Archive for March, 2012

The Confusion of Protestantism

 

An interesting article, written by Niels Ebrup, was published last Sunday (March 18th) on the ScienceNordic website about the relation between Protestantism and the decline of religion in our Western civilization. When read from a Messianic perspective, it makes clear how essential external observances are for maintaining a religious culture and lifestyle. Catholicism has always recognized this essential place of the external. The Protestant Reformation was the first major religious movement which began to depreciate the external as an accidental or even superfluous aspect of Christianity. This has led to a considerable diminishing of a particular, distinct lifestyle, and to a loss of the sense of religious identity.

As Messianics we share the Protestant perception that many Catholic religious forms are irreconcilable with biblical Christianity. Protestantism, however, has thrown away Catholic forms without (re)introducing biblical ones. It created an empty space in which “faith” was the only important thing. Historically, Protestantism thus became an important starting point for the modern, secular view of life. By neglecting the basic biblical idea, expressed in the Torah, that all the domains of life have to be sanctified in particular ways, and by accepting life as it is (meaning: as it commonly met with), Protestantism in the long term has contributed to the decline of religion in modern culture.

Without introducing the idea of Torah observance, the article nevertheless implicitly demonstrates the problematic status of a culture without religious laws and outward rules and observances.

Ebrup’s observations are based on a recent Danish PhD dissertation by Matias Møl Dalsgaard, entitled: Det Protestantiske Selv (2012). The cover of this dissertation is shown in the picture above.

View: Niels Ebrup, “Protestantism has left us utterly confused”, at: ScienceNordic.

Permanent Messianic Halachic Authority Taking Its Seat in Jerusalem

 

From our special reporter, M. Charbonah

Under the inspiring and energetic guidance of Rabbi Mordechai ben Benyomin, the city of Jerusalem now seems close to enjoy the establishment of a Center of Halachic Authority for Messianics. The new institute, comprising a Beth Din, a Synagogue, and a Yeshivah, will take its residence at Hadassah Street, in a magnificent modern architectural building. The building can be easily recognized, seeing that it is surrounded by a white fence, reminiscent of the Mishkan, to protect its sanctity (view the picture above). “Good fences make good neighbours”, says Rabbi Benyomin, when asked about the function of this enclosure.

“Although we had some legal difficulties during the building process, and faced opposition from diverse corners, notably from a certain non-Jewish trouble maker, Mr. H.A. Man, all this now belongs to the past”, the Rabbi informs us. “Even this Mr. Man has offered us his services. Coming Thursday he will bring me on horseback through the main streets of the city and make a proclamation, so that the inhabitants of Jerusalem will have the opportunity to welcome me before my installation, which will be on Friday”.

In a special ceremony, planned on coming Friday, Rabbi Benyomin will be formally invested as the First Messianic Posek HaDor (Deciding Authority of the Present Generation) “with unlimited authority”,  according to the wording of the official installation documents.

“Our first objective”, explains R. Benyomin, “is to to bring strict halachic unity and purity to the Messianic movement. At the moment we have competing visions — ‘Divine Invitation’, ‘One Law’, ‘Noachide Volunteers’, and so on — and this must all end. As soon as I’m invested with the sacred authority granted to me, we’ll start separating the wheat from the tares”. After a thoughtful pause he adds: “And I can tell you that within a year from now, the world will see our first magnificent results. A person may be as goyish and treif as a dead shrimp, but ‘unlimited authority’ is able to change even that hopeless condition”.

Since the Rabbi is a great admirer of the mystics of the Kabbalah and engages in deep meditation each day for several hours, his residence (view the picture below and mark the mystical atmosphere!) will be separated from the institute and from the rush of business of the city. Nevertheless, his quiet home will be accessible to all seekers of truth. From all sides we hear that he is a very approachable man, and one of the rare public personalities in our days that succeed in combining an easygoing affability with a stern and frum mindset.

At the end of our short conversation the Rabbi declared his great delight in the contents of the Messianic613 website and forgot not to express his good wishes and a happy Purim to us and our readers. We are glad to join the Rabbi and wish all Messianics joyful days of Purim.