By Ron Cantor, Messiahs Mandate—
In the early eighties, when I came to faith in Yeshua, I was quickly told I was not alone. There were other Jewish people who worshiped Yeshua, while still maintaining their Jewish Identity. I thought this was crazy. I was now a “Christian”—a non-Jew, in my mind. But, then, I began to read the New Testament and saw very quickly that no one started a new religion. The disciples never, ever considered the idea that they had left Judaism. In fact, the biggest controversy in the years after this massive Yeshua movement took hold in Israel was about whether or not a Gentile could be a Yeshua-follower without first converting to Judaism.
Long story short: I joined Beth Messiah, one of the flagship Messianic congregations (at the time) in Rockville, Maryland. Soon, I was the youth leader and, then, associate rabbi.
Honored as Jews…until
Up until then, there was very little criticism of our movement. In fact, whenever I traveled to minister, I was treated with honor, like an answer to prophecy—the Jewish wing of the body of Messiah coming back to life!
But, then, the Hebrew Roots Movement and the Two House Movement came along. The first one taught, contrary to Acts 15, that all believers should keep liturgical Torah (except circumcision); and the latter claimed that the northern ten tribes of Israel were actually Christians who accepted the gospel. Suddenly, leaders who once respected me were asking me if I was one of them. Confusion arose over what Messianic Judaism was and wasn’t. Some non-Jewish believers felt excluded. We were accused (sometimes rightly) of being elitist. Continue Reading…