What is the Caspari Center?

The Caspari Center for Biblical and Jewish Studies is an evangelical resource and education center for training, discipleship, and academic research and study. Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians work together to strengthen and support the movement of Jewish believers in Jesus in Israel.

The Caspari Center is committed to engaging members of the global body of Messiah in reaching the Jewish people with the gospel. In addition, we want to help churches gain a deeper understanding of their faith in Jesus by learning about the land of the Bible, the Jewish setting of Jesus and the early church, and the Jewish character of the Scriptures.

The Caspari Center offers teaching and encourages studies and academic research in a wide variety of fields. However, our primary focus is on two main areas of study: Messianic Judaism and the Jewish background of the Christian faith.

(A)

Messianic Judaism, or the movement of Jewish believers in Jesus, can be said to be as old as the church (the ekklesia of the New Testament). Yet, for most of the history of the Christian faith, Jewish believers in Jesus have constituted a small and almost invisible minority in a primarily Gentile church. In the last 150 years, a new movement of Jewish believers in Jesus has emerged. These believers choose to maintain their Jewish identity and life while worshipping Yeshua as Lord and Messiah. In recent decades, the Messianic movement has grown and is in the process of developing a more distinct yet diverse identity, theology, and practice. The Caspari Center's goal is to research and document Messianic history and these more recent developments for the benefit of the movement itself and for the wider church body.

(B)

Understanding the Jewish background of the Christian faith is vital for a full understanding of Scripture and for effectively reaching out with the gospel of Christ. The Caspari Center offers courses and publishes materials that open up the Bible for modern readers. Our resources include teaching about the physical geography of the land, the social make up of ancient Jewish/Israelite society, and insights into the Jewish texts and traditions with which the New Testament writers and early believers interacted.

During the past 30 years, the Caspari Center has provided resources for ministry work and studies for local believers in Israel, visiting students, and pastors and churches around the world. Our library, our many publications, the Media Review, our newsletters, our online resources and archive offer a wealth of information for personal studies and ministry.

Our goal here is to provide you with tools for ministry work and education, motivation to become more involved in support of Jewish evangelism, and the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Scripture and the Jewish roots of our faith. e Scriptures.

Vision

Teach // Equip // Support

The vision of Caspari Center is to provide Israeli Messianic Jews with biblically-based high-quality theological and practical training that will enrich their personal relationships with the Lord and his body, as well as equip them for ministry.

Teaching is a vital part of the Great Commission and is essential for the body of believers in Israel, for the growth of the body and the effectiveness of our witness and service. As a discipleship support ministry, we focus our teaching ministry on two main areas: the next generation of believers and immigrant communities.

Through various teaching programs and publications, we exist to equip the local congregations to raise up a new generation of believers who will stand firm in their faith despite much opposition from the society around them. In addition, we work specifically with the immigrant groups of believers in this country who have the fewest resources and face the added challenges of cultural integration, language difficulties, and generational divides, in order that they may be strengthened in their faith and better equipped to reach others within their communities with the gospel.

In everything we do, we desire to equip the people of God for works of service, so that the body of Messiah may be built up (Eph. 4:12).

Values

The Caspari Center is an evangelical ministry that affirms the Bible as the true and authoritative guide for faith, doctrine, and life. We believe that the Apostolic and Nicene Creeds and the Reformation principle of justification by faith in Jesus the Messiah alone are vital for properly understanding the Scriptures.

Supporting Jewish Believers in Jesus

In Israel, we partner in ministry with Israeli congregations across the country. In cooperation with influential Messianic leaders, we provide strategic leadership training for emerging leaders and educational resources for parents, teachers, and youth leaders.

Our programs include training events, seminars, mentoring groups, and publications which utilize the best material from the local and international body of Messiah.

Internationally, we work with the global church and mission partners to provide education on the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, the Messianic movement and its history, and the importance of bearing witness of Jesus the Messiah to Jewish people in an informed and discerning manner.

The center is financed by donations from our partner organizations and individual contributors.  For more information: Annual Report.

The Caspari Center for Biblical and Jewish Studies is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the U.S., and is a member of the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism (LCJE). Caspari Center is accredited as a charity by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) and the Better Business Bureau.

History

The Caspari Center for Biblical and Jewish Studies was founded in 1982 by the Norwegian Church Ministry to Israel in order to support Israel’s Jewish believers in Jesus through education and research. It was the first institution to offer basic theological training for lay members and pastors of Messianic congregations in Israel in the Hebrew language.

In Israel, we have always worked closely with the local congregations through our advisory board of prominent members of the Messianic community and through other informal networks. Since the very beginning the center has been working together with various international partner organizations.

Since 2002, we have had a U.S. branch located near Chicago, Illinois.

The U.S. branch of the Caspari Center partners with American churches, organizations, and individuals to support Jewish ministry in Israel. To learn more about our work please read our Annual Report. For financial information see our I-990

Over the years the Caspari Center has supported local congregations through various training courses, seminars, and lectures, and through our open library and locally produced publications.

The following publications are some of the center’s many significant contributions for local believers and Christian students and scholars around the world over the last three decades:

Carl Paul Caspari (1814-1892)

Carl Caspari was born of Jewish parents in Dassau, Germany, in 1814. As a young man he studied Hebrew and Arabic at the University of Leipzig, producing an Arabic grammar book which for many years was the standard work in its field. While at the university, he was powerfully confronted with the claims of Jesus Christ as both Lord and Messiah. Caspari found the evidence irrefutable: in 1838, on the day of Pentecost, he was formally baptized and took on the baptismal name of Paul.

Caspari continued his studies in Berlin until the year 1847, when he was urged by Gisle Johnson, a visiting young scholar from Norway, to apply for a vacant chair as lecturer at the University of Oslo. He did so, was appointed, and spent the rest of his life as a lecturer and professor of the Old Testament.

In 1861, Carl Paul Caspari became the first chairman of the Committee for the Mission among the Jews, which had been established in Oslo that year. Caspari's work as a scholar and a believing Jew served to enrich three generations of Norwegian pastors, bringing the Psalms and Prophets to light in a fresh, dynamic way. His pioneering research into the history of the early Christian Creeds virtually established this specialized field of research as a new discipline.

The Caspari Center was named in his honor, and we hope that our ongoing work will be a fitting tribute to a man who truly loved his God, his Bible, and his people.

Adapted from Oskar Skarsaune's article in the book Israel and Yeshua,