Theological Merry-Go-‘Round

Comedian and actor Jerry Seinfeld once said the life of an actor is as follows:

  • Who’s Jerry Seinfeld?
  • Get me Jerry Seinfeld!
  • Get me a young Jerry Seinfeld.
  • Who’s Jerry Seinfeld?

Sometimes, religion feels like this, too, as theologies come and go, like ebbing tides of the ocean. They come in, they rise in popularity, someone opposes them and they lose popularity, they are forgotten or their adherents are otherwise isolated.

Some days, my faith walk with God feels like this.

Sometimes, I think we’re in a religious merry-go-‘round that never ends.

  • What is the Torah?
  • I love the Torah!
  • There’s something wrong with practicing the Torah.
  • Let’s get back to where we were.

  • What’s Hebrew Roots?
  • I love Hebrew Roots!
  • There’s something wrong with Hebrew roots.
  • Let’s get back to where we were.

  • What’s Messianic Judaism?
  • I love Messianic Judaism!
  • There’s something wrong with Messianic Judaism.
  • Let’s get back to where we were.

  • What’s mysticism?
  • I love mysticism!
  • There’s something wrong with mysticism.
  • Let’s get back to where we were.

  • What is One Law?
  • I love One Law!
  • There’s something wrong with One Law.
  • Let’s get back to where we were.

  • What is Two Law?
  • I love Two Law!
  • There’s something wrong with Two Law.
  • Let’s get back to where we were.

  • What’s the Oral Torah?
  • I love the Oral Torah!
  • There’s something wrong with the Oral Torah.
  • Let’s get back to where we were.

  • What do you mean, throwing off the traditions?
  • I love throwing off the traditions!
  • There’s something wrong with throwing off the traditions.
  • Let’s get back to where we were.

  • What are the traditions?
  • I love the traditions!
  • There’s something wrong with practicing the traditions.
  • Let’s get back to where we were.


  • What is Two House?
  • I love Two House!
  • There’s something wrong with Two House.
  • Let’s get back to where we were.


  • What is One Faith, Two Expressions?
  • I love One Faith, Two Expressions!
  • There’s something wrong with One Faith, Two Expressions.
  • Let’s get back to where we were.

That’s a few of the recent ones that come to mind. I could also add roles of gentiles in the Messianic movement, Judaism itself, Jewish identity, gentiles and the Torah, the role of Torah for humanity, the role of women in our faith, charismatic elements of Christianity, moves of the Spirit, creationism and numerous other theological bombs.

In the process, there’s lots of passive-aggressive insulting going on, as people insinuate the other side is dumb, uneducated, missing the boat, not led by the Spirit, misinterpreting the Scriptures, heretical, not being authentic, or what have you.

Are we making progress? It sure doesn’t feel like it sometimes. What’s more depressing yet is we are repeating some of the same theological battles of the last few thousand years.

While I take comfort in pragmatism, I’m nonetheless winded, tired of the theological merry-go-‘round I’ve witnessed over the last 5 years.

I am looking forward to the time when the Kingdom of God is established on earth and all the questions and ambiguities are sorted out for us. Until that time, maybe I’d best look past theological nuances and focus on the common ground of Yeshua as our rock.

(Yeshua, come quickly! I’m getting tired of all this mess down here!)

p.s. Hat tip to Osherove’s blog, which inspired the format of this post.

p.p.s. This post is not about FFOZ’s recent theological shift (hi Boaz, Aaron and folks) – rather, it was written several weeks ago and scheduled for posting today. Coincidentally, it does reflect some of my recent internal conflictions regarding FFOZ’s stance shift.


  1. Every one of us has gone through the kinds of wrangling you have just described. Sometimes firsthand experience is a harsh teacher, because we fail to learn the lessons given to us in the Scriptures, or the lessons we have seen other people having to go through.

    I agree that I can't wait for Yeshua to return for Him to sort everything out. At the same time, life on Earth continues, and we each have a job to do. Much of the wrangling that occurs is because of what George Washington described in his farewell address as "entangling alliances." Finding people who are in ministry for ministry's sake, with a burden for people, is key.

  2. Judah,

    The progression of events, as detailed in your post, is ingrained in our very nature here on earth and works its way into everything we get involved with.

    Sometimes that can be a good thing. As we learn more about a subject we naturally change our thinking and perhaps even our actions to accommodate the new information. Partially to see if it is really true and partially to be "in the know" when around others we hope to impress.

    And sometimes it can be a negative course of events that cause confusion and uncertainty among those we spend time our religious time with.

    We have found that gaining knowledge and changing our minds accordingly is not a bad thing unless it results in an effort to coerce others into similar thoughts and practices. In effect, trying to do the work of the Spirit of YHVH in another person's life.

    Not a good plan.

    Here is where teachers walk a thin line. Imparting knowledge and counsel without attempting to mold the students into clones of him or her self. Not an easy task. But a true teacher who is called and gifted as such finds the way to do it successfully.

    Meanwhile scripture stands like a rock that can not be moved and we must resist the currents and tides of the ever changing public opinions swirling around us by clinging to it without fail.



  3. Judah,

    Could you explain to me how it happens that Christians have different explanations for quotes and different beliefs if they say they have the spirit of G-d helping them to understand the Bible? I honestly don't know what the explanation for that is.

    Also, I had a similar situation with a Messianic Jewish man who told me that I don't understand what the prophets said because I don't have the spirit of G-d in me. He did not explain how that works. Does that mean first you have to believe in J and then you get a spirit that lets you understand the Bible or do you get the spirit first?

    Kenneth Greifer

  4. Same reason there are disagreements in Judaism on everything from kashrut to homosexuality to whether Israel has a right to exist as a nation.

    Lots of people think God is leading them. A few take a silly stance: "God is leading me therefore, I cannot possibly be wrong in anything at all."

  5. Hi Kenneth... nice to talk to you again.

    "Also, I had a similar situation with a Messianic Jewish man who told me that I don't understand what the prophets said because I don't have the spirit of G-d in me."

    I think that man was wrong to tell you that. Having the Spirit of G-d within you is certainly not an automatic guarantee to understanding the scriptures and the prophets. If that was so, as you noted, why are there such MAJOR disagreements and divisions as we see in the Christian world?

    However, Yeshua himself noted that the understanding that he is indeed the Moschiach comes from above, e.g.:

    "And Yeshua answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Shimon Bar-Yonah: for flesh and blood has not revealed it yo you, but my Father who is in heaven." (Mattityahu/Matthew 16:17)

    I also acknowledge that many of our sages (whom Christians deny as having had any spirit of G-d) said many correct things about our Moshiach , things which are not plainly recorded in Written Torah (e.g., that there are in fact two appearances or descriptions of Moshiach - one as Moshiach, son of Yosef and Moshiach, son of David - see cf. Succah 52, Megillah 3).

  6. Gene,

    You said that the New Testament has a quote that shows that people will get the understanding of who is the Messiah from above. Does the Tanakh say that also? Also, there is the possibility of an evil or lying spirit affecting people, so any feelings about who is the Messiah might be wrong.

    Kenneth Greifer

  7. I can't wait to run in to the arms of Jesus... I know He will welcome me with open arms, give me a BIG hug, and tell me how much He loves me. It's all about the relationship, and I desire him so much it takes my breath away. As for the rest of the stuff and people on this earth, they all play a part in my journey to Him. What can I do to ease the pain of this person... put food in that empty belly... I want to help others, but not to the point that they no longer feel the need to FROG... Fully Rely On God.... I have all the necessities (and more) of life, but without the suffering of the constant pain and inability to do the things I want to do, I probably would not find the need to FROG. For those in my world, if you have problems but are not FROGGING nor have a relationship with the Lord, then I will be there with you to help you find that special relationship, and in the course of that, if I am able to ease some of your pain or troubles, WONDERFUL. Sue Larson