Having Fun With Torah Observant Messianic Doctrine!

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The Messianic Literary Corner (formerly the Messianic Poetry Corner) was launched in 1997. It's original poetry ministry continues with the works of over seventy poets.  Click "View Page" to read more.

 

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About MLC

Thanks for visiting our newly reconstructed website. The Messianic Literary Corner (formerly the Messianic Poetry Corner) was launched in 1997 by Marshall Beeber, a Messianic Jew (Hebrew Christian) since 1973.  MLC has evolved in its format to encompass "grace oriented" studies, basic prophetic teachings, scientific and archaeological apologetics, poetry and an Amazon.com associate store. - Read more at: http://www.messianic-literary.com/about.htm.

In Messiah's grace,

Marshall Beeber (Messianic Literary Corner director)

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Who is that guy in the middle?  He must be a Hellenist! Did anyone ever tell you guys it's impolite to stare! I don't care for this guy in the middle either!

Rav Shaul

Apostle Paul

Heretic Paul

 

A Doctrinal Satire

By Marshall Beeber

 


Introduction

In Messianic congregations in the USA and abroad, doctrinal error due to explicit Torah observance appears to be wide spread.  One must ask; Is it that hard to determine error from correct doctrine?  What initially appeared to be a clear-cut issue of historical inaccuracy and miss-interpretation of Scripture twenty years ago, today appears to be a mute point among most Messianic brethren.  Why so?  Some of this lack of interest in historical and biblical accuracy is due to the human tendency to accept only the interpretation of scripture that fits one's doctrinal stand, no matter how absurd it may be. The other tendency is to believe false doctrine simply because it has not been rejected yet by its constituency.  In either case, the reasons for accepting such doctrine are weak indeed.

In the 1980s some Messianic Jewish teachers came up with the idea that they could reshape Messianic believers perception of the "Gospel of Grace" and "Torah Observance" by simply re-inventing the persona of the Apostle Paul into "Torah Observant "Rav Shaul", all accepting of modern Messianic Jewish thought.  In developing a deceptive historical portrait of Paul that would accept Torah Observant legalism, these Messianic Jewish teachers had to take an approach that would disregard the accurate history of Paul in his evolution from "Saul of Tarsus" persecutor of the Church in Israel and the Diaspora, to the "Apostle Paul", church founder, teacher and evangelist to both Jew and Gentile alike.  They would have to sell to their flock the idea that "Rav Shaul" remained Torah observant, even while ministering to the Gentiles in the Greco/Roman provinces of Asia Minor.  They also had to assert that the proselytes of Rav Shaul were Torah observant.  The task of selling this "spin" was simple for most of the devoted believers within the Messianic Jewish movement, but much less so for those educated in Church history and New Covenant teachings. Today, most Messianic Jews and Messianic Gentiles have accepted Anti-Pauline doctrine unknowingly by accepting a distorted historical portrait of Paul.

As previously mentioned, most Torah Observant Messianic believers today don't seem to be alarmed by the claim that their doctrine is filled with historic inaccuracies. Sometimes the best way to approach such a topic is thru levity.  So, in a humorous way, I will attempt to shed some light on the absurdity of believing there ever was a "Torah Observant Rabbi Shaul".  My sincerest apology to those who find no humor in this article. You can't win them all!

Part 1:  To Tell The Truth!

Erroneous motivations underlie most Torah Observant Messianic Jewish believer's acceptance of either the "Rav Shaul" or "Heretic Paul" historical scenarios.   If you read between the lines in some of their statements, you will find that Torah Observant Messianic believers who know their history only give "lip service" supporting "Rav Shaul", and are actually Anti-Paul and consider his teachings heretical.  In the USA, most Anti-Pauline Messianic Jewish believers hide behind the "Rav Shaul' history nonsense.  In Israel though, most Anti-Paul MJs do not hide their sentiments concerning their opposition to Pauline doctrine. Most Messianic Jews that support the Rav Shaul or Heretic Paul historical scenario, do so for the sake of what they perceive to be a necessity.  They truly believe that only by holding to an erroneous viewpoint that supports obligatory Torah Observance will they successfully evangelize the Jewish people.  This concept adopts a "Social Darwinist" form of self deception which comes right out of David Stern's book, "Messianic Jewish Manifesto".  Social Darwinists justify promoting the "big lie" if it serves to promote the continuity of their social cause. It may have been a 'Freudian slip" when Stern used the term "manifesto" in his revolutionary book.  Stern's use of Marx missed the Biblical mark!

 

Part 2:  Comic Reliefs

"Comic Reliefs", if you did not already know, is a "play on words".  Below are pictures of marble reliefs from the Vatican in Rome, Italy with comical anecdotes attached suggesting the absurdity of a "Torah observant" Rabbi Shaul ministering to Gentile believers in the Church.  Just imagine the difficulties in remaining "Torah observant" while preaching and fellowshipping with Gentile brethren.

Comic Relief #1

Comic Relief #2


Part 3:  Satiric Poetry

Satire in literature has long been applauded for bringing to light matters that may either be considered taboo or overlooked by society. Messianic or Christian satiric poetry seeks to expose the self deception that so easily besets us. In the case of exposing the absurdity of maintaining a Torah observant life as a Messianic believer or asserting the existence of a "Torah Observant Rabbi Shaul or Paul" several poems were penned by Marshall Beeber.

For Reasons Quite Kosher

by Marshall Beeber

(A satirical poem)

Sept. 26, 97

 

Messianic rabbis have made a decree.

(I use the term rabbis quite loosely!)

Of the census just taken they all do agree.

All Jews in Messiah are no longer free.

 

Kashrut is the standard,

That's how it must be!

I cannot rebel and must surely see.

The doctrine of grace that once set me free,

Though noble indeed,

Was not meant for me.

 

Twas meant for the Gentile,

But not for the Jew.

Such freedom of diet,

Though lofty a view,

Cannot be partaken or given a thought.

Once given this freedom,

Rebellion is wrought.

 

But despite their opinion,

I still hold to mine.

The life of true freedom,

I'll never decline.

The Gospel defends it,

And gives us the choice.

All food is made Kosher.

To this I rejoice!

 

The Apostle Paul's Phylacteries

by Marshall Beeber

Feb. 23, 1998

 

This poem is a narrative,

designed to make you smile.

But if a verse gives you a frown,

then ponder for a while.

 

A Messianic rabbi emailed to me his thought,

about my recent poetry which made him so distraught.

He told me the Apostle Paul was never truly seen,

to eat a food unkosher or touch a thing unclean.

 

Immediately I discerned this point of incredulity

To be a statement of belief devoid of honesty.

How could this man ignore the facts just begging to be read,

It must be his theology has made him turn his head.

 

But I replied with gentleness, a story I construed.

Of a man whom I knew once, whose belief's I did reprove.

He said he had the utmost proof of Jesus' origin,

Of Ethiopian descent and with the blackest skin.

 

But tersely I proved otherwise, the matter to dispatch,

I showed my poor opponent that he was not my match.

My victory was stolen in this misconceived debate.

I should have kept my mouth shut,

but regrets were now too late.

 

The man's beliefs were fixed upon his fragile little yarn,

The victory that I had gained had not been worth the harm.

 

I emailed back this story to the rabbi to relate,

That all the truth that we behold,

May not be worth debate.

 

If we can just appreciate the soul that we approach,

When loving wisdom we express,

The truth we will promote.

 

Click this link to  read more poetry by Marshall Beeber

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Commentaries On Legalism In the MJM & Hebrew Roots Movement

Dismantling Legalism in the MJM Today

Proposing An Organization of Grace Oriented Messianic Believers

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  Please note:  In recent years the leadership within the Messianic Jewish Alliance (MJAA) has been making significant strides in addressing the problem of anti-Pauline doctrine within its ranks. 

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