How should faith and reason work together?
How balanced has the Church been?
Yes, it’s simple once it sinks in. Balance is one thing that is so lacking in the Church today, because the worldview that dominates both World and Church is the Greek worldview that is everything but balanced.
This is the big one, perhaps more than most Christians realise. By jettisoning the Jewish, (Hebraic) elements the Church has grown lopsided, with a limp and a clear deficiency in terms of connections to the Divine. In real terms, the Church in general has lived an unbalanced existence for over 90% of its life! By hacking away at its Jewish roots, allied to its open hostility to the “People of the roots”, it has surely failed to fulfil so many dreams God had concerning His bride. It has developed into a caricature of what was promised in God’s Word and surely this has produced nothing less than tears from heaven.
By losing the Jewish root, the Gentile Church from the Church fathers onwards, ensured that the dominant mindset has been a Greek one, driven by the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle. Holy Scripture, birthed by the Holy Spirit working through Hebraic minds, has been interpreted and implemented largely by minds wired in a Greek fashion! This doesn’t mean that God has not been able to work through these minds, but history has shown us when we follow the story of Christendom – state Christianity – that here we see a sad and significant disconnect between the Word of God and the deeds of man!
Ever since the 1970s Jewish people have started discovering their Jewish Messiah in significant numbers and currently many fellowships have sprung up, particularly in the USA, Israel and the UK, to cater for those who wish to worship their Messiah in a culturally relevant fashion. This was the beginning of Messianic fellowships, places where Jew and Gentile can worship together, with predominantly Jewish expressions of music, liturgy and atmosphere. Indeed, one such fellowship, the Tree of Life Messianic fellowship, supposedly the largest in London, was birthed in my parents’ living room over twenty years ago.
But something tugs at my spirit. It is good that Jewish people can find a home where they feel comfortable and it is bad that the traditional churches have not supplied that home. My feeling is that Messianic fellowships are currently necessary, but not the solution in the long term. The solution can only be a thorough acceptance by our churches of the missing Jewish element, including Jewish believers in Jesus.
Hebraic Church could be a step closer to that goal. Its very name encapsulates the One New Man ideal but, by incorporating elements from both traditions it could be setting itself up to be rejected by both! Here’s the basic rationale behind it:
The mainstream Church, as you should well know by now, is thoroughly Gentile, which means that the One New Man swingometer is firmly on the Greek side. Messianic fellowships have been set up to deal with this but most have done so reactively rather than proactively. They have so reacted against what has been bad about traditional churches (particularly their historical treatment of the Jewish people) that they have deliberately created a new expression that is purposefully devoid of anything “too churchy”. As a result the One New Man swingometer has swung completely in the other direction to the Jewish side. This is not what Paul had in mind …
This is an extract from the book, Hebraic Church, available for £10 at http://www.sppublishing.com/hebraic-church-101-p.asp