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
these differences, the Messianic Jewish Movement will become just another irrelevant conflicted religious offshoot. A
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
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
ish lifestyle and keeping
is an essential part of my faith. For others, any observance of traditional rabbinic Judaism is a compromise of the gospel. Can we not
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
witness to the Jewish people.
There are deeper matters of concern.
, unity requires
and Jews walking and
. For some Messianic Jews,
Jewish identity limit
they are willing to integrate w
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,
"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;
all members of
he body of Messiah, Arab, Jew
in our diversity; that is committed to pr
demanded in scripture
in order to present a
gospel to the Jewish
people. Our future, and yours, depend on it.