Our relationship with the greater “church” – this is a topic that has come up often, and something that we think is really important to talk about.
When we began this congregation, we made the decision to do it as part of a mainstream Christian denomination. This decision was not made lightly, but with much prayer, and it is a decision that we feel even stronger about now than when we made it.
But this connection to the greater church sometimes raises concern, so it’s something that we want to explain clearly here.
A Bit of Background…
In the Messianic world, there is a lot of animosity towards the mainstream Christian church. It is true that the “church” has done a lot of very wrong things throughout history and has a long history of misinterpreting Scripture, particularly when concerning Israel. They have been antagonistic and wretched at times.
It’s also concerning to many people that the Christian church has replaced the celebration of the biblical Sabbath and feasts given to us by God with manmade holidays and a different day of worship. And this is also understandable. It is a very sad thing that the church has lost touch of their roots in this way, and we feel they are missing out on a huge blessing by setting these appointed times aside.
Most churches across the board teach at least some form of replacement theology – some mildly, but most blatantly and strongly.
So we understand why many people in the Messianic world want to avoid connection with the church.
The Good Stuff…
However, it’s also true that the church has done a huge amount of good. The Bible has been translated into almost every language on Earth, and almost every people group has been reached because of Christian missionaries. Christian theology has a lot of truth in it, and they have worked hard to engage with the world and bring the love of God. Literally billions of people have come to an understanding of the God of Israel because of Christianity.
Even Maimonides credits Christianity with preparing the Gentile world for the coming of the Messiah by spreading the knowledge of the Scriptures.
Ultimately, all the deeds of Jesus of Nazareth and that Ishmaelite who arose after him will only serve to prepare the way for Mashiach’s coming and the improvement of the entire world, motivating the nations to serve God together as Tzephaniah 3:9 states: ‘I will transform the peoples to a purer language that they all will call upon the name of God and serve Him with one purpose.’
How will this come about? The entire world has already become filled with the mention of Mashiach, Torah, and mitzvot. These matters have been spread to the furthermost islands to many stubborn-hearted nations.
Whether we like it or not (and personally, we do!), the greater Christian community is made up of our brothers and sisters. And God has chosen to continue using them to bring about lasting change on earth.
As Messianic believers, we are, in essence, also Christians. The terms, “Messianic” and “Christian” are synonyms – one coming from the Hebrew and one from the Greek. While they have different connotations in our day, they are both words that mean “Followers of the Messiah/Christ.”
Where Does That Leave Us?
As a congregation, The Bridge has chosen to be a part of a mainstream Christian denomination, The Foursquare Church. Here are some specific reasons why:
- They have solid theology that we can stand behind.
- They are very pro-Israel.
- They support us as Messianic believers – even encouraging the creation of Foursquare Messianic in 2013 as a way to support and network like-minded leaders and congregants within the Foursquare movement.
- They give our congregation freedom to express our faith in our unique way – as a denomination, they are supportive but not micromanaging.
- They offer accountability to our leadership that is local and involved.
- They offer financial and legal assistance.
- They keep us connected to our Christian brothers & sisters in real ways.
We hope that as you get involved with The Bridge, you will see how our love for others is a huge part of what makes us who we are. And that includes our love for the greater Christian church. We hope that you will feel comfortable knowing that while we are connected to the greater church, we are also free to walk out our faith in our own unique way, Jews and Gentiles practicing Messianic Judaism together.