Can the Body of
In his new book Blind Spots, Coach Bill
McCartney (Promise Keepers) asks this question, and then
shows that if the body of Christ is to reconcile, that reconciliation
must begin between the ancient divide in the body of Christ
pointed out in Scripture, the divide between Gentile and
Jewish believer in Yeshua, Jesus. I believe I have found just exactly where that reconciliation must
begin. Interested? Read on.
Two very interesting and genuine
movements of the Holy Spirit came out of the early 1970's. The Calvary Chapel movement of the Holy Spirit
is about 30 years old, and a corresponding movement of the
Holy Spirit started rolling about 30 years ago--the Messianic
movement. The two movements are spiritually quite similar--alive
and vibrant spiritually.
As we'll see, both spread first all over the United
States, and are now going worldwide in their scope.
I was a part of a local Calvary Chapel for two and
a half years as it grew from 12 to 125 members, and is now
about 400 in attendance. Now I have attended a Messianic Jewish congregation for about a
year, so I've seen both from the inside and know they are
both Holy Spirit filled, led and inspired.
Calvary Chapels and Messianic congregations are both
spreading around the world. Calvary Chapel congregations tend to grow large
(depending on the receptivity of the people and the area),
while Messianic congregations tend to stay small, while
the number of congregations in a given state is larger.
From what I have observed, each movement of the Holy
Spirit--Calvary Chapel and Messianic--is complimentary to
the other, i.e. the knowledge each has been given by the
Lord would tremendously aid the other. Coach Bill McCartney brought out in his new book Blind Spots
that the healing of the great divide in the body of Christ
must begin with the historic breach spelled out in Scripture,
between Jewish and Gentile believers in Jesus Christ, Yeshua
of Nazareth. In the area of reconciliation of the body of
Christ, looking at it from a military point of view, this
is a terribly tough bit of ground to conquer and take.
But it is the key, as Coach brings out, to the whole
reconciliation picture. If this hill is a tough one to take, then,
in the military mindset, you have to look for the easiest
or friendliest part of the hill to go after.
I think I've found it, two movements of the Holy
Spirit that basically started out at the same time, one
in the Gentile Christian Church and the other amongst Jewish
believers in Yeshua of Nazareth.
Both closely share a common belief in the pre-millennial
interpretation of prophecy, and belief in the kingdom role
of Israel during the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ, and
both share a total aversion to "replacement theology." I.e. These two groups share common ground doctrinally
in some important areas where theological divides often
separate other believers. My observation is this:
A unique opportunity exists here between these two
movements of the Holy Spirit--the Calvary Chapel's and the
Messianic congregations--to reach out to each other in each
and every community where they dwell together--forming sister
church alliances--getting to know each other, attending
each other's services--forming pastor/rabbi friendships
and even sharing of ministries where possible.
How far this is taken is solely up to each pastor
or rabbi, but the sky's the limit as far as God is concerned.
The unity that should exist between Gentile and Jewish
branches of Christianity has been looked at by some of the
Messianic pastors like this, it's sort of like the union
between a man and a woman in marriage, where each is separate
and different, yet form "one flesh", a physical-psychological
and even spiritual union. Each remains separate, but at the same time united to the other--united
in love, purpose, goals, what-have-you.
Yeshua, Jesus has basically spelled out those goals
(Matthew 24:14; 28:18-20).
But right now that unity is like a married couple
on the verge of divorce.
Coach McCartney says that if we get the Gentile and
Jewish division solved, the rest of the unity problem will
fall into place. Sort
of like the Jewish/Gentile unity problem is the top button
on the shirt. Button that first button, and all the others
line up. So what
follows are quotes from Pastor Chuck Smith's book Harvest
and David Chernoff, in the spring 2002 SPIRIT OF MESSIAH
magazine. These quotes describe the two movements, and show
definitely that they were and are movements of the Holy
Spirit. First, Pastor
Chuck Smith in Harvest says:
"As I describe to you the explosion of church growth
that happened in the Calvary Chapel movement, I speak as
a spectator. If
there is any credit to be given, it belongs to God alone.
If you understand this perspective, then when I describe
to you my difficult years, my desert years, you will know
why I stand in awe at what God has done. And you will celebrate with me the awesome
symmetry of God's design.
It leaves us all stunned and amazed.
pictures in Look, Life, Time, and Newsweek
magazines of our massive Calvary Chapel baptisms in the
Pacific Ocean resemble a human harvest field.
Literally thousands of people can be seen crowding
the shores waiting to be baptized. Images like these illustrate that this is a
colossal phenomenon as far as churches go.
Professors such as Peter Wagner at Fuller Seminary
and Ron Enroth at Westmount College state in their books
that there may be nothing like it in American history.
has been estimated that in a two-year period in the mid-70s,
Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa had performed well over eight
thousand baptisms. During that same period, we were instrumental
in 20,000 conversions to the Christian faith. Our decadal growth rate had been calculated
by church growth experts to be near the ten thousand percent
more staggering still is that when we first came to Calvary
Chapel church in Costa Mesa in 1965, we had twenty five
people our first Sunday morning.
put this in perspective.
Not only has that church of twenty-five members established
more than five hundred affiliate Calvary Chapels across
the world, but that one fellowship in Costa Mesa has grown
until the number of people who consider it their home church
is more than thirty-five thousand!.I have heard critics
try to dismiss the impact of Calvary Chapel by calling it
"production line religion".Other critics, who belong to
churches that have not grown in years (which was exactly
my situation for well over a decade) often adopt a stance
of spiritual elitism. To them, smallness proves spirituality, faithfulness,
or an unwillingness to compromise. Perhaps they feel that "quantity" diminishes the "quality" of spirituality.
[I can tell you for sure, having been a member of
a Calvary Chapel that grew from 12 to now over 400, that
the "quality" of their teaching and discipling was first
rate-top notch. Their
method of preaching, verse by verse, chapter by chapter
through the whole Bible helps make each member better versed
in the Word of God than many pastors in other churches,
so the "quality" issue is definitely not an issue.
On the other hand, the "Quality" of their teaching
style, what I call the connective expository sermon
format, may be one of the reasons for their phenomenal
growth rate in their local congregations--they feed their
sheep well, and the sheep "reproduce". So this part of the body of Christ most definitely has something
positive to offer the rest of the body of Christ, just in
knowledge of how to teach and reach their local attending
talked about the man who buried his talents and wound up
with nothing, because even what he had was taken away.
But He also spoke positively about the servant who
magnified his talents a thousandfold.
So to say that Christ purposely limits the size and
impact of a ministry is unfounded. The explosive force of a ministry can equally
be taken as a sign that God is genuinely at work. Who can forget the day of Pentecost when three
thousand turned to Christ on the streets of Jerusalem? "And the Lord added to their number daily those
who were being saved." (Acts 2:47).
as the Jews soon discovered that they were not to keep the
Good News among themselves, but were to include the "despised"
Gentiles, so there was an interesting shifting of gears
at Calvary Chapel. Our fellowship began with twenty-five members who represented mainline,
traditional America. Yet
God called us to share with the youth from the counterculture. This outreach took a miracle of love and acceptance.
But as each group accepted the other, both sides
grew in number. There
was a vital sense of God stepping into the picture and as
lives changed before our eyes.
The sense of being in the middle of a miracle kept
feeding itself like a bonfire. When some hopeless heroin addict throws away
his needle and goes to the beach to convert three people
to Christ in an afternoon, it's a pretty strong boast to
the faith of everyone involved!
remarkable pattern kept repeating itself.
As soon as we moved into a new building, our fellowship
would already by too big for the facilities.
We seemed to grow like a Chinese checker jumping
across the board. In two years we moved from our original building
(one of the first church buildings in Costa Mesa) to a rented
Lutheran church overlooking the Pacific. Soon
thereafter we decided to do something unprecedented at the
time and move the church to a school that we had bought.
The building did not match up to code so we tore
it down and built another, hippies and straights working
and smiling side by side. It was such a sight that cars on the highway
would slow down and gawk at us.
[Calvary Chapel, right here, is showing that they
already know to Christianity should bridge across divergent
groups, unifying them in Yeshua, Jesus.]
always felt that the ideal church size was about 275 and
so we built accordingly.
But by the time the sanctuary of 330 seats was completed
in 1969, we were already forced to go to two services and
eventually had to use the outside courtyard for 500 more
seats. This was
all fine in good weather.
by 1971 the large crowds and winter rains forced us to move
again. We bought a ten-acre tract of land on the Costa
Mesa/Santa Ana border."
And on it goes.
You can order the book Harvest by logging
, then click on "Pastor Chuck Smith's Materials,
then "Books", then "General books and pamphlets" and scroll
down until you come to the title of Harvest.]
Obviously this was a movement of the Holy Spirit,
which started rolling in earnest in the late 1960s to early
1970s. The Jewish branch of the body of Christ (Yeshua)
began to grow and leapfrog across the country just about
the same time, late 60's to early 70's.
Is this just coincidence?
Ancient rabbis always said, "With God, there is no
such thing as coincidence."
Quoting David Chernoff in the spring 2002 issue of
SPIRIT of MESSIAH magazine, "My parents, Martin and Yohanna
Chernoff, labored for many years in Jewish ministry.
In the late 60s and early 70s, they caught the "Messianic
Vision", founded one of the first Messianic congregations
and became a great influence in this modern Messianic movement
[of the Holy Spirit]. In
the last 30 years or so, I have seen many leaders and lay
people who caught the "Messianic Vision".
They went on to win many people to the Messiah [Jesus]
and have born much fruit for His Kingdom.Messianic Judaism
is a movement birthed and energized by God. We desperately need to look to Him at all times
for direction and to make sure we are in the center of His
will." He goes on to define the Messianic vision.
I will give several of the points he gives.
A REVIVAL MOVEMENT--Messianic Judaism is an end-time
spiritual awakening of God's Chosen People [the Jews]. We are the first fruits of Israel's salvation,
the spiritual restoration of Israel parallel to the physical
restoration of Israel.
A PRODUCT OF THE RUACH HAKODESH (HOLY SPIRIT)--This movement was born out of a great spiritual awakening
in the late 60s and early 70s.
It was not designed, inspired or formed by any person(s)
but by the Holy Spirit.
Nobody can take the credit for this movement.
There are no architects and no superstars, only Yeshua
[Jesus] and Ruach Adonai. We need to make sure that we are walking in
the Spirit and being guided by Him daily."
So that describes the two most recent major movements
of the Holy Spirit in the Christian world, one Gentile,
one Jewish. They both started very recently, 30 years ago
in the late 1960s to early 1970s.
One has grown both in size of their congregations
and in number of congregations, now going around the world. The other has grown in number of congregations,
first in the United States, and now around the world--and
into Israel. It is my estimation that both these movements
of the Holy Spirit need each other, each needs what the
other has to offer. When
they "reconcile" the reconciliation of the whole body of
Christ has begun in earnest. This may be the break in the lines, the easy
ground leading up the hill of opposition to unity in the
body. Whenever these two groups get together in whatever
way the Lord leads, the healing of the Great Divide will
begin in earnest. I firmly believe that. Pastors interested in this theme of Christian
reconciliation should order Coach Bill McCartney's new book
Blind Spots, available from either http://www.christianbooks.com or http://www.amazon.com , for about $12. The book has
many good nuggets of pure spiritual gold and Godly advice
on how to overcome those blind spots that are holding your
ministry and congregation back-and blind spots that are
holding the body of Christ back as well. Pages 21-33 detail the Messianic movement of
the Holy Spirit in Coach's own words, and show how vital
it is that the Gentile and Jewish parts of the body of Christ
come together as the first and most vital part of healing
the divide in the body of Christ.
If you're a Messianic believer or pastor/rabbi and
you don't exactly feel comfortable about just walking into
a Calvary Chapel service on a Sunday morning without some
prior investigation, log onto my website ( http://www.UNITYINCHRIST.COM ). The sections of the site that
cover the gospel accounts (Mark thus far), and Epistles
(Romans, 1 Corinthians, James etc.) are mostly Calvary Chapel
sermon transcripts. Also click on the "Concepts of Ministry" section,
see what makes a Calvary Chapel tick, how and why they grow
so fast and so large when compared to other churches.
Do some research, then go visit them on a Sunday
morning. Don't be afraid, they don't bite. Tell them you're a visiting Messianic believer
in Yeshua, they'll welcome you with open arms.