Please note: this is a DRAFT. My good friend and mentor told me that I would have to labour over this document in order to pack a lot of meaning into a few words. True. And I also need to re-write it with a team.
Also, we are NOT Messianic Jews. We are a totally different movement, one that seeks to take Yeshua the Messiah BACK from the Christians (evangelicals and other Protestants, Roman Catholics, Orthodox, sects) and restore the powerful counter-cultural Messianism of early followers of Yeshua the Messiah (traditionally known as Jesus Christ). We welcome Jews, and also Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, Christians, or any one else to turn to the true Messiah and join us!
I have been converted. From being an evangelical Protestant Christian for over 30 years, I have now switched to being, what I call, a Messianist.
The Similarities Between Evangelicalism and Messianism
Both believe that the 66 books composing the Old and New Testaments were inspired by Yahweh, who, by the way, exists.
Both claim to follow the Messiah, Yeshua.
Both believe that Yahweh´s grace rather than our own good deeds can save us.
Yahweh is the supreme Creator of the universe, is all-powerful, all-knowing, never-changing, compassionate, but doesn´t turn a blind eye to evil.
He is knowable, especially through His eternal Son, Yeshua the Messiah.
Yeshua is 100% Yahweh, and 100% human.
He was sent to save the world from its sins, its violations of Yah´s will and purposes.
Yeshua´s blood shed on the cross wipes out our sins and reconciles us to Yahweh.
Yeshua´s resurrection brings us new life.
The Sacred/Holy Spirit is fully Yahweh, and leads His people to love and obey Yahweh.
There is a real heaven and hell.
We need to tell everyone the Good News.
Both trace their history back to the Early Church.
Both resist Roman Catholicism and also liberal Protestantism.
Both disagree with abortion and homosexuality, but Messianists treat these issues very different than evangelicals. Messianists choose to love gays and those who have had abortions, and do not publicly antagonise these two groups of people.
Messianists are also pro-family, but also respect singles.
Messianists also seek to strengthen marriages and families, but without becoming bigotted about it.
Messianists believe that changed behaviour proves a changed heart and allegiance to the Messiah. They deny that a simple ¨sinner´s prayer¨ and ¨accepting Jesus into your heart¨ can save a person. New birth means a new allegiance which produces new action. Belief and behaviour are inseparable, although it is only Yah´s grace that brings us into a right relationship with Him.
Messianists love Jews and hope they will come to know the Messiah, without undue compulsion. They do not believe that Jews are automatically included as Yahweh´s people simply due to their ethnicity. Like the rest of us, they come to know Yahweh through His Son Yeshua. Then and only then are Abraham´s promises valid. Jews are not a chosen people until they themselves choose the Messiah.
The state of Israel is not Yahweh´s doing, nor does it receive His blessing. Instead, along with the Western countries, it is a nation under Yahweh´s wrath and judgment. We do not partner with the state of Israel for religious purposes, they are not our allies. On the other hand, citizens of Israel are fellow sojourners on this planet, and already have a national state (to the misfortune of Palestinians) . . . so rather than wish their non-existence, at least on that piece of geography, we recognise that there needs to be a mutual agreement between Israeli Jews and Palestinians about what should be done. Stopping the violence is a good first step.
There is no escape called the Rapture. It is an evangelical myth. We look to and welcome the promised Return of the Messiah, but it will not consist of parachuting a bunch of Euro-North-American evangelicals before major world crises occur. We are not escapists or cowards. We face adversity with courage, confidence and a deep-rooted optimism based on the Messiah and His words.
We love Muslims, First Nations/Native Americans, unlike the majority of evangelicals and other Christians over the centuries, who have viewed these groups as sworn enemies. We instead choose to love and support them in any way possible, according to the dictates of the Sacred Scriptures.
We use different vocabulary to distinguish ourselves: Yahweh/Yah/Adonai/Elohim for God, Yeshua for Jesus, Messiah for Christ, Messiah-follower for Christian, Sacred Scriptures for Bible, Messiah Groups/Ekklesia for churches, etc.
We do not support Right Wing governments, but then we do not necessarily support Left Wing ones either. We are fiercely independent politically, but still support movements that reflect the intent of Scripture.
There is no tithing, but instead intentional and voluntary giving.
Communion is in the context of a love feast, an exciting, socialising meal rather than the sharing of a measly cracker and sip of grape juice. Oh yes, we use real wine.
At this time, there are no paid clergy, all are self-supporting, bivocational leaders.
There is no pastor, but a plurality of elders, who actually do have authority and a true leadership role.
Consensus is an important way to reach decisions.
We meet in small groups in houses, restaurants, coffee shops, parks, vehicles, or any other convenient places. We do not build church buildings.
When we get too big, say, over 20 people, our groups multiply, the newer groups also having their own pre-trained leaders.
We write our own songs rather than copying European imperial hymns or contemporary ¨Praise and Worship¨. We love to use the Psalms. And we don´t necessarily sing in our meetings, it is up to the consensus of the group.
There are short messages/speeches instead of sermons, and these are not the focus of meetings.
Messianists worship to bless Yahweh, not to bless ourselves. Worship is not some sort of drug to make ourselves feel good or put us in a trance-like state. We can lift our hands, close our eyes, sway to the music, but we are careful not to seek out an overly emotional experience. Yeshua is not a drug.
Meetings are any time, not necessarily on Sunday.
There is no holy day or Sabbath. Every day is sacred. On the other hand, believers should rest one day a week.
There are no denominations, but a loose affiliation of Messianic groups.
We do not steal people from evangelical denominations, but if people from these groups would like to join, so be it. We also intentionally seek out atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Buddhists, followers of native religions, Catholics, Protestants, etc.
We mix with the world instead of separating ourselves. We keep ourselves pure by having a markedly different set of ethical standards.
Messianists see themselves in a prophetic role in society, meaning that they call on political and other leaders to uphold ethical standards, while we ourselves pursue these standards relentlessly.
We use technology, but also research and become aware of their transformational effects on people and the environment. We respect and learn from the Amish, but we stick with living in society, and carefully utilise our technologies.
Messianists are deeply Green (environmentally friendly) and seek to minimise our ¨environmental footprint¨.
Messianists are generally anti-corporation but of course have to wisely deal with corporations on a daily basis.
Messianists are anti-war, anti-violence, but are only partially Pacifist. We believe in self-defence but not pre-emptive strikes.
Messianists are pro-small business, with high ethical standards, socially and environmentally.
Messianists are generally pro-union, as long as unions promote workers´ rights without being utterly selfish.
Messianist repent and make restitution for what Europeans and others, including evangelicals and other Christians, have done to both First Nations/Native Americans and other indigenous peoples in North America and around the world. We also want to repent for past evils against Muslims, atheists, and other religions, political, philosophical or social persuasions, and maintain a loving attitude toward our neighbours of every stripe.
Messianists do not look down on evangelicals, but recognise that the latter need to repent for many of their unethical behaviour, for example, in oppressing First Nations and Muslims, in supporting the state of Israel, in backing wars and the proliferation of weapons at home and abroad, etc.
Messianists do not overuse the symbol of the cross. While the doctrine of Yeshua´s sacrifice on the cross to save humanity from its alienation from Yahweh is the centre piece of our faith, we believe that evangelicals and others have overused and trivialised the cross. We mention the cross, but do not like to use it as a physical symbol. Also, we put great emphasis on the resurrection of the Messiah.
We put a great emphasis on helping the poor. We do not encourage handouts, but seek to equip, empower and train poor people to escape poverty and become self-sufficient through wisdom, hard work and especially reliance on Yahweh.
We advocate for the poor.
We do not officially join evangelical coalitions, conferences, associations, etc. Any partnership with other faiths is done in a way as to safeguard our independence.
We are multicultural and adamantly oppose racism / discrimination on any basis.
We are not patriotic, but we love our people with a fierce love. We also love people of other nations equally. We believe patriotism often leads to arrogance and looking down on others.
We are also not internationalists nor support one world government in any shape or form. We recognise that the US, Europe and other Western countries have controlled much of the world economics and politics, and have bullied other nations to the detriment of the latter´s economy, political situation, language and culture. We are strongly in support of local self-sufficiency and vibrancy of culture and language.
We are anti-globalisation and suspicious about free trade agreements, as they so often benefit the richer companies and countries. We believe in Fair Trade and workers´ rights to a fair salary, safe working conditions, and enough time with their families.
Messianists continually seek to grow emotionally, intellectually, in physical health, and in spiritual knowledge of Yahweh, one another and our world. We are fierce self-learners. We hold to the adage: Be strong to be useful.
We are not keen on independent schools or home schooling, but recognise that there may be a limited role for these two movements depending on the situation. We seek, as much as possible, to study in public schools, from kindergarten to university.
Messianists promote a ¨Level Playing Field¨, which some may call secularism. Secularism is a good thing if it means that every religion and philosophy which does not contravene ethics and the law can compete in the free, open market of ideas. No philosophy can overpower others. Thus, theocracy, and the goals of Dominionism and Reconstructionism are out.
Messianists aim to be a dynamic, creative and cutting-edge minority rather than a watered-down majority.
Messianists have seen the need to separate / not join or cooperate with evangelicals. They may partner with evangelicals in some specific projects, but also may do so with people of other religious, philosophical or political persuasions.
Messianism is a new movement, or group of movements, but we believe there are some who have followed these ideas for centuries.
As more people wish to follow the Messiah, and as more are disillusioned with evangelicals and other faiths, Messianism will grow in numbers and influence. Messianists are persuasive but not unethical in convincing others to join us. We respect everyone´s right to follow their consciences.
MESSIANISTS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!