Messianic Apologetics

Addressing the Theological and Spiritual Issues of the Broad Messianic Movement

Ecclesiology

One of the most significant issues that is dominating all of the contemporary Messianic movement, at present, is the future. Many are of the conviction that even though we are living in the end-times, that there are a number of things which need to transpire via the emergence of the Messianic movement, the salvation of the Jewish people, and the restoration of Israel—which will require some more time to see properly develop.

Each one of us, who find ourselves attending a Messianic congregation or assembly, brings our own series of expectations, needs, and wants. Jewish Believers in Israel’s Messiah have certain needs—and indeed requirements—as they involve the local Messianic congregation not only being a “safe space” for them to maintain their Jewish heritage and traditions, not assimilating into a non-Jewish Christianity, but most especially as a place where they can bring their non-believing family and friends to be presented with the good news of Yeshua. Non-Jewish Believers called into today’s Messianic movement, from evangelical Protestant backgrounds, bring a selection of needs as they become involved in Messianic congregations. Some of these concern a genuine, supernatural compulsion to reconnect with their spiritual heritage in Israel’s Scriptures, participate in Jewish outreach and evangelism, and to some degree reproduce the First Century experience of Jewish and non-Jewish Believers fellowshipping in one accord in mixed assemblies. Other non-Jewish Believers entering into the Messianic movement, do so only for a season, usually being attracted to Messianic congregations because of the music, Davidic dance, intriguing teaching, or the food—but then later move on to something else.

The Messianic Jewish movement that has grown and been emerging in the late Twentieth and early Twenty-First Centuries has achieved much for the Kingdom of God, which it should be genuinely proud of. It has made a significant, positive contribution in the lives of many Jewish men and women who have come to saving faith in the Messiah of Israel, giving them a place where they do not have to assimilate and give up their Jewishness.

Perhaps an unforeseen side-effect is that it has also made a significant, positive contribution in the lives of many non-Jewish, evangelical Christian men and women, who have come to know the Jewishness of Jesus and the New Testament in a much more profound and tangible way. Many of these people have entered into the Messianic movement and its congregations, and have made a Torah obedient lifestyle their own, as they seek to emulate Messiah Yeshua. As we continue to see various developments occur within a broad Messianic community, which in the 2010s includes both Messianic Judaism and various other independent forms of Messianic and/or Hebrew/Hebraic Roots faith expressions, the question of how non-Jewish Believers relate to Israel—especially given the end-time reality of the nations coming to Zion to be taught God’s Law (Micah 4:1-3; Isaiah 2:2-4), and those of the nations joining with the Jewish people (Zechariah 8:23)—is undeniably going to increase.

In the annals of Christian teaching, Protestant or Catholic, one common thread often runs throughout: the institution known as “the Church” sees itself as being separate from Israel. As some would dogmatically declare, “The Church is not Israel!”—and depending on your view, this is correct. The Church institution by-and-large does not consider itself part of, or at times even related to, Israel.

You can technically affirm a non-Jewish Believer in Israel’s Messiah as a “spiritual Jew,” without holding to replacement theology. Yet, given some of the complexities of Paul’s letter to the Romans, does Romans 2:28-29 speak to non-Jewish Believers being “spiritual Jews”—or does it instead speak to how a Jewish Believer in Yeshua, may truly be regarded as Jewish, precisely because of a circumcised heart resultant of Messiah faith? Many people in today’s Messianic Jewish movement would regard Jewish Believers in Yeshua as Completed Jews.