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« on: May 29, 2003, 06:50:33 PM »

Is anyone here familiar with the so-called "Messianic Jews?"

I have encountered some of them on another web site.

All of them seem to believe one must keep the Mosaic Law, including the Saturday Sabbath, and that believers of Jewish origin should be organized in groups separate from other (Gentile) Christians.

Many of them are apparently very aggressive Arians (they deny the deity of Christ).

Anyone have any further info on them (history, etc.)?
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2003, 07:15:00 PM »

I know one of them who lives here. They are not one united group. In fact some are in different congregations. I think most of them do believe in Christ's Divinity. From what I know the majority of them are very influenced by Adventist Protestantism and are not part of any Apostolic Church. Some would say that the Church of Jerusalem (the one of Peter) was the true one because it allowed the Jews to preserve the Law, while the one of Paul was the "false" one and a mixture of Pagan beliefs. (This is typical Adventist-like theology)

They are discouraged to join them because of all the lies the Protestants have said about Orthodox and Catholic Churches. However, in Argentina there is a more and less large group of Catholic Messianic jews. They still preserve the Jewish traditions.
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2003, 07:30:50 PM »

Since we are discussing this, I thought it might be interesting to read some of the canons on Jews.

CANON LXV of the 85 CANONS:

If any Clergyman, or Layman, evter a synogogue of Jews, or of heretics, to pray, let him be both deposed and excommunicated.

CANON LXX of the 85 CANONS:

If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, or anyone at all who is on the list of clergymen, fasts together with the Jews, or celebrates a holiday together with them, or accepts from them holiday gifts or favors, such as unleavened wafers, or anything of the like, let him be deposed from office. If a layman do likewise, however, let him be excommunicated.

CANON XI of the 102 CANONS:
Let no one be enrolled in the sacerdotal list, or any layman, eat the unleavened wafers manufactured by the Jews, or in any way become familliar with the Jews or call them in case of sickness, or take any medicines from them, or even bathe with them in public bathing beaches or bathhouses. If anyone should attempt to do this, in case he is a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; or in case he is a layman, let him be excommunicated.
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« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2003, 08:47:39 PM »

Of course, quoting canons without further explanation or advice from those in charge of interpreting and implementing the canons is somewhat useless and rather dangerous.  For instance, I'm excommunicated because my doctor is Jewish?  Come on, now.
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2003, 11:37:08 AM »

I just found them interesting.  Shocked
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« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2003, 11:38:19 AM »

Of course, quoting canons without further explanation or advice from those in charge of interpreting and implementing the canons is somewhat useless and rather dangerous.  For instance, I'm excommunicated because my doctor is Jewish?  Come on, now.  

I agree, Mor.  I wouldn't even go about asking if my physician were Jewish (or Moslem) for that matter--I'd be more concerned with his competence in his medical field.  I hardly think that this canon is seriously applied today--most Orthodox Christians, I would bet, are totally unaware of it (unless it is harangued weekly by some fanatical priest from the ambon, which I have yet to hear of).

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« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2003, 11:54:41 AM »

One thing I think we can glean from the canons Nik presented is that certainly Christians are not to live under the Mosaic Law or to keep Jewish festivals or holidays.

What really troubles me about the MJ movement is the apparent ethno-centric nature of it, as if God has a set of favorites - the natural descendants of Jacob - and the rest of us are second-class Christians.

MJs even eschew the title Christian, and will not call St. Paul Paul, but refer to him as "Sh'aul" instead.

How can anyone read Galatians and imagine that the followers of Christ are still under the Law?
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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2003, 12:20:03 PM »

I'll bet the increasing popularity of this movement is related to the increasing popularity amung Evangelicals of the idea that all of the OT promises still apply to Israel, and that the Jews are still the chosen people.  They take the idea that the Church was grafted in and the Jews that reject Christ are not true Jews as saying that God broke His promise to the Jews.  They think that to honour that promise, God must still see Israel as Israel, and the Church must be something separate, made up by men.  They can't see that the Church is Israel.
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« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2003, 01:15:30 PM »

Quote
What really troubles me about the MJ movement is the apparent ethno-centric nature of it, as if God has a set of favorites - the natural descendants of Jacob - and the rest of us are second-class Christians.

And the ironic thing is that most modern Jews haven't a drop of blood in them that relates them to Jacob.  
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« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2003, 01:42:27 PM »

Quote
What really troubles me about the MJ movement is the apparent ethno-centric nature of it, as if God has a set of favorites - the natural descendants of Jacob - and the rest of us are second-class Christians.

And the ironic thing is that most modern Jews haven't a drop of blood in them that relates them to Jacob.  


Sez who?
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« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2003, 12:36:22 AM »

One thing I think we can glean from the canons Nik presented is that certainly Christians are not to live under the Mosaic Law or to keep Jewish festivals or holidays.

I do not completely agree with that. The overall historical approach of the Church is to say that Jews do not have to become Gentiles and Gentiles do not have to become Jews as a pre-condition to joining the Church.  Jews can keep doing what they do but as a matter of culture and not ritual.

For one thing the Jerusalem Apostles did that themselves. The Jerusalem Church, and especially James, was very big on the maintenance of Jewish custom.  Re-read the discussions between them and Paul in Acts from this perspective.

Quote
What really troubles me about the MJ movement is the apparent ethno-centric nature of it, as if God has a set of favorites - the natural descendants of Jacob - and the rest of us are second-class Christians.

And the ironic thing is that most modern Jews haven't a drop of blood in them that relates them to Jacob.  


Sez who?


Says history. History is replete with instances of whole segments of people converting to Judaism during the Middle Ages for a variety of reasons. Some of those groups are the ancestors of today’s Jews. Father Timothy Ware briefly mentions one of them in his book “The Orthodox Church.”

On the other hand this fact is abused by anti-Semites who write books like “The Thirteenth Tribe” and “Chosen People from the Caucasus.” Jews, not being the ‘real Jews’ is of little importance theologically so it is best to ignore that subject.    
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« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2003, 01:01:46 AM »

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On the other hand this fact is abused by anti-Semites who write books like “The Thirteenth Tribe” and “Chosen People from the Caucasus.” Jews, not being the ‘real Jews’ is of little importance theologically so it is best to ignore that subject.    

I just brought it up because I find it to be an interesting fact.  I don't share the anti-Jewish feelings though of the people that abuse this fact.
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« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2003, 01:16:44 AM »

Says history. History is replete with instances of whole segments of people converting to Judaism during the Middle Ages for a variety of reasons. Some of those groups are the ancestors of today’s Jews. Father Timothy Ware briefly mentions one of them in his book “The Orthodox Church.”

One need only go to Israel to see how hard it is to claim a common ancestry with a straight face.  Jews of every race, ethnicity, and nationality reside there.  It is a melting pot.  Arabs are more Semitic than today's Jews, yet only the ignorant would claim that we are all Arabs in the ethnic sense of the world (altogether we are the descendants of Arabs and Arabized Semites.....as well as Europeans in some cases owing to the episodes of history wherein they came to this region) despite the fact we look more Semitic.

Quote
On the other hand this fact is abused by anti-Semites

True, it can be abused.  Truth has a habit of being claimed by both those who would disclose it faithfully, and those--anti-Semites or otherwise--who would use it to support a theory or ideology of their own.

Quote
Jews, not being the ‘real Jews’ is of little importance theologically so it is best to ignore that subject.

Except when hardliners such as Israeli settlers and Jewish supremacists start spouting garbage concerning their spiritual superiority and higher worth as the only people meriting human dignity and respect by virtue of this biological lineage.    

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« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2003, 08:22:28 AM »

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From: Linus7 on Yesterday at 11:54:41am
One thing I think we can glean from the canons Nik presented is that certainly Christians are not to live under the Mosaic Law or to keep Jewish festivals or holidays.

 
Quote
Reply from Aklie Semaet:
I do not completely agree with that. The overall historical approach of the Church is to say that Jews do not have to become Gentiles and Gentiles do not have to become Jews as a pre-condition to joining the Church.  Jews can keep doing what they do but as a matter of culture and not ritual.

For one thing the Jerusalem Apostles did that themselves. The Jerusalem Church, and especially James, was very big on the maintenance of Jewish custom.  Re-read the discussions between them and Paul in Acts from this perspective.

I don't agree. In Ephesians 2 St. Paul says Christ has made of the two (Jews and Gentiles) one in His Church. There is one Olive Tree, one Fold, and one Shepherd.

I don't have the references handy, but I recall a number of times when the Fathers have said that it is wrong for Christians to retain Jewish customs. One thinks especially of St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch in the closing decades of the first century.

I have nothing against Jews. My wife's grandmother, Rachel, was a Jew who converted to Holy Orthodoxy. But she didn't start her own special "Messianic" sect; she became an Orthodox Christian.

There may be many Jews who have some of Jacob's DNA, but then again, there are probably some of us Christians who also carry it and don't realize it. After all, there were plenty of Jews in Europe who converted and married Christians. It is interesting to speculate on the origins of many Palestinian Christians. They may have a greater claim to natural descent from Jacob than most of today's Jews.

And, of course, there are many Jews who are not natural descendants of Jacob. Remember the mass conversion of the Turkic Khazars during the Middle Ages.

Ultimately, natural descent from Jacob is not what's important.

And that is the point where the MJ movement's errors begin.

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« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2003, 10:00:51 AM »

Leaders plan to broaden dialogue:

Thessaloniki, Hellas:

Jewish and Orthodox Christian leaders plan to form a joint commission to broaden interfaith dialogue and examine Jewish concerns in Eastern Europe, a top Jewish envoy said.

The new panel was announced at a Thessaloniki conference on relations between Jews and Orthodox Christians. The move would greatly expand high-level Jewish-Christians contacts, which have been dominated by the Vatican.

"It would be a significant step," said Israel Singer, chairman of the World Jewish Congress, on Tuesday."The lines of communication between the Jewish and Christian communities would be stronger."

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual head of the world's 200 million Orthodox Christians, has urged Orthodox churches to show greater openness and abandon deep-rooted suspicions toward others.
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« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2003, 02:06:16 PM »

Linus, to my knowledge, up until now since its founding, the Ethiopian Church has always retained and preserved its Jewish customs.  Obviously, there was nothing objectionable about this back then.  There shouldn't be now, I would think.

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« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2003, 08:00:54 PM »

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual head of the world's 200 million Orthodox Christians

I read this in a GOA press release/story, but I have to disagree the EP is not the spiritual head of me.
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« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2003, 08:05:03 PM »

Nicholas, you are correct. Bartholomew is not the eastern pope. I just wish that the media would get this right.
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« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2003, 08:12:28 PM »

Nicholas, you are correct. Bartholomew is not the eastern pope. I just wish that the media would get this right.

Well this time, the media in question is the GOA itself!  Shocked
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« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2003, 10:12:04 PM »

Association of Hebrew Catholics
http://hebrewcatholic.org/index.html

A representative form this group did a nice show on EWTN not long ago.

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« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2003, 12:56:08 AM »

Nicholas, you are correct. Bartholomew is not the eastern pope. I just wish that the media would get this right.

Well this time, the media in question is the GOA itself!  Shocked

Well what do you expect since the GOA is under the EP?
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« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2003, 08:31:04 PM »



"If we are still living in the practice of Judaism, it is an admission that we have failed to receive the gift of grace (St. Ignatius, Letter to the Magnesians, 8 ).

"To profess Jesus Christ while continuing to follow Jewish customs is an absurdity. The Christian faith does not look to Judaism, but Judaism looks to Christianity, in which every other race and tongue that confesses a belief in God has now been comprehended (St. Ignatius, Letter to the Magnesians, 10).


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« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2003, 09:16:22 PM »

Linus7,

I am familiar with the quotes of the fathers and councils prohibiting Jewish practices.  However, what does one make of the Ethiopian Christains who integrated many Jewish practices into their tradition.  Also the Council of Jerusalem did not forbid the contiued practice of Jewish traditions, it simply forbade Jewish Christians from imposing them on Gentile Christians.  If modern Jewish converts wish to maintain their culture I do not think it should be a cause for scandal or digging up canons that had a specific purpose in a specific context.  

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« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2003, 10:15:57 PM »

I think it depends on what one means by "customs."

Obviously the Christian liturgy is dependent upon the tradition of Jewish synagogue worship, so, in a sense, the Church has preserved "Jewish customs."

But in the MJs we are talking about a movement that believes it is necessary for all believers to adhere to the Mosaic Law, including the Saturday Sabbath. We are also talking about a movement that creates an ethnic caste system within Christendom, a movement that eschews the honorable name of Christian, and a movement that contains a sizeable and aggressive Arian component.

Customs are fine, as long as they are not elevated to some sort of indispensable religious status. I mean, I like bratwurst cooked in beer and served with spicy mustard, and I think everyone should. I also enjoy Blutwurst (blood sausage).

But I don't think I am some sort of Nietzschean Superman or a member of the Master Race.

I don't think God has any special ethnic or racial favorites.
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« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2003, 12:02:05 AM »

Linus7,

Forgive me for being unclear, I assumed your post was in response to my posting of the Hebrew Catholic site.  I would agree the fundamentalist Protestant Messianic Jewish thing is a lost cause.  

I do think it interesting the Hebrew Catholics are seeking a canonical jurisdication for themselves so they can develop and protect a Hebrew Use for the Latin Church.  I am curious how others would view this.  I saw one of their leaders speak on EWTN and he was very sincere, not a zionist, and very knowledgeable about his Catholic faith.

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« Reply #25 on: June 02, 2003, 12:59:32 AM »

Linus7,

Forgive me for being unclear, I assumed your post was in response to my posting of the Hebrew Catholic site.  I would agree the fundamentalist Protestant Messianic Jewish thing is a lost cause.  

I do think it interesting the Hebrew Catholics are seeking a canonical jurisdication for themselves so they can develop and protect a Hebrew Use for the Latin Church.  I am curious how others would view this.  I saw one of their leaders speak on EWTN and he was very sincere, not a zionist, and very knowledgeable about his Catholic faith.

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Lance -

No problem. I was not referring to the Hebrew Catholics.

I did look briefly at the link you provided.

Frankly, I am not big on ethnic stuff being mixed with the Christian faith. It gets in the way and tends to exclude rather than include.

I don't see the need for people to have special ethnic enclaves or clubs within the Church.

I look at the Jewish issue this way: choose: be a Jew or be a Christian.

Within one's own family or social club the preservation of ethnic customs is a fine thing. But I don't think one should tie them to one's religion and thus imply a superior sanctity for them.

I know I will probably get jumped on by people who will tell me the Orthodox Church is a key component of their ethnic identity. Great. But Norse mythology was a key component of my ancestors' ethnic identity. Thank God they chose truth and the salvation of their souls over ethnicity!
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« Reply #26 on: June 02, 2003, 12:18:49 PM »

I do think it interesting the Hebrew Catholics are seeking a canonical jurisdication for themselves so they can develop and protect a Hebrew Use for the Latin Church.

That is an unfeasible project.  I think we are past the time of development of new Rites.  Rites developed over the course of centuries out of cultural beds within certain geographic areas (and traditional culture is eroding quickly in our times and our new world).  The solid culture and historical progression of Egyptian civilization contributed to the birth of the Coptic Christian traditions when the region embraced Christianity.  There can be no comparison between this and a Novus Ordo-ish project to create a synthetic Hebrew rite out of whole cloth for converts who happen to have 'Jewish ethnicity' (a good deal of whom are not even immersed in their respective traditions, like most 20/21st century folk who have joined the "world community"), are scattered across the globe, come from every conceivable ethnic and racial background (and hence don't share a common tradition [or history] as one geographically based society but come from starkly differing cultural milieus), and fail to form a strong unity.  Any notions of rite creation of any kind, Hebrew or otherwise, is simply artificial, a 'project' that suits the modernist engineer and his thought paradigm very well.  I think Joe Sobran's famous quote can apply to the religious sphere: "Anything called a 'project' is unconstitutional."  

The whole endeavour to conjure up any sort of rite ex nihilo is the sort of comittee-creation extravaganza that can benefit no Church.

The closest thing to a "Jewish Rite" is of course the organic and Jewish traditions of Ethiopia.  The Syrian Rites are the sort of Semitic Rites that can appeal to the Sephardic, Semitic Jew.  And of course in the most general sense, Jewish tradition is present in every Rite by way of Temple traditions influencing the Liturgy.

Linus, to briefly reply to your statement, ultimately it was cultures (not remotely close to the artificially engineered modern sort we presently have in North America), multi-ethnic or otherwise, that created the very Rites of the undivided Church, societies whose customs and cultural ethos were enshrined in the religious traditions that made up the fabric of their religoius lives.  They should be given due honour and not scuttled while taking and enjoying the spoils (the ritual traditions that form the essence of religious praxis) for the sole purpose of (rightfully) preventing the Churches from being nothing more than ethnic social clubs that care not for important religious, spiritual, and societal issues and concerns (such as abortion).  The devil works from both extremes.

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« Reply #27 on: June 03, 2003, 12:00:59 PM »

Quote
Linus, to briefly reply to your statement, ultimately it was cultures (not remotely close to the artificially engineered modern sort we presently have in North America), multi-ethnic or otherwise, that created the very Rites of the undivided Church, societies whose customs and cultural ethos were enshrined in the religious traditions that made up the fabric of their religoius lives.  They should be given due honour and not scuttled while taking and enjoying the spoils (the ritual traditions that form the essence of religious praxis) for the sole purpose of (rightfully) preventing the Churches from being nothing more than ethnic social clubs that care not for important religious, spiritual, and societal issues and concerns (such as abortion).  The devil works from both extremes.

I understand what you are saying, Sam, but I am not sure I would equate culture with ethnicity, at least not absolutely. One can be fully Orthodox, religiously and culturally, without being a Greek or a Russian or a Serb or a whatever.

If everyone had always bound religion and ethnicity inextricably, then the Greeks would still be worshiping Zeus, the Syrians Baal, and the Germans Wotan, because "that's whom our people worship, whom we have always worshiped, and, well, aren't we his chosen ones?"
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« Reply #28 on: June 23, 2003, 05:04:09 AM »

I don't have the references handy, but I recall a number of times when the Fathers have said that it is wrong for Christians to retain Jewish customs.

It is interesting to note that after the Jerusalem Synod Paul himself circumcised Timothy a mixed Jewish and Greek disciple. “Paul wanted to have him go on with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew his father was a Greek.” (Acts 16:3).

Nevertheless some Pharisees falsely accused Paul of still teaching otherwise. So when he returned to Jerusalem the Council made an interesting decision, which I believe settles the whole matter:

“But they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying they ought not to circumcise their children nor walk according to the customs.” The council then told Paul to demonstrate that the accusations were false by demonstrating that he is a faithful Jew that does “walk orderly and keep the law.” He was told to undergo a purification ritual of seven days and an offering in the Jewish temple and Paul agreed and underwent it, only to be interrupted when a crowd of Pharisees recognized him and started to beat him (Acts 21:22-40).

So contrary to being wrong the Apostles themselves maintained Jewish custom, it became wrong when some of them tried to impose this practice on Gentiles coming to the Church as some kind of a pre-condition. And it is that practice which the Jerusalem Synod rejected. As far as the Church fathers are concerned, their comments must be balanced with the exact historical circumstances and contexts in which they made them.

Ultimately, natural descent from Jacob is not what's important.

Of course. And St. Peter made it abundantly clear that the mantle of Jacob’s seed has been passed on spiritually to the Church. We, as the Body of Christ, are the Holy Nation, the Royal Priesthood. The biological significance of Abraham’s seed became insignificant after Jesus was born.

Customs are fine, as long as they are not elevated to some sort of indispensable religious status.

That is all that we have been saying. They are simply a part of the continuous culture maintained by a vibrant tradition.

There is nothing religiously mandatory about it. There is no law, say, that requires that I have a priest come and bless my house before I move in it. That is just a part of my custom. At some Ethiopian restaurants you may notice the owner, in the early hours of the morning, pouring tebel (‘holy water’) around the premises. But there is nothing in any cannons or Church edicts that say this must be done, it is just what IS done. It is part of the small ‘t’ traditions that all Old World churches have, something to fully integrate the Church in every aspect of your life and culture, praxis, to borrow a favorite word from Samer. It is a way to make Christianity holistic and a total way of life. In contrast, in societies like ours, the life of a Christian has been reduced to a Sunday service (and maybe a Wednesday and Friday service for the pious) but still nothing resembling the ‘old days.’

It is interesting to speculate on the origins of many Palestinian Christians. They may have a greater claim to natural descent from Jacob than most of today's Jews.

Yes of course they do, and as surprising as it sounds that is not a controversial perspective in professional circles the way it is in political circles. Anthropologists use indigenous Palestinians, and not Israeli immigrants, as reference populations for research. Palestinian x-rays and available skeletons are used to compare with ancient Israelite skeletons found in excavations. Traditional aspects of modern Palestinian culture are referred to for throwing light on ancient customs in the Holy Land.
 
I also enjoy Blutwurst (blood sausage).

I am not familiar with that but it sounds sinful Smiley

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« Reply #29 on: June 23, 2003, 05:20:08 AM »

Except when hardliners such as Israeli settlers and Jewish supremacists start spouting garbage concerning their spiritual superiority and higher worth as the only people meriting human dignity and respect by virtue of this biological lineage.

Well personally I would just prefer to throw rocks at them. Arguing truth doesn’t seem to get anywhere with that crowd except perhaps to hear a lecture of how their great grandpa was deported to a concentration camp in Germany and how that, by some twist in logic, somehow justifies them taking someone else’s land thousands of miles away from a people who had nothing to do with the atrocities in Europe.

But if have the stomach for those type of debates go for it, but don’t complain about developing an ulcer, and please don’t try to cure it with ArakaiGǪ Grin
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« Reply #30 on: June 23, 2003, 02:49:51 PM »

Glory to Jesus Christ!

The several Messianic Jewish Groups that I have found  actually have roots back to the Four Square Gospel Church .  Many of their Rabbis were trained there.  as mentioned above, many are not legally Jews in that their mothers were not Jewish---many come from mixed marriages and  Messianic Judaism seems to be the way they have chosen to celebrate both sides of their heritage.

The worship varies from  almost Orthodox Jewish worship ( Tzzitsm  skull caps, and prayerbooks written in Hebrew and English) to modern charismatic worship that is not much different than any other charismatic church your would go to with the exception of the use of Yesuah and Messiah instead of Jesus Christ.

The several groups that I have met are falling into the old heresies and controversies that the early church fell into Ariansims, Manicheanism, and others.  As they do not recognize the Ecumenical cOuncils, they reject for the most part the Holy Spirit driven directions that the Church  recieved  that finalized and clarified doctrines that the Messianic Jewish movement is now being  troubled with.

Your brother in Christ,
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« Reply #31 on: June 23, 2003, 08:46:31 PM »


I am certainly not an expert on the so-called Messianic Jews. When I have encountered them they seem very proud based upon a supposed natural descent from Jacob, a descent which causes them to emphasize the Old Testament and the keeping of the Law and to refer to non-Jewish Christians as "strangers."

They insist on using a sort of pidgin Hebrew for religious terms, calling Jesus Yeshua (or Yashua, depending on who is doing the talking), using Mashiach for Christ, and referring to the OT as the Tanakh, for example.

I realize those terms may be highly correct, but we don't speak Hebrew; we speak English. If carried to extremes one would properly write Jesus' Hebrew name in Latin characters as auhseY, since Hebrew is written from right to left.

Besides, Jesus and His disciples spoke Aramaic, not Hebrew.

I think I mentioned this before, but Messianic Jews also tend to write the word "God" as G*d, omitting the "o". This seems to be an attempt to carry over the traditional prohibition against writing or speaking God's name into English, but it seems just plain g**fy to me.

I have the impression that Messianic Judaism is a heresy that has been spawned by Dispensationalism, which asserts a radical distinction between Israel and the Church and insists that the OT promises to national Israel are yet to be fulfilled.
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« Reply #32 on: June 28, 2003, 01:43:20 PM »

Putting aside the various protestant theologies which actually underlie most messiani jewish sects (save the small groups who often call themselves "ebionites", based on the old jewish heretical sect who rejected the divinity of Christ and the virgin birth), the one big flaw of the MJ groups, is their lack of appreciation of the oness of believers.  How emphatically can it be stated - neither Jew, nor Greek.

The Scriptures themselves state that to be ethnically decended from Abraham means nothing - for God could turn stones into biological descendents of Abraham.

Rather, what makes a true son of Abraham, a spiritual semite, is to inherit the promises made to Abraham.  This is a point often overlooked in studies of St.Paul - a big them for St.Paul is the idea of being a "child of the promise."  For example, while both Ishmael and Isaac were Abraham's son, simple biological descent did not make both inheritor's of the sacred/messianic promise given to Abraham - no, it was only Isaac who became the inheritor.  Same with Isaac's sons - it was not both Esau and Jacob who inherited the promise, but Jacob.

Thus, blood lineage of itself means nothing - something that never seemed to sink into the Jewish mindset, which explains why so many of them felt justified in resisting both St.John the Baptist and our Lord Jesus Christ.  Rather what matters, is to be the "child of promise."

It is precisely for this reason, St.Paul teaches, that the "seed of Abraham" cannot be understood to refer to all who gentically issue forth from him.  In the strictest sense, that "seed" is absolutely singular - the Person of Jesus Christ, Who as it was, was the inheritance of those who succeeded in the line of "children of promise."

An interesting phenomenon (certainly foreshadowing the advent of the "Church") in the Old Testament, is that it is always the younger of the two children who ends up inheriting the promises of God (not Ishmael, but Isaac; not Esau, but Jacob.)  This is why St.Paul says that those under the Old Covenant, are spiritual Hagar (labouring under bondage), where as the Church of the Apostles are the freemen of Sarah.  The institution of "the Church", while historically younger than the Synagogue, is the corporate "child of promise", inheritor of the "seed of Abraham."

I'm always amazed at how so many avowed students of Scripture can overlook such a dominating theme in St.Paul's writings, yet claim their soteriology and the other peculiarities of their doctrine to be "Pauline" in origin.

Seraphim
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« Reply #33 on: July 01, 2003, 09:46:05 AM »

I find it frusterating that they claim that they've always existed, and where always there as the gentile Church deviated and persecuted them from Apostolic times until today.  It's even more infuriating that when Baptists claim to be the descendents of John the Baptist's disciples without historical break since it's important to them.
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« Reply #34 on: July 27, 2003, 05:55:06 PM »

I am new to this forum, as I am investigating the Orthodox Church. I am a fairly long-time poster over at another Christian Forum, and my record there is on view for anyone who may suspect me of being a Judaizer or "Messiaic Jew." In fact, Linus7 knows me from that board, and we have touched on this subject briefly in private.

I am a person of Jewish descent, born of a Jewish mother and a Jewish father. I accepted Christ as Messiah several years ago, but am only now really starting to explore the world beyond Protestantism.
When I first accepted Christ, I was courted by the Messianic Jews, but their stuff really just feels to me kinda like Christianity put through one of those goofy Internet Dialect sites so that it sounds like my Jewish great-grandmother reading the Gospel.
I also disagree with any school of thought which seeks to separate Christians of Jewish descent from the rest of the body of Christ. I also just plain don't like the attitude of many of the MJs I have interacted with.

But (and you knew a "but" was coming) the world for a very long time allowed us (Eastern European, or Ashkenazi, Jews) no ethnicity but "Jewish." After I abandoned the Jewish faith, but before I accepted Christ, I experimented with what the heck to call myself. Some of my family is from Belorussia, but how could I call myself Belorussian when Jews in the area were not acccepted by the residents of that nation? The same for my family from Poland and Hungary.
I am a Christian of Jewish descent.  What else can I possibly call myself? (and don't take the easy way out and say "American," I am a veteran and proud of my country and know that I am an American)
As to the claims that today's Jews have (almost) no blood link to Jacob, etc. - You obviously aren't considering Sephardic Jews, right? You know, the dark-skinned ones who look almost indistinguishable from Arabs? Such as my wife? Remember also that Judaism became a people by absorbing people from all over. And that in recent history many abuses of the Jews have left Jewish women with children by non-Jews ( a result of assault) which they did not abort. My dad has blue eyes and so does my oldest son, and my mom had the complexion of a woman just back from holiday in Greece.
And my own face has a hint of the Slavic. So what then? Do you criticise descendants of Ruth for not having blood ties to Abraham? Converts became Jews.

Forgive my rambling, but I wrestle very seriously with these questions and their implications. My allegiance is to Christ and the body of believers I will be joining. But I must respect that my wife is not Christian, though even with her parents staying with us this weekend I attended Divine Liturgy at a local Greek Orthodox church.
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« Reply #35 on: July 27, 2003, 06:10:39 PM »

I know what you mean about what to call one's self being confusing sometimes.  My family's decent is English, Irish, Scottish, dutch, maybe German, possibly a few others, who knows... I'm a convert to the Coptic Orthodox Church, and I was visiting a friend yesterday and he introduced me to 3 priests he's staying with.  When it came up that I'm not Catholic, but Coptic Orthodoxy, they asked where I was from and it was about 2 in of confusion before I realized what was going on after they said "an Egyptian from Europe??" and clarified that I'm a convert :-)

As for "what I am", I'm a Canadian nationally, various European by decent, and Coptic Orthodox Christian in religion.

Wouldn't the same apply to you?  Wouldn't you be a Jewish Christian, ie a person of Jewish descent who is of the Christian faith?  (Although, like me, it'd probably take a moment's explanation after you were to say Jewish Christian  Smiley)
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« Reply #36 on: July 27, 2003, 06:17:44 PM »

"Wouldn't you be a Jewish Christian, ie a person of Jewish descent who is of the Christian faith?"

Probably, but for two things:

1.) To say something like that has sometimes had the effect of making other Christians feel that I am thinking myself "special" for being of Jewish descent...

and/or...

2.) Saying something like that makes many Christians assume that I am a Messianic Jew or a Judaiser, etc.

Yet another problem comes from my fellow Jews who feel that I am denying my Jewishness if I don't say that I am Jewish.

It's a minefield I dance in...  Tongue

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« Reply #37 on: July 27, 2003, 07:43:33 PM »


Yes, very interesting... and very complicated.

Permit me to complicate things more.   You and I are Turks (Caucasian / Central Asians).  But what is a Turk?  Is a Turk a golden-locked blue eyed Tartar king or is he a yellow skinned slanted-eyed Seljuk?  The vast majority of Turks from Turkey have little TRADITIONAL TURKISH blood.  But that does not make them less Turkish than a Uyghur!  

Likewise, take the example of the Syrian (Syriac) Orthodox Church.  Most Syrian Orthodox are not from the country Syria.  Most are not even Middle Eastern (they are Malayalee Indians).  Yet, they are all rightly Syrians. One has to ask, what is a Syrian then?  This question is continually debated to this day.  Aside from the present day political connotation, the next most common understanding is "A semitic believer in Christ."  You can rightly be called a Syrian.

What I like about Christianity so much is that "there is no more Jew nor Greek, but one in Christ Jesus."  And really, what makes anyone one thing or another?  AND does being one thing mean we are exclusively that thing?  One of the greatest Syrian Orthodox fathers is St. Severius of Antioch, who is called the "Crown of the Syrians."  I'm called Syrian by my Syrian peers, though I have no realistic historical connection to "Syria."  My blood is European and Turkic.  In the end though, what am I?  I hope to just be a simple follower of Christ.  Does that mean I am Syrian? Turk?  Italian?  Celtic?  All of the above?  I think that if we dwell on names and constantinly try to define ourselves, we get distracted from the bigger picture.  And I will argue, that self-definition can frequently be considered an act of pride.  What good are any of these bloodlines, languages, cultural traditions, if Christ is absent from them?

Let's be all things to all people... but only as Orthodox Christians.   We're one of many, but let us be one as God is one.

Okay, that was my rant. Forgive me.   Cool
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« Reply #38 on: July 27, 2003, 10:28:44 PM »

Tribe -

I do not see anything at all wrong with calling oneself a Jewish Christian or a Christian of Jewish descent. I also do not see anything at all wrong with a certain feeling of pride (not the overweening pride that is one of the "7 Deadly Sins") in the fact that God chose your ancestors to bless the world and that God the Son chose, of all the peoples in the world, to become a Jew.

If I was a Jew, I would certainly be delighted about all that!

Heck, we owe you guys a lot!  Grin

My problem with the MJs is that they are just wrong-headed. They want to subject us all to the yoke of the Law, and they seem to want to turn back the clock and make the universal Gospel a tribal and nationalistic mythos.

MJism misses the progressive expansion of God's covenants and the fact that the newest and last of them encompasses all of mankind.

They're just too darned elitist.
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« Reply #39 on: July 28, 2003, 12:41:17 AM »

Okay, that was my rant. Forgive me.   Cool

Nothing to forgive - that was an excellent post.  Smiley

I am however curious as to why you say that I am a Turk. Does it have anything to do with...  the Khazars??  Cheesy

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« Reply #40 on: July 29, 2003, 10:54:22 AM »

Okay, that was my rant. Forgive me.   Cool

Nothing to forgive - that was an excellent post.  Smiley

I am however curious as to why you say that I am a Turk. Does it have anything to do with...  the Khazars??  Cheesy



Now we're talkin'!

What I MEANT to say before was, 'One of the greatest Syrian Orthodox fathers is St. Severius of Antioch, who is called the "Crown of the Syrians," was a Greek.'
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« Reply #41 on: July 29, 2003, 09:55:59 PM »

Tribe,

While I'll grant there is some reason to believe that there is a lot of "non-Abrahamic" blood in European Jewry (for various reasons), I think it's a bit of a moot point.  If various peoples (through marriage or conversion) were assimilated into Judaism, then that's what they are - Jews.  That would also have been a reasonable manner of definition in the Old Testament - if one is accepted into the people, observes the Torah, etc., they would have been regarded as Israelites (like Ruth.)

I think the problem is in a way created by both non-Jews and Jews themselves, in imagining that there is something racial about Judaism.  This was created in part by non-Jews when they got so paranoid that even ethnic Jews who converted to Christianity were considered suspect (thus the idea they are somehow "Jews" in a sense beyond religious affiliation.)  The situation is created by Jews themselves, however, when they doggedly regard even die hard atheists as being "Jews."  For example, the spectacle of white, American atheists being allowed to come to Israel under the "law of return" for being supposedly "Jews."

Of course, the complication is that Judaism itself always was something of a "tribal" religion, in which one's belonging was not only religious, but also ethnic.  What I think is neglected by modern Jews, however, is that the Bible itself states that someone who does not "observe the Law" is cut off from the people.  It's the negligence or underplaying of this which creates the "I'm a child of Abraham" pride, which is very misplaced pride, since even in the Old Testament status as "God's people" was not unconditional...observe what happened to the 10 tribes even within the "Old Testament period."

This was a key part of both St.John the Baptist's message, and that of the Lord Jesus.  God is capable of making anyone "His"...and just the same, it is possible for someone who was "His", to cease to be such by infidelity.  When the Lord Jesus came, the doors were opened wide to the world, to become inheritors of God on a new, more important basis - Christ's Precious Blood.  Sadly, most ethnic Jews made themselves unfaithful, by choosing not to participate in this "New Covenant", which had been foretold by their own Prophets (and by the very giver of the Old Law himself, Moses.)

"Judaizing" in it's various forms, is the contamination of the liberality of the Gospel with this unwarranted ethnic pride.  Whether it comes in the form of "the Gospel is only for the Jews" as some early Judaizers felt, or in more mitigated forms (Jews being somehow separate from other believers, somehow better, or of differing obligations, etc.) which persist to our day, it's the same contaminant; which is precisely why the Church was so vigilant in forbidding the possibility of this error growing (since one of it's likely results would not simply have been keeping ethnic Jews separate from other believers - but also would have resulted in the idea of "double conversion"...a "gentile" Christian being circumcized so he to can be one of those "uber-Christians".)

Seraphim
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« Reply #42 on: July 29, 2003, 10:59:32 PM »

I agree, Seraphim Reeves.
I think that if Jews today did not recognize non-religious Jews as being Jewish, the world's Jewish population would drop to an incredibly low number. This could be frightening.

Believe me, when my Dad was aksing me how I could believe in Christ and stuill be a Jew, I asked him how Freud (as elf-described "godless Jew") could be considered Jewish, or Marx, or even my Dad himself, or  any other atheist Jews could still be considered Jewish if I could not be.
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« Reply #43 on: September 25, 2003, 06:33:49 PM »

I know this is an old thread, but if anyone is interested in finding out something about what Messianic Jews believe, he should check out this thread on another site.

It's an eye-opener!
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« Reply #44 on: September 26, 2003, 05:02:10 AM »

It's an eye-opener!

Oy vey Shocked !

you weren't kidding about that.

unworthy John.
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