In a recent vision meeting for the staff of Jewish Voice, President and CEO Jonathan Bernis offered these three challenges to Messianic Jewish ministry. Each of these theological stances hinders the introduction of Jewish People to their Messiah Yeshua, and each of these has found prevalence in the Christian church at some point in history. We list these to make you aware of some philosophies that may be creeping into your places of worship that should cause concern.
Replacement Theology—This is the doctrine that Jews have been replaced by the Church—that God no longer is interested in saving Jewish People, nor does He have a plan for them—because of the idea that Jews originally rejected Jesus. While the majority of the first century church was composed of Jews, it was the Jewish leadership that rejected Jesus. Because of this, replacement theology says that the promises originally meant for Israel have now been transferred to the Church. References to Israel are simply spiritual, and no longer refer to a people or a Land. To believe in replacement theology makes God out to be a liar and unfaithful. Simply put, He is not!
Dispensational Theology—This theology is adopted by many Christians in the Church who love Jewish People and Jewish things and support trips to Israel but believe that salvation for the Jews is for an appointed time in the distant future, not now. This philosophy hinders telling Jewish People about their Savior, because the appointed time is still yet to come. Scripture clearly teaches that the only way to get to heaven is through Jesus Christ. To believe in dispensational theology condemns Jewish People to hell who are born outside of the theoretical appointed time for the Jewish People’s salvation. This is completely unscriptural.
Dual Covenant Theology—Typically embraced by Christian Zionists, dual covenant theology started among liberal (not evangelical) denominations after the atrocities of the Holocaust. Many were so deeply moved by the suffering Jewish People endured throughout history, they deemed it absolutely dishonorable to ever offend a Jewish People, and that meant keeping Jesus under wraps. Though those who support dual covenant theology have a great love for the Jews and all things Jewish, it is taken to the extreme. Not only is introducing the Jewish People to their Messiah seen as conversion to another religion and wrong, but there is also a belief that no conversion is truly necessary. Jewish people have Judaism and the Mosaic Law as their means to eternal life. Christians have Jesus. We can coexist, without threatening either religion, which is very politically correct. Naturally, this philosophy is not biblically supported.