Embracing the Jewishness in Your Congregation
Steven Ger - Wednesday, April 05, 2017
A Jewish person’s Jewishness is, by definition, conferred by circumstance of birth. For most
Jewish believers, to ignore this God-given distinction is to disparage the rich heritage
God has bestowed on us to share with the world.
While the church consists of believing Jew and Gentile together in a new creation
(Gal. 6:15; Eph. 3:6), most Christians think of today’s church as existing of only Gentiles.
So when friends in the church speak of Jewish believers assimilating into the larger
“Christian” culture, they usually mean a “Gentile” culture.
Rather than downplaying the Jewishness of fellow believers, the church should celebrate the
continued existence of the “remnant of Israel” as a wonderful example of God’s grace and
faithfulness. We should revel in our distinctions because our unity is that much more
captivating to the observing world. How interesting is a monochromatic tapestry?
So, what can our churches do to embrace Jewishness? Here are some suggestions:
- Pray for the salvation of the Jewish people.
- Activate programs and creative ideas for Jewish evangelism. The Jewish community in
America and abroad is still a largely unreached people group, despite their historic and cultural
nearness to the gospel.
- Support Jewish missions and teaching ministries.
- Go to Israel and invite fellow church members to join you. Experiencing the land promised
to the chosen people can greatly enhance a believer’s love and concern for the Jewish
- Celebrate the messianic fulfillment of a Jewish festival such as Passover or Tabernacles.
Host a Passover seder.
- Encourage the Jewish believers in your congregation. These believers often feel “out of sync”
with their Gentile siblings. They are often a tiny minority of one or only a few and
perceive themselves as living between two worlds.
- Create and implement a bar mitzvah/bat mitzvah celebration within the church for Jewish
believing thirteen-year-olds. Confirmation catechisms and the like need not substitute for
following the biblical customs of our ancestors.
The liturgy of most church traditions, of “high” or “low” orientation, is replete with
substitutions, equivalents, and copies of traditional Hebrew customs and ceremonies. If
the ancient Jewish customs are shadows of things to come and they all have their essence
in Christ Himself (Col. 2:16–17), their enactment can only be of benefit to the church
A great example of God’s historic and ongoing faithfulness is to be found in the preservation
of a believing remnant. From the times of the patriarchs through the coming future
tribulation, God has sovereignly preserved a remnant of Jews who trust in Him to keep His
promises and bring His program to completion (Rom. 9–11). The enduring, organic, and
growing remnant of Israel, the very Israel of God, shines as a luminous beacon of God’s
faithfulness throughout history, past, present, and future.
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