Tuesday, July 13, 2010


One of the statements I've been pondering lately is the suggestion from MJ/BE proponents that the proper worship venue for Gentile believers in the Jewish Messiah is "the church". By "church" I can only imagine what they mean is the traditional Christian, Sunday-going, Christmas and Easter celebrating, pork chop and bacon eating church.

OK, that sounds pretty bad the way I expressed it. To be fair, some of the people who are most devoted to God and to living out a life dedicated to Yeshua/Jesus are found in the Christian church. I don't know about congregations that are MJ/BE focused, but from the OL congregational perspective, we often turn to a Christian church when we need a place of worship. Some (but not many) churches provide their space either cost free or for a substantial discount as part of their fellowship with our community and as an expression of our common faith in Messiah/Christ. And while both the Messianic Jewish and One Law groups tend to focus on the minutiae of our practice (how to tie your tzitzit, the best way to lay teffilin...), the church, for the most part, has been performing the weighter acts of the Torah by visiting the sick and imprisoned, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and preaching the Gospel of salvation through Christ.

Just how many Messianic Jewish and One Law congregations do that? OK, maybe yours does, but I'm talking about the wider population of congregations that, whether Jewish or Gentle lead, actually have their primary focus on serving others and not just focusing on the members of their own specific groups, their own practice, and their own ceremony.

Again, to be fair, no congregation, synagogue, church, denomination, sect, or any other grouping or category of religion or faith is perfect. The simple reason for that is such groups are always made up of human beings. We aren't always nice and we certainly don't always follow the teachings of our Master. More's the pity.

We can excuse, to some degree, the secular world for not performing the weighter acts of Torah kindness because their only Master is their own wants and needs. Yes, secular people can be altruistic, kind, selfless, giving, and self sacrificing. Chalk it up to being made in the image of God. While they don't acknowledge God, they seem to be listening to Him on some back channel or little known frequency, receiving His signals without quite realizing who they're talking to. Maybe they think it's the "milk of human kindness". Regardless, God talks to everyone and all of us, believer and secular person alike, have the choice of listening or not.

Here's what I'm getting at.

MJ/BE says that Gentiles should only worship within the context of the aforementioned Christian church. While the church, in general, has a lot going for it as I've mentioned, there are also "issues". Of course, there are "issues" in any faith group. Many people go "church shopping" (and I suppose in communities with a large enough Jewish population, some Jewish families go "synagogue shopping") to find a place of worship that most suits their needs, desires, theological perspectives, and anything else they may require. If I had the power to choose where to worship, where would I go?

Wait! Don't I have the power to choose where to worship? Yes and no. Let's think about it.

I have to choose from the available worship venues in my immediate community, unless I want to drive eight hours one-way to reach more options. I also have to consider the MJ/BE viewpoint that my only valid worship venue as a Gentile, is the church. I want to examine my options as if I have made no decisions. Here are the parameters.

I'm going to assume three possible options: The Christian church, the One Law congregation, and the Messianic Jewish synagogue. For the purposes of this blog, I'm going to define "Christian church" as a single entity, even though there are a large number of denominations and, even within those denominations, there are specific churches driven by slightly different priorities and perspectives. Here we go.

Christian Church


  1. Acceptance: As a Gentile believer, I'm instantly "in". I don't have to worry too much about being judged by my ethnicity, my nationality, my skin color, or a lot of other variables (unless I want to attend a church serving the Korean or African-American or Russian communities in my area).
  2. Availability: Churches are just about everywhere and even in my little corner of the world, I have a lot to choose from. I have a lot of "shopping" options.
  3. Community: There are a lot of Christians out there, so calling myself a "Christian" instantly tells people who I am and what I believe. Even secular people and people of other religions understand what a Christian is (even if they don't like them or at least don't like what they believe Christians stand for).
  4. Low Requirements: This is sort of like "Acceptance" in that, there isn't much you really have to do to be accepted in the community. There aren't a lot of behavioral requirements to which members must comply. I can shop on Saturday and Sunday, eat what I want, dress how I want (mostly), pray how I want, call God and Jesus what I want (no foreign language requirements), and read the Bible just in English without feeling guilty or stupid.
  5. Lovingkindness: I can operate within a congregation that is more dedicated to performing the acts of kindness commanded by Yeshua/Jesus and that is commanded throughout the Torah without having those acts be overshadowed or overwhelmed or just plain diluted by ceremonial concerns.


  1. Acceptance: As a Gentile believer with a "Hebraic" (however you want to define that term) point of view of the Bible, I'll either have to keep my big mouth shut during Bible classes or risk being tossed out on my ear when I speak up and disagree with the teacher that Jesus made all meats clean or changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday (and you know how well I keep my opinions to myself).
  2. Education: If I have to go through one more Kay Arthur canned, programmed Bible study, I'm going to puke. I design teachings so people can ask questions, even the hard ones, so that people can really participate and share their perspectives, not just so people can agree to the "party line". I'm not saying that Christian education is poor, but there aren't a lot of opportunities to stretch and grow and, as you know, I like questioning assumptions.
  3. Ceremony: I gave up Christmas and Easter long ago and have no regrets. Even if I chose not to "celebrate" those events in my home, as part of a church, I'd be expected to participate in them in corporate worship and to at least fake being excited at the approach of the Christmas play.
  4. Food: I keep what the local Chabad Rabbi calls "kosher-style" which amounts to following the Leviticus 11 guidelines for what is and isn't food. It's a personal conviction of mine (and I don't care if you say I don't "have" to or not, I "choose" to), so pretending I'm allergic to all pork, shellfish, and other treif products will be tough over the long haul.
  5. Lying: This actually encompasses all of the "con" points because I'd have to do a considerable amount of lying to be able to operate within the parameters of what's expected in a church. Even keeping my mouth shut or forcing myself to stuff it with a ham sandwich is a form of lie.
  6. Hypocrisy and worse: The single thing I can't swallow about the Church is replacement theology. While I've been repeatedly criticized by MJ/BE proponents of supporting replacement theology, that same group says I should attend a religious organization that's guaranteed to practice some version of this. Not an option for me.
  7. Marriage: My wife is Jewish and even in terms of my current worship, she has to conceal certain items in our home when she has friends from shul over. Imagine how much more difficult life would be like for her if I became a regular church attender.
One Law Congregation

  1. Acceptance: Since I already attend what you call a One Law congregation and it most matches my theological understanding and worship style, I'm quite well accepted.
  2. Education: I do most the teachings so, by definition, I approve of the curriculum, including the Shabbat teaching, any other classes, plus the blog and website content.
  3. Ceremony: As a member of the board, I have a say in the order of service, prayers, so on and so forth. Plus, within the privacy of my own home, I can choose to pray in a manner that I feel consistent with my convictions.
  4. Food: Within the congregation, we have agreed to the Leviticus 11 standard, so there's no question about diet and menu.
  5. Community: While we are few, all of the folks who regularly attend tend to view the Bible, God, Yeshua, and each other in pretty much the same way. We like each other and tend to get along.
  1. Requirements: Not so much for regular attenders, but our worship style and pattern can be hard to pick up. The Hebrew tends to put off folks with a traditional church background and we can seem quite "rule bound" in some ways.
  2. Community: We are only one of two One Law congregations within driving distance. Not a lot of shopping options.
  3. Extreme Variability: If you look at One Law congregations in general, they are highly variable. No two are exactly alike or even remotely alike. While I feel comfortable and accepted in my local community, I could visit another OL congregation and feel completely alienated by their practices and theology. I find some OL congregations to be kind of "crazy" in their beliefs. Lots of "grass roots" congregation development, and not always for the good.
  4. Unusual People Magnet: I don't know how else to put this and be nice about it. We tend to attract people who have such odd or strange beliefs that they aren't accepted or even tolerated in any other religious venue. I've heard people say that during "the lost years of Jesus", the teenage Yeshua traveled to India with his "uncle" Nicodemus. The Bible hardly figures into some of these beliefs. We also occasionally attract predators and I've had to ask more than one fellow to leave after he expressed an "uncomfortable" interest in the woman and children of the congregation.
  5. Acceptance: Within our walls, we accept one another, but we aren't accepted, or at least understood in the larger religious and secular communities. Most of us say we go to a "Messianic" congregation, which most church people have at least heard of. How do I explain the difference between MJ and OL to other communities who already think we're have crazy if not heretics or cultists?
  6. Personal Education and Growth: If I want to learn, I have to self-study. Not a lot of opportunities to consult with more learned OL colleagues around here. Also, if I were a mere "member", and I had a personal or theological crisis, I could turn to someone higher up on the chain, expect wisdom and the assurance of confidentiality that wouldn't impact my relationships. I can't really do that when I'm on the board.
  7. Marriage: While my wife and I have agreed that we are each doing what is right for ourselves in terms of our faith, we don't worship together anymore. As a member of an OL congregation, if I were to attend her synagogue, it might cause problems, especially since some people who orbit the fringe of OL locally also show up at the traditional synagogues. She's not available to worship with me in my context.
Messianic Jewish Congregation 

  1. Education: I'd be in an environment where the Rabbi/Congregational leader is well educated in Hebrew, Torah, Talmud, holding the equivalent of a Masters degree in theology or divinity (which is the educational requirement for all Rabbis in modern times..if you don't have the same background as a non-Messianic Rabbi, you're probably not a Rabbi).
  2. Organization: The synagogue would have a more formal and organized structure of worship, activities, and so forth, rather than the more "grass roots" feel of an OL congregation.
  3. Food: Whether or not I'd be expected to keep kosher on any level, any food in the congregation would be consumable by my standards.
  4. Population Consistency: Most of the people would be Jewish or Gentiles who are seriously committed to supporting the Messianic community.
  1. Availability: There are none in my community, so that's that.
  2. Acceptance: By definition, MJ/BE congregations redirect Gentiles to the Christian church, so there'd be minimal to no acceptance of me as a Gentile.
  3. Ceremony: Since the worship would be specifically tailored towards Jewish members, parts of the prayer service that said, "Thank you for not making me a Gentile" would be more than a little uncomfortable and what would I do with the prayers in the Siddur where the person is referring to themselves as a Jew?
  4. Community: Like acceptance, community would be a struggle if it was available at all. There would also always be some doubt that at least a few Jewish members of the congregation would look down on the Gentile members.
  5. Marriage: My wife still wouldn't attend and, like many Jewish people, doesn't consider any form of Messianic Judaism to be a Judaism.
I'm sure that there are variables on both the pro and con side for each worship venue that I've overlooked and I trust that someone will step in and help me fill in the blanks. If you feel I have been unfair in any of my assessments, please let me know. I'm not trying to be unfair, I'm trying to take an honest look at what is and isn't attractive, from my point of view, about each worship type. No two churches or church denominations are alike. Certainly no two One Law congregations are alike and in fact, there's virtually no standardization among this body of worship communities at all. I don't know this for a fact, but I can only believe no two Messianic Jewish and probably no two MJ/BE congregations are exactly alike. I've had to generalize but I've tried to capture what I see as the core characteristics of each group. I have ignored one other option, but I might as well explore it. Particularly since I've had some experience worshiping there in the past.

The Jewish (non-Messianic) Synagogue 

  1. Marriage: I could worship with my wife. I know other families in the Chabad synagogue were one spouse is Jewish and the other is Gentile. It's doable as long as the non-Jewish spouse adheres to all of the requirements and behaviors of the congregation and does his or her best to fit in.
  2. Population Consistency: Most if not all people attending are Jewish or Gentile spouse of Jews who are dedicated to living a Jewish lifestyle, including prayer and worship.
  3. Food: A no brainer. If Gentiles are attending because they're married to a Jewish spouse, they're expected to eat the same foods as their spouse. No arguments here.
  4. Ceremony: Everyone operates within the same framework, Jew and Gentile spouse alike, with the understanding that Jews and Gentiles have different roles and responsibilities (Gentiles aren't called up to read the Torah for instance) [Italicized text added as suggested by Gene for accuracy].
  5. Acceptance: Oddly enough, as the spouse of a Jew, I'd probably be more accepted in a traditional synagogue than I would be in a Messianic Jewish/BE synagogue. No traditional Jewish Rabbi in his right mind would suggest that only my wife should worship in the synagogue and redirect me to a church, keeping in mind that "acceptance" is within the context of my not being Jewish.
  6. Consistency and Stability: Unlike OL and maybe some MJ congregations, traditional Judaism is a well established worship form with lots of standardization and larger organizational support. No grass roots.
  1. Acceptance: While I'd probably be better accepted in the traditional synagogue by virtue of being married to a Jew, I've experienced some "discomfort" with certain members of the synagogue, so it's not all rosy. The primary reason why I left the synagogue (in this case Reform) the first time was that I couldn't find a niche. I didn't "fit in".
  2. Ceremony: Again, when the siddur says "Thank you for not making me a Gentile", I'm going to have to swallow my tongue. As previously mentioned, my role in ceremony would be restricted by my being a Gentile.
  3. Lying: I'm not abandoning my faith in Yeshua/Jesus but to worship in this context, I'm going to at least have to keep my mouth shut. If someone asks me point blank about my faith, I have to tell the truth and get kicked out or lie and deny the Messiah. This would also impact how my wife would be viewed and endanger her community with her fellow Jews.
  4. Busting the Cover: Related to "lying". Occasionally, some people who orbit the fringes of OL visit traditional synagogues. I don't live in a large metropolitan area, so chances are I've met them all before. They'd "blow my cover" in a heartbeat, again messing up my wife's connection with the Jewish community.
  5. Conversion: Believe it or not, this has crossed my mind before, but again, I'd have to deliberately lie and deny my faith in Yeshua/Jesus which I cannot do. Also Paul said conversion was not only unnecessary but basically a slap in the face to Yeshua's bloody death on the stake. Beyond all that, God created me as a Gentile, not a Jew. Who am I to say He made a mistake?

What do I want? What does God want of me? I don't know. Does anybody else think like me?


Zion/Jeruz said...

You forgot to way out Islam... :P joking.

I think you raise great points, points that are so simple, they are some how, easily missed.

I guess the only thing that concerns me is unity... There will probably continue to be OL and BE organizations, not matter what happens, the sad thing, is we will continue to become more and more divided... and there is where both sides of the table loses.

James said...

For me, these are a lot of the points that people think about but don't let themselves say out loud. These are the hard questions about our faith and worship that are never asked and never answered. Maybe now, they can be.

I agree that unity seems to be fading in the shadow of the forking roads we're creating. I started this blog with an article called "Fractured Fellowship" which speaks to this very point. It's my main concern in all this. When Messiah returns, will he find faith?

Gene Shlomovich said...

"The Jewish (non-Messianic) Synagogue Ceremony: Everyone operates within the same framework, Jew and Gentile spouse alike."

James, you must be speaking of SOME Reform Temples, certainly not of Chabad or other OJ denominations, where a Gentile will never be asked to directly participate in a specific ceremony (I am not talking about sitting in a pew, davening, or kissing Torah as it goes by - although you'd still need to be a Jew to complete a minyan for certain prayers/ceremonies).

James said...

To modify my statement somewhat, I meant that I wouldn't be asked to leave, with my wife remaining behind, because I wasn't Jewish. As I've stated in other articles, I understand that I would not be called up to the Torah. One of the reasons, as I also mentioned in this blog, that I don't attend a synagogue is that I would have no role or purpose.

Gene Shlomovich said...

"One of the reasons, as I also mentioned in this blog, that I don't attend a synagogue is that I would have no role or purpose."

James - Gentiles (G-d fearers) were a plenty in the first century's synagogues (as OL folks like to point out) - however, it's highly unlikely that they were allowed to directly participate in reading of Torah, opening of Arks, or that they bar-Mitzvahed their children. Why not find a purpose as a Gentile (if one one chooses to attend a synagogue) in simply being with G-d's People, learning there and praying along side them (perhaps omitting certain prayers?) - is that not a purpose enough? It certainly seems to have been enough for the G-d Fearers who chose not to convert.

James said...

I was speaking about my specific experiences and circumstances at a particular synagogue. Everyone was nice, but I didn't particularly fit in. I don't think it was just that I wasn't Jewish, since this was a Reform synagogue and there were Gentiles serving even on the board. I just didn't have a role.

The idea of a community of faith or any community is that it provides a sense of belonging and "connectedness". People aren't like spark plugs in an engine. To a spark plug and to the engine, it doesn't really matter if you take one plug out and put another one in. People and communities are much more interactive and not randomly interchangeable.

I mentioned how variable OL congregations are. For example, I might fit well in one and poorly in another. The same is true for any community, not just OL. For a person to be a part of a community, they must have a role besides being a passive observer. At the first church I attended as a believer, I took it upon myself to pull weeds, since no one else was doing it. In that sense, I had a role and I belonged. It contributed to my "connectedness" and lead to other roles.

You belong to your congregation because of who you are and the role or roles you have there. It's not unusual to expect others to want a sense of belonging in the groups they attend as well. I am no different in that respect.

Russ said...

Being with G-d's people...hmmm, I guess I haven't thought that because I am one.

If I wasn't it would be a completely different story, would it not?

I love this post Jim. The church part cracked me up. I haven't enjoyed the difficulties of that situation for awhile. Very refreshing.

You're right about the problems that attend these different venues of faith and practice. Which is why our family tends to "visit" places rather than "attend". Frankly, we are tired of coming across so many wacko doctrines and observances every time we venture out into the faith community.

And that fact does make structured fellowship seem more attractive at times.

I find that people usually congregate around the work of YHWH when He is doing something noticeable. He then becomes the focal point and the rest of this foolishness fades to the background.

May we all see that sooner than later.

Gene Shlomovich said...

"Being with G-d's people...hmmm, I guess I haven't thought that because I am one."

But you should have, Efrayim per Romans 15:10 (quoting Deut. 32:43)

"Again, it says, "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with HIS PEOPLE."

"Frankly, we are tired of coming across so many wacko doctrines and observances every time we venture out into the faith community."

Heh-heh:) That made me chuckle, Efrayim, coming from you:)

James said...

Missed the "God's people" part, Efrayim. I know Gene probably didn't mean it this way, but the remark could be interpreted as saying that, as a Gentile, I'm God's "unperson".

However, Gene also pointed out in a comment in another of my blog articles, that God cared enough for the inhabitants of Nineveh that he sent his prophet Jonah to them (much to Jonah's chagrin).

Gene Shlomovich said...

"I know Gene probably didn't mean it this way, but the remark could be interpreted as saying that, as a Gentile, I'm God's "unperson".

James, that's why I capitalized "People" in my comment - meaning the nation of Israel that he chose as his own possession. Certainly, a Gentile who loves G-d is part of G-d's people (by which I mean a plurality of individuals who belong to G-d's family. which includes both Jews and non-Jews). Of course, since Efrayim believes himself to be an "Lost and Found" Israelite, he would take offense at that (where none was meant).

Russ said...

I didn't take offense Gene. I just thought it was another misplaced comment.

I like Romans chapter 15. I especially like the fact that verses 1-9 precede 10 and verses 11-33 follow.

I know that is not easy or appropriate to put all that in a comment, but how about just one?

v.14, "Now I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and well able to counsel each other."

Do you think Sha'ul calling them brothers was some kind of metaphor? Or was he only talking to the Jews?

Gentile brothers?

For if the Gentiles have shared with the Jews in spiritual matters, then the Gentiles clearly have a duty to help the Jews in material matters.

Drop your food at the door then hit the road? Or was there common fellowship among all the believers?

That is the point of these posts. Was there, and can there be, fellowship between people who are determined to maintain their individuality and distinctions, in spite of what scripture says?

James said...

Concerning the issue of fellowship (which is largely what motivated me to create this blog), Gene did say:

Why not find a purpose as a Gentile (if one one chooses to attend a synagogue) in simply being with G-d's People, learning there and praying along side them (perhaps omitting certain prayers?) - is that not a purpose enough? It certainly seems to have been enough for the G-d Fearers who chose not to convert.

What we are "discussing" here may be less of an intent to deliberately marginalize Gentiles in MJ congregations and more of a difference in the understanding of how the message is being received.

If you're a Jewish person in an MJ congregation, delivering a message such as the one I quoted above, may seem pretty matter-of-fact and benign. But does the originator of the message understand how a Gentile is going to receive that message and react to it? Is Gene offering Gentiles fellowship but Gentiles receiving the message as something else?

To some degree, I think we are all defining scripture based on roles and perceptions. What Gene may be offering in sincerity and in friendly fellowship based on his understanding of the Bible can be taken by a Gentile as anything but fellowship, at least as a fellowship approaching equality or even significance between the two parties.

That's really the core of this set of discussions. Jewish MJ proponents tend to hear any suggestion from Gentiles as having (or wanting) equal standing as an attempt to erase distinction, replacement theology, and even the threat of assimilation..all of which have been dangers to the Jewish people for thousands of years.

Gentiles in OL or attending MJ congregations hear the BE message as an attempt to reduce the significance of Gentile worshipers to a small whisper and to marginialize a Gentile's role in the congregation of God. Remember what I said earlier about how each person needs a role and sense of belonging?

I'm not assigning intent, so please don't get insulted by everything I've just said. I'm talking about how communication works. What the sender intends isn't always what the receiver perceives. The art of communication (and I think Paul was very good at this) is to be able to understand your audience and out of that understanding, craft messages that correctly communicate your intent in a way that the audience can hear and receive correctly. The audience may still disagree, but it won't be because of misunderstanding.

Any of this make sense?

Onesimus said...

Oh for the day when all believers will recognise we are one in Messiah, will fellowship accordingly, and distinctions between Jew and gentile will be celebrated without causing division.

Gene Shomovich said...

"The art of communication (and I think Paul was very good at this) is to be able to understand your audience and out of that understanding, craft messages that correctly communicate your intent in a way that the audience can hear and receive correctly."

Far from being his perceived strength, Paul's communique to believers under his care are often very difficult to interpret by both indented and unintended audiences, as well as audiences of the future (us). I think that being misunderstood and misinterpreted by his audience and by those who want to twist Paul's words (per 2 Peter 3:16) was and still very much is THE problem of the apostle. How much more should we expect of ourselves?

"Gentiles in OL or attending MJ congregations hear the BE message as an attempt to reduce the significance of Gentile worshipers to a small whisper and to marginialize a Gentile's role in the congregation of God. "

James, I understand possible perceptions, but unfortunately, perceptions can be quite upside down from reality. If one takes into account the WHOLE Body of the Messiah (not just the relatively small numbers of Gentiles who happen to attended so called "messianic" congregations), Jewish believers' voices today are marginal at best and their influence on the direction of "congregation of G-d" is minuscule. In fact, they are a minority in their own movement!

The problem lies in the fact that many Gentiles in OL and MM view themselves as THE Gentile part of the Body, and they marginalize Christianity as being not quite the "congregation of G-d". Gentile followers of Messiah who are in Christianity are quite comfortable and happy being "Christians", comfortable with their identity as Gentiles, do not wish to Judaize themselves, do not want to partake in Torah and Jewish traditions and rituals, and thus do not feel marginalized by Jewish believers in the slightest.

Messianic Jews, on the other hand, recognize this important reality and go about accordingly.

If one looks at Messianic Judaism and Christianity, Jews in one and Gentiles in the other, united in Messiah yet distinct in their calling and function, it becomes obvious that the so called "Bilateral Ecclesiology" is not a theory or a proposal for the future, but a reality one can observe first hand.

James said...

That remains to be seen.

Marko said...

Gene: I think someone (mariannemc) has hi-jacked your forum at Beth Avinu trying to sell meds...

James: Go with your conviction.

I'm a goy who, over time, has been convinced that the Torah is for ALL who are followers/believers/disciples of Yeshua. However, in my neck of the woods, there only one small OL Messianic congregation and my wife doesn't want to do there because of the "fringe element" the MM seems to attract. Plus, with our kids attending a Jewish school, we didn't want them to be unduly targetted as being part of a missionary group (which we are not). We were part of a 'home fellowship' for a good length of time until it disintegrated. Now, we are our own home fellowship. However, this has not deterred us from our faith in G-d and His Anointed.

We're sticking with our convictions, still connecting with 'old' friends from the Christian church and mixing with the Jewish community (but not in a synagogue, though we have been invited). There is sooooo much to comment on, but I'm was only surfing when I came across your thoughts. Guess I want to say that I go through some of the same thoughts and hey, you're not alone...

James said...

Thanks, Marko. I appreciate the encouragement.

I've been getting so caught up in the labels and the acronyms that I'm not really expressing myself well. I really don't care what people call themselves. It's not the nomenclature that's important or claiming some territory.

At the heart of it all, no matter what anyone calls me, all I want to do is to live the life God meant for me to live. In His mind and will, he has a clarity of purpose for my being that is probably much easier to understand than all of the complexity people tend to mess with.

If a little child can come to Him, how hard can it be?

Come back and comment more, Marko.

Mike said...

Very good post James. While I am struggling in how to find those that believe like me, I know what you are talking about when you said you couldn't "keep your mouth shut" about issues like replacement theology in a traditional church. Thats where I am. Not knocking the church, or the great people in them, I am just a victim of my own mind I suppose. - My wife finds this irritating, but she supports me anyways.

What you said about lying about what I believe to other Christians ring true. I even have family members that know that I am "toying" with what they call "cult like" groups, and make it a point to engage me in heated banter from time to time. If my own family members react like that, what would happen if I was sitting in a church and we got into it? Would I be shown the door?

I still may start top attend a church, just to get my kids back into sunday school. It is good for the little ones to have fellowship with other little ones. I may be able to keep my mouth shut for their sake. I envy the fact that you have more "options" than I.

James said...

Thanks, Mike. Actually, there are days when I find my options dwindling rapidly. Trying to figure out why all this suddenly seems so difficult to sort out. I'm slowly coming to the point of having to decide if there really is just one way God intends for Gentiles to worship the Jewish Messiah or if there are multiple, acceptable methods or styles. In the absence of concrete information, could God be leaving the choice up to us?