Sunday, May 28, 2017

Coherence - Week 2 Summary


In the second week of our Ministry training class “Coherence” we emphasized the importance of “coherence with G-d.” For the class, we took an in-depth look at His character/attributes and the Tri-unity nature of Father/Son/Ruach.

Some protest that the Tri-unity of G-d is really too divisive or “not Jewish” so why be dogmatic? Why bother emphasizing something that will just be divisive?

That kind of logic betrays a lack of understanding of the Scriptures and their message. Was not the teaching of the Prophets divisive? Did not the teaching of Yeshua stir up controversy? Our goal is to promote the Gospel, the truth of G-d. Because Scripture is our standard, Scripture is our guide about what to be dogmatic about and what we can be less dogmatic about. As we outlined in the class, Scripture is quite clear that there is one G-d who somehow beyond our understanding exists as three "persons" - Father (Abba) Son (Yeshua) and Spirit (Ruach).

There are several good books on the topic of the Tri-unity nature of the L-rd, but three that I felt were detailed enough to answer tough questions but also able to show how the concept is not out of line with Jewish thought are:

Trinity: Evidence and Issues – Very detailed book focusing mainly on apologetics- but also shows how the Jewish inter-testamental literature continues to develop the themes of a multi-personal G-d in the Tanakh into a more-detailed version in the B’rit Chadashah.

The Tri-Unity of God is Jewish – Uses only the Tanakh to show the multi-personal nature of the L-rd. Very good discussion about the relevance of the Shema – a must for proper Jewish understanding.

Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus (Volume 2) - Approaches some of the concepts about the Tri-unity of G-d that are the most difficult to grasp from a Jewish perspective. Very excellent reading!

This line of thinking, that concepts like the Tri-unity of G-d should be avoided, is a disaster. We simply cannot be in tune with G-d if we do not know who He is. By this I do not mean we will know everything about G-d – that is not possible. But in Scripture, which is our standard for faith and practice, G-d has given us some clues about what He is like, including His multi-personal nature. If we plan to serve Him, we would do well to understand what kind of G-d He is.

Some forget to balance the love and the wrath of G-d, so that G-d is either “so loving” that He would never be angry or have demands upon our behavior, or G-d is “so wrathful” that He could never really be loving and basically is nothing more than Ebenezer Scrooge. Some assume that Yeshua was not really divine because some so-called “Messianic Rabbi” cannot grasp the divinity of Yeshua because “it doesn’t make sense to him.” Or a blog questions the personhood of the Ruach HaKodesh – which is tantamount to denying that G-d lives inside you - and distorts the Scriptural model of redemption.

We will base our understanding of G-d on the entirety of Scripture – not just a single book – and not on the blogs/books/teachings of those who refuse to accept the authority of the Written word of G-d.

Probably the item we discussed that generated the most discussion was the distinction between being immersed “by” the Ruach and “with” the Ruach. I will have to address this in a more detailed form because the issue is very emotional, divisive, and misunderstood – and I don’t think I was clear as I wanted to be (at least to some). Something to pray about …

You can download the slides from the class here. Shalom!


Weekly Scripture Reading



May 27 / Sivan 2, 5777

Parashah: Bamidbar ("In the Wilderness")

— Torah:
(Bamidbar) Numbers 1:1 – 4:20

— Haftarah:
Hosea 2:1-22

In the evening count Omer 47

This week's Parashah begins the fourth book of Moshe and has the same title as the book itself. The title of the book, in Hebrew, comes from the fourth word from its opening phrase, "Vaidaber YHVH el-Moshe bamidbar" (And Yehovah spoke to Moshe in the wilderness). Bamidbar, the wilderness, designates the place of the varied happenings in the book. The current English title, “Numbers,” is derived from the Septuagint - the Greek translation done before the Common Era - and was named as such based on the numerous censuses of the Israelites...

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