Theology

Connecting to Jesus by strawmanning Judaism

I understand the appeal of Messianic Judaism to Protestant Christians: it seems like a way to connect with the Jewish roots of Jesus. It helps provide context for Jesus’ parables. It also functions like an insider’s guide to evangelizing the Jewish people. Unfortunately, MJ theology not only misrepresents ancient Judaism – it’s offensive to traditional… Continue reading Connecting to Jesus by strawmanning Judaism

Theology

The inherent deception of Messianic Judaism

My phone pinged with an email notification from my freelance editor at Patheos, regarding the news of Mike Pence honoring the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victims by inviting a Messianic rabbi to say a prayer at a rally. Naturally, that prayer invoked mentions of Jesus -- or rather, as he is known in Messianic circles, Yeshua… Continue reading The inherent deception of Messianic Judaism

Social Issues, Theology

How Some Christians Mistake Honoring Jewish Culture With Appropriating It

This week I had an article published on Sojourners: When I was studying biblical counseling at a conservative Baptist seminary five years ago, a student invited me to a Passover Seder on campus. I was reluctant to respond because the student was a Messianic Judaism major and the Seder was being hosted by his department.… Continue reading How Some Christians Mistake Honoring Jewish Culture With Appropriating It

Theology

The biggest theological differences between Judaism and Christianity

Much of my work consists of pointing out the ways that Jews and Christians can learn from each other, based on their shared history in Scripture. Today, however, I want to point out some of the ways that the two faiths differ in their theologies. These differences go a lot deeper than simply “Jesus” and… Continue reading The biggest theological differences between Judaism and Christianity

Theology

The Bible’s optical illusion: Jesus or Israel?

I have written before about what I believe it means to practice Christianity "Jewishly": that is, by asking hard questions and expressing spiritual doubts. But there is another, and perhaps more important, way of doing Christianity "Jewishly" -- one that doesn't involve rebranding Jewish theology, or the mistranslation of certain texts so they appear to… Continue reading The Bible’s optical illusion: Jesus or Israel?

Theology

The problem with Christian seders

The observance of Passover seders in churches is a fairly recent trend, as more Christians seek to connect with the Jewish roots of their faith. While this seems like a good idea, my conviction is that this well-intentioned practice is better left where it began: within Judaism. Of course, there is nothing wrong with Christians… Continue reading The problem with Christian seders

Theology

The controversial history of Isaiah 53

It happens every year: the famous prophecy from Isaiah 53 shows up everywhere on Good Friday, on which Christians remember the crucifixion of Jesus: He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The punishment that brought us peace was on him, And by his wounds we are healed. We all, like… Continue reading The controversial history of Isaiah 53

Social Issues, Theology

I was raised Jewish. I became a Christian. Please don’t call me a “Messianic Jew”

I started calling myself a Christian in the fall of 2008 – nearly ten years ago. I accepted a friend’s invitation to check out my school’s chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ, fulfilling my long-term fascination with the man who called himself God. This isn’t an unusual story for a lot of people. Becoming “born… Continue reading I was raised Jewish. I became a Christian. Please don’t call me a “Messianic Jew”

Theology

Why I’m not a Messianic Jew

It’s a struggle for some people to believe that “Christian with Jewish heritage” and “Messianic Jew” are not the same thing. I completely understand why; it wasn’t that long ago that I myself would have failed to see the difference. My mind would have sounded alarm bells trilling “Traitor! Traitor!” too loudly for me to… Continue reading Why I’m not a Messianic Jew