't think this compares well with modern Messianic Judaism. Here the slant seems to be against Gentile inclusion rather than Jewish exclusion.

    I will readily concede that those congregations that practice majority rule (a concept found nowhere in scripture) do overwhelm the Jewish membership. But two wrongs don't make a right as the old saying goes.

    I have seen many Messianic shuls that go to the opposite extreme, pushing non-scriptural traditions on the Gentile membership. While I agree that observant Jews are typically better suited to teach the nuances of Torah and the background of traditions, cultural imperatives have no priority above Torah whether from Jewish or Gentile perspectives. Too many times we end up with Gentiles and Jews teaching cultural traditions on a par with scripture.

    As far as your other concerns, I suggest following Rabbi Josh Yuter or registering with or, where there are no Gentile Only areas either.

  9. Sorry, I am not familiar with the people/groups you mentioned. It is not that Jewish living persons should push Jewish traditions upon gentiles, but that gentiles should not show up in Jewish space unless they share the same devotion and focus. There are plenty of places they can live like whatever brand of gentile they desire. Jewish believers certainly don't agree about a lot of things, and I would surmise that most of the ones calling the shots didn't grow up Jewish and wouldn't even be considered halachicly Jewish. And perhaps part of the problem is that we keep trying to tweak a manmade system and a bad one at that, rather than dumping the whole caboodle and starting from scratch.

  10. It's just a factor of human behavior. There are a small number who really, like Ruth, choose to join themselves to the Jewish people. But most just enjoy Jewish stuff and don't understand or share our heart. For example, you get those who (arrogantly) profess: We only follow torah;we don't follow rabbinics like those (inferior) Jews do. Well, they don't follow torah because they don't know the original language and aren't even learning from one who does, nor do they understand the history and culture that inform torah. I can understand that our history, sages and culture are not theirs, so why should they buy into it? So let them have their own congregation where they can do all sorts of things I find offensive. I want to find a place to share with those who are of a kindred spirit; not have to defend myself and argue. I want to find those who share my history and we are somewhat on the same page without having to explain everything. Jewish people have a way of thinking and relating that most gentiles don't get. I would really like to fellowship with Jewish people and be in a place where I am not a minority and I can relax and not have to follow gentile rules of social engagement.

  11. Regarding the, "outnumbered by converts," issue, it is a problem, if you present yourself as a "Jewish thing," and you are not a Jewish thing. The local JCC's are open to anyone who wants to join, regardless of religious affiliation. But at least 85% are Jews. So their, "open enrollment," is not problematic. The more gentiles they attract, the fewer Jews they will attract, ad infinitum. The gentiles that are attracted are also more likely to be those who would make a Jewish person uncomfortable.

  12. I looked up those two sites you mentioned, and I don't think I would be welcome as a Jewish believer. The second site had an interview with Tovia Singer, but the interviewer sounded like he was attempting to be fair. Schtik is only 600 people and both those sites seem more like they are suited for singles looking to connect. I am a part of several Israel advocacy sites and they all know I am a believer and have no problem. But some groups are frightened by, "missionaries."

  13. I like that; "bipolar ecclesology." :)

  14. Correct that there is no political entity in the mix currently. But I see the same spirit rising up. First the outside group does all kinds of Judeophiliac stuff, expecting to find love and acceptance. When they fail to find that, they turn, as Hell hath no fury like a religious person spurned. So we will see the arrogant animosity of, "We only do torah, they follow rabbinics," harden into hatred and malevolence. My advice is to do what you believe you are called to do and don't worry about whether anyone accepts you or not.

  15. Hi Peter,

    Forgive me in advance for any errors. My computer is down and I'm posting from my phone. (I'll get back with you too Princess as soon as I am able...)

    UMJC seems to be perpetuating the prejudices that have permeated Judaism and Christianity for thousands of years. The further we look back, the clearer the picture becomes.

    When Sha'ul spoke of the wall of hostility, though he spoke of a real wall in the Court of the Goyim, he was really addressing this prejudice. Despite his best efforts, nothing has changed. This is also what Messiah Y'shua addressed in Matthew 23.

    A friend once told me, 'cockroaches run from the light'. Can you provide me with a link to some of these teachings? I would love to share. ;)