Recently messianic ‘rabbi ‘ Stuart Dauermann came across an article, actually a blog posting, published in a popular Christian venue, in which the author Ron Cantor, a Messianic leader in Israel, proceeded to discount the validity of the Jewish claim of a divinely authoritative Oral Law. Stuart says this kind of literature is grievous and damaging to the cause of representing a credible Yeshua-faith to ‘our fellow Jews’.
Stuart then closes with a request to Ron and others in the me$$ianic business. The request is to a principle known as “pikuach nefesh” which states that short of idolatry, murder, and adultery, one may do anything to save a life, including breaking any of the mitzvot. As an example Stuart cites Rahab the Harlot who lied to the representatives of the King of Jericho when he came looking for the Jewish spies. Saving lives was more important than “telling the truth”.
Stuart argues that for the sake of saving Jewish lives, of commending ‘our Messiah’ to ‘our people’, Stuart encourages Ron and the others in the messianic believers movement to become followers of Rahab: and lie. Tell people that the Oral Torah and the religious legacy of ‘our people (Jews)’ is honorable, beautiful and holy, even if that is not your view.
Of course Stuart claims that the Oral Torah and the religious legacy of ‘our people’ is honorable, beautiful and holy!
Well not really Stuart is it? “On Keeping Your Mouth Shut and Saving a Life” seems to have some rather hard dynamics to understand when actually discussing the religious legacy of ‘our people’! Not even when it comes to things which are not even Oral Law but instead just plain biblical (see how Nehemiah sorts out the intermarriage problem in Neh 13:23-28 and Ezra 9:1-2 which also validates Oral Torah too).
The problem of intermarriage between ‘Christians and Jews’ has come up before but the problem is that it reveals an agenda. The agenda of course in Stuart Daurmann’s approach is (now a Facebook page): how the Christian part of ‘the intermarriage equation’ deals with the Jewish in-laws. In a case where the Jewish in-laws are just academic at heart, the Christian part of ‘the intermarriage equation’ or even the other half of the equation may be able to use impressive academic terms such as “an anticipatory or proleptic position”, “a post-supersessionist position” or a “post cryptosupersessionist position”, to help them in their evangelistic efforts with their Jewish in-laws . Yep I think you are onto a winner with this one Stuart!
However, where the Jewish in-laws are just too frum to appreciate academic reasoning, it may be beneficial to ignore centuries of grimed in distrust or ridicule of the halachic rulings of the wider Jewish community. Instead, why not pander to the Jewish in-laws by convincing them, by your elevated observance, that the Torah is best interpreted in concert with the historical stream and transgenerational discussion of that people to whom it was given?
Alternatively, where the Jewish in-laws are neither academics or too frum but instead more business and/ or marketing orientated, it may be possible to use the “Yes and” approach.
The YES-AND option whereby the Yeshua believer genuinely respects, hears, and values what his Jewish significant other reports about the value of his/her Jewish life, faith and experience. This involves saying a YES to all of that, AND going on to report how, in and through Yeshua, God is at work to deepen Jewish life experientially, while bringing the Jewish people and their tradition to their foreordained consummation. (This is no longer on Stuart’s blog as far as I can see)
Implicit in the above, apart from the obvious need to ‘win’ them Jewish in-laws, is the nauseating idea of an evangelical paradigm that the Yeshua believer is somehow superior! Winning them Jewish in-laws to Yeshua means they are not going to get thrown onto the eternal BBQ (as per Mark 16:16) because they have accepted the superior offer! Of course such black and white terms of the evangelical paradigm presented in the New Testament, Stuart Dauermann conveniently chooses to deny by saying that no such things are said in the apostolic writings which witness the efforts of the apostles to convert Jews to Yeshua. Moreover, to divert further, Stuart claims I have stolen and projected onto his paradigm.
The bottom line, no matter how Messianic Jews try to ‘spin it’ in the present with various new tricks, we can at least appreciate Ron Cantor’s candor in his rejection of Oral Law and see that in fact Stuart Daurmann’s claim that the Oral Torah and the religious legacy of ‘our people’ is honorable, beautiful and holy is absolute hogwash!! Not only hogwash but morally questionable in view of his possible ‘illegal’ misappropriation of “pikuach nefesh” but then again ‘they’ are saving those Jewish lives are they not with that evangelical paradigm, so that must make it OK?