Thursday, June 24, 2010

Helsinki Conference on Jewish Continuity in the Church Unites and Challenges


The FIRST ecumenical conference of Jewish believers in Jesus in modern times met in Helsinki, Finland June 14-15 2010 to affirm their Jewish identity, their faith in Jesus and their desire for unity.

Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and Messianic scholars – all of them Jewish - met to discuss the global growth of Jewish believers in Jesus in a conference jointly organized by Messianic Jewish Theological Institute (MJTI) and the Helsinki Studium Catholicum. They issued a statement affirming the significance of Jewish continuity in the Church, as an ongoing link between its historic beginnings, its present life, and its future hope.

Dr. Mark Kinzer, President of MJTI, said “this was an unprecedented conference bringing together Jews who believe in Jesus as Messiah from a very wide range of communities and traditions. We met together to discuss the presence of Jews in our respective congregations and the issues we face.  The increasing number of Jewish followers of Jesus is a phenomenon of great importance, impacting the worldwide Church as it rediscovers the Jewish roots and character of its faith. The presence of Jews in its midst is a resource and means of blessing that the historic churches can not afford to ignore.”

Father Antoine Lévy, OP, Director of the Helsinki Studium Catholicum, affirmed the continuing identity of Jews in their various Christian congregations and offered his own perspective on the unique condition and calling of Jewish disciples of Christ. “We exist, and despite 2,000 years where the Church and the Jewish people have been separated and often hostile to each other, we are a living bond that demonstrates the Messiah Jesus’ own solidarity with His people, as much as the richness of the heritage of Israel that has been opened up to the Church made up of Israel and the nations.”

Fifteen scholars and theologians from eight countries met for two days of open conference and two days of working sessions to issue a document, the Helsinki Statement. Topics discussed included Jewish identity in the Messiah; responding to anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism; the place of Messianic Jewish worship and observance; the Jewishness of Jesus; the biblical, theological and historical background to the present situation of Jewish believers in Jesus; and future plans. The papers presented are due to be published in the journal Kesher, an academic journal of MJTI. A similar event is planned for 2011.

Speakers from Europe, Russia, Israel and the United States included Father David Neuhaus, SJ, Patriarchal Vicar General for Hebrew speaking Catholics, and Boris Balter, Researcher in Physics at the Russian Academy of Sciences and member of the Judeo-Christian circle "Bridge of Friendship". Conference papers were given in English and Russian.

For more information contact:
Dr. Mark Kinzer: +1 -530-334-6584
Messianic Jewish Theological Institute
PO Box 54410,
Los Angeles, CA 90054

Antoine Lévy O.P.:  +358 (0)50 304 2778    
Studium Catholicum
Ritarikatu 3 B A 4
00170 Helsinki

HT: David Rudolph


Michael F. Bird said...

I bet Jewish evangelism would be a sticking point?

E said...

As we Jews say, when you have two Jews you have three opinions.... :^D