A Response to the Despatch Magazine Part 3 of 3
by Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Th.M, Ph.D
Director, Ariel Ministrie, Tustin, CA
What is extremely interesting are the passages that the Wendys chose not to quote. Did Paul really teach against the practice of Jewish customs by Jewish believers? One only has to look at Acts 21:20-26 to see that Paul publicly took a vow for one specific reason: he did not teach against believers continuing in the practice of Jewish customs and traditions. He certainly taught against Gentile circumcision, but as this passage shows, he did not teach against Jewish circumcision and his own initiative of the circumcision of Timothy, who had Jewish backgrounds, shows how often Paul went out of his way to maintain his own Jewish identity. Did Paul consider himself only a former Jew, but a Jew no longer since he believed? On the contrary, he kept affirming his own present Jewish identity. Notice the use of Paul”s present tense in II ‚ Corinthians 11:22: Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. This is only one example where Paul more than once affirms his Jewishness following his salvation. What you find Paul doing consistently is affirming both his Jewishness and his faith in Christ (he never used the term “Christian” of himself). The LCJE statement they quote is simply following Paul”s footsteps. They wish to affirm both their faith in the Messiahship of Jesus as well as their Jewish identity. As believers, the Wendys have the absolute right to maintain their Australian identity and culture. They also have the right to remain women. By the same token, Jewish believers have the right to maintain their Jewish identity; but the Wendys wish to deny them that privilege because they have a real problem with Jewishness. The above is followed by another guilt by association statement:
The LCJEs insistence on maintaining ” ˜a recognizable Jewish identity’ reminded us of Pope John Paul’s insistence that unity with Evangelicals did not imply there would be any relinquishment of his absolute authority over all of Christendom.
This is an association the Wendys have put together in their own minds. What the Pope said about Evangelicals is totally irrelevant to what the LCJE statement said about Jewish believers maintaining their identity. One does not logically follow the other except in the perverted minds of the Wendys. If there is a good example of them trying to mix apples and oranges, this is it. I might point out that the LCJE does not “insist” on Jewish believers maintaining their Jewish identity. It simply recognizes “the right of Jewish believers” to maintain such identity. There is a big difference between recognizing a right and the insistence of exercising that right. The Wendys give the impression that the LCJE requires Jewish believers to maintain their Jewish identity, but if one reads the statement you see that it makes no such requirement. The fact is, Jewish believers have a great desire to maintain their identity and they have the biblical right to do so, as the Wendys have the right to maintain their Gentile identity (which they seem to do rather well), but they fail to extend that same privilege to others.
The fact is that what the Wendys are saying is closer to what Popes have been saying for centuries. It has always been part of Catholicism that Jews should cease to be Jews and that when Jews were forcibly converted to Catholicism, they were required to change their Jewish sounding names and take on Catholic names. If we are going to start making associations with the Pope and Catholicism, let it be clearly stated that the Wendys are far closer to this than the LCJE. The Wendys share the Catholic goal to eliminate Jewishness. The Wendys apparently share the Catholic anti-Semitic mindset that desires such an elimination of any and all Jewish identities.
Page 34: Here, again, the Wendys talk about “The Messianic One World Religion” and this appears in bold print twice on this page. The word “Jewish” is printed in bold within the article, again showing what their real problem is: they really do not like anything Jewish and that is the bottom line problem they have.
Pages 34-35: Here they make the following statement:
Miles J. Stanford’s excellent article on Messianic Judaism is a reasoned response to Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s book, Hebrew Christianity which identifies as well the errors of the Charismatic and Messianic movements.
First of all, how did they know that this is an “excellent article” and “a reasoned response” to my book since they obviously have not ever read my book? Secondly, that same book argues against the use of the term “Messianic Judaism.” What the Wendys do not state is the actual point that Stanford objected to. The only part he disagreed with is my teaching that Jews who believe in Jesus remain Jews and have the privilege of maintaining the Jewish identity. That is the only point he did not like about the book, but that is exactly the issue with the Wendys: they found someone else objecting to Messianic Jews maintaining their Jewishness and since they hate Jewishness so much, they recommend this critique. I also recommend the critique but I think that to be fair one should also read my book, Hebrew Christianity, to see whether or not I have a valid argument and then see whether or not Stanford’s criticism is valid. More than one person has done both and gotten back to me that they did not find Stanford’s criticism valid. The Wendys are in no position to determine whether or not it is valid since they have not bothered to read my book to begin with.
Furthermore, they go on to quote three paragraphs from Stanford’s critique, which is not actually directed at what I wrote. Stanford points to a “dispensational vacuum” and that a problem with the Messianic Movement is a “lack of dispensational protection.” Here, again, is the fallacy of generalizing something that is only true of a segment. True, many Messianic Jews are not dispensational. That is also true of many Gentile Evangelicals. In fact, it is especially true of the Reformers that the Wendys keep referring to. Not one of them was dispensational. They virtually all held to Replacement Theology, which is exactly anti-dispensational. However, this does not apply to me or to Ariel Ministries. Ariel Ministries has a Doctrinal Statement committing itself to Dispensationalism. No one can join Ariel staff without being a Dispensationalist. Therefore, I am a Classic Dispensationalist and a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, about the foremost school of Dispensational Theology. Here again, had the Wendys bothered to read my writings, they would have known that I am a Classical Dispensationalist and that I do not believe they are obligated to keep the Law today. My book, Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology, is a detailed defense of Dispensationalism. In fact, it goes on to show that only Dispensationalism allows for the development of a full-scale Israelology which would include the role of the Remnant of Israel today. Furthermore, I am heavily criticized by many elements of the Messianic Movement because of my dispensational theology. But would anybody know that I am a Dispensationalist from the writings of the Wendys? Not at all. The whole magazine, when it makes any reference to me, deliberately twists things in such a way as to make me appear to believe the exact opposite of what I do believe. The magazine gives the reader the idea that I am Pentecostal and/or charismatic, when I am not. The magazine gives the indication that I am not a Dispensationalist, when I am. How could any magazine like Despatch claim to be “Christian” and bear such a false witness against a brother? You will notice that whatever I say about the Wendys, I quote directly what they do say. Yet whatever they say about me, they cannot come up with one quote to back it because there is no such quote. My teachings are available even in simplified manuscript form, which would let them know what I believe, and though readily available in Australia, they have obviously made no effort to get the material and see what it is that I do teach. Since they do not like the fact of my Jewishness, and the fact that I affirm my Jewishness, they will paint me as black as they can and then basically hope that none of their readers will bother to know what I really say. Unfortunately, that will probably be true with some. Fortunately, others who have contacted me were willing to find out what it is I really do say.
On page 35 they make the statement that “. ‚ . ‚ . over 90% of Messianic congregations as Charismatic.” I am not sure the figure is that high, but definitely a majority of Messianic Jews tend to be charismatic. However, charismania is not purely a Jewish problem. The Charismatic Movement was begun by Gentiles, not Jews. A great percentage (I have no idea what percentage) of Evangelical Gentile Churches are charismatic as well. I do not know what percentage of Australian Evangelical Churches are charismatic, but from my previous trips I know it is pretty high. I do not know if it is the majority, but it is quite high to be sure. However, it is still true that most charismatics in any country are Gentiles, not Jews. Again, charismania is not purely a Jewish problem, but has always been more of a Gentile problem then a Jewish problem. To discount the Messianic Movement because of the percentage of charismatics would be the same as discounting the Baptists or Presbyterians or others because a certain percentage happened to be charismatic. This is just another logical fallacy that the Wendys are so often guilty of.
Page 36: The fact that the Wendys have a problem with Jewishness comes out rather obviously on this page. Here they make a reference to the American Messianic Fellowship (AMF), and again it is a negative reference. As stated earlier, it is not my purpose here to defend all the groups they attack and the AMF is quite able to take care of itself. I bring this up only to show that the real problem is not theology, but Jewishness. The AMF is a Jewish ministry that is more than a century old, and from its inception to the present day it has been both Fundamentalist and Dispensational. The leadership has always been and still is Gentile. So what is it about the AMF that the Wendys do not like? It is because the AMF holds to the view that Jews who believe in Jesus remain Jews. That is really their problem: Jewishness. Make no mistake about it: the Wendys are, simply put, anti-Semitic in spite of their protestations to the opposite. They may as well argue that the Pope is not Catholic.
Page 40: Here they go back to the LCJE (the Wendys seem to keep skipping back and forth on specific points and issues and do not seem to be able to put all their thoughts together in one section) and for the second time identify it as part of the Ecumenical Movement and, once again, list me as one of the speakers (this time without my picture, whereas previously it was with my picture) and, again, apply the fallacy of guilt by association. Since I was an LCJE speaker, and since the LCJE is fostering Ecumenism, therefore, I am part of the Ecumenical Movement. Once again, when they actually quote from the LCJE, it actually says the opposite of what they wish to convey. On this page they list the five purposes of the LCJE. But one needs to look at these purposes without the Wendys’ eyeglasses and one will notice there is nothing particularly wrong with any of these five purposes; and certainly nothing in these five purposes implies Ecumenism. The first purpose is: “To gather and catalogue information useful in Jewish evangelism and to furnish such material in an occasional publication.” Is there something wrong with this goal? Is there something wrong with different Jewish ministries helping each other by letting each other know what kind of material is helpful in getting the gospel out to Jewish people? The second purpose is: “To provide a platform on which Jewish missions can meet to coordinate strategies.” Is there something wrong with Jewish missions coming together in order to plan out strategies to promote Jewish evangelism? Is there something wrong if Ariel Ministries gets together with Chosen People Ministries as a cooperative effort to witness to Jews on the streets of New York City? The Wendys seem to have a phobia of more than one group getting together! The third purpose is: “To monitor and report trends in the Jewish community.” Is there something wrong with this purpose? The fourth purpose is: “To stimulate theological and missiological research related to Jewish evangelism.” Is there something wrong with this purpose? What is wrong with different Jewish missions coming together to discuss new issues involved in the areas of Jewish evangelism and to respond to arguments against Jewish evangelism coming from the Ecumenical Movement or to respond to anti-missionary arguments coming from the Jewish community? The fifth purpose is: “To arrange consultations that will be useful to those engaged in Jewish evangelism.” Is there something wrong with Jewish ministries getting together to see what they can learn from each other about evangelizing Jewish people? So which of these five purposes promote Ecumenism? None whatsoever! Which of these purposes reflect liberal theology? None whatsoever. In fact, liberal and ecumenical theologians are consistently opposed to all five of these points.
Page 51: Here we go again with the guilt by association. They state: “The Jewish Messianic Movement also has ties and unity with Fuller Theological Seminary.” Again, the Jewish Messianic Movement is not any more monolithic than is the Baptist Movement. I might point out that I know of Baptists who have affiliation and ties and unity with Fuller Theological Seminary. One cannot use this to disparage all Baptists. Nor can one use this to disparage all Messianic Jews. Furthermore, Fuller Seminary has never been on Ariel Ministries’ “Recommended Seminaries” list.
On the same page they state: “The apostasy which is amalgamating in our day called The Hebrew Roots Movement or The Messianic Movement . ‚ . ‚ .” Here we go again: the fallacy of associating two groups that do not associate. As noted earlier, the Hebrew Roots Movement and the Messianic Movement are two separate entities. Yet this gives the impression they are one and the same, which they are not.
On the same page comes the old conspiracy element: “. ‚ . ‚ . any Jewish male who finds himself with Christians in a church setting, should fulfil his duty to teach Gentiles in the Torah, and bring them under the Rabbis of Judaism.” I know of no facet of the Messianic Movement that teaches Gentiles should be brought under the teaching of the rabbis of Judaism. There may be those in the HRM that may be saying this (though the Wendys provide no evidence for this), but that is not the position of the Messianic Jewish Movement. It could hardly be the position of Messianic Jews since Messianic Jews, themselves, are rejected by the rabbis and they would hardly wish to put Gentiles under the rabbis who consistently reject Messianic Jews.
Pages 53-59: In these pages the Wendys quote e-mail correspondence between someone whom they identity as a Messianic Jew and their responses to him. Whoever this person is (I am not convinced he really is a Jew since there are so many Gentiles who are posing as Jews nowadays), he is presented by the Despatch as being typical of what Messianic Jews believe. Let’s assume that this person is a Messianic Jew. If the quote of his position is valid (and we have only the Wendys to believe that is what he said; but knowing what they said about me, I have no reason to believe the Wendys are quoting this person accurately or in context), he is one of those loners, an extremist, who does not speak for anybody but himself. He clearly does not represent the mainline Messianic Movement whatsoever. But you would never know that from the way the Wendys present it. In their introductory statement to the correspondence they state: “The Jews will go as far as saying that Jesus Christ was the Logos, or Word, therefore He is the TORAH, which is the Word. Thus, when they speak of Yeshua they can mean, not the Jesus Christ we are talking about, but a written religious LAW! This is IDOLATRY!” A mark of anti-Semitism is to ascribe to all Jews what maybe one Jew has said. They did not introduce the correspondence with the expression: “This one Messianic Jew says . ‚ . ‚ .” Rather, they say: “The Jews will go as far as . ‚ . ‚ .” In other words, all Jews will go as far as this. The fact is, most Jews do not. More to the point, virtually no Messianic Jew does that. We certainly believe that “Jesus Christ was the Logos” because John tells us that in 1:1-18. But virtually none of us would say that the Logos is equal to the Torah and, therefore, the Logos is the Torah and the Logos is not Jesus Christ. Maybe the Wendys found one Jew who said this (again, their ability to distort things tells me I cannot take what they say at face value), but the fact is, you virtually never find a Messianic Jew anywhere who teaches this. Here again, if they would have simply listened to one of the first tapes of our “Life of Christ” series, or read our manuscript on, “The Birth of the Messiah,” which discusses the Logos, they would clearly see that what Messianic Jews believe is that the Logos was the Incarnate Word, and that is Jesus of Nazareth. One may find a Baptist who believes you can lose your salvation, but most Baptists do not believe you can lose your salvation. Thus, you might find a Messianic Jew that says this, but that is not the position of mainline Messianic Jews whatsoever.
On page 57 they state: “the HRM Jews . ‚ . ‚ .” Again, by and large the HRM leaders and teachers are not Jews, but Gentiles.
Pages 60-61: In these pages the Wendys again show their anti-Semitism by attacking a Jewish symbol, the Magen David, or the Star of David. (In Hebrew, however, it is not called “star,” but “shield”; but because it looks like a star to Westerners, it became known as the Star of David, though that was never its Hebrew name.) The point they want to make is that the Star of David originates from occultism and, therefore, any use of the Magen David, or the Star of David, is to engage in occultism. Here is another one of their common fallacies. They make the assumption that because a group uses something, it therefore originates it. It is true that occult groups use the symbol of the six-pointed star. They also use the symbol of the five-pointed star that appears on the American flag. They also use the cross as a symbol. But while they use all these symbols, that is not the same as saying that they originated these symbols. The Wendys quote various sources, but it is obvious they did not bother to look at the legitimacy of the sources, and as is mentioned in the beginning of this response, they write a disclaimer about checking out the validity of these sources. They quote sources that tend to agree with them, but they do not wish to bother validating whether or not these sources can be trusted. The sources that the Wendys are using to discredit the symbol of the shield of David is fallacious. The fact is that the earliest known record of the six-pointed star is in a second century synagogue in Capernaum; but it is one of many symbols there, and is not particularly unique. Second century Judaism did not practice occultism. Furthermore, it became a common Jewish symbol only in the Middle Ages as a sign of Jewish identity and nationalism. While occult movements may use it for their purposes, the Jewish community never used it for that same purpose. Churches should also give up using the cross for similar reasons if you use that same logic. The Wendys rant and rave against Jacob Prasch because he does use the Star of David. So do I, and so does Ariel Ministries, and unashamedly so. We are not going to be intimidated by the Wendys cries of “occultism.” Again, their real problem is that it represents Jewishness and that is the point they really hate about it, inventing the whole scenario based upon sources they never even bothered to check out.
Page 62-63: In reading the Despatch, one clearly gets the impression that one of the reasons the Wendys do not like Messianic Jews is because Messianic Jews have the nerve to accept the original languages of Hebrew-Aramaic-Greek as having priority over an English translation. And since Messianic Jews virtually en masse reject the teaching that the King James Version is verbally inspired of God, that definitely drives the Wendys crazy. They state: “We have the Word of God in our own hands in the King James Bible in English.” That means that unless you have the King James Bible, you do not have the Word of God if you use any other translation. But what do you do if the Hebrew original disagrees with the King James Version? We Messianic Jews will say that the Hebrew has the correct reading and the King James committee simply mistranslated what the verse says. But to them, the only Word of God is the King James Version. Here, again, they make it sound as if Fundamentalism always included loyalty to the King James Version, but that has never been the case in the Fundamentalist Movement in history, and is not now to the present day. That is just a cultic aberration of the Fundamentalist Movement that the Wendys are so guilty of. If something disagrees with “what God has clearly revealed to us already in the KJV” “something is amiss.” But God did not reveal His Word in the King James Version. He revealed His Word and produced it in Hebrew-Aramaic-Greek. The King James Version is a good translation of the original, but not the best, and has some glaring errors. While we certainly have a “fully reliable English Bible,” translations like the American Standard Version of 1901 are far more reliable to the Hebrew text, for example, than is the Old King James Version.
Page 63: Anti-Semites, particularly neo-Nazi groups, love talking about “Jewish conspiracies” and “secret” Jewish organizations who are scheming to take over the world. I was not surprised to see in bold, capital lettered heading the following statement: “This is About ” ˜Secret’ Jewish Business!” And so, “This Midrash stuff is ” ˜secret Jewish Business’ because it makes the unwary think they need the ” ˜secret key’ of understanding that only the Jewish scholars have.” The accusations that we are engaged in “secret Jewish Business” seems to come right out of the writings of Hitler’s Mein Kampf and subsequent neo-Nazi literature. Nazis would not be all that unhappy with what the Wendys are claiming here. It is bad enough that they have no understanding of what Midrash really is. It is hardly “secret Jewish Business” since it has been available in English for a very long time. Furthermore, many scholars in Midrash are not Jewish, but many Gentile Evangelicals have become scholars in rabbinic literature, including the Midrashim. The way neo-Nazis use The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a Russian Secret Police forgery that claims to be the minutes of secret Jewish meetings mapping out a world takeover, is the same way the Wendys use Midrash. However, the Midrashim are nothing more than homiletic interpretations of the Scriptures by the rabbis. While they are certainly very helpful in discovering the Jewish backgrounds to the New Testament, particularly the gospels, they are hardly secret or a “secret key” that only Jewish scholars have and, therefore, this is the way they intend to take over the church. Because the timing of the Midrashim often parallels the timing of the writing of the gospels, there are many points of similarity and many things in the gospels can be understood by understanding how Jews use these terms; a lot of it is found in the Midrashim. This is simply JB and not HRM, nor is it the key to take over the church. What is obvious to anyone who is willing do a simple study, what John says about the Logos is what the rabbis refer to as the memra. The six things the rabbis taught about the memra, John teaches about the Logos: (1) ‚ The memra was sometimes distinct from God but sometimes the same God” “John says the Logos was with God (therefore distinct from Him), but the Logos was also God (therefore the same as God); (2) ‚ the memra was the agent of creation” “John states that all things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that had been made; (3) the memra was the agent of salvation” “John declares that those who believe in Him are the ones who become the children of God; (4) ‚ the memra was the means by which God became visible by means of the Shechinah Glory” “John states that the Word became flesh and dwelled among us (and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth; (5) ‚ the memra was the means by which God signed His covenants” “John states that the Law came through Moses, based upon the Mosaic Covenant, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ, based upon the New Covenant, and, therefore, the Messiah is also a covenant signer; and (6) ‚ the memra was the agent of revelation” “John states that while no man has seen God at any time, the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father had declared Him. This is one example of many where using rabbinic literature from that time helps to enlighten the New Testament. The Midrash is not a book of secret Jewish conspiracies, outlining how Messianic Jews are to take over the world. It is simply a source, in the same sense that Josephus is a source, the Dead Sea Scrolls are a source, archaeology is a source, to see the historical frame of reference of biblical backgrounds.
I, for one, do not see the New Testament using as much Midrash as does my friend, Jacob Prasch. While there are certain examples of the use of Midrashic type interpretation as in Galatians four, I see Paul merely using it to counteract the Galatian believers infatuation with rabbinic interpretations. He uses Midrash to show that if we resort to homiletic interpretation rather than literal interpretation, then it allows for more than one conclusion, including the opposite of what the Judaizers were teaching the Galatians. Outside of that, and perhaps a few minor examples here and there, I do not see the New Testament writers using Midrashic interpretation per se. As Matthew two shows, the biblical writers do quote the Old Testament in four different categories, in the same way the rabbis did, both in the Midrash and in the Talmud. Matthew two quotes Hosea 11:1 and refers it to Christ. However, a look at Hosea itself shows that Hosea is speaking of Israel and calls this son disobedient. That could hardly be true of Christ. So how is it that Matthew can apply this passage to Christ without being accused of taking the verse out of context? A study of how rabbis in the Midrash and the Talmud quoted the Old Testament would provide the answer. There are many examples like this that will help the Wendys understand the Bible better, but like those in Romans one, they refuse the knowledge available to them because it is Jewish. The point is that the Wendys do not even understand what the Midrash is about to begin with and, again, they tend to use it the same way neo-Nazis use The Protocols: “secret Jewish Business” to take over something or other.
Page 64: On this page the Wendys declare themselves to be “members of the Remnant Church,” but they never define what that means so I have no idea as to who the Remnant Church is and what exactly it constitutes. They claim it is not attached to any denomination, but there is no statement of faith anywhere to know exactly what they do believe and teach. If I was to resort to guilt by association, I could say that the terminology indicates that they are members of the Identity Cults that have become common in the U.S.A. They share a common anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish perspective, and claim to be Fundamentalists, and claim that the King James Version is the only true Bible. I do not know that is what they are; they do not define themselves very well. If nothing else, they certainly share the same views as the Identity Cults. But I will not say they are, since that would be guilt by association.
Page 65: This page is loaded with one anti-Semitic statement after another and they constantly react to Jewishness, claiming that you either have more of Jewishness or more of Christ, but apparently you cannot have both. They again make references to “our Reformation Bibles”; but again, there is no such thing as a “Reformation Bible.” The Bible was a product of Jews, not Reformers. The Bible was there well before the Reformation. Furthermore, none of the Reformers used the King James Version. When they raise the question, “Do you believe that the Christian Church has suffered through many hundreds of years because it did NOT have a proper Bible interpretation?” the implication is that the church has suffered because of their adherence to the King James Version. When the Church was persecuted, it had nothing to do with the King James Version and through most of church history those who were persecuted for the faith knew nothing about the King James Version; in fact, most of them could not read English.
Page 66: In dealing here with Jacob Prasch’s web site, they state: “Also we are alarmed at the links on his Web site, which includes Arnold Fruchtenbaum links and through him the extremes of the Hebrew Roots Movement. Why aren’t you alarmed?” Here is another lie, folks. Why should people be alarmed that his web site has a link to me? Because through me people are exposed to the extremes of the HRM? If only the Wendys had bothered to read what I actually say, they would know I am opposed to the HRM and so anybody reading our material on the web site would never conclude that the HRM is valid. It is such a shame that the Wendys never bothered to look at our web site and see what we really say. If they have, then what they state makes them out-and-out liars. For now we will give them the benefit of the doubt and simply say they are ignorant, but it is willful ignorance since they did not bother to do any checking.
Page 68: Here the Wendys state: “These insults against Protestant Theology deny the fact that the Protestant Reformers were utterly dependable and stood firm in literal-grammatical interpretation of the Holy Scriptures.” The assumption is that “Protestant Theology” was always uniform, again a statement that simply is not true. If it was, there would not have been the different denominations within the Protestant Movement. Furthermore, while the Protestants generally held to a grammatical-historical interpretation, it would be incorrect to say they held to a literal-grammatical interpretation. If they took the Bible literally, they all would have been premillennial and, more specifically, they would have been Dispensational. But virtually all of the Reformers took an Amillennial stance and they spiritualized and allegorized prophecy, Ecclesiology, and Israelology. Replacement Theology by its very nature denies the literal interpretation. They were certainly literal in some parts, such as statements about salvation, but they were not literal in many other parts of their biblical interpretation, as anybody reading Luther or Calvin can easily see.
On the same page they seem to contrast literal-grammatical interpretation from grammatical-historical, but that is a faulty dichotomy. The correct hermeneutic principle is literal-grammatical-historical interpretation. The term “historical” simply means that when we take the words of the Bible literally, we must understand how these words were used at the time they were written and not how they may be used today. Because a certain word has a certain meaning in the twentieth century, this does not mean it had the same meaning in the first century. If we take the grammatical interpretation, at the same time we must understand the grammatical issues as used at the time the Bible books were written. Furthermore, we take them literally. The Reformers generally followed the grammatical-historical interpretation, as their commentaries show; however, to claim that they took the Bible literally is simply not true to fact. If they had taken it literally, there would have been a lot less theological divisions in the Protestant Church. Furthermore, if they had not ignored the Jewish backgrounds, they would never have come up with such fantasies as Amillennialism, infant baptism, baptismal regeneration, and other false teachings that were found among the Reformers. It is proper to praise the Reformers for what they did accomplish. But it is wrong to ignore the errors that they also produced, such as Amillennialism, infant baptism, church hierarchies, etc. When the Wendys say they are not part of any denomination or hierarchy, they are doing something against Reformers who did set up hierarchical churches themselves.
Page 70: Here the Wendys claim that what we are saying is: “You have to have a Jewish rabbi who can explain Midrash before you can have the ” ˜secret key’ that will open the door to understanding.” They have never read anything that I have written that says this. And as far as I know, neither has Jacob Prasch ever said this. But Jacob Prasch can ably defend himself. Furthermore, Prasch has never claimed to be a rabbi and neither have I.
Page 71-72: Here the Wendys fault Jacob Prasch because: “He does not say he accepts the KJV as the completed, authoritative, infallible Word Of God in English.” Nor should he, and neither do I. Neither do most of the Fundamentalists in the Fundamentalist Movement. The only thing we accept is the authoritative and infallible Word of God as the original autographs that were written in Hebrew-Aramaic-Greek. No English translation, or any other translation, shares the principle of verbal inspiration.
They then go on to attack me under the bold title, “Jacob’s co-worker?” Before putting this in print, a simple phone call would have answered that question. On one hand we are co-workers because we are in Jewish ministries. But if by “co-worker” they mean that we work for the same organization, the answer is no. We have separate and different ministries so that he can fulfill God’s calling in his life, and I can fulfill God’s calling in mine. The real problem is their accusation of me fostering the Ecumenical Movement. The premise is already faulty in that they begin with the presupposition that the LCJE is an Ecumenical Movement, fostering a one world church concept; but there is nothing anywhere in any LCJE writings that even comes close to such a concept. Based on that, they go on to say: “The emerging One World Church, with its World Christian Movement, lists Arnold Fruchtenbaum and his ” ˜Ariel Ministries!'” Even if what they say about the LCJE was true, my speaking there does not mean I am promoting a one world church since, as I have already made clear, I will preach the gospel anywhere the door is opened. The fact is, that is not the position of the LCJE to begin with. If they had simply read a few pages of my writings, particularly pages 50-60 of Footsteps of the Messiah, which would not have taken them all that much time, they would have read clearly what my position is. I stand in opposition to the Ecumenical Movement. I also stand in opposition to Liberalism. I tell believers inside liberal churches or apostate churches to get out. Would you know that is my position from what the Wendys write? Obviously not. Once again, they are guilty of out-and-out lying and the reason for these lies is for no other reason than I am a Jew and they hate that.
Page 76: Here the Wendys mix their King James cultism with their anti-Semitism when they write in bold print: “We will not denounce our reformers or the reformation Bible! We will not do so in order to drift off into Judaism! Nor will we accept the ” ˜superior’ hermeneutics of the Jewish rabbis!” First, once again, there is no such thing as the Reformation Bible because the Bible was produced by Jews, not by the Reformers; second, the Reformers used a Bible that was clearly not the King James Version; third, the issue is not “drift off into Judaism,” but willing to look at the Jewish frame of reference out of which the Bible was written to see if we can gain a better understanding of it; fourth, no one is promoting rabbinic hermeneutics, least of all myself or Ariel Ministries. They go on to say that “the Bible must be understood only in its plain and literal sense . ‚ . ‚ .” This is true and it is a shame the Reformers did not do so, but allegorized and spiritualized great parts of Scripture, especially in the area of Bible prophecy.
Page 79: On this page the Wendys deny that they are guilty of “Ruckmanism,” but that really is what they are guilty of since the essence of Ruckmanism is the belief that God inspired only one English translation and that is the King James Version. They give lip service to the original languages, but what do you do when the original languages disagree with the King James Version? Take the case of Isaiah 14:12. The King James Version reads “Lucifer,” a Latin title borrowed from the Latin Vulgate. However, the Hebrew word simply says, “day star.” That is what the American Standard Version of 1901 reads and that is the correct translation. Here, the King James Version is clearly wrong, and while the Wendys would like for me to correct the Hebrew Bible based upon King James, that is not the way God chose to reveal His Word. In Ezekiel 39:1-5, the King James Version states that God will leave one-sixth of the invading army alive to survive. The Hebrew makes no such statement and the point is that the entire invading army is destroyed. Thus, the ASV of 1901 has made the correct translation and does not state, “I will leave but a sixth part of you.” It is not in the Hebrew text and the King James Version simply got it wrong here. So do we correct by an English version the original Hebrew that God gave us? Under no circumstances. I could give many other examples along this line, but here is a foundational reason why the Wendys hate Messianic Jews so much. They refuse to change what God wrote in His Hebrew Bible to make it correspond with a faulty English rendering of the King James Version. The Wendys state:
Not one doctrine or truth has been changed or flawed in the KJV, it is a soundly reliable and a glorious translation in English. Trust it, you need no other. And use Greek and Hebrew concordance et al to look up meanings of words.
I can agree with the first part of that sentence, but that is also true of many other English translations, that they are soundly reliable and do not change a single doctrine and no doctrine is flawed in my ASV of 1901. I can also say that if you have the ASV of 1901 you need no other since that is a very superb English translation of the original languages. But when they suggest you use the Greek and Hebrew concordances to look up meanings of words, what do you do when that same Hebrew and Greek concordance gives you a different translation than what the King James Version provides? What do you do then? The answer is, you fix the English to conform to the Hebrew and Greek. You do not change the Hebrew and Greek to make it conform to the English. If the Wendys would simply follow their own advice, they would soon see that there are translation errors, like those I have just mentioned, in the King James Version. Pages 88-90: In these pages the Wendys respond to certain questions and make some interesting statements, but they also continue to reveal their anti-Semitic mindset with statements such as “perverted Jewish symbols” (they never mention anything like “perverted Gentile symbols”). In this section a writer asks about what she has heard about God’s name being YHWH and wonders if this is part of “the emerging One World Religion which is really the religion of Freemasonry . ‚ . ‚ .” And the question is asked, “How is this name YHWH going to figure in this.” Anyone who knows basic Hebrew 101, realizes that these are the four letters that make up God’s personal name and, therefore, could hardly be accused of being occultic. At least the Wendys know this much and they initially respond by saying, “Firstly, the Name YHWH is, of course, the Name Yahweh in the Hebrew. It is the same as Jehovah.” That is not quite correct, but I will let that pass as I have had to let many, many small points of error pass since it is impossible to comment on every single error this magazine makes. But the interesting point is that they obviously cannot claim that YHWH is just another “perverted Jewish symbol” and obviously cannot blame the occult movement for producing this. But they also have to admit that the occult movement does use it. They state, “Satan is not an instigator, he copies, he is a copier.” While YHWH is used by occult groups, this does not mean they originated YHWH, they are simply copying it and using it for their own purpose. For once they have made a correct observation. What they fail to see is that the same thing has happened with the Magen David, or the “Star of David.” The occult groups are merely using this Jewish symbol (which the Wendys consider “perverted,” but which I wear proudly), but they are not the originators of this symbol. Just as the occult groups misuse YHWH, they also misuse the six-pointed star. Their anti-Semitism simply does not allow them to see it for what it truly is. Also, just in passing, it would be biblically incorrect to claim that Satan “is not an instigator,” but only a copier. He has the capacity to instigate many things. One of the things he instigates is the very anti-Semitism that the Wendys so consistently display while denying it at the same time.
On page 90 the Wendys claim that the term Yeshua is “a perversion of the name Jesus.” It is very difficult to tolerate this level of ignorance. You would think that the Messiah’s mother called him “Jesus” and that later the name was perverted to Yeshua. The simple fact is that the name “Jesus” is the Anglicized form of the Greek Ieisous which, in turn, is the Greek form for the Hebrew Yeshua. The only possible way they could come up with such a theory, that Yeshua is a perversion of the name “Jesus,” is their assumption that the King James Version is the only inspired Bible and, therefore, the way the King James committee chose to spell out biblical names was what they were actually called in biblical times, the fact that English was not known back then notwithstanding.
Page 93: This whole page is dedicated to an expos ƒ © that the Millennium Dome built in England is a product of witchcraft (though they make a point of reading the Disclaimer on this page, so apparently they are not really sure since they are quoting somebody else, and are very good at not checking their sources). My only observation here is that at least on this page they do not blame the Jews for it. Perhaps in a future issue we will find some Jewish connection and conspiracy concerning the Millennium Dome!
This has been a very long and tedious response and has taken many, many hours of my time, which I would rather devote to serious Bible study. I can often ignore the many attacks I get from unsaved Jewish groups, the liberal Protestants who oppose our work in Jewish evangelism, attacks coming from Ecumenical leaders, and I can even largely ignore the many attacks I get from Messianic circles because of my position concerning freedom from the Law and the rejection of rabbinic writings as being authoritative, to be used only for background studies. But when an organization that claims to be a Fundamentalist Christian organization attacks me in the name of Christ, while never reading anything I have written or listening to any tape I have made, and presents me as believing and fostering things where the exact opposite is true, and then sends this out to Christians without even the courage to send me a copy themselves, that cannot go unanswered. Because of the cultic nature that the Wendys represent, those who are their followers will not bother to read this response, since they have already chosen to believe what they wish to believe, the facts notwithstanding. And those who are familiar with my writings and my teachings will know that the whole magazine is nothing but a lie, and I know of at least one detailed response to that effect already. This response has been written for people who may not be in the loop and might assume that what the Wendys are saying is based upon well-researched facts; therefore, the purpose of this response is to disperse any such misconceptions. Again, the purpose of this response is to present the simple truth.
I am happy to answer any further questions about any of these details that anybody reading this would like to ask.