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Postmissionary Messianic Judaism: Redefining Christian Engagement with the Jewish People Paperback – November 1, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mark S. Kinzer (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is president of Messianic Jewish Theological Institute, the leadership training center for the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations, and chair of its theology department. He is also an ordained rabbi and an adjunct professor of Jewish studies at Fuller Theological Seminary.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Brazos Press (November 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587431521
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587431524
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #482,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Dr. Mark Kinzer's well-thought, carefully argued presentation of what he has coined "Postmissionary Messianic Judaism," is a must read for all theologians and pastors. Relying not only on his own biblical scholarship and exegesis, but on that of many other scholars as well, Dr. Kinzer presents the reader with a form of Messianic Judaism that retains faithfulness both to the traditions and teachings of Judaism, and to New Testament theology.

The author argues that a careful study of the New Testament reveals that both Jesus (Yeshua) and his disciples not only followed the commandments (mitzvot) of the Torah (Old Testament), but taught that all Jewish followers of Jesus were obligated to observe the commandments, also. The early community of Jewish believers in Jerusalem made it clear that Gentile followers of Yeshua were not required to observe the commandments that had been especially reserved for the Jewish people. Dr. Kinzer further explains that by the beginning of the 2nd century CE, the largely Gentile Christian church began to teach that it had superseded Israel as the new people of God, and that observing the Torah was contrary to New Testament teaching -- even for Jewish believers in Yeshua.

Dr. Kinzer argues that a proper understanding of New Testament teaching would correctly view the Jewish people as still being the people of God, and that through Yeshua the covenants first made with Israel have been expanded to include Gentile Christians. But in order to understand their proper relationship to the Jewish people, there must also exist a bridge between the two, which is made up of Jewish believers in Yeshua who retain their ties to the rest of the Jewish community by remaining Torah observant, and tied to the Gentile Christian community by their faith in Yeshua.

Dr. Kinzer's book provides a way for both a fresh and timely way of bridging the schism that remains between Judaism and Christianity.
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There are two main ideas in this book, argued in an academic style suitable for serious theological inquiry: (1) that Jewish followers of Jesus have a covenantal obligation to Torah and Jewish community and (2) that Jewish tradition (a.k.a. the rabbis) are an authoritative voice for Messianic Jewish practice (though not an infallible one).

Post-missionary does not mean we Messianic Jews have no message for our Jewish people. It is a term urging the Christian community to take a different stance toward the Jewish people. Instead of "we're right-you're wrong-so listen to what we have to say," Kinzer argues that Christian should support a Messianic Jewish model of promoting Jesus from within Judaism rather than from the outside. (A practical example might be a Christian introducing their Jewish friend to a Messianic Jewish community rather than presenting Jesus as calling for conversion away from Judaism and assimilation into Christianity).

The premise of the book sounds radical to those unfamiliar with Judaism, to Christians who assume Judaism is a false religion, and to many Messianic Jews who reject Jewish tradition. Kinzer's argument is very tight. This book may change your paradigm.

To see more about this book, you may wish to read an article from my blog called, "Post-Missionary Messianic Judaism, 3 Yrs Later," [...]
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I wish that I could compel every Christian to read this book. As someone with Jewish heritage that was raised Christian, this sheds light on the proper definitions and distinctions of Jewish identity and Israel's place and meaning as it relates to the Church. On my journey of leaving what is known generally as "Hebrew Christianity" and approaching "Messianic Judaism," this book arrived at the perfect time.

Kinzer's style is very scholarly, and it speaks to me, as this is a topic of extreme interest to me. However, it is not light reading. I would recommend this to you if you are at all interested in Messianic Judaism, if you are a Jew, if you are a Christian, or if you are a scholar of religion, especially if you can dedicate some thought to consider the material.

Approach it with an open mind, and read the footnotes.

The most poignant picture that this book gave me is that of Jesus (Yeshua) sitting outside the gates in Rome. Unrecognized by his people Israel, and unrecognizable by his people in the Gentile Church (who don't realize that his is a Jewish rabbi and are disconnected from his teachings and life in context), He shares in the sufferings of his people.
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Post-Missionary Messianic Judaism is a tough book to review. Half of me wants to give it 5 stars, the other half zero. The author is bright and some of its strong points are extremely strong and insightful, but because of its equally strong bad points, the book just doesn't work, in my opinion.

The title itself means that Messianic Jews have been encouraged - in the past - to maintain their Jewish connections as a way to evangelize ("missionary"). Modern Messianic Judaism tends to now advocate maintaining ones Jewish roots because this is right and good - not for pragmatic or evangelistic reasons.

The book's strong suit is its argument that the early Jewish Christians retained their Judaism. He also demonstrates (from a few selections by key church fathers) that the early church chose to separate itself from its Jewish roots because of persecution directed by the Romans toward the Jews.

Mark Kinzer's main thesis is that, "the New Testament teaches a bilateral ecclesiology in solidarity with Israel." He in essence argues for a Jewish church whose members are Torah observant, remain involved within the Jewish community and synagogue, while also fellowshipping with gentile believers who are thusly connected to Israel through these Jewish believers.

As far as proving this proposition, the author does a pretty good job. Beyond this, however, the book becomes questionable at best.

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