On Shunning

What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?” –Jesus (Matthew 18:12)

The IFB churches, in which I grew up and then left, commonly teach that believers should shun another person who calls himself/herself a believer, but who has been involved in sin and is not repentant. The operative and key words should be “not repentant.” If someone has expressed sorrow and change of mind/heart about the sin, taking steps to be rid of it… [not man-made prescriptions] then they are to be received! (2 Corinthians 2:5-11; 8:7-16). And they are to be received as God sees them, fully righteous, fully restored, walking in their new creature identity (2 Corinthians 5:16-17).

For sure, “church discipline” is taught in the Bible, but shunning is not.

IFBers often quote the following:

To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:5).

And,

I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people” (1 Corinthians 5:11).

But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person” (1 Corinthians 5:13).

Again, it is clear that church discipline is taught by the Apostle Paul; and Jesus Himself gave prescriptions on how to deal with offenses within the body (Matthew 18). But, in their zealousness to rid the body of “leaven,” they miss Jesus’ statement to “treat them as a pagan and a tax collector,” and IFBers appear never to consider how Jesus Himself treated pagans and tax collectors. They also either skip over or ignore 2 Thessalonians 3:15, which commands believers should NOT treat a disobedient brother as an enemy! James 5:20 further states we should invest enough love and time and wisdom into a brother’s / sister’s life, so as to be able to turn him or persuade him back to Jesus, and so, “cover a multitude of sins.” We are to reprove, rebuke, exhort, BUT “with great patience and instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2). These things can hardly be done in one “church discipline” visit by a pastor and 2 deacons, where fear and intimidation are the motivations. Jude (v. 22) commands we should differentiate the hardened from the doubting by showing them mercy & compassion; but even the hardened should have mercy mixed with fear (vv. 22-24).

2 Timothy 2:24-25 (ESV)

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,

What is more, IFB’ers insist on man-made restrictions to “make sure the offender has really repented ‘after a godly sorrow.'” These restrictions and life demands are not mankind’s place to determine; and IFB’ers are so behavior focused, they often neglect true restoration… which requires meekly identifying with & bearing the burden of the one who stumbled (Galatians 6).

True restoration is done in order to rebuild the breakdowns of one’s holy identity, faith, hope and love which precipitated the sin; and true restoration realizes a sin problem in a believer is always directly proportionate to their godly identity having been attacked, their godly trusts having been broken, their godly hopes having been dashed or their godly love having been betrayed. It requires sympathetically looking at the trials and hardships that led to said breakdown. Instead, IFB’ers tend to kick those who are down, or treat them shamefully, as if they carry something rabid and catchy. This shaming and shunning can never restore, and it reveals restoration is really not the aim of IFB’ers.

They gain this misdirection & misunderstanding about shunning from misinterpreting passages (out of context and meaning). Here are some Bible studies, which show the biblically accurate alternative to unbiblical shunning. Not associating with an unrepentant person means not to worship with them. Not to eat with an unrepentant person means not to take communion with them. One gains this from the context of 1 Corinthians 5, where Paul describes the difference between what goes on within the body vs. what goes on outside it (1 Corinthians 5:11-13). But, not to share an actual family or friendly meal and/or not to socialize with said persons is a gross misinterpretation of the Bible, and it only feeds unbiblical shunning.

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OTHER RESOURCES:

Unclean: Meditations on Purity, Hospitality & Mortality

Treat Them as a Pagan and a Tax Collector

The Kingdom of Heaven and it’s Keys

Binding and Loosing 

Abuse & Authority

The Greatest Sin in the Church: Lording

Pastors!! We are guilty of the greatest sin in the churches. If you do not know what “Lording over the flock” is, then you are most probably doing it! STOP!!
You call yourself an “overseer” and an “undershepherd,” because you gain these titles from Scripture; but you have more than likely learned the wrong connotation of these terms. To oversee in the correct sense of the word (according to Thayer’s Lexicon) is “TO LOOK OUT FOR; CARE FOR,” not to train for professional ministry, administrate, organize, manage, direct or determine “usefulness.” YOU DO NOT lead the flock to build a church, so that the entire world someday will be going to church. You care for the health of the flock, so that the flock is GOING OUT into the entire world!! You do NOT control opportunities of ministry. The Spirit does! You SERVE the Spirit in each believer… calling out His gifts you see, nurturing the believer to learn and maintain a direct connection with their true Lord and Director, the Holy Spirit! In that healthy state, God also will work in them and through them to minister to / build up their fellow believers.

Your only & true goal as a minister is to equip the believer for the Great Commission / Ministry of Reconciliation IN THE WORLD, where God has called them (1 Corinthians 7:17ff). He HAS NOT called and WILL NOT call them to build YOUR MINISTRY. And, should a believer be falling or failing, you are to SERVE them by seeking to restore their faith, hope & love! That is what a pastor does.
The best thing you can do, Pastors, is cut all your programs, budgets & plans immediately!! Then, repent openly of “Lording over the flock” and start teaching on the gifts of the Spirit and their functions; and start teaching on what it means to tune into and maintain a vibrant connection to the LORD! Follow that up by teaching the most basic Christian doctrines and their defenses in the face of today’s attacks. Finally, teach the believers how to read, study and interpret the Bible for THEMSELVES, instead of being reliant on your spoon feedings. That is plenty of work that requires a lot of prayer and study. Get to it!!

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OTHER RESOURCES:

Abuse & Authority

12 Clearly Stated Facts on Biblical Church Leadership

Diagram of Biblical Church Leadership Roles

Why Church Members Dislike Church Growth – Rainer on Leadership #128

Good Leadership and Good Followers

Isn’t Church Just Another Kind of Cult?

A Response to Anne Graham Lotz’s Inaugural Assessment

Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy Graham, spoke out recently in an article published by Prophecy in the News. She responded to Donald Trump’s inaugural prayer service, stating that even though the Christian God was represented, so many other religious presences poluted the day.

As a Christian, I agree with Mrs. Lotz’s assessment that the Creator, as described in the Christian New Testament is not a god among others. He is THE one, true God above all others.

HOWEVER, also as an Anabaptist Christian, I do not believe a true faith is one that can be mandated or forced upon citizens by the State. There are some Christian sects, which believe Christianity must conquer the world by socio-political means. They practice theonomy, which is the establishing of biblical laws into the legal structure of whatever nation Christians call home. This stems from a theology labeled “Post-Millennialism,” which seeks to “bring in the kingdom” of Jesus Christ by societal engineering. Though it is right and good to have morally just and righteous laws by biblical standards, it is quite another thing to try establishing a theocracy in hopes that people will be governed into a belief system. It smacks of Islamic Sharia.

I hate and despise theonomy, because it overlooks the fact that God’s kingdom is not like man’s kingdoms. It cannot be legislated into or out of existence. Rather, His kingdom is within every heart that believes of free will (as opposed to coercion). 

One day, Jesus Christ will return to establish his kingdom on earth. At present, though, believers are both the subjects and the spaces (the temples) of His kingdom, having their primary and eternal citizenship in Heaven with Christ Jesus.

Whence Christmas?

These days, Christians everywhere face persecution for their beliefs. One example is in the name “Christmas.” Non-believers, let alone overt pagans, do not like the name. For example, the U.K. just decided that it’s ok to call say Christmas, …for now. But others are enduring lawsuits over display of a “Christmas tree.” Nativity scenes are just as contested, if not moreso.

Within Christendom, Christmas is also controvercial, due to its inaccuracy concerning the actual birth of Jesus / Yeshua, and also because December 25th evidently has pagan roots.

A few weeks ago, Lamb’s Harbinger posted an article by Dr. David Reagan and Dr. James Ya’akov Hugg at Lamb & Lion Ministries. The article asks the question, “When was Jesus Born?” It most precisely uses data from the Bible record as well as historical data to arrive at an accurate date of Feast of Tabernacles (late September / early October)… in the years B.C. 5-4. [The Jewish calendar runs through 2 years, similar to the way a modern school calendar spans 2 years. See timeline below, all credit due Dr. James Ya’akov Hugg]

chart_jcbirth.jpg

Now, researchers and Christian apologists such as Lenny Esposito and Sean McDowell have argued for Christmas (observed December 25th) as having truly Christian origins. The articles are found linked below:

Mr. Esposito goes to great lengths, exhuming ancient records of the early church and 3rd Century Rome—which precede the time of Constantine—in order to prove that Christmas is not based off of Pagan religious festivals such as Saturnalia, Ophelia, Winter Solstice & Sigillaria. Mr. Esposito’s research features a pièce de résistance. He shows that the Roman way of calculating months places these feasts from December 17th – 23rd (3-7 days). From that, he asserts no early Christians could have been copying a pagan holiday, when first celebrating what we now call Christmas. Amid these arguments, Mr. Esposito also inserts that Dies Natalis Solis Invictus—a Roman celebration of Sun worship (at the Winter Solstice, “birth of the new sun”)—began to be celebrated on December 25th, 354 A.D. From that, Mr. Esposito gathers,

the charge of Christians chose December 25 in order to “Christianize” or even just appease a pagan populous is weak at best.

One is tempted to see it Lenny Esposito’s way. His argumentation is fairly persuasive. However, there are 2 major flaws with his reasoning.

  1. Mr. Esposito completely omits any mention of the biblical data presented by scholars such as Dr. Hugg and Dr. Reagan. He instead relies almost solely on tradition, going so far as to cite teachings from Augustine (who admits he quotes tradition) that mystically align Jesus’ conception and birth (“Christmas”) to his death and resurrection (“Easter”)… on a Roman [equinox and solstice] calendar. Even ancient tradition is still tradition. As biblicists, we place Scriptural data above tradition, even from the 3rd Century A.D.
  2. Mr. Esposito fails to account for variances in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, and also, astronomical variances, such as shift in earth’s axes and the adjustment of Solstices.

For the first error, Dr. Reagan and Dr. Hugg precisely and accurately prove the biblical data is accurate for reaching an appropriate date.

For the second error, I offer the following. Calculating Winter Solstice to the time of 1 A.D. – 48 A.D., [as far back as calculators generally tabulate] reveals December 22nd and 23rd as  the dates between which Winter Solstice oscillated at the time of Jesus’ life and the first 15-20 years of the early Church. Since Mr. Esposito concedes that Saturnalia and Sigillaria center around this Solstice and last a total of 3-7 days, one can see December 25th falls directly at the Mid-point of the pagan festival set. If we forward those calculations to the time of the 3rd Century A.D., we arrive at December 21st and 22nd as the placement of Winter Solstice… still plenty of time for December 25th to fall within the 3-7 day set of pagan festivals.

Taking this more nearly accurate astronomical data into account, it is easy to say that December 25th was accepted by 3rd Century, pre-Constantine, “paganized” Christianity as a date that would consistently fall within the pagan winter festivals of Rome. Mr. Esposito takes the view that Christianity always was prevailing in Roman society. That is simply not historically honest. The first 10 emperors of the Church’s existence persecuted them repeatedly. Amid those persecutions were attempts to pollute pure Christianity. The Apostles attest to these kinds of onslaughts in their letters.

Genuine Christians have never attempted to “Christianize” anything pagan, according to the biblical command found in 1 Corinthians 6:16-18. However, pagans have always tried to “paganize” Christianity. While Lenny Esposito correctly states “the charge [that] Christians chose December 25 in order to “Christianize” or even just appease a pagan populous is weak at best,” he also needs to consider another possibility. From 30’s A.D. to 354 A.D., Rome took advantage of 320+ years worth of time to persecute, distort and pollute genuine Christianity. Given that view, is it not possible that Romanization and paganizing led to a divergent Christendom? That false Church began its compromise by complying with Saturnalia and Sigillaria in early centuries… and eventually (by 354 A.D.) embraced the pagan Dies Natalis Solis Invictus date of December 25 as the commemoration of the birth of Christ.

Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

Jeremiah 10:2-4 (KJV)

All this being said, I am careful not to judge the motives of current-day believers who celebrate the incarnation of Yeshua / Jesus on December 25th. As a very good friend and wise brother says,

I think it would be good for us, as a church, to move away from using the word “Christmas” to describe the day in which we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Much like using the word “Easter” has become synonymous with bunnies distributing eggs, Christmas has become synonymous with obsessive self-centered commercialism that has nothing to do with celebrating the birth of Jesus…. 

Paul said “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days” (Colossians 2:16)….

There are certainly some parallels that could be drawn regarding an ancient pagan rituals that include similar things we see in what has become traditional Christmas customs. Does that mean that the redeemed must abandon any and all practices that some pagan group decides that they want to include in their rituals? Certainly not. When researching several years ago, I could not find any pagan group that claimed December 25th as a day to worship their false gods/idols or conduct satanic rituals. It doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen in the past, I think that it most certainly did. I am just stating that I couldn’t find any contemporary pagan groups claiming the day….

It is important to note that all of the Earth and all things on & in the Earth were created by God. While God created all things… Satan created nothing. The evil one is an imposter, thief, a liar & deceiver, and while wickedly inventive and resourceful; the devil is not a creator. Satan, while originally cognizant of the truth of God, has promulgated the body of lies he spins to humankind for so long that I would not be surprised if he hasn’t somehow convinced himself that the lies are truth. Why else would he continue to rage against God if he believed he was truly doomed? We know that it is simply Satan’s nature to lie about God’s truth and elevate his own prominence and power while promoting his rebellious agenda.   

My point is this; if pagans claim a day of the year to hold celebrations, has God somehow lost the day or is no longer in control of the day? Is the day no longer HIS? Certainly not. My guess is that most Christians would say that they celebrate Christ’s incarnation on and or around what has become known as the Christmas holiday season. 

Just because several centuries ago some pagans used a day in December for their worship of idols and false gods, it does not mean that Christians cannot celebrate the birth of our Lord on whatever day(s) they choose. There is nothing inherently sacred or evil about any particular day. It’s what is in an individual’s heart that defiles him or her.

The Apostle Paul—in 1 Corinthians 8—clarifies that there is nothing evil in meat itself, but placed the prohibition on eating such meat which came from the pagan temple only IF it offended a weaker brother. He said they should abstain in order not to offend or put a stumbling block before a young Christian or the Jews who thought is was wrong. The meat itself was not tainted because it came from pagan temple. That is a substantial lesson to be grasped. 

The principle God is teaching is clear. A specific day of the year is not sinful. There is nothing evil about the 25th day of December. If true believers want to honor and worship the Lord on Dec. 25 and remember His birth there is no scripture that prohibits it. True Christian believers are not involved in sinful behavior… on December 25 or any other day of celebration. 

When born-again, Blood-washed believers celebrate Dec. 25, they are celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus (even though you and I both know that He was born around late September or early October)! 

We see Sha’ul (Paul) writes that the mature balance in such matters is to “become all things to all men that by all means [we] might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). We should be ready to change custom, cultural habits, societal status, and dietary restrictions for the Good News’ sake, so long as these do not lead us to worship in pagan ways and thought, or join with them in their worship (2 Cor. 6:14). 

In conclusion, this is a time when Christians are persecuted everywhere. Christmas is so closely associated with celebrating Yeshua / Jesus as the incarnate Messiah that whole nations and the international community are trying to decide if it’s ok to say “Christmas.” Since this is a matter of being salt and light—a chance to preach Jesus; and since no pagans  (besides the apostate Roman Catholic Church) claim Christmas, I will not abandon celebrating Christmas. But, if a believing brother or sister think celebrating Christmas is wrong for them, then I will do everything in my power to show deference by not celebrating in their presence or forcing them to celebrate.

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OTHER RESOURCES:

Who’s the Weak One?

Conservative Americana vs. Biblical Christian Culture 

5 Concerns About the Messianic (Ekklesia) Body, Hebrew Roots Movement

I am Messianic…. That is, I believe Yeshua (Jesus) from Nazareth (~B.C. 4 — 31 A.D.~) as described in the Greek New Testament, is the pre-existent, serpent crushing, eternal Son of YHWH—a.k.a. Fully God & Fully Man—as first promised in Genesis 3:15 to Eve & Adam and the human race. Yeshua is a Hebrew, and He was born under the Law of Moses. He did not destroy the Mosaic Law, rather He fulfilled it. [See also Old v. New Covenant: Defining our Relationship with God]

There are many Messianic congregations across the globe. These are my brothers & sisters according to Abraham’s faith (Romans 9); and I love them in Messiah Yeshua dearly. My fellowship with them is more than enjoyable, and I have learned a great deal from their teachings from the Hebrew perspective—a thing greatly needed! Messianics are part of a movement called Hebrew Roots.

To be sure, those who identify as Messianic do not assert the same errors as the Judaizers, who attacked and troubled Yeshua’s Apostles. They do hold that one is eternally reconciled to YHWH by the grace of Yeshua / Jesus, through faith in Him alone [apart from the deeds of the Law] for obtaining righteousness with YHWH. When the biblical culture found in the Tanakh is observed by Messianics, it is done out of reverential love for Yeshua—to honor the culture that YHWH inscribed & gave to humanity, as found in the Tanakh (Old Testament). When the ordinances / observances are broken, or when the Moral Law is transgressed, Yeshua the Righteous is their only sacrifice for sin & Advocate with the Father (2 John 2:1-3).

The Messianic believers I have met are not Judaizers, and they were extremely careful to show grace and peace when debatable matters of lifestyle arose. I love and appreciate their zeal to expose the infiltration of cultural paganism and blatant apostasy within ‘Christendom’… especially the whoredoms of the Roman Catholic Church.

On the other hand, Messianic teachings and expectations often can come dangerously close to (unintentionally) mimicking or sounding like Judaisation. The following concerns serve as friendly alerts to Messianic believers, so that they can make sure their ‘good shall not be evil spoken of.’

1. Don’t Discredit the Greek New Testament. 

While many translations are sub-par and have agendas behind their publication, the abundant Greek manuscripts of the Apostles’ writings are copies of “God- breathed” Scripture. Whether you believe Yeshua quoted the Septuagint translation of the Tanakh, it stands that the Apostles (whom Yeshua Himself commissioned and blessed) wrote to the Gentile churches in Koiné Greek. These texts collectively agree in over 99%+ of their content, and the other percent or less does not change any doctrine. There are also many good, reliable translations of these manuscripts in nearly every language.

BUT, one thing is for sure. If you reject the Greek manuscripts, then you are left with no Good News of Yeshua & 0% of the 99%+ of Apostles’ doctrine. You are bereft of the only texts, which alone are able to inform Hebrew and Gentile non-believers toward faith in Yeshua… ever since the Apostles, who were taught the Tanakh by Yeshua Himself… quite an improvement on merely having the Tanakh; and an infinite measure above the best rabbinical traditions from before or after Yeshua’s first earthly walk.

2. Gentile believers have been grafted into the Remnant of Israel, BUT we are also 1 New Humanity.

The olive tree of Romans 11 is not the fig tree of Matthew 21:18-19; 20-22 and Mark 11:12-14; 20-25. Whereas apostate Israel was always represented as a fig tree, remnant Israel was always the olive tree. Gentile believers have been grafted into that.

On the other hand, by dying for sins & rising again, Yeshua formed an entirely new ‘body’ of humanity.

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13)

In Yeshua there is one (1) new Ekklesia, one Body of Messiah borne after Abraham’s faith, not Abraham’s physical lineage or Moses’ Covenant (Romans 9). Yeshua took down the wall of separation between Jew & Gentile in genome, culture and commandment, making from the 2 one new humanity (Ephesians 2:15). This is equality!

Gentile believers are not grafted into the Judaism of the Mosaic Covenant; they are grafted into the seed and faith of Abraham, which preceded the Law and Jewish customs. They are fellow citizens with the saints (Ephesians 2:19), but they are not Jews. Paul explains this clearly when he tells those who were circumcised (the Jews) “not to seek to be uncircumcised” and those who were uncircumcised (the Gentiles) “not to become circumcised” (1 Corinthians 7:18). There is no need for either group to feel they must become what they are not. Instead, God has made Jews and Gentiles into “one new man” in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:15). This “new man” is referring to the Church, the body of Christ, which is made up of neither Jew nor Gentile (Galatians 3:27-29). It’s important for Jews and Gentiles to remain authentic in their own identity. In this way a clear picture of the unity of the body of Christ can be seen as Jews and Gentiles are united by one Lord, one faith, one baptism. If Gentiles are grafted into Israel, becoming Jews, the purpose and picture of both Jew and Gentile, coming together as one new man, is lost. God never intended Gentiles to become one in Israel, but one in Christ. (Got Questions; Hebrew Roots)

No one culture, race, gender or person is more important than another in Yeshua! [Roles and responsibility are different matters]

3. Don’t Diminish, Distort, Disregard or Disobey Romans 14; Galatians 1-3; Colossians 2; 1 Corinthians 13 & the Whole Message of Hebrews.

It is asserted by many Messianic believers that Yeshua did not create a new religion when He walked among us over 2,000 years ago. Messianic believers quote Yeshua’s saying, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law and the Prophets…” (Matthew 5:17-20). And, one thing is very clear, the Messiah did fulfill all of the Old Covenant laws & stipulations perfectly. He did not create a new religion, but He did create a New Covenant with stipulations that differ from the Old. The prophet Jeremiah called it a “New Covenant” not like the old one, but one which produces a new heart (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Yeshua Himself did not call it a “renewed covenant,” but He said, “This is the new covenant in my blood” (Matthew 26:28; Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25).

When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.
Hebrews 8:13

The passages listed under this section are a good bulk of the Apostles’ inspired doctrine concerning the New Covenant. They apply to Messianic believers, especially as the parameters which constrain insistence on the conformity of other believers to the Mosaic Covenant. No one may judge another believer concerning clothing, the day of worship or diet or Moadim (Mosaic Feasts, YHWH’s appointed times) and still be in good fellowship with Ruach ha’Kodesh.

Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. Acts 15:19-20

Likewise, gentile believers are not to call foolish those who observe the above-mentioned ordinances. As seen above, Hebrews who understood the Old Covenant and were Messianic, informed the early church. Indeed, there is much wisdom in understanding and practicing each of the purposes behind these elements YHWH established… the first of which would be to “provoke Israel to jealousy” (Romans 11), and the second would be living in prophectic accordance. Another good purpose would be advantage in spiritual warfare.

Nowhere in the Bible do we find Gentile believers being instructed to follow Levitical laws or Jewish customs; in fact, the opposite is taught. Romans 7:6 says, “But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” (Got Questions, Hebrew Roots)

Still, we see Sha’ul (Paul) writes that the mature balance to all of this is to “become all things to all men that by all means [we] might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). We should be ready to change custom, cultural habits, societal status, and dietary restrictions for the Good News’ sake, so long as these do not lead us to worship in pagan ways and thought, or join with them in their worship (2 Cor. 6:14).

4. Yeshua ha’Mashiach Commands Not Calling Anyone “Teacher” (Rabbi, Master, etc.) in Matthew 23:10.

If Messianics are to properly purify a corrupt and paganised Christianity, then they need to see their own disobedience in revering men with titles, when the gifts are distributed and empowered by Ruach (Romans 12; 1 Cor. 12-14; Ephesians 4). Yeshua not only forbids Rabonni; he also forbids “instructor” or ‘rabbi.’

5. Keep Warning Christendom About the Infiltration of Paganism!

We live in a day of great apostasy, when little-to-no discernment is sought or exercised in churches. You Messianics must keep holding the ropes and crying aloud, so that more may be awakened out of sleep.

There are more pagan traditions riddling “the church” than anyone realizes. I agree that believers are not to take part in these pagan traditions, either by “Christianizing” them or by practicing them with an empty head for the traditions’ sake. We are not to mix pagan ways or implements with what is Holy in worshipping the Creator, the Triune God. 2 Corinthians 6:14-17

That being said, imagine standing in the street on these very days (ex. Christmas) and teaching people the true Way with no traditional baggage. Imagine also inviting people to come in and hear the same teaching. That is what my fellowship does when we hold special services on these days. For the Good News’ sake, Sha’ul (Paul) utilized pagan tradition as an inroad to preach Yeshua and Him crucified! Acts 17:22-31; 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 This is different than following or Christianizing the pagan tradition / belief. It is looking for an avenue to preach Yeshua (Jesus) as Mashiach (Messiah)!

To all my Messianic friends, you CAN encourage people to understand the wisdom and purpose of the Moadim (YHWH’s Appointed Festival Days of the Old Covenant); you CAN also teach the pagan influence in modern holidays. You may even teach that Christians must not mix worship of YHWH with the means/times of pagan worship!

BUT… you may not say that a believer (or whole groups of believers) are in bad standing with YHWH for not observing the Moadim. Furthermore, you MAY NOT separate yourselves from other believers because they do not observe the Moadim or other Old Covenant ceremonial stipulations. To pass this judgment or to separate in this way is to make the error of Peter (Galatians 2:11). But, you CAN & SHOULD separate fellowship from those who mix paganism with worship of YHWH, or who pressure / force you to worship as they do (mixing paganism with Yeshua).