Listener Iyke BenGurion asked me to censor music that contains circumlocutions of God’s name (e.g. HaShem, the LORD, Adonai, etc.) , instead suggesting I should play only the music that uses God’s proper Hebrew name, יהוה.
Say “Lord”, and you commit a great sin.
“HaShem, open my lips” and I’m an evil religionist in spiritual bondage.
Nevermind that the Scriptures actually do use titles and circumlocutions for God’s name; to our friend Iyke, saying “Adonai” during worship is preventing people from entering God’s presence.
Silly? You bet.
That’s not the half of it: a week after Iyke’s religious masturbation, 2 Messianic Jewish listeners asked me to do the inverse: to censor music that uses God’s proper name in worship.
One Messianic listener, who happens to be a rabbi of a leading Messianic Jewish organization, asked me:
I just wanted to let you know how much I have appreciated Chavah Messianic Radio…Although I do have one concern…Because no one knows for sure what the name is, and because it is such a big area of contention in the Messianic community...my recommendation would be to remove any songs that use any version of what someone considers to be the personal sacred name of God.
This Messianic Jewish rabbi is asking me to censor people who are worshiping God. Why? Because during worship, they use God’s proper name.
Say “Yah”, and you’re committing a great offense.
“Bless Yahweh”, and you’ve might as well spit on the altar.
Nevermind that the Scriptures actually do use God’s proper name in worship (e.g. halleluyah): if you use “Yah” in worshiping God, you’re creating an offense and stumbling block.
Let me just step back and say,
Have you lost your collective minds? ARE YOU RELIGIOUS PEOPLE REALLY THAT OBTUSE?
What’s more important, offending personal convictions or worshiping God?
I once had a visitor to my Hebrew Roots congregation leave the service as I was worshiping God with music. His reason? I used the term “Lord” in one of the songs.
It leaves me speechless that religious people can be so stupid and petty. They mean well, and the Messianic Jewish rabbi was particularly eloquent in his position. But – step back: we’re arguing about whether or not to utter a name, and suggesting we censor people who disagree about it.
Messianic Jewish and Hebrew Roots folks: THIS IS RELIGIOUS STUPIDITY.
It’s no more enlightened than Christians arguing whether communion oyster crackers are really Christ’s body or just representative. Or creationists arguing about whether God sang the universe into existence, or just in vocalized tones.
Yes, these are real ridiculous religious positions that God’s people waste their breath on.
I realize you think it’s important. It’s your personal conviction you’ve arrived at after many years of study and serving the Lord. For Messianic Judaism folks, you want to fit in with the greater Jewish world and respect God’s name. For Hebrew Roots folks, you find beauty and meaning in using God’s name in worship.
But step back and realize the microscopic issue that it is. Censoring people that use – or don’t use – the name is controlling, religiously abusive, and borderline cultish. (Take heed, FFOZ blogs.)
And besides, both sides are wrong. Judaism once used God’s name everywhere, and it shows up in the Scriptures (e.g. halleluyah) and in the names of the ancients (e.g. Jeremiah = Yirmiyahu, Isaiah = Yesha'yahu). And the people have been using titles and circumlocutions for God over ages past, calling him King, Lord, Elohim, blessing his name.
Messianic Judaism likes to think it has the upper hand in this issue. It laughs at the lack of scholarship in Sacred Name theology, mocking crazy made up names like Yahushuahu.
But Messianic Judaism itself makes up names for God, too.
Elokeinu? Adoshem? How about Amonai?
C’mon guys, those aren’t real Hebrew words. You’re making stuff up, just like the other guys. You want to think it’s different, but it’s not. Linguistically, your made-up circumlocutions and the made-up sacred names are on equal (non-existent) footing. On top of that, it’s is not universally accepted in Judaism that God’s name cannot be spoke in prayer or worship. I have a Jewish friend who attended Carlebach shul in New York, and he used Yehova in prayer; the shul didn’t bat an eye.
Fine Messianic believers, followers of Yeshua the Messiah and keepers of God’s commandments in the Torah: stop being idiots and fighting over worthless things. If one believer is convicted to use God’s proper name in worship – even a crazy rendition thereof! – let him worship God with all his heart, and not be tripped up by your overly-strong religious convictions. And if you’re a Hebrew Roots guy, like our friend Iyke, who just can’t worship God using titles – stop your craziness! Worship God with all your heart and don’t worry about Lord this and HaShem that.
Relax. Worship God. And move onto important things.