Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Light to the Nations 1

I love this list of Messianic Jews and Hebrew Christians. It's a moving and impressive list of names. Of particular interest are those who have made an impact on the wider church and who have fulfilled their God-given calling to be a light to the nations: including Ridley Herschell, the founder of the UK evangelical alliance; Samuel Schereschewsky, who translated the OT into Mandarin for the first time; Bernard Bettelheim, first person to translate parts of the Bible into Chinese & Japanese; Martin Goldsmith, modern missions leader; and Mark Greene, author of Thank God it's Monday. These people are living proof that God has not rejected his people, and that his gifts and calling to them are irrevocable.

I can't help wondering though, with a touch of sadness, where their descendants are. Have they lost all Jewish distinctives and melted into the wider church, thus losing any effective testimony to their own people? Or, worse, have they fallen away from the faith altogether, thus being lost both to the Jewish people and to the church? And would they have been helped if, in their day, their had been a vibrant, authentically Biblical and authentically Jewish expression of the gospel? (All of those adverbs and adjectives are important!) I'll try to answer that question, and discuss what that might look like, in future posts.


Richard said...

Not only was "the church" started by Jewish people, it has been continued by them throughout history until now. How can God have replaced Israel with the church when the church was all Jewish to start with! Everyone automatically assumes the church was always a Gentile dominated thing, it is a wrong starting point that mutates the Gospel into cultural triumphalism rather than the triumph of Yeshua's sacrifice over sin and its consequences for all humanity.

John said...

Congratulations on a great blog.

You will want to check out Oskar Skarsaune's soon-to-be-released volume for further names.

I was once a student of Jacob Jocz. It was an unforgettable experience.

For a discussion of alternatives to supercessionism, see my "Thinking about Canon (Part Three).

Your comments would be welcome.

John Hobbins

htsmedia said...

I am sympathetic to James' comments on the list of Messianic Jews and Hebrew Christians. As the biographer of Ridley Herschell I can only say I have spoken to a number of his descendents and the Jewish connection does seem to have been lost. But that would have happened anyway when he married Helen Mowbray, a gentile.
But I can assure you their work together for the Lord continues today among both Jew and gentile through the thousands he spoke to in his day and hopefully through this biography in our own time.
If you are interested in learning more about Ridley and Helen please take a look at our website at