As mentioned yesterday, because I am away in Moscow teaching an intensive course, I am interrupting the normal thematic flow of postings here at the Interfaithfulness blog in favor of a special series for four days, beginning yesterday. Today is therefore the second day.  The picture at the head of these postings is of a “Chair of Elijah” a special chair in which the sandek, the person honored with holding a baby in his lap during a circumcision, sits. Found in the large Choral Synagogue in Moscow, this beautiful chair illustrates how precious and central to Jews is our privilege of covenantal identity. I will be seeking to deepen that identity as I teach here. Please pray for me and for those whom I am fortunate enough to call “my students,” but who are sure to be my teachers.  

I am teaching a group of 30-40 Russian speaking leaders here in Moscow. For those of you who are friends of Interfaithfulness, I will report here daily a general idea of teachings and events.

  1. We will reinforce a thought I opened with yesterday, which I did not mention on this blog: that the leaders I am speaking to need to see themselves as servants of the purposes of God for the Jewish people. Because some of these leaders are not Jewish themelves, this is doubly important. Us the purpose of Messianic Judaism to give Gentiles a place where they can act Jewish? Or is it not rather for such congregations to be a sign, a demonstration and a catalyst of God’s consummating purposes for the Jewish people? This is a crucial question which may have failed to face squarely.
  2. We will examine the congregation in Jerusalem led by Ya’kov/James as an example of the kinds of concerns that should characterize Messianic congregations and their spirituality.
  3. We will examine what makes a Messianic Jewish congregational leader different from being a Baptist or Pentecostal missionary with switched labels.
  4. We will examine three metaphors that coordinate Messianic Jewish leadership, mission, and spirituality: The Great and Greater Commissions, God’s Dream, and the Son of David’s Agenda.
  5. As time permits, we will also add other helpful studies from the Bible and learn concepts to help us.

Later today I will post a report on at least one of the teaching hours today so that you readers can learn too 🙂