Is There a Future for Messianic Jewish Movement?

T here are deep divisions within the Messianic Jewish movement in Israel. Recent spats th reaten to create major rifts between factions among the believers in Israel . While debates about orthodoxy (our beliefs) and orthopraxy (the practice of our beliefs) are welcome, some of these quarrels have spilled overseas adding more fire to the fray. Even worse, the Israel media have caught wind of our house divided and are more than happy to air it publicly.

If we are not able to o vercome these differences, the Messianic Jewish Movement will become just another irrelevant conflicted religious offshoot. A  d isappointment to the Lord, to His purposes for Israel, and to many of us.

When debate turns into battle, we all lose.

As I mentioned in my last letter to you, (Sorry for the delay, we have been busy, also with two new grand daughters!) o ne of the ongoing contention s among Israel's Messianics is about preserving Jewish identity while following Jesus. Speak to two MJ's on this issue and you will get at least three opinions. For me, preserving a Jew ish lifestyle and keeping Jewish traditions is an essential part of my faith. For others, any observance of traditional rabbinic Judaism is a compromise of the gospel. Can we not honor and respect all those who are doing their best to follow Jesus? Surely our unity is far more important than the sectarianism that is undermining our already meager  witness to the Jewish people.

There are deeper matters of concern.

In Israel , unity requires Arabs and Jews walking and working together . For some Messianic Jews, a strong emphasis on Jewish identity limit s how far they are willing to integrate w ith  their Arab brothers and sisters . For me the opposite is true. I find that friendship with my Arab friends is a greater fulfillment of what it means to be a Messianic Jewish follower of Jesus.

What about the land of Israel? 

Most Jewish believers feel strongly that the entire land of Israel, including what is known as the West Bank, belongs to the Jewish people according to the Bible. Many Arab believers are not so sure. Should we disassociate ourselves from Arabs, or even Gentile Christians, who do not believe like we do about the land of Israel? Can we not find some common ground to stand on together for the sake of our Lord's gospel of love even on this difficult issue? We can if we would only continue to honor the principles of our God's Kingdom while allowing for wiggle room for discussion and come to a greater understanding of one another without separating. The price we are paying for disunity is far too high not to give unity a try.

And what about politics? 

Do we stop relating to those who think or vote differently than us? Are we destined to keep splintering the Body of Messiah on the cross of our need to be right all the time? What are we benefiting from our divisiveness? What we are losing is the only thing worth fighting for.

I remember when I was a brand-new believer and how the divisiveness of the then older generation of Messianic leaders in Israel made no sense to me. Back then they were arguing about tongues and the charismatic gifts of the spirit, about Jewish traditions, keeping the commandments, and about the land. I was sure that my generation would find a way to overcome for the sake of our Lord's call to unity. I was wrong, we no longer argue, but that's only because my generation are beginning to swallow whole these divisions as inevitable, irreconcilable .

"What causes fights and quarrels among you?"  

The Apostle James asks this pertinent question (Chap. 4:1-2). For him, the answer is clear. "You cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight." If we want everyone, or even anyone, to agree with our particular denomination, doctrine or dogma, we will only continue to deepen our dilemma. But James also gives us hope for a way forward. "You do not have," he says,  "because you do not ask God." 

Can we, you and I, join in asking, and believing, for a way forward? For a unity that embraces meaningful Jewish practice without compromising the clear message of the risen Messiah and his New Covenant;  that honors all members of t he body of Messiah, Arab, Jew ish and Gentile  in our diversity; that is committed to pr eserv ing  the  spirit of unity  demanded in scripture in order to present a n authentic gospel to the Jewish people. Our future, and yours, depend on it.
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Our goal is to help show the people of Israel that Yeshua is their Messiah, the Jewish Messiah who loves them more than they can ever imagine and laid down his life for their sins. We are a family-oriented ministry demonstrating the blessings of our rich heritage as the people of Israel together with our New Covenant commitment to the Messiah Yeshua and the Spirit-led life.