LCJE - as relevant as ever
By Haavard Kleppe, Norwegian Church Ministry to Israel
Being welcomed at the airport at 00.15 and shuttled to the LCJE conference venue gave us a first impression of Finnish hospitality and accurate planning by the conference committee. Both things would follow us throughout the whole conference.
Last time I attended an LCJE-conference was in Easneye, England in 1986. How would the development within the Messianic/ Hebrew Christian movement be reflected in this conference.
Back in 1986, I had a feeling that different Messianic groups, especially those from North America and Israel, were struggling over how to express their Jewishness through worship and lifestyle. 17 years later, at the Helsinki conference, I sensed a more mature movement. Or could it be that a polarisation has taken place, making the LCJE-network irrelevant for certain groups?
The theme of the conference; Jesus and His People, was thoroughly dealt with through the many sessions, and it was a privilege to listen to scholars like Skarsaune, Bartelt and Harvey. Their deliberations confirmed that the Jewishness of Yeshua and his teachings cannot be refuted, and that there is a clear Jewish influence on the creeds of the church.
Lessons taught through the lives of individuals often make the biggest impact on our own lives. During the conference, both through an evening session and through personal fellowship during breaks, I was very much blessed by a fellow believer from Russia. In a special way he portrayed the strange mathematics of the Kingdom of God; What made this high rank laser engineer see it as a promotion to preach Yeshua on the streets of Moscow? The same questions could be asked about the brilliant people we encountered in ”Lessons from history”.
Some of the American participants did visit the real Finnish sauna, but openly raised their doubts of the usefulness of it. Apart from the late evening options, the sauna was the only workshop activity. More workshops would be much welcomed in future conferences.
It was an encouragement to meet with individuals who have been actively involved in the LCJE from the very beginning. Their tireless work have been a blessing to all those who are involved in making Yeshua known to his own people. The idea of involving fast-growing churches in Asia, Africa and Latin-America in its Biblical concern for the Jewish people will make the network even more important in the future.