"One New Man" Theology Debate in the Messianic Movement Today

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by Marshall Beeber

Ephesians 2:15 - by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,

The Apostle Paul stated that Jews and Gentiles in Messiah Jesus are now "One New Man"1 through Messiah's atoning sacrifice. Some Messianic Jewish critics of Christian teachings have faulted the Church for removing most Jewishness from worship, and creating a atmosphere biased against Jewish cultural and religious identity.  In an attempt to create a theology unbiased towards a Messianic Jewish identity, various new false "One New Man" teachings have encouraged Jewish and Gentile believers alike to be Torah observant, thus forging an unbiblical "One New Man" concept with a Messianic Jewish bias. The result of this interpretation has been one of greater problems within the movement and growing criticism by Christian leadership throughout the world.

I will not attempt to "second guess" the Spirit in His movement throughout the Messianic Movement, although it is clear that the mainstream of Messianic congregations in the USA have fallen into this erroneous theology.  Many Messianic Gentiles are thoroughly convinced that they must adopt a more Jewish form of worship and identity to be more pleasing to God.  Messianic Jews are likewise very tenacious in their support of Torah observance and see nothing unbiblical by including Gentiles in their worship and practice.

Recently some Messianic Jewish leaders openly expressed their reservation on the course they have taken.  After years of Messianic worship and Torah Observance, the movement seemed to have attracted mostly Gentile Christians and alienated new prospective Jewish believers.   Some Messianic leaders have correctly understood the errors of the past and have shifted their worship to non-Torah observance, with liturgy and music that appeals to both Messianic Jewish and Christian tastes.  But the issues that need to be addressed and resolved go beyond a cosmetic shift in worship to the very heart of what constitutes Messianic Judaism.

It is my opinion that there still exists a very great potential within the Messianic Movement for Jewish and Gentile believers to form a truly biblical "One New Man" theology and lifestyle, but a transformation must occur within the leadership of the Messianic Movement for the Spirit to move in this direction.  The transformation may end what we know as the "Messianic Jewish Movement", replacing it with a more Spiritually empowered and biblically sound "One New Man Movement" uniting Jewish and Gentile believers together in Spirit and deed.

Below are links to commentaries, a book reference and a poem addressing issues in the "One New Man" debate.  I do not necessarily endorse the views of the authors, but have cited them to bring special attention to their observations and suggestion for change within the Christian Church and Messianic Jewish movement alike.

Reference Links

Feel free to email more pertinent links for this ongoing discussion

1. Ephesians 2:14-1

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 Please note:  In recent years the leadership within the Messianic Jewish Alliance (MJAA) has been making significant strides in addressing the problem of anti-Pauline doctrine within its ranks. 

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