Questions from Bible study(Series): What is a messianic literalist Christian?

Messianic-Jewish Symbol

Question: What does it mean to be a messianic literalist Christian? I admit I have not heard that term before.

WOW! OK. I hadn’t heard that exact term before either. So, off I went for some research using a number of sites. Let’s begin by breaking down the terms:

Messianic: Belief in a redeemer or messiah. In Judaism, this is the promised Redeemer in the Old Testament. For Christians, this is the Christ, Jesus, as told in the New Testament. A messianic follower is one who believes in and follows the messiah/Messiah. Technically, a Christian if that Messiah is Jesus Christ.

Literal: conforming to or following or interpreting the exact meaning of words or phrases. When applied to scripture, accepting the exact meaning of the words as written, not as metaphor or allegory.

So, now that we’ve gotten a basic understanding of each of the words, what is a messianic literal Christian? Let s look at it from two perspectives:

The Messianic Jewish perspective: This would be a Jew who accepts that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah as foretold in the OT. The Messianic Jew will continue to follow the Old Testament teachings and Jewish traditions. The New Testament would be viewed as interesting and even useful information about Jesus, but not viewed as scripture.

The Christian Literalist: This person believes and follows the entire Bible, both Old and New Testaments. This would include such things as honoring the Jewish festivals, kosher eating and the Law from Leviticus. More than recognizing that Christianity’s roots lie in Judaism, the Christian Literalist (in this context) sees the coming of the Messiah as a continuation along a path rather than as a (the) turning point of faith as does the (Roman) view of Christianity.

The result has to be more than just a merged theology. It calls for a different understanding of the Old and especially the New Testament from what has developed over the last 2,000 years. Still, in many respects this parallels the differences Paul and Barnabas had with Peter and James that was settled in the Council of Jerusalem c. 70 A.D. (Acts)

Whether from the Jewish or Christian perspectives, messianic literal Christianity has seen very rapid growth since the mid-1980’s.

I found this to be most interesting and enlightening. I m going to be mulling over the implications for some time.

Shalom, Art
Alive in The Word

Creative Commons: Public Domain

About aliveintheword

Missouri, USA Married to Marty, 45 years 2 sons (with 2 daughers-in-law) and 2 granddaughters Life dedicated to serving Jesus Christ and delivering the Good News
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3 Responses to Questions from Bible study(Series): What is a messianic literalist Christian?

  1. Pingback: James Barr on harmonization of the Bible « Loftier Musings

  2. mtsweat says:

    Hmmmm… (<– that's me also mulling) interesting. I like the parallel to Paul / Barnabas – Peter / James. God bless

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