The Nicene Creed and Messianic Judaism

We are repairing the broken pieces, standing between church creeds and rabbinic discussions, and trying to make them whole.

So says this post. You might want to read the entire thing, which is an interesting take on the Nicene Creed.

Post By Joel Watts (10,059 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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10 thoughts on The Nicene Creed and Messianic Judaism

  1. Based on a single reading of the post, it looks like some of the issues are being discussed in Messianic language that are quite similar to the theology I’m comfortable with. But the use of many terms like “Ein Sof” which I’m only vaguely familiar with makes it difficult at points to know whether I’m in agreement or whether I’m completely opposed to what’s being said.

    • That’s interesting, Mitchell. I would be interested in hearing what else you have to say, and why you use those terms.

  2. I suppose one of the issues is determining whether there really is uniquely Messianic thought, or whether what we’re really dealing with is a recasting of all the issues of Christian thought in more Jewish terminology.

    For example Christian is replaced with Messianic, Jesus with Yeshua, “one God in three persons” with “differentiated but singular but singular deity.”

    In particular I was interested in the statement “There is evidence in the Hebrew Bible that something like what the mystics describe really is going on.” I would love to see that further explored.

    But where I start to get unsettled is paragraphs like: Paul Saal demonstrated how in popular discussion people can be unaware of the differentiation of Father and Son and can cry heresy when someone is simply restating what the Nicene Creed affirms. He once explained to someone that Yeshua is not God in the sense of being the Ein Sof. Rather, Yeshua is like the sum of all the sefirot. The person claimed that Saal did not then actually believe in the deity of Yeshua! Yet Saal’s description mirrors not only the Nicene Creed, but also Hebrews 1:3.

    On the one hand, I told want us to marginalize those who want to restate gospel truths in Jewish terms (after all, a great deal of God’s revelation was given in Jewish terms). On the other hand, it does look like forcing Christ to be the sum of sefirot makes his deity less than what it really is.

    On top of this, there’s all manner of different Messianic groups, ranging in how foreign their theology seems. I’d probably have to talk with someone personally to know exactly where they stand.

    And yourself, what do you think about Yeshua? Is he God in every sense, or is he merely the highest emanation of God?

    • I believe that Christ is God, over all and that the Son is the visible Image of the Invisible Father. Further, He is the emanation of the reality of the Father’s glory.

  3. I see this discussion as too egocentric, or anthropocentric, unfortunately (“What do you think about Yeshua?” – “I think…”) – no place for G-d Himself!
    Some of us says MJ will survive if accepts this or that theological explanation, not if it pleases G-d with practical life according to the Sacrifice of Yeshua HaMashiah. The question is how to live if Yeshua is your personal Savior. Therefore: is Mashiah the King of Israel only, or is Mashiah Savior of the Mankind?
    Enough to believe, He is the Savior. No matter whether He is incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity, or not. Even more, I dare to say: whether He is G-d, human being, or G-d-Man (bet never: emanation of G-d!).
    [Let us be cautious in assuming Him being any "emanation", because (as in Kabbala) all emanations go back to gnosticism and to oriental Pantheism. G-d Creator and G-d of Pantheists (although both may be named "Single") can never be compatible.]
    Friends, do you really believe a human-being with his “thought” is capable to understand the “nature of G-d”, i.e. what is above our comprehension in principle? Or do you mean we should INVENT an explanation in order MJ could survive? Where is our faith and confidence in G-d?

    1) Yeshua is Mashiah, He is our Lord.
    2) Mashiah is a King of Israel and Savior of the mankind.
    3) Mashiah is a witnessed Man who should possess some divine Power for His salvatory mission making us participants of His Sacrifice, otherwise we cannot be saved.
    4) Although a Man, Mashiah lives today and we are waiting for His coming again as a Man (we have some signs, do not we?)

    That’s all.
    We cannot understand the origin and nature of the said Power, we only believe it to be G-d’s Power, irrespectively of the nature of this Man, “explained” by thousands of theologists in course of two millenia in such a persuasive way that even today we dare to go on with hopeless explanations. Are we more clever than St. Augustine or Maimonides? Why on earth should we compare and reconcile different human views of incomprehensible divine things? Why on earth MJ should have any “modern theology” at all?

    Is it not better for us to content ourselves with slight hints by St. Paul-Shaul? With no doubt the best is to follow Paul’s invitation to co-crucifixion on Golgotha for our beloved people and neighbors.
    This means only one: to equally friendly accept any theological comprehension, whether Nicene, or even Arian, of any people provided they really love Yeshua and go on Cross together with Him with a deep belief this is the single way of salvation.
    Such can be a real advantage of modern MJ, coming back to Paul’s MJ, over all confessions which have finally lost any reason for their “theologies” and began to preach antisemitism, “the death of G-d”, “Christianity without G-d” and finally some “Judeo-Christian “non-traditional” “values” à la Sodom and Gomorra.
    Antichrist is coming, “the Christian West” is finished. The time is coming for the “rest of Israel” – “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved”.
    Nobody knows whether Catholics, Protestants or Orthodoxes will exist tomorrow. Nevertheless one cannot doubt that “the gates of hell” will not overcome the Body of Yeshua. However this Body is first and foremost the Body of the Chosen People, is not it? Thus one cannot doubt that MJ will exist! The rest of the Israelites will be saved.
    All our “theologizations” are NOTHING in comparison with this really great thing!
    The advantage of MJ is to unite all Jews and other people of good will around the Jews, last followers of the beloved Yeshua, irrespectively of how they “explain” Him: G-d, Man, G-d-Man, incarnated Second Person, with the St. Spirit filioque, or not!
    You think MJ cannot unite people by means of co-crucifixion only, and without any “modern theology”? Then you do not believe in G-d and in His Power at all!
    Be friendly to everybody! Accept everybody! Accept those who love Yeshua HaMasiah!
    Amen.

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