TJCII Executive Committee
This statement concerns the place of the Jews who are part of the Christian Churches. It has become necessary for TJCII to address this question because of the increasing number of Jews within the Churches who are affirming their ongoing Jewish identity. This trend is reinforced by the Helsinki Consultations begun in 2010 that are gathering Jewish believers from several historic Church traditions and from the Messianic Jewish movement.
Within TJCII we uphold the divine election of the whole Jewish people. This includes all Jews, whether synagogue-attending Jews, secular Jews, or Jews adhering to other non-Christian religions.1 All the more so, the Jews who are members of Christian Churches remain part of the Jewish people and heirs to the promises given to Abraham and his descendants.2 As the Churches abandon supersessionist or replacement conceptions of the relationship between the Church and the Jewish people, they make possible an honoring of the witness of their Jewish members that refuses the older pattern of absorption or assimilation.
As a single-focus initiative concerned solely with the full reconciliation of Jewish and non-Jewish believers, personally and corporately, within the one Body of Christ, TJCII recognizes that this reconciliation necessarily includes the Jewish members of the Christian Churches. But the TJCII Executive Committee recognizes that its distinctive vision arose within the Messianic Jewish movement that directly presents the challenge of faith in Yeshua as Messiah to the wider Jewish community. The Messianic Jewish movement affirms the importance of the ongoing Jewish identity of Jewish believers in Yeshua and their need for a corporate context to affirm and support their convictions. In contrast, the challenge of the Jews in the Churches can be their witness to the nature of the Church as the reconciliation of Jew and Gentile in the Messiah.3 The Jews in the Churches contribute to this reconciliation as they affirm their Jewishness publicly within their Churches and claim a space there for a distinctive Jewish witness. This witness will fully recognize the historic heritage of the Church rooted in the Jewish Scriptures in every way that is consonant with the Scriptures and the apostolic tradition. They can provide a model for Jewish believers learning from the wisdom of the Church and can be a means for the Churches to return more fully to the Jewish heritage of the Church’s origins.
Since TJCII is a prophetic vision for the Lord’s full plan for gathering Jew and non-Jew under the Lordship of the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the world, the TJCII leadership emphasizes that this process can only proceed as it is led by the Holy Spirit following the model of the first Jerusalem Council in full freedom and mutual respect. It is as the Jewish believers within the Churches give a distinct witness of their Jewish heritage and as they do so in unity with their non-Jewish brethren that they will play a role in the specific calling of TJCII. For this reason, the TJCII leadership welcomes the Paris Statement issued by the Helsinki Consultation of June 2011 affirming that “As Jewish believers in Jesus, we affirm our identity as both part of the people of Israel and of the Body of Christ” and that “we are a living witness to the mysterious and invisible bond which persists between the Church and Israel.” A healthy development of the relationship between the Jews within the Churches and their respective church bodies will produce blessing for both and can also contribute to the Churches taking the Messianic Jewish movement more seriously. Mutual interaction and mutual acceptance of Jew and non-Jew with the goal of mutual enrichment is the goal in all the TJCII work of reconciliation, both between the Messianic movement and the Churches, and between the Churches and their Jewish members.
1 See Rom. 11:29. Election does not guarantee final salvation.
2 See Gen. 12:2-3; 17:4-8; 26:2-5; 35:10-12; Luke 1:54-55; Rom. 9:4-5.
3 Eph. 2:15; 3:4-6.