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Sunday, 31 July 2016
Dual Expression Congregations

Since the first publication of Jewish Roots, I have been reflecting on the possibility of another model for Messianic Jews, which I call dual expressions congregations. This model arises from several factors. The first is that there are many Jews in churches, and they show no inclination to leave their churches and join Messianic Jewish congregations. Second, some Messianic Jewish congregations are weak in discipleship formation and other programs. Jewish followers of Yeshua are not impressed. Third, for the last two decades, many Gentiles have joined Messianic congregations for the wrong reason, as if it was the ideal form of congregational life to which all congregations should ideally conform. I do not hold this view and will argue against this in a later chapter as one of the aberrations from the Messianic movement. I affirm the legitimacy of the forms and heritage of expressions in Protestant Christianity. Fourth, many Jews are not only looking for those who are like them in Jewish identity, but who are like them in professional and social status. They will feel more at home in a congregation of achieving Gentiles than one made up of mostly Gentiles who think they are in the ideal form of the Church.

So what if a strong church has a pastor who has really studied and understands Jewish calling and creates as part of his church a Jewish expression or expressions including weekly Jewish services for Jewish members and others who desire to experience it, Jewish home (chavurah) groups, feast celebration services, and discipleship in Jewish life and also maintains a vibrant Christian service that fully honors the Christian heritage of symbol and calendar. This could fill a gap. We now have Jewish pastors or churches that have come to embrace their Jewish calling and are trying to do just this. We know of two large churches pastored by Gentiles who have taken Jewish leaders on staff to do this. Such an orientation could challenge the tens of thousands of assimilating Jewish believers in churches with regard to their irrevocable calling as Jews. I think it is important to link such Jewish expressions and make a place for them in the Messianic Jewish movement.

Jewish Roots, Chapter Seven: Messianic Jewish Practice

Posted By Dan Juster, 10:03am Comment Comments: 2
 
 

Sunday, 31 July 2016
Comment -

Mr. Juster,

You wrote:

"Third, for the last two decades, many Gentiles have joined Messianic congregations for the wrong reason, as if it was the ideal form of congregational life to which all congregations should ideally conform."

I look forward to some clarification on this as I am a Gentile (Catholic) who has joined Messianic congregations for several reasons; one being, I believe the Sabbath is from Friday night sundown, to Saturday night sundown, and the Biblical feasts (holidays) are the only true appointed times to observe. Having been lied to by the Catholic Church for most of my life, forgive me if I felt Messianic congregations were ideal for both Jew, and Gentile. Was this not the intention according to the New Covenant-- Brit Chadashah, for Jews and Gentiles to worship the One true GOD, together? As a Gentile, finding the Messianic congregations was like finding home. Am I wrong?

And, you also wrote:

"I do not hold this view and will argue against this in a later chapter as one of the aberrations from the Messianic movement. I affirm the legitimacy of the forms and heritage of expressions in Protestant Christianity."

What? What do you mean, "aberrations from the Messianic movement" and "affirm the legitimacy of the forms and heritage of expressions in Protestant Christianity?" From a Gentile's perspective, I feel like most of us, Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, and the list goes on, have been lied to and led astray. I do not observe Ash Wednesday, Lent, Easter, or Christmas-- and you can believe I tell every Christian who will listen, NONE of those holy days are identified in the Bible, and if they give me more time, I explain the pagan origins of Easter and Christmas.

Then you write:

"Fourth, many Jews are not only looking for those who are like them in Jewish identity, but who are like them in professional and social status. They will feel more at home in a congregation of achieving Gentiles than one made up of mostly Gentiles who think they are in the ideal form of the Church."

So, if Jews are not only looking for those who are like them in Jewish identity, but in professional, and social status, would it not be better for both Jew and Gentile, if, as a former Catholic I make the choice to observe only what Jews observe? Speaking of professional and social status-- are we talking about education, career achievements, and wealth?

I have been supporting Tikkun, attending the Tikkun Conferences, going to congregations like Ohev Yisrael, El Shaddai, and Ahavat Yeshua, in the States. Although your reasoning behind "Dual Expression Congregations" seems logical, I admit, I have now felt the sting of being reminded that the separation between Jew and Gentile is very real. Again, I look forward to some clarification when you argue this in a later chapter.

Shalom,

Dawn Petersburg

Northern VA

Posted By Dawn Petersburg 01:17am

 
 

Sunday, 31 July 2016
Comment -

You raise one of the most difficult and challenging issues of Messianic Judaism.

First, it is perfectly appropriate for Gentiles to choose to join with Messianic Jews and keep the Biblical Feasts. The Church does connect to two, Passover and Pentecost, but they are veiled. And the Rabbinic dating is no more exact to the Bible than Christian dating. The issue is to remove the veil. My view is that God gives cultural freedom and liberty for the Church in different lands and in the N. T. period there was no such thing as a week in most places of the world, so requiring the Biblical Sabbath and the 7 day cycle for time keeping would be impossible.

My view is that Gentiles and Jews do have equal status but different callings just like men and women. This was the surprise of the New Covenant Scripture revelation. So when a person thinks that the Church has lied (a bit strong) I think it is such a rejection of the Church that it is of some concern. Indeed, as far as the Protestant Church, the biggest issue is replacement theology. This meant not appreciation for the Jewish people and Jewish life. But I think that the meaning of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday and Pentecost is perfectly correct and appropriate, but should be conveyed with the understanding of their Jewish roots or context of origins.

Yes, Catholics developed some traditions that we can not endorse.

However, we are very much a pro Church movement.

Now the key matter for Gentiles to be in right heart for being part of Messianic Jewish life is passion for the salvation of the Jewish people and the desire to be a witness and life with and before the Jewish people. It is a calling.

Posted By Dan Juster 05:49am