Friday, January 16, 2015

One Law Revolt at Tikvat Israel

Just listened to a little of David Rudolph's sermon entitled "Why Zakenim??"  About 13 minutes into it, he mentions that there are some One Law interlopers at Tikvat causing trouble.  What kind of trouble?

They're talking about One Law (which is sin enough apparently) but they're also trying to get people to sign a petition to remove David Rudolph from office.

These One Law interlopers apparently feel that there is enough grass roots support for this to occur.


For the record, I had nothing to do with this...but naturally I support it.  The ironic thing is this:  the message is about Zekenim at Tikvat.  But Rudolph recently caused virtually all of the elders to leave.  They're now meeting at Grove Ave. Baptist Church on Saturday mornings.  Why Grove?  I have no idea except that I think it's odd OUT OF ALL THE CHURCHES IN RICHMOND they chose the one where my family visits.

So this post is just for the One Law folks in Richmond:  



  1. Obviously, a great many of us disagree with Rudolph & the UMJC's position on non-Jews and their relationship to the Torah. But Rudolph is absolutely right that those who hold to different viewpoints should *not* be going into his/their congregation and trying propagate teaching that goes against the ruling of the elders. Such behavior sows discord among the body, and within the authority structure that is given in the Scriptures.

  2. To whom does the congregation belong?

  3. To whom does God entrust the flock? See Acts 15, 20:28, 1 Peter 5:1-2, Hebrews 13:17, 1 Tim. 5:17, etc.

  4. So then Rudolph has forfeited that trust. He exiled the majority of elders. Plus, from personal experience, the rabbi at Tikvat calls ALL the shots, not the elders. They're just the yes-men.

  5. You know I love you Pete. And I sense your frustration. I just don't think a public forum is the best place to air things that are better left to a congregation to decide privately. Theological disagreements, and disagreements with organizational positions? Sure, let's lay those on the table. But there are other issues that, when brought out, I think end up reflecting badly on all of us. My 2 cents.

  6. I agree with Rob on this. It would be like me going into the Chabad synagogue here in town and trying to drum up support for worshiping Yeshua, or like me demanding to take over the Baptist church I used to attend and ignoring the fact that the Pastor and Board of Elders are actually in authority. If there are One Law proponents attending Rabbi Rudolph's synagogue and they are unhappy there, they should find another place to worship.

  7. It's not Rabbi Rudolph's synagogue. He's not the owner of it.

    The proposition that any time someone has a disagreement with the rabbi that that individual should be forced to leave is just ridiculous. It should be up to the community to decide.

  8. Rob,

    Was the conflict at Antioch resolved within the congregation privately? Or did the matter have to escalate well beyond the local level? (Acts 14,15). And was the matter not discussed publicly in Scripture itself?

  9. And 2 more things:

    (1) see my note to Rob about Antioch;

    (2) My wife and I have gone to Tikvat for a lot longer than Rabbi Rudolph. My guess is that those One Law Messianics at Tikvat have been going there for a very long time. I used to know One Law Messianics there--this was years ago. I'm sure their ranks have grown since then.

  10. It seems like you're doing a lot of guessing but don't possess many facts beyond what you heard in David's sermon.

    Let's turn this around. Say you were the leader or on the Board of Directors of a One Law congregation. A significant minority of the regular visitors (or maybe just some recent attendees) start making demands that you adopt a UMJC and Bilateral Ecclesiology and threaten to pass around a petition to remove you and the rest of the leadership if you refuse.

    As a responsible congregational leader, how would you respond?

  11. It's a false assumption that I would want to belong to a hierarchical command structure in a congregational setting where the leader at the top is a single man. The only man at the top should be Yeshua. The only authorized human governance structure in a congregational setting is a matrix of elders in which power is evenly distributed. This does not describe the command structure at Tikvat.

    If I belonged to a Biblical command structure where power was evenly distributed amongst representative elders, I would not think of it as "my synagogue."

    I would think of it as OUR synagogue.

  12. You're evading the question. I included the concept of a Board of Directors or Elders in my query. Also, you don't believe in leadership at all? You want to form a group like the Quakers, then.

  13. James,

    Here's your question: how would I respond if I belonged to a council of elders and people started passing around a petition to institute racist Bilateral Ecclesiology and boot me from my office of elder?

    I would let them have their petition. I would obviously let them be heard. I would leave it to the council to decide by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, confident that with the proper command structure in place (i.e. plural elders with equal representative power) would decide correctly.

    Does that answer your question to your satisfaction?

  14. Yes, I think so. In other words, the congregational leadership group in whatever structure it exists, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, would be responsible for making decisions regarding the direction of the congregation and addressing any complaints of a significant minority among the members and attendees. The "buck" would stop with them, so to speak. You are not advocating for a coup d'├ętat. Therefore, it would be inappropriate for said-minority group to do an end run around the congregational leadership in an attempt to overthrow the current hierarchy in favor of their own preferences.

  15. James,

    When someone votes to end racial discrimination, that's not a coup d'etat; that's a properly functioning representative form of government.

    Now, here's where you're a little confused: you think Tikvat has a representative government. Let me clear things up for you: it doesn't. The Biblical model of representative governance is not in place at Tikvat.

  16. James,

    Do you dispute that the Apostolic Writings instruct local communities to have a representative form of government?

  17. As Dan sometimes says, you tend to apply modern western concepts of law and democracy on ancient Jewish concepts in the near east. That's like comparing proverbial apples and oranges. Frankly, I think you're letting your personal history with David Rudolph cloud your judgment. If this dispute were happening in a One Law congregation such as Hegg's and "Bilateral Ecclesiology" people were attempting to take over, your opinion of the situation would be quite different.

  18. Horowitz, The Spirit of Jewish Law: Abuse of power by the oligarchy which governed the affairs of the community was checked by three basic principles:

    (1) The governing board even where it had complete administrative authority was required to respect the wishes of the community;

    (2) The board's major decisions under the local ordinances were usually subject to referendum or recall by the membership and;

    (3) The acts of communal boards were generally reviewable by the bet-din (court), the dayan (judge), or the rabbi of the community (Hayim Or Zarua, Resp., p. 65; Mordecai, Nezikin 482).

    For more on how the Western legal/political tradition is patterned after a Jewish model, see Daniel Elazar.

    Lastly, your point about "personal history" is like saying that Martin Luther King should've kept his mouth shut because he had personal history with the effects of racism and was thus biased.

  19. 1. Respect, yes. Acquiesce, not necessarily. See below.

    2. Typically, congregational board members are elected for a period of time, usually one year, by a general vote of congregational members, at least in my experience, so I can only imagine the board would represent, for the most part, the wishes of said-members. That doesn't mean they represent every sub-group in the congregation or any individual members who may have an ax to grind.

    3. I've never been involved in a congregation that had specific access to a court system. I can't think of any Messianic Group where this would apply.

    Remember, I'm speaking generally and not referencing Rabbi Rudolph's congregation. My point is that a minority group within a congregation is showing poor form (to say the least) by attempting to overthrow leadership just to get its way. In a congregational structure with a staff of clergy and a board of directors/elders, there are procedures for people to air grievances. However, the final decision makers are the board. How all this works at Tikvat Israel, I have no idea. Commonly, when a minority group of significant size disagrees with the majority as well as they board, they split off and form their own group. Perhaps those individuals who are unhappy with Rabbi Rudolph should consider that option.

    And I hardly think either of us is comparable to Dr. King.

  20. RE: "My point is that a minority group within a congregation is showing poor form (to say the least) by attempting to overthrow leadership just to get its way."

    I imagine that many in the white majority said similar things about the black minority during the Civil Rights era, that the blacks were showing "poor form" by protesting, that they were uppity and just trying to get their way instead of being obedient to the leadership, that they should just go somewhere else and stop bothering everyone.

    But that, of course, is our disagreement. You believe Bilateral Ecclesiology which literally means "splitting the community of Believers" and says to Gentiles, "Hey, it'd really be best if you all would just go away and have your own schools and communities."

    And now that the Gentiles are saying "We'd prefer to be integrated rather than segregated" you find their peaceful efforts at integration to be in "poor form."

    I'm sorry you're offended at the idea of communal integration. I'm sorry you feel that way. I really am.

  21. I think you need to revisit something Rob Roy said: "Such behavior not only casts suspicion on the views being shared (if the views are scriptural and true, why not bring the issue to the elders themselves?), but also sows discord among the body, and within the authority structure that is given in the Scriptures."
    That's really my point. You're trying to make an issue of race or discrimination out of this but Rob's point is really the matter at hand.

  22. James,

    There's probably at least 3 issues:

    (1) what is the subject matter jurisdiction of a local council of elders? For example, why weren't matters handled at the local level at Antioch (Acts 15)? Why were the elders forced to allow the issue to be settled at a higher level? Are some issues appealable--issues that dramatically affect everyone in the congregation?

    (2) what is the minimal acceptable structure to be considered a council of elders? For example, Rudolph's congregation has several remaining nominal elders. But these are negated by having a rabbi who wields more power than the elders. So does that still count as having a functioning elder system?

    (3) are we not supposed to talk about such things publicly for fear it will give Believers a bad name? As I've said before, there are plenty of instances in the Apostolic Writings where Paul called out specific, well-known individuals. Then there's the case of Antioch where even non-Antiochians made it their duty to resolve the issue at Antioch. I suppose you would've said Peter and Paul should've minded their own business and allowed the elders at Antioch to handle that one. The reality: the elders at Antioch (if they existed) were not allowed to handle that issue. That issue was taken beyond the local level because it affected everyone.

  23. I was going to drop this debate since we could go around in circles forever, but then I decided to listen to David's sermon. When I did, I interpreted what he said quite a bit differently than you did, Peter. So, I wrote a blog post about my analysis that will publish tomorrow at about 6 a.m. your time. Just thought I'd give you some advance notice.

  24. Thanks for the advance warning. I don't really know what to do with this advance warning but I appreciate it all the same. : )

  25. The debate about rightness/wrongness or how to handle the whole matter aside, I wonder if there are deeper One Law ripples through the larger Messianic Jewish body...

    Are we witnessing an isolated event or is the Spirit bringing the truth of One Torah to the grassroots just as He seems to be working around Christendom's leadership and fomenting at the grassroots level of believers?

    Just curious on your thoughts concerning the larger picture.... This could be very big!!

  26. I just don't like blind-siding someone. Here's the link:

  27. Pete,

    One Law is the dominant strand of Messianic Judaism--it just doesn't get the air-play. It's like with America--there is a moral majority (to use the name of a magazine my mother used to be the editor of). But unfortunately many in this moral majority don't speak up enough. Same with One Law. We need to take a stand and let our voices be heard.

  28. I went there and now the current Elders run Tikvat and now the new Rabbi is basically powerless.

  29. This is highly innapropriate discusdion. If you have questions about what happen approach the people personaly. Unfortunately what happened is a form of attack and both groups are seeking healing and reconciliation. The church offered to help them with open arms. They are great supporters of Israel and is doing what Gd calls us to do. Help each other out and open our homes.

  30. Further more Rudolph went to Tikvat for his love of money, when he saw their are not made of money he left them high and dry for a high salary position. He also lied to other congregations leaders that he had a rabbi in training so he could keep him at Tikvat when asked if he knew anyone becoming a rabbi or wanting to, his own words.
    I tell them often to cutt ties with such greed person. Tikvat needs spiritual cleaning and healing. So before talking about something you don't know the ehole teuth or the story. David Rudolph should never had been a rabbi period. This garbage and his lies and deceit should never be glorified. Shameful!!!!