Gentiles and Messianism
The messianic movement has been active in the Jewish community ever since Jesus commanded his Jewish followers to go into the world and spread the gospel. So it is not
new, however it has seemingly gained in popularity in recent years on many levels. With
the advent of active Jewish Evangelism groups like , Jews for Jesus, who actively seek support thru mainstream Christian churches and through their efforts have raised awareness to the messianic movement.
The Jew who is contemplating accepting Jesus, they prefer the Hebrew name of Yeshua when talking about Jesus, as their promised messiah are faced with making a choice of giving up their heritage, traditions and ultimately their identity to become a “CHRISTIAN”. Family and friends are alienated and often times the family of the convert hold mock funerals as they, the convert, is now dead to them. What a traumatic experience for anyone to go through for their faith.
We can sympathize with the Jewish convert who chooses what appears to be a valid alternative to joining a mainstream Christian church , and that is to fellowship and worship with Jews of like mind at a Messianic Jewish Temple or Synagogue. There they can find the trappings; traditions of worship they are familiar with. The exception is that they now are, “COMPLETED or FULLFILLED” Jews in accepting Yeshua as their messiah and not Christians. I am reminded of Paul’ exhortation to the Romans, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
I also find that there is an air of elitism within their ranks. Here in lies the great attraction, I believe, for the Gentiles who are seeking a higher plain in their worship. Dr. Stokes in his essay on Gentiles in the Messianic Movement, defines five types of Gentiles who are attracted to Messianism. The first group he describes as “Jew wanna-be’s”. They are convinced that God has called them to be Jewish, and often deny their Gentile roots. Another group has come to the revelation that the Torah is equally binding on Gentiles as well as Jews, say Dr. Stokes.
Yet I see another form of spiritual elitism. They mix Law and Grace, Works and Faith. All one need do is read Paul’s letter to the Galatians and the Romans, to see the error of many of their theological and doctrinal practices. I’ll close with what Paul wrote to the Romans: “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: Rom 2:28
But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God. Rom 2:29”.