In my last post, I raised a question regarding gentiles in Messianic Jewish congregations. I had a galant Jewish defender of the gentiles take up the gauntlet of gentile rights alongside of Jews. For him, being Jewish is simply a genetic variation, like having red hair,(characterization mine) a view not uncommon among sabras. He saw gentiles as having the same rights as Jews because we are all one in Messiah. Another reader pointed out that this person did not mention reaching out to the Jews even once. It was also a valid point. These questions represent two hands clasped in an arm wrestling match about Messianic congregations. Are they meant to be a home for Jewish Yeshua followers and those wishing to support them in their Messianic Jewish vision? or are Messianic congregations meant to be places for gentile Yeshua followers to connect with Jewish roots of the Yeshua faith?
The problem for us is not the presence of gentiles. They are welcome, but they are not consumers shopping at a Jewish store. They need to realize, the congregation is there for our needs. The situation is not unlike the situation in the life of the patriarch Yitzhak. He would camp someplace and dig wells. Gentiles around him would come and use the wells and edge out his flocks and servants from using the wells he dug. He moved to another location, dug new wells and the gentiles came and edged him out again. Eventually he dug wells and had water for himself and his household. We are in a similar situation. It is my contention that Messianic congregations were originally established to be nourishing places for Jewish Yeshua followers. Let me describe the need.
One afternoon I was at a conference with several Messianic Jewish friends. We had all become Yeshua followers in the early 1970’s, and all had experiences traveling among the churches. We talked over some of our worst experiences among gentile believers. One was part of a traveling ministry and they stopped their bus to put some mail in a mail box. It happened to be in front of a bank. Someone who had seen their presentation came up to them, happy to see them, and said “I should have known I’d find you in front of a bank.” Someone else shared their negative story. I shared how an older man came up to me after I spoke to his church group, and shook my hand, thanking me for killing Jesus so he could be saved. Another shared how he had his son going to a Christian school, and his son came home angry because the teacher said the Jews wanted to throw Jesus off a cliff. I’m sure if we opened up this discussion, we could fill a book with horror stories. The reason I brought this up? I did not then or now, want to expose my own children to the stupidity, negativity and anti-semitic garbage that comes from “Christian brethren.” You can explain it, justify it, excuse it or whatever you want, but it is unacceptable. I would not allow my children to have to deal with it. It’s not for Yeshua’s sake, but for the sake of sinful injudiciousness these comments were made. Because of such nonsense, we need Messianic Jewish congregations so my family, friends, or any Jewish person doesn’t have to deal with the sinful garbage of anti-semitic verbage in order to embrace the Jewish Messiah. Thats why Messianic congregations are important for Messianic Jews. Where else can we raise our children? The gentile issue, no matter how fervent the feelings, has to be a secondary issue. If they are with us, then need to be supportive of Messianic Jews. This does not mean I don’t care about gentiles. I really do. I just feel that those who dug the wells, should have the right to drink from them, and decide how they are to be used.