FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: Is circumcision mandatory in Beth Yeshua
A: No, circumcision is definitely not mandatory in our congregation. And it has never been mandatory. Everyone decides what commandments he or she – in many other biblical requirements – wants and can and should keep.
Q: Doesn’t your regulations say that a man must be circumcised?
A: No, in our regulations, circumcision is only mentioned as one of the commandments that a man can still choose to keep, based on his own choice.
Q: Does the Bible say that a man has to be circumcised?
A: No! Circumcision is a command for Jewish parents, for a newly born son who is being circumcised on his eighth day (unless medical reasons require a postponement). Who, as a baby boy, is not circumcised by his Jewish parents on his eighth day, can never catch up that command. For this commandment is a commandment for the parents who, in that case, have foregone the prescribed opportunity.
Q: Can a man be circumcised later on?
A: Yes, that is possible. It is a widely used custom in Judaism that a man enters, inter alia, by circumcision the covenant and becomes a Jew.
Q: Is circumcision required for non-Jews in Beth Yeshua?
A: No, that is not mandatory in our congregation. Jewish and non-Jewish men who have not been circumcised, have the choice which of the commandments in the Bible they apply.
Q: Do you have to sign a form in Beth Yeshua that states that you are circumcised?
A: Absolutely not. Look at our forms and you’ll find out immediately.
Q: Why would a non-Jewish man want to be circumcised?
A: The Bible already mentions in Exodus that a non-Jewish man has the choice, if he explicitly wishes, to be circumcised. Those choices are made a lot throughout the history of Israel. Nowadays men get circumcised when they expressly want to become Jewish, or to be no longer strange to the covenants (see, both the covenant of Mosjee and that which the prophet Jeremiah announced in chapter 31:31-34. That being strange to the covenant and then become a part of it, you can read in Ephesians 2:11-12, “Remember, therefore, you were formerly Gentiles to the body and uncircumcised by what is called circumcision – with the work of human hands in the body – that you were without Messiah at that time excluded from the civil right of Israel and strange to the covenants of promise, without hope and without G-d in the world”. It seems that a non-Jew from free will, not prescribed by any congregation, can be circumcised, in connection with those covenants.
Q: Does the Bible require circumcision as a condition for a membership of non-Jews?
A: James mentions in the Book of Acts 15 the four things that non-Jews should meet. The moment they turn to G-d, see the Book of Acts 15:19, James finds “ … that they have to abstain from what has been polluted by idols, from fornication, from what is strangled and from blood”. The fifth Commandment that he brings in can be found in verse 21, where he says that these new believers are coming to his congregation every Shabbat; not on Sunday. But it is clear that James does not speak about that they have to be circumcised to be a member. Beth Yeshua follows also that same protocol.
Q: Is circumcision not eliminated for Christians?
A: Who poses this interesting question should also wonder why James demands those four commandments of new believers from the nations, plus the Sabbath meetings. And then try to figure out why Sabbath and why not circumcision. What would be the difference? Perhaps that circumcision makes a man Jewish, with approval of a rabbi? In 1 Corinthians 7:19, the New Testament says, “circumcision means nothing, and uncircumcision means nothing, but keeping G-d’s commandments. What is meant by this, is worth a personal process of good thinking of this all .
The title rabbi
Q: Is the Congregation Leader at Beth Yeshua a rabbi?
A: If you have to choose between a vicar, an imam or a pastor, a preacher or a spiritual leader, then in a Jewish community, the title of rabbi sounds more in place. Lion Erwteman received smicha as a rabbi by a Jewish Messiah believing organization. But compared to rabbis of orthodox-Jewish and liberal-Jewish congregations, his education has been different, that is why Erwteman does not call himself rabbi. Some people choose to use that title, and that is their own choice.
Q: Does the New Testament not say that you should not call yourself rabbi or let yourself been called rabbi?
A: There seems to be something mentioned like that. But read the first 7 verses and you notice that it is talking about men who are sitting at the first row with a wrong attitude and at places of honor. They call themselves with a title from the first century: rabbi; and allow people to approach them like that. That is what verse 8 talks about. The term rabbi was new at that time and showed pride and arrogance. The later meaning of rabbi was: teacher.
Q: Yet, it seems more safe to call no one rabbi
A: It seems like that. But beware, watch what the same text warns even more about: “And do not call anyone on earth ‘father’. Because there is only one who is your Father and that is your Father who is in heaven”. That statement seems to be contradicting to the commandment that you must honor your father and mother. Furthermore, can you not call your own father ‘your father’ anymore? Notice that these warnings against ’rabbi’, ‘father’ and later also ‘master’ in Matthew 23:8-10, are only meant to avoid abuse of those excellent titles, by people who were and are addicted to worship themselves.