(This article appeared in the America’s Promise Ministries Newsletter for November/December 2021)
By Pastor Matthew Dyer
Many Christian Anglo-Israel believers have decided that the idea of assembling as a body of believers to worship, fellowship, have Bible studies, prayer meetings, and partake of communion is not very important. I believe this is a big issue that we need to address, because it has some big consequences.
I have been around the Anglo-Israel “movement” my whole life, and as many of you know there aren’t very many local assemblies that have a physical “church building” that gather weekly, or even regularly. One thing we must all understand is the Church building is not the church. The Church is the group of called-out Christians that gathering in the Church building, or home, or whatever kind of building you use. Even though the Church building is not important compared to the body of believers that make up the Church, it would be nice to see more Christian Israel church buildings pop up all across the nation like there once was. Those buildings make it easier to assemble, for men to step up and preach and teach, and to keep the people meeting on a regular basis. It also allows younger families to be able to move to an area with an established congregation.
One reason I don’t believe we have more Church buildings and local assemblies, is because many in the Anglo-Israel movement have chosen to put gathering together as something not very important. They may say “Well, that would be nice” but don’t do anything about it. This, of course, isn’t all of us, because many of us still strive for that fellowship, but there are some who don’t. I believe there is a bitter taste in some people’s mouths about gathering together and having Church with their brethren. I believe this bitter taste goes back to misunderstandings and hurt feelings perhaps in a “Judeo-Christian” church they used to attend or even among Anglo-Israel churches or gatherings. Over the years I have witnessed a lot of fighting over minor doctrinal differences, shunning someone or maybe even a whole family because they listen to a preacher that your preacher you listen to had a falling out with or doesn’t like, and so many other things. These attitudes have hurt the Body, and we need to have unity of His Spirit (Ephesians 4) especially during these times!
These bad experiences have led a lot of people to feel like any Church gathering is not good and is going to end up in heart break, betrayal, and a knife in their back. Although many people may have good reasons for thinking that due to their past experiences, this does not make it true. The Bible has a lot to say about gathering together, and the importance of it. We as Christian-Israel need to gather as often as possible with brethren for worship and fellowship. If you don’t have a local assembly in your area, here are a few things you can do.
#1. Travel to an assembly. Travel as often as you can to an area that has a local assembly or Church building. You may only be able to visit once a month or once every three months, but this is better than nothing. If things go well over time, maybe you could consider moving to that area.
#2. Starting your own assembly. This is much better than only traveling because it allows you to be like the salt of the earth and hold back corruption in the area God placed you. Jesus in Matthew 5:13 says this “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”
Back when they salted meat to hold back rot and to preserve it, did they place the salt all in one area of the meat, or did they spread it around? They spread it around! Just like God has placed us all over the world. Starting your own assembly may seem impossible, but it’s not. We need to outreach and get younger families into the truth; this is one big way to do that. If you live in the middle of the state and know like minded brethren or families within a few hours’ drive, you could rent a building at a central location as much as possible and assemble. Or better yet, you could start a Bible study in your local area with friends and family and teach them the truths you know and create an assembly that way.
Dr. Blanchard’s Bible Mastery Boot Camp Bible Course is a wonderful resource for this work. One reason it is such a good tool, is it starts out slow and teaching at a good pace. You don’t have to preach, or teach; you just play the DVDs and follow along in the workbook. If your local assembly is a success, you might find the Lord raise up man or two to be a preacher in that area.
I never grew up around an Anglo-Israel church or assembly. It was just me and my family. The highlight of the year was going to a conference or Bible camp for fellowship with like minded brethren. I still have many friendships with people I met at those gatherings, and that is also where I met my wife. Local assemblies are also very important for your children or grandchildren, because they need to be raised up knowing there are people who believe like them and their family, and that they are not on an island.
Assembling as a Church body is very important, and needs to be done as much as possible. Yes, there will be disagreements among people. Sometimes people can be rude, and not handle things properly, including you! But this is nothing new. At the end of the day, we all have problems we deal with in our lives, and all of need to be learning to not be offended easily. Proverbs 11:12 in RSV says it this way:
“He who belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.“
This is where we need to have understanding and forgiveness, and look to the Word on how to handle these things when they do happen. You will see people handle things badly at sports games, in the workplace, the gym, and others places, yet going to Church gets all the negative focus. So I will end this article with some Scriptures I would like for you to consider, and I pray that you get to work looking for an assembly or starting your own.
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:25
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” – Matthew 18:20
“Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.” – Colossians 4:15The Church is the Body of believers. They were meeting in homes. We can do this too!