A Christian woman visited our congregation last night.
She emailed me this morning and asked, “This is all new to me; what’s the difference between “Yeshua believer and Torah follower” and typical Christianity?
Here’s my response. I tried to avoid pushing negativity towards Christianity, as some tend to do. I also didn’t dwell on theological differences between different Messianic organizations. I tried to portray in simple terms what we believe.
Here’s what I wrote:
Thanks for coming last night. I apologize I was not able to stay afterwards and chat.
The largest difference between Messianics and Christians is that Messianics believe God's commandments are still valid. That's why we keep the sabbath, celebrate the Biblical feasts (like Passover), don't eat foods the Bible says are unclean, for example.
Another difference between Messianics and Christians is that Messianics see the ongoing relevance of Israel. The Bible is a book about the people of Israel; God's law given to Israel, God's redemptive plan for Israel, the prophets sent to Israel, and Israel's Messiah. And it will end with Israel's Messiah reigning in Jerusalem. We don't think Jesus came to create a new religion where Israel and God's commandments are of little relevance; on the contrary, we believe Yeshua the Messiah strengthened God's commandments and that one day, all Israel will see him as part of God's ultimate plan for his people.
We believe both Jews and gentiles are called to keep God's commandments.
I hope that answers your questions! Blessings in Messiah.
I think it’s important for Messianics to not demonize Christianity while we explain why we keep the commandments or reject supersessionism. Explaining the good and dwelling on that tends to create better fruit, I think, than focusing on the errors of greater Christianity.
Of course, the Messianic movement is different things to different people. Some Messianic organizations, like MJTI, say the Messianic movement is only for Jews, with the exception of a minority of gentile supporters, and wish to distinguish between Messianic Jewish congregations and Hebrew roots congregations.
Others, like me, are more inclusive; seeing the Messianic movement as part of a greater reformation of all God’s people, both Jews and gentiles.
How do you explain the Messianic thing to Christians?