Year 01: The UMJC Conversion Position Paper – The Majority Position, Point 3a

MAJORITY POSITION

3. Several reasons may be offered against adopting a rite of passage for willing Gentile believers into Messianic Judaism.

a. In I Corinthians 7:18, Paul specially addressed the issue of conversion, directing all believers to be content in the state in which they were called. Gentiles should not convert to Judaism. Likewise, Messianic Jews should not consider it an option to forsake their divine calling as Jews.

The third point is broken into 5 parts (a-e) and will be dealt with separately. 3a is the first point dealing with a Biblical passage.

In I Corinthians 7, where Paul deals with not “changing status”, which is typified by the phrase “in the state in which you were called” is his instructions to the believers in Corinth that in the light of the soon return of the Messiah, grounded in his apocalyptic worldview, that rather than changing from being a Jew to being a Gentile or from a Gentile becoming a Jew that his readers should just believe in Yeshua and be ready for the soon end of the age and the return of Yeshua.

What is lost on the above point from the Majority Position is that in the same passage Paul also includes instructions for those unmarried to not marry (7:8-9), those married not to divorce (7:10-11) and slaves to not seek their freedom (7:21-22), if these were the state in which the person became a believer. This brings up the following issues:

I was 6 years old and, therefore, single when I put my trust in Yeshua, should I not get married?

Was it wrong for slaves to seek freedom during the Civil War, if they became believers while in slavery?

Is divorce always prohibited if the parties became believers during the marriage?

I will imagine that the above questions would all receive a “no” answer. Then how can we take this passage as a Biblical mandate only for the conversion of non-Jews to Messianic Judaism?

I applaud and fully support the closing sentence:

Messianic Jews should not consider it an option to forsake their divine calling as Jews

and this is a vitally important issue but I Corinthians 7 should be understood as a passage that is rooted in the early Messianic Jews apocalyptic vision and should be understood as guidance to a community in preparation for the end of the age.

Paul and the other early Messianic Jews didn’t foresee the now 2000 year spread of time since the resurrection of Yeshua and sadly we are left without their direct guidance on how to deal with issues of note, specifically for our discussion on the issue of non-Jews converting to Messianic Judaism.

Next up is 3b, another Biblical passage…

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3 thoughts on “Year 01: The UMJC Conversion Position Paper – The Majority Position, Point 3a

  1. Excellent points re: 1 Cor 7.

    A strictly literal construction would require absurd restrictions if applied accross the board. But those who oppose conversion do not apply such strictness across the board, only to conversion. This seriously weakens their argument.

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  2. anonymous,

    thanks for visiting.

    I am very interested in the issue of Messianic Jewish conversion for many reasons.

    Firstly, and most important is that this is a huge step of maturation for our movement to come to fully embrace our movement as Messianic JUDAISM.

    Dealing with the conversion issue has opened the whole issue of Messianic Jewish halakha, which also is vitally important for building a mature Judaism for Yeshua.

    If and when a Messianic Judaism conversion process is available I would consider it. I am confident that this day is coming.

    I think that this is something that we must do for the future of Messianic Judaism and I will do what I can to see it become a reality.

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