These Became Part Of Tikkun
At the Kingdom Living Congregation in the Kansas City area on June 19, 2021, I reviewed the foundations of our theology in a biographical way. Here is the progression.
When I was 19 years old as a sophomore at The King’s College in New York, in the fall of 1966, I discovered that the teaching I had embraced, the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, was not in the Bible. It was a shock. Though I had a Reformed Pastor in high school that did not believe it, I was convinced by my Dispensational mentors and teachers. This began 3 ½ years of skepticism and very difficult searching. As I built back theological understanding, there was a progression. These points of conviction are today established in part of the Messianic Jewish Movement, but all of the points are foundational in Tikkun, our American and Global network.
- Understanding the relationship of Law and Grace. I had amazing professors in college and graduate school who were, without my knowing it, helping my theological understanding in a way that would prepare me for Messianic Jewish leadership. In dealing with the issue of the relationship of salvation by grace and the Law, I became convinced that Reformed theology was right on this and not dispensationalism. We are saved by grace through faith and through not good works of our own. However, that grace is transforming and leads to obedience to the Law as rightly applied in the New Covenant. This is affirmed in Romans 3:31, and 8:3 and explained in Calvin’s Institutes, Book II, Section VII.
- The Mosaic Covenant is a Covenant Grace and Salvation. In 1969 I was taught by Dr. Samuel Schultz who wrote The Gospel of Moses and Deuteronomy, The Gospel of God’s Love. I was also introduced to Meredith Kline of Gordon Conwell Seminary and his Treaty of the Great King. I understood from them that the Mosaic Covenant material was in the form of a vassal treaty from the 15th century B. C. Its form proved that God saved Israel by grace and then required obedience as a thankful response. It was not given as a covenant of works righteousness. The New Covenant is a greater grace covenant than Moses and gives much greater power for obedience. The Mosaic Covenant is a covenant of salvation by grace.
- We are to build Acts 2:42 Community (1970-71): In 1970 Patty, my wife today, and I were searching for the meaning of the Church. We were not satisfied with just going to meetings. We met with fellow students who believed we were to build lasting communities with intimate shared life, covenant relationships that would last a lifetime. We were to build community under an eldership. We were to be like an extended family, a tribe in Yeshua. This has been my ideal ever since.
- The Gospel is the Gospel of the Kingdom (1971). I was before 1971 skeptical about the last days (eschatology) My spiritual father from Wheaton, the college chaplain, Dr. Evan Welsh, gave me a book. With tears in his eyes he said the teaching that my father gave is returning to the Church. He gave me George Ladd’s book, The Gospel of the Kingdom. It was so important. I came to understand that the New Testament is eschatology and teaches that the future Kingdom has broken into this age with the coming of Yeshua and the gift of the Spirit. The Gospel is the invitation into the Kingdom of God which is here now, but only partially. It is already but not yet, inaugurated but not consummated. When the Kingdom is extended to the nations, history is moving toward the second coming of Yeshua where the not yet will be fulfilled. We are called to live in and from the Kingdom. The Kingdom is seen when people live by the Kingdom and its power is shown.
- We are to be a Connectional Church (1971) (a church of city: Presbyterian (1971). As the pull toward ministry returned to me, I asked the question, how is the Church to be ordered or governed? I saw a disaster in college days in an independent church. No one could bring correction. Then I understood that by the time of the end of the New Testament period, some cities had thousands of believers like Jerusalem. They met in different house gatherings, but all were under one eldership of the city. The cities were also linked. The closest thing to what I saw in the Scriptures was Presbyterianism, where the churches were one in each city under an eldership. I went to Presbyterian seminary and joined a Presbyterian Church.
- Jews Who come to Faith are to Identify and Live as Jews, as part of their people. (1972-1973) Through Chaplain Welsh at Wheaton, I was encouraged to consider being called to the Jewish Presbyterian Church in Chicago where he was the interim minister. I was called and accepted at the First Hebrew Christian Church, June 1972. There some of the elders had come to believe in continuing Jewish life and identity in Yeshua. They challenged me. I studied the issue for a year, both biblically and in scholarly writings. From the example of Paul, the early Messianic Jewish Community and Romans 9-11 especially, I came to believe that Jews who come to faith in Yeshua are called to identify and live as Jews and that Messianic Jewish congregations were crucial to fulfill that calling. We became Adat Ha Tikvah Congregation. We also affirmed embracing the Jewish rabbinic heritage where it is coherent to the Bible.
- We must embrace Charismatic power, deliverance and healing. (1975-1976). I was challenged to bring psychological and spiritual health to very troubled people in my congregation. I was not succeeding. Through a dear couple whom I led to the Lord, I was encouraged to go to a church meeting with leadership that believed in deliverance. I discovered deliverance ministry and inner spiritual healing when there were few books on the subject. We learned by doing. From this experience, I was now a committed charismatic that saw the power of the gifts of the Spirit in operation.
- God Will Restore His Church, Eph. 4, John 17:21, Acts 2 and Five Pillars. (1980). I was called to Beth Messiah Congregation in Rockville, Maryland outside of Washington, D. C. (January 1978). A leader in one of the local churches visited me at our home and asked if I believed in the restoration of the Church. I did not know what he was talking about. I asked him if he believed in the restoration of Israel. He was replacement theology and said, the Church is Israel. He later had a total change of view on this. Within the next month in a devotional time, I experienced a visitation form the Lord. He encouraged me by sharing that all I was came from a succession of impartations from parents, relatives, and godly leaders. He also noted that my calling was connected to honoring my Jewish father and the heritage of my Norwegian mother. He then said that my Jewish calling was very rooted in my Norwegian ancestors. I later traveled to Norway and found that there was a heritage of support for the Jewish people and their restoration to the Land reaching back to the mid-19th century. After this, God led me to connect John 17:21 and Ephesians 4:11ff. I came to conviction that God would restore his Church to unity as both passages envision and that through five-fold ministry, especially through apostles and prophets, we would see the fulfillment of the prayer of Yeshua for unity and the vision for unity and maturity in Eph. 4. This would be a key to the salvation of Israel and the return of Yeshua. Our network that today is called Tikkun was started in 1984 to live out these convictions.
For the first 9 years of its existence, I led the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations. The UMJC affirmed the first six points of this theology. However, despite my efforts, they did not generally affirm the seventh and eighth points. I am committed to the UMJC for the first 6 points. Tikkun embraces the seventh and eighth. Much of what I taught in the early years was also taught by Dr. David Stern. His books and mine are quite parallel.