Red Flags to Watch for in BELIEVERS in the Messianic and Natsari Movement
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr
In the Messianic and or Natsari Movement no one truly agrees with another person 100%, although there should be cardinal absolutes we all can agree on such as the virgin birth, death, burial, resurrection and divinity of Messiah as well as the inerrancy of the Scripture. But one day when Messiah returns we will all agree and see eye to eye (Isa. 52:8).
Until that time the cardinal absolutes and John 17 should stabilize and unify us.
Ultimately we should all do our best to walk in the footsteps of Yeshua our Messiah by walking and following in the Torah.
In the past two articles I gave guidelines on, or “red flags” to look for and how to spot cults and cult leaders within the Messianic and Natsari Movement. Now I wish to give you some red flags to look for in believers within the movement. As Romans 16:17-18 says:
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Yeshua Messiah, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”
And Proverbs 6:19b says that God hates, he that sows discord among brethren.
What will characterize such “red flag believers” are such things as extremism, judgementalism, rebellion, anger, and negativity. The following again is not an absolute or exhaustive list on things to watch for and disassociate yourself from in others who claim to be believers in the Messianic and or Natsari movement. Again, given in no particular order.
1. If they disagree with the cardinal absolutes of the virgin birth, death, burial, resurrection and divinity of Messiah as well as the inerrancy of the Scripture.
2. Refusal to open mindedly and objectively evaluate their own beliefs.
3. Refusal to open mindedly and objectively look at information that may challenge their own beliefs.
4. Majoring on the minors and minoring on the majors (Matt. 23:24). For example asking asinine questions like: “Why do you or do you not wear a kippah or Star of David?” Or, why do you say Yeshua instead of Yahshuah, or HaShem instead of Yahweh?” etc.
5. Cannot agree to disagree agreeably in love.
6. Refuse to fellowship with other Messianic or Natsari groups outside their own or who believe slightly differently than they do.
7. Openly criticizes other believers or ministries by name instead of simply disagreeing with them or instead of exposing falsehoods they may teach or proclaim.
8. Focusing on or wanting to study Rabbinical, Kabbalistic or other religious literature more than the Tanak (Old Testament) or Brit Chadasha (New Testament).
9. Focuses more on Jewish/Hebraic custom and traditions more so than Torah.
10. Accusing other ministries and believers of being “Too Christian” or “Too Jewish.”
11. Promotes their sect or ministry or leaders thereof more so than Faith, Torah and Yeshua.
12. Focuses more on division than unity (Prov. 6:16, 19).
13. If they resemble their sect or leader more than Yeshua Himself.
14. Easily and often offended (Ps. 119:165).
15. Extremely angry, negative and critical of Christianity from which they likely came.
16. Looks to purposely oppose or stand out from and are overly critical of the majority in order to simply justify their own rebellious attitude and ways.
17. If they attempt to integrate Islam or another religion into the Faith.
18. If they believe circumcision or any other adherence to Jewish tradition is essential for salvation.
19. If they confuse culture, custom and tradition with Torah commandments.
20. If they are involved with “red flag” ministries, congregations or leaders within the Messianic and or Natsari movement.
21. If they tend to be a lone or rogue believer and associates with virtually no one and has a “Me and God, Us and Them” mentality.
22. If they make conspiracy theories and eschatology more of a focus of their faith than Torah and Messiah.
23. If they believe that they alone and no one else has the correct interpretation of any given passage of Scripture.
24. Has a bad habit and or history of “congregation hopping,” in other words does not stay settled within a congregation or ministry for very long.
25. Demands and or are over eager to take on a leadership role or position.
26. If they feel they are not being moved to the front of the class fast enough by a leader.
27. Treats other believers (especially Gentiles) as inferior and or second class citizens.
28. Believes they are right and everyone else is wrong and that they are somehow better than other believers. In other words, prideful.
29. If they bear the opposite of the Fruit of the Spirit.
30. If they have a martyr complex or play the victim and blame everyone else for their troubles but themselves.
Such believers we should love and pray for, yet not associate or fellowship with lest their ways rub off on us, as the Proverbs warns us. And we should not try and change such a believer unless the Holy Spirit clearly makes them open to listen to reason and be lovely corrected and urges us to reach out to them. Otherwise…
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. – Matt. 7:6
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. – Prov. 26:4-5
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr