Statement of Faith
As much as I don't like labels, it is important for people considering coming to our fellowship to know where we are at in our understanding of God's Word and its practice in our lives. Our open teaching format allows for differing beliefs as long as there is also respect on both sides.
Allow me to clarify a few things about other titles people have and why we have settled on Hebraic Christian:
Modern Judaism is not Biblical Judaism. Much of modern or Rabbinic Judaism has been constructed by rabbis who not only did not believe in Yeshua as the Messiah, but constructed Jewish doctrine and practice away from such an understanding. Though there is much value in Jewish tradition, much care has to be taken in adopting these traditions into our faith.
Traditional Christianity separated itself from the beginning from its Hebraic roots and combined Biblical truth with pagan religion. Grace has been defined and applied improperly which has lead to superficiality and hypocrisy in the church. Grace has been used as a license for debauchery (Jude 1:4) rather than the power of God to do more than we can do ourselves. (Relentless, John Bevere)
Messianic Judaism tends to be a carbon copy of Modern Judaism, with connections to Yeshua as the Messiah. Though this is a theological option that works well for many, especially those with a Jewish background, this does not accurately describe who we are. Yeshua taught that the presence of the Messiah changes our understanding and practice of Torah and tradition (Matthew 9:14-17). As we study Torah, we understand and practice it as followers of Yeshua, both Jew and gentile. In light of Messiah and the Holy Spirit, Torah becomes a new wine skin that we put the new wine of the Gospel into. When this happens Torah takes on a life and power that Judaism, Christianity, and Messianism does not have. Thus we have come to call ourselves Hebraic Christians, rather than Messianic Jews to reflect this different focus.
The basic doctrinal framework is what I call the 7 Pillars of Biblical Faith: Revelation, Reconciliation, Regulations, Realm of the Spirit, Resistance, Reward, and Replication. More information about this can be read here.
Now for more detailed, doctrinal stuff:
a. Hear, O Israel, the Lord is God, the Lord is One. (D’varim/Deuteronomy 6:4) The nature of God is a compound unity (Heb: echad) expressed in the persons of Abba (father), Yeshua (salvation, the Son, Messiah), and Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit/Breath) (Matthew 28:19) This in no way contradicts the unity of God. Though difficult to explain, we see all three persons in both the Old and New Testaments.(B’resheet/Genesis 1:1-2; Mishlei/Proverbs 30:4) Each human, made in God’s image functions with mind, body, and spirit. God functions in a similar way.
b. We believe that God is our Creator and our King. He is in control of all human affairs. He does not create evil, but allows it to accomplish His purposes. He gives human beings free will, but punishes those who live against Him, and blesses those who seek after Him with all their heart, mind, and strength.
c. We believe that Yeshua/Jesus is the Son of God. He was born of a virgin and lived to prove His deity and die to provide the final atonement for sin for all mankind so all who believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life. During His human life, He lived and taught Torah, exposing the hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders. He did not do away with Torah, rather seeks to bring His people back to it. (Isaiah 53; John 3:16)
d. We believe the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God sent to Believers to guide, encourage, and empower them to perform God’s will. (Yochanan/John 14:16,26) The gifts of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) are available to Believers today.
e. We do not hold to any particular names of God or His Son. Generally we refer to the Son as Yeshua, His Hebrew name, but we use this interchangeably with Jesus, as this is His common name in our culture. Adonai is often used for YHVH in the Hebrew, simply because this is what is used in the CJB.
2. God's Word
a. All Scripture is the Word of God, and is to be used for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16) The Bible is the Word of God written in the words of men. Scripture is written on different levels. Most only read on the surface, but the Spirit has much more to teach us than what is written in the 66 books of Scripture. Because of these levels, the Word of God is as eternal as God Himself.
b. Apocryphal books, as well as the Talmud, and other Biblical works and commentaries, though helpful for studies, are not the inspired Word of God. Much is debated about this, however, the 66 books that are considered inspired by most Believers stand the tests of unity, history, science, and living faith. Truth only becomes evident when Biblical principal is acted on in faith. (Messianic Jews/Hebrews 11:1)
c. The Bible must be studied and understood in its entirety. The Old Testament is the foundation for the New Testament. All New Testament doctrine is of no value and possibly false without the Old Testament. Thus any teaching which does not have Old Testament roots ought not to be trusted.
d. Torah is God’s guide for life to the Believer in Messiah. It is not a means of eternal salvation, but is a means to drawing closer to God, loving our neighbor, living righteously, combating the wiles of HaSatan, and becoming a vessel God can fill with His Spirit to use for His purposes.(Joshua 1:8; Psalm 119; 1Timothy 1:8-9)
a. See the Holiday page for a more detailed explanation of our view of holidays and special observances. Having said that, God has declared certain days as holy days, also known as moadim. (Leviticus 23:2) These commanded holidays are appointments God makes with His people and blesses them when they “show up” in ways that He does not if these appointments are not kept.
b. The first and most frequent of these holidays is the Sabbath. It is on the seventh day of the week, as patterned by Creation and commanded by the forth commandment and multiple other places in Torah. (Genesis 2:2-3; Exodus 31:16; Isaiah 58:13-14; Matthew 12:8) The early church met on the first day of the week, as well as every other day of the week (Acts 2:46), so there is nothing which prohibits Believers from going to “church” on the first day, but the Sabbath is still on the seventh and ought to be kept as such.
c. Shaul/Paul warns early Believers about not letting anyone judge you about food or holidays. (Colossians 2:16) This is not to say that kosher laws and Biblical holidays are not important for the Believer. All of Shaul’s writings have to be read in context, as he is writing letters to specific communities in response to specific issues. Here and in many other places, he is responding to Judaisers who insist on conversion to Judaism as a prerequisite to faith in Messiah Yeshua. Shaul is placing Yeshua in highes priority for the Believer and leaving Torah observance as something for the gentile Believer to learn after faith in Messiah. Shaul is not anti Torah. He teaches from it and follows it himself. Any doctrine indicating otherwise is a misinterpretation of Scripture. Such doctrine undermines the unity of Scripture and the foundations of faith in God.
4. Body of Believers
a. The original community of God’s people was Israel, as promised to Abraham. (Ge.12:2-3) After being saved from Egypt, this community was taught the ways of God, given the tabernacle and the priesthood, and led to the Promised Land. Through the laws taught to Israel, they learned to function as God’s people, be a light to the other nations, and prepare themselves for the coming of the Messiah. At least this was the intention. Through sin and rebellion, they were split, mostly dispersed amongst the nations, with only a remnant remaining, out of which Messiah Yeshua came. Though gentiles had always been able to join this community through conversion, as evidenced through people like Ruth, but only after the time of Yeshua, in Acts 10, do we see gentiles being given the same rights and powers through the Spirit as the Jewish people through faith in Messiah. In Romans 11, we see that there never was intended to be a Jewish community and a gentile community, but a single community centered around faith in Messiah, expressing itself through fruit of the Spirit, obedience to Torah, and love for each other.
b. Modern day Israel is a political entity, made up of a remnant of the Israel of the Bible, which God will use in the end times. The Land of Israel belongs to God and no people regardless of faith, nationality, or present inhabitation. It will be the playing field for the events of the end times and the location of the New Jerusalem at the end of Revelation. It is important to recognize the 90% of the Jewish people in Israel do not even believe in God. Praying for the peace in Jerusalem includes the redemption of the Jewish people back to God including faith in their Messiah Yeshua. Until this happens, despite their importance as God’s chosen people, they are not part of the community of God’s people as seen in Romans 11.
c. The body is a living organism with equal parts functioning according to the unique gifting and calling given to each member by the Spirit of God. There is no hierarchical structure as seen in most churches and denominations, with dictators as leaders focused on numbers and success rather than true community and worship. This is achieved best through the home fellowship model. (1 Corinthians 12)
a. We are declared righteous and holy through faith in Messiah Yeshua and His work on the cross in the same way as Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:6; John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9)
b. Faith in itself implies action, and in no way negates the need to study and apply the entirety of God’s Word to our lives. Torah enables us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling and live as the citizens of the Kingdom that faith in Messiah declares us to be. (Deuteronomy 6; Philippians 2:12)
c. The simplicity of the Gospel is not undone by the value of the entirety of Scripture to the life of the Believer. Torah is as much for the gentile as for the Jew as in Messiah there is no Jew or Greek. The Old Testament adds depth to an otherwise shallow, cursed, and foundationless faith. (Deuteronomy 27:26; Isaiah 56:6-7; John 5:46-47)
a. Through Israel, all nations on earth were to be blessed. (Genesis 12:3)
b. We see examples, such as in the book of Jonah of God’s desire for other nations besides Israel to be “saved” and repent of their sin.
c. Yeshua gave His talmidim (students of Torah) the mandate to replicate themselves throughout all the earth. We also see in Acts 10, the Holy Spirit and salvation given to the gentiles as well as the Jews. Growth of the body is imperative and the failure to do so leads to exclusivism, stagnation, and disobedience to our King. Having said this, the often used methods of the church to accomplish this task is often ineffective and at times manipulative, which in itself is witchcraft. When God’s people live according to His ways in the midst of the world, God uses them, often in miraculous ways, to touch people’s lives through His truth and the power of His Spirit, to draw others to Himself. I call this servangelism. The work is his, not ours. (Matthew 25:31-46; 28:19-20; Acts 2)
7. Prophesy/End Times
a. Much debate and division is caused by prophetic study and teaching. The only teaching I know for sure, from Revelation, and which is most important, is that whatever happens, whenever it happens, and however it happens, in the end, God wins.
b. It is the responsibility of all Believers to make themselves ready for whatever world events may happen in the future. It can be easy to fear and despair over the future. However, God is in control of all the kings and kingdoms of the earth, as seen in Jeremiah 27, and just like Peter walking on stormy waters, we need to keep our focus on our Messiah, nothing else will matter. Everything will happen in its own time according to God’s plan and He will protect His people in the midst of it.
c. As the world gets darker, God’s light has the ability to shine brighter as His people live in ever increasing faith in Him. History proves this to be true.
8. Other Points of Interest
a. The wearing of Jewish kippahs, prayer shawls, head coverings for women, or other symbols of the faith are optional to each worshipper as these symbols aid in personal prayer and worship of God.
b. Participation is encouraged in open prayer and Bible discussion. This means that various views and doctrinal positions are likely to be expressed in such settings. As iron sharpens iron, this can be a good thing, however there must be respect for differing opinions and doctrinal beliefs. Failure to maintain this respect in the midst of disagreement may result in temporary or permanent removal from the fellowship.
c. This fellowship is open to anyone wanting to worship God in a home setting and learn more about Biblical faith from its Hebraic foundations. As such, it is not necessary to be Jewish, Messianic, or even a Believer. These statements of belief are intended to let you know where we are at theologically at this point in time.
d. We have a tzedakah/offering box for those who are led to give financially to the ministry. The box is not passed around or pointed out during meetings, but is in a prominent place for those bringing offerings to discretely give while not being an embarrassment to those who are unable to give.
e. Children are welcome and there are coloring pages provided for their use, but there are no separate classes or child care provided at this time. Parents are expected to keep relative control of their children during study times.