Sunday, August 10, 2014

Messianic: A Philosophical Definition

In the last post I focused on the theological distinctives of the Messianic movement. I tried to stay very general and objective so as to be inclusive. Here, I want to talk about the philosophical side of the movement, which by very nature is much more subjective. While our theology may be a mess, we have a unique way of viewing the world that I believe has merit.

Questioning Spirit
By nature, most of us Messianics have a rebel spirit. How else could we have decided to leave mainstream religion to go pioneer our own path? Sometimes this gets us into a lot of trouble (it's definitely an obstacle to unity). But if you dig a little deeper, you'll find underneath our stubborn rebel exterior there is an honest questioning spirit.

When you find out you've been taught wrong about one thing, it tends to start a domino affect. Doctrine after doctrine is put to the test to see whether or not it will stand against the Word. This questioning spirit has both the power to strengthen or destroy a person's faith. Without it, we become lukewarm.

Messianic theology creates a bridge between the two Abrahamic faiths of Judaism and Christianity. We stand in a perfect position to help foster interfaith dialogue, something that both Jews and Christians can benefit from (Christianity did come out of Judaism after all). Combine our unique theology with our questioning spirit and you have a recipe for breaking down boundaries.

Messianics tend to go in one of two directions: one of prideful separatism or one of humble understanding. After so much questioning, you either become stubborn in an attempt to find some stability, or you begin to realize that we're all in this struggle together and we need to have patience with one another. It's the latter that I ascribe as being "Messianic." The struggles we go through with our own faith help us to be more accepting of others as they try to work out their faith with fear and trembling. It's this attitude that allows us to connect with and understand people who believe differently.

Messianic Hope
Finally, looking at the name itself, "Messianic" speaks of the hope that we have of the Messianic Kingdom, a place to call home. Judaism tends to be very physically oriented with most of their focus on this world. Christianity takes an almost opposite view, focusing their attention on the world to come. Messianics, with their feet in both worlds, have an incredible opportunity to tie these two together. To make the future hope tangible in the present.

Every time we celebrate the Sabbath, we are inviting into our homes a small taste of the Messianic Era. We rest in the work that God has done with an eye forward to the day when our joy will be made complete.

For the most part, this last point seems like untapped potential. All too often we get caught up in the particulars of the various commandments, and we forget about the Gospel. But there is potential here and some are using it. I believe taking our hope and the Gospel and making it real in our everyday lives is an essential part of the Messianic faith.


I hope these two articles have given you some insight into the Messianic movement. They're only but glimpes into the diverse (and messy) people that we are. We've got our share of problems and difficulties. But, we also have much to bring to the table.

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