I love opinionated non-PC people. This blog is to vent my opinions on life, the universe and everything. Which is 42 which in gematria is "My Heart" (LBY) according to Rabbi Abulafia. The Divine Heart is the centre of everything.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Second Helsinki Conference: Jews in the Church

Father Alexander Winogradsky Frenkel
Here is the latest press release about the Second Helsinki Conference on Jews in the Church. Interestingly one of the speakers was Father Alexander Winogradsky Frenkel an Orthodox priest who says the Orthodox liturgy in Hebrew in Jerusalem for a small flock of Orthodox Hebrew speaking Christians.

"PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 6 July 2011

Second Helsinki Conference on Jewish Continuity in the Church Affirms the Significance of Jewish Believers in Jesus

The second Helsinki Consultation on Jewish Continuity in the Body of Messiah met in Paris, France June 24-28, 2011. Building on the 2010 Helsinki Statement (see below) Jewish scholars from France, Germany, Israel, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, belonging to Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and Messianic traditions, deepened their relationships and advanced in their discussion of crucial issues concerning the relationship of the Body of Christ to the people of Israel.

The conference was jointly organized by Messianic Jewish Theological Institute (MJTI), the Paris Istina Centre for Ecumenical Studies and the Helsinki Studium Catholicum. The participants issued a statement on “Am Israel – Our People” affirming the increasingly significant presence of Jewish believers in Jesus for both the Church and the Jewish people. The papers presented are due to be published in the journal ISTINA, the academic journal of the Dominican study centre in Paris where the conference took place. A similar event is planned for 2012.

Dr. Mark Kinzer, author of Postmissionary Messianic Judaism, Senior Scholar and President Emeritus of MJTI, said “The identity of the Christian Church is inseparable from that of the Jewish People, and the identity of the Jewish People is inseparable from the person of its crucified and risen Messiah, Yeshua of Nazareth. It follows that the Jewish people and the Christian Church are so intimately bound together that it is impossible to adequately understand one without also understanding the other. We have met to deepen our own understandings of these realities, and to encourage our people and our churches to reflect further on their mutual interdependence.”

Father Antoine Lévy, OP, Director of the Helsinki Studium Catholicum, called forgreater recognition and encouragement for Jewish believers in Jesus at an ecumenical level. "Like the interaction between men and women, the interaction between Jews and Gentiles pertains to the spiritual dynamism of the whole

Church. It embraces and pervades local congregations and Church organizations. Accordingly, I see no reason to prevent Jews from developing a distinct life of worship within the Universal Church. Wherever they are, whatever their Church affiliation may be, I believe that Messianic Jews should gather and build a home within Am-Israel, a home for themselves as well as for their fellow Jews who would be willing to join."

CONFERENCE STATEMENT

The theme of this year’s consultation was “Am Israel – our People”. As the many papers demonstrated, the identity of the Jewish People is complex, consisting of historical, familial, ethnic, cultural and spiritual components that are all essential and inseparable. The paradoxical nature of Jewish identity challenges us to avoid reductionist interpretation and to explore further the mystery of our people.

As Jewish believers in Jesus, we affirm our identity as part of both the people of Israel and of the Body of Christ. We recognise the pain this affirmation may cause to some of those of our people who do not believe in Yeshua. We are also aware of the misunderstanding that can occur in the Church when we state that we continue to be part of the Jewish people.

Nevertheless, we believe that we are a living witness to the mysterious and invisible bond which persists between the Church and Israel. Our dual membership brings us into a unique relationship with one another, and also entails weighty responsibilities and formidable challenges. Our two communities have been separated but belong together. We bear witness to the tragedy of their division and herald the hope of their future reconciliation.

We are exploring how this unique relationship to one another as Jewish believers in Jesus might take visible form as a wider fellowship dedicated to the service of the Jewish people and the body of Messiah.

Speakers from Europe, Russia, Israel and the United States included Father David Neuhaus, SJ, Patriarchal Vicar General for Hebrew speaking Catholics, and Boris Balter, Researcher in Physics at the Russian Academy of Sciences and member ofthe Judeo-Christian circle "Bridge of Friendship". Conference papers were given in English, FRENCH and Russian...


HELSINKI STATEMENT

Helsinki Consultation on Jewish Continuity in the Body of Messiah

June 14-15, 2010

Jewish believers in Yeshua (Jesus) from England, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Russia, and the United States met in Helsinki, Finland, on June 14-15, 2010. As scholars belonging to Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, and Messianic communities, they began a conversation on Jewish continuity in the Body of Jesus the Messiah. They issued the following statement:

We thank God for bringing us as Jews to the knowledge of Jesus the Messiah, and we express a debt of gratitude to those from the Nations who have transmitted the knowledge of Christ from generation to generation. While we seek to speak on behalf of those who share our Jewish identity and faith in Christ, we have no official mandate from our respective communities. In what follows we are expressing our own deeply held convictions.

At this unprecedented event, we have experienced the depth of our bond, and at the same time we have wrestled with the diversity of our ingrained theological and cultural constructs. In spite of church divisions, we have come together as Jews who believe in Jesus. We hope that sharing the fruit of our common efforts will benefit our brothers and sisters in Christ. We do not aim to issue a definitive statement, but to initiate an ongoing process of discussion.

There are many Jewish people in the body of Christ. We believe that this reality reflects God’s intention that Israel and the Nations live as mutual blessings to one another. In fact, the Church in its essence is the communion of Jews and those from the Nations called to faith in Christ.

In light of this truth, we think that the life of Jews in the body of Christ has theological significance for that body as a whole. Their presence serves as a constant reminder to the body that its existence is rooted in the ongoing story of the people of Israel. This story resounds throughout the celebration of the liturgical life of the community. We believe that this story finds its center in Israel’s Messiah. We believe that Jews within the body are a living bond between the Church and the people of Israel. Accordingly, we would like to explore concrete ways in which Jewish people may live out their distinctive calling in the body of Christ.

Finally, we wish to express to our Jewish brothers and sisters who do not share our faith in Jesus the Messiah that we consider ourselves to be part of the Jewish people and are committed to its welfare.

STATEMENT ENDS---

CONFERENCE PARTICIPANTS AND PAPERS PRESENTED

Boris Balter, Orthodox (Moscow), Researcher in Physics at the Russian Academy of Sciences -"The problem of being Jewish: self-identification within ‘bilateral ecclesiology’.”

Dr. Jacques Doukhan, Adventist (Berrien Springs, USA), Professor.of Hebrew and Old Testament Exegesis, Director of the Institute of Jewish-Christian studies at the St Andrews Adventist Theological Seminar. “Jews and Christians: an identity in tension - inquiring about the relevance of Messianic prophecies”

Dr. Richard Harvey, Messianic (London), Director of Training at All Nations Christian College, author of “Mapping Messianic Jewish Theology” - "Ha´am- Israel as our People – The Ethnic, Ecclesial, Evangelical and Eschatological Significance of Jewish Believers in Yeshua ".

Dr. Mark Kinzer, Messianic (Ann Arbor, USA), President of Messianic Jewish Theological Institute, author of “Postmissionary Messianic Judaism” - "Messianic Jewish Community: Standing and Serving as a Priestly Remant".

Fr. Jérôme Lefert, OSB, Catholic (France/Israel), Monk at the Benedictine monastery “Notre-Dame d´Espérance”, “A few words about belonging and generating / Side-effects”.

Fr. Antoine Levy, OP, Catholic (Helsinki), Director of the "Studium Catholicum", adjunct-professor at Helsinki University Faculty of Theology, "Am- Israel as the founding principle of a Messianic ecclesiology”.

Lisa Loden, Messianic (Israel), Head of Development Program at the Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary, “New Covenant Jews: Rooted in Am Israel”.

Fr. David Neuhaus, SJ, Catholic (Jerusalem), Patriarchal Vicar General for Hebrew speaking Catholics in Israel - "A Catholic Jew reflects on his Jewish identity".

Svetlana Panitsh, Orthodox (Moscow), translator, literary critic. “Jewish Continuity in the Church; some reflections on the three-fold call.”

Rabbi Vladimir Pikman, Messianic (Berlin), Vice-President of the International Messianic Jewish Alliance, Executive Director of “Beit Sar Shalom” ministry - "Being ‘Jewish’ in the Hebrew Bible and Beyond".

Rabbin Emmanuel Rodriguez, Messianic (Paris), Director of the “Centre Messianique de Paris”, “One God, two ways”

Jennifer Rosner, Messianic (Los Angeles), Instructor at Azusa Pacific University - "‘Torah and Election: The People of Israel and Halachic Life”.

Dominic Rubin, Orthodox (Moscow), Professor at the “St. Philaret Institute”, author of “Holy Russia, Sacred Israel: Jewish-Christian Encounters in Russian Religious Thought”.

Fr. Alexander Winogradsky Frenkel , Orthodox (Jerusalem), Parish priest, Greek- Orrthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, “The meaning of Hebrew as a language of the liturgy."

7 comments:

Michael said...

This is wonderful news. This continued dialogue is so needed.

Pray for us gentiles in the Messianic Movement. We are all on our individual islands...

Athol said...

I will Michael and yes it is very good news. there are no second class citizens in God's Kingdom- whether Jew or Gentile we are all beloved of the Father and have our distinct mission's in his Vineyard.

Michael said...

Thank you Athol for your encouragement.
I certainly agree with what you have said and am very confident in the distinct mission's between Jew and gentile. It's quite exciting actually. I used to be, for a number of years,living as though I was a Jewish man submitting myself to many halachic demands not meant for a non-Jewish person. In fact, I forsook the Apostolic or New Testament writings for years searching the Torah and various teachings of the Sages, mainly Breslov.

It's only within the last 1-2 years that I have had a complete turn-around. Becoming comfortable with who our Father has made me and who I am to be as a follower of the Master, Yeshua/Jesus.

I could see that my request of prayer was not very clear or perhaps not worded well.

As you may know, it's very common here in the States to have a "Messianic" congregation that is mainly gentile and little to no Jewish leadership or congregants. This is not so across the board, just not uncommon. It's also, in my experience, not uncommon to have more than one Messianic congregation in the city and yet no cooperation between them, hence the "island" description.

I attend a fellowiship in Hudson WI, where I live, called Beth Immanuel Sabbath Fellowship. The elders there are very interested in the subject matter of your last post. They've not read your blog, but are very familiar with Mark Kinzer.
If you were to visit the BI website you will find a series of audio teachings on Galations. This was an excellent and pivotal teaching for me in embracing my "gentileness" and I have done so with true conviction and happiness from God. It was probably a year and a half ago that I was convicted to shed my "yiddishkeit" which I have. In the mean time, I have been searching , first the Orthodox church and now the Catholic church. I feel quite drawn to Catholicism with the sacraments of confession, the Eucharist, etc.. Also the loyalty to Jesus, His immediate disciples, their disciples and the rest of the Saints of the faith.
I have loved the Messianic faith and have not forsaken it. It's just that once a gentile "embraces who he is, you find there is not much that is designed to enhance the beauty of the distinctive rolls of people within this movement.

Am I making any sense?

Athol, please forgive my ramblings... I am quite torn.

There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about this.

Peace and love

Athol said...

Thank you Michael for sharing your journey I do not think you were rambling. You made alot of sense. Some Gentiles may feel a call to be involved in the Jewish or Hebrew Catholic apostolate but I think most Gentile Christians are called to enculturate the Gospel more fully into their own Gentile culture. There are many Jewish customs and practices that are done in the home that could be a template for Gentiles to adapt to their own culture such as Sabbath observances. Each nation and culture has a unique vocation and mission in the Body of Christ so there should be no sense of superiority. The Jewish form of the faith is the Mother one but that doesn't mean the children are not of equal dignity and respect with the Mother. No reason that you can't learn from the teachings of Rebbe Nachman and then adapt them to your own calling as a Gentile believer. I will pray for you and your journey into the riches of the Catholic faith. A treasured part of my Jewish Catholic spirituality are the Rosary given to a Gentile (St Dominic) by Our Lady and the Divine Mercy given to another Gentile (St Faustina)by Our Lord. Whether Jew or Gentile we are all spiritual Israelites and Gentiles enter into the inheritance of Israel and the Law through baptism and the Cross according to the present Pope.

Michael said...

Dear Athol,

Thank you again. I can certainly learn from your experience.

It's time for me to sleep now, but will contact again.

Thank you and peace to you brother.

Michael

Peace-Works-Press@w-e-r-co.com said...

Shalom in Y'shua, Athol and Michael! Thank you both for these wonderful posts on the increasing role of Jewish Believers, both within Judaism and within the Church. It is heartening to see that Eloha is actively moving Jews and Gentiles together in the Person of Y'shua, and that we are not isolated islands. May I have your permissions to forward these posts to my contacts at Jews for Jesus and Chosen People Ministries? and to print it out and mail it to my two non-believing, Reform Jewish colleagues in Quincy, IL (at the belly-button of "pregnant motherly-shaped Illinois")? I had been welcome at Temple B'nai Shalom there for several years, until one evening, at a congregation-wide meeting on what we each thought of God; and I had said: "God is Love" and another had said: "God is a ball of energy" (Greek for 'the capacity to do work'), running around the Universe" -- and everyone chuckled at that; then, shortly later, I opined that "There is a grain of truth in the notion of Eloha as Energy, in that Einstein's most famous equation: E - m c (squared) can be seen as a signature for God, where E is the Father, m the Son, and c (squared) their Unity in the Holy Spirit, and that the Father and the Son are one Body at the speed of light (squared), but that, at lower speeds, they are two bodies" as Habbakuk 3:4 and the Gospels: M't 26:64; M'k 14:62; L'k 22:69 and J'n 14:7-11 proclaim. At that, one man from Louisiana MO, whom I had never seen at Synagogue before, said "We don't have to be treated to this [Trinitarianism] in our own Synagogue". A few days later, the President of the Synagogue came to visit me in my home to tell me that I was no longer welcome in Synagogue. I am sure that we all have similar stories to tell about the tension between Jewish-Believers {Gentile-Believers); and non-believing Jews and Gentiles.
Again, it is heartening to see that the Holy Spirit of Truth and Love and Life is actively moving throughout the Body, and that we are not isolated islands!

Peace-Works-Press@w-e-r-co.com said...

Peace of Christ, again, Athol and Michael. The comment I just posted, I had attempted but was unsuccessful to post, and had to reconstruct from memory: I'd said: "As Leopold Sedar Senghor, the Washington and Jefferson of Senegal's independence once wrote, regarding the relationship between Blacks and White: "We prize the charm of being together, but different" -- the same can be said of Jews and Gentiles, both within and outside the Mystical Body of Christ. Blessings to you both!