Theology


An Update on the Battle against Replacement Theology

As the days and months go by, I witness the layers of replacement theology peeling back in numerous corners of God’s kingdom. Here are a few promising developments.

5-min

Paul's Judaism

According to Paul’s Judaism, Gentile Christ-followers had an equal standing with the people of God within Jewish space. Paul’s Judaism was a radical threat to the status quo of his day. Reintroducing Paul’s Judaism, not only as an idea but also as something with practical and modern ramifications for both Judaism and Christianity, is a radical threat to the status quo of ours.

10-min

The Pedestrian God

Despite the rabbis’ general aversion to God taking on human form, several midrashic legends constitute a stream of incarnational thinking within the ocean of rabbinic theology. For example, in one midrash, God placed himself into the burning bush to literally feel his children’s pain in Egypt.

13-min

There Is No Jewish “Background” of the New Testament

When one hears the phrase “Jewish background of the New Testament,” it does not necessarily indicate a viewpoint that is moving Jesus’ kingdom vision forward. It is sad to say, but what this phrase often means is that Judaism and Torah have been relegated to the background of the Yeshua story. That was not the apostolic vision.

7-min

James Dunn and the New Perspective on Paul

The great value of Sanders’ and Dunn’s work was to show that a long line of Pauline interpreters misread Paul because they misread the Judaism(s) of Paul’s day as legalistic. In a sense, we could more aptly describe the New Perspective on Paul as a “New Perspective on Late Second Temple-era Judaism.”

7-min

Debate in Birmingham

It was a historic night to have both of these theological heavyweights presenting together on the same topic. Just the fact that N.T. Wright would agree to have a discussion on this topic with a rabbi from Messianic Judaism so just how far the church has come in their acceptance of the movement in the last fifty years or so.

3-min

Judgment and Mercy: The Hands of God

A simple person might think that God is confined to the realm of heaven. This of course would be heresy. One may likewise be tempted to think that the one place that he wouldn’t be is in hell. But this isn’t what the Bible teaches.

9-min

Building a Better Airplane

Much as the engineers at Boeing labored to perfect the manufacture of the 747 to work flawlessly, so too, theology. The 747s have become outdated, inefficient to fly, and no longer cost-effective. Likewise, a big piece of church theology called supersessionism has served its time.

13-min

Thank You, Andy Stanley

What we’re hearing from Andy Stanley these days sounds a lot like replacement theology but let’s give credit where credit is due. It seems that the attention surrounding the new book is having some unintended consequences and I’m happy to say that merits a hearty thank you from the Messianic community.

6-min

A Blow to Replacement Theology

This new society will fill an important function. As stated on the website, “The Society for Post-Supersessionist Theology exists to promote research and discussion that advances post-supersessionist thought.” This is an important mission.

4-min

Re-Thinking Paul

Neither Paul nor the apostles had any conception that following Jesus meant that Jews or Gentiles would operate outside of Judaism and Jewish space. That’s a very controversial issue, I know. It was certainly a controversial idea in the Apostolic Era—at least the part about Gentiles coming into Jewish space without having to become Jewish.

8-min

Yavneh and Replacement Theology

At Yavneh, we began the process of figuring out how to survive as a distinct, sustainable, Torah-keeping community in the midst of a long and harsh exile. If Torah still represents our marching orders, then generally speaking Messianic Jews need to honor and adhere to the way that the Jewish community has navigated that path—even after Yavneh.

9-min

Strangers and Sojourners

It makes sense that Abraham uses this language while he is still awaiting the promise from HaShem to be fulfilled for his descendants to inherit the land but why does David still use this terminology when the Jewish people are firmly within the land?

5-min

Getting to the Heart of Replacement Theology

Placing Jesus and the apostolic faith outside of Judaism leads to the same result that the idea of the church replacing Israel leads. Both of these layers of replacement theology, if universally embraced, would lead to the end of the Jewish people.

5-min

The Devastating Effect of Canceling the Torah

Imagine if the President declared, "I have fulfilled every aspect of the Constitution of the United States perfectly. Now that it is fulfilled, its authority over this nation has been put to an end in me. Today I tell you, the United States has only one law: that you love one another."

7-min

Thousands of New Testament Scholars Are Wrong

In the Torah, God said to Abraham, “To your offspring I will give this land.” Hebrews says that Abraham was looking forward to a heavenly country, to “the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” Does that mean that the promises of land to his offspring are not to be literally fulfilled?

7-min

A Thousand Messianic Prophecies Are Not Enough

While a compilation of Messianic proof-texts is still perhaps the most common tactic employed by evangelists to Jews, such lists are not effective. In the unlikely case you succeed in convincing a Jewish person that Jesus is the Messiah without first revealing him to be a devout Jew, committed to his people and to the Torah, then what kind of disciple have you made?

8-min

Did Paul Encourage Deception?

Did Paul encourage and personally practice deception for the sake of the gospel? I don’t think so. I think he strived for the highest levels of integrity in all that he did as an ambassador for Yeshua.

10-min

Answering Anti-Missionaries

If you took Troki’s arguments and applied them to rabbinic literature, then the Talmud, the Midrash, and virtually all rabbinic interpretations would fail by the same criteria. It is not fair for the midrashic content of the Gospels to be criticized by the people who use the same midrashic methods.

15-min

I Came Not to Bring Peace

When Yeshua says that he did not come to bring peace on earth, people interpret his words to mean that he never intended to bring earthly, political peace but only spiritual peace in people’s hearts. But does this explanation hold up when seeing the Gospels in a Jewish context?

6-min

The Chapter That Changed My View of Torah

Deuteronomy 30 is one of the most important chapters in the Bible. On a personal level, this chapter has had a huge impact upon my life and development as a Messianic Jew. It gave me anxiety and theological paranoia because it created an ongoing problem in my theology.

9-min

The Key to Unlocking Matthew's Gospel

Israel was, at least from a theological perspective, still in exile. Israel was still suffering the consequences of covenant failure. But all this was now about to change. The shame and humiliation of exile was over.

8-min

Training the Future

The King’s University offers both online and on campus accredited degree plans with a concentration on Messianic Jewish Studies. TKU is committed to training Rabbis and teachers in the Messianic Jewish Community and Christian leaders who are called to be bridges between the church and the Jewish people. TKU is an approved school of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations.

3-min

Four Reasons Not to Read Your Bible: Part 2—Assumptions

Misunderstanding the Bible is dangerous. By the time we are so led astray by our own misplaced zeal, it is too late—we cannot be convinced otherwise; after all, God is on our side, so to abandon our path would be heresy and betrayal.

7-min

Wrong Answer, Bible Answer Man!

The theme of this year’s Christ at the Checkpoint conference is “The Gospel in the Face of Religious Extremism.” However, the only religious extremism conference participants seem to have in mind is Zionism. Since its first conference in 2010, Christ at the Checkpoint has proven itself to be anything but the great peacemaker among evangelicals that it purports to be.

7-min

Four Reasons Not To Read Your Bible—Part 1

For Christians, there is nothing more important than developing an accurate understanding of the Bible. For precisely this reason, I think Christians should not be reading it. How can I say that? Simple: because reading the Bible without understanding it can be worse than not reading it at all.

8-min

WWJW: Easy Immortality

It’s important to recognize that there are two different gods operating behind the technological religion of consumption and the religion of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Behind the latter is the one, true, God—the I Am. But behind the former is Mammon, the god of consumption and wealth who slowly takes more and more, giving less and less in return.

10-min

WWJW: Synthetic Judaism

Secondary orality isn’t going to be a perfect, resurrected replica of the “primary” orality that saw the rise of Judaism. It’s going to be a cyborg blend of the written, print, and electronic traditions—a blend that may seek to restore the communal value of oral culture.

9-min

WWJW: Retro Liturgy

The theological moorings of Messianic Judaism have a way of reconciling contradictions. I think Messianic Judaism offers a more careful, nuanced, and liturgical perspective on even the most mundane things as technology. I am on a quiet crusade against the culture that dictates kids my age should have their noses buried in the light of retina screens.

8-min

Losing a Great Theologian

Wyschogrod is a popular name among Jewish and Christian scholars. He spoke mainly on the irrevocable election of Israel. While he was a Modern Orthodox Jew, he had strong relationships with theologians of other faith traditions. He also conversed with Messianic Jews, and I had the opportunity on a few occasions to meet with him.

7-min

The End of Christian Zionism

As the new generation takes positions of leadership in the Evangelical Churches of America, Christian Zionism and support for Israel is vanishing. Today’s Millennial Christians who have already bought into the notion that blanket condemnation of the state of Israel is a moral obligation incumbent upon every thinking, ethical human being.

7-min

Nittel Nacht

Given that Christmas Eve was a favorite time for raids, pogroms, and marauding, certain practices developed in Jewish communities as a result. Some of them were pragmatic, a matter of survival; others were symbolic, to show disdain for the enemies of the Jewish people. May we never see those dark times again.

7-min

One New Man

FREE EBOOK: Continued Jewish identity among Jesus-believers is not merely an ethnic or cultural curiosity; it has theological significance. Major implications include the validation of Jewish tradition and practice for Jewish believers, as well as recognition of them as the living connection between the nations and Israel

5-min

Replacing the Jews

The idea of replacement continued under the reign of the Catholic Church, and was manifested in the Crusades, expulsions of Jews from Christian nations, and the tortures of the Inquisitions, that few know continued officially until the beginning of the nineteenth century in Brazil.

5-min