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Soli Deo Gloria is the writing and teaching ministry of Baruch Maoz in Israel. Baruch is engaged in writing original commentaries on the Bible, and theological and practical works in Hebrew. Some of his books are available in English. His Critique of the Messianic Movement, Come Let Us Reason Together: The Unity of Jews and Gentiles in the Church, has been published by P&R, and his Devotional Commentary, Malachi: A Prophet in Times of Distress by Founders Press. Both are available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon while Shepherd Press produced his Devotional Commentary Jonah: A Prophet on the Run.

Baruch has written  a series of commentaries in Hebrew on Hosea, Joel, Amos, Micah, Jonah, Nahum and Malachi, Matthew, Romans and Colossians. He has written an Introdution to the Life and Epistles of Paul, an Introduction to Systematic Theology, and edited a modern translation of the Old Testament into spoken Hebrew. He is presently translating the New Testament into Modern Hebrew and engaged in other writing projects. In the pipeline are books on church life and structure, How to Preach and Listen to Sermons, and Daily Christian disciplines. To date, Baruch is the only author writing Christian literature n Hebrew.

Baruch and Bracha are Israeli Jewish Christians who have served in Israel for 5 decades now. Between April 1974 and December 2006 Baruch served with Christian Witness to Israel, most of that time as Israel Field Leader. Betwen May 1975 and December 2008 he served as Pastor of Grace and Truth Christian Congregation in Rishon LeTsion, Israel. Our website reflects the experiences gained in the course of that time.

Our monthly newsletter, MaozNews, is available for the asking, with back-issues to be found on this website (Baruch's Writings/News From Israel). To subscribe, click address at bottom of this page. His faceBook and Linkedin pages serve as blogs and provide almost daily information on the scene in Israel. His postings are also avaialble via Twitter @BaruchMaoz


Following is a link to Baruch's summary to Paul's letter to the Romans (audio, 40 minutes)


Baruch's Musings

Grace and Truth Christian Congregation – An Overview of Its’ History
May 1976 – December 2006Our joy and calling is to give God glory. Grace and Truth Christian Congregation, founded in May 1976, will soon be celebrating its 40th anniversary. This is an occasion for reflection, gratitude and praise to God, as well as an opportunity to thank the many who played large roles in the life of the church. I have had the privilege of seeing many of the events unfold and can affirm without hesitation that Grace and Truth Christian Congregation today is the product of God’s grace and truth to his people, kindly prodding by Christian brethren and stiff-necked stubbornness on the part of those involved.

First Steps
The idea was first broached by a friend and mentor Pastor Walter Chantry, who suggested that a Reformed and Baptist church be established in Israel. It was enthusiastically supported by then-Director of what is now Christian Witness to Israel (CWI), the Rev. Murdo MacLeod. Upon hearing of the suggestion, Rev. MacLeod happily concurred. He further conceded that the Society would stand by the church – literally: it would make its resources available, but under no circumstances control the church. Such were the principles CWI then embraced. For over three decades, from 1976 until my retirement from CWI in 2006, the Society adhered to those gracious, extremely generous and thoroughly biblical undertakings.
It is worth mentioning that Rev. MacLeod was a firm, heartily-convinced Presbyterian, as were and are many of those who later enlisted alongside Grace and Truth. But their ecclesiology was broad enough to embrace those whose understanding of the church differed, and their hearts more given to the glory of God than to the promotion of denominational interests. Their heart was for the Gospel. Over the years, Grace and Truth has been privileged to work with, learn from and be encouraged by Presbyterians, Baptists – Reformed and general – Pentecostals, Charismatics, Plymouth Brethren and many others. The church of Christ is beautiful.Meetings began with my family, in my wife’s living room, soon joined by Eli Ben Moshe, Arthur Goldberg, Dudu Tel Tsur and David Zeidan. It was agreed that confessional discussions would be conducted for as long as it took us to come to a shared understanding. For just over two years, careful study was conducted, in the course of which a Confession of Faith and a Church Constitution were framed while, one of us, much to the other participants’ sorrow, chose to excuse himself from the process. The other participants found themselves drawn ever closer in agreement. By the time the Confession and the Constitution were completed, there were 19 families in the fellowship.Grace and Truth Christian Congregation was formally constituted on May 1976, in a service to which all evangelical congregations in the country were invited. Three months later, three Elders were appointed, among which one was designated Pastor.

What The Church Would Be Like
It was agreed that the church would endeavor to reflect God’s ultimate purpose in Christ – his own glory. As such it was agreed as follows:
• That the church must neither be Jewish nor Gentile. It must be Christian, incorporating Jews and Arabs and members of other nations and that, therefore, within the boundaries of the Gospel, it ought to reflect the cultures of our country and of our region without preference to either Jew or Arab; 
• That the life and faith of the church would be based on a shared understanding of the word of God, expressed in a Confession of Faith and a Constitution; Those two instruments were in tandem with the consensus of historic Reformed Confessions.
• That it must be inclusive of all who love the Lord in spirit and in truth while true to its understanding of God’s word; 
• That its’ worship should be God-oriented, biblically instructed, sober, warm-hearted and sincere;
• That it should be Christ-centered, noted for its’ doctrinally informed worship, conduct, fellowship and expositional preaching, all geared to cultivate holiness in the fear of God; 
• That it should reach out supportively and respectfully to other evangelical congregations regardless of disagreement, seeking to be doctrinal but not doctrinaire, and 
• That it should be frankly and extensively engaged in Gospel witness to our societies.It was further agreed that membership transfers from other congregations would not be encouraged, nor would they be accepted unless the transferees came with the blessing of their previous congregations. Congregational oversight would be transparent, subject to congregational supervision and approval. All congregants would be encouraged to play an active role in the life of the church, with a few additional privileges accorded members. The officers of the church would be Elders, led by a Pastor, Deacons and Evangelists. Preaching would be a theologically informed, culturally sensitive and biblically focused expository undertaking. Church discipline would be loving, fair, firm and gracious, ever with the goal of restoring erring brethren.High standards were set due to the conviction that God deserves our sacrificial best, and far more than our best.

Growth and Challenges
Attempts at harassment by enemies of the Gospel came to naught when it became clear that the congregation refused to be intimidated, and that every such attempt only provided opportunity for further witness.When the congregation became too large to meet in a home, a one-room store-front was used, with the toilet alternating between its original purpose and a Sabbath School classroom. Failed efforts by the Orthodox to have the congregation evicted resulted in the first of a string of legal precedents the congregation premeditatedly sought to establish, in order to blaze a path for other congregations in the country. The ruling in our favor was a tremendous encouragement, after we continued to pay rent for a property we were unable to use for the duration of two years, while we fought the legal battle.A painful schism occurred in the mid-1980’s, when membership of the church dropped from about 70 to 7, but God in his kindness sustained us and, after a healing period, we began to grow again. When the store-front, in turn, proved too small, a house was rented. Foolishly, we had not ensured that zoning restrictions permitted use of the house for worship. Following another period of harassment, the congregation chose to leave rather than threaten the income of the widow who had rented us the building and was experiencing pressure from the Orthodox community.Until a suitable location was found, we met each week in different locations and, when the weather permitted, in parks and public spaces. After some two years, CWI generously purchased a property that met more than its’ own needs dictated, and hosted the church for well over a decade, never requesting payment. However, as soon as it could, the church assumed responsibility. It commenced paying an increasing portion of its Pastor’s salary, for electricity, city tax and a large portion of maintenance costs. In addition, tens of thousands of Shekels were given CWI each time a sizeable contribution was received by the church.Immigration from the former Soviet Union faced us with a significant challenge: while committed to what is known as a Reformed Confession of Faith, we were no less committed to loving our brethren and welcoming them into the fellowship of the Gospel. They did not share our theological convictions. We were also used to conducting ourselves in one way, and the Christian immigrants in another. All of us were therefore repeatedly challenged as to the reasons for our convictions and our practices, in the course of which we discovered that some of our set ways could and should be improved upon, that there were better, more biblical practices we should adopt. On the other hand, the immigrant brethren were invited to examine our convictions in the light of God’s word, and an overwhelming majority of them came to embrace the doctrines of God’s sovereign grace.

The Church Facility
A building fund was established, but every time it was thought enough had been collected, the price of land had risen. What finally made the difference was the loving generosity of Christian friends and societies. Robert van Kampen stepped in with a gift of $350,000 which enabled the congregation to purchase land on which the church home now stands. An anonymous gift of $800,000 made the commencement of design and construction possible. A similar gift of a smaller but significant size was repeated by the same anonymous individual. Patmos International, a Finnish Christian organization, contributed hundreds of thousands of Dollars and the Isaac da Costa Fund, established in the Netherlands, commenced its substantial support by having Pastors from the Gereformeerde Gemeenten undertaking a corporate personal loan totaling 200,000 Euros.Alongside these there were private individuals who went to great lengths for the church, such as Jim Jackson, Eckhard Meier and Jerome Lund. Special mention must go to Jennie Potter, who laboriously knitted and sold bookmarks, and sent the returns to the Building Fund. The last I heard she had contributed over 2,000 British Pounds.The building was designed to serve as a landmark. It would be cheap to maintain, multifunctional, attractive, obviously meant to serve religious purposes but neither typically Jewish, Christian nor Muslim. It be characterized by Middle Eastern architectural features such as domes and arches, with a main auditorium in which the pulpit was centrally located and the congregation just about surrounding it, and with acoustic qualities that rendered a sound-system unnecessary: God’s people around God’s word. A swimming pool and classrooms were also included so as to render the building multi-functional.Shortly after construction commenced, a stay-order was issued by the Court. The Orthodox contested the church’s building permit and, much to the delight of the congregation, fought the various Courts’ favorable decisions all the way to the Supreme Court – only to face a precedent-setting decision from Israel’s highest judicial authority.In the course of time the congregation grew so that, at one stage, it numbered 450, a third of whom were children and another third the fruit of God’s blessing on the church’s evangelistic endeavors. Five Elders worked alongside the Pastor: David Zadok, now pastoring the church, Alex Faibishenko, Eitan Kashtan, Vitali Reznitsky and Sasha Seriapov. There were were three Deacons, Ze’ev Bern, Eddie Golder and Felix Volynsky and a supportive Diaconal Committee made up of Sasha Gurin, Vitaly Tsuriak and Andrew Prochaska. Four evangelists were engaged in Gospel work: the previously-named Alex and Eddie, Sophia Levin and Natasha Kuperman; a work among the deaf was conducted, as well as various outreaches to meet pressing social needs. Committees were responsible for visiting the sick, caring for the Elderly, overseeing cultural events, promoting work among our children and youth and the such like. Social endeavors were carefully kept apart from evangelistic endeavors; they were expressions of a sincere social concern for the needy, not a leverage for evangelism. The Finnish and Dutch brethren helped to fund these endeavors generously.

Serving the larger Body of Christ
An extensive Sabbath School program for children, youth and young adults was designed and is still ably run by Eitan and Orit Kashtan. An Elders’ Training course was devised, in which some of those who now serve the church were instructed. The publication of a Russian-language magazine was commenced and Sunday School material produced and distributed to other churches. Further initiatives to promote cooperation between churches let to the founding of what is now the National Fellowship of Congregational Leaders in Israel, and to a pact between most of the congregations in central Israel, according to which the goals, grounds and steps of church discipline were agreed upon and the churches undertook to support as well as to oversee each other’s disciplinary actions. The right of appeal before member churches to the pact was secured. Again, much of what was done us due to the generous support of Patmos International and the Isaac da Costa Fund.We had no one in the country from whom we could learn. We had to frame our own Constitution and our own Confession of Faith. When the first burial service came along, we had to devise of our order of service, and when the first wedding came along, that, too, needed to be formulated. Of course, we did not presume to begin from scratch. Rather, we learned from the best of our Jewish traditions and from those created by the church over the centuries. Each was designed to be a true expression of the Gospel and of our unity with the larger body of Christ, as well as a coherent expression of these to our nation by incorporating those elements from our tradition that are competent to serve to that end.At one stage, overwhelmed by the need of the Russian immigrants who poured into the country in the 1980s, the church put out an appeal for help. The astounding sum of $350,000 arrived in a very short period from all over the world. It was agreed that this was far too much to be held by the congregation and, in consequence, Keren Tkuma, a National Social Aid Fund was set up. By 2009 the Fund had enabled over 100 local Christian families to purchase homes and others to obtain a professional education or set up business.In addition, although the extent was merely symbolic, the congregation took up the support of mission work in Kenya, sent teams to work in Kenya and aspired to send out its own missionaries. A daughter church was established in Holon, now worshipping in south Tel Aviv, and various national endeavors were undertaken on behalf of the church in Israel as a whole. When proposed legislation threatened to restrict freedom to preach the Gospel, the church initiated and actively contributed to the creation of a cooperative national body that successfully stymied the legislative effort.*Grace and Truth Christian Congregation has far exceeded its founders’ expectations. If it were not for the grace of God and for the many who instructed, encouraged, prayed, gave, criticized and advised nothing of what has been described would have become reality. If it not for the grace of God and for the many who will continue to instruct, encourage, pray, give, criticize and advise, nothing more will be achieved. There is more work to do – much more! Having put our hands to the plough, we must not look back. We must press for the mark of our high calling in Christ Jesus, reaching out for the prize of God’s honor. Thanks are due to all who have made this possible, and – above all – praise to God.As one who was privileged to witness God’s grace and truth to the congregation, I offer to him my praise and thanks. Thanks are due also to those who served to those ends as instruments in his hands.Baruch Maoz Our great God and Savior, Redeemer of sinners and Sanctifier of the unclean, who delights to bless the unworthy, you who have chosen to glorify your name by the grace you have shown this congregation, we bless, laud and worship you, joining our feeble voices with the thunderous praise of the angels and of all you have made. Heaven, earth and hell bespeak your glory.You have done on our behalf more than we could have ever imagined. You have blessed beyond our dreams. Be pleased to continue your blessing on this congregation and this facility. Make your presence known here. Save and sanctify the lost, hasten the day of Israel’s redemption and be ever exalted through the members of Grace and Truth Christian Congregation.This we ask through the merits of your Son our Savior, Jesus Christ the Righteous, Amen.


October 19, 2016

From my Commentary on Colossians (Col. 3:22-25)

To be published 2017 by Founders Press

False teachers were encouraging the Colossians to despise weakness and lay claim to a mystical knowledge that lifted one above the level of common individuals. The Gospel teaches us that we are to respect and love all, and to treat others as equals, regardless of our respective roles.

Speaking of respect, one of the most remarkable examples of how the Gospel transforms a culture is found in its application to the relationship between owner and slave. Roman life was largely based on slavery. There were more slaves in Rome than there were citizens. Slaves, procured primarily as the consequence of war, were considered to be mere possessions, to be used and disposed of at their owners’ will. The Gospel did not challenge Roman slavery directly; it undermined it by putting slaves and slave owners on the same level, treating them as equal objects of God’s grace and judgment, and laying a solidly spiritual basis for the slaves’ relationship to their owners:

Slaves, obey in every way your human masters, not just as meets the eye—like those who try to please people—but in heartfelt sincerity—because you fear the Lord. Whatever you do, serve from your heart like you are serving the Lord and not people in the knowledge that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. You serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Whoever does wrong will receive the wrong he did, and there is no discrimination.

Coming from the pen of a man who grew up in a first-century Roman city (Tarsus was just that, although situated in what we would now call south eastern Turkey), these are quite remarkable statements. Slave were enjoined to obey their human masters, but for reasons an average Roman would not expect. The term used to describe the obedience slaves are to give their masters is exactly the term the apostle used to describe the kind of obedience children are to render their parents: “in every way.”

He then goes on to explain: “Not just as meets the eye—like those who try to please people—but in heartfelt sincerity—because you fear the Lord. Whatever you do, serve from your heart like you are serving the Lord and not people in the knowledge that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. You serve the Lord Jesus Christ.” In other words, view whatever you are called upon to do in the context of your slavery in terms of worship. Serve the Lord in the way you serve your masters while tending their flocks, farming their fields, cleaning their homes, or educating their children. Paul repeated this statement three times in the course of these short encouragements.

It does not matter what we do—sew a button, mow the lawn, build a house, trade in stocks, sell merchandise, or whatever other activity in which life involves us—everything should be an act of worship and, because of that, done to the best of our ability. In the final run, we are serving the Lord, and we should do so from the heart, eagerly, sincerely, and happily. We’re not working for praise, a salary, or just because we must, but in the knowledge that “from the Lord [we] will receive the reward of the inheritance.”

Our reward is not to be found in the passing advantages humans can give us. Our reward is of infinitely greater value; it is “the reward of the inheritance” of which Paul spoke in 1:12. Slaves are equal recipients of that inheritance, and “whoever does wrong,” regardless of whether he is a Jew or a Gentile, a freeman or a slave, “will receive the wrong he did, and there is no discrimination.” On the Day of Judgment, God will not take one’s social standing into account. He will not inquire as to our race or gender, our education or personal background, how many times we fasted or attended a Passover Seder. “Whoever does wrong” will be punished. Slave owners will stand at the bar of divine on the same level as their slaves, and both will have to give account of themselves: Did you treat your slaves with respect and equal justice? Did you serve your master heartily, as one serving the Lord?

This is a promise and an encouragement to slaves, often mistreated by their owners: be patient and do your work in confident hope because the Judgment Day will undoubtedly come and justice will be served. It is also a warning to those who owned slaves: if you do not wish to receive the wrong you imposed on others, you had better treat your slaves with respect, care for their needs, and employ them in a just, gracious manner.

Paul’s closing words concerning judgment and the lack of partiality in judgment are similar to what the apostle had to say in Romans 2:6–11, where he stated that God 
“will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. “

Here is a truth, variously applied in differing contexts, relevant to them both.

If this principle is true with regard to slaves and their masters, it is all the truer with regard to employees and their employers, hired hands and those who hire them. Both those who provide services and those who pay for them should treat each other in the fear of God, giving at least as much as they contracted to give in terms of performance and remuneration.


October 13, 2016

From my commentary on Colossians (Col. 3:20)

To be published 2017 by Founders Press

Next come the children: “Children, obey your parents in every way because this is what much pleases the Lord.” The Greek actually uses a word most commonly translated “fathers,” but was frequently used to denote parents (see, for example, Heb. 9:23). That seems to be the meaning here.

The children’s chief duty toward their parents has to do with obedience. Parents should not bribe their children into doing what they are told, nor should children be terrified into doing so. They should be taught that obedience is their duty before God. Parents are not always right, but they are always to be obeyed “in every way”; that is to say, not only by doing what they are told, but by doing it willingly, from the heart, “because this is what much pleases the Lord.” Obedience to one’s parents is part and parcel with obedience to God. It is a spiritual act, an act of worship.

There is a certain order in the universe, with God in Christ paramount. A time will come when children will have the duty and the right to educate their own children. That is when they can call the shots. But as long as they are minors, their safety is to be found in accepting the thoughtful, godly, loving guidance of their parents.
Such an order lays a tremendous burden on parents, especially fathers: “Fathers, do not frustrate your children, so that they do not lose heart.” What frustrates children more than anything else? What causes them to loose heart? Inconsistency on the part of parents, lack of fairness, unfulfilled warnings, arbitrariness, contempt, and suppression all contribute to a child’s frustration and led to the kind of indifference that expresses despair.

Children are taught to lie by parents who break promises and do not carry out warnings. They develop a well-justified sense of injustice if their parents do not hear them out before reacting, treat any of their siblings differently, or vacillate between forbidding and allowing the same kind of behavior. They are frustrated when they do not know what to expect, because their parents’ reaction depends more on the parents’ mood than on what they have done. They rebel or sink into indifference if their parents do not respect the image of God in them and therefore suppress initiative, repeatedly express lack of confidence in them, or do not encourage them to think and act on their own. If the children can never do right, why should they try? What is the point of trying when there is never any encouragement if, however well the child performs or however much he or she has invested effort, no compliment will be forthcoming? If they can never meet the standard, they will inevitably despair. Trust your child. Give her opportunity to grow, to make mistakes and learn from them, to develop her own God-given propensities, to be herself.

Contrary to what Roman culture taught, children are not subject to the arbitrary whims of their parents. Nor are they extensions of the parents’ persona. Parents are not to live out their unfulfilled ambitions through their children, nor impose their views—not even their faith. True faith is the product of a work of God in the human heart, not the imposition of man. It is the God-given response of an individual to God; it can never be forced by human hands. If we are to avoid frustrating our children and causing them to lose heart, we must educate them to think independently and equip them with spiritual and moral standards. Such standards are best inculcated by way of example. Children who grow up in a godly home where faithful, tender affection is expressed, integrity is preserved, and God is lovingly feared will have the means to weigh and make their own decisions. God will draw to himself those among our children whom he sees fit.

The opposite of frustration and loss of heart is what we should seek for our children: a holy, humble, honest ambition to fully realize their gifts; a respectful, caring attitude toward others; a sense of dignified integrity, vigor, and happiness. When these are combined with God’s saving, sanctifying grace, our children will realize their full potential, and God will be glorified in them. What more could we desire?



October 4, 2016

From my commentary on Colossians (Col. 3:19)

To be published by Founders Press 2017

Husbands also have a duty within the family context: “Husbands, love your wives.” One would have expected such a requirement to be made of wives—after all, are they not best known for their sacrificial love to the family? That may well be the reason why Paul directed this requirement to husbands, not to wives.

What does it mean to love one’s wife? What does it mean to love? “God so loved that he gave” (John 3:16). To love is to emulate God, to exemplify the Gospel. To love is to give, above all to give of one’s self, and husbands are to give of themselves to their wives.
Sacrifice is not only a mother’s duty or that of a wife; it is no less a duty of husbands and fathers. To love is to value. The sacrifices love makes are an expression of the value attached to those for whom sacrifice is made.

Husbands are to value their wives, respect them, nurture them, and bear with them the sweet-heavy burden of running a household and bringing up children. It will not do for men to come home after work, change into their slippers, and collapse into the couch with a book, a newspaper’ or even the Bible. There are chores to do, dishes to wash, garbage to take out, children to play with, read to, and educate.

A man might have had a hard day at the office, but does he even listen when he comes home and says, “Hi, honey, how’s your day been?” Does he think of suggesting she go out with her friends in the evening while he babysits? And how about, “Honey, I really appreciate all the hard work you put into being a wife and a mom. In appreciation, I’d like to take you out tonight,” or “Why don’t you and Cheryl have an evening together?”

To love means to care, to be sensitive, to support. It means a husband provides his wife with opportunities to cultivate her gifts, to relax and to grow as a person. Look again for a moment at the woman described in Proverbs 31. This amazing woman manages the family finances, including investments, plans for the future, preparing for any eventuality while caring for the present, and reaching out to those in need beyond the family circle. She does not have to run to hubby over every detail but has the freedom to make decisions.

To no small extent, her husband’s success is the fruit of her prowess. She is firm, dignified, wise, and kind. Rather than suppressed, she is a woman worthy of praise (and her husband makes sure to praise her!).Today we often vacillate between foolish male machoism and equally foolish gender indifference. On the one hand, men are encouraged to be cowboy-like, never expressing affection, emotionally detached. They rope and brand cows and tame horses while the women slave in the house and make sure they look pretty when their “man” comes home, slings his pistol on the chair, and sits down to gobble his food, wiping his moustache on the sleeve of his shirt. Women are not cherished; they’re used.

On the other hand, in some contexts today men are expected to do everything but give birth and suckle while women pursue their more lucrative career. Such “men” aren’t men—they’re hamstrung males. Loving means protecting, and a man has to be strong to be able to protect his wife because there will be many things that will threaten her: the changes involved in marriage, missing her parents, siblings, and friends, financial responsibilities, the monthly period, bearing a child, gaining weight, suckling, sleepless nights, having to cope with the children, cleaning the house, shopping and cooking for the family, entertaining guests, supporting her husband, disciplining the children (Let’s see how unfazed YOU are after a solid day with the kids), looking nice for church, doing the laundry, painting the hallway, tending the garden . . . and being pleasant when his majesty Mr. Breadwinner comes home from work. There will be times when she will be tired beyond words, and if her husband is not sensitive, he will never notice.

Loving means making a point of noticing, and responding lovingly and protectively when there is need.I don’t hug my wife enough. I don’t tell her as often as I should that I love her. Even as I write, Bracha is out buying shoes. I should have offered to go with her. It’s not that I’d enjoy going shopping, trying on an endless array of shoes, and finally returning to the first shop we visited to make a purchase; it’s that Bracha would enjoy me showing more interest in her and in what she is doing.Loving is the way to earn the right to be followed.

Loving is the moral basis of a husband’s leadership role. I need to do better. If you are a husband, do you?Did you notice that little phrase at the end of what Paul has to say to husbands? “Do not be bitter toward them.” Do not allow a root of bitterness to develop between you, gnaw at your relationship, and destroy it. If there is an issue to discuss, do not let the sun set on your anger. Talk it over; pray together about it. Manage your disagreements as befits Christians.

Love your wives, give them space, and lead, above all, by example. Win them by your love and remember: there is no room in the family for the kind of elitism to which the Colossian Christians were encouraged to aspire.


September 27, 2016

From my commentary on Colossians (Colossians 3:18)

To be published by Founders Press

“Wives: be submissive to your husbands as is consonant with being in the Lord.” Paul’s view of marriage was quite non-modern, and lest we excuse ourselves on those grounds, we would do well to remember that they were also contrary to the common views of the time. We’ve already seen what Paul had to say about slavery, for example. His instructions were not the product of his time and culture; they were framed under inspiration of the Spirit of God and, however countercultural they may be, are binding by virtue of their divine source.

Paul instructs married women to be submissive to their husbands. The biblical requirement is that wives should accept the leadership of their husbands and that they should do so in a dignified manner. There should be no contentions, no effort to subvert, no nagging until one’s desire is met. Submission is an expression of a woman’s acceptance of the order God has established; it does not make man better or wiser; it simply resolves the issue of who should lead the home.

There is order in the Godhead: the Father initiates, the Son does the will of the Father, and the Spirit glorifies the Father and the Son. Neither is lesser than the other, nor is the glory of either threatened by this order of things. Families and other human societies are to reflect the Godhead in their harmonious love in the context of the order established for their function.

Even in a framework of two there are likely to be disagreements and contrasting viewpoints. Not proceeding until there is unanimity accords each side veto power and can easily paralyze function. God has determined, and legislated through the apostle, that the final word rests with the man as head of the household, who in turn is to answer to God for his decision.

Note that Paul does not instruct husbands to impose their authority over the wives. A wife should never bring her husband to the place in which he is justified in thinking that the only way to resolve a disagreement is for him to impose his will. Husbands, on the other hand, should not be too ready to assert their authority and should avoid doing so too often. Wives are commanded to be submissive to their husbands; husbands are not instructed to suppress or rule over their wives.

There are areas in which husbands must accord their wives freedom of conscience and maneuver, without thinking that by so doing they are allowing their wives more leeway than is right. A husband who keeps tight control of the family finances and does not allow his wife the latitude to make day-to-day decisions with regard to the family budget is overbearing. A husband who demands that his wife inform him of every individual she meets, of every conversation she has, of every detail of her routine, and of every penny she spends is suppressing her.

Husbands are to give their wives ample space (and ample reason, as we shall see) for their wives to choose to accept their leadership. They are not to impose it. Marriage is not a dictatorship; it is a covenant of grace and mutual edification. Feminism is right on when it insists that women are equal to men in value. It is dead wrong when it seeks to obliterate differences between men and women or to deny their respective, differing roles. Men are to lead, women to follow. This is God’s order, and men and women are to accept their respective roles and seek to fulfill them with loving obedience to the Lord.

It also means that women are not to follow their husbands into sin, nor be forced to sin on the grounds of a husband’s authority. They must submit to leadership only as it is consonant with being in the Lord. We learn, then, that there is room for disagreement between spouses. Women and men are to think for themselves, draw their own conclusions, and embrace what they each believe to be true. Women are not to follow their spouses blindly or gullibly. They are as much created in the image of God as men are, and as responsible before their Lord as their husbands are.

Here, too, Jesus is to be preeminent. Women are to relate to their husbands “as is consonant with being in the Lord.” Their every action is to be an expression of their love for and obedience to the Lord.


September 21, 2016 

From my commentary on Colossians (Colossians 3: 18-25)

To be published by Founders Press

Paul now moves from general practice to the somewhat more particular. He addresses specific areas of life outside the church, showing how the Colossians were to carry out his exhortation in verse 17 to do “everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” In the first six verses of the next chapter, Paul continues to speak of the spheres in which the principles of the Gospel were to be lived out, so they properly belong to the verses we are about to study in chapter 3. I’m not sure there is wisdom in the present chapter division any more than there was in dividing chapters 2 and 3. For convenience, we will follow the pattern established by the chapter division, but it is important to note the connection between those verses and these that now follow.

Spirituality means living as God would have us live, and doing so willingly because we love God. God is an eternal fellowship of persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Man, created in the image of God, must live in harmonious fellowship with others. Solitary confinement leads to derangement precisely because this is so. That is why salvation is not exclusively framed in terms of individuals but of communities—churches, families, and nations. In our days the individual is over-emphasized, resulting in the loss of individual identity and an erosion of the value of individuals. In the past there were times when the community was over-emphasized, an emphasis that brought exactly the same results. The biblical emphasis is on the individual within community and on community as the context in which the individual can find his identity and have real value.

The whole world, all creation, is in view (“the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come and shall see my glory” [Isa. 66:18]). “Creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” [Rom. 8:21]). Spirituality, then, has to do with how we relate to others, and eschatology has to do with the world adoring God in Christ and submitting to his service. Christians cannot be Christians in isolation; they must live out their salvation in the various spheres of society and in relation to creation, adoring God in Christ and submitting to his service.

The first sphere Paul addresses is the fundamental social context: the family. Human society cannot exist where family life is degraded. The family is the context in which, even in the garden of Eden, man was able to find and give the kind of constructive companionship that he needs. How family life is conducted is one of the more important tests of life, a major issue when it comes to the appointment of officers in the church. That is why 1 Timothy 3:1–16 and Titus 1:5–16 point to the family as the primary testing ground of candidates for church office.


September 13, 2016 

From my commentary on Colossians (On Colossians 3:1-17) 

To be published by Founders Press

The only wise God, who made the world and has purposed its redemption through Christ, who will bring all things into subjection to Christ and unite all things in him, 

We adore you for your wonderful plan. 
We thrill at the thought that the awful effects of sin will be undone and that all the world will be made subject to Christ. 
Help us subject ourselves to him now most willingly. 
Help us live with others by focusing on your holy Son, by ignoring what sin would use to divide and by relating to others selflessly rather than seeking to compete. 
Give us grace to show grace, and by this manifest your Son’s presence among us. 
We humble ourselves before you and freely confess that we need your help, through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.


September 08, 2016 

Milest I’ Istina – A Reformed Christian Magazine in Russian

Grace and Truth Christian Congregation was always on the lookout for ways to serve the larger Body of Christ. Committed to a coherent doctrinal stance, it was no less determine to be clear as to its’ goodwill for and respect of other views, hoping to promote dialogue than would involve lively informed engagement rather than compromise and lead to a heightened view of God, of Christ, of the Gospel and of the saving, sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Troubled by the increasing influence of the Messianic Movement in the former USSR and eager to encourage discussion of Reformed principles, the church decided to publish a magazine in Russian.

The magazine, called after both the name of the church and the church’s aspirations, was titled Milest I’ Istina (grace and truth in Russian). Very soon after its first edition, Sasha Seriapov was appointed its acting Editor. The Editorial Board was made up of church staff members and congregants.

Initially funded from the church’s scant resources and later, generously, by the Isaac da Costa Fund, the magazine produced both translations and original articles written by Israeli contributors, some of which were culled from a magazine produced in Hebrew and distributed in Israel by HaGefen Publishing. Expository preaching and careful theological thinking were promoted, as well as the sufficiency of Christ work for both salvation and sanctification. The Messianic Movement was challenged on the grounds of its view of the sufficiency of scripture and the sufficiency and finality of Christ’s work on the cross. An effort was also made to provide information on biblical background and to discuss relevant issues that readers chose to raise or the Editorial Board perceived to be pressing.

Responses were more than encouraging: distribution grew to the point that the magazine reached almost every one of the former Communist republics. For a period, editing and layout was executed in Israel, while printing and distribution was done in the Ukraine. However, unrest in the country now renders such an arrangement impractical.

Today Milest I’ Istina is produced periodically, as time and finances allow. It continues to serve its readership both online and in hard copy, primarily because the Internet is not as readily accessible in many areas of the former USSR as it is in the West. There is ample reason to give God thanks for the years of ministry this magazine has had, and to hope and pray it will please God to continue to use it as a means to promote his glory and to encourage worship and service that will be increasingly attuned to his word.


September 08, 2016 

From my Commentary on Colossians, to be published by Founders Press (Colossians 3:15-17)

Our next mission is indicated by Paul’s injunction: “And be thankful.” Let’s put that in context: “As God’s holy chosen ones, and having been loved, put on great sympathy, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing one another and forgiving each other. If anyone has a complaint against anyone—just as the Lord forgave you, you forgive as well. Above all of these, love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of the Christ rule in your hearts, to the which you were actually called in one body, and be thankful.”

Thankful for what? Thankful for being “called in one body.” Thankful for the privilege of belonging to the church of Christ. Thankful for the fact that grace is the grounds for our membership. We do not need to learn another language, adopt another culture, improve or reduce our social standing, or subscribe to a denominational confession. Nor must we embrace the Colossian error, worship angels, or adopt Jewish custom. All who are in Christ are “called in one body.” If we trust in God through Christ for salvation, if we acknowledge his glory and seek to love and serve him, we belong to Christ and are therefore members of his one body. Nothing more is required.

“As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” [And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. (Acts 8:36–38 NASB)

If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?” When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.” (Acts 11:17–18)

Next, Paul said to the Colossians, “Let the word of the Christ indwell among you richly.”

The phrase is unusual. It appears only here. “The word of Christ” is nothing other than the word of God, the word of the Gospel. Christ only spoke what the Father gave him to say. His message is to indwell the fellowship of the saints. It is to be their major characteristic, the focus of their church life, the guide and arbiter of all differences. It is to indwell them by the reading, teaching, and contemplating of God’s word (a clear indication of the importance of preaching in the life of a congregation). The word of Christ points to his sufficiency and pulls us back every time we deviate. We need the word of Christ to conduct our church life as it ought to be conducted. We do not need the word of tradition or of ecstasies who claim additional revelation. As we focus on Christ, we focus on his word.

Next, as the word of Christ indwells among Christians, they are to be engaged in “teaching and admonishing yourselves with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” Here is a solid standard for song in the church. There is little, if any, distinction between psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs in Scripture, and commentators differ greatly as to the distinctions they draw, perhaps evidence of the lack of a solid basis for their arguments. One or another of the terms might indicate singing with the accompaniment of music and another without, but the minute distinctions that may exist are really unimportant. According to Paul, singing has an important role in the life of the church. It has to do with teaching and admonishing.

The main purpose of song in the church is not self-expression but instruction and admonition (an archaic word for “rebuke” or “call to duty”). What we sing should, therefore, have substantial content. The music should serve the words; it should never blanket them. If we sing without thought, or if we hear a song and cannot decipher the words, there is something fundamentally wrong. If the words are tacked on as a justification for the music, or if we sense that the words are forced onto the music rather than the music serving to express and emphasize the words, the song is sub-Christian. Emphasis should be on the words, not on the music, and certainly not on the musicians.

While there is room for emotion in the church (woe betide a church in which there is no emotion), there is no room for emotionalism; our singing should be full of biblical content. It should do more than say “Hallelujah” or “I love you, Jesus,” or even “You’re holy.” It should focus on the biblical message and its application to our lives. It should speak of the glory of God, his majesty, being, and attributes; of creation and the fall; of law and grace; of the incarnation; of Christ’s life and teaching, his crucifixion, death, resurrection, and ascension; of redemption; of conflict with sin; of hope, victory, and the glory of God.

Yes, Christian hymnody should be theology put to music. Hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs should teach. They should inform us of our faith, call us to our duties, rebuke us for our failures, remind us of our comfort, and express our longing, determination, and hope in Christ to be all that God would have us be.

Next we are told how we should sing: “with grace in your hearts singing to God.” First, we should s

The Recent MaozNews
MaozNews No. 104, October 2016

to access, click below
In This Issue:

Grace and Truth – An Historical Overview, pg. 1

Ministry and Family News, pg. 5

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I have deep respect and love for Baruch Maoz, and the work that he is carrying on in Israel, despite obstacles and opposition. He has been a dear friend for many years. I’ll never forget doing a conference for him in Israel several years ago. I pray that God may use his sound theology, helpful preaching, excellent books, and numerous gifts for the conversion and spiritual maturation of thousands of Israelis and for the abundant glory of God. Rev. Joel R. Beeke, Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation, Author


Baruch Maoz has been a minister of the gospel, author, publisher, and voice for believers in the land of Israel for four decades. I have seen firsthand the fruit of his ministry and I cannot recommend it too highly. Baruch’s preaching, teaching, and writing ministry should be supported by all who care about the gospel and its impact in Israel and beyond! Pastor Jerry Marcellino, Audubon Drive Bible Church, Federation of reformed Evangelicals – Laurel, Mississippi


Knowing and embracing our Lord’s clear directive to bring the Gospel to the “Jew first” I, along with BPC have been extraordinarily blessed to work in partnership with the effective biblical and faithful ministry of Baruch Maoz. His ministry of evangelism, discipleship, along with his strategic and insightful writing/translation projects, only enhance my opportunity to recommend him and his ministry. Rev. Harry Reeder, Senior Pastor, Briarwood Presbyterian Church (PCA), Birmingham AL


Tom Ascol of the Founders Movement writes: "Baruch and Bracha Maoz serve in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Baruch has served as a pastor, publisher, author and church reformer in his homeland of Israel. He has ministered several times with our Grace Baptist Church family in Cape Coral and our people have come to love Bracha and him dearly. I highly recommend his and his ministry to any church that values expositional preaching and the gospel of God's grace." Dr. Thomas Ascol, Grace Baptist Church (SBC), Founders Movement, Cape Coral FL

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