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 an atmosphere biased against Jewish cultural and religious identity.
In an attempt to create a theology unbiased towards a Messianic Jewish identity, a false "One New Man" teaching has 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 do not think the false "One New Man"theology was intended to be in opposition to the true Gospel, but the consequence of adopting this theology had a "negative ripple effect" throughout the entire movement. The original vision of the Messianic Jewish Movement (MJM) was designed for Jewish believers with accommodations for Gentile believers. In time many more Gentiles flocked to Messianic congregations than originally intended. The leadership of the MJM, knowing it faced a crisis without Messianic Gentile support diverged from their intended mission and welcomed Messianic Gentiles into the fold with open arms.
Most Messianic Gentiles have taken on the same rabbinic liturgical trappings that their Messianic Jewish counterparts did. By doing so Messianic congregations took a radical course that could only end in failure. Their ability to attract new Jewish believers was dramatically decreased by their false assumption that new Jewish believers would be attracted to worship services with Gentiles wearing liturgical garb and worshipping in what they perceive to be an absurd manner. Today it is highly improbable that Jews would attend such services. But Messianic leadership could not accept that their mission to reach unsaved Jews had failed. They continue to preach about their mission to unsaved Jews but refuse to accept that their methodology and basic Torah observances are not true to New Covenant standards.
Another big problem is that many Gentile Messianic believers could care less about new Jewish believers attending their services. They have their fantasy Messianic personas and support groups that seemed to have attracted many members from the Seventh Day Adventist and Hebrew Roots crowd. Today we now see congregation's totally comprised of Messianic Gentiles with the full support of MJM organizations.
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. A successful Messianic pastor in Philadelphia recently stated that most Jews today are secular and find little affinity for the Messianic liturgy promoted in the MJM today. His congregation of Jewish and Gentile believers lacks the Jewish liturgical trappings and succeeds in creating a harmony off both modern Jewish and Gentile cultures.
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.
More Grace Oriented Studies & Commentaries
Below are links to commentaries 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.
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.