new trend- jewish/ hebrew roots for Christians
Posted in the Harker Heights Forum
#1 Dec 27, 2012
Back in 2008, TIME magazine reported on ten trends that would change the world. As part of this report, they commented on a surprising Christian trend. The article, Rejudaizing Jesus,(March 13, 2008) reported that “Today, Christian seminaries across the spectrum teach that if you get the Jewish context wrong, you get Jesus wrong, according to Vanderbilt University's Amy-Jill Levine a Jewish raised New Testament scholar. This is seismic. For centuries the discipline of Christian “hebraics” consisted of cherry picking Jewish texts to support traditionally held contradictions between Jews...and Jesus.” But today, some pastors are actually consulting the Mishnah, Josephus,Talmud and other Jewish background texts when looking for the history and spiritual relevance of their sermons.
According to TIME this is one of the trends to watch in the coming years. The years since 2008 seem to show they have not been wrong. According to Charisma Magazine News (3/24/12),“Messianic rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s The Harbinger continues at No. 1 on the Top 10 Fiction best-sellers list, while residing at No. 4 on the Top 20 General list from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).” While it may be technically packaged as fiction, the book is actually a prophetic message for today, and it has a strongly messianic jewish flavor to it. They go on to say in another article that the book has made the NY Times best seller list for 42 weeks in a row. Books by Christian pastors with a strong jewish roots focus have also made various best seller lists recently, like Perry Stone's books and Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis. Messianic Jewish television programming is becoming increasingly popular, with shows by Sid Roth, and Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Bernis reaching large TV audiences.
Some Christians go online when they have questions that the church will not or cannot answer or to a authentically messianic jewish synagogue to learn or to a hebrew roots messianic congregation which is founded by former Christians who say they have become “Israel”. But other than the internet, these congregational options are not available or necessarily desirable for everyone in every location. Some evangelical denominations have begun to respond to this desire of their people to know more about their Jewish Messiah and the Jewish context of the New Testament. The Assemblies of God denomination, for example, has begun at least 23 messianic jewish style congregations. Gentile Christians who wish to remain Christians are welcome at these meetings which is not the case in every messianic jewish synagogue.
In fact, in Killeen, Texas there is one such Assembly of God congregation for Christians who do not desire to leave the church or become Jewish but do want to know more about the jewish roots of their faith and perhaps begin to apply it to their lives in a practical way. Located at First Assembly of God, it is a whole new concept in ministry.“We seek to provide a safe place for Christians to ask questions and come and learn,” said the leader's wife,“without feeling pressured to change to being messianic Jewish. We (the associate pastor's family) are messianic in practice, but we recognize the Holy Spirit as the one who convicts the heart and is the judge, we do not feel that is our place. You won't come here and get the Law pounded down your throat but you will learn more about it as we follow along with the traditional Jewish Torah schedule. You will also learn more about the Bible's feast days and the symbols of Messiah Jesus in those feasts as well as the Jewishness of many passages of the NT. We aren't about church doctrine here- there's so much more to God's Word. We don't try to blast church doctrines either as some do, we feel it is good to stay a part of the church and help it come along in its understanding of the Jewishness of the Gospel without losing its salvation focus.”
They meet Saturday evenings at 6 pm in the annex building of First Assembly.
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