Murder and Looting Run Contrary to Biblical Values (And Other Truisms)

After police killed suspect George Floyd by kneeling on his neck during his arrest, riots broke out across the US and quickly turned violent, with looters smashing windows and stealing from businesses.

This weekend we celebrated Shavuot, the 3,500+ year anniversary of the giving of the 10 Commandments, which instruct us to avoid murder, theft, coveting.

But this weekend saw murder, theft, looting, #riots2020.

On this same Shavuot holiday 2000 years ago, a momentous, civilization-changing event took place: God poured out his spirit on human beings in a tangible miracle manifested at the Temple in Jerusalem in front of thousands of witnesses. The evidence of God's spirit in a person include gentleness, patience, self-control, goodness.

But this weekend saw little fruit of God's spirit, but instead violence, unbridled rage, wickedness, hatred.

The commandments are still needed, still relevant as ever.  

God's spirit is still needed, still as relevant as ever.

And where there is a void of these, there is civilizational chaos.

It's strange to me to have to write a post that says murder and looting are wicked. Isn't it already obvious? Yet I see some Jews and Christians justifying violent riots. "Systemic racism" is the justification. "We must dismantle white patriarchy." 


You don't get to go outside of the law just because you perceive injustice within it. That's not how justice works. As God says in the Bible, pre-empting our cries against injustice, "I will avenge." If God is just, God will ultimately have the final say over injustice. Not you.

There are racist cops, there are bad apples, there are injustices within the judicial system. Their existence does not justify looting, assault, theft, coveting, hatred of races and classes other than your own. That's still wickedness, and it undermines the initial injustice of the death of George Floyd.

Dear reader, start with yourself. Do you have God's commandments in your life? Do you have God's spirit in your life? Is there good fruit proving that?

Ravi Zacharias, Luminous Defender of Faith, Has Passed Away

We lost a great luminary today: Ravi Zacharias, the great apologist and defender of faith and Judeo-Christian values passed away this morning. ♥  
Ravi was a remarkable mind who engaged with university students, professors, leading atheists, philosophers -- the worlds' greatest thinkers -- arguing persuasively for God's existence and God's revelation to humanity through the Messiah.

Here is the announcement and beautiful tribute from Ravi's family:

"Ravi perpetually marveled that God took a seventeen-year-old skeptic, defeated in hopelessness and unbelief, and called him into a life of glorious hope and belief in the truth of Scripture—a message he would carry across the globe for 48 years."
Here's a fantastic recent video of Ravi, where the Orthodox Jewish Ben Shapiro interviews him and they grapple with the Law, the Prophets, redemption, and ultimately, the Messiah.

In the above video, when Ben challenges Ravi, "What does Christianity add that was missing in Judaism", Ravi responds first with a fun note about Jewish and Christian brotherhood:

"I remember [conservative Jewish luminary] Dennis Prager's comment when the two of us we were talking about this, he said, 'When messiah comes, there will be just one question: have you been here before?'"
He then speaks about how the Tenakh has always been filled with God being the redeemer -- appealing to the first of the 10 commandments where God says he brought Israel out of Egypt -- and how this central theme of God redeeming humanity plays out its fullness through the coming of Messiah, Jesus. 

What a great blessing the Lord had sent us in Ravi Zacharias!

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for a donation to the Ravi Zacharias memorial fund. I just donated, and I hope you will too.

Shelanu TV: Controversy Over Jewish Evangelism in Israel

God TV announcing the creation of Shelanu

Kehilat News from Israel reports the launch of Shelanu: a new Hebrew TV channel in Israel run by believers in Yeshua. 

Quick to follow up, some Christian Zionist organizations criticized the move, with one Evangelical leader urging Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to shut down the station, saying, "Any attempts to convert Jews or downgrade their religion will only sow undue hatred at a time when we should unite in the face of darkness."

And, unsurprisingly, the anti-missionary Tovia Singer slams the station, framing Shelanu as sneaking into homes to convert your children. Dr. Michael Brown reviews and responds to Singer below:

It seems to me this is a matter of uncertainty in the pro-Torah wing of the Messianic movement. Unlike Jews for Jesus or Chosen People Ministries, which certainly have no qualms about Jews becoming Christians, Messianic Judaism is more focused on bringing Yeshua into Judaism, rather than Jews into Christianity. 

For example, Messianic Judaism Rabbi Itzhak Shapira argued against Shelanu as well, saying

Shalom Friends, this is a sensitive post, but I have to make our position clear. Recently we all seen the news of the new Messianic Israeli station S'helanu that is trying to launch in Israel as a Messianic station in Hebrew. People asked me to give my feedback in public. I refrained in putting anything in writing. However now many asked me to comment and when I see so many negative comments I had to speak up.... When I saw the original video from God TV talking about bringing Jews to "Jesus-Christ" I was equally sad and horrified as this impact our work in Israel in a middle of things that you can't imagine that are happening that are truly incredible. How arrogant, proud it is of us to release a video like the one that was made to announce the channel. This is not the way to go about it friends.... For the record, I do believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, I have suffered more for this name than almost anybody due to the "Return of the Kosher Pig", and I continue to speak to my people about the real Jewish Messiah. I am not ashamed of that, and I will not hide it, but friends THIS IS NOT THE WAY. Ahavat Ammi as an organization exist for this reconciliation, but if I bring Jews to Christianity I have done nothing. Let us pray for the real unity in the body of Messiah where we develop culture of honor towards each other.

I understand his point -- this will draw some lines in the sand and stir division between some religious Jews and Christian Zionists -- but on the other hand, aren't we called to be emissaries of Messiah? If Yeshua is really the Messiah, shouldn't we make the case, even if it's more Christian and less Torah-observant than we may like?