Apostasy, Pentecostalism, and Other Things That Go “Bump” in the Night

Witch huntApostasy is not new or shocking to me; years ago, my younger brother Aaron gave up faith in Yeshua and converted to Orthodox Judaism. My cousin Anthony went from Christianity to Messianic Judaism to atheism. A family friend, Alice, got involved in Karaite Judaism and lost faith in Messiah. There was a time in my own life where I considered agnosticism.

I grok doubt and sympathize with people going through it.

And in my 10 years writing this blog, I’ve seen several other Messianic bloggers lose faith…

-Judah Gabriel Himango
“The 3 signs of apostasy, and how to deal with doubt in your life”
Kineti L’Tziyon

And despite this, Evangelicalism has thrown open its arms and welcomed this Trojan Horse, allowing an idol in the city of God. This idol has fast taken over.

MacArthur then contrasted Reformed theology with the charismatic movement and said that Reformed theology is not a haven for false teachers. It is not where false teachers reside or where greedy deceivers and liars end up.

-Pastor John MacArthur
as quoted by Tim Challies
Challies.com

I didn’t want to do this. I didn’t want to enter into this conversation. I see some good points made by these men, but I wonder if it’s really worth the cost.

Let me explain.

As you probably know, I’ve already expressed some criticism of Pastor John MacArthur and his recent Strange Fire conference, which strongly addressed problems with the Pentecostal church and the Charismatic movement in Christianity. I’m planning on using the record of the conference presentations on the blog of Pastor and well-known Christian blogger Tim Challies to do a more detailed (and hopefully fair) examination of MacArthur, his information, and most importantly his intentions, in holding his conference and publicly “calling out” the Charismatic movement and its followers.

However, well-known Messianic/Hebrew Roots blogger Judah Himango seemed to mirror MacArthur in drawing attention to another six ton elephant in the room, apostasy from Christianity (or in this case, the Messianic Jewish and/or Hebrew Roots movement, which could be considered a form of Christianity).

Pentecostalism and Messianic Judaism/Hebrew Roots are different in that the Pentecostal church has hundreds of millions of followers worldwide, while Messianic Judaism and Hebrew Roots are (so far) rather minimally attended (I don’t have any specific figures on the population of either group). Other than that though, from a traditional, fundamentalist Christian viewpoint, both movements can be considered the same “strange fire,” that is, both are outside of what might be considered acceptable and “normative” Christianity relative to how Reformed theologians such as MacArthur might see them.

I’m not going to address the actual content presented by MacArthur and Himango. Both have a good deal to say about their relative subjects and in sampling both, they also have a great deal of good information to present, information that should be considered, information that is very likely useful and beneficial.

But at what cost?

In order for both of these gentlemen to do what they’ve done, make public significant difficulties among specific movements and specific individuals, they have to objectify those movements and particularly the individuals involved. To one degree or another, they have to set aside any concern for how the subjects of their criticism will be impacted by what they are saying and publishing.

After the Strange Fire conference (or actually even before it), there was a power surge of criticism against MacArthur for being insensitive, for being hurtful, for being damaging to millions upon millions of fellow Christian brothers of sisters. Being right was more important than how MacArthur’s being right would injure all these people, many, perhaps most of whom, sincerely believe they are serving God and following Christ.

Judah Gabriel HimangoTo read Himango’s blog post on apostasy, as well as another Messianic blogger’s kudos to Himango, you’d think that this young man wrote the most beneficial religious commentary in the past century.

I won’t deny that Himango had a number of good points and I don’t doubt his intensions are sincere, but in order to make them, he had to…no, let me change that, he chose to name names. He started with his family and moved on to others, some that I am familiar with and at least one who I’ve known quite well.

Did Himango or anyone else ask them if they wanted to be “outed” like this?

When you have been a member of the Christian faith and you leave, that usually provokes a lot of strong feelings in those believers you’ve left behind. Those strong feelings are almost never pleasant, and it’s never pleasant to be on the receiving end when they are expressed.

I recently had to create a comments policy on my blog in order to contain some otherwise negative statements being made. As part of my policy, I issued the following statement:

In Jewish religious tradition, Leviticus 25:17 which states “You will not wrong one another,” is interpreted as wronging someone in speech. This includes any statement that will embarrass, insult, or deceive a person or cause that person emotional pain and distress. Even statements believed to be true and factual but that cause another harm are considered wrongful speech.

Of course, there’s a problem. Sometimes it really is the right thing to discuss problems in the faith, difficult issues, and even “difficult people,” so how to you balance that against the principle of harmful speech, and avoid damaging any other human being by what you say, even if what you’re saying is factual and truthful?

I wish I knew. I only know that in order for good people to hurt other good people, you have to do something to your “target” in your head. You have to objectify them. You have to make them, in some way, less than human. Otherwise, if you have even the tiniest bit of compassion and pity in your soul, you couldn’t bear to put someone you love or once loved through pain and torture by putting them in the spotlight and pointing a harsh finger at them, even if you think you’re doing it for the right reasons.

So how do you do it?

I’m going to present a couple of really extreme examples.

Look at how we convinced American military personal to kill Nazis and Japanese during World War II. Look at how we convinced the American public to support a World War, condone the bombing of millions, endure severe shortages of goods and services so they could be diverted to the war effort. How did we do it? By making Germans and Japanese less than human. That’s also how we herded masses of Japanese living in America into prison camps, men, women, and children, even as the Nazis were herding millions of Jews and other “undesirables” into prison camps, men, women, and children.

World War 2 posterHow have we aborted untold millions of unborn children in our nation since 1973? How have we made abortion a wildly successful financial effort? How have we sold abortion as “women’s reproductive services” to an entire nation, and completely ignored the fact that the only difference between a fetus being aborted and an unborn baby who is already loved by mother and father is that one is unwanted and the other is wanted?

By turning an unborn human being into a “fetus,” a “thing.” Yes, the term “fetus” is technically accurate, but shifting the emotional context from baby to thing is what’s required to eliminate a thing. Then it’s not killing a baby. Then we can live with ourselves and get to sleep at night…most of us.

That’s also how to kill an enemy in war. To one degree or another, it’s how you attack another human being in speech, a person who was created just as much in the image of God as you were. By “objectifying” them.

I told you these were extreme examples. Imagine though, that we can still do others some measure of harm, even when we’re not being “extreme.”

If we remember that someone who worships God in a Pentecostal church is a person, just like we are, someone who is a parent, a child, someone who goes to work, who goes to the movies, someone who loves, cries, becomes afraid, is capable of compassion, just like we are, then it’s not quite as easy to say that everything they experience in their worship of God is really a product of the Adversary and grieves the heart of God.

Maybe all that is true, but it’s how we say it and with what intent that makes the difference.

We can also “out” and disdain people, human beings just like us, if we don’t think of them as people just like us but rather as “apostates.” An apostate is a special class of being who has done the unthinkable, he has, in the context of my message as well as Himango’s blog post, rejected Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Or in more Judaic terms, rejected Yeshua HaHashiach, the Son of David, King of Yisra’el.

Regardless of how apostasy within the Church affects you, can you say that because a person leaves the faith, all bets are off and you can treat them anyway you want?

Maybe. After all, the Master said this:

“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Matthew 18:15-17 (NASB)

If someone continually refuses to repent of their sin, Jesus says they are to be treated as a Gentile and a tax collector,” not really desirable companions in that place and time. But notice that Jesus began by saying “show him his fault in private” and continues with “if he listens to you, you have won your brother.”

Talk to him in private avoids embarrassing him unnecessarily. Your goal is to win your brother, and in this context, the converse must be true. It must be possible to “lose” your brother, with the understanding that on some level, this person is still your brother, though you may have to ask him to be removed from the community of faith until he repents.

When MacArthur accused Charismatic people of offering “strange fire” to God, he was massively criticized on the web. There was and is a lot of debate about whether MacArthur was right in his message and right in his method. I don’t really need to speak of MacArthur or defend Charismatics, since that’s already been done in abundance. But in our little corner of the Messianic and Hebrew Roots blogosphere, who takes a hard look at the methods by which some writers are addressing those who have left our ranks, either to become atheists or to pursue more traditional (non-believing) Judaism as converts or people who are halachically Jewish?

nadab-abihu-fireI’m not defending leaving the faith, but is the only response to that act to revile and assault those who have? I have very personal reasons for not dragging Jewish non-believers through the mud, but I won’t “name names” or specifics on my blog so I can avoid creating “targets.” Can’t we instead respond to this tragedy with compassion, mercy, and even pity? Can’t we leave the door to friendship open? Is there no room for Christians and Jews to associate and even be friends, or does that constitute a “yoking” problem?

What is God’s point of view on all this? I can only infer it from the Bible. Certainly, God has been capable of more than a little wrath. MacArthur’s invocation of “strange fire” is a prime example of that, relative to Aaron’s sons Nadav and Abihu and their horrible, fiery end.

But God is also a God of compassion, mercy, pity, and love.

The thirteen attributes of God are captured for us in the following:

Merciful God, merciful God, powerful God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in kindness and truth. Preserver of kindness for thousands of generations, forgiver of iniquity, willful sin and error, and Who cleanses.

Exodus 34:6-7

The Master’s own compassion for an unrepentant Jerusalem is the echo of Moshe’s encounter with Hashem:

Yerushalayim, Yerushalayim, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How many times I have desired to gather your sons like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling! Listen: your house will be abandoned for you, desolate. For I say to you, from now on you will not see me until you say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of Hashem!”

Matthew 23:37-39 (DHE Gospels)

Compassion, even in the face of a very hard truth.

In his blog post, Himango says that Heresy hunting is a problem. What about Apostate hunting? We don’t burn “witches” anymore, we just embarrass them on the Internet. I must say that Himango was rather measured and even considerate in his write up, in spite of the fact that he listed names and biographies for those on his “apostate list,” but the person who started the ball rolling, so to speak, was much less merciful, and all the more harsh, and in fact, betrayed a personal trust based on friendship in “exposing” another person’s very difficult choice to leave the body of Yeshua.

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:19-21

Jesus showed pity and regret to Jerusalem and even asked the Father to forgive his executioners (Luke 23:34). Paul quotes the Torah in imploring the Romans (and us) to not respond to hurt with revenge, but to only show compassion, charity, and mercy.

13 Attributes of MercyAre we to answer someone else’s “strange fire” by incinerating them in speech or in writing, or can we emulate, Jesus, Paul, and God, by being “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in kindness?”

Is the fault in any problem always in someone else? Is it never in who we are and what we do, even in the name of Christ?

A final note. I’m less than pond scum algae to men like John MacArthur, so I doubt he’ll ever be aware of my existence, let alone my blog, but Judah Himango and I have exchanged a number of comments over the past few years, so I don’t doubt that when he finds out I wrote this (and to be fair, I’ll let him know before I click the “Publish” button), he’ll have something to say about it, probably something not very complementary. Unfortunately, you can’t write something like this without becoming a target.

Again, I don’t doubt that Judah had good intensions in writing his blog post and he did make many good points. I believe he sincerely wants to support and encourage people, especially those associated with the Hebrew Roots and Messianic Jewish movements, in staying the course and continuing in the faith.

But there’s a price to be paid, a cost to be exacted from those people we put under our microscope. Is it worth it?

I didn’t want to write this. But I had to write it.

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49 thoughts on “Apostasy, Pentecostalism, and Other Things That Go “Bump” in the Night”

  1. It’s a fine line, isn’t it? I’m coming to see that when God uses a man as His mouthpiece to give a message of warning or correction, He will first break that mans heart for the sinner. Look at Hosea, look at Nehemiah, look at Jeremiah, and the list goes on. We must have a love so fierce for God that no matter what He instructs us to say, we will say it with conviction. But the warning is always to bring reconciliation.. not to “vilify” and even I have been guilty of “objectifying” certain church leaders that I know to clearly be outside of Scripture and frankly, have been approached and have refused to change. In these scenarios, it’s hard for me not to want to warn others.. some of these men have massive followings who may die in their sin if they are not warned of false teachers and false prophets.

    But I am slowly coming to understand that God is not unaware of these things. Things done in secret will be shouted from the rooftops and God will not be mocked, whatever men sow, they will also reap. I’m coming to find a peace in that knowledge and I’m challenged and humbled by examples throughout the Bible of men that started out right with the Lord but strayed and apostatized in the end. If it could happen to them, it could happen to any of us. We should always be careful in “calling out” sin lest (as the Bible says) we fall into it ourselves.

    Thank you for an excellent write.

  2. Thanks Steffie, and thanks for the follow.

    Yes, it is a fine line and I don’t have the inside track about how to walk it. I hope you clicked on some of the links I provided to get the background for why I’m writing this. There’s a significant part of this difficulty that’s very personal, because I know people involved. Sometimes the best solution to a conflict is to be silent, to avoid adding fuel to the fire.

    Sometimes God won’t let me do that and He requires that I step into “hot water” again. I hope I’m doing the right thing. I think compassion is always the right thing. Jesus gave a new commandment to love in a self-sacrificing manner, even as the love of Jesus lead to the crucifixion.

    Being “crucified” on the Internet only means a good virtual tongue-lashing, so I’m not risking life and limb. But no matter what someone is supposed to have done, and no matter how it affects us, God still gave us the responsibility to show compassion and decency to everyone, not just everyone who is like us.

  3. I did not click the links but I will if it will help bring more clarification. I’ve seen the “strange fire” conference of John MacArthur and I’m familiar with the Jewish Roots movement as well, I like to know what’s going on in the Christian arena, the good, the bad, the ugly.

    I’ll be praying for you as you face tongue-lashings and more.. because we must always remember that it isn’t flesh and blood we’re fighting against. It’s spiritual wickedness and the battle you’re in is very much a spiritual battle. The physical effects may be a tongue lashing but the devils kingdom will strike at you in less obvious but more insidious ways. He knows your soft spots, he knows your weaknesses, so remember to keep on the full armor of God and I hope that many other believers will intercede for you as you obey the Lord’s leading.

    Many blessings and may God go with you.

  4. James, I don’t think it is fair to compare Judah Himango to MacArthur. MacArthur claims there is no sin in his camp, while the other camp is not only filled completely with sin and error, but doesn’t even belong in the same desert with them. MacArthur refuses to dialogue with those he criticizes or with anyone via social media or otherwise, and employs shills, GTY employees and others in his camp to defend him. My journalistic cynicism sees the whole shebang in light of, “follow the money,” and, like spats between celebrities, it is all designed and/or exploited to generate publicity to sell materials and conferences. I don’t need any of them.

    If a person teaches publicly, they can’t turn around and claim no one can out them publicly, either due to their teachings or their behavior. If you own a restaurant, people have the right to review it on Yelp, and if someone sees that you don’t wash your hands prior to going back in the kitchen, I want to know. It sounds like you act as an apologist for certain persons, and seek to protect them by attacking the messenger, or as I prefer to see it, beating the donkey. Growing up Jewish I am immune to guilt tripping. You are straw-manning and ad hominem attacking your opponents, while you excoriate those who throw stones at the idols in your camp. Yeshua said that if we deny him before men, he will deny us before his father in heaven. I think you are a very intelligent, astute guy, James, and I very much enjoy your insights into books you have read. If you choose to walk down a path that leads away from bearing his shame outside the camp to the embrace of the camp of the ex-messianics, for whatever reason, then that is your choice.

    It is my responsibility to warn people to find out where a road is going before they get on it, and to examine whether there is darkness within themselves that would draw them like a magnet to darkness without. Only the Holy One can illumine your darkness. 1John1:15: This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. Is. 50:10: Who among you fears the Holy One and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Holy One and rely on his Elohim. You might want to try a word study on darkness vs. light. I believe you will find it, well, enlightening. 🙂

  5. Thanks, James, for having the “chutzpah” to put this out there. We are all interpreters of all of life, all of the expansive universe, to include the Bible. Perhaps the real “strange fire” out there is really the ironclad sense of certainty that others are producing “strange fire.” A real potential of tragic irony in that. Such iconoclastic certainty may be considered on high as akin to playing with another type of strange fire all its own. Thanks again for having the chutzpah to put this out there. It’s of value as a reminder to us all.

  6. Chaya, it’s not my intension to attack anyone. I’m comparing MacArthur to Judah only in the sense that they are both addressing people who are considered “unfavorable” from their perspectives. For MacArthur, it’s Charismatics. For Judah, and to be fair, for most or all believers, it’s apostates from Messiah.

    I’m not sure why those people who chose to leave the body of Messiah are fair game, even if some of them were formerly teachers. Above all else, they are human beings created in the image of God. The one, single message I’m trying to deliver is that, in spite of what we may think of others, we have to accord them a measure of respect or risk defaming God’s image, even as we defame or embarrass the individuals involved. I’m walking a fine line just writing about Judah, MacArthur, or anyone else and as I said in a previous comment, I’m no expert at this balancing act.

    You might want to try a word study on darkness vs. light. I believe you will find it, well, enlightening.

    I don’t doubt that I would. 😉

    As I said before, I didn’t write this blog post to attack Judah, MacArthur, or anyone else. I did it to present the other side of the story, to communicate the dangers of calling out others, even when we are using fact and truth as our allies. We absolutely must consider the humanity, even of those people we consider “enemies,” otherwise we are behaving no better than those we criticize. Tomorrow, I’ll have to look in the mirror and ask myself if I did the right thing tonight. I believe I did, but I have to regret whatever pain I introduced to others as a result.

    I just want to make sure other people understand this point and face their own reflections in the same manner.

  7. Perhaps the real “strange fire” out there is really the ironclad sense of certainty that others are producing “strange fire.”

    Thank you for seeing this point and putting it into words, Dan. I dance on the edge of the razor blade all the time, struggling with all my might to understand who God is and who I am in Him. I can’t even begin to understand people who seem to have all the answers.

  8. I remember when Chuck Smith said that he would rather err on the side of mercy. My question would be, “Mercy toward whom?” In our own seeing through a dark glass, our own sin and weakness, we don’t have an excuse to be silent about the hirelings and wolves who would ravage the weak and young among us. As an imperfect person, I still needed to discipline my own children, albeit as I did it imperfectly. The wicked do their work in darkness, and the silence that allows them to remain hidden is deadly. Yes, most you warn will not listen. But that doesn’t relieve you of your responsibility to warn when you can. And if you sympathize with the wicked, rather than those they have wounded, I don’t know what to say.

    The whole, “strange fire vs. holy fire,” argument is a false dichotomy logical fallacy. Both strange fire and holy fire would require some serious evidence which I don’t see. All I see is mostly fleshly activity. To say that a person is calling something, “strange fire,” when they are not, is inaccurate. I believe it is unfair to compare Judah to MacArthur as MacArthur is arrogant, unapproachable, and the leader of a multimillion dollar religious empire. Judah, as far as I know, is just a young guy working for a living, raising a family and providing resources free to the body. He is expressing his thoughts and not making any money off of them. But the nature of any organization is corruption. One aspect of the corruption is you compromise and keep quiet about the corruption to protect the organization, often with the false belief that you are protecting the, “work of God.”

  9. I don’t think you should feel too guilty about hurting the feelings of others on your blog. A blog is, by definition, one’s personal space in the world wide web.

    That being said, however, one should expect and even hope for a little heat when one posts potentially controversial ideas. Let there be dialogue! And may the Truth be made known through the struggle. In this way people are not objectified but may be edified by being encouraged to seek the greater Truth which none of us truly possesses.

    Be blessed and a blessing.

  10. @Chaya: I’ve already explained the limits of my comparison of MacArthur and Judah. Yeah, they don’t have a lot in common. MacArthur is a big time Pastor and Author and Judah is a gifted software developer and musician who is also a Hebrew Roots blogger on the side. It’s the issues I’m comparing, not the men. I’m talking about dynamics, not personalities. Different overarching forces are at work that affect individuals and groups of people, and we need to be aware of them as they impact our behavior. Do we allow ourselves to be influenced by the need to be right, or do we recognize human weakness, a weakness we share with all mankind, and respond with compassion?

    Yes, I agree with Smith. If I err, let me err on the side of mercy and compassion rather on the side or arrogance and cruelty. If I am to suffer, let me suffer for having cared too much as opposed to having cared to little or worse, for having hated too much.

    @Christopher: Welcome. Yes, there’s something to be said for being opposed by a certain group of people to define the ideals one stands for, but on the other hand, too much of an emotional response only fuels division rather than dialogue. “Truth” (big “T”) is something everyone claims to possess, religious people as well as secular, progressive pundits. Only God is truth. The rest of us seek Him and it. We do not possess truth. We only strive for truth, as we strive for an encounter with the Divine. May God have mercy on us, for in our best efforts to represent Him, we are like small children groping in the dark.

    Blessings to you as well, Sir.

  11. Hi, James! Long time since commenting. In fact, when Messiah said to consider the un-repentant one as “a Gentile and a tax-collector” He actually changed the emphasis of our response of Love from one for a “brother” to one for an unsaved person. Look how He treated Gentiles and tax-collectors Himself! That’s the kind of relationship we should have with the “outsiders”. And, by the way, it’s interesting that MacArthur uses “strange fire” for his conference, since there is debate in both Judaism and Christianity about what the actual sin of Nadav and Abihu was!

  12. Hi David and Cecilia (I assume only one of you is doing the actual typing). Long time, no hear from.

    That’s a good point. Actually though, Messiah spent more time with tax collectors than with Gentiles, but it does show his compassion for “lost sheep.”

    Agreed about the sin of Aaron’s two sons. When my next commentary on MacArthur is published, it mentions this idea.

  13. James, my post pointed out signs of apostasy among my family, friends, and fellow bloggers who rejected Messiah, and what we can do, as Yeshua’s disciples, to avoid that same apostasy.

    Shalom.

  14. That’s quite true Judah, and I don’t contest it. But as I said in the body of this blog post, it’s not content I’m addressing.

  15. James, you do a fine job of razor-walking, my friend 🙂 Very fine. When I read Paul Philip Levertoff for the first time, his ideas fairly transported me, willingly and gladly, into a deeper space as concerns the reality of the enormity of HaShem. The ideas of tzimtzum, the self-limitation of God and the Ein Sof, the infinite unknowable aspect of God, helped me gain perspective as to the limits of my knowledge of God. I revel in the enormity of it all, somehow strangely more secure in the realization that HaShem is too big for me to humanly know, and yet He knows… and loves… me. Levertoff writes of these limitations to our knowledge through the illustration of a singer and a painter. From FFOZ’s “Love and the Messianic Community” study guide: “Creation is like a picture painted by HaShem. It displays His power, His magificence, and His attributes. However, there is a limit to how much we can learn about a painter from the staring at his painting. Just as the picture is not the artist, HaShem transcends creation. In the same way, we may know the voice of a gifted singer without personally knowing the singer, because the voice is not the singer. The mystic wants more knowledge about God; he wants to know God. He wants to know the artist who made the painting. He wants to know the singer who sang the song.” In my halacha with HaShem, as for me, personally, it all begins when I realize what I cannot know, as opposed to what I can. I am, in this sense, a mystic. It is not a solid ride on a rational Western-Hellenistic jet plane; it is a journey on a Hebraic dynamic unity lighter-than-air balloon. For me, that is. I appreciate your razor-walking ability very much. It helps me in my lighter-than-air journey.

  16. James, I think you didn’t understand my comment. Smith was arguing about having mercy toward wealthy, powerful religious mouthpieces (which I am sure he identified with) while ignoring the little people (read unimportant, low on the totem pole) people they harmed.

    If you decide to shut up certain comments because they offend certain people, then you are preventing those people from being offended, but you are offending the people you have censored. So it isn’t a matter of not offending or showing mercy; it is just a choice over WHO you will choose to offend and WHO you decide to have mercy towards. We see this on a large scale where banks get government bailout while families lose their homes. Sure, the world honors the powerful and mighty, but the kingdom has a different value system.

    I remember when Dan Juster said about 30 years ago, “Messianic Judaism spawns heresy and apostasy, but Christianity spawns heresy and apostasy too, such as Mormons and Moonies.” I’ve always been taught that you come out ahead if you put the same energy that you put into making excuses for yourself into improving yourself. In other words, rather than playing the apologetics game and defending your bad outcomes, why not examine the reason for those situations and think about what can be done to prevent them.

  17. That’s a fabulous comment Dan and I agree with your points, but I’m struggling to understand how what you said has to do with how the topics of apostasy and Pentecostalism have been addressed by Himango and MacArthur respectively. Again, it’s not the content that each of these gentlemen have used to build their cases, but the impact of the processes involved. Can we reasonably confront error and reveal truth and maintain the human dignity of the people we place under our microscope, so to speak, at the same time? This is a compelling problem because, on the one hand, we must be free to teach truth and expose doctrinal error using the Bible as our guide, but on the other hand, when we drag “personalities” into the mix and name specific people as involved in error, we invariably put them in a place where they are publicly embarrassed. Do the ends justify the means?

  18. I understand what you’re saying Chaya, and you’re commenting more about my recent change in “comments policy” than this blog post, but I’m OK with that because it does address the topic of how to state “truth” in the context of whether that “truth” also represents Lashon Hara.

    I didn’t come to my decision lightly. I think that open debate on topics can generally be positive, but once it starts dragging down names and personalities, the conversation quickly becomes less useful, and even damaging.

    As far as erring on the side of mercy, Smith may mean one thing, but I mean being merciful to anyone. We are all equal in that we were all created in the image of God. How can I justify damaging one person’s image, or allowing it to be damaged by someone else on a blog I own and manage, but protecting someone else?

    As Paul said in Romans, if we’re to “heap coals on the heads of our ‘enemies’,” we must be even handed about it. The comments section of a blog isn’t a Democracy and as blog owner, I’m well within my rights to set parameters and limits on any comment that will appear on my blog.

    As a blog owner and writer yourself, Chaya, there’s probably a limit to what you would tolerate, although your limits may be different than mine. If you feel a topic needs to be addressed and that I am restricting you from doing it here, you are certainly free to write what you wish on your own blog.

    In the current context, I’m addressing populations of human beings who have been put under examination and attention against their will. How do they feel under these circumstances? Certainly defensive. Most people would have that response. In revealing what we consider truth and fact, are we justified in embarrassing others, making their names public, and exposing them to unwanted attention?

    As I said above, this is a profound moral question. We can’t simply write it off along with the human beings we’ve involved, because we think that we’re right and that justifies our impacting these people.

  19. James, I think that I am meaning to contextualize what others say with such iconoclastic certainty by pointing out that by maintaining the point of the view that Levertoff points us toward – the mystical approach to the idea of the Ein Sof, the infinite unknowableness of HaShem – the inflammatory, iconoclastic ones among us who point and accuse betray themselves and their own “strange fire” accordingly, by being so short-sighted as to not be able to see HaShem’s infinite immensity. They show themselves to be of a kind of “juvenile” understanding of the Holy One and need no assistance in exposing themselves. At least, that’s my intent, to the extent that I understand my own intent…

  20. We are told in 1 John 2:6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. What did Jesus do when he confronted those who opposed Him, the truth, and led many astray? He didn’t worry about their feelings or that they were created in the image of God, He told them that they were evil workers, blind guides, white-washed sepulchers, children of the devil, and deceivers. Why did Jesus do that? Because they opposed the truth of God, God’s Son, and the way of salvation. Jesus said these evil workers made their converts twice the sons of hell that they were. If we are sympathizing with those who refuse the truth of God’s Word, reject Jesus Christ, and the gospel, then we are sympathizing with the devil, because that is the devil’s work. You should read 2 Thessalonians 2, 2 Peter 2, and Jude to see what God has to say about false teachers and apostates. He doesn’t sympathize with those who oppose His work in the earth. Paul in 2 Timothy 2:16-18 said, but shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer, Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.
    And that right there is the reason we must vigorously oppose those who spread false teaching and lies in the name of Jesus Christ. They overthrow the faith of some. The glory of God, His honor and the salvation of a precious soul must always be why we speak out against false teaching. I am in no way exonerating MacArthur, having tried to interact with him regarding a false teacher that he frequently quotes and speaks well of, I don’t have a very high opinion of the man.
    We can follow our Lord and Savior Who said that He was born and came into the world to bear witness to the truth and we can exhort and rebuke with the truth which is the Word of God, the Bible, by the power of the Holy Spirit to God’s glory and for the benefit of others. It is a sad commentary on this generation that so few are willing to stand for the truth for love of Jesus Christ and the good of others.

  21. @Dan: OK, I get it. Yes, against the cosmic scheme of things and particularly an Ein Sof infinite God, the petty concerns of a few human beings don’t always amount to a “hill of beans,” to quote Bogie in “Casablanca. I’m very fond of Levertoff’s perspective, though I’m sure I’d make a lousy mystic. I always relate to mystic experiences as metaphors.

    @Eliza: Jesus is ultimately just even as he is ultimately merciful, but the rest of us are full of confused, conflicted motivations and emotions. If we try to play the “justice” card and we’re wrong, even in the slightest degree, what harm have we done that we could have prevented? That’s why, if I must act, I’ll choose to act on the side of caution and compassion, rather than thinking myself some sort of self-appointed sword with which to smite infidels.

    All that said, Judah Himango was rather measured and restrained in his responses and, as I said, provided much good information. Content isn’t the problem. It’s the idea that vulnerable human beings who are struggling to understand who God is and who they are in God are put under a spotlight that makes their situations more difficult than they already are. How can we win brothers back when we choose to embarrass them instead.

    These situations aren’t “Biblical stories,” they’re real life dramas with souls in the balance. I won’t out of hand discard people made in the image of God. Is it truth to hate another person because they made a tortured decision to leave the faith? Is it falsehood or some other heinous crime to feel pity and compassion? I’m not talking about false teachers or people who deliberately mislead others. I’m talking about ordinary human beings, people like you and me, who are confronting a profound crisis of faith. Can’t you care even a little for one such as these?

  22. Rejecting falsehood that leads people to hell is not hating other people, it is loving those who are being misled. It is good to be careful in what we say so I want to point out a couple of things. First, apart from the work of God in our hearts by His Holy Spirit to bring about genuine supernatural life in us through faith in Jesus Christ we can’t know or understand God and His truth period. John is his first epistle has much to say about truth.
    1 John 2:18-21 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

    When we come to know Jesus Christ, we come to know the One Who is the truth and He brings us to know the truth through the Holy Spirit and through His Word. Those who are not of the truth, that have never been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and filled with His Spirit will not continue with the faith and will make it plain that they were never believers to begin with. These are called false brethren and they cause much harm to the body of Christ. So as believers, are we supposed to care more for those who have rejected our beloved Savior Jesus Christ, then those who are our brothers and sisters by faith in Him?
    Second, we never judge situations by our experiences or by others reactions to the truth, we always judge everything by the truth of God’s Word. If we don’t then we are seriously misled. This is an avenue that the enemy, the devil, uses to mislead many. We must stand up for the truth of God’s Word and reject the work of the enemy.

    1 John 2:14-17 I have written to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you , young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God aides forever.

    Third, genuine apostates can never be recovered. That is the testimony of Scripture.

    Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

    Think Judas as opposed to Peter. Having said that, how many are there who have rejected the “faith” who were never presented with the truth in the first place? How many have turned away from falsehood and error, thinking they have “rejected the faith” and need to be brought into the fold of God through biblical faith in Jesus Christ? How many have been disgusted and brutalized by false teachers and apostates and have said they don’t want anything to do with “Christianity” when what they are rejecting is the lie that has been foisted upon them by the enemy. That is why we should lovingly share the gospel with these people trusting God to work in their hearts to produce biblical faith in Jesus Christ. There is for sure, a rich harvest field to work in sharing the genuine gospel with those who have rejected the lie. We will know if they are genuine apostates or not by their response to the truth. If they finally mock and reject, then we know they are true apostates and cannot be recovered. If the Holy Spirit works in their hearts with His Word and they listen and respond, then they were never genuine apostates to begin with, but those who rejected the sham that passes for genuine faith. May God grant us loving understanding to reach out to those lost sheep.

    James 5:19-20 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

    Jude 20-23 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

    Our work is set before us, may we labor diligently relying upon the Holy Spirit to do His work through us as we walk faithfully trusting our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ sharing His truth from His Word the Bible seeing many saved. God bless you:)

  23. Eliza, I’ll try to distill a response from your very detailed comment. First, I have to believe that if we disdain someone and cast them out, we can never attempt to fulfill James 5:19-20. Also, in the desire to declare God’s truth, we may inadvertently become arrogant. Certainly it wouldn’t be with intention (for most of us), but many a person has started out serving God with good intent and ended up, because of the success offered by God’s providence, slide into an identity where they believe it is their own efforts that are important, and then that they, rather than God, are the ones important.

    If God loves someone, and He loves all of His creations, we need to make sure that even in rebuke, we love them, too.

  24. Interesting. I have been cast out for standing for the truth with those who were false. This has happened at least twice. I have a testimony of standing for the truth in a recent post that I wrote. It was written in response to those who try to juxtapose God’s objective truth found in His Word, and knowing the One Who is the truth, Jesus Christ. I experienced what Jesus Christ experienced when He stood for the truth, rejection. It will be those who reject the truth who will persecute those who embrace the truth. Not the other way around. Scripture is replete with this testimony.

    Those who reject the truth found in the Scriptures willingly turn away from those who embrace the truth as stated in 1 John chapter 2. I have tried witnessing to those who by their own testimony, have become apostates, on the grounds that perhaps they were misled and weren’t really rejecting Jesus Christ, but rejecting falsehood. Invariably these still reject Christ and refuse to repent and believe the gospel. They are by their actions bringing God’s judgment against themselves that He has promised for all who reject the testimony regarding His Son found in the Holy Scriptures. If they refuse we cannot make them do anything. These say that there isn’t any God, and clearly reject the Bible as God’s infallible, inspired, inerrant Word. Perhaps God has given them up to apostasy. There comes a time when preaching isn’t productive and waiting on the Lord for His intervention, will reveal their hearts.

    I did have an interesting experience recently where I was speaking with others about church and the truth. An individual, who hadn’t rejected God outright but was still lost, seemed interested when he found that I wasn’t associated with a cult, two of which he wanted nothing to do with. I told him that biblical Christianity is very different from the deceit that passes for faith. I hope the Lord will work in his heart and bring him to genuine repentant faith in Christ. I pray that this will be the what the Lord chooses to do.
    Here is the link in case you are interested in reading my testimony about standing up for the truth.
    http://holdingforthhisword.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/dichotomies/

  25. It will be those who reject the truth who will persecute those who embrace the truth. Not the other way around. Scripture is replete with this testimony.

    Human beings use many tools to persecute others who are different from them. Some use logic and reason to support atheism and to denigrate Christians. Some use scripture and “truth” to denigrate unbelievers or people in other religions (or other denominations). It’s not just what you say but why you say it. Are you standing up for “truth” for the glory of God or for your own (not “you” personally Eliza, but the general “you”)?

    They are by their actions bringing God’s judgment against themselves…

    Yes, God’s judgment, not ours. God takes vengeance in the end, not us (Deut. 32:35, Romans 12:19).

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t stand up for truth, but I am saying that we should exhibit the attributes of both justice and mercy, because God exhibits both attributes with us.

    Time is tight at the moment, but I’ll read your blog in a bit. Thanks, Eliza.

  26. We should be sad, not proud, when a person falls away. And we are sad for the person and their loved ones, not for loss of marketshare and customers hopefully. But to put investigation and critique in the “hate,” box, smacks of the same tactics practiced by the secular practice of political correctness.

  27. We should be sad, not proud, when a person falls away.

    I agree completely, Chaya. That’s really what I’m trying to say…that we should be tender-hearted.

  28. I had a good friend who moved from Evangelical to MJ and ultimately converted to Judaism. I love the guy and I am sad that he eventually separated from us. He and his family have been through the wringer. His intensity in the pursuit of the Holy One is earnest and genuine. Judgmental attitudes from members of the Christian world only pushed him farther away.

    Whatever becomes of him, he is in God’s hands, and He is good! I don’t need to worry about my friend; God loves him more than I ever could.

  29. God save us from the heresy hunters.

    From many kinds of hunters, Steve. Even those people seeking justice, if they also do not seek mercy in some measure, they will not be seeing straight, and for some of those people, they see “prey” in many directions.

    This is just my personal theory after having spent ten plus years travelling within the Hebrew Roots and Messianic Jewish movements. I think some people (including me) leave a church environment because they find it lacking. They think there’s more going on in the Bible than many church leaders teach, but they don’t know how to access it.

    Then they discover some form of Hebrew Roots organization or a Messianic Jewish congregation and feel they’ve found “home.” But Judaism can be very attractive. It has an order that most Christian communities lack, a system of laws, customs, and traditions that carry a great deal of beauty and meaning. I’ve felt that attraction myself.

    But for some folks, they focus on the traditions and the mitzvoth to such a degree that they lose sight of Messiah and the reason for our worship. Like your friend and his family, they believe the answer is in Judaism but the cost is faith in the doorway and capstone of our faith (the topic of tomorrow’s “morning meditation”).

    All that we see that is beautiful and meaningful in Judaism, all that God has built, and everything beautiful and holy we see in the Christian tradition will not hold together if we cast aside the capstone, the one who holds it all together, the one who makes sure the walls stand firm on the foundation of Torah and the Prophets.

    I’ve worshiped at my local Reform/Conservative synagogue and I’ve felt real devotion to and love of God within those walls. It is in God’s hands what happens next, but as long as your friends are alive and as long as Jewish people continually return to Torah, there is hope that God’s plan, through Messiah, that Jewish redemption will lead to the revelation of Messiah, Son of David.

    “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.”

    Zechariah 12:10

    Put a candle in the window for the lost sheep and pray they will see the light and come.

  30. I do not call leaving idolatry and messiah worship apostasy. We are very happy about Gene and Jews for Judaism has announced his coming home & we say B’H. I almost embraced MJ and I am so glad I had Rabbi’s who showed me the truth. HaShem does not have a “begotten son” and human sacrifice is not acceptable to Him. I pray the FEW born Jews in the “messianic movement” will come out of idolatry and back to HASHEM. As for the goy…Jer 16:17 and Zech 8:23 is what you will say one day…think about it.

  31. Greetings, Y. Levy. Believe me, I do a lot of thinking about this and many other subjects. My primary motivation for writing this blog post was to encourage Christ-believing people that they don’t have to “bash” those who have left the faith. Not being Jewish, I can’t say that I have an understanding of your perspective, but to the best of my ability, I believe I can comprehend why you must view my faith in such a manner.

    I’m not going to debate who is right and who is wrong, since it would just become another endless, circular argument with no resolution. I also don’t want to fuel any potential for hostile feelings between people, even people who have very different perspectives on God.

    I am rather curious as to how you know that I even exist since I don’t recall us having a prior dialog, but it’s entirely up to you if you want to enlighten me.

    Peace.

  32. My cousin was in the messianic movement for awhile. You had dialogue with her last year. She never believed Jesus/”Yeshua” was G-D (chas v’shalom) and did not believe the NT was holy so she was told she was detrimental to the congregation she was a part of. B’H she came back to Judaism. When I heard the news about Gene (thanks to Jews for Judaism) I was looking for confirmation. That is how I stumbled upon your blog also. The people that subscribe to your blog that are goyim only have to follow the Laws of Noah..they will do much better in the world to come. HaShem hates idolatry and worshipping any man or incarnation is exactly that. You seem like a very smart man and I understand why you believe what you do. But the Torah is very clear…Hashem never said He had a “son” that would be the “savior of the world” – When He spoke to us on Sinai He said anything other than what He told us here we should not believe…I take him at his word.

  33. And we are not “Lost sheep” we are HaShem’s chosen ones who were given HIS Torah on Mt. Sinai…did Kadosh Baruch Hu ever once tell us on Sinai that we needed to “believe in moshiach to be saved” did He ever say “moshiach is your salvation” The event that took place there was witnessed by over 3 million ppl…when did HaShem ever do that again? Never and He never will. We do not need anything but HaShem. Without moshiach there will still be Judasim but without Jesus your religion is nothing…that is the difference. We do not focus on Moshiach…He is just going to be a man like David who will fear HaShem (Isa 11) he and I will worship HaShem in the world to come…. You don’t need to worry about but thanks

  34. I think that I’ve been wrong to walk away, but I’ve had mental illness & many things have happened that caused problems. I want to come back, but I recognise to some extent how far I’ve gone.

  35. So, Emma, do you feel that your “walking away” was somehow related to a more general effort to escape from excessive mental or emotional stresses? I’m not sure what you left, or what you wish to come back to, but if you already think you were wrong then you have already begun a process of repentance that has turned you around toward the right direction back toward G-d Who cares for us as His creatures. Repentance is a healthy place to be, because it means you are thinking, which means you are open to learning what may have been wrong and what may yet become an embrace of rightness. But what are you doing to pursue this, and whom are you seeking out to provide guidance? It is very helpful to have a map and a guide when you feel that there is some distance to travel.

  36. Emma said: I think that I’ve been wrong to walk away, but I’ve had mental illness & many things have happened that caused problems. I want to come back, but I recognise to some extent how far I’ve gone.

    If you want to return to God, you can. I believe He is waiting for you with open arms.

  37. Emma, as PL has given you wise counsel, the only distance from God that is too great to bridge is a hard heart. Repentance bridges any distance you have wandered, and like the prodigal son, your Father is already running toward you. Don’t think that you need to work or earn your way back into your Abba’s good graces. Read Psalm 51, 45 and 91.

  38. Thanks for your replies. However, basically I think that, and not to say it lightly, that I have committed the unpardonable sin. I’ve had a kind of ocd in my thoughts which used to lead me to doubt my salvation a lot and think about whether I’ve committed it. Lately I prayed and it seemed as if I had gone too far because of what happened when I prayed. I walked away several times and told people that I was no longer following Christianity, so effectively I denied my faith several times (and in the past this has happened too). I’ve also had experiences of evil thoughts.
    I also read different points of view in an effort to find out where I ‘belong’ and have wavered in my belief. But essentially I keep coming back to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God, but when I have prayed for guidance what I keep coming back to is the fact that I rejected God.

  39. Emma, that doesn’t necessarily mean that God has rejected you. I also don’t think God will “punish” you for suffering from a mental illness anymore than He would reject you because of a physical illness. It’s apparent that you desire to come back to Him. I don’t believe that God is so stern and harsh that He cannot see sincerity and an authentic desire to repent. To quote actor Ian McKellen in his role as Eric Lensherr/Magneto from the 2000 film X-Men, “I’ve always thought of God as a teacher; a bringer of light, wisdom, and understanding.”

    I know, not the expected source for an inspirational quote, but I think it fits.

  40. Proclaim Liberty – is knowing that I was wrong, enough of a beginning of a step of repentance? I am conscious of Esau.
    I would really like to know that God is willing to meet me some of the way, because I have gone so far, but I don’t know if that’s realistic now. It has felt like something has had a hold. I know that we are not meant to look for or ask for signs, but I’m not sure how else to see my way forward.

  41. James – thank you for your reply. I’ve written a reply to Proclaim Liberty which really is where I am at … how to see my way forward.

  42. Emma, you should speak with a doctor, because you may have something called Scrupulosity (look it up) which is the religious form of OCD. It is treatable with counseling, medication, DBS and even self-help and support groups.

    OCD hijacks the brain, and parts of the brain used for filtering, reasoning, planning etc., get derailed by the obsessive thought and/or behavior.

    It is difficult to see that your thinking does not represent reality. But imagine that your are wearing yellow tinted glasses; everything would look yellow. This is where friends and family that can see things more clearly can help provide guidance. You are going to need to find people you trust, in the way a blind person trusts their seeing eye dog.

    Do you find inspirational music helpful, calming?

  43. Chaya, from what I have read about scrupulosity I think it has been that but its been something that comes and goes. I have also been hearing voices. I haven’t been listening to inspirational music lately, – to answer your question I’d need to listen to it again.
    Because of having a feeling of being ‘taken over’ which happened recently, I’m really not sure what step to take next.

  44. Emma, OCD can have times when it is worse and times when it is better, and usually this is related to stress.

    Since you mentioned you are hearing voices, and say you are not sure what step to take: The step you need to take is call your doctor, and perhaps talk to someone you trust.

    You might like to listen to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvhWTWpNWL0 Sons of Korah have written many songs, all to Psalms. May you have peace and wisdom in your journey toward healing.

  45. Shavua Tov, Emma — If you have any doubt whether you’ve taken enough of a step in the repentance direction, take another. After that, take another. It won’t be long before you have your answer. If you’re worried about being like Esav as he as described in Heb.12:16-17, pay attention to the fact that he is described rather severely for his wrong attitudes and motivations as well as a specific wrong action. Even though he could not reclaim his place as the ostensible firstborn and primary inheritor, he was still Yitzhak’s favorite son; and we see a few years later, when Yacov returned from Aram, that he didn’t do badly at all in the physical inheritance department. He was simply not suited to serve as the transmitter of the Avrahamic spiritual heritage. His appearance as a midrashic example in the Hebrews letter/sermon serves as a warning against such a severe denial of Rav Yeshua’s priestly mediating role that the denier would never again consider it valid. This is how such a one makes repentance impossible. On the other hand, we have Rav Yeshua’s declaration in John 6:37 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” So, if you find that you are able to continue taking steps in RaV Yeshua’s direction, you have an assurance that you will not be rejected by him. So far, the nature of what you have written seems pretty clearly to indicate that you do wish to pursue his ways and to grow stronger in the attitudes that represent the kingdom of heaven. I don’t see any inhibitions against repentance there — merely a lack of confidence. THAT can be fixed! But Chaya and James were correct to recommend seeking out some counseling and guidance, particularly since you describe your situation as one of recovering from or learning to overcome a mental (emotional?) illness such as OCD. As I said in my last post, it is very helpful to have a map and a guide when you feel that there is some distance to travel.

    Do you already know what actions represent steps of repentance and return toward HaShem? One possibility would be to spend at least 15 minutes each day reading some passage from the Bible (in a modern translation you can identify with) and another 15 minutes thinking about what the passage may mean or imply, either in general or as applied to your specific personal circumstances. This may not always be obvious, so it can become a subject of conversation with a counselor who may have deeper insight. Considering that you may still be fighting to overcome OCD, do not try to do more than this for starting out. Controlling your time and refusing to perseverate on whatever you read for any more than 15 minutes may be good exercise in itself. This can also contribute to revealing any matters where you have an internal argument going on about HaShem’s apparent perspective on things. Such arguments may not be the best form of discussion by which to relate with HaShem; but they are better than no relationship at all. And some of them may ultimately take on a more mature form of internal discussion, that becomes an impetus for studying and acquiring deeper understanding, rather than simply remaining as an argument or complaint about something that you don’t yet understand. If you would like a more concrete recommendation for some passage to read, why don’t you try reading Matthew’s gospel, particularly where the concepts start getting deep, as in chapter 5.

  46. Shalom Emma, PL and all: OCD is most likely, according to most recent research, neurological rather than mental or emotional, although these things certainly can play a part.

    You don’t need to feel it is your fault for having this disordered thinking. Sometimes Scrupulosity needs a different type of care than most would tend to, as trying to reason with a person that they haven’t committed the unforgivable sin (or whatever the obsession is) can just make it worse by intensifying what the person already over-focuses on. There are professionals who are trained and have success dealing with this.

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