Congregations Among Us

ORIGINALLY POSTED 03 JULY, 2007

Today’s emerging Messianic movement is at a critical juncture in its growth and development, particularly as we consider the future. Where we are in the distant future needs to be considerably different than where we are today (in 2007). We need to have made significantly more progress in the refinement of our theology and approach to the Bible, and we need to be more socially active and engaged with the affairs of our modern and/or post-modern culture so we can make a true difference in the lives of other people. We have much to do today as we consider the challenges ahead—and while there is much to look forward to, allowing time to work things out is not a virtue that we often demonstrate.

I believe that much of what is taking place today is paralleled from what we see of the growth of the early Messianic community in the Book of Acts, General Epistles, and Pauline Epistles. From the beginning of the Book of Acts to John’s letters we see that gospel message expanded out from a small backwater province of the Roman Empire, Judea, to ultimately Rome itself and throughout the Mediterranean basin. The good news that the Messiah had come went out to Jewish synagogues throughout the Land of Israel, and not only the Jewish community in the Diaspora—but to multitudes from the nations who eagerly embraced it as they encountered people with changed lives.

In a similar manner, the early Messianic community of the past century was originally constrained to groups of Jewish Believers, primarily in urban centers throughout the United States. Eventually, it spread to other Jewish communities throughout the world, including Israel. Today, Messianic communities are popping up in areas that do not necessarily have significantly large Jewish communities, but rather many non-Jewish Believers in Messiah Yeshua are being shown the richness of their Hebraic Roots and are being led to live Torah obedient lives like their Lord.

The challenges presented to the early Messianic community in the First Century are addressed thoroughly in the Apostolic Scriptures or New Testament. They testify of the hardships that the Apostles faced, including their criticism, rejection, and even the imprisonment and physical harm levied against them. They indicate that when communities of Believers in Yeshua started being formed, issues arose largely pertaining to Jewish and non-Jewish interaction, and how these people groups were to function cohesively allowing individuals to mature in their newfound faith via the power of the Holy Spirit. We have letters in the Apostolic Scriptures written to many of these early assemblies, with pertinent instruction regarding how they were to handle the situations as they arose.

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Congregations_Among_Us_CCI

reproduced from Confronting Critical Issues

Today’s Messianic movement has arrived at a very important theological and spiritual crossroads. Much of our long term viability and effectiveness as a faith community will be determined by what takes place in the 2010s, and by our approach to a series of important issues surrounding the nature of the Messiah, the reliability of Holy Scripture, our communication style, and whether we want to see all people included and welcome within our assemblies or not.

Confronting Critical Issues is an important compilation book of some of Messianic Apologetics’ key Confronting Issues booklets, as well as some major articles of substance. These are bound to answer some significant questions and controversies that all of today’s Messianic Believers have encountered within their fellowships, congregations, and personal Bible studies. This publication is also bound to stir some of its own controversy, as it inquires how we can be a mature, growing Messianic movement which is able to accomplish all that our Heavenly Father wants us to achieve—or whether those among us are going to disregard our spiritual potential to make a difference.

Some of the subjects addressed in Confronting Critical Issues include:

  • urban legends present in the Messianic movement
  • the Divinity and Messiahship of Yeshua
  • the Shema and the plurality of God
  • potential paganism witnessed in the stories of Holy Scripture, and how we are to avoid liberal theology
  • the origin of the Apostolic Scriptures and English Bible versions
  • the negative influence of Jewish mysticism on the Messianic movement
  • the Divine Name of God (YHWH/YHVH)
  • a proper, edifying communication style for today’s Messianic Believers
  • the equality for Jewish and non-Jewish Believers, and both men and women in the Messianic community

This massive powerhouse of material is a must for every Messianic Believer’s library!

414 pages