Messianic Judaism is a syncretic religious movement that arose in the 1960s. It blends evangelical Christian theology with elements of Jewish terminology and ritual. From 2003 to 2007, the movement grew from 150 Messianic houses of worship in the United States to as many as 438, with over 100 in Israel and more worldwide; often congregations are members of larger Messianic organizations or alliances. In 2008, the movement was reported to have between 6,000 and 15,000 members in Israel.
Messianic Judaism states that Jesus is not merely a man, but also the Jewish Messiah and "God the Son" (one person of the Trinity), and that salvation is only achieved through acceptance of Jesus as one's savior. Any Jewish laws or customs that are followed are cultural and do not contribute to attaining salvation. Belief in the messiahship and divinity of Jesus, which Messianic Judaism shares, is viewed by Christian denominations and Jewish religious movements as being a defining distinction between Christianity and Judaism.
As with many religious faiths, the exact tenets held vary from congregation to congregation. In general, essential doctrines of Messianic Judaism include views on God (omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal, outside creation, infinitely significant and benevolent – viewpoints on the Trinity vary), Jesus is believed to be the Jewish Messiah though views on his divinity vary), written Torah (with a few exceptions, Messianics believe that Jesus taught and reaffirmed the Torah and that it remains fully in force), Israel (the Children of Israel are central to God's plan, replacement theology is opposed), the Bible (Tanakh and the New Testament are usually considered the divinely inspired Scripture, though Messianics are more open to criticism of the New Testament canon than is Christianity), eschatology (similar to many evangelical Christian views), and oral law (observance varies, but virtually all deem these traditions subservient to the written Torah). Certain additional doctrines, including sin and atonement and faith and works, are more open to differences in interpretation.