Statement Of Faith

Statement of Faith

The broadness of this subject, its vast historical documentation and the lack of patience in modern man forces us to limit this subject to a few pages. Yet the scope of this paper is to provide a brief perspective of its origin, its historical significance, its revisions, as well as the identification of modern day plagiarism and misuse of it in the contemporary Messianic and Christian movements. At the outset it is extremely important to state that no Jewish bodies of different segments or variations have anything to do with a "Statement of Faith" from the past or to contemporary Christendom. From the days of Moses to this day no Jewish group has ever embraced a "Statement of Faith".

Background

Beginning with the days of Adam and Eve (Adams lives 930 years and his son Seth 912 years) continuing to the days of Noah, we have 1,136 years with no "Statement of Faith". Time moves on from Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, the Judges, to the Kings of Israel. Solomon builds the Temple, rules Israel 40 years and upon his death opens the division of the Kingdom with two capitals. The time in Babylonian captivity returning after 70 years with Ezra and Nehemiah rebuilding the Temple, we have another 2,000 + years and again without a "Statement of Faith". Messiah is born, begins his ministry and walks in the streets of Jerusalem, teaching in the Temple, feeding the hungry multitudes and instructing his Apostles and again no "Statement of Faith"; if such a Statement was so important why didn't the Messiah mention it?

After telling his disciples to return to Jerusalem and wait for the Spirit to come with power and fill them with Dinamus (explosive power), those fearful individuals were transformed into "my witnesses" in Jerusalem, Sumaria and to the ends of the planet earth. Here is another 30+ years and without a Statement of Faith in place.

During his time in Jerusalem, the book of Mark (12:28-34) speaks of an encounter between the Messiah and a Torah teacher engaging in a conversation about God. The Messiah quoted a passage from Deut. 6:4-5 known as the Shema. On this occasion he affirms that God is One; the Torah teacher compliments him and they were in mutual agreement. When the Messiah mentioned the text that says God is One, if he was of the opinion that God is manifest in 3 persons, why didn't he explain it then? Or when he was complimented that God was One, why didn't he clarify it if he was "3 in 1"? In our view, Messiah was constrained by the Torah, he quoted only what it said and added nothing more. Later, the early believers were scattered by persecution however, empowered by the Ruach HaKodesh they went throughout the earth propagating the message of reconciliation of man with God and God with man. They covered the new world of those days and on one occasion they were complimented by the aged Apostle John "it gives me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in truth" (3rd John:3). At this time John is old and near to making the journey to the other side of life; so he adds: "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." (3rd John: 4). We must stop here and ask how could 'they be walking in the truth" with no Statement of Faith to follow? Think about this for a moment, could it be that the words of the Messiah were real and could be trusted? Once he told his disciples "I have much more to say to you, more than you can bear", and he goes on to say, "When the Spirit of truth comes he will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13). Yet his word was that the Spirit was going to guide them, not a Statement of Faith made up by any Tom, Dick or Harry. The Messiah said it is the Spirit that will guide the people to all truth.

But the giant clock of time keeps on ticking and these followers of the first century rest in peace. New disciples, new leaders, a new century appears… and all have come and also disappeared as a flower in the night; another 200 years are gone. As new leaders arise, Shaul's fear becomes a reality. Acts 20:29-31 "I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you, and they won't spare the flock. Even from your own number, men will arise and teach perversions of the truth, in order to drag away the talmadim after themselves. So stay alert! Remember that for three years, night and day; with tears in my eyes, I never stopped warning you!" And as Shaul feared this was to be a very big problem.

In our view this prophesized distortion of the truth started on the 4th of July in the year 325 C.E. It took place at the city of Nicea under the auspices and direction of the Emperor Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus, also known as Constantine the 1st. But for the Christians at that time he was known as Saint Constantine. On this day a meeting began that lasted for just over 2 months, historically known as The Nicean Council. There were other "councils" after this meeting, but this was the 1st Council of Christendom. And in our view the most significant, because its resolutions were established, approved by 318 bishops and signed by the Emperor Constantine 1st; what they decided became most of the dogmas and beliefs of Christianity lasting even until today. Later on, the theological conclusions that those participants arrived at were condensed into what became known as the "Nicean Creed".

It was also here, that the doctrine of The Holy Trinity was birthed. Imagine all the commotion of the bishops traveling from all parts of the Roman Empire arriving at the city of Nicea, and not having Holiday Inn, Budget Inn, Stay America, Howard Johnson, Drury Inn, and Ramada Inn etc. etc. to get a room. They had to put up with a lot of inconveniences to participate in this auspicious 1st council of humanity, and all for what or because of what? Because of one person (Arius), who refused to bow down to human control and the domination of self appointed religious leaders. So now let us consider how the one God became manifest in 3 persons.

Arius

At this precise time in history we have the contribution of: "Oh, Yeh-You-Got-A-LAWYER" came into the picture. His name was Quintus Septimus Floriens Tertullianus, from Carthage, North Africa (modern day Tunisia). He was an individual who didn't grow up in the faith; he came to it later on in life at the age of 36 years. To him is attributed the coining of the word "Trinity". So being an attorney for Christendom's use, he became very popular very quickly. His name was shortened for more friendly usage, and he became known as Tertullian. The Church leadership also gave him the title for a new profession: "theologian"; in this way, his opinions whether ethical, legal, or biblical were accepted without question.

Also around this time, the populace in the city of Nicea, was full of adulation for the priests and bishops who were joyfully flowing in from every corner of the Empire. You may say it was almost like an old time revival. Yet in the city of Alexandria, Egypt there was one priest (Arius) who had the guts to completely reject the new word created by the now lawyer-theologian whose word "Trinity", had gone to Rome and came back to him translated into Latin as "Sacate Trinitate-Holy Trinity". Arius was also a musician who made up songs mocking the word Trinity and also mocking his own bishop for embracing its use. This new doctrine was analyzed, structured and embraced by all the religious leaders of the people becoming part of "Nicean Creed", which some churches repeat in their services even today becoming the foundation for the modern day prevalent Statement of Faith.

Plagiarism

From the year 325 C.E. to the year 1516 C.E. the Nicean Creed suffered no revisions or modifications. But in the year 1517 C.E. Martin Luther , a priest at the church in the city of Wittenberg, Germany posted on the door of his church his famous 95 theses. This act of protestation gave birth to what became known as the Protestant Reformation. Since he was protesting against the Catholic Church and heading the church split he didn't wish to embrace the Nicean Creed verbatim, so he had to modify it as well as some of the doctrines just enough to be able to tell his followers that he had the correct understanding. So in the doctrine of the Trinity he chose to change one word, instead of Trinity he used "Triune God". That is why in most Protestant churches they don't use the word Trinity; they use the word "Triune" instead. Unfortunately this formula has been adopted by some of our Messianic brethren following the example of Martin Luther by plagiarizing the 1st Council of Christendom just as he had done. For example, today (1/28/14) as this paper is being written I visited the websites of two different Messianic congregations in Colorado, printing both of their "Statement s of Faith". In the first, we read: "we believe God is Echad (one) as declared in the Shema (Deut. 6:4). A Compound Unity manifested in three persons as expressed in Isa. 48:16-17". In the second website, under the heading "The Unity of God" we read "We believe that there is one God, YHWH revealed in 3 persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. (Deut. 6:4, Gen. 18, Isa. 48:16, 1st John 1:2, 14, 18, John 10:30, John 14:16-17, 26 and John 16:7-15)". So let's consider what is contained in both of these Statements of Faith. The first one tells us that God is a "Compound Unity" manifested in three persons. There are no passages in scripture that affirms this statement. This affirmation is nothing more than a copy of Luther's plagiaristic example. Luther choose to reject the word Trinity and instead to use the word Triune. They have chosen to reject both words, opting for their creation of a new term "Compound Unity', with no definition of this term being offered. Yet we are familiar with the term "joint compound" that is something sold at Home Depot and used to do taping on sheet rock, but we fail to see the connection. Here again hermeneutic liberties are being taken. For sure the passage of Deut 6:4 clearly states that God is One, but none of the other passages offered affirm that this One is revealed in 3 persons. In both examples all that we have been offered is another effort to plagiarize the Nicean Creed.

Misuse of Statements of Faith

As covered here from day one of Adam's existence to the 4th of July 325 C.E. (a time span of over 4300 years) every person who believed, served, followed, obeyed, revered the God of Israel and so on didn't have ANY "Statement of Faith". They knew YHWH; they followed him, trusted in Him and all without a "Statement of Faith". How can that be possible? Also, nowhere in the Scriptures we are instructed to embrace the Nicean Creed much less plagiarize it, so as to make it look like it is originally ours. Because the historical background of the first Statement of Faith was to produce unity among the populace , in religious congregations today the Statement of Faith is misused as means for controlling people, rejecting people and oppressing brethren for whom Messiah died to set them free. We have in our possession emails, from Messianic brethren requesting us to produce our Statement of Faith. With the indication that it is a very important issue to them, so they can make a determination among themselves if they want to have friendship or fellowship with us.

For example, 2 John verse 10. States 'If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him.' People have used this passage as a means to justify truths they have predetermined in their minds; yet "this teaching" mentioned is covered by the pre-texts and post-texts. This passage has been misused as applicable to their plagiarized Statements of Faith. There are no passages in the entire Bible that affirm that we need to have a Statement of Faith nor that God is manifest in 3 persons… period, no matter how well plagiarized it is.

Aliyah Congregation Statement of Faith

Aliyah Congregation is a different and quite inclusive community. We practice Tanakhee Judaism; we receive with open arms any person who wishes to follow the God of Israel. This coming May, Aliyah will begin its10th year of existence. Aliyah passes no plates to make collection of monies, and no one is paid for their duties and services. Up to this date we have had no Statement of Faith. In our understanding of the Holy writings there is only one requirement that can be imposed on a person to make a determination if that person can or can't be part of the Congregation. Once a person is received in the fellowship (by our understanding of the Scriptures) there are six kinds of behavior (not beliefs) by which a person should be put out of the congregation. But notice that we stated behavior, not beliefs. In our view the instructions of the Torah and the New Testament are all for regulating behavior. Beliefs vary from person to person, and those beliefs relate to where a person is in his or her relationship with the Lord in their walk. So beliefs are a very subjective matter and very personal as we grow, our beliefs are subject to change. We can look at the different stages of our past life and we can see how many times our beliefs have been modified or changed.

As mentioned earlier, traditional Judaism has never had a Statement of Faith to this day. During Maimonides time he created what is known today as the "13 Guiding Principals " which are generally embraced by all different segments of Judaism. Yet we are not part of any of those groups referenced above, because we practice Tanakhee Judaism and we would like to keep our mind and hearts open to build friendship and fellowship with ALL of the people of God. In general we have been successful in building friendship with brethren from different groups. As mentioned before, we only have one governing rule, to receive a person, yet our rule is not originally taught or created by us, we must give credit to whom credit is due. And that goes to the Apostle Shaul (Paul). He stated in Romans 15:7 "Welcome one another therefore as Messiah has welcomed you"… (Literal Greek). If Messiah receives a person and welcomes him or her, who are we to reject or pass judgment on that person's beliefs. For almost 10 years this has been our policy and we have been very pleased with it.

In the hope to create a bridge for understanding, fellowship and friendship after much consideration and with no intention on our part to be just another group that plagiarizes the Nicean Creed we have resolved to create our own "Statement of Faith". Which we consider to be our 7 Pillars of Faith. Each one of them is to be totally and absolutely accepted without any question.

So…Hear Ye, Hear Ye, The Statement of Faith for Aliyah Congregation and in particular taught at the Yeshiva Torah Institute for future Rabbis of Tanakhee Judaism:

STRAIGHT FORWARD STATEMENT OF FAITH

Original

(MEANING NOT PLAGIAIRIZED)

1 – We believe every Letter

2 – We believe every Word

3 – We believe every Sentence

4 – We believe every Verse

5 – We believe every Chapter

6 – We believe every Book

7 – Of the entire Bible

Suggestions

We have some suggestions for those who wish to plagiarize OUR Statement of Faith; you may say that your Statement of Faith is the "Bible", or if you want to delve into deeper thought processes, you may say that your Statement of Faith is the "Old and New Testament" or you may say your Statement of Faith is "The Holy Writings" or the "Holy Scripture" and so on…we trust these suggestions will prove helpful to those struggling to write their own Statement of Faith! We welcome the opportunity to discuss the matter with you.

Final Note

Dear Brother or Sister, thank you for taking the time to read this article (and hopefully enjoying the touch of humor added to this serious subject), about the historical background for the origin of the 1st man-made "Statement of Faith". In all of this, may you follow whole heartedly the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all the days of your life…may you love Him above anything else…and may you love the people that he brings in your life, which honor Him and His Word.

Shalom to you,

Rabbi Oswald Garagorry, D.Phil

Look for The Five Doctrines of Aliyah Congregation Next Month…Sure to Bless!

The following references are presented for those of you who wish to pursue the study of this subject in greater depth:

References

Shalom to you.