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Are these Messianic Jewish baptisms valid?

Full Question

Some Messianic Jewish congregations baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Ruach ha-Kodesh.” Are these baptisms valid?

Answer

They probably are. Ruach ha-Kodesh is simply the Hebrew phrase for “the Holy Spirit” (Ruach = Spirit, ha-Kodesh = the Holy).

We already know that there is some flexibility in the translations of the terms used to refer to the Persons of the Trinity. For example, in English the Holy Spirit is often referred to as “the Holy Ghost” (especially in older works or in Traditional circles). It is valid to baptize using the term “Ghost” instead of “Spirit.”

In Messianic Jewish congregations, a special sub-dialect of English is used in which Yiddish and Hebrew loan words are used as part of English speech. Thus if you were to attend a Messianic Jewish service, you probably would hear a sermon in English on Yeshua ha-Mashiach, which is Hebrew for “Jesus Christ.”

As part of the daily speech they have been taught to use in church, many Messianic Jews naturally use Yeshua ha-Mashiach to refer to Jesus Christ and Ruach ha-Kodesh to refer to the Holy Spirit. It is part of their sub-dialect, just as “Holy Ghost” is part of a more traditional sub-dialect of ecclesiastical English and “Holy Spirit” is the mainstream usage within ecclesiastical English.

One can argue that Ruach ha-Kodesh is simply a term in an English sub-dialect, just as “Holy Ghost” is. English is a composite language made up of loan words from other languages in the first place. In fact, “Ghost” is from Old High German, while “Spirit” is a loan word from Latin, and “baptize” is itself a loan word from Greek.

Thus these baptisms are probably valid, even though, in the case of a Messianic Jew who becomes Catholic, a conditional baptism might be in order, just to make sure.











8 comments

  1. Pete Parks Reply

    I thought that any baptism was valid.

  2. Gloria Reply

    Messianic “Jews” are NOT Jews — they are Christians who pretend to be Jewish so that they can deceive the Jewish people into believing that Jesus is the messiah promised to them. Can a Catholic be a Mormon? No. Can a Buddhist be a Satanist? No. Why? Because the theology and beliefs of one religion directly opposes the other. So it is with those who claim to be Jewish and believe in Jesus, or “Yeshua”, as they like to call him. But true Jews reject Jesus as divine, and as any real Jew will tell you anyone who believes in Jesus Christ is a CHRISTian, period.

    1. replacereplacement Reply

      Gloria, I’m afraid you are wrong, have you met Atheistic Jews? I have. Have you met Buddhist Jews, Hindu Jews? They exist!! Being Jewish has two parts – the religious (which I think you are trying to refer to) and the ethnic/cultural. The point is that Messianic Jews can be Jewish ethnically and culturally and be followers of the Messiah, sometimes bringing to worship as followers of Messiah certain elements of Jewish worship that honours God! So I’m afraid, with love, you are mistaken!

  3. Karen Dinsfriend Reply

    As a Jew, this is improper. Not our Mitvah, but a lie. Like the force conversions of the Inquisition or Mormon Baptism

    1. replacereplacement Reply

      I believe that force conversions, as evil as they were (and they were evil!) are no longer a part of mainstream Christian behaviour. As Christians we are sorry at the way that Jewish people have been treated. But baptism is a wonderful thing that originates in the ritual washing of the mikveh!

  4. replacereplacement Reply

    You are joking that a conditional baptism might be needed to make sure?? I’m really sorry but that is a horrific statement. Baptism first occurred in Hebrew speaking Jews in Scripture and now you’re doubting the Hebrew Jewish form of baptism today because the catholic version is likely to be more real???? Do you hear how that sounds????

  5. replacereplacement Reply

    Gloria, I’m afraid you are wrong, have you met Atheistic Jews? I have. Have you met Buddhist Jews, Hindu Jews? They exist!! Being Jewish has two parts – the religious (which I think you are trying to refer to) and the ethnic/cultural. The point is that Messianic Jews can be Jewish ethnically and culturally and be followers of the Messiah, sometimes bringing to worship as followers of Messiah certain elements of Jewish worship that honours God! So I’m afraid, with love, you are mistaken!

  6. Jackie Reply

    Of course they’re valid, Ruach ha-Kodesh means Holy Spirit in Hebrew! 🙂

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