At what point on the Crazy Theology Scale do you break fellowship with believers?
- A Christian man asserts the Law is abolished for everyone - Jews and gentiles - do you avoid fellowship over this classic Christian doctrine?
- A Hebrew Roots Messianic guy says you have no eternal life unless you use the sacred name Yahuwashuwavah. Or whatever. Don't let him come to your congregation because of his divisive soteriology?
- A Messianic Jew says the Torah is only for Jews, and that God has lower standards for gentiles. Do you divide your congregation over his nomology?
- A Hebrew Roots man says God is regathering the house of Judah -- the Jewish people -- and the house of Israel -- now assimilated in the nations -- to be a single people, Israel. Do you boot him from your congregation over his ecclesiology?
- A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints says the Book of Mormon is the New New Testament. Run away and never speak to him again for his obvious heresy?
At what point do we break fellowship with followers of Messiah?
Where does one say,
"These people in my religion are in such extreme error, I will not associate with, talk to, or otherwise be in fellowship with them."
Is there a minimum theological standard followers of Jesus must meet?
In my theoretical religious zeal, I’d totally say you need near uniformity on the identity of Messiah and the applicability of the Torah.
But in the real world, where real actual living people are involved, I’m leaning towards forgiving and tolerating.
Because, the truth is, there are lots of good people with bad theology.
The Israeli Messianic with a low Christology
Last week, an Israeli believer, Paul Sherbow, spoke at our Messianic congregation and surprised us all when he announced his belief that Messiah is not God, not divine, should not be worshiped, and that those who worship Messiah practice idolatry.
How would you treat Paul Sherbow knowing he believes something considered heretical for the last 2000 years by Christians and Messianics?
My response was to challenge him respectfully, shake his hand, and ensure he doesn’t speak at my congregation again.
Bitter Messianic Politicking
Another true story: for the last few years, a UMJA-affiliated congregation in Minnesota has avoided fellowship with me and folks from my congregation over a theological issue (Two House ecclesiology). “Oh, Judah is going to be volunteering at Feed My Starving Children? Make sure nobody from our congregation is there.”
I don't want to avoid fellowship, since I think we are followers of Messiah and children of God. It’s hard to have fellowship when the other side labels and ostracizes you.
But how far into the theological onion do you tolerate differences?
- Messianics with a different eschatology (theology about latter days)
- Messianics with a different ecclesiology (theology about the assembly)
- Messianics with a different nomology (theology about the Torah)
- Fringe Messianics (Sacred Name Only, Patriarchists, etc.)
- Protestant Christians
- Roman Catholics
- Liberal Christianity
- Fringe Christianity (Mormons, Jehova's Witnesses)
At what point do you stop having fellowship; is there a theological minimum for fellowship with other followers of Yeshua?
You can be super duper theologically pure and have zero members.
Or you can be wishy washy tolerant of everybody and have theological contamination (e.g. do you really want fellow believers being influenced by the Book of Mormon?)
Where is that line, fine Kineti readers? How do you deal with differences in theology among Messiah’s disciples?