Month 8:23, Week 4:1 (Rishon/Pesach), Year 5935:223 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Friday 18 November 2011
The Essential Foundation
The Ground of Messianic Evangelical Faith
A recent article published by Credo House  provided the stimulus I was looking for for today's devotional. A man once joined our Messianic Evangelical Group on Facebook singing my praises and it turned out that what attracted him to us were things such as the Creation Calendar, Science, apocalyptic events, and secondary Gospel subjects. And important though these topics are, they are totally irrelevent if you do not have a saving relationship with Messiah. The man in question rejected Yah'shua (Jesus) and was an avowed Freemason. He came to us for all the wrong reasons.
"For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of Elohim (God); and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb.5:12-14, NKJV).
Every now and then it is vitally important that we restate the fundamentals of the Emunah (Faith) that we stand for so that those coming to us for ministry or who want to be a part of us know exactly where we are coming from. So what I have today for you is in some respects the 'other end of the spectrum' to the Hot Potatoes I dropped on your laps about six weeks ago. And I am going to do this on two levels.
The first level is the Apostles' Creed which we have rewritten using messianic terminology:
We consider any doctrine that contradicts any one of these fourteen points to be heretical. They are, for us, the 'common ground' of all true believers, Christian or Messianic, and a place where we can fellowship in the Emet (Truth).
- 1. We believe in Yahweh-Elohim, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
- 2. We believe in Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), His Only Begotten Son, our Master.
- 3. He was conceived by the power of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and born of the virgin Mary.
- 4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
- 5. He descended to the dead.
- 6. On the third day He rose again.
- 7. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of Yahweh the Father Almighty.
- 8. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
- 9. We believe in the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit),
- 10. the universal Body of Messiah,
- 11. the communion/fellowship of the set-apart ones (saints),
- 12. the forgiveness of sins,
- 13. the resurrection of the body,
- 14. and the life everlasting. Amen.
The second level is really an expansion of the first one - a clarification - which we have published as a Statement of Faith for new believers. We believe:
I think we would have major problems accepting someone as an authentic believer who did not accept any of these articles of faith which are raw B'rit Chadashah (New Testament) teachings. Those messianics in particular who reject Paul and Hebrews will have huge problems with these which I have rewritten in the article, The Messianic Evangelicals so that there is no doubt what we stand for as evangelicals.
- 1. That the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Covenants, is the inspired and only infallible Word of Elohim (God) and is the supreme authority, not only in all matters of faith and conduct, but in everything it teaches [Isa 40:8; Luke 24:2-7,44; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21];
- 2. That there is only one Elohim (God), who has been revealed to mankind as Three Persons: the Father (Yahweh), the Son (Yah'shua/Jesus), and the sevenfold Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) [Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; Titus 1:3-4; 2:13; Rev.1:4];
- 3. In the Scriptural record of special and recent creation by Yahweh-Elohim of the universe, the earth and all living things on it, and especially of Adam and Eve created in the image of Elohim and from whom all humans have descended; in the alienation of mankind from Elohim through the sin of Adam and Eve resulting in death and the necessity of salvation through Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) [Genesis 1:1-27; 2:2f, 18-25; 3:13-19; Exodus 20:11; 31:17; Neh. 9:6; Ps. 19:1-6; 33:6-9; 146:6; 148:3-5; John 1:1-3, 10; Acts 14:15; 17:24-28; Rom. 1:18-25; 3:23; 6:23; 1 Cor. 8:6; 15:22; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2; 11:3; 2 Peter 3:5; Rev. 4:11; 10:6; 14:7];
- 4. In the deity of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (the Lord Jesus Christ), the only begotten Son of Yahweh, His virgin birth, His sinless life, His miracles, His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, His bodily resurrection, His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and His personal return in power and glory [Mark 16:19; Luke 1:27, 31, 35; John 1:1-2; 2:11; Acts 1:11; Rom. 1:3-4; Col. 1:13-20; 2:9; 1 Tim. 3:16; Titus 2:13; Heb. 3:18; 7:26; 10:12];
- 5. That a person is made right with Yahweh and receives salvation through trusting faithfulness in the Master Yah'shua the Messiah (the Lord Jesus Christ) [Mark 16:16; John 4:22; 10:9; 14:6; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30f; Rom. 5:9f; 10:9; 1 Cor. 6:11; Phil. 2:9f; Eph. 2:8-10; 1 Thess. 5:9; 1 Tim. 2:5; 2 Tim. 2:10; 3:15; Titus 3:4-7];
- 6. In the transforming, regenerating and sanctifying work of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) by which Yahweh conforms the repentant person into the image of Messiah (Christ) [John 3:5-6; 6:63; 20:22; Acts 15:9; 19:2; Rom. 8:9, 11; 1 Cor. 2:14; 6:11; 12:3; 2 Cor. 3:3, 6; Gal. 3:14; 4:6, 29; 6:8; Eph. 1:13; 2:5; 1 Thess. 1:6; 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:13; Titus 3:5; 1 Pet 1:2; 1 John 4:13];
- 7. In the expectation of the Master Yah'shua (the Lord Jesus) that His disciples be set apart to live by the commandments contained in the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, both given by the holy Elohim who never changes [Matt. 3:11; 5:17; 12:8; 15:1-6; 19:17; 23:23; Luke 24:49; John 8:34ff; 14:15; 15:14; 17:17; Acts 1:4f; Rom. 2:13-16; 6:12, 22; 7:12, 14; 8:11, 13; 15:16; 1 Cor. 1:2; 6:11, 19; 7:19; 11:2; Gal. 5:22f; Eph. 1:4; 3:16; 5:18; 1 Thess. 4:3; 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:13, 16; Heb. 8:8-12; 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:2, 16; 2:21; 3:15; 1 John 3:24];
- 8. In the resurrection of both the righteous and wicked -- they that are righteous to receive the resurrection of life, and they that are unrepentant to receive the resurrection of judgment [Matthew 25:31-34, 41; Luke 14:14; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15; 2 Cor. 5:10; Phil. 3:11; 1 Thess. 4:16; Rev. 20:4-6, 12-15]; and
- 9. In the spiritual unity of all true believers in our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Lord Jesus Christ) and the commonwealth of Israel consisting of the faithful remnant of Israelites and grafted-in Gentiles [1 Cor. 12:12-13; Eph. 1:10; 2:11-22; 4:16, 22, 23; Col. 1:18].
Michael Patton, in the article I cited at the beginning, said that "there are dozens of popular writers, pastors and bloggers who...give lip service to the essence of Chrisianity, but from their platform it is only peppered in here and there. I think that this is the core problem which what is/was known as the 'emerging church'. It was not that we were against rethinking, reimagining, reforming, or any other 're', it is that this became the central focus of the movement. Christ, the cross, sin, righteousness and all the other elements that create the essence of who we are" are merely 'tacked on' as secondary themes.
Unfortunately messianics tend to do the same thing too, adding these things (if at all, in some cases) to the Torah as secondary items only because they are still thinking out of an Old Covenant mindset which they want 'renewed' rather than replaced. This not only denies the Torah its true place as an expression of salvation in Messiah, but it also robs Messiah of His rightful glory and as a result robs the believer of authentic saving power! Salvation, submission, Emet (Truth), divine Tavnith (Pattern), ahavah (love) and righteousness are core, not periphery. "They are the chorus", as Patton would put it, and not "an embarrassing afterthought that are proclaimed only under duress".
We must never allow our ministries to be characterised by the secondary so that we are reluctantly forced to tack on the primary. When that happens, the Besorah (Gospel) is in truth about self and not about Messiah! Both the primary and secondary are important (otherwise we wouldn't have been given both) but like I said yesterday, order or priority is important. If we are priding ourselves in the deeper things that makes us 'different', then we need to repent of self-exaltation. The deeper things are a wonderful blessing but being 'different' is a stumbling block to the essentials and a hindrance to new believers coming to salvation. Let us get them on the solid foundation of the milk doctrine first before burdening them with meat - there is a time and season for the latter. They will eat the latter enthusiastically enough when they are a little maturer in the faith! So let us be good nurturers in the purity of the Davar (Word), considering first the Pesach needs of the individual soul before the Shavu'ot needs of the community of believers - Messianic Israel. Evangelicals and Messianics tend to focus exclusively on the one or the other when they should be marrying their labours and bringing souls to the fullness in the proper order.
This is what we, as Messianic Evangelicals, stand for, and I hope this insight has been a blessing to those investigating what we are doing. We refuse to choke babes with solid food (as messianics often do) but at the same time we refuse to bind infants to the cradle (as evangelicals are often guilty of). Evangelicals need to move on and messianics often need the basics retaught them!
"Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Messiah (Christ), let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of emunah (faith) toward Elohim (God), of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment" (Heb.6:1-2, NKJV).
We welcome both babes who want to grow and the mature who want to grow more in Messiah!
 C. Michael Patton, Why Do We Love C.S.Lewis and Hate Bob Bell?, Credo House Ministries, 17 November 2011
 First Steps for New Believers: Understanding the Old Testament Primer