Why do you call your assembly a congregation rather than a church?
We use the term congregation for two reasons: 1. It is an accurate English translation of the Greek word eklessia, which means assembly, community, gathering, or congregation of people. 2. In our culture and time, and especially in the Jewish community we desire to reach with the Messiah’s good news, the English word “church” refers to a Gentile/Not Jewish religious community, or it refers to the building in which a Gentile/Not Jewish community meets. It is also important to note that at BCMC we do not avoid the use of the word “church” as it appears in our English Bibles, but when we use it, we generally take time to define it as an assembly of Jesus believing Jews and/or Gentiles.
Why do messianic congregations call their leaders rabbis instead of pastors?
Beit Chesed does not refer to our congregational leader as rabbi. Verbally he is most often referred to as Pastor Jake, and his business card says “Congregational Leader." He has chosen not to use the designation “rabbi” simply because he has not received traditional rabbinic training, and does not want to leave himself open to charges of deception and misrepresentation.
Why do you used meet on Friday Evenings?
Shabbat literally means rest and is “the seventh day” when God rested. Jewish days always begin on sundown the evening before. So every Friday evening is when the Sabbath (Saturday) begins. We choose to begin our Shabbat with a congregational service for a number of reasons: 1. as a means of honoring God as the God of creation who set apart the Sabbath day, 2. As a means of communicating the inherent Jewishness of faith in Jesus. 3. In Messiah we are free to worship God in many ways; this seems like one obvious choice that lines up with our congregational distinctive of expressing our faith in a Jewish way.
Is it important for you to follow the dietary restrictions? Why or why not?
We teach that the dietary restrictions of the Mosaic covenant are not binding on Gentile believers in Jesus, and never have been, and that following or not following the biblical dietary restrictions is a matter of conscience for Jewish believers in Jesus. We avoid serving obviously non-kosher foods, e.g. pork, shell fish etc., at our corporate events so as to not cause those with convictions to stumble. We do not encourage people to subject themselves to rabbinic food restrictions such as not mixing meat and dairy products.
Could you explain how you are related to Judaism, if at all?
We distinguish between people being Jewish and following the man-made religious system of modern Judaism in its variety of permutations (Reform, Orthodox, Conservative, Hasidic which has evolved out of the exile, the second-temple period, and later developments). The ancient faith delivered by God to Moses and the prophets can be referred to as Biblical Judaism and we do claim this heritage. Theologically, we are not in line with the system of beliefs known as Rabbinic Judaism which stands against faith in Jesus as Messiah and God. On the other hand, we see a biblical faith in Jesus as the most Jewish thing in the world, and many of the modern Jewish traditions, which are biblical, can help us to express this Jewishness in a meaningful way in spite of the animosity that exists in the larger Jewish community against what we believe.
Could you explain how you are related to the Church, if at all?
Assuming by “Church” you mean the universal body of Messiah, we are a local manifestation of the church. We encourage our people to see ourselves as a part of the church, and to respect and appreciate our brothers and sisters in Messiah, regardless of the cultural traditions that define various approaches to life together in Messiah.
What is your congregation’s belief regarding Jesus?
We believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah of Israel, God incarnate, the second person of what is called the Trinity, fully God and fully man, whose sinless life was given as a once for all atoning sacrifice for all those who will put their faith in Him, who was physically raised from the dead, ascended to heaven, where he intercedes for His people, and from where he will return to Jerusalem to establish and reign over God’s kingdom.
How can a Jewish person believe in Jesus and still be Jewish?
It depends on who Y’shua (Jesus) is! The New Testament presents Him as the Jewish Messiah (John 1:41,45, 49). If He’s not the Jewish Messiah, then no one should believe in Him because His credentials as “Savior of the World” are based on His credentials as the “Messiah of Israel”. Since He is the true Messiah, then it is correct and also Jewish to believe in Him, regardless of the opinion of the majority.
If Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, then why don't most Jewish people believe in Him?
For many, there’s the idea that the truth is determined by a majority vote. But as much as this may play a role in the politics of men, this has little to do with the truth of God. In the Jewish Scriptures, the prophet Isaiah declares that most Jewish people would not recognize the Messiah when He would first come: “Who has believed our report? To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?… He is despised and forsaken of men,… He was despised and we esteemed Him not” (Isaiah 53:1-3).
God knew and revealed to Isaiah that the majority of people don’t want God’s way of salvation, not even religious Jewish people!
Join us for Shabbat Worship on the
2nd & 4th Saturdays of the month