I'm Offended That You're Offended!

I've been offending a lot of people lately.

  1. Wezlo, a Baptist pastor of Christdot.org fame, was offended at my statement on Barack Obama's pastor, "Shame on the fools who equate the murdering of children with the acts of a nation against the murderers." I further suggested Israel is morally right in its war against the murderers of these kids, and that there are times when God uses righteous anger, even righteous violence.

    So offended was the Protestant pastor that he ended up deleting several posts, closing the comments on one blog post, and finally hinted it as a reason to close his blog. "That was out of line", he tells me. "You're coming here trying to pick a fight", he asserts. "You should have said, 'I think it's foolish...' rather than 'Shame on the fools...'", so as not to offend anyone, he tells me in a now-deleted post.

  2. A pluralistic man of the secular world was offended after I mentioned that the names of the months of our western calendar are named after "false gods". "False gods?", he asks, "How is my god any more false than yours?!"

    I suspect his was a rhetorical question; there are not too many people nowadays worshipping Aphrilis, namesake of the month of April.

  3. Pakistani Muslim and long time acquaintance Adnan Siddiqi and his Muslim friends were offended by the implication that the Jewish people have survived 4000 years thanks to God's preservation, despite at least 8 different civilizations attempting to destroy them. I then suggested that Hamas et al will go the way of the dodo, as did the groups prior that tried to destroy the Jewish people. Needless to say, that didn't soothe his wounds.

  4. Even some Jewish friends took offense after I pointed out the modern Jewish calendar differs from God's calendar in Scripture. All-around nice guy, dad of 8 kids, and friendly Messianic Jewish rabbi Derek Leman, found it wise to publicly distance himself from me for my remarks on the Jewish calendar.

    [Update: in the comments to the same post, another Jewish reader, Gene Shlomovich, is engaged in a debate with me over the merits of Messianic Israel theology, the theology that states both Jews and gentiles are part of Israel, either by descent or by Messiah's grafting-in.]

Combine those with the respectful theological disagreements with a Christian friend, Brian, regarding the dissolution of the Levitical priesthood, a debate with comments long enough to write a short novel, a debate which continued on privately for a few more back-and-forths.

In addition, I've recently discovered another Christian friend privately took deep offense at the recent assaults on Easter, finally admitting he "didn't want to hear anymore about it". Ignorance is bliss!

In the last few weeks, I've offended at least 4 Christians, 2 Jews, 2 Muslims, and a man who in all likelihood is an atheist. And those are just the people who've spoken up. :-)

All that said, here's some more red meat for the easily-offendable. :-) I suspect it will offend Jews, Muslims and atheists more than Christians, for it contains something most Christians believe, something I consider the Christians to be absolutely and entirely correct in. (Shocking, ain't it? Not too often I can agree with Christianity!)

It's a quote from an intellectual Jewish man, a former atheist, who turned to Messiah in his mid-life, Art Katz. He had this to say regarding the easily-offendable nature of the pluralistic western world. In some ways, it gives me reassurance through all these debates and arguments and offend-ings and disagreements,

Have you heard of pluralism? The whole modern western world is pluralistic. That is to say, "many paths to God." There's no single truth.

Jesus made a remarkable statement: "If you see me, you see the Father, I and the Father are one. No man comes to the Father but by me. If any man comes any other way, that man is a thief and a robber." You guys realize what a scandal the gospel is? You realize how abrasive the gospel is? Do you realize that God has chose the foolish things? That there's nothing about the gospel that's intellectually credible? God has given us something calculatingly foolish, compared to the wisdom of the world. The world that is pluralistic and likes to consider many paths to truth has got to contend with a gospel that insists upon itself, and the Jesus of that gospel, as the only truth. It is uncompromising in its insistence. It is absolute in its expression. And the very question of absoluteness and singularity itself runs right across the whole tenet and grain of the modern world. You understand that? Do you understand how pluralistic the whole mindset of the world is, how many options -- I don't know's, the maybe's, the grey's, who's to say's -- and into that whole mucky world of vagaries, and choices, and nuances, comes one statement out of the heart of God: "I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by me."

If I hear anything from my Jewish kinsmen in conversations I have been involved with my people, invariably they bring up, "What about the other people of the world? What about Buddhists, what about Muslims, what about Hindus? Don't they have a religion, isn't it a world faith? Aren't there redemptive elements in these religions? And you feel a blush coming up to the roots of your being, when you have to insist and say, "No, these are satanic deceptions and false alternatives that lead unto death." To insist on the singularity of the gospel, to insist on the absoluteness of it: this is not just an issue of religion, it's hitting the world head-on in a confrontation of wisdoms, of moral systems, of mentalities.

I've found this to be true, that one bold statement goes against the grain and tenet of the world and induces all kinds of anger and offense: No man comes to God but through Yeshua the Messiah. Speak that truth, and you're a bigot by the world's standards. The world will slander you and attack you and mock you to no end should that tiny statement be uttered in public. It is the ultimate offender in this easily-offendable, politically correct world.

For the record, I'd like to say that none of the disagreements have created a cold between myself and any of you who know me personally. I always prefer clarity to agreement, and I think honest debates help bring about that clarity.

So if you're offended or disagree with me, I want to hear from you, I want to discuss it, I want to find the truth of the matter. Even if we can't attain agreement, at least we can find clarity in exactly where each side stands.


  1. An unbiased look at history suggests it's bad luck to try to kill the Jews. I hope that observation doesn't offend anyone. As far as this many-paths-to-Heaven stuff, I'm not willing to say anyone in particular is going to Hell, but I do maintain that the only people in Heaven will be there by our Lord's permission. Christians need to get over being embarrassed about the teachings of Jesus.

  2. klax, thanks for the comment. Yes, it does seem to be "bad luck" for anyone trying to wipe out Israel. I cannot help but think of Jewish preservation -- 2 millenia without a home whilst under constant state-sanctioned persecution -- as anything short of miraculous. Not only Jewish identity, but language and faith and customs preserved as well.

    I'd like to know if there are any other cultures that have been out of their native home for so long without losing their language, religion, or culture. Certainly there isn't any other that has survived so many direct attempts at annihilation in that period of time and still survived, let along prospered and returned to their home.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Judah, Keep mixing it up. What's going to be funny in the end or not, is to see where we have all been wrong.


  5. Judah,

    "The cross is an offense to those who are perishing" That pretty much says it all. When it comes to differences with nonbelivers anyway. Often that is the problem with believers also. We can easily accept that our sins have been nailed to the cross with Jesus but have difficulty accepting that in someone else when their sin is glaring at us and causing us pain. We all want forgiveness but are slow to give it, to our own detriment. We can also be slow in asking for forgiveness when we have offended another; that also is to our detriment.

    "Iron sharpens iron" but this only takes place with a lot of friction. When we disagree over what God says in His Word or in how it should be practiced, that is the friction that sharpens us by bringing our beliefs into sharper focus and also revealing our own mistaken beliefs. We err when we convince ourselves that we are no longer growing but have arrived and our brother's beliefs are all wrong and ours all right. Which one of us can completely know the mind of God? How many of us behave as if we do hold the whole mind of God? We study and puff ourselves up with knowlege and make lots of clanging noise showing it off when what we are supposed to do is love. Truth is good and it is important to speak up for truth but if it is not spoken in love, the truth is drowned out by our continual clanging and can even promote deafness in the hearer.


  6. Judah:

    Just to clarify, I am neither offended by your theological musing on the Jewish calendar nor put off in any way by your personality. On the contrary, I find you to be a very interesting person and someone with whom I have a lot in common. I will address the myth of a Biblical versus Jewish calendar on my blog today.

    Derek Leman

  7. Judah:

    I respond to your musings about the Jewish calendar at http://derek4messiah.wordpress.com/2008/04/01/in-defense-of-the-jewish-calendar/


  8. Judah,

    I am new to your blog.
    My family and I have been two house Messianic believers for about fourteen years and have seen and heard much of what is taking place among the children of Israel.

    You're right on with the calendar issue. It seems that only those who are willing to listen can hear His voice and are the ones who are shown the truth about the times and seasons of His purpose.

    I look forward to reading more of your thinking about many things.

    Until then,



  9. A quick note to Derek:

    I read your blog entry regarding the "Jewish" calendar being in alignment with the "biblical" calendar. I wish I had the time to put together all the scriptures petaining to your misunderstanding of the times of YHVH, but it is late at night. Perhaps tomorrow.

    But I will say this - silence from heaven is not a good way to determine what is approved and what is not.



  10. Levi, thanks for the encouragement. A friend spoke a personal word to me to say that what we do must be motivated out of love. It may not always be a peaceful word, and you don't have to roll-over and take abuse, but it must be motivated out of love. I recognize wisdom in that, and admittedly in some cases I have not done that.

    Pam, thank you for your word regarding love, you're the second person to say just that. As I said to Levi above, I recognize that I have sometimes spoken things out of anger rather than love. God will have to lead me.

    Derek, I emailed you privately. Thanks for your respectful response. I will have to write a post to respond to all your points.

    Efrayim, thanks for stopping by and posting. I hope you enjoy the blog. You mention you are two-house...would you mind taking part in the respectful debating in this thread? A Messianic Jew, Gene Shlomovich, has written much against that theology. I've responded in parts to his comments, but as you probably have more knowledge in this area than myself, I'd appreciate the back up! :-)

    Blessings to all of you in Messiah, and I don't say that lightly or as a religious cliche; may Messiah bless you and mature each of us in Him everyday!

  11. Judah,

    I read through the postings you mentioned. While I could jump in and provide a extensive list of scriptures supporting what has been called the "two house theology", I'm thinking that, while it may interest others, it would do little good for Gene.

    And for this reason: those who walk in the flesh are concerned about the things of the flesh, and those who walk in the Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) are concerned with the things of the Spirit.

    The words that YHVH speaks are Spirit and can only be understood by the same Spirit. Anyone who does not have His Spirit will not understand His words.

    Those who want to understand and express spiritual truths from the standpoint of their carnal mind will always ask for proof at that level, forgetting the fact that YHVH can easily do what is impossible for man.

    When Yeshua told His talmadim that it would be very difficult for a rich man to enter heaven, they reacted with incedulity, "How can this be", they said. Leading to the logical conclusion, "who then can be saved?".

    Yeshua's answer, at first glance, seems almost completely unrelated to the question. He said, "With man this is impossible, but with YHVH all things are possible".

    It would be quite a long post to go into the depth and detail of what was taking place there at the time, so I won't. But consider this - with one quick statement of truth Yeshua overturned the common reasoning of the Jews at that time in history.

    That same common reasoning exists today among those who pride themselves in thinking that they are "Jewish" and not Gentile. It is beyond their understanding how YHVH would scatter a portion of His people throughout the earth so that He could, at a later time, bring them back into one house through Messiah Yeshua, thus bringing His salvation to all the nations, as promised.

    May Gene and all those like him find the grace to understand the marvellous work that YHVH has done in the earth.



  12. Judah,

    Sorry about the anonymous but my password does not seem to work.


  13. Efrayim:

    It is a form of bigotry to say of those who have a different opinion that they are walking in the flesh. Anyone can claim that they are spiritual and that others are in the flesh. It's a cheap shot. In fact, it's not spiritual. What do you say to that?

    Derek Leman

  14. Efrayim said: "While I could jump in and provide a extensive list of scriptures supporting what has been called the "two house theology", I'm thinking that, while it may interest others, it would do little good for Gene."

    Ephraim, yes, I am SURE it would interest others here to see what you would offer as "proofs" of your theology. But look how quickly you have formed such a fine opinion of me! You don't even know me. I contacted Judah to hear his reasons for believing in Two House theology. At least he gave it a shot to explain his beliefs to me, instead of calling me "carnal".

    Efrayim said: "And for this reason: those who walk in the flesh are concerned about the things of the flesh, and those who walk in the Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) are concerned with the things of the Spirit."

    I guess you can count me among the fleshly, spiritless "Judah". Me and all the Jewish believers who reject your recently invented "lost Israelites" theology upon close examination of biblical and historical data... along with the many various groups who have popped over the years claiming the same thing as you do!

    Efrayim said: "The words that YHVH speaks are Spirit and can only be understood by the same Spirit. Anyone who does not have His Spirit will not understand His words."

    So, you seem to be telling me that you are a part of the exclusive "spiritual" Two House club, and all of the people who don't believe in your Two House theology do not have the same spirit as you do? I may have to agree with you there, Efrayim.

    You are welcome to present your proofs in my forum: http://www.bethavinu.org/forums/ , if you have any. Not just for carnal me, but for many other folks who want to know (if what you have is the "truth").


  15. Gene,

    Typical response.

    I would actually prefer to be in the company of those who you refer to as "the exclusive two house spiritual club", than with those who limit the eternal invisible creator to their unsubstantiated physical lineage claims.

    As far as bigotry goes, you need look no further than those who like to proclaim proudly that they are "Jews" and the rest are not. That type of thinking may get you a parking space at the local synagogue, but it means nothing in the light of the restored covenant.

    By the way, it is not difficult to spot those who rely on the flesh, whether I happen to know them personally or not. Scripture is very clear in those matters. If a brother or sister tells me I'm walking in the flesh and can show me where I have taken that detour, I will listen. Apparently you feel that you do not need to hear what may be true and are quick to cry foul. So be it. It's your life after all. If you disagree with me, then disagree. If you want to think that I am a bigot, go ahead.

    But you might want to keep in mind that when Yeshua was confronted by card carrying Pharisees (meaning ones who could prove their lineage and depended on that), He told them quite plainly that they did not belong to Him. At that point, if physical descent mattered at all, He would have embraced them and called them His own. But He did not. Not then and not now.

    You say that you know the what the restored covenant is all about. Jews and Gentiles mixing it up. First and second class citizens, behaving appropriately. You might want to go back and check that again. Your rabbinic house of cards will fair no better than the replacement theology house of cards constructed by the Christians. They are both wrong.

    Proof? Who is it that asks for proof but an unbeliever.

    "If you are the Messiah, show us now and we will believe you".

    Sound familiar?

    You have the record of His Son. Do you really need for me to prove to you what the plans of YHVH are for the end of the age? Read it yourself.

    You know, I like what Judah is trying to do here with this blog. And he seems to be a charitable sort who welcomes comments from different backgrounds and beliefs. But his good work can be easily distracted by endless arguments. I hope this is not the case here.

    How about we move on to more substantial discourse whereby many can learn and grow. And if you really think that you need a long list scriptures that will convince you of some point of doctrine, then I will recommend a book which you can read in the privacy of your own thoughts.


    Sorry again about the anonymous post but I still can't get my Google password to work. I'll check it tomorrow.

  16. Efrayim...

    I suppose we'll leave it to G-d to show who lives in a self-constructed "Two-House of Cards". You don't make a very good spokesman for them. Perhaps someone other then Efrayim would like to take their time and explain to me their beliefs (go to bethavinu.org/forums/ and let's take this discussion to a more appropriate place).

    Efrayim seems to be confused - he thinks that I am me asking him to show me a "miracle" to prove something. (Perhaps only a miracle would make his theology true.) However, I am not asking for miracles here, just truth. He forgets that Yeshua himself took his disciples through the scripture to show them where they talk about Him (Luke 24:27).

    You accuse Jews (sounds familiar) of relying on their "flesh", being boastful and proud, but I see a whole lot more reliance on the flesh by Two-House folk. The tnnonline.net goes out if its way to construct supposed linages from Israel to the gentile nations in painstaking detail. Why, because they are so spiritual? Don't tell me that the "Messianic Israel" people do not care about their supposed Israelite "fleshly" descent! Their whole theology is based on it, with countless websites, books and videos dedicated to proving the "physical descent from Israel".

  17. Efrayim:

    You continue in the same ungracious spirit of accusing others whom you do not know of being unspiritual. Foolishly you are demonstrating a lack of spiritual integrity in the very act of wagging your finger.

    Derek Leman

  18. Derek,

    Yeah, yeah..lashon hora and all that. You must have attended a rabbinical school somewhere that teaches you how to try to turn the tables and make your opposition appear to be wrong and that they "must" prove their point or be guilty of error.

    But it was you who came out swinging, saying that those who believe in the prophetic uniting of the two houses of Israel in Messiah were uninformed and foolish in trying to claim some kind of physical lineage to the house of Israel.

    So that we are clear and you do not misunderstand: we (myself and others that I know personally)do not make a false claim about having some physical link to Israel.

    Let me be even clearer: if an individual or group does make that kind of claim, that having the right physical heritage gives them some kind of spiritual advantage over others, then it is my belief that they have denied the faith and made void the covenant enacted through Messiah Yeshua.

    If that statement does not make sense to you, then there is nothing more to say. Because at that point your argument is not with me but with YHVH and the revelation of His Son.

    You want to be right? Go ahead then and be right. Tell others that I provided you no proof of "my" claims. That I am ungracious and even unkind in my words and presentation. Although you certainly have not presented anything compelling to anyone else reading your words. Just your criticism of others beliefs.

    So here we are:

    There are many beautiful truths in the scriptures that can be explored here in this setting. Perhaps it would be better to do that instead.

    Once again I ask that we move on to other more profitable conversations. If that is possible.




  19. I just wanted to chime in and say, there does seem to be some misinformation out there. Messianic Israelites -- that is, gentiles that believe themselves part of Israel through Messiah -- do not believe they are in anyway superior to Jews.

    Some claim physical descent, yes. I don't believe all gentiles are physically descended from Israel.

    I do believe the 10 northern tribes from the nation of Israel were scattered into the nations and never returned; that much is clear from history and Scripture. The nation of Judah returned from captivity, the nation of Israel did not.

    Like Efrayim, I believe that anyone who claims superiority because of physical descent is off in their theology. The purpose of the Messianic Israelite theology is that Jews and gentiles are together united in Messiah, together they are God's people, Israel.

    Everything else is details. :-)

    I further agree that since this conversation has nothing to do with this blog post, it is better to continue the discussion over at Gene's Messianic Jewish forums.

  20. Judah, Efrayim, Derek... and all the visitors to this blog - everyone's welcome to continue the Two House dialog at bethavinu.org/forums/index.php?board=9.0

    (Or, go to bethavinu.org/forums/, and visit the Controvercial Issues & Theologies board.)

    Thanks and Shalom,