This blog series originally started out as a letter to my family and friends, to answer questions and alleviate concerns, which they had in dealing with the MAJOR changes that had occurred in my life, my faith, practices and religious affiliation. As I wrote, it evolved into more of a book than a letter. I had the desire, and saw the need to inform Jew and Gentile alike of the true origins of The Faith of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah, and His followers of then and today. It is my hope that the reader will be educated, edified, and challenged by this work, to think, and not simply take my word for it. To be inspired to do more research and confirmation of what is within these pages, and to make it personal and concrete within one’s own heart and mind.
Since this was originally meant for my family and friends, this is not an in depth expository manifesto, but simply information, explanation, and testimony concerning the Faith and Practice of one Nazarene Jew of the 21st century, and how he came to these conclusions, put on a laymen’s level. I hope that it will inspire some to dig deeper and pursue meatier works dealing with subjects contained in this book.
There is no work, including this one, in which one can make an airtight case concerning religious belief, practice and or affiliation. Because the bottom line is, people will believe what they want despite the facts and or the Truth. There will always be reasons, arguments and bias that cause people to believe the way they do.
One is either open to receive, which means they are secure enough in their own beliefs to explore something new, without fear of their own belief system being challenged or toppled, and are therefore inclined to ask honest intelligent questions; or, one is open to the only other option which is to be close-minded; because they are insecure in their belief system and are afraid of it being challenged and or toppled, and are therefore prone to argue and rebut with pat, coached and rehearsed answers.
The Ancient Jewish writer, Saadya, in his work, Beliefs and Dogmas, said:
“The seventh source of spiritual and moral ignorance is consistency. When you hear a view or an argument that is inconsistent with your existing beliefs, you ridicule it and treat it with contempt. You only accept views and arguments that strengthen your beliefs. You say that your beliefs are held by many friends and neighbors, and that this proves their worth. But the truth is not determined by popularity. And, besides, it is surely unlikely that your existing beliefs are flawless. If you sincerely wish to know the truth, you must be open to views that are inconsistent with your own, and grapple with the contradictions.”
Many People when they learn of my beliefs and my way of obeying and serving The God of Israel and His Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) through the Scriptures, act as if I’m ignorant of what they consider elementary and basic things of faith and practice. But I was raised in Protestant Christianity (Free Will Baptist Church) from an infant, saved at 6, rededicated my life at 13 and earned a B.A. in Bible and Missions at Welch (Free Will Baptist Bible) College and have been in active ministry for over 30 years. I was trained under three separate Messianic and Nazarene Rabbis and so I am very well versed in Christianity and Judaism and know well the arguments for and against various doctrines of both. I have chosen the Scriptures in a linguistic, cultural and historical context as my final authority on Faith and Practice regardless if it goes for or against doctrine and practice in Protestant and or Messianic Camps.
Some will both read this work and research it for THEMSELVES, or they will fall on pat answers and run to a religious authority figure that they believe knows more than they do and will give them the answers that will soothe their convicted mind, and calm their doctrinal fears.
I encourage you to be a Bereans (Acts ) and research for YOURSELF what is laid out in this book, and decide for YOURSELF what you will do with it.
I urge you as God once instructed me, to, “Get Back to the First Century.” The success of our future lies in understanding and living out the Truth of the past, the beginnings of the Faith, in a modern way, in a modern world.
Kris Shoemaker – Yehudah ben Shomeyr