Real Church, Unity

Messianic Judaism – Celebration or Separation Part 2

Celebration or Separation?
Celebration or Separation?

Cult-like Movement

Messianic Judaism is a term coined to distinguish Jewish believers in Jesus as the Messiah. But, despite the joy of Jews believing in Jesus as their Messiah, it is sadly a movement within Christianity with cult-like tendencies. The movement parades itself under the guise of mere cultural Christianity, but it often carries menacing and divisive traits by its adherents. And, basically, by design, it’s a divisive movement.

Soured Celebration

Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe that all cultures should be able to enjoy the Christian faith within their own culture and to the extent that their culture doesn’t conflict with the Gospel. Likewise, Judaism carries a number of cultural-religious ideas and practices that Jewish believers in Christ can also hold onto. In this way, Messianic Judaism should be no different to say Zulu Christianity or American Christianity or Chinese Christianity or any other people’s expression of the Christian faith and culture. However, sadly, Messianic Judaism is often foisted, subtly or forcedly, on Jewish and non-Jewish believers as the ultimate Christianity to which all should aspire. A sort of superior Christianity!

Separate and Superior

Now, you have got to wonder about a group that speaks of themselves in such separate terms to all other Christians. I mean, a Zulu who comes to faith doesn’t go about saying, “I am a Zulu Christian” or use the term “Zulu Christianity”. That would smack of separateness and could lead to having an air of superiority! Yet, this is precisely what “Messianic Jews” do and what Messianic Judaism is.  Also, and especially annoying, is that non-Jewish converts to this form of Christianity participate in doing this.

Redeeming Messianic Judaism

Now, the term Messianic Judaism is useful if used among Jews to distinguish Jewish believers from other Jews, but it should not be used in the church, as it fosters a sense of division. And, where this happens, mischief is at work, because, Christ is not divided!

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision matters. What matters is faith that is active through love” (Gal. 5:6).


Go here for Messianic Judaism – Celebration or Separation Part 1

Real Church, Unity

Messianic Judaism – celebration or separation Part 1

Part 1

Is Messianic Judaism an expression of separateness or celebration? Has the term Messianic Judaism promoted cultural identity at the expense of identity in Christ? Has the fruit been division or unity? Has the Messiah or has Judaism been the focus?

Messianic Judaism has as its focus the religious and cultural values that belong to a certain people, but because they have made it their primary focus they have created division instead of unity. Those who become Christians in any culture don’t promote their culture as a primary objective. If promoted at all, culture needs to remain secondary to what makes Christianity truly unifying.

Messianic Judaism’s focus is so strong that those who practice it may feel the necessity to be separate from other believers. They form clicks within churches or simply meet separately altogether. Preferably, it would seem, they would like other believers to do things their way, believing it to be a more authentic expression. They major on terms that make them distinct rather than on those that make us one.  Undue focus gets given to things that are interesting but not necessarily life-giving.

Proponents of this are not overtly teaching another Gospel, to which Paul would have said, “Who has bewitched you!” However, surely the way that Messianic Judaism is practiced separately is what Paul reprimanded Peter for. In my mind simply having a term Messianic Judaism creates an air of separateness and not celebration. It has by nature a sense of dividing God’s people, the Jewish believers from the others.

Rob Morley