What is Messianic Apologetics?
by Eric Chabot
Apologetics is a branch of Christian theology that helps provide reasons for belief in the explanatory power of Christian theism. It is true that other faiths attempt to provide reasons for justification for their own truth claims.
I have talked to my share of people from a variety of religious backgrounds such as Islam, Mormonism, The Bahá’í faith, The Watchtower Society and Orthodox /Conservative and Reform Judaism. I have also talked to my share of atheist apologists as well. There are various apologetic systems within Christian theology such as evidentialism, presuppositionalism, classical, philosophical and scientific. I personally tend to utilize all of them on a fairly regular basis.
One apologetic method that is a bit unfamiliar but is not entirely new is what is called Messianic Apologetics. I am about to embark on teaching an 8 week class right here in Columbus, Ohio on this very subject matter.
Messianic Apologetics is not new because it deals with many of the same objections that Jesus and His followers encountered in the first century. Messianic Judaism pertains to those who are Jewish and have come to faith in the promised Messiah of Israel. Yeshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus, and means “Salvation.” Jesus was actually called Yeshua, a Jewish man living in the land of Israel among Jewish people.
In his book, Jesus and the Victory of God,Christian Origins and the Question of God, Volume 2, author N.T.Wright says that the historical Jesus is very much the Jesus of the gospels: a first century Palestinian Jew who announced and inaugurated the kingdom of God, performed “mighty works” and believed himself to be Israel’s Messiah who would save his people through his death and resurrection. “He believed himself called,” in other words says Wright, “to do and be what, in the Scriptures, only Israel’s God did and was.”
The purpose of Israel was not to be a blessing to herself. Through her witness, the world will either be attracted or repelled towards the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The entire promise to Abraham in Gen 12:3 exhibit’s God’s plan to bless the nations. It should be no surprise that in Matthew’s opening chapter, he says, “The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham “(Matt. 1:1). The Messiah is not only of Davidic descent, but will bring fulfillment to the Abrahamic Covenant. Also, Matthew emphasizes Jesus’ mission to help Israel fulfill it’s calling (Matt. 10:5-6;15:24), as well as Jesus’ command to bring the nations into God’s redemptive plan…
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