Five hundred years ago, in the midst of the great Reformation that gave birth to the various sects of Protestant Christianity, like-minded believers began to seek out one another in the interest of living according to their understanding of God’s instructions from the Bible. Many, if not most, of these sects found refuge in America, forming the communities we know as Puritan, Separatist (Pilgrim), Quaker, Mennonite, Moravian, Amish, and many others. In the pre-modern world bereft of electricity, mass communications, and rapid transit, the communities these believers formed often took shape around existing communities where families and congregations began to take advantage of the new translations of the Bible in their native languages. In time these communities attracted like-minded believers from near and far, bringing growth in population, wealth, and influence to such places as Geneva, Holland, New England, and Pennsylvania.
It would seem that a similar phenomenon is happening today. The Lord is restoring to His people a Hebraic understanding of the Scriptures which has been obscured for many centuries. This is the time anticipated by the Prophet Daniel, when many run to and fro and knowledge is increased (Daniel 12:4). Like the Protestant Reformation, the Torah Awakening is creating a desire among Messianic and Hebrew Roots believers to establish communities where they can associate with like-minded people and live according to their understanding of the Scriptures. Yet the very aspects which have facilitated the Torah Awakening in this post-modern age are the things that make it more difficult to establish communities. Here in the West we are well-connected by social media and instantaneous communication which permit us to share ideas with fellow believers across continental distances. This is a blessing, but it is not a community. Often it is easier to connect with someone 1,000 miles away than to find fellow Torah-observant disciples of Yeshua in the same county. When we do find these brethren relatively nearby, what are we to do? Shall we buy land in common and live in the same house? Shall we establish a business or a farm together and contribute to our common welfare? What examples do we have from Scripture, and how has human history and recent experience shaped our understanding of these examples?
These are things we must understand if we are to come together as a nation. As noted on this blog and elsewhere, this process begins in the local community. But exactly how do we build these local communities?
Fortunately, someone who has traveled this path of faith is willing to share his experience. Zach Bauer of New2Torah recently released a video teaching in which he discusses the subject of a Torah-observant community. He starts with the example of the community Yeshua’s disciples built according to the book of Acts (Acts 2:42-47, 4:32-37), examining this record in the context of Torah principles. Along the way he shares some practical lessons on what to do and what not to do. For those who are considering seriously how to associate more closely with like-minded Hebrew Roots believers, Zach’s teaching is an excellent starting point.