A little history...
Over the past few decades, not since the first century have
such a large number of Jewish people embraced Jesus (Yeshua)
as Messiah and Lord. For many Jewish believers, however, a
traditional “church” environment proved to be
too foreign or simply unable to nurture and sustain their
identity as Jews. To serve the unique needs of these Jewish
believers, the Lord saw fit to establish what have become
known as “Messianic Congregations” (sometimes
referred to as “Messianic Jewish congregations”).
From its humble beginnings in 1981, Beth Ariel Fellowship
has served as a spiritual home for Jewish and Gentile believers
who share a common faith in Messiah Jesus. Our fellowship
is sensitive to the needs, backgrounds and special struggles
of the Jewish believer. At the same time, we provide an exciting
(and often enlightening) home for Gentile believers who desire
to more fully appreciate the Jewish roots of their faith.
We incorporate a creative approach to worship that reflects
New Covenant (New Testament) teachings through the richness
of Jewish culture as expressed in its history, holidays and
music. In Hebrew, the term “Beth Ariel” means
“House of the Lion of God.” It is Beth Ariel’s
confession that Yeshua (Jesus) is that “Lion…from
the tribe of Judah” (Revelations 5:5). Baruch HaShem!
(Praise His Name!)
|"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers
to dwell together in unity."
A lot of history (some good, some not so good) has passed
since the first century and believers have long needed a functioning
model of a New Covenant (New Testament) congregation. Unfortunately,
there was a great departure from the biblical model we see
described in the Book of Acts. We are grateful to God that
times have changed! Many larger, non-Jewish sectors of the
Body of Messiah are experiencing a reawakening as to the Jewish
roots of Christianity -- and with this has come a more sincere
appreciation of the inherent Jewishness of the faith. Pointing
to the first century assembly of believers as our model, Beth
Ariel Fellowship seeks to be a congregation wherein Jew and
Gentile are encouraged to maintain their ethnic and cultural
distinctives, while at the same time worship and serve together
as spiritual equals before God.
Our congregational leader...
Louis S. Lapides has been the spiritual leader of Beth Ariel
since its inception in 1981. He was raised in a Conservative
Jewish home in Newark, New Jersey. He attended Hebrew school
and became Bar Mitzvahed at the traditional age of thirteen.
In 1969 he accepted Yeshua of Nazareth as his Jewish Messiah.
Pastor Lapides received a Bachelor of Arts degree in theology
and later earned his Master of Divinity and Master of Theology
degrees at Talbot Theological Seminary in La Mirada, California.
Additionally, he has completed studies toward his Ph.D. in
the ancient Near Eastern Languages and Cultures Department
Pastor Lapides has served as an instructor for the Walk Through
the Bible Seminars throughout the United States and Canada,
and as a Professor of Biblical Studies at Biola University
in La Mirada, California. He has been featured on several
talk radio and television programs including "Religion
on the Line" and "Religion Today." Pastor Lapides
is featured in author Lee Strobel's best selling book, The
Case for Christ, and is a contributor and writer for Teshmusic.com,
an inspirational website owned and managed by musical artist
and performer, John Tesh. As a conference speaker, Pastor
Lapides emphasizes practical teaching from the Bible on spiritual
growth, family and individual life issues.
Pastor Lapides resides with his wife Deborah and two children,
Jonathan and Justin.