There is a price to pay for having an independent mind! Having been a Christian or Messianic Jew for over forty years has given me much insight into the motivations and politics of some Christian and Messianic Jewish groups. Back in the mid 1970s I was a new believer. Having been raised a Conservative Jew in the Midwest and Southwest, I was particularly naive of the various commitments I was expected to make once associating myself with one denominational camp or another. While attending Gentile Protestant churches, I was supposed to go along with the marginally anti-Semitic attitudes of my Gentile brethren. Church leaders never expressed any overt anti-Semitism, but the under-current of rejection was often present. I do admit, that I met some believers that had a great love for the Jewish people. So the good outweighs the bad.
The hardest part of being a Messianic Jew or Hebrew Christian was not getting caught in the ongoing feud between the Charismatic, Reformed and Dispensational Messianic Jewish or Hebrew Christian doctrinal camps. I never quite got the message that I was supposed to adhere to "all the doctrine" of a particular denominational group. I kept stepping on political "land mines" by expressing myself in an independent fashion.
While in the charismatic Messianic Jewish camp I was hard pressed by the leadership to conform to a public display of charismatic worship and acceptance of the dictates of charismatic leaders without question. I though would not bend to their dictates and eventually parted company. Nevertheless, I met some genuine and kind believers there that I still consider my friends today. So the good outweighs the bad!
While sojourning with fundamentalist / dispensational Hebrew Christian believers, I was also hard pressed to reject any charismatic doctrine and to fully accept their teachings, despite the fact that I had rejected much of the teachings from the charismatic Messianic Jewish camp already. Both I and my wife were ostracized for not having the correct doctrine. As before, I met some loving believers whom I still regards as friends today and the good outweighs the bad.
And lastly, while sojourning in the Reformed Christian camp, I faced the most anti-Semitism that I ever had experienced in my life. I must confess though, that I met some of the strongest and kindest believers in my life in a Reformed Hebrew Christian ministry. So in this case again, the good has indeed outweighed the bad.
So now, some forty plus years after beginning my journey I have found peace in the grace of Messiah Jesus. I also learned a lesson the hard way of not letting myself get cornered by those who would dictate my beliefs. If they want to associate with me, they are free to do so. I welcome them into my life and home. I may have disappointed some by "being neither fish nor fowl" in accordance to their doctrine, but nevertheless, I have remained true to my conscience and my Lord.
In Yeshua's (Jesus) gracious kindness,
Marshall Beeber (Messianic Literary Corner director)
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