20 April 2010

Must a Jew, by definition, disbelieve Jesus? — 1

by Dan Phillips

"Jewish Christian": contradiction in terms?
I've heard the argument made many times and in many forms: "Jewish Christian" is a contradiction in terms. Once it came from a coworker, in whose hearing I'd passingly referred to a "Jewish Christian friend" at church. She stopped me, and used a bisyllabic barnyard term to indicate her categorical rejection of such a creature. "No such thing," she said. You can't be Jewish and Christian. One, the other — never both.

My reply was to the effect of, "What were the apostles, then? Mexicans?"

So now comes another essay on the politically conservative bulletin board Free Republic, home to a wild assortment of (many many) Roman Catholics, Mormons, Christians, atheists, and very varied variouses. The post in question is titled Messianic Jews: Just Plain Creepy?

I happen not to have much patience with some manifestations of Messianic Judaism (though very slightly more than Pastor Ed Balfour, a Christian Pastor converted from Orthodox Judaism [thanks to reader Chuck Bridgeland for the tip]). Those I have in mind, I find more self-servingly ostentatious than anything else. Some Jewish Christian (or Gentile) starts saying "Yeshua" and "Shaul" and (worse still) "G-d" and "haShem," goes to church on Saturday, and thinks he's special. Not to Jews, he isn't. Well, except "special" in a meshuggah way.

One Jew (of many) who says "Yes — and cut it out"
But that isn't really my focus. Let me just extract some from the post, and then I'll launch:
Can you imagine if you had a friend who did not accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but who went on and on about their Christian faith and Christianity? What if "Christianity" was their core identity, deeply woven into every facet of their visible life, and one about which they spoke almost incessantly? What if your friend had, in many circles, made himself a veritable spokesman for Christianity - and yet he avowedly did not accept Jesus?

...I have always been a Jew. By birth, by faith, by choice. ...Jews are Jews. We may disagree about almost everything else, but on messianic matters, we are in almost complete agreement. His name is not Jesus from Nazareth.

...Jews are the fragile, beautiful, brave, extraordinarily powerful guardians of monotheism. I believe we are here because G-d wants us to be here. I have often wondered, with all of our problems, whether the Jews would simply die off some day. But I never thought our name would be stolen from us.
Does he have a point?

No.

Check the blog name
You may have noted what I named both my web site and my blogBiblical Christianity. Why? Simple: because God converted me from what I was (New-Agey Christ-hater) to someone who believed Jesus; and Jesus believed in the Bible — so I needed to believe the Bible, because I believed Jesus. I don't know how to put it simpler than that.

Focus on that phrase: "someone who believed Jesus." I did not embrace a religious tradition. I did not change club memberships. It was about Jesus, and about God, and about me. I had come to know my sin, knew I did not know God on His terms, came to find Jesus credible, which means "worthy of belief." Jesus' character and life were a seamless fabric of the miraculous and the righteous, the true and the urgent.

Believing Jesus, I wanted — needed — to learn of Him. Start doing that, and it isn't long before you notice something: Jesus believed in the "Old Testament." All of it. Every jot and tittle, to Him, required fulfillmentwas inerrant, conveyed literally-true statements about actual historycommunicated God's moral imperativeswas infinitely superior to all human traditionspoke of Him, and would condemn to Hell anyone who did not heed its Messianic testimony to Jesus.

Let's now fasten our minds on those last three: the Old Testament —
  1. Was infinitely superior to all human tradition
  2. Spoke of Jesus, and
  3. Would condemn to Hell anyone who did not heed its Messianic testimony to Jesus.
1. The OT is infinitely superior to all human tradition
The irony has been bitter every time I try to dialogue with a Jew, Roman Catholic or Orthoborg. In each case, the Bible is struck down and rendered impotent by choking, strangling human tradition.

In the case of the Jew, it is ironic to me because this is exactly the scene that Jesus confronted. Though Judaism may not be dominated by people identified as Pharisees or Sadducees, still Jewish thought is dominated not by the Torah itself, but by traditional religious thought which (at best) may be 37 steps removed from the text of Scripture.

Waving aside the necessarily complicated chain of attempted defense of this state of affairs, I'd point out that this is one facet that caused Jesus to stand out in His day. "When Jesus finished these sayings," we read, "the crowds were astonished at his teaching." Why? Precisely because "he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes" (Matthew 7:28-29).

Unlike the teachers who would say "Rabbi X said this, but Rabbi Y says this," Jesus either went right back to the text itself, or He said "Truly, truly I tell you." He revered the Law as the Word of God, and held Himself to be the Prophet whose coming it predicted.

So Jesus had no patience for the traditional teaching of men which, by its convoluted change of "reasoning," resulted in an annulment of the Word itself (Mark 7:1-13). This was a clash He had again and again from the very beginning: the naked Word had become so buried beneath the barnacles of human thought that it was unrecognizable. It was that which led to His betrayal and lynching: His shattering refusal to honor the traditions of men.

This, by the way, is what renders the irony of RC and Orthoborgial drowning in tradition so particularly bitter. The Jews make no pretense of faith in Jesus. Those other two groups do make that pretense, a formal profession of faith in Him who so despised human traditional perversions of the Word, while themselves perpetuating precisely such traditions in His name.

But I digress.

2. The OT spoke of Jesus
This has been developed in many books and articles. My point in this connection is simply that Jesus did not make the case that He was something new and unanticipated. The OT's direct prophecies, its history and institutions and types, were all Messianic. He saw and presented His person, His message, and His mission all in terms framed by the OT. The OT is the sine qua non to understanding Jesus, and vice-versa.

UPDATE: I have since had the pleasure of giving two talks in a conference on Messiah in the Old Testament.

3. The OT will condemn to Hell anyone 
who does not heed its Messianic testimony to Jesus
In fact, the OT so emphatically and clearly pointed to Him that anyone not heeding its lessons would be judged by God for the refusal (John 5:45-47).

Was this dire warning warranted by the OT text, or was it a wild bit of improvisation? The former is the truth. Hear Moses:
"The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers--it is to him you shall listen —  16 just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, 'Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.' 17 And the LORD said to me, 'They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him" (Deuteronomy 18:15-19)
The question as to exactly when Deuteronomy 34:10 was written is tantalizing, because by that date this prophet had not arisen. The point is moot, however: no OT prophet is presented in terms equating him with the fulfillment of this prediction. The prophet Moses spoke of is the Messiah.

And what is the consequence of rejecting the words of Messiah, the prophet like Moses? Verse 19 warns that "whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him." This wording reminds me of those rare occasions when my parents would threaten me with consequences if I did not do something. Smartaleck that I was, I'd ask, "What happens if I don't?"

"You'll see," was the ominous response.

Though my dear parents were far from disciplinarians, "You'll see" was not what I wanted. It was open-ended. I wanted a concrete consequence, so I could do a cost-benefit analysis on my projected rebellion. Without that, my imagination was left to run wild.

So it is here. The OT leaves it open-ended but terrifying: "You will have Me to answer to," threatens the infinite-personal, inescapable, holy and righteous God who is a consuming fire. What will that mean? It will mean "Depart from me, I never knew you." Depart where? "To the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels" (conflating Matthw 7:23 and 25:41).

In the next and concluding post, I plan to introduce Mr. Rubber to Mr. Road.

[UPDATE: concluded here.]

Dan Phillips's signature

53 comments:

stratagem said...

Love that ending line!

In a lot of charismatic churches, converted Jews are afforded a special status. Thanks for disabusing people of that notion, head-on.

lee n. field said...

So, is Judaism a religion, with standards of belief, which one can leave by apostacy and enter by belief and appropriate ceremony?

Or, is it an ethnicity that you'll never leave, no matter what's going on in your head?

More thoughts later, maybe.

DJP said...

...and if it's an ethnicity, you can believe what you see fit.

Which is the odd thing. That seems to be the status quo: a Jew can believe anything or nothing, and remain a Jew.

As long as it isn't Jesus.

donsands said...

My business partner is a Messianic Jew.

It's wonderful when we are doing work in the Jewish community, and the Jews there learn that Meir is a Sabra. They get all excited, and even have invited him for dinner. Then he says, "I believe in Jesus. He is my Lord and Savior."
Everything chnages.
I remeber Meir talking once with an older Jewish lady, and he said to her, "You must be born again."
She said, "How I can I be born again. Can I come forth from my mother's womb again."

Interesting.

Good post. A ton of good things to think on and ponder. As always.

Gabby said...

Dan, you have a wonderful gift of explanation. So many of your lessons stay with me, and I find myself searching through the Bible later on at night, looking up something you mentioned in your study. Thank you for this - Jesus in the Old Testament is a subject that never fails to delight me.

Lynda O said...

Arnold Fruchtenbaum (a Jewish Christian) tells in his testimony of how he, as an Orthodox Jewish teenager, had that idea ingrained in him, that a Jewish Christian was an oxymoron, that the two faiths were completely separate and unrelated -- "we (Jews) had our Bible, and the Christians had their Bible."
In an angry confrontation at a Jewish Christian agency, the missionary didn't push him but gave him a New Testament to read, and Fruchtenbaum decided to read it -- determined to prove them wrong. Then he started reading it, and was astonished, from the very beginning of Matthew's gospel, at how Jewish it was -- genealogies, and Rabbis, Pharisees, Levites and Jewish theological debates that he was familiar with.
http://arielcanada.com/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=50

Gabby said...

Lynda, Dr. Fruchtenbaum is one of my most beloved teachers. I thought of him while reading this.

Solameanie said...

"Barnacles of human thought."

Now THAT is one for the phrase lexicon. Love it.

Stefan said...

The idea that Christianity is a Gentile religion that has nothing to do with Judaism is deeply ingrained among Jewish people—but then again, many Gentile Christians do nothing but reinforce the idea!

I was an atheist raised in the secular Jewish tradition (history and culture but without a belief in God or Torah observance), born to an agnostic Christian father and an atheist Jewish mother, identifying more as a Jew than as a Gentile—and according to rabbinic law, fully Jewish.

It took a series of hard and frank expository sermons on Romans 9 to 11, through which our Pastor propounded on the Jewish nature and roots of Christianity; and when he got to the olive tree metaphor in chapter 11, it all began to make sense: Christianity is Jewish! Although Jewish Christians are a tiny minority in the church today, it is our natural religion, and it is our Gentile brothers and sisters who have been grafted in—but we all, Jew and Gentile, fellow and equal believers, having been supernaturally reborn in the Holy Spirit, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

I had never felt more authentically Jewish in my life than when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour.

There is a certain very subtle detail in a few places in the book of Acts that is telling. In several places, the Gospel proclamation is described as "preaching Jesus as the Christ" (or similar words: 2:36, 5:42, 9:22, 17:3, 18:5, 18:28). In other words, here were Jewish believers—Peter, Paul, and the rest of them—who believed like other Jews did (and many do still) in a coming Messiah ("Christ"). The fundamental difference is that they believed (as Peter said) that Jesus was and is that promised "Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16), the hope of Israel and the light to the nations.

Stefan said...

I need to add that the last 2000 years have been marked by so much in the way of persecution, forced conversions, and far worse, so that it is hard for Jews to see the true nature of Christian faith, when so many unrighteous Gentiles have done so much to slander the name of Christ.

And quite apart from that, many Gentile Christians are simply oblivious to the Old Testament roots of the Christian faith, and to how much Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of the Old Testament, to how much the New Covenant is rooted in Old Testament concepts, or indeed to the whole scope and extent of God's redemptive work in history.

Jugulum said...

If a Jew must by definition disbelieve that Jesus is Messiah, does that mean that there were no Jews before Jesus?

trogdor said...

Some believe one can't be a Jew if he is a Christian. More likely, one cannot be a Jew unless he is a Christian.

DJP said...

Hey! No fair trying to guess Part 2!

stratagem said...

Remember how disappointed a lot of Lubavich Jews were when they found out that Menachem Schneerson was not the Messiah? When he died, I remember thinking to myself, what great lengths the Jews go to, with great heartache, to avoid recognizing Jesus for who He is.

Mike B. said...

The question of whether the term "Jew" is an ethnic or a religious designation is actually a subject of much debate in Judaism itself.

However, if it is a religious designation, then I wonder if the refusal to ascribe this designation to Jewish believers in Jesus is really all that much different than the refusal of many Protestants to accord to Catholics the title of "Christian."

It doesn't necessarily make it right, but it perhaps provides an analogue by which we can understand it.

Jugulum said...

stratagem,

I wonder: If there are any Jews who still believe that Menachem Schneerson was the Messiah, would the Free Republic author say that they can't be Jews?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

On a side, but related note (and one that I'm rather curious and interested in), so that my understanding of dispensational theology is coherent and consistent:

A Jewish person who does not have Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior will not be in Heaven with God.

And by the Dispensational doctrine of Last Things there is Israel and Christians. A New Jerusalem.

So my question (and I'm confused and seeking clarity): In this New Jerusalem the only Jewish folks there will be Messianic Jews, right?

The non-Messianic Jews will not be in the New Jerusalem, right?

I'm just trying to get this straight. Thanks for any assistance.

Lynda O said...

"In this New Jerusalem the only Jewish folks there will be Messianic Jews, right?

The non-Messianic Jews will not be in the New Jerusalem, right?"
Yes, right to both questions. Reference Romans 2:28-29, true Jews are those who are Jews both outwardly and inward. The false Jews, those of the synagogue of Satan, are among the lost.

stratagem said...

Jugulum

That's a great question!

The Chabad sect still believes him to be the Messiah, and they await his return. Sad. But I'm sure they are still considered to be Jews.

I think you are only a non-Jew if you believe in the one true Messiah, Jesus Christ. Satan would have no problem with you putting your trust in some other "messiah," and hence little reason to scorn those who do.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Thanks LyndaO.

That's what I thought, but I wasn't sure. I've tried to track the Covenant theology vs. Dispensational theology discussions with terms like supersessionism, replacement theology, and the Church is the New Israel, and I was having a hard time figuring out if Jews were saved or not.

So it seems to me that the Covenantalists and Dispensationalists aren't that far apart (if at all) with regards to Jews. Both maintain that Messianic Jews will be saved and in the New Jerusalem. And both maintain that non-Messianic Jews won't be.

Lynda O said...

"So it seems to me that the Covenantalists and Dispensationalists aren't that far apart (if at all) with regards to Jews. Both maintain that Messianic Jews will be saved and in the New Jerusalem. And both maintain that non-Messianic Jews won't be. "

Yes -- the key difference being the definition of who among the saved believers are Jews. CTs (with some exceptions) would say that the salvation of Jews (Romans 11) refers (only) to the remnant of believing Jews in the current (Church) age, and CTs tend to confuse the identity of Jews by saying that Gentile believers become Jews and so everyone in the believing Church is now a spiritual Jew

Jugulum said...

stratagem,

Actually, I just noticed that the author did mention Schneerson:

"Jews are Jews. We may disagree about almost everything else, but on messianic matters, we are in almost complete agreement. His name is not Jesus from Nazareth. His name is not Shneerson from the Bronx."

So, perhaps he does deny the Judaism of Chabad.

stratagem said...

Wow I had missed that completely! Thanks Jug

jmb said...

Dan,

Thanks for dealing with this topic, which is not exactly rampant on Christian websites.

"I happen not to have much patience with some manifestations of Messianic Judaism....Those I have in mind, I find more self-servingly ostentatious than anything else. Some Jewish Christian (or Gentile) starts saying "Yeshua" and "Shaul" and (worse still) "G-d" and "haShem," goes to church on Saturday, and thinks he's special. Not to Jews, he isn't. Well, except "special" in a meshuggah way."

I've read this several times, and I'm not sure if you mean that ANY Jewish or Gentile believer who says "Yeshua," etc., is being "self-servingly ostentatious...and thinks he's special," or that SOME do.

As a Jewish believer, I've found it more and more natural to say "Yeshua" (though I have no problem saying "Jesus" also)and to
worship on Saturday. It has nothing to do with feeling "special." The other examples you give, particularly "G-d" and "haShem," don't appeal to me for various reasons, but I know people who seem to have sincere convictions about using them, and others who seem to think they are special for using them.

On another subject, I'd like to also acknowledge Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum and his remarkable body of work.

DJP said...

I don't doubt that your intent isn't to be ostentatious, but if you call Jesus "Yeshua" in America, that's what you are being.

He is not known as "Yeshua" in America. There is no even bystream English translation in which He is named "Yeshua," let alone a mainstream translation.

If it's a "Roots" thing, then I feel like Paul -- er, Shaul -- did about circumcision in Galatians 5. Might as well go all the way.

Yet in that case, since absolutely NO name we use is pronounced as it is in the Hebrew OT, then absolutely EVERY name will have to be re-pronounced, from "Ahthahm" to Yōanēs.

But why stop there? If the names are magical, why not the major nouns? The verbs?

In fact, why stop there? Why not all of us speak Hebrew?

And while I'm glad you don't engage in G-d / haShem nonsense, I wish it wasn't just because you don't feel like doing it. I wish it were because you didn't want to disobey and shame God by treating His name as if it were a dirty word, and you a slave to ridiculous superstitions.

jmb said...

Dan,

I wrote: "The other examples you give, particularly "G-d" and "haShem," don't appeal to me for various reasons..." The reasons you gave are the ones I had in mind. Maybe "don't appeal to me" is too weak, but I didn't mean merely "don't feel like doing it."

It's ironic. I'm one of the people in my congregation who is fighting the ever-present tendency to value "Jewishness" for its own sake. But it seems that, in your eyes, I'm espousing what I'm against. (I know you haven't used the word "Jewishness," but I think that's at least partially what you mean when you use the words "ostentatious" and "special." If I'm wrong, I apologize.)

If using the word "Yeshua" is a concession to "Jewishness," was Paul not doing something similar when he said: "To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the law, like one under the law—though I myself am not under the law—to win those under the law."

Centuries of persecution of Jews by those who called themselves "Christians" have made the word "Jesus" not exactly a welcome one among many Jews. What is wrong with using His Hebrew name to get across to Jewish people that, in His incarnation, He was brought up as a Jew? Or using the Hebrew names of the Apostles for the same reason?

You wrote: "He is not known as "Yeshua" in America. There is no even bystream English translation in which He is named "Yeshua," let alone a mainstream translation."

Are you not in fact saying that there is no TRADITION of using the word "Yeshua" in America? If that's true, then so what? In your post, you had some harsh words about tradition.

In short, I'm saying that, in my opinion, a little "Jewishness" is permissible in winning Jews to Christ. When I'm speaking to Jewish non-believers, I'll say "Yeshua - Jesus," so they'll know of Whom I'm speaking.

DJP said...

Language is tradition, if you want to try to sing that tune. These are very different sorts of tradition.

So, without any Canonical authority or translational precedent, you want to part yourself from all your English-speaking brothers and call Him "Yeshua" — why? Because Hitler and the Popes were monsters? And when you do that, Jews say "Yes, please, as long as you say 'Yeshua,' I'm very eager to openmindedly consider Messianic prophecy and Gospel history"?

No, I didn't think so; and btw, neither Hitler nor the monstrous Popes said "Jesus," either.

Really sorry about the Nazis. Never was one. Really sorry about the Roman Catholics. Never was one.

So, now can we talk about what the OT says, and who Jesus is?

stratagem said...

Actually the whole Yeshua issue is very interesting, in light of the fact that throughout the Bible, God seems to be very particular about His name and how it's used. But somewhere along the line we all changed it from Yeshua to other names, and have assumed He's just all hunky-dorey with that. I wonder if He is? Or do we just think He is? An angle I never much considered before, but interesting.

DJP said...

I think it really isn't. Interesting, I mean. Not once in Scripture is His name "Yeshua."

donsands said...

"In short, I'm saying that, in my opinion, a little "Jewishness" is permissible in winning Jews to Christ. When I'm speaking to Jewish non-believers, I'll say "Yeshua - Jesus," so they'll know of Whom I'm speaking." -jmb

I have a Jewish-Christian buddy, who is from Israel. he says Jesus just about all the time when he witnesses, which is a lot.

Sometimes, he does say Jesus in Hebrew to other Jews, but he says all his other words in Hebrew as well. It's quite a blessing to see him witnessing to Rabbis in Hebrew.

But he for the most part shares the Gospel in English, and says, "Jesus is my Lord and Savior, and I love Him with all my heart." And similar things.

Stefan said...

Just a few observations...

1. Correct me if I'm wrong, but most of the personal names and non-English book titles in the Old Testament are anglicized (or anglo-latinized) forms of the Greek (Jacob, Moses, Joshua Jacob, Isaiah, Genesis, Deuteronomy, Psalms), and therefore presumably date back to the Septuagint. So while not exactly inspired, they have a very long and established heritage, going back to the first Jewish translators in Alexandria 2500 years ago.

2. The 1917 Jewish Publication Society translation of the Bible—the first major Jewish translation of the Old Testament into English, and coming out of the Reform and Conservative movements—uses the English forms of names (e.g., Moses rather than Moishe) and book titles throughout (but using the Jewish book order). (Source: Internet Archive)

I don't have direct access to the 1985 edition, but in it, personal names at least (if not also book titles) are also in their anglicized forms.

On the other hand, Orthodox translations and Torah portions use the Hebrew names in English.

3. There is one English Bible that uses Hebrew names in the New Testament (as well as the Old Testament): David Stern's Complete Jewish Bible. Granted, it is not exactly a widely established translation, but as far as I understand, it is used in Messianic Jewish circles.

4. On a personal note, having been raised in a secular environment outside of synagogue worship, and having received my Jewish cultural education in English, I personally can't relate to the whole Messianic movement. I know a few Gentile believers who've attended Messianic congregations (while I never have) and who use more Hebrew than I do! But if I could communicate in Hebrew or Yiddish (and I can't) and I were speaking with someone in either of those languages, then in that context, I would use the Hebrew names.

lee n. field said...

>But somewhere along the line we all changed it from Yeshua to other names,

God gave us the New Testament in Greek. There are no "Hebrew originals" extant for any New Testament text (and appeals to such are a red flag to watch for other oddities). God seems to be perfectly fine with "Iesous".

Names get translated.

Stefan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stefan said...

I meant to add by my last comment that if one is going to use the English (or Anglo-Greek) forms of personal names and book titles when referring to the Old Testament, then one should be consistent and use the English names for the New Testament as well. And conversely, if one is going to speak of Shimon and
Shaul, then one should also speak of Moishe and Yaakov...which is what Dan was saying earlier, although somehow this discussion went off the rails.

jmb said...

Dan,

Yes, I used the concept of tradition incorrectly.

No, I don't think that saying "Yeshua" will suddenly cause Jews to be open-minded about Jesus. But a lot of Jews don't know that Jesus was a Jew. I don't see anything wrong in using "Yeshua" to emphasize that fact. I also think it's consistent with the principle of 1 Cor. 9:20, which I quoted in one of my comments.

Zaphon said...

Old Testament...you mean the 'Hebrew Scriptures'...Jews...don't say that..say 'Jewish People'...it's less offensive.

Ok, not me talking, but a Jewish Christian at this address http://www.ihopecanada.org/index2.htm whose bible study I sometimes attend.

This group wouldn't force me to say Yeshua or Torah, and they eschew Messianic Judaism, but in retaining some cultural aspects of their Jewishness they sometimes say Yeshua, etc, in Hebrew.

I think there is nothing wrong with retaining these things if the intent not to make an artificial, Judaizer-type distinction between Gentiles and Jews.

Zaph

DJP said...

It's interesting you mention that about "Jews"/"Jewish people." I have a cyber-friend who I like and care for, but who is unsaved. I asked him that, told him that saying "Jew" felt... well, I didn't want to give unnecessary offense. He said he was happy as a tic to be called "Jew." So I do.

Rhyme unintended.

stratagem said...

"I think it really isn't. Interesting, I mean. Not once in Scripture is His name 'Yeshua.'"

That's interesting in itself - Dan, how would the first-century Jews have pronounced Jesus's name, phonetically-speaking? I assume not "JEE-zuz", although I'm not exactly sure why I assume that?

I just would like to know, I'm not wanting to build a theology around it!

DJP said...

Nobody knows for certain, and that's the point. The language in which the Holy Spirit chose to give His word is Greek. Period. Anything else is speculation.

So we use the version used in the target language we and our hearers are speaking, which would reflect the mainstream Bible versions in that language. English says "Jesus." Were I in Israel, I supposed I'd say "Yeshua." In Mexico, "Hay-zooce." And so forth.

Luke Leppla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stratagem said...

Dan - thank you. The answer rings true with me. Just out of curiosity, what is his name in Greek? Ichthus?
Regards,
"Not a Greek Scholar, here"

witness said...

Dan didn't you do a post here or on your site about the silliness of the Jewish roots thing being better than "Gentile Christianity"?

Stefan said...

Stratagem:

In Greek, He is Yesous Christos.

In Korean, He is Yesu Gŭrisŭdo.

In Hebrew (the discussion heretofore notwithstanding), He is Yeshua haMashiach.

jmb said...

Thank goodness the word "Messiah" is used four times in our English translations; otherwise, we wouldn't be able to use that word either.

Mr. Leppla - No need to be upset. If some people like to dance in a Jewish way, or keep kosher, that doesn't mean that others have to do likewise. You and your "99.9% (that's purer than Dove soap, isn't it?) Gentile" church are safe.

DJP said...

Odd remark. Why not insist on saying "maw-SHEE-acch"?

Stefan said...

JMB:

That's a rather curious comment you just made.

Luke's point seems to have been that people who have no connection with Jewish culture are adopting Jewish cultural trappings in some kind of attempt to get more "authentic."

Regarding interacting with Gentiles, I used to see Christianity as a religion for Gentiles. Now I see differently.

God has blessed me in that I was taught the Gospel by Malaysian Chinese believers and a German-Russian Mennonite preacher, and baptized by a Korean pastor.

Our church is at least 99.9% Gentile—but a foretaste of the New Jerusalem, incorporating practically every imaginable ethnic group, language, and nationality under the sun.

I looked for other Jewish believers at the beginning, but what I found instead were Gentile believers with a great love for the Jewish people, and a great desire to see their salvation.

My church was planted by Mennonite Brethren, and some of the original planters still have memories of their persecution in the Soviet Union under Stalin. They have a great love of and empathy for the Jewish people, above all because they have a high view of Scripture.

So where is the Jewishness in our church? In faithful preaching of the Old and New Testaments. In our Communion meal. In the songs we sing, so rich in Psalmodic allusions. In worshipping the Passover Lamb who was slain for the forgiveness of our sins.

trogdor said...

You know how a broadcaster will be reading a story and come across a Latino word, and out of nowhere he'll break into the most ridiculously over-the-top Mexican accent he can for that one word only? When some random Gentile believer starts referring to "Rav Sha'ul" in a phony pretense of authenticity, I don't want to smack him upside the head any less.

jmb said...

DJP - My point, admittedly snarky, was that we came awfully close with "Messiah."

Stefan -

"Luke's point seems to have been that people who have no connection with Jewish culture are adopting Jewish cultural trappings in some kind of attempt to get more 'authentic.'"

Part of what he's complaining about is Messianic Jews coming to his church and demonstrating Jewish "stuff." If, in doing that, they are saying that Jews are somehow superior to Gentiles, they should be laughed at and ignored. Or preached to.

And, yes, of course there are phonies. But what if a Jewish believer, or even a Gentile believer, finds meaning in some sort of Jewish expression? I say fine - as long as they don't think that God accepts them any more than He does already, and they don't think that everybody else has to do what they do.

I'm glad that you found Gentile believers who have a love for Jews. But some Jewish believers don't feel "right" in a church. Maybe they are mistaken in feeling that way, but they truly feel more comfortable in a Messianic congregation where there is some Jewish expression (and where there are many Gentiles who have a love for Jewish people).

I'm probably the most "Gentile" Jew in my congregation, but here I feel a little like Alvy Singer does when he visits Annie's family in "Annie Hall," complete with long beard and skullcap.


Regarding interacting with Gentiles, I used to see Christianity as a religion for Gentiles. Now I see differently.

God has blessed me in that I was taught the Gospel by Malaysian Chinese believers and a German-Russian Mennonite preacher, and baptized by a Korean pastor.

Our church is at least 99.9% Gentile—but a foretaste of the New Jerusalem, incorporating practically every imaginable ethnic group, language, and nationality under the sun.

I looked for other Jewish believers at the beginning, but what I found instead were Gentile believers with a great love for the Jewish people, and a great desire to see their salvation.

My church was planted by Mennonite Brethren, and some of the original planters still have memories of their persecution in the Soviet Union under Stalin. They have a great love of and empathy for the Jewish people, above all because they have a high view of Scripture.

So where is the Jewishness in our church? In faithful preaching of the Old and New Testaments. In our Communion meal. In the songs we sing, so rich in Psalmodic allusions. In worshipping the Passover Lamb who was slain for the forgiveness of our sins.

Stefan said...

"...but here I feel a little like Alvy Singer does when he visits Annie's family in 'Annie Hall,' complete with long beard and skullcap."

LOL.

Believe me, the Lord probably led me to this church for precisely the reason that I could fit in better here—as one minority among many—than in a monolithically European congregation.

Ironically, I am fully assimilated and have an Anglo-Canadian father to boot, but I too never felt quite "right" in previous churches I went to.

I appreciate what you wrote, and I'm sure that for many believers, a Messianic congregation feels more right to them. And certainly, we know that the default locus of worship for the earliest believers was the neighbourhood synagogue.

stratagem said...

Stefan

Thank you. So both the Koreans and JS Bach used the same name for Jesus? Kewl!

Stefan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stefan said...

Stratagem:

You're welcome, and yes!

Stefan said...

(Fixed a typo I just caught.)