WRONGLY DIVIDING THE WORD. My church as been presenting a series of talks on other religions. No, this is not to offer an alternative to Southern Baptist Life, but to understand them. We have had several good ones, but the one Wednesday night has me concerned.
The topic was Judaism. The fellow who spoke is the rabbi of a Messianic Jewish Congregation in town. I have previously observed him demonstrate the Passover meal.
The man came in wearing a yarmulke and a tie with the Star of David on it. He introduced himself as Rabbi So and So. However, as he rambled through his talk, he told his life story and, guess what. HE ISN'T JEWISH! He was not born into a Jewish family and did not have a Jewish mother. He never converted to Judaism. He only felt empathy for Jews and attended a synagogue for a while. He was baptized in a Baptist church and ordained as a Baptist minister.
How do you justify wearing the yarmulke if you are not Jewish? Even more so, how can you call yourself Rabbi if you are not Jewish? I really felt that the guys is misrepresenting himself, to himself and others.
There were also a few things he said that disturbed me. To be honest, he spoke without notes and was a very excitable guy, and those people often say stuff they don't really mean to say. The "ad lib" has gotten many preachers and teachers in trouble. But, he said Jesus is not your personal savior, so don't use that term when speaking to Jews. He quoted the first part of John 3:16 in justification: For God so loved the world he gave his only Son..." without finishing with "whoever believes shall not perish" which makes it personal.
At the end, he started talking about Bible Codes. Bible Codes freak me out totally. There is nothing in the Bible that tells us to look for hidden meanings or count the words. It is the Christian equivalent of playing Beatles' records backwards in the '70s to supposedly hear "I buried Paul". It is just another distractions from studying the revealed message of the word of God.
I spoke to one of the staff about it and he was surprised I was concerned. So, I feel one of my famous e-mails to the Pastor coming on.
Christian teachers have a duty to make sure all they say is Biblical and correct. The Bible even tells us that teachers are held to a higher standard than non-teachers. Churches need to make sure guest speakers speak the truth. If they don't, someone should instruct the congregation about the error.
Suddenly I feel like Jeremiah.