Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What is Messianic Judaism? [UPDATED]

This may seem like such a basic question for those of us who have been in the movement for many years.  But this basic question is not so easy to answer.  And if you look across the internet you will find some really terrible definitions for Messianic Judaism.  Here's a few examples:

Wikipedia:  "Messianic Judaism is a syncretic religious movement [that] blends evangelical Christian theology with elements of religious Jewish practice..."

That's pretty bad.  Here's one from a UMJC pamphlet I just picked up this past weekend:

"What is Messianic Judaism?  Messianic Jews are Jewish people from all walks of life who have come to believe in Yeshua...as the promised Jewish Messiah of Israel.  Today, there are tens of thousands of Messianic Jews in the United States alone..."

Messianic Judaism is Messianic Jews?  Shouldn't we have a definition that takes into account the fact that the overwhelming majority in Messianic congregations are not even Jewish!

So let's have some better definitions!  Any brave souls out there?  Let's discuss...


The following are pertinent excerpts relating to the definition of Judaism:

"What is Judaism?  Is it the religious behavior of all people who call themselves and are known to others as Jews, Israelites, and Hebrews?  Or is it an ideal set of beliefs and practices against which the practices and beliefs of real Jews are to be measured and judged?  If the former, Judaism is a relativistic construct of human beings, and no variety of Judaism is any more correct or authentic than any other.  This is the perspective of the historian.  If the latter, Judaism is a body of absolute truths revealed by God and/or sanctioned by tradition, and those interpretations of Judaism that more nearly approximate these absolute truths are truer and more authentic than those that do not.  This is the perspective of the believer,"  pg. 130 From the Maccabees to the Mishnah by Shaye Cohen.

The New Encyclopedia of Judaism:

"Judaism  The monotheistic faith of the Jews.  The word itself (Yahadut) does not appear in the Bible.  It is first found in II Maccabees and in Esther Rabbah (7:11).  It appears to have been coined by Hellenized Jews (using the Greek word Judaismos) and denotes both a religious and a national concept.  The question of whether the Jews constitute a religion, a nation, or both, has been discussed for centuries, especially since the EMANCIPATION..."Judaism" is an all-embracing concept incorporating not only the ritual aspects, and has been described as an entire 'way of life,' or 'civilization.'"

The Encyclopedia of Judaism Vol. II:

"JUDAISM, DEFINITION OF:  A Judaism is a religion that [1] for its way of life privileges the Pentateuch and finds in the Five Books of Moses the main rules defining the holy way of life, [2] for its social entity identifies the group that embodies faith as the Israel of which the Hebrew Scriptures speak, and [3] for its world view recapitulates the experience of exile and return that the Pentateuch sets forth....Dealing with the diversity of Judaisms within Judaism proves somewhat easier if we simplify our terms and speak not of 'the religion, Judaism' but of a 'Judaic religious system.'  A religious system comprises three components:
[1] A world-view...
[2] A way of life...
[3] A particular social group...
...How do we tell when all three are present and thus define a social group, a Judaism?  We look for the emergence of a striking and also distinctive symbol, something that expresses the whole all together and at once...that captures the whole and proclaims its special message:  its way of life, its world-view, its conception of Israel.  For a Judaism, such a generative symbol may be 'Torah,' God's revelation to Moses at Sinai.  Or it may be 'Israel,' God's holy people.  Or, of course, the generative symbol may come to concrete expression in the conception of God."

The Blackwell Companion to Judaism:

pg. 11 "The approach we work out here requires us to describe not Judaism as a whole--all the Judaism of all times and all places set forth through the common denominator that holds them together--but a Judaism, that is to say, a single religious system.  Such a system will be composed of three elements:  a world-view, a way of life, and a social group that, in the her and now, embodies the whole.  The world-view explains the life of the group, ordinarily referring to God's creation, the revelation of the Torah, the goal and end of the group's life in the end of time.  The way of life defines what is special about the life of the group.  The social group, in a single place and time, then forms the living witness and testimony to the system as a whole and finds in the system ample explanation for its very being.  That is a Judaism."

pg. 3 "Judaism is a religion, so we begin by asking what we mean when we define religion in general and one religion in particular....Religion combines belief or attitude, world-view, which we may call 'ethos,' and also behavior or way of life or right action, which we may call...'ethics.'  ....religion [also] explains the social world made up by people who believe certain things in common and act [in common] and so [we may call this aspect] ethnos.  These three things together--ethos, ethics, and ethnos--define religion, which forms the foundation of the life of many social entities in humanity."

pg. 4  "...public consensus [of practicing Jews] defines the faith..."

The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions:

"Judaism.  The name 'Judaism' emerged at around the opening of the Christian era...Like other aggregating names of major religions, it is misleading if it implies that there is uniformity of belief and practice among all Jews.  Yet it is appropriate if it draws attention to a shared genealogy (identified through having a Jewish mother, and going back to 'our fathers...' and to a sense of being a people chosen to receive God's guidance in Torah--though the emphasis on being a chosen people has itself been questioned during the 20th cent.  Today a distinction is frequently drawn between 'secular' or 'cultural' Judaism (denoting those who accept the history and values of Judaism, but who do not observe the details of Torah...and 'religious' Judaism, which implies acceptance of Torah.  Even then, there are major differences in the ways in which Torah is brought to bear on life, among the major divisions of Orthodox, Reform, Conservative...Attempts to define 'normative Judaism' have not met with extensive success; but at the least it can be said that Judaism is inseparable from the idea of the peoplehood of Israel; and that adherence to another religion such as Christianity or Islam is incompatible with Judaism of any form (i.e. even with an ethnic or cultural sense of Judaism); those known as 'Jewish Christians' are those who accept that Jesus was indeed the Christ (i.e. messiah) and are thus not accepted as Jews by Jews in general."

Cohen, "The Beginnings of Jewishness":

pg. 109  "In the previous chapter I argued that th history of the word Ioudaios demonstrates that before the second or first century B.C.E. we can speak not of 'Jewishness' but of 'Judaeanness.'  'Judaeanness' was a function of birth and geography; Ioudaioi belonged to the ethnos of Judaeans in Juaea.  Even when Judaeans left their homeland to live in the diaspora, they maintained themselves as ethnic associations.  Ethnic (or ethnic-geographic) identity is immutable; non-Judaeans cannot become Judaeans any more than non-Egyptians can become Egyptians, or non-Syrians can become Syrians.  However, in the century following the Hasmonean rebellion two new meanings of 'Judaeans' emerge:  Judaeans are all those, of whatever ethnic or geographic origins, who worship the God whose temple is in Jerusalem (a religious definition), or who have become citizens of the state established by the Judaeans (a political definition).  In contrast with ethnic identity, religious and political identities are mutable:  gentiles can abandon their false gods and accept the true God, and non-Judaeans can become citizens of the Judaean state.  Thus, with the emergence of these new definitions in the second century B.C.E., the metaphoric boundary separting Judaeans from non-Judaeans became more and more permeable.  Outsiders could become insiders."


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Not Sure What to Do

The good news...

...the Church we visit now has a Messianic Congregation meeting in the midst of it on Saturdays.

The bad news...

...the dear lady who informed me and my wife of this seemed to indicate that while she wanted us to come and visit and that we should come, there were elements (UMJC affiliated) who did not want us there.

Why would anyone not want a militant One-Law Messianic like me around?  : )

But, seriously, pray that any relational healing that needs to occur will occur.

At any rate, this does not change my plans of facilitating a One-Law Messianic Fellowship in Richmond, Virginia.

The only question that remains is whether we will take the kind lady up on her invitation...not sure what to do there.




Tucking In: A Tzitzit Solution for the Messianic in an Anti-Judaic (or Anti-One-Law) Environment?

A long time ago, the image of a cheese-burger would have made me sick and I would think "How could anyone eat dairy and meat together?!"  But as I read the Scriptures and observed that Abraham served meat and dairy to the three visitors, and as I learned about the rationales for the mitzvot, how many of them prohibit long-forgotten pagan practices, my view began to change.

Up until this past weekend, I understood that tzitzit MUST be worn on the outside.  But a new Sephardic friend mentioned that the Sephardic Jews typically tuck their tzitzit in (there are many reasons for this) and fulfill the mitzvah of observing the tzitzit at various times throughout the day.

The more I think about this Sephardic tradition the more I like it.  It eliminates the possibility that someone could become arrogant regarding his tzitzit.  It makes the tzitzit more special because it is hidden.  But enough of my thoughts...

QUESTION:

Do you feel that tzitzit should be worn visibly all the time or do you prefer the Sephardic tradition of keeping the tzitzit hidden?


Monday, February 17, 2014

Should There be a Messianic Communion Ceremony?

I've always thought it was interesting when I visited Reform or Orthodox synagogues that the Kiddush ceremony feels like communion---everyone ceremonially breaks bread and partakes of the ceremonial red wine.

Question(s):  Should there be a Messianic Communion ceremony?  What should it look like?  Should we simply adapt the Kiddush ceremony for this purpose?  Also, if you have taken communion at a Messianic synagogue please feel free to share your impressions with us.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Personal Update: Creating a Local Messianic Fellowship Group

So, as I've mentioned before, my general strategy for creating a local fellowship is blending online marketing and real-world marketing in two simple steps:

Step One:  Creating a virtual home base for localized social networking purposes (e.g. Facebook Page that has a short URL)

Step Two:  Creating flyers that provide the short web address for the virtual home base and posting them around town in libraries, grocery stores, etc.

To that end, I've learned that Facebook is still the best medium for creating the virtual home base.  Forget Google Communities/Pages, Twitter, and Meetup.com.  Google Communities/Pages doesn't give you a short URL;  a Twitter page just won't provide the functionality needed for a virtual home base;  and who wants to pay monthly fees on Meetup.com?  (not me).

So, to repeat, the way to go appears to be Facebook.  You create a page and you get a short URL (web address) that you can put on your flyers.  I haven't filled out any information for my page but here's the one I started for my fellowship group:


To make that graphic, by the way, I used the following site:


So the next step is to make a flyer.  I found a site that provides a flyer template.  The following example is not mine!  It's just some random Hebrew Roots group:


You can just delete that group's text and insert your own descriptions.  




The 613 Mitzvot (Rationales Coming Soon!)


Here's the Taryag Mitzvot as enumerated and categorized by Maimonides.  In the next few days (perhaps weeks) I will add the rabbinic rationales for the mitzvot (which will come from Abraham Chill's book).


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Jewish Prayer Made Simple

The structure of the core Jewish prayers is actually rather simple.  There are three Scriptural selections containing the Shema and then there is HaTefillah ("the prayer", a.k.a. shemonei esrei, a.k.a. the amidah).

THE SHEMA SELECTIONS:

1) Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

(2) Deuteronomy 11:13-21

13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,
14 That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.
15 And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.
16 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;
17 And then the Lord's wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you.
18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
20 And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:
21 That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.

(3) Numbers 15:37-41

37 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
38 Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue:
39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them ; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:
40 That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.
41 I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord your God.

THE PRAYER:

[The following is adapted from Donin's "To Pray as a Jew"]

INTRODUCTORY SECTION:  PRAISE OF GOD

Formal Introduction to the Amidah:

Lord, open my lips and my mouth will declare Thy praise.

Order and Name of Blessing:

1  Fathers ('Avot') [Begins with the words 'Barukh atah']

Blessed art Thou, Lord our God and God of our fathers,
God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob,
The great, mighty, and aweseom God,
God Supreme, who extends loving kindness and is Master of all,
Who remembers the gracious deeds of our forefathers,
And who will bring a Redeemer with love to their children's children for His name's sake.
King, Helper, Savior and Protector.  Blessed art Thou, Lord, Protector of Abraham

2  Powers of God ('Gevurot') [Begins with the words 'Atah gibor']

Thy might is eternal, O Lord,
Who revives the dead,
Powerful in saving, 
Who makes the wind to blow and the rain to fall, [said only in winter]
Who sustains the living with loving kindness,
Who revives the dead with great mercy,
Who supports the falling, heals the sick, frees the captive,
And keeps faith with the dead;
Who is like Thee, Almighty, and who resembles Thee,
O King who can bring death and give life
And can make salvation blossom forth.
And faithful art Thou to revive the dead.
Blessed art Thou, Lord, who makes the dead live.

3  Holiness of God ('Kedushat HaShem')  [Atah kadosh]

Thou art holy, and Thy name is holy,
And those who are holy shall praise Thee every day.
Blessed are Thou, Lord, the holy God.

MIDDLE SECTION:  REQUEST OF NEEDS

A.  Personal Needs

Spiritual 

4  Knowledge ('Binah')  [Atah honen]

Thou grantest knowledge to man,
And teachest understanding to humans;
From Thine own Self, favor us with knowledge, understanding, and sense.
Blessed art Thou, Lord, giver of knowledge.

5  Repentance ('Teshuvah') [Hashiveinu]

Return us, our Father, to Thy Torah,
And draw us closer, our King, to Thy worship,
And bring us back before Thee in complete repentance.
Blessed art Thou, Lord, who desires repentance.

6  Forgiveness ('Selichah')  [Selach lanu]

Forgive us, our Father, for we have sinned,
Pardon us, our King, for we have transgressed,
For Thou art a pardoner and forgiver.
Blessed are Thou, Lord, Gracious One who forgives abundantly.

Physical, Material and Emotional

7  Redemption-Security ('Geulah')  [R'eh v'onyeinu]

Look upon us in our suffering,
And fight our struggles,
Redeem us speedily, for thy Name's sake, 
For Thou art a mighty Redeemer.
Blessed art Thou, Lord, Redeemer of Israel.

8 Health ('Refuah')  [Refaeinu]

Heal us, O Lord, and we shall be healed,
Save us and we shall be saved,
For Thou art our glory.
Send complete healing for our every illness
For Thou, Divine King, art the faithful, merciful Physician.
Blessed are Thou, Lord, who heals the sick of His people Israel.

9 Economic Prosperity ('Birkat Hashanim') [Barekh aleinu]

Bless this year for us, O Lord our God, and all its varied produce that it be for good;
Provide (dew and rain as a*) blessing on the face of the earth,
Satisfy us with Thy goodness, and bless this year like the good years.
Blessed art Thou, Lord, who blesses the years.

*The words "dew and rain" are limited to the winter season.

B.  Needs of the Jewish People and Society

10  Ingathering of the Dispersed ('Kibbutz Galuyot')  [Teka bashofar]

Sound the great shofar [to proclaim] our freedom,
Lift up a banner for the ingathering of our exiles,
And bring us together from the four corners of the earth.
Blessed art Thou, Lord, who gathers together the dispersed of His people Israel.

11  Restoration of Justice ('Birkat Hamishpat')  [Hasiva shofteinu

Restore our judges as at first,
And our counselors as in the beginning,
Removing from us sorrow and sighing;
Rule over us, Thou alone, O Lord
With kindness and mercy,
And vindicate us in the judgment.
Blessed are Thou, Lord, King, who loves righteousness and judgment.

12  Destruction of Israel's Enemies ('Birkat Haminim') [V'lamalshinim]

For slanderers let there be no hope,
And let all wickedness instantly perish.
May all Thy enemies be quickly cut off;
And as for the malicious,
Swiftly uproot, break, cast down, and subdue
Quickly in our day.
Blessed art Thou, Lord, who breaks the power of His enemies and subdues the malicious.

13 Prayer for the Righteous ('Birkat HaTzadikim')  [Al hatzadikim]

On the righteous and the saintly,
On the elders of Thy people, the house of Israel and on their surviving scholars,
On the true proselyte and on ourselves, 
Let Thy compassion flow, O Lord our God.
Grant a good reward to all who sincerely trust in Thy Name;
Place our lot with them forever and let us not be shamed,
For in Thee do we trust.
Blessed art Thou, Lord, the support and security of the righteous.

14  Restoration of Jerusalem ('Birkat Yerushalayim')  [V'liYerushalayim]

To Jerusalem Thy city, return with compassion,
And dwell within it as Thou promised;
Rebuild it soon in our days--an everlasting structure;
And speedily establish in its midst the throne of David.
Blessed art Thou, Lord, builder of Jerusalem.

15  Coming of the Messiah ('Birkat David')  [Et tzemach David]

The offspring of Thy servant David,
Quickly cause to flourish,
And lift up His power by Thy deliverance;
For Thy deliverance do we constantly hope.
Blessed art Thou, Lord, who makes the glory of deliverance to flourish.

C. Summary Blessing

16  Hear Our Prayer ('Tefilah')  [Retzei]

Hear our voice, O Lord our God,
Show compassion and mercy to us,
Accept our prayers with mercy and favor,
For Thou art a God who hears prayers and supplications.
And from Thy presence, O our King, turn us not away empty;
*For Thou hearest the prayer of Thy people Israel with compassion.
Blessed art Thou, Lord, who hears prayer.

*This is the appropriate place to add special requests.

CLOSING SECTION:  THANKING GOD

17  Worship ('Avodah')  [Retzei]

Favorably receive, O Lord our God, Thy people Israel and their prayer.
Restore the worship to Thy Temple in Zion,
Receive with love and favor the offerings of Israel and their prayer, 
And may the worship of Thy people Israel always be favorably received by Thee.
May our eyes behold Thy return to Zion in mercy.
Blessed art Thou, Lord, who restores His Divine Presence to Zion.

18  Thanksgiving ('Birkat Hodaah')  [Modim]

We give thanks unto Thee who art the Lord our God and God of our fathers for all eternity.
Thou art the Strength of our lives, the Shield of our deliverance.
In every generation, we shall thank Thee and declare Thy praise 
For our lives that are entrusted in Thy hand,
And for our souls that are in Thy care,
And for Thy miracles that are daily with us,
And for Thy wondrous deeds and goodness that occur at all times, evening, morning, and noon.
Thou art the Benevolent One, for Thy mercies are never ended, 
The Compassionate One, for Thy deeds of kindness do not stop,
Always have we placed our hope in Thee.
For all this, O our King, may Thy Name be always blessed and exalted forever and ever.
All the living will forever thank Thee and praise Thy Name in truth, O God, our eternal salvation and help.
Blessed art Thou, Lord, whose Name is Goodness; it is pleasing to give thanks to Thee.

19  Peace ('Birkat Shalom')  [Sim Shalom]"

Establish peace, well-being, blessing, grace, loving kindness, and mercy upon us and upon all Israel, Thy people.
Bless us, our Father, all of us as one, by the light of Thy presence,
For by the light of Thy presence have you given us, O Lord our God, 
A Torah of life, love of kindness, justice, blessing, compassion, life, and peace.
And it is good in Thy sight to bless Thy people Israel at all times and in every hour with Thy peace.
Blessed art Thou, Lord, who blesses His people Israel with peace.

Formal conclusion of the Amidah:

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to Thee, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer.


NOTE:  It's my opinion that Messianics shouldn't recite a certain portion of the Morning Blessings.  See my earlier post on Kahn's book entitled "The Three Blessings" HERE.




Jewish Prayer: Audio, Hebrew, Transliteration, and English Translation

CLICK HERE FOR LINK



Thursday, February 6, 2014

Non-Messianic Jewish Perceptions of the Hebrew Roots Movement

Here's a fascinating and well-documented post by our beloved brother Judah Himango that everyone should check out:

CLICK HERE FOR LINK




Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Let the Mistakes Begin!

I thought I would start sharing my thoughts and personal experiences as I go about starting a local Messianic fellowship.  I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing but perhaps it will be helpful for some of you just to hear my thought processes, the issues involved, and, last but not least, all the mistakes I've been making and will be making in the coming weeks and months.

CURRENT STATUS:

I found out this week that the local church we visit is not going to let me use the facilities for a Messianic fellowship group.  When I first got turned down, I felt angry.  Then I thought, maybe G-d doesn't want it to be that easy...and maybe it will benefit people to see me make every mistake in the book.  

NEEDS ASSESSMENT:

To have a Messianic fellowship, you need to have a meeting facility that you can reserve on a regular and reliable basis.  But the libraries around here don't let you do that (and I don't know any pastors who would let me use their church facilities).  This is a problem because I need to be able to advertise a regular meeting time (which will probably involve putting flyers up in libraries and grocery stores).

STRATEGY:

I was thinking that a great intermediate step might be to create a local Facebook group for people who are interested in joining a Messianic Fellowship Group.  So this is my homework for the week.  I'm not a big Facebook user.  But this week I'm going to create a Facebook page.  That's step 1.

Step 2 will involve advertising for this Facebook group.

I don't have Step 3 yet.  But if enough people join the Facebook group then I can reserve a conference room at a local library and send out a group notification.

INPUT:

All input is welcome.  If you have any helpful suggestions, please share!  I'm new at this!  : )

Shalom,

Peter



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Using the LXX of Amos 9:11-12 to Interpret "Joining" in Isaiah 56:3 and Zech. 2:11


"Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people..." (Isaiah 56:3)
"And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee" (Zech. 2:11)
These passages show that to join with the L-rd means to join the covenantal People of Israel (see Cohen below).  But what is meant by "joining" with the L-rd?  Is this accomplished through faith or by circumcision?

In Acts 15, James the Apostle connects these passages--via gezerah shava--to Amos 9:11-12
"11 In that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and will rebuild the ruins of it, and will set up the parts thereof that have been broken down, and will build it up as in the ancient days: 12 that the remnant of men, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, may earnestly seek me, saith the Lord who does all these things," (Amos 9:11-12 as it appears in LXX)
This proves, if nothing else, that James believed that "joining" the Lord (and therefore joining Israel) can be accomplished WITHOUT circumcision.




NOTES:

"Isaiah 56 refers to the foreigners who have 'attached themselves to the Lord...'....Zechariah [2:11] predicts that 'in that day many nations will attach themselves to the Lord and become his people.'.....these passages show that in the Persian period...comes the beginning of the idea that gentiles could somehow attach themselves to the people of Israel by attaching themselves to Israel's God," (pg. 122 of Cohen's 'The Beginnings of Jewishness).

Sunday, February 2, 2014

David Rudolph to Gentiles: "Like Yeshua, Our Mission is to Jews, not Gentiles"

A reader recently asked me to support my assertion that David Rudolph (UMJC, Tikvat Israel, Richmond VA) openly excludes Gentiles.  Of course, I was happy to do so as I think people need to know what the UMJC is really about.  Here is my response to the email:

"In Rudolph's sermon (4/13/13) entitled "Our Mission" he says the following:

“Some Christian leaders think it is wrong for churches to prioritize particular ethnic groups and that churches should reach out to all people impartially.  While we can understand the concern here that a non-Chinese citizen could feel like a second-class citizen in a Chinese church, the question remains whether God calls certain churches and certain congregations to particular people groups.”

“How can we know if HaShem does this or not?  To answer this query we must consult with our Bibles…”

“It is notable that Yeshua sends out his Apostles only to fellow Jews.”

“These twelve Yeshua sent out with the following instructions, “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans, go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.”

“What is our mission here at Tikvat Israel?  …Tikvat Israel’s is to build a congregation for Yeshua within the House of Israel…it is accurate to say that our mission is more specifically to build a congregation for Yeshua within the Richmond Jewish community.”

So if we synthesize what Rudolph is saying this is what we get:

(1) ethnic prioritization is Biblical even though it results in non-ethnic members feeling like "second-class citizens" (to use Rudolph's phrase);
(2) just as Yeshua's mission excluded non-Jews, Tikvat Israel's mission excludes non-Jews, seeking to build a community from within the Richmond JEWISH community.

Now, Rudolph will undoubtedly say I'm taking him out of context.  But I think the context of Rudolph's argument is fairly evident to a discerning mind.  

Hope this is of some help.

Blessings,

Peter"

Now, of course, if anyone thinks I'm mischaracterizing Rudolph and being unfair to him, please share your thoughts with us.  We welcome all points of view.  Unlike a Rudolph sermon, this forum is not monopolized by the thoughts of any single individual.  I do not and will never profess to have the title "rabbi".  I'm just a man who believes in Yeshua and who hates to see false teachers attempting to divide the Body of our L-rd.  I earn nothing from this blog--except that a reader (and dear friend) recently sent me some clothes, but beyond this I have not received anything for this blog.

Shalom and Shlemut to the True Brothers and Sisters,

Peter