Messianic apologist J.K. McKee and Messianic blogger Judah Gabriel Himango tackle the tough issues facing Messianic Judaism, Hebrew Roots, and Messianic believers everywhere.
The Baby Boomers’ Messianic Movement
The modern Messianic movement is a first-generation movement: birthed in the 1960s and ’70s. But that first generation of pioneers are ageing, however, and a new generation — our generation of Millennials — must rise up to take up the mantle.
As the Millennial generation takes the torch, we recognize challenges in Messianic movement the Boomers have left to us: fundamentalism, rigidity, majoring on minors, a lack of critical thinking, failing to deal with issues relevant to today’s generation, an inability to plan for the future.
In this episode, John and I discuss these challenges and propose reasonable paths forward to help modern Messianics navigate these difficulties.
The Messianic Passover
John & Judah discuss Passover as a defining moment in God’s redemptive story.
The Passover event ripples throughout history:
* The Torah is shaped by it. “You are not to oppress the foreigner, for you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.”* It shapes The 10 commandments. “I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”* Passover themes of redemption and Exodus show up throughout the Bible. “The days are quickly coming,” declares Adonai, “when it will no longer be said. ‘As Adonai lives, who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.’ Rather, ‘As Adonai lives, who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had banished them.’ So I will bring them back into their land that I gave to their fathers.” * Passover plays a crucial role in the Gospels, as Yeshua’s crucifixion takes place during Passover week. The Gospel of John records Yeshua as the Passover lamb whose sacrifice atones for the sin of humanity.
Suffice to say, Passover may be the transformative, seminal event of the entire Bible, an event eclipsed by no other barring perhaps the resurrection itself.
In this podcast, John and Judah dig into the themes of Passover.
We discuss how Passover contains additional meaning for Messianic believers, as Messiah himself imbued the feast with new meaning and symbolism.
We also discuss how Messianics ought to handle the delicate subject of Easter and how it relates to Passover. Enjoy, friends! And חג פסח שמח! Happy Passover, friends! I sincerely hope you’ll remember the work of the Lord in ages past on Passover, both in the Exodus and the Messiah.
Don't Share That! Avoiding Messianic Misinformation in the Age of YouTube
So many of my Messianic and Christian friends are caught up in conspiracy theories, pseudo-medical woo, and various garbage by some rando they found on YouTube. That garbage then spills over into their Facebook pages.
If God’s people care about truth, we must do better.
In this new podcast episode, John McKee and I discuss some examples of hot garbage being shared — real examples taken from Facebook profiles of believers. (It’s gross and embarrassing!)
We talk about the damage this causes the body of Messiah: it hurts our credibility, destroys our witness about Yeshua, produces no good fruit, and entangles us in conspiracies often rooted in anti-Semitism.
Finally, we talk about some actionable steps you can do to avoid misinformation and be a person of truth: be slow to speak (James 1), prefer to keep quiet when uncertain (Prov 17), look for credible sources, avoid sensationalism, check with experts in the subject matter before posting, watch out for confirmation bias, beware of “all spirit, no brain” types, focus on Yeshua over conspiracy theories.
“But Judah, I’m a watchman and I want THE TRUTH”
If it’s the truth you want, friends, go back to Yeshua and focus on Him. He said, “I am the truth.” Refocus on Yeshua and building Yeshua’s kingdom. Devote your energy to doing the things Yeshua told us to do: helping widows and orphans, helping the poor, clothing the naked, visiting people in prison, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick. This will produce far more good fruit for the Lord than posting on Facebook about the latest conspiracy theories and faux-medical woo.
A Mission Statement for Messianic Judaism
In this episode, John and Judah discuss John’s mission statement for Messianic Judaism, a product of John’s coursework in Messianic studies:
Today’s Messianic Jewish community has the widescale conviction that it composes “the end-time move of God.” This is based in the Biblical conviction that it is actively involved in the salvation-historical trajectory of “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26). A massive salvation of Jewish people is to be regarded as “life from the dead” (Romans 11:15). Given the Apostle Paul’s magnanimous burden of the salvation of his kinsfolk—“I would pray that I myself were cursed, banished from Messiah for the sake of my people—my own flesh and blood” (Romans 9:3, TLV)—everything that today’s Messianic movement does, should be with the expressed purpose of trying to enhance the mission of Jewish outreach and evangelism! Today’s Messianic movement was specifically raised up by the Lord to proclaim the good news of Israel’s Messiah to the Jewish community, and emphasize that they do not have to assimilate into a much wider non-Jewish Christianity to properly express faith in Him.Many non-Jewish Believers, with a sincere and genuine love for the people and Scriptures of Israel, have been legitimately called by the Lord to be active participants and co-laborers in the salvation of Israel, along with Messianic Jewish Believers. Many of these people are to be regarded as modern-day Ruths, whose loyalty to Messianic Judaism is steadfast to the point of dying with their Messianic Jewish brothers and sisters (Ruth 1:16-17). They have a distinct role to play, in provoking non-believing Jewish people to Messiah faith (Romans 11:11). More importantly, as Jewish and non-Jewish people come together in a special and unique unity, in Messiah Yeshua, they should be representing the “one new man/humanity” (Ephesians 2:15)—a testimony and snapshot of the greater redemption to come to the cosmos in the eschaton (Ephesians 1:10).-John McKee
John and Judah discuss this vision in detail:
* Is the Messianic movement really the end-times move of God?* Are there other reasons to serve in the Messianic movement besides eschatology?* How and where the movement has diverged from the original vision of Jewish outreach, both good and bad.* Is the Messianic movement a more authentic Christianity?* Why the Messianic movement views assimilation differently than Christianity. (And how we know God doesn’t want Jews to disappear or lose their Jewishness.)* The Ruth calling: the role of non-Jews in the Messianic movement
We hope this episode will give some clarity around the movement’s purpose and calling, and how you, dear listener, may be called to serve in the Messianic Jewish movement.
Messianic Jewish Problems with Hebrew Roots
John and I tackle difficult issues separating Messianic Judaism and Hebrew Roots.
For the uninitiated, the Messianic movement encompasses both Messianic Judaism and Hebrew Roots.
In Messianic Judaism, the goal is Israel’s salvation by making a space where Jews can follow Yeshua as Messiah without losing their Jewish identity.
In Hebrew Roots, the goal is a return to the Jewish roots of Christianity, removing the extra-Biblical cruft created by the Church over the last 2000 years.
Go to most any Messianic congregation today, and you’re bound to find folks from both camps. These groups need each other, and yet, often there are theological disputes and disagreements that can prevent fellowship.
In this podcast, John and I look at 4 major issues that the Messianic Judaism movement sees with Hebrew Roots, and offer some ways to navigate them:
* One-Law Rigidity – dogmatism around the idea that non-Jews must follow the Torah in the same way that Jews do* Two-House identity – which claims many or most non-Jews in the Messianic movement are actually descendants of the lost 10 tribes of Israel* Sacred Name Onlyism – the idea that you must pronounce God’s divine name, יהוה, and must never use circumlocutions like “Lord”, “God”, or even “Adonai” or “Elohim.”* Divergent Calendars – Calendars that differ from the modern Jewish (Hillel II) calendar, resulting in dates of the Feasts differing from mainstream date.
These 4 issues were raised by Rabbi David Schiller of Congregation Etz Chaim in Richardson, Texas, during an interview with John in an earlier podcast.
In this episode, John and I talk about how to navigate these difficult issues — and have fellowship in the presence of disagreement — via a Big Tent kind of Messianic movement. Enjoy!
The Winter Holidays
“Christmas is pagan”
“Christmas is anti-Jewish”
“Christmas is Catholic”
If you’re a Messianic believer, almost certainly you’ve heard these claims. Are they true?
The Gospels record,
Today in the city of David is born a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord. And the sign to you is this: You’ll find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger. And suddenly, a multitude of heavenly armies appeared with the angel, praise God and saying,“Glory to God in the highest! And shalom on earth and good will to men!”Luke 2
This Biblical event 2000 years ago changed the world forever. Today, it’s celebrated by billions of Christians around the world as Christmas.
But many Messianic believers don’t celebrate Christmas.
Some of us feel it’s un-Jewish to do so, especially given the existence of Hanukkah and its anti-assimilation themes. Some Messianics feel that Christmas is mere dressed up Catholicism, a view shared by some early Reformers. Some Messianics highlight pagan influences that have seeped in: Christmas trees, yuletide, and other “Christmas” symbols have more to do with Norse and Germanic mythology than the historical Jewish Messiah.
In this new episode, Messianic apologist and author J.K. McKee and I discuss how Messianic people can navigate the winter holidays while avoiding some of the doom, gloom, and heresy hunting too prevalent in today’s Hebrew Roots movement.
I argue we Messianic believers ought to have joy at this time of year. It’s OK to have joy that Messiah was born. It’s OK to have joy that billions of people are celebrating His birth, even if it’s not exactly on the right day.
Tune in for a great discussion between John, who celebrates Hanukkah, and Judah, who celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas.