One of the hindrances to the early church was the heritage and the lineage of the Jewish community. As word spread around about Jesus being the awaited-for Messiah, many Jews believed that the Christians were declaring that the Law of Moses was no longer valid. As Wesley Rose states in his article "Barriers to the Early Church", "They (the Jews) had become so entangled in the letter of the law and their own customs to even realize when the Messiah did come to them. This was the beginning of the rift that was destined to come. It was the first and biggest wall that divided the Jews." It took the apostle Paul to make the Jewish community realize that the Law was not to be abolished, but was to be used as a guide to the fact that the Jews, or anyone else for that matter, could not possibly keep all of the Law without breaking at least one of them.
Even though there was a separation between the Jews and Christians over the Law, the separation never quite became complete because, as Rose explains, "This separation was never truly complete in practice because the church also maintained the Torah as a source document or holy document of their faith. This was soon accompanied by scripture written by the Apostles and eventually combined into one volume of Holy Scripture." Even today, we use the "Torah" as a backbone to our faith as Christians. The entire Old Testament is used by all Christians as a source of comfort (Psalms), future revelation (Prophets), teaching (Proverbs), and knowledge about God's plan for humanity (Genesis). In the last two thousand years, this separation still exists although many Jews have converted to Christianity through the working of the Holy Spirit. True Christians are not the kind of people to deny anyone their heritage, and we have not stood in the way of the Jewish community maintaining theirs. Still, we want them to know that the true Messiah has come and that He wants His chosen people to know Him better, but we won't force it upon them as Jesus did not force His ways on them either. Though there is still separation between the Jews and Christians, Rose states that "Barrier though it may have been and still continues to be, there is no denying the positive impact it had of the growth and development of the church as a separate group of called out believers in Christ."
Rose, W. (2011). Barriers to the early church part 6. Retrieved from: http://www.examiner.com/article/barriers-to-the-early-church-part-6.
Question: "I am not saying that all Jews are like that, but the ones I spoke with have this feeling."
Author Response: There were a couple of Messianic Jews in the last church I went to. One of them I met just before he accepted Christ as his Messiah right after his wife did, and let me tell you, you never saw a happier man in all of your life. Once he realized that he had been missing out on his Messiah (the man was in his fifties) he actually got mad at himself for waiting for so long to realize that his Messiah had already come. From that day on, he vowed to not let any Jewish person he could talk to walk away without hearing that their Messiah had already come and that they need to accept Him as their Messiah, too. During his membership speech, he shed many tears because he now belonged to the true family of God. He is very overjoyed that he will see Jesus someday as a believer and not as a Jewish man who followed the Law.
Question: "I believe that it is important for all converts to go through a discipleship program, in order to understand the mandate that has been given to us and to move forward and disciple other believers."
Author Response: I also believe that new believers must be taught how to evangelize before they can go out and speak to others about Jesus. Isn't that what Jesus did by teaching His disciples for three years before He let them go free to tell others. When He sent out the seventy to try it on their own, they had great success because they taught only what they were taught, and, of course, the spirit was upon them to do the work Jesus sent them out to do. Some churches tell new believers that they must share their faith, but if they have not yet cracked open their bibles, how do they know what to teach in a convincing way to any lost sinner? Learning the Roman's Road way is okay and it is the simple way to tell others about their need of salvation through Jesus, and keeping it simple is a must. New believers must know what they are telling others. When I was a new believer there was no way I could have evangelized because I had never read the Bible before that day. I needed to learn what I had experienced in a practical way first before I became involved in any evangelistic ministry in the church I first went to after receiving Christ. Teaching others, which is how we make disciples, helps to bring confidence to their witness by learning how Jesus taught one day at a time.
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.
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