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THINGS YOU SHOULD PROBABLY KNOW
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Our History and Background
In B'nei HaMelech Messianic Fellowship Jews and Gentiles worship and study Torah together. The middle wall of partition has been broken down and we are now echad b'Mashiach, one in the Messiah. We were initially organized as Family Bible Church, an independent, non-charismatic, orthodox Christian fellowship not affiliated with any denomination or ecclesiastical organization. Those of us who began this fellowship did so because we were unable to find in our area a congregation in which the “whole counsel of God” was being faithfully taught. What we did find was a lot of:
• denominational traditions being given authority equal to or greater than than the authority of the Bible;
• the clear teaching of the Bible being “watered down” to make it “less offensive” and “more inclusive” of Gentiles, while being “more exclusive” of Jewish people because of an unbiblical “replacement theology” which declares that “the Church” has replaced Israel in God’s plan for humanity;
• solid Biblical teaching being replaced by emotionalism, charismatic excess, and “showmanship” — providing “worship services” that may look good and feel good, but which provide neither glory and honor to God nor edification of the Body;
• congregations being run as democracies in which “majority rule,” not the teaching of Scripture, determines faith and practice;
• congregations being run as “pet projects” of those who are the greatest contributors, where the threat of removing their financial support “keeps the pastor in line”;
• corrupt “pastors” and influential congregation members using their position and/or their pulpit for personal gain and to manipulate and wield mismanaged power and inappropriate authority over their congregations;
• corrupt denominational organizations effectively stealing resources from the local congregation for the inappropriate and excessive personal benefit of area administrators; and
• well-intentioned but misguided pastors who don’t have time to minister to God’s people because they are too busy managing their “programs.”
Although we originally chose to refer to ourselves only as orthodox “Christians,” doctrinally we were for all practical purposes an historical “Baptist” congregation. This does not mean that we were “Baptist” in the sense of any organizational affiliation, but only in the sense that this is an historical term that has for centuries been used to refer to Christians who are neither Protestant nor Catholic and who, like we, subscribe to a system of Bible interpretation which results in a form of doctrine and polity that predates both the Protestant Reformation (sixteenth century) and the formation of the Roman Catholic Church as it exists today (late third through early fifth centuries). Five cardinal convictions which traditionally have distinguished Christians as “Baptists” are:
• the absolute authority of Scripture alone (sola scriptura),
• the priesthood of all believers,
• the total independence of the local assembly,
• the absolute liberty of each individual congregation of believers to decide for themselves on all matters of faith (doctrine) and practice (procedure), and
• the immersion of regenerate (“born-again”) adults as the only biblical form of baptism (from whence comes the term “Baptist”).
After a few years, we felt the Lord’s leading us back to the roots of our faith, deeply imbedded in the faith and culture of Yeshua Himself and His original follower. Thus we now also differed significantly from most traditional “Baptist” congregations, in that we prefered to maintain the “Jewish distinctiveness” that was practiced and taught by the Shliachim (Apostles) and which characterized the true Miqra (the Body of Messiah, falsely translated “church” in the English “New Testament”) for most of the first two centuries of its existence.
We are firmly convinced that neither Yeshua nor the Shliachim ever intended to start a “new religion,” but rather presented the true and “completed” form of Judaism in Israel’s King Messiah, which was accepted and embraced by tens of thousands of faithful Israelites before it was ever presented to the Gentile world.
Unlike most Christian denominations, we cannot point to any individual in history and say “this is our founder” … except Adonai Yeshua HaMashiach (the LORD Jesus Christ) Himself. We believe that there have continuously been, in fact, those who followed this form of faith and practice since the day of Pentecost when Ruach HaKodesh came to permanently indwell the Body of Mashiach. We believe that our understanding of the Holy Scriptures is that which was taught by the Shliachim long before the various church councils began formulating creeds and confessions. We believe also that the purest form of expression of that faith is to be found in the worship practices of the Messianic Synagogues of those who followed the “Apostolic Faith” or “The Way” well into the second century.
B’nei HaMelech Messianic Fellowship was thus founded upon the conviction that the Bible (including both the Tanakh and the Ketuvei HaShalichim (Apostolic Writings or Apostolic Scriptures), as the literal written Word of God, is sufficient for all matters of faith (doctrine) and practice (procedure), and that the answers to all questions of organizational policy and procedure are to be found in its pages. We therefore hold the Bible, and the Bible only, as our only true defining document (Constitution). Any “doctrinal statements” that we may prepare are intended only to summarize what we believe is the “whole counsel of God” (as revealed through a systematic, literal, grammatical, and historical interpretation of the Bible) on any particular subject.
Because of a lack of interest in the Messianic message in our geographical, we were unable to sustain a functioning congregation. We still have, however, a home-based Torah-study group, and will continue our online ministry for as long as the Lord leads us to do so.
The Messianic Restoration movement is many things, but one of its many key elements is the work to restore the lost Hebraic nature of scriptural faith. Sometimes this is called returning to our Jewish roots and so, in part, it is. But it is more. The Most High gave an eternal style to our ancient faith that would be unmistakable in the world as belonging to Him. His people were to be His own and to be His unique witness to the world. We are to be a chosen people, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.
One of the worst things that could happen to the people of Adonai is to assimilate into the world’s fashion: to think like the world thinks and to follow the world’s lead. Our purpose is to lead the world to worship and obey the Almighty. With such a task before us we must be assimilation proof. We must reflect the ancient ways He gave us, else how can we show that we have something different and better to offer the world.
Please join us in the effort to remain a holy, unique people for the glory of Adonai. Let us together peaceably fight the good fight against assimilation by this evil world system.
Thank you and shalom.
1. We do not routinely
practice the so-called “sign gifts” as part of our worship
experience, and we do not believe that the Bible teaches any “second
work of grace” by Ruach HaKodesh. We believe that the Bible teaches
that Ruach HaKodesh is given fully and permanently
immediately upon one’s coming to a saving faith in Yeshua
HaMashiach, and that the Gifts of the Spirit are available to all
believers today as they are needed to accomplish