A Recommendation for Those Interested in Messianic Christianity – August 7

Messianic Judaism is a kind of stepchild in the Christian movement. Many criticisms of this movement come from "anti-missionaries". Anti-missionaries are Jewish writers who wish to challenge the claim that Christianity is any kind of natural extension or fulfillment of Judaism.

Messianic Judaism is a kind of stepchild in the Christian movement. Many criticisms of this movement come from "anti-missionaries". Anti-missionaries are Jewish writers who wish to challenge the claim that Christianity is any kind of natural extension or fulfillment of Judaism. This debate about Christianity with Judaism goes back centuries and has traditions stretching back to Christians and rabbis. There is now an excellent multi-volume resource that treats such objections thoroughly and one at a time. It is written by Michael Brown and is entitled ANSWERING JEWISH OBJECTIONS TO JESUS. It will have four voluems when it is completed. Three are now out. The volumes also discuss issues tied to law and grace and Jewish practice within the movement. The work is well done. The history iof the debate is often noted as the answers are given. Not every answer is convincing, but the vast majority are very much so — and all the options and choices are there. This is a wonderful resource for study of the relationship between Christianity and Judaism.


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    Baptism in Jesus’ or the Triune Name?
    I wanted to know your perspective on being baptized in the name or into the name of Jesus as found in a number of places in Acts. Was this the original apostolic formula rather than the trinitarian name found in Matthew 28? Which one is normative? Are both legitimate ways of baptizing? I personally have trouble with baptizing in Jesus name today because those who practice this are antitrinitarian (e.g., Oneness Pentecostals). Also could you reccommend any resources that address this area?

    with grattitude,

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    dlb – Baptism
    The point about baptism in Jesus’ or the Trinity’s name is really a point about the authority under which something is carried out. That makes the current usage ironic. For if one baptizes in Jesus’ name it is an affirmation of Jesus’ authority to forgive sins. If one baptizes in the name of the Father, Son, and the Spirit, the point is extended to the Spirit. In either case, Jesus is elevated. My own preference is the Trinitarian formula because the Father is responsible for the forgiveness, Jesus is the means of it, and the Spirit is the gift that is given as a result (see Romans 6-8 imagery). I am not sure there was only one apostolic formula in the beginning, since both expressions point out the centrality of Jesus and the role of the Father would be a given, as woudl the idea that the Spirit is central (See remarks about the Spirit and Messiah by John the Baptist (Luke 3:15-17).


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    Baptism in Jesus’ name?
    Is there any evidence that the early church “christians” baptized in anything other than the name of Jesus?

    Also is the name of Jesus sufficient enough? Is Jesus the Father, son, and Holy Spirit?

    your help would be greatly appreciated.

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    Messianic Judaism
    Hi Dr. Bock,

    Thanks for opening this thread and I hope it’s not too late to respond.

    There are a number of very solid ministries I’m aware of which are actively involved in Jewish Evangelism, such as Chosen People Ministries, of which I have noted that you a board member. Good for you!

    The term “Messianic Judaism” is somewhat problematic for me because Christianity and Judaism are distinct religions, notwithstanding Christianity’s deep Jewish roots. In MJ there are numerous streams, some of which are disturbingly heterodox, e.g. denying Messiah’s deity. Some Messianic congregations are solidly biblical in their teachings, yet others affirm that the entire Bible is a “covenant” which believers today have to “keep.” My concern is that some MJ congregations, explicitly or implicitly, might be promoting a kind of reverse replacement theology, i.e. “Israel is the New Church.”

    Thanks for your comments.

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      Messianic Judaism dlb



      On this one, think of a spectrum or a road. There are things on the edges that are problematic, but much of it is solid, simply living as James and the Jerusalem church did in the first century. Nothing wrong with that, said Paul and Peter. The same complaint you raise could be said of Christianity and the use of its name. People use the name who give it a bad name and have poor theology. What is now taking place is that conversations are happening directly between people where before that was not happening. This is a process and will take some time to sort itself out. Hopefully it will be a good and healthy process for all concerned.


      One more thought. There are three categories that rarely appear in this discussion. One is the issue of acting out of faith (Rom 14-15), which reflects what freedoms an individual person is comfortable with. A second is the idea that the reconciliation that God has brought through Jesus is of JEW AND GENTILE in the one NEW man Jesus has formed (Ie, not merely tacked on to Judaism nor a Christianity detached from its past). Note how it is not to make us all exactly the same but so the world can see reconciliation at work. We do not remove the ethnicities, but show how they now have a key point of unifying identity. This is slow to take because people usually most identify with their roots. Finally, there is a category in Scripture called Divine advise. We see it in 1 Corinthians 7, where Paul is asked if one shoudl marry or be single. He says his adice is to be single, This he encourages, but if one marries, they do not sin. Thus to encourage a Jew to live with an eye to his people can be encouraged, but to choose and live otherwise is not sin. This is "divine advice". (Remember that for many in this movement, they are discussing keeping the Law as Jewish people) What is problematic is to force or demand it. If the discussion can come to appreciate these ideas along with the law-covenants-grace disussions we will all be helped.

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        rodney fuston

        MJ & The New Moon
        I very much appreciated your tone in response to the above. Romans 14 asks believers to be considerte of the views of other believers. Often one’s enthusiasm for a particular doctrine, or practice supercedes our compassion for the image of God in others.

        My question concerns your understanding of Colossians 2:14 in light of Isaiah 66:23. If “the handwriting ordinances” means that the ceremonial law was done away with, how does one reconcile that with the practice of the New Moon and the Sabbath at the time of the New Heaven and Earth. Practice of the seventh-day Sabbath is an emotional, inflammatory issue. The New Moon is a much ignored, seldom practiced and biblically mandated at some point.

        What do you make of this apparent discrepancy between the popular conception that the Sabbath/New Moon were in place from Mount Sinai to the Cross, then done waway with for a time, and then restored at some future date? Doesn’t this seem to be at odds with the concept of immutability expressed in James 1:17 and Malachi 3:16? Curious for your insight!!