Sunday, 5 May 2019
Do we want the Jews to Disappear?
There are three clear contexts in which Jewish followers of Yeshua live their lives. There is first the context of congregations where the majority of members are Jewish and where Jewish life is fostered in some significant way, either Israeli life, Jewish tradition or other points of cultural identification. In Israel, this is the norm. The community of believers is growing steadily in our homeland. Second, is the context of Messianic congregations where the majority of members are not Jewish, but where a Jewish minority continues to identify with Jewish life. The Gentile majority joins them in this life to varying extents. This is by far the largest number of congregations in the Messianic Movement in the Diaspora and the majority of Messianic Jews seeking to live a Jewish life are in these congregations. Third, are Jews in churches who may connect to some aspects of Jewish life but not necessarily connect to Jewish life in any significant way. What is the will of God for Jews in this category?
There is nothing theologically wrong with Jews being part of congregations with majority Gentile populations. However, we often view our present experience as if the first century was much like our current situation. In Acts 14 we read that Barnabas and Paul ordained elders in every city where they planted congregations. This was a short time after they preached the gospel in those cities. We ask how could new believers become elders? We forget that the core of the new congregations were Jews and proselytes who were already discipled to a godly life in the synagogues.
We need to respond by noting that Jewish life is not a matter of subjective preference (relativism), but is declared in Romans 11:29 as willed by God for Jewish believers. The scriptures speak clearly: This is God’s gifts and call! It is the example of Jewish believers in the book of Acts.
We understand that Jews come to faith in Gentile church contexts because Gentile believers in Yeshua have demonstrated the reality of life in Yeshua. This is wonderful. However, there is more. Imagine if the churches really taught their Jewish members their covenant responsibility to remain and live as Jews and still be a part of their people. The Messianic movement would then stretch to include such believers and help to train them in Jewish life. Some would come into the Messianic congregational movement, some would be part of Jewish fellowship groups in the churches, and some would even come to a point of openness to hear the call to make and move to Israel.
These excerpts were taken from my article.