ORIGINALLY POSTED 26 SEPTEMBER, 2005
Yeshua the Messiah issues a very strong warning to His followers in Matthew 12:35-37. He says, “The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” How many of us take these words seriously, and realize that what we say affects others?
As a Bible teacher, I must be very careful with what I say. James the Just tells us that as teachers, “we will incur a stricter judgment” (James 3:1). Whether this judgment is a positive one or a negative one is entirely up to us. As Yeshua admonishes us, the good person brings forth the good treasure out of his heart. This good treasure must be that which blesses people and helps them to grow spiritually. This good treasure must help people have a better relationship with God and with one another. This good treasure must include helping people have a greater respect for the authority and value of the Bible. It is the evil person who brings forth what is evil, that which curses others and leads them away from the Lord.
Today, many are wondering why there is a sector of individuals in the Messianic community who have denied Yeshua and either converted to Judaism, or their own primitive form of “Yahwism.” While the reasons vary, one thing that is occurring in our midst is that idle words have taken root in the hearts of people, which are now coming to full fruition. One of the statements that is made far too frequently among certain Messianics today is: “Christianity is pagan.” This statement, while often said “innocently” to describe the ills and some non-Biblical practices of mainstream Christianity, can cause the naïve and spiritually unstable person to begin to think that if the pagans believed something, it must therefore be rejected.
The problem with this line of reasoning is two-fold: (1) The problem is not with non-Biblical and questionable practices in contemporary Christianity; the problem is rather with the fact that all of us have strayed from God’s Word. God’s people have not widely made the Bible and being Scripturally compliant their top priority. (2) If you believe that the message of the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament) is “pagan,” you must hold the Tanach (Old Testament) to the same standard. If you believe that the story of Yeshua the Messiah and His resurrection are copied off of pagan myths, then you also have to believe that the Bible stories of the Tanach are also borrowed or copied from the mythology of the Ancient Israelites’ neighbors.
As you can see, this can be a slippery slope—and unfortunately, there are many people slipping.
Today’s Messianic movement has arrived at a very important theological and spiritual crossroads. Much of our long term viability and effectiveness as a faith community will be determined by what takes place in the 2010s, and by our approach to a series of important issues surrounding the nature of the Messiah, the reliability of Holy Scripture, our communication style, and whether we want to see all people included and welcome within our assemblies or not.
Confronting Critical Issues is an important compilation book of some of Messianic Apologetics’ key Confronting Issues booklets, as well as some major articles of substance. These are bound to answer some significant questions and controversies that all of today’s Messianic Believers have encountered within their fellowships, congregations, and personal Bible studies. This publication is also bound to stir some of its own controversy, as it inquires how we can be a mature, growing Messianic movement which is able to accomplish all that our Heavenly Father wants us to achieve—or whether those among us are going to disregard our spiritual potential to make a difference.
Some of the subjects addressed in Confronting Critical Issues include:
- urban legends present in the Messianic movement
- the Divinity and Messiahship of Yeshua
- the Shema and the plurality of God
- potential paganism witnessed in the stories of Holy Scripture, and how we are to avoid liberal theology
- the origin of the Apostolic Scriptures and English Bible versions
- the negative influence of Jewish mysticism on the Messianic movement
- the Divine Name of God (YHWH/YHVH)
- a proper, edifying communication style for today’s Messianic Believers
- the equality for Jewish and non-Jewish Believers, and both men and women in the Messianic community
This massive powerhouse of material is a must for every Messianic Believer’s library!