A Response to the Despatch Magazine Part 2 of 3
by Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Th.M, Ph.D
Director, Ariel Ministrie, Tustin, CA
Page 5: As stated earlier, typical of anti-Semites is the belief that there is some kind of a world Jewish conspiracy. The conspiracy factor comes out quite early in the article in dealing with Jacob Prasch, accusing him of wanting to change the Bible “to suit his Jewish plans.” A denial of the inspiration of the King James Version is part of the Jewish conspiracy and so they write:
. ‚ . ‚ . other Jewish-style teachers like himself, that the King James Version is not trustworthy, and that the Jews must now reinterpret the Scriptures and return the Church to the interpretation traditions of Judaism ” “ which will make the Jewish scholars the leaders of the Christian Church? Is this the end result they are seeking? And Jacob, along with other Hebrew scholars, wants to use occult-based ancient Hebrew interpretations and traditions to accomplish their agenda.
The issue is not that the King James Version is untrustworthy, but rather it is not necessarily the best translation of both the Hebrew and Greek texts. Nor is the issue reinterpretation of Scripture, but rather a better understanding of the Scriptures based upon Jewish backgrounds. The conspiracy factor comes out in that the Wendys claim that those who want to put the Bible within the Jewish frame of reference from which it came are simply part of a conspiracy so that “the Jewish scholars [become] the leaders of the Christian Church.” This is false. I have no desire to become a Bishop or a Pope of the Christian church. But I certainly want all believers to have a better understanding of the Scriptures. It is this kind of conspiracy accusation that one can also read about in Hitler’s, Mein Kampf. The Wendys also claim that we want to “undermines and takes away faith in our Protestant Bible, and undermines our true Protestant Movement itself through casting dispersions upon the Reformers.” First of all, there is no such thing as “our Protestant Bible,” since the Protestants did not produce a Bible. The Bible is a Jewish Bible, written and produced by Jews, and all the Reformists did was recognize the Jewish Scriptures to be inspired. Furthermore, they keep connecting the “Protestant Bible” with the King James Version, but the Protestants did not use the King James Version. The period of the Great Reformation preceded the year 1611 when the King James Bible, as we now have it, was produced. Nor is it “casting dispersions” to criticize the Reformists for what they deserve to be criticized. Martin Luther was a virulent anti-Semite who called for the destruction of all synagogues and for the burning of all Jewish books and for the expulsion of all Jews from Germany, which was the main point of his last sermon three days before he died. His anti-Semitism deserves to be severely criticized as much as the anti-Semitism of the Wendys. Calvin developed a theology that was clearly Replacement Theology and certainly deserves to be severely criticized for not taking the Bible literally concerning prophecy and Israel. Like anyone, the Reformers should be commended for where they did good, such as teaching that justification was by faith alone; but they certainly deserve to be criticized for some of their unbiblical teachings, such as those mentioned above, among others. The Wendys then go on to say:
. ‚ . ‚ . the Jewish Messianic believers are seen as the only ones to teach, because they are the authorised “priests” and they only. And the more extreme still, that the “Kohen”, have a different genetic DNA from the rest of us. They are the only ones who can be priests because of this superior DNA!
This is an incredibly sick piece of a sick paragraph. I do not know of any Messianic Jew who teaches that only Messianic Jews are qualified to teach the Scriptures. On the contrary, if the Wendys had bothered to read even the dedications of my books, they would have noted that I dedicate my books to Gentile teachers from whom I have learned such a great deal. At the most, Messianic Jews are simply trying to point out that there are parts of Scripture that require a Jewish frame of reference to be understood in its fullness in the same way that other parts require a Greek and Roman background of understanding to be understood in its fullness, etc. That is far from claiming that only Messianic Jews can teach those parts as over against only Greeks being able to teach other parts.
Furthermore, they connect Messianic Jews with the recent DNA study of the Cohens and make it all part of the conspiracy. If anything proves their anti-Semitic conspiracy and mindset, this is it. But here is what the facts are: When the Temple was destroyed in the year A.D. 70, the rabbis wished to safeguard the identity of the Tribe of Levi. That was due to the anticipation that someday the Temple would be rebuilt and, by the Mosaic Law, only the Tribe of Levi could function. In relation to the Temple, it was not important to know who the other tribes were, but it was vitally important to know who was of the Tribe of Levi. Therefore, those who were members of the Tribe of Levi would have the name of Levi in their name. Thus, Jews named Levi, Levine, Levinson, Leventhal, or some form of it, are members of the Tribe of Levi to this day. However, not all Levites could be priests, but only those who were direct descendants of Aaron. These were given the name of Cohen, which is the Hebrew word for priest. Thus, the Cohen line has been maintained from generation to generation by virtue of the name. Two thousand years have passed since these laws were put into effect and there may have been some doubt whether the line was truly maintained; so there was a scientific study by means of DNA among Cohens from different parts of the world and from different Jewish communities around the world, and what the DNA evidence showed was that the Cohens do come from one common source. That verifies the Bible, that all Cohens come from Aaron. By the way, this was done by a secular organization with no ax to grind, but was done purely as a scientific study. It has verified what the Bible itself teaches, that there will always be a levitical priesthood available and, in the future, the Temple will be rebuilt and Levites and Cohens will function therein. The only issue here has to do with who qualifies to be a priest and has absolutely nothing to do with who is qualified to teach the Bible and who is not. Since the Bible itself predicts a Third Tribulation Temple and a future Millennial Temple in which the Levites will function in both Temples, this has provided a foundation for the fulfillment of these prophecies. This was a scientific study published in a scientific journal in a secular setting, and it has nothing to do with Messianic Jews, etc. In spite of their reaction about the Cohens having “a different genetic DNA from the rest of us,” the fact is that they do have a different genetic DNA. It does not mean that what they have is “superior,” it only means that it is different. The fact is, everybody’s DNA is different. If the two Wendys went for their own DNA testing, it would be shown that they have a different DNA from each other. It is because everyone has a different DNA that DNA is now being used in courts of law to substantiate certain claims of guilt or innocence; just like everyone has a different fingerprint, so does everyone also have a different DNA. DNA can also show common origins and establish things like paternity, descendancy, etc. It is the Wendys who claim that the fact that the Cohens have a different DNA, therefore, they can claim superiority. No such claim was ever made either in the DNA study nor by those who are Cohens themselves, and certainly not by Messianic Jews. The issue is not as the Wendys claim: “They are the only ones who can be priests because of this superior DNA.” Within Judaism, the only ones who can be priests are the Cohens; not because of a superior DNA, but because God Himself decreed that only the sons of Aaron can function as Jewish priests. However, as far as the Church is concerned, the Bible teaches that priests are all believers so we do not hold to an order or priesthood in the Church anyway. Furthermore, while only the Cohens can function as priests, they are not the only ones who can teach. The fact is that in the Christian church, anyone who has the gift of teaching can teach. And the fact is that in the Jewish Temple, past or future, only the Cohens will be allowed to be priests and in the Millennial Temple there will be Cohens from the line of Zadok who will function as priests. God will also choose certain Gentiles to be priests in the Kingdom. But the Jewish priests will come only from the sons of Zadok who, themselves, are direct descendants of Aaron.
Page 6: On this page the Wendys keep warning the church not to exchange their Christianity for Judaism. In emotional tones they state:
How can anyone who loves the Lord Jesus Christ exchange the fullness of Him for Judaism? . ‚ . ‚ . How could any Christian think for one moment that Judaism could even compare at all with the glory that is New Testament Christianity, . ‚ . ‚ . All over the world the strength of the latter day move to Judaism grows in church circles. Not this time does the Church stagger from the wounds inflicted by modernism or liberalism, this time she falls from the exacerbation of Judaization.
However, that is not the issue. The issue is not for the church to become more Judaized; on the contrary, it should act more “Christian.” The issue is merely knowing the Scriptures better by getting behind the Jewish frame of reference, and nothing more. A church learning more about the Scriptures from a Jewish frame of reference to understand it better is hardly adopting Judaism. But to the Wendys, anything Jewish is automatically “Judaism.” The fact is that the church is still suffering far more from Liberalism and Modernism to this day than it is suffering from any form of Judaization.
Then they make the plea: “Do not believe those who would tell you that authentic, Reformed Christianity itself was always flawed.” But the fact is, it was always flawed. If it was not always flawed, then Reformed Theology would be uniform with all Reformers and the denominations they started would believe in the same thing. That was not true then any more than it is true today. The very fact that they held different views on so many issues shows that it was somewhat flawed. Otherwise, they would have produced one united systematic theology. But take the case of baptism. The Reformists basically continue the practice of infant baptism, something they inherited not from Scripture but from Roman Catholicism. Nor were they consistent as to why they held to the view of infant baptism. Some believed in baptismal regeneration, that baptism will save the baby, and others believed that it will not. Certainly any teaching about infant salvation only through baptism is flawed. Furthermore, they all did not hold the same view on the purpose and meaning of the Lord’s Table. While they all rejected the doctrine of substantiation, Luther, nevertheless, held to consubstantiation, Calvin held to a spiritual presence of the Body in the elements, and Zwingli held to a strictly memorial view. If Reformists were not somewhat flawed, they would not come up with all these different reasons. Furthermore, if the Reformers were not flawed, they would not have continued the Amillennial teaching of Roman Catholicism. Thus Reform Christianity was always flawed in that they did not follow the same principle of literal interpretation in many areas of biblical doctrine, as they did in the issue of Soteriology. Because they held to a literal view, they all concluded correctly that salvation was by grace through faith apart from works. Unfortunately, when they got into other areas of the Bible, they were not so
On the same page the Wendys object to those who “call even the apostle to the Gentiles, Paul, Rabbi Shaul!” In the Hebrew, that was Paul’s name. The name “Saul” is the Anglicized form of the Hebrew “Shaul”; that was his name, and certainly the name by which his mother called him. Paul’s mother did not speak English.
Page 23: This page begins with a bold titled statement, “The Protestant Church in the Last Days ” “ Joining the Messianic One World Church.” Here we go again with the world Jewish conspiracy. There is no such thing as a “Messianic One World Church.” There are certainly Messianic Congregations in many places, some affiliated denominationally and some not. Some are affiliated with regular Protestant denominations, such as the Southern Baptists and the Assemblies of God, among others, and others are part of a Messianic denominational system known as the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations. Others, such as the congregation where I am a member, are totally independent, like Independent Bible Churches. Messianic Congregations are as varied in theology and affiliations as the Gentile churches. As a general rule, Messianic Congregations tend not to affiliate with Gentile denominations and, therefore, have no desire to become part of any one world church.
The Wendys’ inability to distinguish different strands comes out in the following statement: “The Vatican; the Pentecostal Movement for ” ˜revival’; the Messianic Movement and the Hebrew Roots Movement ” “ and the forming of the One World Church.” Again, the Messianic Movement is anything but monolithic and cannot be put into one box any more than the Baptist Movement could be. Furthermore, the Hebrew Roots Movement is totally distinct from the Messianic Movement, as mentioned earlier. Most of these leaders are Gentile, not Jewish. While some members of the Messianic Movement might be supporting the Hebrew Roots Movement, the fact is that many others are not. Because some do, they attribute all Messianic Jews as accepting it, but that would be as fallacious as claiming that all Baptists support the Hebrew Roots Movement just because there are some that do. The fact remains, most do not.
The article states: “We must alert the Remnant Church . ‚ . ‚ .” Here is where the cultic element comes in: the claim to be the “Remnant Church” and, therefore, it is “us against them and we are all alone!” If I used the Wendys’ methodology of guilt by association, I could make certain faulty conclusions. For example, the Seventh Day Adventists refer to themselves as the Remnant Church; so are the Wendys Seventh Day Adventists? They must be since they used the expression “Remnant Church”! There is a Latter Day Rain charismatic group that claim to be the “man-child” of Revelation twelve and particularly “the remnant” of Revelation 12:17. I have heard their speakers claim to be the remnant of that verse. Since the Wendys describe themselves with that same terminology, they must certainly be part of the Latter Day Rain charismatic movement of the Remnant Church. Obviously, these are faulty conclusions based upon either similarity of terminology or guilt by association. I do not know what the Wendys mean by being “the Remnant Church” because, as far as I can see anywhere in the magazine, they do not really define what they mean by that term and who they claim to be. But I do know this: When the Bible uses the term “remnant” in a technical sense, it consistently refers to Jewish believers, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament (i.e., Romans 11:5). Throughout Scripture, the remnant is viewed as part of Israel, and not distinct from Israel. At any rate, this page merely reflects the cultic mindset of the Wendys.
Page 24: The Messianic Jewish conspiracy to take over world religion comes out on this page with the bold title, “The Messianic One World Religion.” The Wendys’ pathetic ignorance of what constitutes the Messianic Movement leads to their pathetic inability to distinguish different elements within the movement. Again, because some Baptists are ecumenical does not mean all Baptists are because there are many fine Baptist Fundamentalists. Here they quote a speaker who attended the Messiah ’99 Conference, but they make it appear that this is representative of the whole movement. The Messianic Jewish Alliance is only one element within the movement as a whole, just like the Southern Baptists, or American Baptists, or Conservative Baptists, are simply various elements within the Baptist Movement, and one does not speak for all. What the Wendys have done is pick an extreme element within the movement and then simply generalized it to represent the movement as a whole and do not bother quoting all of the Messianic Jewish writers who came out against some of these things. The fact is, the vast majority of Messianic Jews would not agree with Rick Joyner and do not consider him to be a prophet. Speaking as a Messianic Jew, I can clearly state that I consider him a false prophet.
Page 26: Anti-Semites love to blame the Jews for everything and the Wendys have taken it one step beyond anyone else I know of, blaming the Jews for the Ecumenical Movement. They keep referring to the “Messianic One World Religion” to emphasize their anti-Semitic teaching that it is we Messianic Jews who are out to put the whole church under one head and we Messianic Jews will become the rulers! No Messianic Jew I know of accepts the Pope as his leader. Yet the Wendys write:
What we are looking at is ECUMENICAL JEWS, EVANGELICALS, PENTACOSTALS AND CATHOLICS TOGETHER. With the token leadership under the Pope falling to the Jews, naming themselves Hebrew Roots or Messianic Jews.
It is unbelievable how much error can be found in just two sentences, but this little paragraph is full of it. Messianic Jews do not accept the leadership of the Pope. Furthermore, the Wendys equal Hebrew Roots and Messianic Jews as being one and the same. This is false. The term “Messianic Jews” is simply a general term describing Jews who believe in Jesus and nothing more. This is not a monolithic movement in which all hold to the same views any more than all Baptists hold the same views on every biblical issue. Nor can the Hebrew Roots Movement be equated with Messianic Jews since the Hebrew Roots Movement is a specific movement, largely headed up by Gentiles, not Messianic Jews. The level of the Wendys’ ignorance is incredible. It is a real shame that this amount of ignorance can go into print.
And the same page has their anti-Semitic Jewish conspiracy phobia, but this time the blaming of specifically Messianic Jews comes out again in the following paragraph:
We are seeing established before us an endtime Messianic One World Religion of great power! This could not be anything else but the Antichrist religion which is presented in the Bible! Evangelicals and Fundamentals have often been very aware of the role the Roman Catholic Whore will play in this endtime scenario of prophecy, but have we been expecting the Jewish element to arise? In the main I would say we have not!
The Wendys are so anti-Semitic and so anti-Jewish that any hint of Jewishness immediately stirs up their animosity. So now it is the Messianic Jews who are responsible to bring in the Antichrist’s one world religion! But according to the Wendys, this is the Messianic Jewish agenda and, therefore, we at Ariel Ministries are working on a program to develop a one world religion under Messianic Jewish control!
Page 27: That we Messianic Jews are going to be the ones to fulfill the prophecies about a one world religion comes out again on this page when the Wendys state:
The Jews in the last days will accept the Antichrist and his religion, for a season. Are we seeing the fulfilment of prophecy in these days just before the Tribulation? In the Messianic Movement and the Hebrew Roots Movement? It appears to be the case.
Again, they confuse the Hebrew Roots Movement with the Messianic Movement, which is anything but the same. Furthermore, they again blame the Messianic Jews for bringing in the one world religion of the Antichrist. And finally, they do not have a clear understanding of the Jewish role with the Antichrist. The fact is that the Bible never says the Jews will accept the religion of the Antichrist, nor will they accept him as the Messiah. One only needs to read the Bible carefully to discover that their relationship with the Antichrist is a covenantal relationship when the Antichrist guarantees Israel’s military security, but it is a political military arrangement and not a religious arrangement. The fact is that nowhere in prophecy does it say that the Jews will accept the one world religion of Revelation 17, nor will they accept the Antichrist as the Messiah or their God. In fact, when the Antichrist commits the Abomination of Desolation and begins to claim to be God, that will awaken the Jews as to who he really claims to be and that is when they will flee. The irony is that on the same page they go on to say, “I am writing of the movements, with love and concern.” The love of the Wendys is a love of Nazism and anti-Semitism. If what they write about us is out of love, I would request that they love us a lot less.
Pages 28-33: In these pages the Wendys have a lot to say about the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism (LCJE), but their primary thrust is to accuse them of promoting ecumenism, Then, as they quote statements from LCJE (sometimes confusing them with the Lausanne Consultation on World Evangelism [LCWE]), the quotations actually say the exact opposite. One of the principles of Ecumenism is to water down the gospel, evangelism, and try to bring all faiths, religions and denominations into a one world religious system. This goes contrary to the principles of evangelism that hold there is only one way of salvation. In other words, those who hold to the principle that faith alone in Christ alone saves and all other ways to salvation are a false gospel is the exact opposite of Ecumenism which essentially teaches that all religions will lead you to Heaven. Speaking of the LCWE, they state that it is an “international movement that was formed for the purpose of uniting Christian churches to evangelize the world before the year A.D. 2000.” I am not a member of the LCWE, but my question is: What’s wrong with that purpose? Do they object to churches coming together for the purpose of evangelizing the world? Is not that the Church’s calling? Furthermore, the word “uniting” is not quite correct in the way they use it. LCWE was not trying to get all churches to become one; what they were trying to do is to get evangelical churches to come together for a cooperative purpose only, and the goal is to evangelize the world. No church denomination was asked to forget their unique distinctives. My question again is: What essentially is wrong with that purpose? Furthermore, this is the exact opposite of Ecumenism that holds to uniting all religions apart from evangelism. That is a big difference. On page 30 they quote a Lausanne Covenant paragraph, pointing out that it calls for believers to “enter into a solid covenant with God and with each other to pray, to plan and to work together for the evangelization of the whole world.” Here, again, what is wrong with this statement? There is no statement here that calls for the churches to unite into a one world church. It is simply encouraging churches “to work together,” and the purpose of working together is not to unite all churches into one, but the purpose is “for the evangelization of the whole world.” What is wrong with this goal? It seems to me that the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 gave us that goal and all the Lausanne Covenant is doing is reaffirming a commitment to fulfill what Jesus Himself commanded the Church to fulfill. Furthermore, this goes against the grain of Ecumenism that believes that evangelizing with the message that faith in Christ alone saves is a divisive limited message and, therefore, must be dispensed with for the sake of world religious unity. By its very nature, Ecumenism is opposed to evangelism. As long as any organization is practicing active evangelism, it is working against Ecumenism.
On page 31, the Wendys make a transition from LCWE to LCJE and claim: “This ecumenical scheme is now being proposed by the LCJE, ostensibly for the sake of JEWISH evangelism.” While I am not a member of the LCWE, I am a member of the LCJE; and while not involved in the founding of the LCJE, for seven years I served as the North American Coordinator of LCJE and, therefore, can speak from knowledgeable, first hand experience, whereas the Wendys are making rash statements out of pure ignorance. Here are the real facts about LCJE. LCJE, as the very name implies, is committed to Jewish evangelism and is comprised of both individuals and organizational members, all of whom are committed to the principle of Jewish evangelism. Every individual and organizational member firmly believes that there is only one way of salvation: by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Therefore, the gospel must be preached to Jews because apart from faith in the Messiahship of Jesus there is simply no salvation for any Jew, whether he is Orthodox or secular. This, too, is the exact opposite of the Ecumenical Movement which calls upon a cessation of Jewish evangelism. What the Ecumenical Movement is teaching is what is called the “Two Covenant Theory.” This theory teaches that there are two separate covenants: one for the Jews and one for the Christians. Therefore, Jews can be saved through their own covenant without having to believe in the Messiahship of Jesus; and since salvation is available through the Jewish covenant apart from faith in Christ there is, therefore, no need or necessity to preach the gospel to the Jews. Therefore, the Ecumenical Movement strongly opposes all forms of Jewish evangelism and discourages it everywhere they can. The LCJE stands on the exact opposite end of the spectrum. It holds to the fact that there is no salvation for anybody, Jew or Gentile, apart from faith in Christ and, therefore, it is absolutely necessary to preach the gospel to the Jews. This is not Ecumenism; this is pure Fundamentalism.
On the same page, page 31, they printed my picture in that same context and, therefore, it conveys the impression that I support the Ecumenical Movement and the one world church, etc. Here, again, if they had bothered to read anything I wrote, they would have known exactly where I stand on this issue. In my book, The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events, I identify the Laodicean Church as the apostate church. I go on to clearly state that the Ecumenical Movement is an unbiblical movement and must be rejected by Bible believers. Furthermore, I clearly state that individual believers in apostate churches are obligated to leave the apostate church and to find a Bible believing and Bible teaching church. This is my position in print. It would not have been hard for the Wendys to find this out. Instead, they chose to print all of these lies and errors, based on what they pretend LCJE is, and then go from there to their standard guilt by association fallacy. If they had the ability to print my picture, they had the ability to read my writings, which are available right there in Australia, with no need to request any writings from the U.S.A. However, they willingly chose not to do that, but chose instead to go ahead and print error. The bottom line, as will come out more than once, is that their real problem with me is my Jewishness. They really do not have a problem with my theology; therefore, they have invented a theology I do not hold, and proceed to blame it on my Jewishness” “and that is the bottom line problem. The problem is that I am a Jew who still calls himself a Jew, and that is what is causing them to gnash their teeth.
One of the most common forms of fallacious logical thinking is the principle of guilt by association and the Wendys are consistently guilty of this fallacy. So were the Pharisees, and the Wendys display a Pharisaic mindset. For example, Jesus reached out to the publicans and the prostitutes and the Pharisees objected to it. Their point was that if He really was the Messiah, He would not associate with this class of society. Certainly Jesus reached out to the publicans and prostitutes, but He never participated in their sin; He knew they needed the message of the gospel and so to them He went. He did not stop because of Pharisaic criticism of His actions. Jesus would have been classed as a Fundamentalist and Separatist, not because He separated Himself totally from those who needed the message, but He separated Himself from the sins of the people to whom He was ministering. Let me state boldly that first of all I am a Fundamentalist and I hold to all the fundamentals of the faith; the Wendys will not find anything in any of my writings or tapes that in any way challenge the fundamentals of the faith. If they point to anything, it is my lack of acceptance of the inspiration of the King James Version but, as already stated earlier, that was never part of the fundamentals of the Fundamentalist Movement. That was a fundamental only of the cultic elements that the Wendys represent. Furthermore, I am a Separatist. As a Separatist, I do not support Ecumenism and I solidly condemn all Liberalism and Modernism in the church. But Separatism does not mean that I will not take the opportunity to preach the Word and to teach the Word in those circles. Ariel Ministries is a Separatist organization and, therefore, Liberals, Modernists, Catholics, and other groups with whom we are not theologically aligned are never permitted to teach in our branches, centers, and never participate as teachers in Ariel’s Camp Shoshanah program. Anyone who cannot sign Ariel’s Doctrinal Statement cannot be put in a position of prominence in any of our centers or camp ministries. That is what Separatism means. Separatism never meant that we avoid reaching out to these same groups with a message of the gospel. Would I go into a synagogue to preach the gospel if an opportunity was open? The answer is, yes, I would. Would I go to a Catholic Church if the opportunity opened up for me to present the gospel? Yes, I would. Would I go to Pentecostal/charismatic churches to teach the Word? Yes, I would. We are dealing with groups here that either need the gospel and/or need the exposition of Scripture. I will walk through any open door to present the gospel and teach the Word because Separatism does not mean I will not give them the opportunity to hear the truth. Separatism means that I do not open doors for them to come in to teach what they believe. Because I speak to Liberal or Catholic groups (I have had opportunities for the former, but never for the latter) does not mean I am a Liberal or a Catholic. It only means that I was given the opportunity to present the gospel to these groups and I took that opportunity. Let’s apply this to the LCJE. The Wendys have presented the LCJE as an ecumenical organization. They noted that I am one of the speakers at LCJE. Therefore, using the fallacy of guilt by association, I am a promoter of Ecumenism. There are two things to note here: first, LCJE is not an ecumenical organization; but secondly, even if it was, that would not preclude my speaking there, it would only preclude my having membership there. If they were an ecumenical organization and I was invited to come and teach, you can be sure I would take the opportunity to get there and teach the Word; but that does not mean I am promoting what they teach. The fallacy of guilt by association is permeating the whole Despatch Magazine.
Page 33: It is this page in particular that shows what the Wendys’ real problem is: they hate Jewishness and that is what they are reacting to. They quote a statement made by the LCJE International Conference of 1999 and they claim that this statement “defined Messianic believers as ” ˜Jewish’ rather than Christian.” This is a lie. There is no kinder way to say it. This is simply a lie. The statement does not in any way indicate that Messianic Believers are to be identified as Jewish rather than Christian. The only point the document makes is that Jewish believers who become Christians do not at the same time lose their Jewishness. They even quote the statement, but if you read the statement it says nothing of the kind. The Wendys are lying. Let me reproduce that very quote in this response:
Those of us who are Jewish share in the challenges confronting our people and stand with them in the need to strengthen and preserve our God-given identity. We also recognize that our faith in Yeshua is seen by many as a threat to Jewish identity and survival. Yet we believe that the core of Jewish identity is tied to a purpose and a divine calling that is fulfilled only in Yeshua” “to be reconciled to God and to be a light to the nations for his glory. We therefore reject the commonly held view that Jews who believe in Jesus are no longer Jewish . ‚ . ‚ . Those of us who are Gentiles affirm that Jews who believe in Yeshua do not forfeit their Jewish identity . ‚ . ‚ . As Jews and Gentiles united by faith in Yeshua, we recognize the right of Jewish believers in Yeshua to maintain a recognizable Jewish identity . ‚ . ‚ .
First of all, notice the statement is addressed to the Jewish community. Secondly, notice that there is no denial that Messianic Jews are Jews who specifically believe in the Messiahship of Jesus. There is nothing here that denies their faith in Jesus, and there is not one hint of denial of their affiliation with Christ. What they are affirming is that they have not forsaken their Jewishness and still identify themselves as Jews, as well as believers in Jesus. The point is that one does not cancel out the other. Again, the Wendys have lied and lied inexcusably because they have the very quote printed and there is nothing in the quote that states that the Messianic believers are to be defined as Jewish rather than Christian. The point is, they are both.
It is bad enough that they totally misquote the document, but even worse, they totally twist the teachings of the great Apostle Paul. On the same page they go on to state, “Paul’s letter to the Galatian Church repudiated the Judaizer’s false teaching that converts to Jesus Christ must retain their Jewish identity and traditions.” And what is their evidence for such a bold statement about the teachings of Paul in Galatians? They proceed to quote Galatians 3:28 (actually, they begin with verse 27 and go into verse 28), but let me give you the quote as they have it: For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek . ‚ . ‚ . Notice carefully what the Wendys have done with this verse. They claim that this verse teaches that Paul repudiates the continuity of any Jewish identity. First of all, the context is not dealing with retaining or not retaining Jewish identity, but rather it is teaching that there is no difference in how one is saved and baptized by the Spirit, and all Jews and Gentiles are saved the same way; upon faith they are baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ. But secondly, and more dishonest of them, notice the ellipses at the end of the quote. That is an indication that they left something out of the verse. So what else does the verse say? Allow me to complete verse 28, which they failed to quote: . ‚ . ‚ . there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Now you have the full quote and it should be obvious to the reader why the Wendys chose not to quote the whole thing because the rest of the verse will discredit what they try to make the verse to mean. Again, they quote the verse partially and then teach that this shows that Paul is teaching against retaining a Jewish identity. But he also mentioned bond nor free. Does he mean, then, that all distinctions between bond and free have been removed? If so, then in his writings why does he not tell all Christian slaves to cease being slaves if they are slaves of Christian masters? Why does he not tell Christian masters to release and free their Christian slaves since there are no such distinctions any more? On the contrary, Paul tells Christian slaves that they must submit to their masters even if the masters happen to be Christians. Obviously, not all distinctions have been erased and the bond remained bond and the masters remained masters. However, the point of the verse is that both were saved the same way: by faith in Christ. An even more obvious reason why the Wendys did not quote the whole verse is the mention of neither male nor female. If you follow the Wendys’ logic about Jewish identity, this verse will have to mean that women cease to be women and men cease to be men. Therefore, Christian women have no female identity and Christian men have no male identity. And yet in his own writings, Paul points out that in many areas the male-female distinctive does remain. For example, he teaches that in the local church authority is only allowed for the male and not the female. He points out that a Christian wife must be in subjection to a Christian husband; but if there were not differences, why is there a need to continue the principle of subjection? Why does Paul tell Christian males to have their heads uncovered in the meeting of the church and Christian females to keep their heads covered in the meeting of the church? Whether one believes this applies today or not does not change the fact that Paul makes a clear sexual distinction between male and female in that passage, even in what they are to wear in the meeting of the church. If there is no longer such a thing as male or female, why are these divine apostolic rules there? The answer is simple: Paul does not teach the elimination of these identities. He is simply saying that as far as one is saved, it makes no difference whether one is a male or a female because both are saved the same way. By the same token, it does not matter whether one is a Jew or a Gentile, both are saved the same way. However, this does not mean all distinctives have been erased. Paul no more teaches against retaining a Jewish identity than he teaches against retaining male and female identities.
The Wendys also go on to quote II Corinthians 5:17 that states: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. Here again, this is an issue dealing with salvation and new birth and becoming a new creation. It says nothing about the erasing of all distinctives, whether they be Jew-Gentile, bond-free, or male-female.