Some years ago, the Leadership Council of Toward Jerusalem Council II created a document of commitments that denominations, streams, individual churches, and leaders should affirm. This document anticipates the kind of statements that would be made in an international council or Jerusalem Council II itself.
We were frequently asked what we were asking leaders and communities to affirm and do in the interim. The result was the Seven Affirmations.
The center of our effort is affirmations that connect the larger Church to the Messianic Jewish Remnant, the restored Jewish part of the Body of the Messiah. This connection includes commitment as well as confessions about the calling and role of the Jewish people for the Messianic Jewish remnant that considers itself part of the call of the Jewish people as a whole.
Thus the Seven Affirmations begin with the affirmation of the election of Israel and God’s commitment to use Israel as an instrument of World Redemption.
The second affirmation affirms the central tenant of Messianic Judaism, that Jews who come to faith in Jesus are called to identify and live as part of their people. This affirmation leads to the affirmation of Messianic Jewish Congregations as a key to maintaining Jewish life in the Messiah, but also Jewish groupings that are part of churches that are not Messianic Jewish Congregations.
The other affirmations call for explicit commitments to build bridges, pray for the Messianic Jewish community, share resources to help establish congregations and theological training institutes. We believe in explicit commitments that call the churches to go beyond mere words to deeds. “Faith without works is dead.”
All are called to be a voice of influence against anti-Semitism, replacement theology (supersessionism), and the teaching against the rejection of Jewish identity in Jesus.
Finally, we are called to affirm our unity together as One New Man that does not dissolve our distinctive identities as Jew and Gentile.
The idea is that the Seven Affirmations would build momentum. As more church bodies embrace the Seven Affirmations, there will be more probability to see an actual council take place which officially declares an international standard for the Church. Now we understand that the official call for a council is something that only ecclesial governmental bodies can do. For Roman Catholics, an official council level of meeting rarely takes place, the last one being Vatican II in the 1960s. Catholics have other means of official declaration other than a council. Many other church bodies can send representatives to a council meeting with authority to agree to the council’s official affirmations and then return to receive the confirmation in their larger governmental bodies.
Several Church bodies have embraced the Seven Affirmations, including the International Four Square Church, the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, the large Chinese movement in Taiwan, Bread of Life, and the large new apostolic movement of churches called Harvest International Ministries. There are others.
The spread and the influence of the Seven Affirmations is a key project for Toward Jerusalem Council II.
by Daniel Juster, Th. D.