One New Man

A response by Stan Telchin to our review of his book
Some Messianic Jews say that Messianic Judaism is not Christianity:
A loving call to unity.

I appreciate the opportunity to comment on your review of my new book:
While I appreciate the favourable comments made, I can also understand the thrust of those that were negative.

Jewishness means different things to different people and today for most people Jewishness does NOT mean rabbinic Judaism. As I state repeatedly in the book, there are the Jewish people and then there is the Jewish culture and then there is present day rabbinic Judaism. They are not the same thing. And today the overwhelming majority of Jewish people in the United States and in Israel are not deeply involved in synagogue life or in “Judaism.” I suspect this may be true in Great Britain as well.

The Jewishness of Jesus is certainly gaining worldwide attention these days. And that is good. But the Jewishness that Jesus experienced is not the Jewishness of today. I stress again that Biblical Judaism is not the same thing as rabbinic Judaism.

As stated in the book, the Messianic movement had as its objective providing a comfortable environment for Jewish people to hear the gospel. And it stressed Jewish culture NOT rabbinic Judaism. By contrast Messianic Judaism, as it has developed, stresses the forms of rabbinic Judaism and does not have as its objective providing a comfortable environment for Jewish people to hear the gospel. Indeed, only a very small percentage of those who attend Messianic synagogues in the United States are Jewish. The overwhelming majority are Gentiles. Isn’t it important to ask why this is so?

What must be realized – and what many non-Jewish believers may find hard to understand – is that Messianic Judaism is absolutely not an authentic form of self-expression for Jewish people who call Jesus their Messiah, Saviour and Lord. Only a very small percentage of such people were deeply involved in Judaism when they became believers. And the Judaism they knew bears absolutely no resemblance to what is seen in Messianic Judaism. The latter almost seems to be a caricature of the former. It is Gentiles that the movement is attracting.

I agree that there is an absolute need in the church to realize that God is not through with the Jewish people. The Apostle Paul said it very clearly: the church is to provoke Israel to jealousy. Accordingly, it is important that the attitude of many in the church be changed. They need to see the Jewish people from God’s perspective. He loves us with a never-ending love (Jeremiah 31:3). And he doesn’t want any to perish, but wants all to receive eternal life. So the heart attitude and mindset of many in the church has to change. But that doesn’t mean that they have to endorse Messianic Judaism. Rather, it means that they have to reach out with God’s love to the Jewish people and to receive them for who they are: Jews who believe in Jesus.

I must also say that I laughed when I read that the reviewers believed that I endorsed “Hebrew Christianity”. I had hoped that all who read my book would recognize that I do not espouse any denomination or movement or philosophy. Instead, I am stressing that it is God’s will that Jewish believers and Gentile believers serve him together as “One New Man”.

It is also my hope that those who are involved in Messianic Judaism will consider what I have written. Either it is true or it is false. Either it is Scriptural or it is not. I pray that they will not neglect the message while they concentrate on the messenger.

Stan Telchin

Some Messianic Jews say, “Messianic Judaism is not Christianity”:
A Loving Call to Unity
Chosen Books, 169pp, p/b, ISBN 9780800793722
Available from CWI online shop

This article first appeared in the June 2005 edition of the Herald
Click here to read the original review

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