From the Editor

The last issue of Kesher caused some controversy with the publication of "Competing Trends In Messianic Judaism: The Debate Over Evangelicalism," by Gabriela Reason. As Editor-in-Chief, I feel that it is necessary to clarify the position of Kesher concerning this article. The author, Gabriela Reason, does not represent any constituency within the Messianic movement; neither is the publication of the article intended to exalt the UMJC over the MJAA or vice-versa. In fact, Reason makes critical and supportive statements of trends in both the UMJC and MJAA. Furthermore, Kesher's publication of this article does not reflect an endorsement of Reason's conclusions. As stated in the previous issue of Kesher, "The views expressed in Kesher do not necessarily represent the official position of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations."

It was the hope of Kesher that this article would stimulate discussion. We are thankful that the article brought about fruitful dialogue and response over the past six months. In the current issue, Kesher publishes a portion of Reason's article and offers a wide variety of responses from the UMJC, MJAA, and the mainstream Jewish community.

Reason's article and the responses provide perspective on pertinent issues facing the Messianic movement and point a way forward as Messianic Jews negotiate life in the midst of Jewish and Christian com­munities. Messianic Jews must learn to deal with numerous points of tension that exist between modern Jewish Messianism and contemporary Evangelicalism. Two tendencies for dealing with this discontinuity exist within the Messianic Movement:

  1. Adherence to the ethos and culture of Evangelicalism, including a reticence to develop indigenous, local Messianic Jewish theologies. Evangelical theolo­gy is upheld, and Jewish life consistent with Evangelical values is embraced.
  2. A critical engagement with Evangelicalism that appreciates its ongoing contribution. Value is placed on a broader spectrum of Christian traditions, while mainstream Jewish practice, theology, and spirituality are integrated in far-reaching ways.

This issue of Kesher includes additional articles and book reviews. Deborah Kaplan and Elliot Klayman explore the two most popular Messianic figures of the last four centuries. Both Shabbetai Zevi and the Lubavitcher Rebbe have been heralded as messiah by many Jews in the modern era and continue to impact the Jewish community.

Two of the books reviewed are Messianic Judaism Is Not Christianity by Stan Telchin, and Judaism Is Not Jewish by Baruch Maoz. Russ Resnick and Mark Kinzer challenge these recent critiques of the Messianic move­ment. Representing a vocal minority within the Jewish missions commu­nity, Telchin and Maoz are concerned with a shift in thinking and practice of some Messianic leaders and congregations. In general, this shift reflects a development from Hebrew Christian to Messianic Jewish forms of wor­ship, theology, and practice.

The editorial team of Kesher is committed to providing you with a unique journal experience that offers critical engagement and insightful analysis of a wide variety of issues. In this issue, a comprehensive index of Kesher (volumes 1-18) illustrates the ways Kesher has been a great resource for the Messianic movement over the last decade. During its exis­tence, Kesher has represented diverse views within the UMJC and the wider Messianic movement, while maintaining ongoing dialogue and pos­itive relationships with the wider Jewish and Christian worlds.

It is our hope that you will continue to subscribe and financially sup­port the ongoing publication of Kesher. Please find a subscription form on the following page.

Andrew Sparks

Editor-in-Chief Kesher

Andrew Sparks (M.DIV., Westminster Theological Seminary, S.T.M., Yale University) leads Congregation Avodat Yisrael of Philadelphia, PA, serves as Executive Director of Messiah Now and is Editor-in-Chief of Kesher.

MJTI School of Jewish Studies
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