Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tent of David, part 1

I do want to get back to Heinrich and company, but I just read some books that deserve some comment before moving on. 
The most recent one is Tent of David (Healing the Vision of the Messianic Gentile) by Boaz Michael. I first met Boaz in August 8-10, 1997 at the Jars of Clay conference in Toledo, Ohio. Boaz, along with his wife Tikvah, and some other friends, started a ministry called First Fruits of Zion (FFOZ) in 1972 to introduce the concept that both Jewish and Gentile believers had “divine permission to fully embrace the Torah lifestyle and teachings as part of their inheritance in Messiah."  While the parameters of how this applied to Gentiles would evolve over the next few years, FFOZ was breaking new ground. And in the soil of Protestant Christianity, it was/is hard ground indeed. There was also excellent teaching by Ariel and D’vorah Berkowitz, co-authors of the book Torah Rediscovered. I have spoken many times in this blog about FFOZ’s materials such as Torah Club and Messiah magazine. 
One of the things that impressed me most in that conference was a session where Boaz came out and spoke about the need for humility, love, and kindness in dealing with our brothers and sisters in the church. The 200 pages of this book continue and amplify that teaching and sentiment.
After beginning their ministry in Denver, FFOZ moved to Jerusalem for a few years. They eventually moved back to the states and put their operations in the town of Marshfield, Missouri. Wherever they pitched their tent, their staff lived in close proximity to each other and had a sense of community. But Marshfield is not a big place and there is no Messianic congregation there. But that was OK, for Boaz intentionally wanted to join a church. Tent of David opens with a remarkable foreword by Durwin Kicker, the senior pastor of the Baptist church they attend. Here are a few quotes: 
“The past eighteen months have opened up for me a more complete picture of who I am and where I came from. Through a series of circumstances, curiosity, and new friendships, I am being exposed to my Jewish roots. I have no doubt that all of these circumstances and friendships, and even my own curiosity that opened me up to the Jewish roots movement, are all God-ordained...
What I realize now, after twenty-five years of ministry leadership of my own, is that the church today is still not helping to make that connection [that the whole Old Testament is pointing to Jesus] for most of the people sitting in the pews...
In all of this we struggle with the thought that the God who does not change (Numbers 23:19; I Samuel 15:29; James 1:17) seems to have somehow changed. My realization has been that the church today is so far removed from our Jewish roots, that very seldom do we realize that God’s plan communicated through the Torah and the Jewish people has anything to do with who we are today...
All of this needs to change, and indeed is changing... God is reminding us that we are the wild olive shoot grafted in to the tree of Israel. Our only connection to this tree is Messiah, and in Messiah, the only roots we have are Jewish roots.”
page 17: Boaz then defines what a Messianic Gentile is: “A Messianic Gentile is a non-Jewish Christian who appreciates the Torah, his relationship with Israel, and the Jewish roots of his faith.” 
page 26: “This is the great mission of the Messianic Gentile: to be that voice within the church that speaks gently but firmly against super-sessionism and the doctrinal errors associated with it; that speaks toward the church’s connection with the land, the people, and the scriptures of Israel; that inspires people to connect with Yeshua in a new and fresh way and to follow his teachings with unprecedented zeal. In this way, by sharing what they have discovered with other Christians, Messianic Gentiles can play an essential, active, key role in restoring the apostolic vision.
This can only happen, though, if those Christians who understand their Jewish roots choose to remain in their churches as faithful congregants.”
more next time..

No comments:

Post a Comment