Messianic Judaism Is Not Christianity: A Loving Call to Unity
A thoughtful critique on a hot topic
Stan Telchin is a Jewish believer, former pastor, and long time supporter of Jews for Jesus who is well informed and well qualified to speak on the topic of Messianic Judaism. This work provides a poignant, first-hand account of what it means to be a Jew in America and a brief overview of the origin and development of Messianic Judaism. Theologically, Telchin writes from a main-stream, dispensational perspective, however Torah-observant individuals who follow Covenant Theology will still find his observations very informative and his questions worthy of consideration.
TelchinÃ¢ÂÂs main thesis is that Messianic Judaism is an ineffective method for evangelizing Jews and that it is a divisive and spiritually unhealthy influence within the larger Christian community. He claims that the leaders of Messianic Judaism want to be accepted by a Jewish community that has largely rejected God and His Word. He points out that most Jews do not regularly attend a synagogue (62), but those who do are strongly opposed to Christianity (104) and abhor Messianic Judaism (70). Only 4 percent of Jews were evangelized by a Messianic congregation, while most Jewish believers are converted by a Gentile friend, and they attend churches (66).
Telchin also observes that the leaders of Messianic Judaism are more focused on maintaining Jewishness than they are on maintaining the integrity of Scripture. As a result, they are separating themselves from the rest of the body of Christ (98). While a church should reflect the culture of its people, most American Jews are assimilated and outwardly indistinguishable from American Gentiles (116). Yet, Messianic Judaism has created a liturgy that never before existed and is forcing it upon Jews and Gentiles alike (68). Rather than creating a comfortable place for Jewish believers to worship, most of the people attending Messianic congregations are Gentiles, who are being encouraged to wear head coverings, prayer shawls and fringes. Often, Jewish believers find this environment to be artificial, contrived and unappealing (83-84).
Telchin is concerned that Messianic Judaism is catering to Jewish elitism, pride and separatism (154). A kind of reverse anti-Semitism exists in the form of anti-Church sentiment (85). The actions and attitudes of their (primarily Gentile) followers seem to indicate a belief that if Jewish people really are saved, they should belong to Messianic synagogues and follow rabbinic form. Therefore, Telchin concludes that Messianic Judaism has lost sight of the fact that God has not called us to an ethnic identity and that He has called Jews and Gentiles to a spiritual identity as one new man (150).
Even if you don't agree with Telchin's point of view, his criticisms are worthy of consideration. Rather than lashing out, Messianics should see if there is room for improvement.
August 25, 2012
I was curious about the Messianic movement and this was a good book to explain it to me and why it is not Biblical. My brother has sadly gotten into this and I see him doing exactly what the author tells about in this book. He is trying to find Jewsih blood in our family line and thinks he is superior to all of us. It is sad and this book has really helped me to understand.
December 27, 2011
Man's word or God's Word
If you prefer the traditions of man over the Word of god, then this is the book for you. On the other hand, if you prefer to use God's Word as the standard for living you are better off with a different book. How long will we continue to search out words that tickle our ears and tell us what our flesh wants to hear? No teaching, doctrine, or denomination trumps the actual written Word of our Creator. We don't have to compromise the Word of God for the sake of unity. Unity should come from a common desire to serve the Father in spirit AND truth.
October 24, 2010
Let's follow Yeshua, not this book.
January 22, 2009