Should You Become Jewish? – Till He Comes

I see a rising tide of people today who want to use the Jewishness of Jesus to defend their own legalistic requirements of observing the Jewish law. The logic goes like this:

  1. Jesus was Jewish.
  2. If we are followers of Jesus, we should act like Jews too.
  3. Jews (and Jesus) obeyed the law, and so should we.

But no Jewish person would ever tell you this, including Jesus and Paul. Neither one said anything of the sort in Scripture.

Even today, Jews do not teach that in order to please God, a Gentile must convert to Judaism and follow the Jewish Law.

read more… Should You Become Jewish? – Till He Comes.

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2 responses to “Should You Become Jewish? – Till He Comes

  1. Clearly, the gospel crosses cultures and how Christianity crosses cultures is one of the faith’s most interesting facets and a significant theme of the Bible. It has been argued that cross-cultural diffusion has been necessary to Christianity and that the faith would not have survived without it. Crossing culture is observed for the first time in Acts 15. Since Jesus was initially sent to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” his first followers were all Jews, and as Scripture commanded, they kept the Law and were circumcised. It was understandable then that some of the early Jewish Christians were upset that the newly converted Gentile believers were not also being required to keep the law. But when Peter argued that he had seen indisputable evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of these “unclean” Gentiles, the door opened for the gospel to cross culture for the first time and built cultural diversity into the Church forever.

    That said, as a Jewish Christian, I also understand that many Jewish Christians have no desire or throw away our rich Jewish culture and traditions. We see our faith in Christ as coming more fully into Judaism, not leaving it behind. For if Christ is indeed the Jewish messiah, as the Hebrew prophets had spoken about, then the most Jewish thing one can do is to follow him. By extension then, it is the Gentile Christians who are embracing a faith that is in substance and nature a Jewish one, and not the Jewish Christians who are leaving it.

    While throughout the centuries, there have always been Jewish people who came to believe in the Messiahship of Jesus, Jews were often forced to assimilate into the larger church and follow a policy of losing their Jewishness. The modern messianic Jewish movement continues to adhere to the fact that Jesus is the Messiah, but also affirms the right of messianic Jews to identify as Jews and maintain a Jewish life-style (or not), though the degree of practice of Jewish traditions and customs may vary considerably. With messianic Judaism now spread out in all parts of the world today, people are increasingly aware that a Jew can believe in Jesus and still have a strong Jewish identity. And on the same token, Gentiles can believe in Jesus and embrace the rich Jewish roots of their faith or not.

    -Alex Haiken
    http://jewishchristiangay.wordpress.com

    • Alex,
      Thanks for the comment. I agree that there is a rich Jewish cultural tradition. I am glad you continue to follow it. I think us “Gentile Christians” sometimes arrogantly think that our brand of following Jesus is “culture free” which, of course, it isn’t.

      I think that the way of following Jesus is flexible enough to bend and flow within any culture, flowing along with what is good in that culture, and redeeming what is bad. The trick is to make sure we always keep a distinction between Culture and following Jesus, and not equate the two. We “Gentile Christians” have not done a good job of this, and during the past 1000 years or so, have tried to get every Christian around the world to follow our Western brand of Christianity. This is not good.

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