Shalom in His grace. I hope you are looking forward to the Passover/Easter season this year. We expect hundreds of Jewish people to attend our Passover banquets around the globe. Your prayers for these events are greatly appreciated as we hope that many Jewish people will discover that Jesus is the Messiah and Lamb of God!
We exist to tell Jewish people about Jesus!
Yet, once a Jewish person (or anyone) comes to faith, they need to be discipled and taught the Word of God.
This is why we started the Charles L. Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies in Brooklyn, New York, in 2007. We have trained dozens of Jewish and Gentile believers, who are now serving the Lord among the Jewish people, and who are capable of discipling a new generation of Jesus-followers!
We named the program after Dr. Charles Lee Feinberg—the first dean of Talbot School of Theology within Biola University in California, and our partner in this wonderful course of study.
Dr. Feinberg was one of my heroes in the faith. He was the reason I chose to attend Talbot after graduating from Bible college in 1974. There was only one person with whom I wanted to study further—and that was Dr. Charles Lee Feinberg.
He was a legend among the young Jewish believers who came to faith during the turbulent days of the Jesus Movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Most of us were the only believers in our families and felt completely alone. We definitely did not know any rabbis or Jewish community leaders at the time who were believers in Jesus. My little group of ex-hippie believers longed for an example or two of older Jewish believers we could look to as role models.
Dr. Charles Feinberg became the spokesman and example we were seeking.
Dr. Feinberg trained as a rabbi but interrupted his training when he came to faith in Jesus. He was in the first graduating class of Dallas Theological Seminary, and then taught there for a number of years. Eventually, he earned a PhD in Archaeology at Johns Hopkins University and moved his family west to take up a new role at Biola (the Bible Institute of Los Angeles).
Dr. Feinberg became a believer in the 1930s through Chosen People Ministries, which was then known as the American Board of Missions to the Jews. His books helped shape a generation of Christian leaders, training them in how to understand the Old Testament. Dr. Feinberg’s superb commentary on the minor prophets began as a serial Bible study in the monthly magazine, The Chosen People.
Dr. Feinberg helped me develop a great respect and love for our historic mission to the Jewish people where I now serve as president. His passion to see Chosen People Ministries grow in fruitful service for the Lord was both relentless and infectious.
Those who attend the Feinberg program and complete the rigorous coursework walk in the footsteps of a spiritual giant. But the proof is in the pudding! After reading these testimonies of past and present students, you will see what I mean.
Brian, one of our graduates, had this to say about his experience:
The Feinberg program provided an invaluable exposure to the world of the Bible and to the Jewish and Christian interpreters who have been studying it for millennia. Learning Greek and Hebrew opened up vistas of depth and nuance I never knew existed. And through study, it was a joy to interact with Church fathers and rabbis as they sought to understand the texts. All of this prepared me for a ministry of apologetics to the Jewish people.
Liz, who completed our Certificate program, shares how the Feinberg program prepared her for ministry.
Before attending the program, I had a big heart for the Jewish people but very little understanding of the Jewish people and Jewish evangelism. Now I feel extremely prepared for whatever direction God takes me in ministry. We were also thrilled at the cost of the program. This allowed my husband and me to complete our seminary education with zero debt!
One of the greatest benefits of the Center is that it is in the heart of Brooklyn, with a mission field just outside the door. Toby, one of our current students, puts it this way:
There is no better place in the world to study Messianic Jewish ministry than in Brooklyn. Imagine learning about a specific group of people and the way they think and live, and then walking outside and that same people group is all around you! I have been able to host Sabbath dinners in my home, take part in street evangelism and campus ministry, and most recently volunteer at an Orthodox-run soup kitchen.
Stephen*, one of our new students, describes the ministry opportunities he enjoys through the program.
Since I am a new student, I have been on rotation, participating in college campus outreach, street evangelism, Messianic congregational ministry, and apologetics writing. Participating in ministry activities during our studies that teach us how to practically reach out to Jewish people with the gospel is invaluable.
The benefits of the Feinberg Center reach far beyond the individual students, as the goal of the Seminary degree is to train leaders—theologically and practically—to take us into the 21st century of Jewish evangelism. Dr. Gregory Hagg, Dean of the Feinberg program, writes:
Many of the leaders in the Messianic Jewish movement have little formal biblical training, and often the Jewish studies component is lacking in the education they do have. The majority come from secular Jewish homes and did not receive a broader understanding of Jewish life and faith growing up. The Feinberg Center provides the best of both worlds through Bible-based and Messiah-centered courses, as well as training in Jewish literature and religion. Since the Association of Theological Schools, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and the New York Board of Regents approved the program in 2007, we have graduated two dozen well-trained leaders now engaged in Jewish ministry and almost every graduate is debt free because of your generosity!
We designed the Feinberg curriculum to incorporate both Jewish studies and the courses one would usually take through an evangelical seminary, although every class is taught with Jewish evangelism in mind. Our professors are all excellent scholars with years of personal experience in Jewish ministry.
We situated the Feinberg Center in the New York metropolitan area because the city is home to two million Jewish people and is the center of Jewish life in America. Our Center is in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn, and just living in the midst of the Jewish community provides endless possibilities for students to immerse themselves in Jewish culture and ministry while completing their coursework. In fact, each semester we organize Jewish-focused field ministry programs to help each student put what they learn in the classroom into practice.
The Feinberg Center provides our students an affordable education and gives them the opportunity to graduate debt-free. To achieve this affordability, we offer a wide range of scholarships and subsidies to offset student costs. We also provide accommodations for single students and housing for families through rent subsidies. The generous and regular support from our ministry partners makes a debt-free education possible, which I believe is critical for missionaries who raise their own support.
Dr. Charles L. Feinberg demonstrated in both his life and ministry that one could be Jewish and believe in Jesus. He loved the Lord, he loved his Jewish people, and he loved our Mission—Chosen People Ministries. And it is in his honor that we dedicated the training program and our beautiful Center in the midst of a very Jewish part of Brooklyn. We hope you enjoy learning about our New York initiatives!
Happy Passover and Easter.
Dr. Mitch Glaser