Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Judaism or Jewishism: Re-examining Stuart Dauermann's Criteria For Messianic "Judaism" in Light of His Recent Rant About Messianic "Jewishism"

As everyone in the Messianic world knows by now, Stuart Dauermann recently had a meltdown online ("the rant") and called out non-Jews for "taking Jewish treasures" [] "without so much as an 'excuse me'."  

What is precise nature of this accusation, that non-Jews in the Messianic movement are not involved in Messianic Judaism but rather Messianic Jewishism?

"The Rant" contains some clues:

(1) the "Jewish treasures" belong to Jews exclusively.  These are presumably articles such as the Tallit and Tefillin.  But given that he uses the phrase "covenant markers" then we can also include the Moedim and Kashrut.  Everything really.

(2) But once a non-Jew converts and becomes, in Dauermann's eyes, a Jew then suddenly (magically) it's completely permissible for a non-Jew to take on "Jewish treasures."

But what is the actual criteria for Messianic Judaism in Dauermann's view?

He says this in a post from 2011:

"According to Jacob Neusner, for a religion to call itself a “Judaism,” it must embody three components:
[1] The foundational place of Torah as revealed to Moses at Sinai, together with other religious documents in addition;
[2] the belief that its adherents throughout time and in all places are part of that “Israel” that God constituted as a royal priesthood and a holy nation at Sinai; and
[3] a commitment to live in accordance with Torah as the foundation of the distinctive lifestyle of the people claiming this “Judaism” as their own.
  • In common with other Jews, we claim as our own not only the Torah but also the rest of the Tanakh [commonly called the Old Testament].  But, uniquely, we also regard the B’rith Khadasha [also known as the New Covenant Scriptures] as our Scriptures.
  • In common with all other Jews, we see ourselves as part of that people who stood with Moses at Sinai, “a royal priesthood and a holy nation.”  But uniquely, we see non-Jews who embrace Yeshua as Messiah as our spiritual kindred, brothers and sisters to whom we owe honor and respect not as strangers, but as family.  We recognize that we all stand to benefit as we learn from each another, while continuing to honor our distinct callings in the purposes of God.
  • We live out our commitment to a Torah-based lifestyle, as do other forms of Judaism, within the context of being part of this people. Therefore, the Jewish tradition is ours to embrace and to interpret, but not ours to jettison. To do so is to separate from that people of whom we claim to be a part, and of whom we must be a part, rooted at Sinai, if we are to indeed be a Judaism.
  • Of course, informing all of these areas of uniqueness is our conviction that Yeshua of Nazareth is the Messiah of whom Moses, the Prophets and the Writings spoke.  Although this is certainly not the majority view of Jewish people, we remain committed both to what is uniquely ours as Messianic Jews and to the heritage we share in common with all who claim Torah, Judaism and the Jewish people as their own." FROM:

I think most Messianic non-Jews would agree with Neusner's three elements listed above and consider themselves as part of Messianic Judaism because they feel they (1) view Torah as foundational (2) believe that they are part of Israel and (3) are committed to the distinctive lifestyle that Torah entails (even if they don't fully understand it yet).

The real issue then is who belongs to the covenant of Israel?  And how does this initiation occur?  Dauermann says initiation occurs via ritual circumcision.  The Scriptures indicate it occurs via faith/grace.

What are your thoughts?  Do you agree/disagree with Dauermann?  Why? Why not?


  1. Some one is jealous... and has a lot of disdain for gentiles who are seeking to keep God's commandments.

  2. Be careful accusing Dauermann of jealousy... I did that on James' blog and he and PL got bent out of shape... LOL! Love those guys!

  3. Interestingly, without benefit of seeing what you have written here, I have developed my own three-point agenda that mirrors these ideas rather well. My view is called TOGI, and the three points are:

    1) Torah Observance
    2) Gentile-inclusiveness
    3) Israel-centism

    My first two points are obviously parallel to Neusner's statement here. Gentile-inclusiveness permeates the whole topic he is treating--the terms under which we welcome Gentiles into a Jewish sectarian community. We are assuming, per Neusner's third point, that Gentiles are desirous of joining with Israel, and Israel is prepared to welcome them.