|Doctrines|| ||Messianic Jews/Jewish Christians adhere to certain Jewish practices while acknowledging Jesus (whom they refer to by his Aramaic name Yeshua) as the Messiah foretold in the Hebrew scriptures. Traditional Jewish practices observed by Messianic Jews/Jewish Christians are the Friday evening, lighting Shabbat candles, kiddush and wearing kippot during their service. The service includes the recitation of traditional Jewish prayers in Hebrew, although the words are amended to include Jesus.|
According to the constitution of the Messianic Jewish (Hebrew Christian) Alliance "they look to the One God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) as their sole divine authority and acknowledge the Tanach (Old Testament) and Brit Hadshah (New Testament) as the Word of God. They reject the authority of Rabbinical literature. They accept Messiah Yeshua as their personal saviour. They believe in the atonement which he wrought once and for all by His death and His resurrection, and acknowledge Yeshua as the promised Messiah. They have to make public confession of their faith." People of Jewish parentage who share their beliefs are entitled membership; non-Jewish believers, however, are only entitled to associate membership.
|History|| ||The earliest Christians were Jewish Christians whose missions were directed towards the Jews. In spite of St Paul's teaching that observance of the Jewish law was not required for Gentile converts to Christianity, some Jewish Christians continued to insist on the observance aspects of the Jewish law such as abstaining from the consumption of pork and taking ritual baths. These groups were subsequently marginalised as heretics and were in the most part either absorbed into Jewish sects, such as the Zadokites or the Essenes, or into Gentile churches. By the fourth century there were almost no distinctively Jewish congregations left.|
In the 19th century Jewish Christian congregations began to reemerge. The first of these was Beni Abraham which came into existence in London when forty-one Hebrew Christians assembled as Jewish Christians. This led to a more general awareness of the Jewish identity of Christians with a Jewish background, expressed through the flowering of Hebrew Christianity in the nineteenth century. In 1866 the Hebrew Christian Alliance of Great Britain was organised with branches in several European countries and the United States. These organisations had the combined effect of encouraging Jewish believers in Jesus to think of themselves as a community with a unique identity.
Jewish believers are now divided into two broad groups: Hebrew Christians, who identify themselves as religiously Christian but ethnically Jewish, and Messianic Jews, who affirm themselves to be solely Jewish, albeit representing a special type of Judaism. Hebrew Christians are quite happy to be integrated into local Christian churches, but Messianic Jews seek an 'indigenous' expression of theology, worship and lifestyle within the whole church. The latter group emerged in the 1960s when some Christian Jews adopted the name Messianic Jews in order to affirm their belief that Jews who accept Yeshua/Jesus are in fact returning to what they describe as "true Judaism".
An important contemporary aspect of the movement is an outreach programme, of which the Jews for Jesus organisation is the most visible expression. Jews for Jesus is strongly committed to working among the Jews through door-to-door work, personal Bible instruction, telephone evangelism, and fellowship meetings. However, concomitant with the expansion of the movement through evangelism has been a splitting of the movement into smaller groups.
|Symbols|| ||The two principal symbols of the movement are the Star of David and a the Star with Cross.|
|Adherents|| ||There is no statistical information on the number of Jewish Christians in the world or in individual countries.|
| ||The organisation does not have a headquarters or main centre. |