The Helsinki Consultation is a forum for Messianic Jewish scholars to explore an academic understanding in the role of Torah-living for Messianic Jews. This summer, the Helsinki Consultation welcomed a 7th Day Adventist, Jacques Doukhan, to address the conference, and be part of a joint “fellowship of faith“.
7th Day Adventism is a strange movement deviating wildly from the New Testament, which teaches that the judgement for believers in Jesus began in 1844, when Jesus began a new phase of ministry. This teaching “Investigative Judgement” was invented by the movement after they incorrectly predicted Jesus would return to Earth in 1843.
According to this teaching, our sins have been mystically transferred to a heavenly sanctuary, and Jesus will again remove these sins, but only if we are holy enough, following his post-1844 investigations.
For Messianic Jews who take Paul and the Gospels seriously, this is quite clearly a load of rubbish. Yeshua is the Good Shepherd and knows his sheep. His redemptive work did not begin in 1844, but rather Yeshua said “it is complete” at his own crucifixion. His resurrection – and not a false promise of his 2nd coming in 1843 – assures us of eternal life for all those who repent of our sins and put our trust in Him.
So why did Helsinki invite a 7th Day Adventist?
Whilst on the surface the Helsinki Conference appears to be about Jewish religious practice in the light of the New Testament, in reality it has been a vehicle for Mark Kinzer and others to promote Christian ecumenism amongst Messianic Jews.
The Helsinki Consultation has a tradition of distancing itself from low-church evangelical Jewish voices who value Paul’s writings above any denominational traditions, in favour of Jews in high-church settings.
Now with its welcoming of a 7th Day Adventist whose teachings will only further confuse the more impressionable Messianic Jews amongst us, it feels as if Helsinki is lurching further away from the clear teachings of the Brit HaHadashah, in favour of divisive debates. Titus instructs us not to begin pointless discussions of the Torah and other controversies, and we would do well to heed his advice.
I think quite frankly, Orthodox Jews would also be happy to see Messianic Jews stop acting as if we could co-opt their Torah-living into our own Yeshua-centred faith walks. When we do so, it seems like to Orthodox Jews like an insincere parody of their own faith.
It would be an unfortunate irony if the leaders of the Messianic Jewish movement, in a misguided obsession to find an exciting theological position on the Torah, helped to shipwreck the faith of many Messianic Jews they are trusted to lead, by allowing patently false teachings to seep in to our movement.
This is why it is not helpful to Bibilically-grounded Messianic Jews, for purportedly Messianic gatherings like the Helsinki Consultation to include a 7th Day Adventist in its “fellowship of faith”.
We should expect better from the Helsinki Consultation.