Dr. Mark Kinzer is the Rabbi of Congregation Zera Avraham in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Born in Detroit in 1952, Mark was raised in a Conservative Jewish home and became an adherent of Messiah Yeshua in 1971. Mark is Senior Scholar and President Emeritus of Messianic Jewish Theological Institute.
Last April, I represented TJCII at the third international gathering of the Global Christian Forum (GCF) in Bogota, Colombia. This was the first time the GCF has invited a Messianic Jew (identified publicly as such) to attend their forum. Given TJCII’s ultimate goal of gaining recognition for Messianic Judaism among all the world’s churches, this was a significant milestone.
To understand why this is the case, one must first become familiar with the Global Christian Forum. The GCF brings together representatives from every imaginable segment of the Christian world. Attendees came from more than fifty countries, and included many denominational leaders.
What an extraordinary opportunity to speak about Messianic Judaism, and about the vision of TJCII! Interest in these subjects was high, but the pre-existing knowledge-base was low. We still have much that remains to be done before we see a universal acknowledgement of Messianic Jews in the Body of Messiah. But this event was a major step in that direction.
Some of my most memorable conversations were with Pentecostal friends of Fr. Peter Hocken of blessed memory, who was a central figure in the work of TJCII. They had heard about TJCII from Fr. Peter, but none of them had seen the Seven Affirmations or TJCII’s Vision, Origin and Documents booklet. I distributed copies of these important documents, and they all seemed genuinely grateful to receive them.
It was a privilege to attend this remarkable gathering, and an even greater privilege to do so on behalf of Toward Jerusalem Council II and the entire Messianic Jewish community. May the seeds planted in Bogota bear a rich harvest!
By Rabbi Mark S. Kinzer, Ph.D.