I have been involved with ministry to Jewish people and Israel for some years and know many people who do similar work.
Every so often I see some Christians that take an interest in Israel and Jewish foundations of Christianity and suddenly think we should not be doing worship on a Sunday but switch to Friday or Saturday, they might try and look for a Messianic congregation (which in the UK are a rarity) then often get tired of this, they then retreat into a solitude and stop fellowshipping with a wider body of believers in Christ.
So, I go to a well-known church in London, which actually has no interest in Israel or ministry to Jewish people. This is a shame as I wish there was more interest, but here’s why.
- I am a non-Jew. I feel like I need to not pretend to be something I am not. If I meet up with my Chinese friends as I am keen to ask them about the huge explosion of the gospel in the China and the number of Chinese believers in London, it wouldn’t be right for me to try and dress up as a Chinese clothing.
- Relationships and less religious complexity. There are a lot of arguments in the Messianic world, both on the internet and through personal contact. Issues with legalism and whether to be under old and new covenant or somewhere in between. But, I love the Messianic congregations in Israel and I actually see these as the measuring stick of quality of teaching and relationships. At the same time, I’ve seen things too many stupid things (whining about Christmas and Easter, questioning the Trinity, sacred name theology etc) that trip people up and cause divisions which I am sick and tired of, mostly from people believing something they read on the internet. These are patterns of problems that can happen in any church denomination.
- Discipleship. I see this for myself in a bi-direction thing. a) I meet up with believers who I mentor and pray and encourage who are in the early walk with their lives in the Lord. I’ve also helped a Jewish man who is unemployed and uncertain what is employment path and he knows me well enough that the conversation can lean towards a kind, gentle but clear message of the gospel and me to give him prayer over his searching for work. b) for myself, I’ve managed to meet Christian friends more established and knowledgeable about things like gifts of the spirit and other areas in moving forward in Christ which I am seeking to develop for myself. Those of you who know me, know that I am a single man, so the dynamics of growth in the Lord for me I think are different than they are for a married couple. c) I also try to be accountable to friends and peers of similar background and age to myself. If I went to a very small congregation I’d miss out on this, and I feel a sense of urgency for those non-churched or curious about knowing Christ to help them.
- I like a church with a wide variety of different people. My parents’ church is largely pro-Israel but also has Arab and Japanese believers.
- Messianic congregations are something of a rarity in some parts of the world like the UK. The number of believers in Israel is only 25,000 out of 8m people, so congregations there are small in number. In the US the Messianic movement is much bigger and more established I think. Granted there are churches of countless different denominations but more excitingly different language and cultural audiences. Once church near me offers free English languages for those from an Indian background, one church for Arabic speaking people (former Muslims and traditional Christian Arabs) French, Chinese and even Turkish!
- I see myself as under the New Covenant. Jesus’s life and sacrifice is enough for me without having to add on obligations which are not required.
If you go to a Messianic congregation in UK, US or Canada, then if the teaching, worship and fellowship is right for you, great! What does trouble me, as some folks wanting to discard their current conventional church seeking something new and end up confused and miss a simple message of Christ and his sacrifice with a minimum of complexity.
I see you mention the New Covenant. These two articles are worth a read:
thanks for the links. There’s 3 or 4 Messianic congregations in London. One was absolutely terrible I went to, two I haven’t been to but I think quite small, and one great one which is near Ilford Essex but thats 2 hours from me, bus or driving.
It concerns me that there is little support for Israel in London churches, But at the moment, for Jewish believers and Christians supporting Israel, a secondary fellowship for this type of stuff seems to work best here I think.
I think you mean Tree of Life Messianic Fellowship in Ilford? I went there when I lived in London for a time a few years back.
As for support for Israel in London churches, I have to say I am much more concerned about rampant apostasy in UK churches generally.
Hey Ben! yes Tree of Life is a great congregation! I went to a wedding of some believers from there few months ago! I saw Pastor Steve G also!
Please Jonathan, sorry I could not easily read your article with this black background,. What I would love to let you know is that Zionism and your suport for Zionists nor your feeling for wppreciating what Jews do in Israel has nothing to do with reasons to become a member of a Messianic group. When you do not have the Abrahamic Faith, i.e not are a Jew nor a ral Christian (some one who follows the teachings of the Nazarene Jew Jeshua and worships the same God as him) it has no use to go to such a congregation where the members only worhsip the Only One True God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah.
When you take Jesus as your god, you would not be in the right place, except if you would be willing to learn that Jesus is the way to God and are willing to come to accept that Jesus is the son of God and not a god son.
Hi Marcus, I consider myself a simple Christian who loves Israel and Jewish people. In fact I work with Jewish people in my current (secular) job. My colleagues know I am a Christian, but I’m often setting up a microphone or a laptop ready for them to do Jewish religious events. Its great and its a blessing, its not what I planned to do, the Lord made this happen. I was happy to work for anyone.
Sorry, I don’t understand you last comment. I consider Jesus as God, as he is son of the Father, surely you are not disputing that right
I am certainly not disputing Jesus is the son of God, like his heavenly Father and only One God declares him to be His beloved begotten son. But I do dispute that he would be God .
The Bible is very clear to tell us there is only One God above all gods, and that is the Divine Creator, Who is one and not two or three.
The Bible is also clear in telling who Jesus is, the sent one from God, who is a prophet and eloquent speaker or master rabbi, who as authorised from God did many miracles and spoke in the name of God.
Islam considers Jesus to be just a prophet.
Psuedo-Christian groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the trinity and the divinity of Jesus and say he isn’t God.
I’ll add some more scriptures that will remove ambuigity from who Jesus is shortly.
Acording the Bible Jesus is a prophet = the sent one from God authorised to speak in His name. JW but also many other real Christians = followers of Jeshua (Ishi, Issou, Jesus) the Messiah, like me, believe that.
You say Pseudo-Christian groups like JW, but they believe Jesus is the son of God, like his heavenly Father declared him. At least they follow more Jesus his teachings than the main Christian denominations who follow the false Trinity doctrine.
Marcus the overwhelming majority of Christians including me believe the trinity.
But that does not mean they honour the right god and as such I can only pray and hope they shall come to see that Jesus is the way to God and that we should only worship that One True Gdo, the God of Abraham, Jesus and his disciples.
yes, amen. They need to know the Holy Spirit as well, otherwise its just theory. Bless you
I’m a bit sad that maybe the bible is just history and theory to you.
Do you know how much Jesus loves you and his sacrifice on the cross completely and utterly changed the course of history for all man kind who chose to follow him?
Christian supporters of Israel like myself are greatful of this, but I have no intention of start taking up Jewish holidays and practices or needing to pretend to be something I am not.
I love Jesus and respect him for what he has done, a lot of trinitiarians do not because they do not accept that Jesus was a man of flesh and blood who had put his own will aside to do the will of his heavenly Father.
No one asks to pretend to be something that they are not. Such an attitude is worthless because God knows the heart.
Who got married? I might know them.
I didn’t know Steve G? Who is he? They didn’t have a pastor when I was there.
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I went to Bridge Lane Fellowship on Sunday which is in Golders Green (aka main Jewish part of London) someone had a baptism, really nice community who really love the Lord