My thoughts on “Letter of repentance”
I was touched by “Letter of repentance” here on KNI (Aug 28th) and wanted to add my thoughts.
As a “Messianic Gentile” and on this path now since my days at Beth Messiah for over 30 years, I have also experienced this struggle. As believers, Jew and Gentile alike, we have looked to what Paul describes as the “One New Man” and tried to live out what that looks like in the church/ kehila today.
Like you, I have seen the pendulum swing and great error enter the body through extremes in the Hebrew Roots and Two House movements, as Gentiles have tried to understand their place alongside God’s plan for Israel and his on-going plan for his Covenant People.
It has always been satan’s chief plan to divide – cause confusion, contention and finally separation amongst believers. And much of it all comes from emphasizing cultural and DNA differences over what unites us in the Spirit. Much like the” Progressive liberal” movement today that labels, divides and singles out “racism, Islamophobia, sexism, white nationalism, the patriarchy, homophobia, etc.” under the guise of “Inclusion” – that we clearly know is really “Exclusion.”
The first century disciples and “church planting missions” that sprouted up had to deal with the entrance of Gentiles to a call the followers of Yeshua thought initially was for Jews alone (until Peter got his roof top revelation). How do we bring the former followers of “many gods” into our understanding of God’s holiness and abhorrence of idol worship?
As we know, Gentile- believers multiplied faster than Jewish believers and the church “took on a cultural attire” that was far from what the early Apostolic, Prophetic new believers envisioned – far from Torah, far from the biblical calendar, far from the Leviticus 23 Feasts and far from natural Israel – the Land.
As a “Messianic Gentile” (not even sure I even like than moniker) – I have seen real heart-breaking fracture in the Messianic community due to that same subtle “serpentine spirit” of division. There are “purity tests” no one wants to admit to or talk about, such as – you’re really only Jewish if you are “halachically Jewish” through your mother. Of course it is “better” if both your parents are Jewish versus just one. These are subtle, unspoken assessments many “real Jews” and even Messianic Gentiles make when deciding if a person is Jewish enough.
Then if you make Aliyah as a mixed couple – of course it is best if the Jewish partner is the wife – therefore the kids will be “authentic Jews”. One does not question, in your case, that Richard is a Gentile, because the “Jewish covering” comes from you even though he is the spiritual head of the household. I know you both teach and model the “One New Man” and even some of your children have married Gentiles and you are totally balanced and okay with this – but many, especially in Israel “judge.”
If you are a single Gentile woman (God-forbid mature and unmarried) with a call to the Land and covenant people – again it is an irregular puzzle piece that has a hard time fitting into the Messianic puzzle. No one would question Richard’s call as you minister together. If you are a Gentile believing couple with a call to Israel, you are put in the “missions” category, considered most likely “temporary interlopers.”
It is always this subtle division that comes up in many ways, even the calling forth to the bema just the “Cohen’s” to spread their tallit for prayer over the children – traditional at some Messianic congregations in Israel. Really? Now you’re not Jewish enough for certain prayers unless you are a descendent of a Cohen?
So, yes, as God is making clear to the church at large that He is still the God of Israel, many coming to this understanding are seeing the importance of their spiritual Judaic roots. I really believe as someone in the Body of Messiah operating in ministry leadership in Israel, your “Letter of Repentance” is so important to put to death those areas of suspicion and judgment that a Gentile just might have a Messianic heart too.
We can look to Cornelius, a Roman soldier who tithed and gave offerings to the Jewish community and was blessed for it!! And this was before he was touched by the Holy Spirit and “born again.”
If a loving couple touched by the Spirit of God from a little church in Dothan, Georgia could prick your heart – may we all, as we form this amazing tapestry God has planned for His the end-times Kehila, be so focused on our Unity, while embracing how we are called as Jews and Gentiles, that the enemy of our souls could not turn us against each other.
Thank you for your humble honesty spoken to the Body of Messiah at large. Your letter really touched me and stirred a lot of feelings I’ve had for a long time.
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Jane Bakewell is an Independent Writer who splits her time between her home in the Caribbean and her “adopted” home in Jerusalem. Aside from her travel articles, she focuses on the continuing changing kaleidoscope that is Israel, her love and passion.