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by Norm Manzon, editor

Messianic congregational leaders from across the nation gathered in Tucson, Arizona, on July 17-18, 2005, for the AMC’s second conference, its first in the Southwest. Participants from Washington to Hawaii withstood the blistering Tucson heat to take part in a two-day conference that proved to be a wonderful time of encouragement, teaching, and fellowship.

The conference was officiated by AMC president Steve Shermett, leader of Congregation Beth Sar Shalom in Tucson, who welcomed participants and established the spirit of brotherly love, which set the tone for the conference. 

Steve reported on the errant and destructive “Two House” or “Ephraimite” movement which is gaining momentum within Messianic circles. According to their doctrine, most or all Gentiles who believe in Messiah Yeshua are, as proved by their faith, so they say, literal descendents of the ten northern tribes of post-Solomonic Israel and are properly designated as Ephraimites and Israelites, whereas the term “Jew” properly applies only to the descendants of the two southern tribes, Judah and Benjamin. Steve pointed out that this doctrine is a very dangerous new twist on replacement theology that is causing confusion in the Messianic movement, reducing our integrity and harming our witness. He then proceeded to refute this heresy with the Word of God.

Sam Nadler of Word of Messiah Ministries in Charlotte, North Carolina, served as keynote speaker for the conference. He presented five lectures on Messianic apologetics, included such topics as: the scriptural basis of taking the Good News to the Jew first, the necessity of Messianic congregations, the necessity of the presence of Gentile believers within them, and the unwavering necessity of faith in Yeshua as mediator of the New Covenant as the only means of salvation. Sam's many years of experience in the Messianic movement served as a deep well of wisdom and insight, and his good humor was infectious.

AMC Board member Mottel Baleston, Associate Messianic Rabbi of Congregation Beth Messiah in Livingston, New Jersey, presented an overview of the issues covered at the first AMC Conference, which was held in New Jersey in May of 2005. Mottel spoke on the Abrahamic Covenant as the basis for our Jewish identity and on how to preserve and develop Jewish identity as an encompassing lifestyle in the home and as a valid expression in the Messianic congregation. He emphasized that maintaining our Jewish identity and culture in all areas of our personal and congregational life increases the effectiveness of our witness to our Jewish people.

Two excellent panel forums were held which allowed participants to ask questions of, and offer observations to, Sam, Steve, and Mottel concerning current attacks on the Messianic movement, which include attacks even on the necessity of faith in Yeshua for salvation. Our speakers emphasized that the struggle of the faithful remnant of Israel is of a spiritual nature and that we must work to diligently preserve the scriptural integrity of our doctrine.

As part of a forum on ideas for outreach, Cathy Wilson, missionary with Chosen People Ministries in Scottsdale, Arizona, gave a resourceful and inspiring presentation on various outreach projects and ideas that she and her team at Beth Sar Shalom in Scottsdale have been engaging in for ministry. Cathy utilizes unique and creative approaches, including dramatic presentations, delivering gift baskets, and ministering to Jewish senior citizens. The forum was opened to all conference participants for discussion on what is working in the Jewish outreaches of the various congregations represented. 

Norman Manzon, editor of the AMC’s email magazine, the Shofar, reported on how, despite spiritual attack, the Lord was setting in order all aspects of the Shofar, at that time unpublished, but which you are now reading. He made a plea for prayer for the successful birth of the Shofar and for the continuous submission of articles and testimonies by AMC members, without which there would be nothing to publish to edify and equip a potentially influential readership!

Jim Sibley, fourteen-year Jerusalem resident and co-founder of Criswell College’s Pasche Institute of Jewish Studies in Dallas, enumerated the rich academic resources available through this new graduate program, the only accredited evangelical program of its nature in the United States. He encouraged Messianic leaders to take advantage of its offerings as a means of continuing biblical studies from a solid Messianic perspective. For further information, go to  

Aside from the opportunity to meet distinguished Messianic leaders and scholars, the conference proved to be a wonderful opportunity for networking and engaging in dialogue. As brothers and sisters in Yeshua, conference participants enjoyed the intimate fellowship that came through conversation, meals, corporate prayers, song, and dancing the hora. Laughter and the sheer joy of gathering together were the hallmarks of this highly productive, foundational, and directive meeting. 

As friendships were established and connections made, all participants appeared extremely edified, solidified, and encouraged to work together in our divine commission. Before the conference ended, plans were already underway for next year’s gathering; and we look forward to the imminent increase of the Lord as this effort is for one purpose only: His glory! Amen.