Sunday, October 27, 2013

Apostate Teachers and Spiritual Food Recalls

Is it "disloyal" to call out an apostate Messianic teacher by name?

Imagine you're a reporter and you find proof that a food producer has been producing tainted food.  Considering that tainted food will make people sick (or worse), do you have a duty to the public to let them know about the tainted food?

The answer to that question should be obvious.

And it's the same with apostate teachers, purveyors of tainted spiritual food.  Yes, I called out Gene because he has poisoned many people and these people have a right to know that they've been poisoned.

But the question we should all be asking right now is this:  how does Messianic apostasy happen?

We should ask this so we know how to prevent this from happening again.  But the usual suspects with whom Gene collaborated have no interest in doing a postmortem.  They don't want to study the epidemiology of Gene's apostasy because they're afraid that the underlying causes might implicate their own ministries and teachings.

I say it's time to discuss this publicly!  I have no problem discussing this because I have no multi-million dollar ministry at stake---just a free Blogger account.  I receive no money whatsoever from this.

So I want to know your opinion on Messianic apostasy:  What are the causes?  How can we prevent these causes or deal with them once they occur?








13 comments:

  1. Causes are as varied as the number of 'tools' in the adversary's belt... Limitless, really. Just look at the history of christendom with which we are more familiar... Lots of heretics, odd twists and turns, divisions, etc... Causes vary from greed and self love to stiff necks and hard hearts.

    The excuse can be as benign as the color of the carpet or more plausible, theological minutia.

    Prevention is possible, but can only come through much prayer and a willingness on the part of the drifter to discuss and change...

    Dealing with the fallout is the real place where the rubber meets the road, as more often than not, the apostasy blindsides most involved. Initial personal contact and discussion is necessary, but if the apostate is unwilling to immediately step back and re-evaluate his/her position, public addressing, to the degree that the apostate is visible to the public is necessary.

    Maintain a strong posture with an attitude of love and desire for reconciliation, but do not back up on the apostasy claim if rooted in truth and the apostate is unrepentant.

    Personally, I went through something similar (I was the apostate...) as I was coming out of the pulpit because of my changing views of Torah and pagan holidays were contrary to the accepted doctrine of my former denomination.

    Friends knew I was struggling with the church structure as a whole and had a desire to return to a more 'first century' style of fellowship and worship... I just didn't realize where I would end up!! Later, I took initiative and notified my denomination of my changing views of the christianized pagan holidays... they did nothing. I heard nothing from them.

    Later, I notified them that my views of 'the Law' had changed, such that I believe it to still be the will of God. At this, they assigned someone to have an email exchange asking some questions which led to a lunch discussion with two representatives of the 'ordination committee.' (Ironically, I was the only one to bring a Bible, and this in a fairly conservative 'sola scriptura' denomination.) They decided I needed to meet with the larger committee.

    The committee meeting was interesting in that, they wanted to hear from me to be sure they understood, but declined any discussion or interaction with the Scriptures... Essentially, they had already made up their minds.

    All was amicable, but sad.

    Lessons:

    1. Because I had ordination vows, I took initiative to notify them. In the Messianic, if not a part of a specific ordaining body, only honor binds us to openly reveal exactly where we are. There are positives and negatives to an ordaining body. Minimally, we need accountable brothers on this walk that we can be open and honest with as we wrestle with growing and understanding new things in the Scriptures.

    2. They acted in love, however, I was deeply disappointed that they didn't want to truly interact with Scripture. It was like they were afraid to get dirty and wrestle. We must be willing to 'get dirty' wrestling and take a hard look at what WE believe.

    3. NONE of them have kept in touch with me. "Friends/brothers" I served with for 10 years! In fact, I became a major pariah! If we have any hope of winning a brother back, we need to go through the difficulty of keeping doors open and trying to maintain some kind of tie.

    4. I was immediately declared 'personna non grata' among the very groups I had ministered to for years! I do not know what was said or taught, but I can count on one hand the number of people who will speak to me from the three churches I served in. Even my mother is very careful what she will talk about around me... Very sad. We need to be vary careful how we paint the apostate... We need to honestly hold up truth, but telling people that have to cut off all ties is ill advised. It leads to bitterness and hurt that is unnecessary.

    I've written far too much, but these are a few relevant thoughts....

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  2. As I view the matter, one of the causes of messianic apostasy is the disorganized and non-established state of Messianic Judaism and of nearly all the Jewish Roots and pro-Torah movements. In messianic circles is more often than not that you find 'Rabbis' who don't know how to make HaMotzi or who insist that it is better to kindle Sabbath candles after dark in order to demonstrate "that we are not under the law" and a lot more of weird and senseless stuff. This whimsical behavour by persons supposedly in "anointed authority" causes people who are seriously interested in Torah observance to look for something more stable and reliable, and they find this in traditional Jewish communities.

    Another cause is probably the unsolved problems in Messianic Judaism. There are many communities who theoretically hold a "One Law" viewpoint but at the same time seem not concerned about the mitzvot. These communities may not be practising circumcision, or they don't have a Mikvah for women, things which from an orthodox viewpoint are all-important.

    And yet another cause may be the generally primitive and awkward status of messianic worship and liturgy. Maintaining communal identity is strongly dependent on participating in the same liturgical life. But messianics oftentimes despise all liturgical principles, to the effect that anything goes. One can expect everything — and nothing — when visiting a messianic shul. "Worship teams", "Messianic Dance" and Cantors and ministers facing the congregation instead of the Aron HaKodesh are among the weird things one regularly has to endure. This causes the impressive uniformity of orthodox Judaism with its regulated liturgical life to become an important attractive factor.

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  3. Messianic613, with all due respect, I doubt anyone becomes apostate due to a lack of conformity to Jewish Orthodox methods. In fact, as far as Messianic's becoming apostate it is quite the opposite.

    What do you think, that people loose faith in Yeshua because they do not act enought like people who do not have faith in Yeshua?

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    1. Actually, M613 makes a great point: "This causes the impressive uniformity of orthodox Judaism with its regulated liturgical life to become an important attractive factor. "

      That is related to the rest of the post that basically says, "Messianic belief, outside of Orthodox practice, is still trying to 'find itself.'" I can't disagree with that.

      Time and growth will lead to such, but the interim growing pains leave many open doors/windows through which various apostasies creep in...

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    2. People who thought they left Babylon discovered themselves in another Babylon. I don't believe it is possible for a large group of people to not become corrupt. It goes with the territory. There is money and social position to protect.

      I used to think I could change people's minds. I would lay out my arguments like an attorney presents a case, providing evidence and witnesses. There were two mistakes I made: 1. People are rational (studies have demonstrated that most people make decisions emotionally and then validate them rationally.) 2. People want to know the truth (They don't. The overwhelming majority only want to hear what validates their current lifestyle and finds anything to the contrary highly threatening.

      For those who think MJ or HR is fixable, I say it is not. But why do you need to fix it? Perhaps many need a movement for financial or status reasons, or because they need a large, respected body of people to agree with them to validate their choices. Yeshua said that the Son of Man had no place to lay his head. He discouraged people from following him. Think about it.

      And yes, Christianity and MessyWorld evidence the same shoving under the rug practices.

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    3. Anonymous,

      My point is not that messianic liturgy should be exactly like orthodox liturgy, but that it should be truly liturgical and expressive of the communal faith in an objective manner. Both extremes of a purely free style worship, imitated from Evangelicals and a purely orthodox form of worship are wrong here.

      The evangelical pattern of worship is not liturgical at all and for that reason is in conflict with the biblical tradition, which is very liturgical.

      Simply following an orthodox worship pattern in a messianic context on the other hand gives insufficient room for messianic expression and observance.

      This is particularly clear for the celebration of Yeshua's Supper. While for Paul the Supper liturgy is of the utmost importance as the proper expression and actualization of the unity — and thus of the existence — of the mystical body, this Pauline thought is very often downplayed in favour of worship forms which are completely focused on scriptural reading and instruction. And thus a very typical identity marker of Messianics is left out.

      I can hardly imagine that a messianic believer who is part of a community which focuses its liturgy on the celebration of the Supper as the Holy Communion of Messiah's Body and Blood — and thus continually dwells on Messiah's sacrifice as the foundation of our being and identity — will ever produce apostates. The Supper is the soul and heart of messianic devotion. There is no other observance which is so exclusively messianic and so essential for defining and cultivating our identity.

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    4. Now we are getting into the same arguments we see between Protestants and Catholics. These same arguments have never gone away. One usually sides with one or the other.

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    5. My basic point is just that if there no messianic identity markers aside from an oral confession that Yeshua is the Messiah, then the messianic movement will not be able to survive.

      For this same reason an person's faith in Yeshua will not survive if he worships and lives in an orthodox jewish culture. It would be a serious understimation of the influence of this, and this underestimation may find its roots in modern secular individualism which has deeply influenced evngelical Christianity and which assumes that communal ties are something secondary. In this point I'm indeed with Catholicism (and Judaism!) in thinking that communal ties are all-important. No orthodox Jew would ever consider to worship in a Christian or messianic Jewish setting. So why are Messianics so foolish as to think that they can worship in an orthodox setting and still keep their faith?

      My guess is that what we face here is an exaggerated self-correction against the historical Antisemitism of the Church. At first traditional Judaism couldn't contain anything good, now it is shouted around that it doesn't contain anything bad and that to say it does is antisemitic. Where is the balance in all this?

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  4. "I can hardly imagine that a messianic believer who is part of a community which focuses its liturgy on the celebration of the Supper as the Holy Communion of Messiah's Body and Blood — and thus continually dwells on Messiah's sacrifice as the foundation of our being and identity — will ever produce apostates."

    Makes sense!

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  5. Replies
    1. Judah, I sure do appreciate your post, it moved me. It is time to return to the foundation, the rock....so we can bring SOME FRUIT to perfection.

      Luke 6:47-49



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    2. Oh, I meant to wish everyone a meaningful Shabbat, somber though we may be...

      Steven

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