Pseudo-Messianic Heresies

test-the-spiritsThe following teachings, agendas, and theosophies are deprecated and expression of any form of these heresies will rightly disqualify a candidate from being able to complete semikhah.  No refunds will be given on account of dismissal from the program for adherence to or teaching of these Hebrew Roots (HR) doctrines.

Armstrongism:  The number of errors bundled together under the moniker of Armstrongism and its 100+ splinters (most bearing a name with some qualifier affixed to the phrase “Church of God”) is almost innumerable!  The “Sacred Name” movement (insistence on grammatically-flawed distortions of the names of YHWH and Yeshua) which inundates HR is perhaps the most pervasive, but soul sleep, annihilationism, and Anglo-Israelism (see “Ephraimite Error” below) are just as threatening to a Biblical understanding of Hashem.  The founder being proven a false prophet should be enough to discredit this body of teachings. [1]

Bi-Lateral Ecclesiology (BLE, aka Two-Path):  The BLE teaching is a sort of “Messianic Dispensationalism” which constitutes a compromise position in order to gain support from the mainstream church.  This teaching asserts that Torah is only incumbent upon ethnic Jews, and that Gentiles are exempt from the Torah which defines Hashem’s covenant (the Marcionite heresy revived).  This doctrine is dangerous to those Gentiles who buy into it, as it places them, along with those teaching the error, squarely into the “least of these” classification of Matityahu (Matthew) 5:19. This teaching finds advocacy beneath the broad Messianic umbrella in Firstfruits of Zion (post-2009), the MJAA, the UMJC, etc. and finds opposition in the CTOMC, Torah Resource Institute, and Messianic 4 All. [2]

Ephraimite Error (aka Two-House, Two-Covenant):  A specific and prevalent class of “replacement ethnology” which confuses the issue of “Who is Israel” by claiming that all who come to faith are ethnic Israel – some knowingly so, and other unknowingly so.  It feeds from the “Ten Lost Tribes” fallacy, assigning those who seem to be Gentile believers to “lost tribes” of Israel (often the two half-tribes of Benyamin: Ephraim and Manasseh).  This might also be termed “Bi-cameral Ecclesiology.”  This is primarily espoused by Armstrongism, Jehovah’s Witnessism, and the Seventh Day Adventist cult, though some spin-offs from the now-defunct The Way International cult also embrace this teaching.  The IMJA, MJAA, & UMJC have jointly published an excellent position paper against this teaching. [3]

Kabbalah (Chasidic Mysticism):  Kabbalah is the mysticism cult which developed out of the ancient gnostic cult of Merkabah that was prevalent in Colossae and challenged by Sha’ul in his epistle to that congregation.[4]  It likely represents Babylonian pollution which infected the Qehillah of Israel while in captivity.  This errant body of teachings includes reincarnation (transmigration of the soul), hyper-gematria, and gnostic hyper-allegorism. Some Kabbalistic practices are benign, but others tend toward gnosticism. Approach with caution.[5]

Karaitism (Barley Watchers):  Karaite teachers (such as Michael Rood and Nehemiah Gordon) teach against the authority of the “seat of Moshe” upheld by Yeshua (Matityahu 23:1-2) by promoting “anti-Rabbinic” attitudes resulting in wholesale rejection of the Talmud and Mishna.  They argue that the “Pharisaic calendar” is flawed and 3500 years of Jewish tradition must be discarded, that a month cannot start without the spotting of the new moon sliver (thus if it is cloudy for a week, the new month is delayed until the clouds disperse enough for the moon to be seen), and some in this camp also promote “floating Sabbath,” which violates the “six days shall you labor and on the seventh you shall rest” command of Torah (Sh’mot 20:9; 34:21; D’varim 5:13-14).  [6]

Replacement Ethnology:  This category includes any and all attempts to subvert true Israel and replace her with some other ethnic group, including but not limited to British Israel cult (Anglo-Israelism), Black Hebrew Israel cult, Latter Day Saints, and the various “Two-House” teachings.  This teaching has its roots in Kabbalah and capitalizes on the “Ten Lost Tribes” myth. [7]

Replacement Theology (Supersessionism):  Supersessionism is a blatantly anti-Semitic hate doctrine.  This Catholic-Reformationist doctrine holds that (1) when Hashem chose Israel, He messed up; (2) it took Him a long time to figure out that He had messed up; (3) once He finally figured out His mistake, He broke His irrevocable and everlasting covenant with Israel in order to transfer all the promises therein to His replacement chosen people — the Gentile church, condemning all Israel to hell.  This doctrine also, as a necessity to its position, discard the entire Tanakh, including the Torah, declaring it “obsolete, done away with, nailed to the Cross.”  [8]

Separation Theology (Dispensationalism):  This teaching holds that there are two separate people of G-d in the Kingdom — Jews and Gentiles — each with a different economy of salvation.  BLE is the most common form of this error, but there are some under the Messianic umbrella who hold to a more “classical dispy” version.  [9]

“And have no commerce with the works of darkness which are unfruitful, but reject them.  For the things they do in secret, it is sickening even to mention.  For all things are exposed and made manifest by the light: and all things that are revealed, are light.”

Ephesians 5:11-13 AENT

“And this testimony is true.  Therefore rebuke them sharply that they may be sound in the faith.”

Titus v. 13 AENT

____________________

  1. “Herbert W. Armstrong’s 209 False Prophecies,” The Painful Truth (1998), online: http://hwarmstrong.com/prophet-1.htm.
  2. For discussion of this phenomenon, see James M. Pyles, “Zetterholm, Ancient Antioch, and the Problem of the Gentile” at the My Morning Meditations blog (6 May 2014).
  3. Kay Silberling, “The Ephraimite Error” (Philadelphia, Penn.: IMJA, 2000).  Online: http://www.mjaa.org/site/DocServer/EphraimiteError.pdf; a short summary version is also available.
  4. Frederick Fyvie Bruce, “Colossian Problems Part 3: The Colossian Heresy,” Bibliotheca Sacra 141 (Jan. 1984): 195-208; online: https://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/ted_hildebrandt/ntesources/ntarticles/bsac-nt/bruce-colossianheresy-pt3-bs.htm.
  5. Jewish Gnosticism lectures (Hebrew University, 1994).
  6. “The Karaite Deception,” The Jerusalem Council (n.p., n.d.), online: http://jerusalemcouncil.org/articles/apologetics/karaite-deception/; see also Brad H. Young, Jesus the Jewish Theologian (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1995); “Yeshua and the Pharisees,” Bridges for Peace (2008), online: http://www.bridgesforpeace.com/il/teaching-letter/article/yeshua-and-the-pharisees.
  7. Cecil Roth, Life of Menasseh Ben Israel (Jewish Publication Society of America, 1945); The Inner Government of England (vol. 1), 275.
  8. See Barry E. Horner, Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must be Challenged (Nashville, Tenn.: B&H Academic, 2007); Zola Levitt, Broken Branches: Has the Church Replaced Israel? (Dallas, Tx.: Zola Levitt Ministries, 1995); and/or Michael J. Vlach, Has the Church Replaced Israel? A Theological Evaluation (Nashville, Tenn.: B&H Academic, 2010).
  9. See Stuart Dauermann, “Inconvenient Truths: Cryptosupersessionism: Dispensationalism’s Sad Legacy,” The Messianic Agenda (19 May 2011); online: http://www.messianicjudaism.me/

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