Messianics, Scripture & the Trinity | How Jewish is the Trinity [PDF]
My Statements of Faith
For many years, I've observed or been involved with the Messianic movement.
Over that span of time, I've seen Messianic organizations emerge from tentative obscurity into unapologetic self-confidence; from the penumbra of Protestant Evangelicalism to distinctive planetary form in the Christian solar system.
These Messianic organizations have also gradually become more "catholic." That is, they have adopted language and theology that reflect the universal Christian Church: the Church of Historical Orthodoxy, the Church of the 4th and 5th century creeds — the Catholic Church.
Not long ago, evangelical Protestants rarely expressed their doctrines in creedal form. They didn't publish "Statements of Faith" as public identification banners. They typically affirmed a more or less Sola Scriptura stance as a way of telling people they stood in the idealistic tradition of the 16th century Reformers who declared that Scripture was the sole authoritative definer of their Christian faith.
Protestants today feel great pressure — from Rome-leaning ecumenical forces and consumer truth-in-labelling demands — to post their ingredients, to affirm they are organically green: free of all heretical contaminants.
Many Christian organizations, even if their sole purpose is to send food and medicine to disaster-stricken countries, now include a Statement of Faith on their websites or in their literature. These statements essentially mirror the doctrinal priorities of the old Roman Catholic creeds, though often with additions about the present activity of the Holy Spirit.
Messianic groups have long fought for their place under the Christian sun.
But many of them have also acquiesced to join the great migration back to Rome. Under suspicion for being covert Judaizers and deniers of the Trinity (in league with Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses, Oneness Pentecostals or Unitarians), Messianics have struggled to affirm to the wider evangelical church that they are kosher-parve "Christians."
That is, they believe essentially everything Bible-based evangelicals believe, with addendums on the value of Torah and the place of Israel and the Jewish people in the future purposes of God.
Ironically, it seems that Messianics still have not earned certificates of orthodox kashrut from the Church. This is evident from their faith statements which are now more catholic than ever.
Messianic groups use terminology forged in the furnaces of systematic theology and hammered on the anvils of the ancient church councils of the 4th and 5th centuries. Their creeds go into greater depth and specificity about what they believe, even more than most evangelical churches — all in order to remove any doubts about their orthodoxy.
And just as the historical creeds are used as proof of citizenship in Christendom, the Messianic creeds are used to screen people.
If a person does not have the official Universal Passport (verbal or written confession of the catholic creed), the coveted "born-again" visa stamp is not issued. You aren't a citizen of the Commonwealth of Ekklesia, so immigration is denied. Fellowship is forbidden.
Even displaying the Bible's required "fruits of the Spirit" (Galatians 5) does not prove you are a true believer. You must confess the Formula, the national anthem of the Vatican.
Because the major Messianic organizations and their associated congregations have fallen into this old Roman method of discerning sheep from goats, they have lost their identity as being Restorers of biblical, messianic truth. They have laid their swords and shields at the feet of an alien, conquering power.
Such is a consequence of abiding in the Galut, even if they abide in Eretz Yisrael.
As alternatives to the historical Christian creeds, it is time we simply and confidently affirm biblical texts as our confessions of faith. Consider: Messianic Shemas in the New Testament.
Below are excerpts from the statements of faith or doctrinal statements of some major Messianic organizations and congregations in the United States, Great Britain and Australia. [Copied verbatim from their websites: March 16, 2016, January 16, 2017, March 14, 2017. Excerpts contain original wording, spelling, and punctuation.]
Most of the creeds refer to Deuteronomy 6:4, which contains the standard "Jewish Creed" the Shema: "Hear, O Israel, the LORD [YHVH] our God, the LORD [YHVH] is one."
But more imporantly, these creeds reflect the conclusions of formal, post-biblical Trinitarian theology. Note the non-biblical terminology God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, eternally existing, and terms coined by systematic theologians: the perfections of deity, the co-equal, co-eternal God-Man.
Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus the Christ
3) We believe that the God-Man Jesus Christ nows sits at the right hand of God the Father; that He functions as the High Priest for all believers ever making intercession for them.
The Holy Spirit
Part 1: God the Father — We believe He is Father over all creation . . . Father of Israel . . . Father of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) . . .
Part 2: God the Son — We believe that God the Son became flesh in the person of Yeshua of Nazareth, the promised Messiah of Israel . . .
Part 3: God the Holy Spirit — We believe the Ruach HaKodesh (The Holy Spirit) is a Person. He possesses all the distinct attributes of deity and personality . . .
[Tottenham Hale, London, UK]
We believe that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah... That he is the only Begotten Son of YHVH, born of the virgin Miriam... He is the King of Kings, sitting at the right hand of YHVH... He is One (Echad) with YHVH the Father and is YHVH.
Members of the BMJA believe in One God Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
[Caulfield South, Victoria, Australia]
We believe that there is one God. He is infinite and perfect, eternally existing in three distinct and equal persons — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit — each possessing the nature and perfection of deity, as well as the characterisitcs of personality. [Deut. 6:4; Acts 17:24; Psalm 90:2; Matt. 28:19-20]
We believe that there is one infinite and perfect God (Deut 6:4; Lev 19:2; Deut 33:27; Isa 6:1-3; 40:28-31; Acts 17:24; Ps. 90:2), eternally existing in the three distinct and equal person—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each possesses the characteristics of personality as well as the nature and perfections of deity. (Matt 28:19-20; John 1:1-3; 15:26; 16:12-15; Col. 1:15-20; Heb 1:1-4).
GOD — We believe that the Shema, "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one" (Deut. 6:4), teaches that God is Echad, as so declared: a united one, a composite unity, eternally existent in plural oneness [Gen. 1:1 (Elohim: God); Gen. 1:26 "Let us make man in our image"; Gen. 2:24 Adam & Eve were created to be as one flesh (basar echad)], that He is a personal God who created us (Gen. 1 & 2), and that He exists forever in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as mentioned in Romans 8:14-17 (Father, Spirit, and Messiah - Son) and Matt. 28:19-20 (immersing in the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit).
We believe in one sovereign God, existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, perfect in holiness, infinite in wisdom, unbounded in power and measureless in love; that God is the source of all creation and that through the immediate exercise of His power all things came into being.
We believe that God the Father is the author of eternal salvation, having loved the world and given His Son for its redemption.
We believe that Jesus the Messiah was eternally pre-existent and is co-equal with God the Father; that He took on himself the nature of man through the virgin birth so that He possesses both divine and human natures. . . .
We believe that the Holy Spirit is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son; that He was active in the creation of all things and continues to be so in providence; that He convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, and that He regenerates, sanctifies, baptizes, indwells, seals, illumines, guides and bestows His gifts upon all believers.
We believe in the G-d of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, the One true G-d, Creator of all things, the G-d of Israel, omniscient, omnipotent, who revealed Himself in the entire Kitvei Kodesh as Abba (Father), Ben (Son) and Ruach HaKodesh, and yet is Echad (One).
Messianics, Scripture & the Trinity | How Jewish is the Trinity [PDF]