January 31, 2018

The Definition of Doctrine

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.(2Ti 4:3-4)

Our brother Marc gave a very powerful message on the importance of doctrine recently. Here’s the link and if you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend it http://www.thewordandtheway.net/TWTW%20Audio%20Messages/the-importance-of-doctrine/. We’ve gotten some pretty interesting feedback on this message, mostly from people who simply reacted to the title without listening to him at all. But the feedback hinges on the word “doctrine” and that somehow this is a bad word. This comes from a misreading of the words of the Messiah:

“You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS (commandments) OF MEN.'”(Mat 15:7-9)

Which is a quote from Isaiah:

Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote, (Isa 29:13 NASB)

Which when we look at the Brenton translation of the LXX, it matches perfectly:

And the Lord has said, This people draw nigh to me with their mouth, and they honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me: but in vain do they worship me, teaching the commandments and doctrines of men.(Isa 29:13 Brenton)

So what this says is that people who teach commandments or doctrines of men are the hypocrites. But some have misread this to mean that any doctrine is a commandment of men. That’s not what it says and that’s not the definition of doctrine. Here’s the definition of doctrine:

didaskalia

did-as-kal-ee’-ah

From G1320; instruction (the function or the information): – doctrine, learning, teaching.

You see, a doctrine is just a teaching or an instruction. What other word means instruction that we might be familiar with?

תּוֹרָה

torah (435d); from H3384; direction, instruction, law: — custom (1), instruction (10), instructions (1), Law (1), law (188), laws (10), ruling (1), teaching (7), teachings (1).

Yes, the word Torah also means instruction as well as direction. Doctrine and Torah are somewhat synonymous. So the folks who have made “bad teaching” the definition of the word “doctrine” have gone a little too far. We do this with the word “tradition” as well. We see that Yeshua admonished the Pharisees for elevating their traditions to the level of true Torah (or even beyond) so we want to put up a wall and not have any traditions at all. This is a phase many who leave Babylon go through. I had my time in the “no doctrine zone” myself.

When we at my house figured out Christmas, Easter, Sunday, and the Trinity were all doctrines of men replete with traditions of men, we went through a phase without any traditions at all and just a literal application of the scriptures. You know what? The scriptures actually leave out some pretty important information. What? That’s blasphemy! The scriptures tell us everything! Well, not they don’t. For instance, the scriptures do not tell us how to have a holy convocation. We are commanded to have them on Shabbat and the annual appointed times, but we are left to decided how we observe the days on our own. This means we have to make decisions on starting or adopting some traditions of our own. We just have to be careful that they do not take on a life of their own.

And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.(Luk 22:19-20)

Now, if we throw out all the traditions, we miss some pretty important info right here. It says that after Yeshua had taken bread He gave thanks and He did the same with the wine. Those who have attended a Seder or Havdalah know what that means. It’s an ancient tradition where Jews will thank YHVH for the bread and for the fruit of the vine. Yeshua wasn’t against traditions, no not at all! He was against them when they contradict scripture and when men misuse them!

The same holds true for doctrine.

The Jews then were astonished, saying, “How has this man become learned, having never been educated?” So Jesus answered them and said, “My teaching (doctrine) is not Mine, but His who sent Me. (Joh 7:15-16)

The Jews in this passage were astonished because Yeshua was teaching properly without being formally educated. In this case they agreed with His doctrine and He properly gave the credit to His Father.

There is much to be said about the exercise of removing all doctrine from one’s life and then rebuilding on a solid foundation. But rebuild we must. Marc’s message is very good and it illustrates the problems with bad doctrines very, very well. But in order to identify bad doctrine, we have to have good doctrine. And we have to give thanks to our Father for revealing it to us!

We are pleased to announce Jim Barfield from The Copper Scroll Project coming to Kansas City December 16, 2017. Jim was here a couple years ago to introduce us to The Copper Scroll Project and brought some very interesting news in a very jovial manner. Jim has deciphered The Copper Scroll, an artifact discovered at the Qumran caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, and has located likely sites for the buried Temple treasures from the prophet Jeremiah’s day. Jim has been to Israel to search for these site with the Israeli Antiquities officials. We welcome his return to update us on this very important work.

The event will be at Lake Doniphan, near Excelsior Springs, MO, at a beautiful resort. The address is 12856 Doniphan Lake Rd, Excelsior Springs, MO 64024-6242 and will be held in the main building. The date is December 16 and we will meet from 10AM – 4PM. Please being biblically clean food to share (compliant with Leviticus 11) as we will share a meal together. We will have music and Davidic dancing as well as an update from Jim.

Please donate to us to help us pay for the event and bless Jim’s ministry. Our paypal is here for donations http://www.thewordandtheway.net/donate/. You can also donate by writing a check to Northland Hebrew Roots Group, LLC (our official business name) and mail it to 6395 SW Reed Lane, Trimble, MO 64492.

Please let us know you are coming by clicking “going” at our Facebook event here https://www.facebook.com/events/1547798491994305/ or emailing us at info@thewordandtheway.net. If you want to phone for questions, phone Chris DeWeese at 816-398-3143 or Chris Bridges at 816-510-1602.

There is no dress code for the event but please remember we are attending a religious event on a religious campus. This is a child friendly event. Please arrive ahead of the 10 AM start time and plan to stay for the entire event, giving your attention to our blessed speaker, Jim Barfield.

If you are interested in events like this, please sign up for our newsletters by subscribing to our site using the form up and to the right of this post.

October 30, 2017

Playing Whack a Mole!

Shalom everybody! I’m going old-school today with an actually written blog. I know, I know, that’s so 2001. But first, take a moment to enjoy the end of one of the most epic comedies of all time: Caddyschack! Bear with me, I’m going somewhere with this.

So what on earth does Caddyshack, a corny comedy from the 80s, have to do with the faith once delivered? For you poor souls who are not familiar with the movie in question, it’s a slapstick comedy with layers of story lines. The story line I’m referencing today is not the one in the foreground where a young man won a golf tournament. It’s the back story with the gopher and the smoldering golf course. In that story, the groundskeeper, played by Bill Murray, goes through a series of increasing ridiculous scenarios to try to get rid of a gopher who is doing minor damage to the golf course. The crescendo of this insanity, akin to slaying a white whale (that’s a Moby Dick reference, incidentally), is Murray’s character actually blowing up the golf course and the gopher gets away. Now for the scripture and the tie-in:

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
(2Ti 4:1-5 NASB)

For the past four or five years, our movement has been playing whack a mole with ludicrous doctrines. Every year some new strange doctrine comes up and then those who would normally be talking about sound doctrine go to war trying to tamp down the strange doctrine. This scenario has come to such a climax that we’ve seen multiple strange doctrines come up just in 2017. It’s a gigantic game of whack-a-mole and guess what? The movement is a smoldering mess. In the name of YouTube hits or website traffic, we have gone full sensationalist. Those who propose the “next new thing” as it was referred to at Sukkot in Wewoka, are lusting after attention in the form of web traffic. Those who just can’t take the bad teaching anymore are fighting an endless battle because we feel if someone doesn’t fight back, then the madness will win out. But, again, this has left our golf course in ruins. It’s to a point where we are literally damaging the sheep. In one of a few anecdotal incidents. I recently had a conversation with a believer in the northeast who refused to go to Sukkot because, you guessed it, the crazy teachings circulating in the movement. She simply can’t take it anymore and regards the holy assembly as being profane.

So what do we do? Clearly the whack-a-mole track isn’t working out. All it is doing is elevating false teachers and creating division. I say we ignore it. Instead of scouring the interwebs looking for some new thing to slam, why not go nuts and read our bibles? Or perhaps perform an indepth study on a section of the bible using actually credible resources? Why not take a month and read Josephus, the Antiquities of the Jews, and really understand the context of first century Judea. Why not just return to our first loves, actual truth, and meditate on the WORD like we are supposed to do. This year’s Sukkot in Wewoka wasn’t burdened down with esoteric and strange doctrines and, guess what? It was kind of nice and relaxing. So lLet’s start filling in those craters and replanting some grass. That’s what I’m going to do. Are you going to join me?