Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Apologetics (PhD)


Joe Easterling


Post-New Perspective, Torah Observance, Messianic Judaism, Darrell Bock


Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


In the twenty-first century, Messianic Jews generally fall into one of two broad categories: Those who are Torah observant, and those who consider the laws contained in the Mosaic Law as valuable, but optional. Those who hold the latter position may be Torah observant as an evangelistic strategy, as a way of practicing contextualization, or as a means of doing outreach to ethnic Jews. Nonetheless, they do not believe that sustained Torah observance is a necessary/vital component of their Christian faith. Observant Messianic Jews would argue that when Jesus initiated the New Covenant, he did not nullify/abrogate the Mosaic Covenant, and they maintain an observant Jewish life as an act of covenant faithfulness/fidelity to the Mosaic Covenant. Dr. Darrell Bock is one of the foremost proponents of Progressive Dispensationalism. Bock believes that Messianic Jews “can” be Torah observant, but they are not under any obligation to be. The researcher, by way of contrast, holds a Post-New Perspective position, and believes that the Mosaic Law should be adhered to out of faithfulness to the Mosaic Covenant, not missionary expediency. The purpose of this research is to examine the works of Dr. Darrell Bock, and to interact with his positions regarding the matter of whether twenty-first century Messianic Jews should be Torah observant or not. This dissertation employs a bibliographic and textual approach to the theological question of whether Messianic Jews should continue to be Torah observant.