Theology

“Jews for Jesus” didn’t convert me

If your life is anything like mine, then it’s not at all unusual to receive a text message from a friend around 10pm asking complex questions about dispensationalism, which leads into a discussion about the missionary organization Jews for Jesus.  There were some things I shared in that conversation that I felt were worthwhile enough… Continue reading “Jews for Jesus” didn’t convert me

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

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

Key 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 Key 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 may seem like a good idea, most Jews are in agreement that the seder meal is better left where it began: within Judaism. Of course, there is nothing… Continue reading The problem with Christian seders

Theology

Why I’m not a Messianic Jew

It’s a struggle for some people to understand how “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. Friends in my college bible study group would ask me for the “insider’s scoop” on… Continue reading Why I’m not a Messianic Jew