May 27, 2014

From Jewish Christians to Christian Jews

The movement known as Messianic Judaism began as Hebrew Christianity. I think the name change is quite telling. Whereas the movement originally identified itself primarily with Christianity (Christians who are also Jewish), it now identifies itself as primarily Jewish (Jews who are also Christian).

Following the war and in response to lingering anti-Semitic attitudes, efforts were made to establish separate Jewish Christian congregations. . . . In the 1960s, a new generation began to make its presence felt. Impacted by the anti-Establishmentarian views of those years, they had little allegiance to the church and a strong desire to distinguish themselves. They began to call for the adoption of Jewish traditions and a more aggressive assertion of Jewish identity. The American branch evolved from what was originally known as "Hebrew Christianity" into today's "Messianic Jewish Movement." [1]
. . . 
The old guard were largely fundamentalistic Christians of Jewish origin who were conscious of their Jewishness, avidly supported the Zionist Movement, active in their opposition to anti-Semitism, and eager to promote the gospel among their people. But most saw no room for what is now the Messianic Movement. [2]

1. Baruch Maoz, Come, Let Us Reason Together: The Unity of Jews and Gentiles in the Church (P&R Publishing, 2012), p. 204.
2. ibid, emphasis added.

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