Over the years, you've shown your support for Jewish Christians by reviewing Messianic Jewish publishers' books. However, you recently ran a book review that's potentially detrimental to the tens of thousands of Jewish believers in Yeshua (Jesus), particularly Messianic Jews.
As part of the greater body of Messiah, we consider ourselves brothers and sisters of true Christians, while also being members of the house of Israel. We understand that the editors of CBA MARKETPLACE may not have known how problematic this book review would be for many in the Messianic Jewish movement.
In 'Some Messianic Jews Say "Messianic Judaism Is Not Christianity": A Loving Call To Unity,' author Stan Telchin does anything but promote "unity." What he does is present a skewed picture, not a balanced view of Messianic congregations today. In effect, the author portrays exceptions as the rule, characterizing them as standard fare. His disparaging statements could cause uninformed Christians to become reluctant to fellowship with Messianic Jews. For some believers, Telchin's scriptural "proof texts" will seem to make sense. In response to this, we offer some wise words: "The first to state his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him" (Proverbs 18:17, NIV).
Your reviewer brought up the author's example of some Messianic congregations not allowing Jewish-Gentile marriages. Messianic Jewish leadership doesn't endorse this position. In fact, your July 2003 issue (page 160), positively reviewed a book called 'Growing Your Olive Tree Marriage' (Messianic Jewish Publishers), which gave biblical and practical support for such marriages.
From Telchin's book, Christians might shy away from standing with Messianic Jews in Israel at a time of their greatest need, and avoid connecting with us here in the United States. Furthermore, while his previous books may have blessed many, Telchin is neither a spokesman for Messianic Judaism, nor has he ever been "a leader in the field of Jewish evangelism," as indicated in the review.
Although he speaks of division in the body caused by Messianic Jews, he has actually set up a straw man by pointing to fringe behaviors as if they were the norm, thus seeking to cause division despite his protestations to the contrary, In fact, Messianic congregations DO witness to the unity between Jews and Gentiles in the body of Messiah. At best, this book is poor journalism. The question begging to be answered is what motivated Telchin to write such a divisive book and a publisher as respected as Chosen/Baker to publish such unsubstantiated and damaging material.
This summer, Promise Keepers founder and Road to Jerusalem President Bill McCartney and Christian Broadcasting Network's Pat Robertson addressed the two main Messianic Jewish conferences, lauding the importance of the Messianic Jewish movement. Both men promised their support for our efforts and asked us to participate with them as they educate their main constituency, the church, about the Jewish roots of the faith and Messianic Judaism. Unlike the book reviewed in your magazine, these two men really ARE promoting unity.
Therefore, the undersigned Messianic Jewish leaders protest this divisive and damaging book.
- BARRY RUBIN, President-CEO, Messianic Jewish Communications, Baltimore, MD
- JOEL CHERNOFF, President, International Messianic Jewish Alliance
- JAMIE COWEN, President, Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations
- STUART DAUERMANN, President, Hashivenu, Rabbi, Ahavat Zion Messianic Congregation, Beverly Hills, CA
- JOHN FISCHER, Academic Vice President and Judaic Studies Department Chair, St. Petersburg Theological Seminary, Executive Director, Menorah Ministries
- PATRICE FISHER, Interim President, St. Petersburg Theological Seminary
- MITCH GLASER, President, Chosen People Ministries
- DANIEL JUSTER, Executive Director, Tikkun Ministries International
- BARNEY KASDAN, Rabbi, Kehilat Ariel, San Diego, CA
- CARL KINBAR, Chairman, UMJC Theology Committee, Operations Director and Scholar-In-Residence, Tikkun Ministries International
- ELLIOT KLAYMAN, Executive Director, Messianic Literature Outreach, Former President, Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations
- PAUL LIBERMAN, Executive Director, International Messianic Jewish Alliance
- RUSS RESNIK, Executive Director, Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations
- PAUL L. SAAL, Rabbi, Congregation Shuvah Yisrael, Simsbury, CT
- MICHAEL SCHIFFMAN, President, Ansche Rachmamim