The condition of the Church should be of deep concern to all Messianic Jews. In order to birth Israel and the nations into the Kingdom of God, the Last Days Church must be a revived and unified church. We must be concerned about, what I call, "Accommodating Evangelicals".

Who are the Accommodating Evangelicals?

I would define Accommodating Evangelicals (including Pentecostals and Charismatics) as evangelical Christians who significantly embrace contemporary culture and its norms. They identify more with the contemporary culture than Evangelicals did in the past. They tend to be more politically correct. Some, but not all may lean more to the political left, but there is also a right wing type of accommodation with regard to the Jewish people. Accommodating Evangelicals want to be accepted by their cultural peers and not be viewed as a deviant group on the cultural margins of society. They hope that the culture sees them as credible. Their question is, "how do we gain greater credibility in society so that our witness can be more embraced?" This is a legitimate question that I will answer below.

Noteworthy Examples of Accommodation

On the far end of the spectrum are some Evangelicals who believe that although New Covenant faith is the very best option for faith and practice, other religions can connect people to God. Unless we see such a connection as an exception, the progress of the Gospel will be hindered. Such a view will buy credibility with the larger culture at the price of seeing fewer people embrace Yeshua.

Another group of accommodating Evangelicals call themselves post-modern Christians. Post-moderns are less concerned with rational proof and more with relational meaning. They shun the idea of absolutes in theology or morals. They are more oriented to experience. Secular post-modern philosophy is a forceful influence behind some of these trends. This philosophy was derived from existentialism and like its predecessor, holds to a strong assertion that there are no absolute norms of truth. In post-modernism there is no possibility of discovering true historical knowledge. There are various narratives of historical recounting, but in general, history writing reflects the viewpoint and biases of the historian. Often, the historian acts as the spokesman of the powerful. It has become a familiar adage, "The victors get to write the history". This interpretation of history writing does not fit the historical context of the Gospels and Acts. These historical texts were written by the socially and politically powerless! Post-modern theories of knowledge and meaning have a skeptical outlook and lead to a society where everyone does only what they personally find meaningful.

We live in a post-modern world; therefore we need to engage our culture in such a way as to communicate clearly with those holding to a post-modern worldview. That includes embracing the intuitive and experiential, provided they do not contradict the facts and the assertions of revealed truth. This allows us to build a bridge into post-modern culture. Further, to begin with a testimony of our experience with God, can be a very helpful way to engage someone with a post-modern worldview. However, when Christians embrace some of the theories of post-modern historical knowledge and relativism, they cross a dangerous line. I think that some leaders of the post-modern evangelicals do this. A recent book by D. A. Carson (Christ and Culture Revisited, Eerdmans, 2008) presents a strong critique of their views.

The Loosening of Morals

Accommodating Evangelicals, contrary to historic Church standards, may accept pre-marital sex among young people. They will not seek to enforce biblical standards of sexual purity in their congregations. They may be more accepting of divorce and re-marriage, even when there are no biblically justified grounds. They may even want a more accepting orientation for homosexual practice and some even to abortion. Post-modern Christians sometimes seem to stand between classical Christianity and liberal Christianity.

The Embrace of Dialogue as Primary

Accommodating Evangelicals are often more interested in dialogue than evangelism. One of the most amazing developments is the level of accommodation with Islam and the emphasis on seeking common ground. While it is good to find some common ground and to seek to diffuse mistrust and violence, the lordship of Yeshua cannot be compromised or downplayed.

The Diminishing of the Claim of the Gospel with Regard to the Jewish People

Finally there is one kind of Accommodating Evangelicalism that leans not left but right in the political sphere. It is that subset of Christian Zionism that is so pro-Jewish that it dismisses the truth that Jews need to embrace the Gospel. These sorts of Christian Zionists distance themselves from Messianic Jews. A few years ago, a Christian Zionist leader told me that he had chosen to align himself with the Jewish people in such a way that he cannot be seen to have any relationship with Messianic Jews.

Accommodating Evangelicals go beyond the quest for points of contact in order to make the Gospel more powerfully understood. Accommodating Evangelicals have departed from the norms of 2000 years of Christian standards and especially the standards of the Reformation and post-Reformation Protestant Church. In my opinion, this is a backslidden Christianity. I do not hear such accommodating Christians speaking of miracles and great advances in the Gospel. It is so unlike the Book of Acts type of Christianity in Africa, Asia and South America. Evangelicals in those countries look more like the first believers described in the New Testament.

Conclusions

I share the desire of some of these folks for our faith to be relevant and to have a greater role in the formation of the culture. However, that will not be accomplished by worldliness and becoming like the culture around us. It will come about by doing the work of preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom with signs and wonders. Our credibility will come from caring for the poor, healing the sick, seeing broken lives made whole and restoring marriages and families. It will be the testimony of lasting covenant relationships. This is the kind of Christianity that will make Israel jealous. "Accommodating Evangelicalism" will fail, but the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church of Yeshua. It will overcome the aberration of "Accommodating Christianity", which sadly is weakening the churches today.

By Daniel Juster



Dan Juster leads the overall ministry Tikkun International. Donate to Tikkun International.

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Comments:
06:33 05Jan11 Ann Rowan -
Good, balanced analysis of many "Christian" churches in America.

06:34 05Jan11 Martha Kinsler -
We must walk in knowing this. The love of MANY will grow cold ... we must not be one or some of the MANY, but our eternal holy faith must increase. And this, in knowing HIM and HIS WORD, and walking in all he has COMMANDED us to do. No more wishy washy ANYTHING. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth: may we be HIS CHILDREN WITH HEARTS ABLAZE, WITH BURNING HEARTS ... his TRUTH or NO TRUTH, his LOVE or NO LOVE. All things were created FOR HIM, by HIM, through HIM; he is the pre-eminent ONE. Do we have a grasp on what holiness means? What purity means? We should shake with holy fear before him always.

07:03 05Jan11 Clark -
As we approach the last days when lawlessness abounds and the love of many wax cold; this accomodation of the "church" seems to be part of an overall believing of the lie we read about. Rev ch 2-3 call on many churches or communities of faith in Yeshua to repent. We must repent and do the first works (Acts ch 2) being filled with the Holy Spirit. In a small fellowship we saw God move through prayer and crying out just this past Shabbat. After the laying on of hands and tears a sister of one present who had blood pressure of 215/110 received those sent to her to pray for her before being taken to the hospital. Those sent were told to pray and touch 3 specific areas, the 3rd being the abdomen. The sister said her stomach felt like it was on fire. After a short while she felt noticebly better, a new bp was taken nearing normal. This week she went to Drs to have the many tests prescribed before prayer in the Holy Spirit was made, they have all come back normal and the pain has subsided and the bp has remained normal. I say all this to agree wholeheartedly with your alternative to moral relativism & cultural accomodation. The gates of hell will not prevail against a spotless bride of Yeshua. We must turn to God while He is listening before the calamity of Prov 1 comes upon us.

08:55 05Jan11 anon -
Congratulations for your article. You pointed out to the essential of Christianity: Yeshua and the Kingdom of God, the Father, and the care for the poor. (Mt 25, 31-46). 09:13 05Jan11 Jeff Beacham -
This is an outstanding commentary on the overall state of western Christianity and thus accounting for its general decline, while the Kingdom is advancing in leaps and bounds in the global south. If you compromise the truth, you compromise the Cause!

09:31 05Jan11 Beverly Schneider -
Well articulated truths that need to be spoken.

10:25 05Jan11 Susan Michaels -
This is an excellent article and hits all of the valid and salient points about the state of Christendom today. 'Accomodating Christians' are a group I am very familiar with through a mainline church I grew up with, and in my view, this is a compromising church, who 'have a form of godliness' (outer appearance of being 'godly) but who deny the power (the Holy Spirit). Wherever Christendom has become 'big business' or has assimilated with the world, it will lose its savour and flavour, and in fact has already failed. Thank you for this excellent article, which I will share with other, including pastors I know who are bewildered by their 'weakening' churches today.

10:28 05Jan11 Byron Flint -
Interesting perspectives. I'm not familair with the particular term of 'Accommodating Evangelicals', but what this article describes is pretty much the pattern of today's mainline Protestants, and to some degreee, some Catholics as well. Generally in the Christian community, 'Evangelicals' are regarded as those who are neither Catholic, or mainline Protestant, but more so the non-denomenational Protestants, Pentecostals and Charismatics. These are actually the folks who are more concerned with the Biblical standards of truth, and less likely to embrace the ways of the world.
It appears to me that this article makes the exception to the rule look more like what is the rule.

  -- Dr Juster replies: I think it is pretty widespread. If one looks at the number who signed the accord with Islamic leaders, it is more widespread than you may think.

10:34 05Jan11 Jerry D. Keller -
This is an excellent article. Thank you for bringing this perspective based upon Biblical and historical truth. 10:41 05Jan11 Linda Morris -
Well stated. Our ministry, Dodi Yavoh's (My Beloved Will Come) mission statement: "Implementing the Messiah's love to Israel for their physical and spiritual return to the Land and to their God." We work with the Messianic leadership in the Land and strongly encourage the Church to awaken to her responsibility to serve (Matt. 25) and minister (Isaiah 53) to Israel in Truth and Love. Toda raba for your reinforcement of our and encouragement for what we are doing.

11:24 05Jan11 J Thomas Smith -
The spirit of Elijah blows freely in this article by Dan Juster. May all evangelicals who read it take a deep breath, examine our own walk, and return to the Christianity in the Book of Acts.

12:50 05Jan11 Hannah Smiley -
Todah! My prayer is that these comments will spread. Congregational leaders and pastors need to climb on this bandwagon to stop the assimilation of the church into secular society. We need to line our own personal culture up with scripture rather than lining scripture up with our culture.

14:18 05Jan11 Robert Bibb -
Great article - I agree completely. May God bring forth the vision of TJCII in a mighty way!

14:41 05Jan11 The Rev. Dr. Nicholas A. Marziani, Jr. -
In the year 2000 the Roman Catholic Church published a document, that though bearing the late John Paul II's seal, was actually largely "ghostwritten" by the current pope, then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Bearing the Latin title, "Dominus Iesus", it sets forth an incredibly balanced understanding of salvation vis-a-vis other world religious traditions.
In a nutshell, the apostolic letter acknowledges that God's mercy often extends to bring salvation to non-Christians (and non-Catholics!) who embrace in sincerity another tradition out of ignorance of the fullness of the Gospel as found in Christ and his Church. Such instances nevertheless constitute some "mystical relationship" to the Lord and his Body, even if there is no explicit profession of Christian faith.
None of this is understood, however, to offer a "blank check" to those who through perversity or willfulness fail to embrace the single channel through which salvation is offered, namely Jesus Christ, the Lord. I believe Dan's comments are consistent with now Pope Benedict XVI's perspective, and I congratulate him on posting this important article.

  -- Dr Juster replies: Thank you for this comment. I am familiar with the Pope's view on this.

15:04 05Jan11 Linda Schauer -
Well written Dan! "In the end times evil would be spoken of as good and good will be spoken of as evil. Yes, we surely have entered this new post-modern era. The key is how we relate G-d's truth and love to others in culture and time with compassion for others.

15:22 05Jan11 Janine McCaffrey -
This is so helpful. Your grasp of these issues reminds me of what St. Paul says in Romans, 'But some of the olive branches have been broken off, and you, a wild olive branch, have been grafted in their place. You get your nourishment from the roots of the olive tree.' (the last sentence). Great.

18:04 05Jan11 Christopher Hernandez -
This was a convicting and difficult article to read all the way through to the end. As you touched on many of the accepted norms for today's evangelical Christians, I could not help but realize that I have willfully fallen into some of the categories mentioned. Constantly, we are challenged to stay on the narrow path that Yeshua laid out for us, and after reading this today, I am encouraged to believe that He will see me through today, and in the future, with the fullness of His truth and Gospel lighting the way. Thank you for searching your own heart in these matters and for sharing the wisdom that has been revealed to you so freely. I look forward to familiarizing myself with the Messianic faith that will surely enhance my walk with God and my knowledge of our Savior, Yeshua, the Messiah.

19:07 05Jan11 BD -
I don't know much about philosophy nor much about pre or post modernism. I do know sin is alive and well and that western culture has exchanged the place of prayer and worship for the stage. Ministry has become a great idol and we have taught our young the glories of self worship. Give them a microphone and keyboard, and don't forget the drums and they will be happy to sacrifice all for fame. Ministries break up so each can do what is right in their own eyes. And the sad thing is we are exporting it all to the nations. Let's not forget to bicker and fight and clamor for the preeminence. All who want to make a decision? "come on down!" and enter into the kingdom...don't forget your wallet...a kingdom has to be built, a great complex for the glory of me.
I miss the days of the grey hairs who taught me the fear of the Lord. Who were rich in humility, and lavished the scriptures on my young ears. They taught me the Glory of Israel was coming again and expected Him any moment. They taught me the truth that repentance means having to not only say your sorry but you actually turn away from evil and no excuses! They were not victims of the devil's attacks they admitted they had done wrong to someone and apologized. And then they made it right. We cannot get 5 people for a prayer meeting, we no longer pray in church and please don't read more than 5 verses. But give me Zumba in the Sanctuary!
It isn't Charismatic or old mainline, Messianic or Islam. It is pride and arrogance and old fashioned boasting and selfish ambition, and don't forget the anointing! It has never been harder to do battle with sin in my own heart than in these days. It is an old fashioned misery, with an ancient truth ... "the heart is deceitful and wicked above all else ... who can know it?" ME!
There was One, who emptied Himself. Just give me this One. Yeshua. Name above all names and he is never too busy to respond. It is what sets Yehovah above all gods...He hears my cry and answers. He bends low.

  -- Dr Juster replies: I share having had such mentors. What a blessing.

20:15 05Jan11 David Howell -
Once again you are right on. I believe the whole seeker sensitive movement is watering down the demonstration of the Spirit so as not not 'offend' non-believers but I think it is just to be popular (the fear of man is the root). The cross of Jesus is not popular.

00:40 06Jan11 Sharon -
I've also seen the desire of many be that of accommodation and have asked "at what price". The Word of Gd is being watered down in the churches in order to bring in the unchurched and make them feel more comfortable. When did Yeshua ever change His message because of the unbelief around Him? It is a sorry state indeed. Thank you for writing this - if we see what's wrong and remain silent - then we are just as guilty as those wishing to accommodate the lost with half truths and sometimes even outright lies.

08:53 06Jan11 Richard G. Hanner -
Dr. Juster presents a clear and precise understanding of our present cultural context. I sincerely appreciate his balance with substantive theology.

09:07 06Jan11 Rob Hampton -
Well said. We who love Y'shua must follow Him faithfully. That eliminates compromise. G-d has given us His Word (Living and Written) to give us confidence. John 21:24 - This is the disciple *who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and *we know *that his testimony is true.

09:32 06Jan11 Larry Branch -
I agree "Love going cold" is the key to keeping our brothers and sisters and the expansion of the Kingdom to include greater numbers from every tribe and tongue. The Kingdom of the Gospel's cornerstone is love, it is Yeshua. If there is a movement away from family we must examine our love. If we desire an expansion or even a sustaining of our traditions we must look at the motives of our heart. Love seek not its own. Jesus died for all He excluded no one. The heart of exclusion should never lie with us. Forgiveness only has been extended from the throne of our Father to us. So when the world sees us they should see our Father, they should see only love and forgiveness.

11:20 06Jan11 Glenn -
If one looks at many emergent churches, Cedar Ridge in Maryland for example - the majority of the members came from unchurched backgrounds. In the past many evangelicals became captive to modernity and it's influence and are now in decline. Many post-evangelicals have sought to push back against modernity and it's exclusive nature and redraw the boundaries to create a more missional oriented church. Many see Lesslie Newbigin, David Bosch, Nt Wright, etc. as major influences for reshaping theology. Many are seeking to heal the damage done by the religious right and not create a culture that excludes on the basis of politics or other non-essential partisan issues. Others, like the philosopher Carl Raschke (Ph.D. Harvard), in his book The Next Reformation see churches like Chuck Pierce's Glory of Zion in Denton, Texas in a very positive manner.

  -- Dr Juster replies: The Emergent Churches are such a broad category that it is a question as to whether it really is a coherent movement. For example, the writings of Allen Hirsch are wonderful. We have met and are on the same page. Others have embrace a relativistic theory of knowledge and even praise Jaques Dirreda. So in this we have one emergent leader strongly rejecting the views of the other emergent churches. I am not sure that the category is helpful any longer.

11:42 06Jan11 Amanda Thompson -
THank you so much for writing this article! I go to a leaning liberal Christian University in Abilene and have been studying under teachers that you have just described in this article. I have not fully understood their ideals and their beliefs until now because of the spectrum of different streams they are pulling from to form their world view. Now I get it and am so thankful to understand more clearly what I'm combating with my "radical ideas and beliefs". Being a believer in Yeshua and embracing Israel and her destiny along with mine has been difficult in this realm of academia and you have now given me the tools to walk with more clarity and understanding, in order to love my professors and fellow students out of understanding and not out of the blind compassion I had previously! This message comes just in time for my spring semester and the timing couldn't have been more awesome!

14:59 06Jan11 LaVerne Foster -
You have written a thought-provoking message which has caused me to reflect on many New and Old Testament Scriptures. I am also encouraged by the thoughtful comments shared. Jesus came to change us; He preached the good news of the Kingdom of heaven with signs and wonders and showed us His way of love and life -- ultimately, the way of the cross. Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every kneee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. For those who know him and whom he has made to be both salt and light; he has commanded that we pick up our cross and follow him. He has given us the ministry of reconciliation (2Corinthians 5:11-21). When the full number of the gentiles have come in, all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:25-36). While the faithful of old "were commended for their faith, none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect" (Hebrews 11:39-40). Careful/prayerful reflections: Genesis 49:1-2; Numbers 18:1; lPeter 2:9, 2Chronicles 33:10-13; Daniel 4:33-37; Daniel 12:5-10; and Ephesians 4:14-19. Thank you, Jesus, that you have made us a new creation and given us a new heaven and a new earth. Thank you that you have caused light to shine in darkness and are teaching us to know "the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work with us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

15:11 06Jan11 Mary E Dow -
You've said it well! However, how does one move more closely to the life as Jesus charged: "these signs shall follow those who believe ..." (Mark 16:15-20) and then we were taught that it was not for US. [And yet, in fact, only a very few manuscripts left out these verses.]

00:48 07Jan11 Rita Summers -
I just left a missional church because it was becoming too accommodating and watering down God's word. The premise of the missional/emergent church teaching is that God wants to change the church to make it more relevant to the culture. This premise is faulty and does not fit with the teaching from Romans that the church needs to become provocative to the Jewish people. This is the old serpent at work steering the church away from God's priorities.

07:46 07Jan11 David -
AMEN! "It is so unlike the Book of Acts type of Christianity in Africa, Asia and South America. Evangelicals in those countries look more like the first believers described in the New Testament" Can anyone say that the Church of "Philadelphia" (see Revelation chapter 3) is alive and well in these regions?

18:53 10Jan11 Kia Paranihi -
Our heavenly Father accommodated us in sending Messiah to die. It is by His grace alone that we can receive HIS LIFE and call ourselves by His name. If we have HIS LIFE, why do we cling to what is condemned and dead and give it pre-eminance over the Holy Spirit. "Accommodating Evangelicalism" is motivated by that deep seated human (dead, fleshly) need for acceptance by others. We must die to it and make room for more of Jesus. WE WILL THEN EXPERIENCE THE AMAZING WONDERS OF HIS LIFE, that reach hungry humble hearts. "Accommodating Evangelicalism" vaunts itself against the sovereignty of God. Abba, please open the eyes and hearts of your people to Your ways and Your power. Praise You!

21:27 22Jan11 Elizabeth Buckley -
Thank you for speaking out with such clarity concerning the "watered-down gospel" that is being preached as a more loving way to relate to those who don't know the Messiah. In an effort to not be offensive and run someone off from the truth, there is a move to be so relevant to the world that we are powerless in the Spirit.


Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Eitan Shishkoff: Sweet Fifteen
Daniel Juster: An Unparalleled Opportunity
Avi Tekle: Fire on the Mountain
Asher Intrater: Rabbinic Judaism - lessons from the Book of Acts