Why I am NOT a Christian of Jewish Descent…

…or perhaps more accurately, why I refuse to answer to the above description.

Generally I’m not very fussy about the terminology. I’m happy to call myself a Messianic Jew, but am okay about being called a Jewish Christian. After all, the literal meanings of Messianic and Christian are identical – though of course there are centuries of baggage attached to the word Christian, which is why I fully understand why some of my fellow Messianic Jews are not comfortable using that term.

I’m also comfortable with talking about Jewish Believers within the body of Believers, but once you use this term with other people it can be confusing – believer in what/who? (I have also come across the term JBY – Jewish Believer in Yeshua – which is more precise, but also a bit of a mouthful…)

But I was miffed when recently I heard someone talk about “Christians of Jewish Background”, because to me this terminology seems to imply that our Jewishness is something that we shed when we come to faith in Messiah Yeshua, which is ridiculous especially considering that he is Jewish himself, and he never came to start a new religion!

P.S. For those unfamiliar with the Hebrew terminology, I’d better clarify: Yeshua is the Hebrew name which has been translated into English as Jesus. Messiah is translated into English (through Greek) as Christ.

14 thoughts on “Why I am NOT a Christian of Jewish Descent…

  1. First and last I am Jewish. Jewish is me. As we recite in synagogue "I believe with perfect faith in the coming of Messiah" – one of the Jewish "Articles of Faith". "Though He tarry, yet will I trust" finished the statement of faith. Am I a Christian? If that's the translation of the ancient title describing someone who is set apart from the general crowd.. chosen for a particular way or task.. then "Yes" I am a Christian. BUTBECAUSE I am and always will be a Jewish person then I cannot only be described as a Christian. AFTER ALL haven't you heard… some Arabs are Christians.. AND – [SHOCK – HORROR – GASP!!!] Some Arabs are Israelis. Some Israelis are Arabs, and some Arab Christians are Israelis. AND some…. [where do we stop?]So how do I describe myself?With reference to my faith.. I usually refer to myself as either a "Jewish believer" or a "Messianic Jew". I'm a husband, a teacher, a father, a son, a brother, a guitarist, a singer, an uncle, a nephew, a Kosher Crooner, a Star Trek fan, an experimenting cook….I don't use all these descriptions all the time.I use what's appropriate in the situation. AND if someone tries to label me as something I'm not then I'd like to let them know why they shouldn't. Politely, but with certainty. that's that for the moment.

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  2. With reference to my faith, I also usually refer to myself either as a Messianic Jew or as a Jewish Believer – depending on who I'm talking to. But if someone were to come and say, are you a Christian? I'd have to answer yes, unless I use the Jewish variation on taking the fifth and say: Why? Who's asking?Seriously though, it does depend who's asking and what they really want to know.If they want to know if I'm a follower of Jesus, then the answer is yes. If they want to know if I've turned into a goy, then the answer is no, that's just not possible, I couldn't if I tried. Jewish is what I am. Just like I can't stop being a human being, I can't stop being Jewish. It's just a fact about me. It's just the way it is.I don't know that I'd say as you do, first and last I'm Jewish. I don't know what I am first. A human being? A Jew? An Israeli? A woman? A writer? A follower of Jesus? A wife? A friend? A daughter? A sister? An Aunt? A neighbour? etc etc – the list goes on. I'm just me. That's all.But on this particular subject there are two questions I would have to answer yes to.If they come for the Jews and say, are you Jewish, I'll have to say yes.If they come for the Christians and say, are you a Christian, I'd also have to say yes.So I guess the bonus of being a JBY is that I can get persecuted for two reasons :-)

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  3. I dont ever like being called a Christian i find it ofencve so does my mother to,we are messianic jews we just believers in Yeshua Moshiach we are jews that are complete as Yeshua makes us complete as he also came not to distroy but to complete or take away he has fullfilled all things.

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  4. Practically, i'm being envious to you folks, why did ELOHIM did not considered me to be included in the flock when He decreed the decree? Anyway Yeshua did for me the best thing as He does for you. SHALOM

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  5. The word Messianic (Hebrew=Meshichim) is problematic in Israel as a number of ultra-orthodox Jews also call themselves Messianic, so it can be confusing. Sometimes the newspapers call us Yeshuaim — the Y'shua people which sounds good until you realize that's the same thing they call the Catholic Jesuit priests. Most often in believer circles we refer to ourselves as Maamanim — believers. that takes care of the Jews, the Arabs and all the other ethnic groups and foreign workers, since we all worship together. Our identity is found in Him whose Name is above all names. Hallelujah! Simple.

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  6. yes – that's the term I was used to in Israel, and as you say, amongst ourselves that term works fine. I ran into problems when using this term when talking to a non-believer though and then realised that to outsiders it's not necessarily clear what we mean – believer in whom/what… hence the more complex term Believer in Yeshua – but that is complex and we could do with a straightforward adjective.

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  7. but, having said all that, this isn't really what this post was for. If I wanted to start a debate about what terminology we can/should use, I'd do that elsewhere, in a post just for fellow believers. most of my readers here don't share my faith.the point of this post was to voice my discomfort with terminology such as "a Christian of Jewish background" or "a Christian of Jewish descent" – when I hear people talk like that, I feel they are implying that if you're a Christian then your Jewishness becomes just something in your past, something in your roots, your ancestry… something which you leave behind when you join a "new religion". That's the centuries-old lie which I am fighting against. That's why it is so important to me to stress that I am Jewish – am, not was.Just like Paul, who said: "I am an Israelite myself" (Romans 11:1) or: "Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I." (2 Corinthians 11:22) – am, not was.

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  8. I am a Messianic Jew.I am a Jewish Christian.I am a Jewish person who has accepted the wonderful gift of salvation through faith in Yeshua, otherwise known as Jesus, the Jewish Messiah and the Saviour of all mankind.basically – call me anything as long as you don't imply that my Jewishness is something in my past, something that is no longer relevant. That's my beef with phrases like "Christians of Jewish descent" or "Christians from a Jewish background" – that they make it sound like I'm not Jewish any more.

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