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Welcome! We're glad you've chosen to visit us and hope you will find these pages useful and interesting. Our site-map will give you a good idea of what you can find here. In the course of time, we will be adding new features, updating existing ones and eliminating those you find least helpful - your suggestions are very welcome.

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

 

God Can Do What We Cannot -- Galatians 3:1-14

A sermon   

http://truegraceofgod.org/resources/sermons/god-can-do-what-we-cannot/

On Being A Christian in Our Society

July 2018

Some moments in history are turning points; others are but a flash in the pan. Some become turning points because of the immediate import of their content; others because they mark the beginning or the culmination of a trend. The latter are especially dangerous because their gradual nature renders them less obvious, more difficult to detect. The church in the West is presently at a turning point which is neither the beginning nor the end of a very dangerous trend. The church must respond with an honest fear of and love for God that create  the courage, the moral commitment and the willingness to sacrifice that are necessary for the moment.

I am an outsider. I live in Israel. But the implications of the church's failure to rise to the occasion created by the moment will reverberate around the world.  I am, therefore, obliged to address you on this pressing matter.

 Moreover, I am your fellow Christian and a Minister of God's word. I tremble to think of what is sure to happen if the church does not respond  as it should. God's word is clear: the true burden of biblical prophecy is not the kind fascinating prediction which seems to entertain so many as they throw about their texts, write their books, draw their charts and argue over sequences; it is a declaration of the holiness of God, an exposure of national sinfulness and a reminder of the terrible wrath of God in response to  sin. It is a call to alter course and turn back to God and his ways.

In spite of ineffectual protestations since 1973, according to Abort73.com, every year between 1973 and 2011 1,358,974 babies in the US alone were murdered in their mother's womb, totaling 53 million unborn, defenseless children. This is nothing less than a cold-blooded Holocaust, more horrific than any Nazi concentration camp.  A few bold voices were raised and we thank God for them, yet the church in the West, as the church, was largely silent. Apart from wonderful clinics in various places, often operating under the radar, most of the effort  against this atrocity is political in nature or morally inappropriate. A thunderclap of rage and concern has not been heard. God's voice has not been heard because the church has not sounded it. I ask, Does God's word not condemn the murder of the innocent and demand a life for a lifefor the unborn as it does for an adult (Exodus 21:23)? Are we, the church, not to defend the weak?

According to the Huffington Post of July 23 2015, 70% of Americans support euthanasia. I shudder to think how many are of the same opinion in Europe. It is legal in Washington, Oregon, Vermont and in Bernalillo Country New Mexico. Other States in the Union are considering the legalization of this form of murder.  A few bold voices are raised and we thank God for them -- yet the church in the West, as the church is largely silent. God's voice has not been heard because the church has not sounded it. I ask, is not life a gift of God, not to be tampered with nor destroyed? Does God's word not forbid murder, self-inflicted or otherwise? Is the life committed to us our own, to be dispensed with as we wish, or a gift of God given for his glory?

For years, pronounced sexuality, promiscuity and homosexuality have been promoted as options, valid ways of life. Cross-dressing, disgusting behavior and crassly suggestive lyrics are common among performers, particularly those armed with electric guitars, while Movies and TV shows feed us with increasingly overt forms of pornography. Yet the church in the West, as the church, is largely silent. Is there no shame? Are there no limits to human depravity? God's voice has not been heard because the church has not sounded it. 

Hedonism has become a way of life, shopping a central life experience. Shopping malls and outlets have become modern temples of success, pleasure and security. Pleasure -- that's it! Comfort! Immediate, maximal satisfaction. So, foods are flooded with sugars and carbohydrates, and the portions served on any one plate could feed a family in a more rational society. Obesity is so common that no one seems to notice it any longer in spite of the clear biblical injunctions against gluttony. Even Pastors and church officers waddle about because of the shameful weight imposed on them by their gluttonous, irresponsible eating habits, yet the church, as the church, is silent. God's voice has not been heard because the church has not sounded it. I ask: are we to eat and drink and do all to the glory of God, or have we somehow now been released from that privileged duty?

Christians have been stupefied by shallow sloganeering in the name of the Gospel instead of true preaching that exalts God and humbles sinners. The church is becoming more and more like the world. Real engagement of the mind and of the heart with God and his word is rare. Instead, we have mega-churches where a feel-good atmosphere replaces true worship, where there is ne'er a whisper of a call to tremble before a Holy God; where hell is the unspeakable topic and where Christians are not called upon to sacrifice anything more than that bit of money they can spare without pain.

 It is time to remind ourselves what it means to be Christian. It is time to remind ourselves of our duties.

The Call

To a meaningful extent, we are shaped by our upbringing, our culture, our experiences and the expectations of our seniors and peers. Yet, surely, the primary factor that should shape us must be the will of God as expressed in his word. That being so, there is not an individual on earth who does not need to be challenged and changed. Certainly, that is true of us today.

 We need to be changed for a number of reasons. First, because even in the Garden of Eden, prior to his sin, Adam was to change. He had much to learn, internalize and implement of the image of God in which he was created. Human perfection is relative, virile, ever-progressing. In eternity, as we gaze with wonder at the infinite majesty of our God and Savior, we shall eternally learn more of his glory, ever increasing in love and adoration. Man was created to aspire and to grow.

 As a result, the very best of the factors that shaped us are but partial perceptions of the ultimate for which we were created and to which we should aspire. Our education, our culture and our personal backgrounds can, at best, provide aspects of truth and glory. They can also provide us with perspectives others might not have. At the same time, their limitations incline to become blind spots. We need the contribution of others to be more of what we are intended to be. That is why the full measure of the stature of Christ is attributed to the church as a body rather than to individuals. Adam needed Eve: It was"not good for man to be alone". He needed "a helper suitable to him"- - and the Hebrew indicates the kind of help that complements him, that provides by way of contrast what he lacked.

The second reason we need to change is that sin has impacted every factor that shapes us from the moment of conception to the day we die. No culture, no experience, no social or educational background is exempt. "The whole world lies in the power of the evil one" (I John 5:19). We are conceived in sin, born with a distorted image of God in us. We are brought up by families and in societies that have likewise been impacted by sin. As a result, some influences are not only partial but wrong, contra-biblical.

 These two realities teach us on the one hand that aspects of the forces that shaped us are positive because they reflect God's wonderful purposes, either because they are premeditatedly Christian or because of the gracious work of God in what we often describe as "Common Grace" -- positive influences apart from the Gospel. On the other hand, they teach us that we should be bring those influences to the bar of God's word, measure them by it and then modify, embrace or reject them in proportion to their compatibility with that standard.

In other words, we do not have the privilege of being carried by the rush of the crowd. We are not free to embrace all of the standards, customs and values of our culture. We are obliged to be consciously, premeditatedly Christian. Rather than automats, the product of influences, we are responsible human beings created in the image of God and called upon to glorify him by reflecting that image in the course of our lives.

 Of necessity, this means that we will have to swim against the tide of our culture, to labor to change the direction of that tide. We are called to a truly prophetic ministry in our homes, churches and in society both as individual Christians and as the church. We must rage  against evil in our society and the horror of some of our laws. We must be willing to stand up and be counted, to pay the price of ostracism, mockery, imprisonment the loss of tax exemptions and anything else society or Government may choose to impose upon us. We must dare to be Christian in our society, promoting and striving for holiness, decrying sin.

The Biblical Background

Culture in the ancient world was as all-pervasive as today but far more compelling, primarily because it enjoyed overt religious sanction. Opting out of the accepted standards was equal to opting out of society and risking the fate of outcasts: defenseless exposure to the whim of every passer-by, to abuse and often to death.

Ancient Middle Eastern culture was syncretistic. Most people worshipped the same gods under different names and in the same way. The gods were represented by visible images. They were placated or moved to act on man's behalf by way of ritual, sacrifice and payment to temple priests. They were thought to be in perpetual contest with one another. They made few if any moral demands apart from those that helped maintain the status quo and support those in power. Their primary appeal was rooted in the way they served human needs and expectations. The people became much like the gods they served, which is why we should be very careful as to how we think about God.

Israel was under pressure to adapt to these standards. To deny the existence of the surrounding nations' gods was the height of arrogance. To question the validity of the surrounding nations' religious and social practices was to threaten national income and to disrupt crucial international relations because the primary source of Israel's income and security had to do with the conduct of international trade. 

The human tendency to conform in an effort to find acceptance and the natural tendency to laziness also came into play, all the more so when, as we said, many of the cultural norms appealed to the human heart because they tended to fulfill felt human needs and expectations. Yet the Lord instructed the nation, 

"When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, "I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me," you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses...

"Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel" (Deuteronomy 17:14-20).

 Israel was to learn from God, not from the nations.

What is more, the God of Israel expressly forbade any attempt to represent him by way of a visible image, regardless of how common such a practice was among the nations. Sacrifices were said to be God's gift to man, not a means by which man procured the favor of God. Israel's God claimed not supremacy but exclusivity, his demands were eminently moral and man's interests were made subject to the will of Jehovah. Israel was not to take its cue from the nations; it was subject to the commandments of God: "for you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for his own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth" (Deuteronomy 14:2).

Rather than being embarrassed of being different, Israel was called upon to recognize the value of their cultural and religious giftedness: "What great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today" (Deuteronomy 4:8)? Israel's conduct was to be subversive of all other cultures and religions, and thereby serve as a light to the nations so that 

"it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it. And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob that He may teach us concerning his ways and that we may walk in His paths” (Isaiah 2:2-3).

 The New Testament requirement is identical. Our light is to "shine before men in such a way that they may see our good works, and glorify" our Father "who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). The message of the Gospel is so subversive that, at the beginning, the majority of the apostles did not recognize its implications. They viewed Paul's endeavors with reservation when he insisted that there is "no difference" between Jews and Gentiles. They could comprehend the erasure of differences between slaves and freemen -- a revolutionary thought in Roman society of the period -- but not that between Jews and Gentiles.

One reason they found such equality difficult to comprehend is that recognizing it would threaten their standing in Jewish society: the difference between Jews and gentiles, drawn, emphasized and accentuated by Jewish history, culture and religion was a major plank in the nation's self-identity. Anyone questioning that difference would be vomited out of society. After all, the apostles were engaged in preaching the Gospel to the nation. How could they effectively do that if their national loyalty the nation was called into question? Ought we not, contextualize, identify with the people so as to reach them? Paul was too radical, even if he was right.

After more than 20 centuries of Gospel impact on Western society, we are unaware of how fundamentally the Gospel challenged Roman society and its culture. Rodney Stark's THE RISE OF CHRISTIANITY (HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1991) serves as an excellent summary documentation of that challenge.

 Stark tells us that pagans were helpless in the face of epidemics. Those who were able fled while Christians remained and tended to those afflicted by the disease. He quotes the anti-Christian Emperor Julian as writing "that the pagans needed to equal the virtues of Christians, for recent Christian growth was caused by their 'moral character, even if pretended,' and by their 'benevolence toward strangers' " (pp. 83-84). Infanticide, particularly of girls, was rife in Roman society except among Christians, who also ran against the grain of society in their opposition to abortion, divorce, incest, polygamy, homosexuality and marital infidelity, in their generous care for widows and in the respect they displayed toward women.

 Talk about contra-cultural: imagine slaves and slave-owners such as Onesimus and Philemon greeting one another as equals in the context of Christian community while retaining their relative status in society! Imagine a Christian slave owner treating his slaves with love and kindness, as fellow image-bearers, giving their fair portion, caring for their needs and defending their dignity in a society in which the skin of living slaves was used to burnish copper vessels and their very lives depended on the whim of their owner.

How, Then, Should We Live?

"Since you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory...

"Therefore, consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry for it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another since you laid aside the old self with its practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— in which there is no such thing as a Greek and a Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

"So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you" (Colossians 3:1-13). 

In other words, be different. Live out the Gospel.

What does that mean? Well, let's go back to where we started. We said, "the primary factor that should shape us must be the will of God as expressed in his word." We discover the implications of living out the Gospel from God's revelation to us, a lamp to our feet and a light on our path. 

There we learn that God is to be first in our lives. That we are to love him in all that we do, even to the extent of eating and drinking to his glory rather than for the meeting of our legitimate needs, let alone our craving for ice cream, mammoth cokes and big mac cheeseburgers. There might well be times when the right thing to do is to forgo legitimate needs, even life itself, for the glory of God. Our love for God should be visible through the lives that we lead. Christ died so that we who live might no longer live for ourselves but for him, who died and rose again.

Next we learn than God demands of us in relation to others an uncompromising morality. Our yea should be a solid yea and our nay no less dependable. Our measure should be exact, somewhat beyond or at least true to our undertakings. Our conduct should be characterized by kindness and generous sacrifice rather than selfishness; by God-orientated holiness rather than an effort to achieve worldly success; by humility rather than a striving after power, influence or popularity. Our conduct should be premeditatedly tuned to the word of God and our standards consciously derived from and constantly mended by the Word. We must be willing to pay the price of faithfulness to God and his word. Rather than acceptance with men, we should be given to pleasing him who created and redeemed us.

In other words, we need to be carefully thoughtful Christians, seeking to understand the principles of the Gospel rather than expecting those who teach us to provide detailed how-to manuals of behavior in the various circumstances of life. We need to understand and internalize the truths of the Gospel, by which I do not mean merely the facts presented in scripture but the underlying principles that gave those facts the shape and content they have.

To that end we need to be serious-minded Bible students and lovers of good preaching. We must not succumb to the laziness that characterizes the world around us, when people know more and more about less and less, when today's newspaper and broadcast provide more inane gossip and irrelevancies than real information that equips us for life. 

 When the Final Day arrives, "we will each have to give account of ourselves before God" (Romans 14:12). We are responsible individuals and will be held accountable as such. In others words, to a meaningful extent and to the utter limits of our ability, we all need to be theologians and moral philosophers. We all need to think about and understand God's word. It will not do to quote verses without truly plumbing their meaning in context. We need to examine ourselves, our values, standards and practice in the light of God's word and to undertake an ongoing process of reformation, what a friend recently described so aptly as ongoing conversion. That is what the Bible describes as sanctification. In other words, we need to invest everything in growing in Christ. If we are not radical Christians it is likely that we are not Christians at all.

 We should take nothing for granted, not even the values and practice we taught at home and at church. We need to be able to either correct these or make them truly our own by arriving at them by way of the engagement of our hearts and minds with the word of God.

 Every sphere of our lives should be impacted, every relationship, everything we own and do. Our duty is to be Christian in every walk of life and in the hidden recesses of our hearts. To that end we need to be dedicated, truly in love with God and therefore morally courageous. That is what will make us truer Christians, better persons, better members of our society, better citizens and better spouses, parents and children. That is how we, with "unveiled faces, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord," will be "transformed into the same image from glory to glory" by the work of the Spirit of God (II Corinthians 3:18).

 Could we aspire to anything higher? Dare we aspire to anything lower?

 Yet all of that is not enough, certainly not in these days. Individual Christians who are politicians should stand up for the truth in the political area while laws are framed and passed. But that is not the church's duty. Rather than engaging in politics, the church must sound the word of God energetically, loudly, firmly and uncompromisingly from every pulpit, on every street corner. Nations should be challenged; they should be called to the bar of God’s word, their sin exposed and their guilt declared. They should be called to turn from sin to God. THAT is what biblical prophecy is all about:

"Listen to the word of the Lord, O sons of Israel for the Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land because there is no faithfulness or kindness or knowledge of God in the land.

"There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery.

"They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed" (Hosea 4:1-2).

"Hear this word, you cows of Bashan who are on the mountain of Samaria who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to your husbands, “Bring now, that we may drink!” The Lord God has sworn by His holiness, “Behold, the days are coming upon you when they will take you away with meat hooks and the last of you with fish hooks" (Amos 4:1-2).

"Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown" (Jonah 3:4)..

"Hear, O peoples, all of you; listen, O earth and all it contains and let the Lord God be a witness against you, the Lord from His holy temple. For behold, the Lord is coming forth from His place. He will come down and tread on the high places of the earth. The mountains will melt under Him and the valleys will be split, like wax before the fire, like water poured down a steep place" (Micah 1:2-4).

 Where is the million-men march on our captols in defense of the defenseless, warning of judgement? Where is the ten million march against lust, gluttony, the love of money, homosexuality, calling for purity and the fear of God? Why is the voice of the church not heard? Some courageous individuals have spoken up and we thank God for them. But is that enough? Are these and similar issues not sufficient to unite Evangelical churches to engage together and at any cost for the Gospel? How petty are our denominational differences in light of the momentous implications of the crass, ungodly reality that surrounds us!

 We dare not be like those among whom we live and we dare not be silent. We are to shine as lamps in the darkness, holding forth the word of life. We are to call our nation to repentance. Our Gospel chatter about sin and salvation is vacuous so long as we do not understand the terrible, beautiful, awesome, glorious, terrifying, endearing holiness of God and do not declare it to the nation:

"Hear the word of the Lord...  because the Lord has a charge to bring against you...: 'There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds and bloodshed follows bloodshed... my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge... You have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children... I will punish ... them for their ways and repay them for their deeds' " (Hosea 4:1-9).

"God is jealous, and the Lord takes revenge; the Lord takes revenge, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserves wrath for his enemies. 

"The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord has his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.  He rebukes the sea, and makes it dry, and dries up all the rivers: Bashan languishes and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languish. The mountains quake before him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yes, the world, and all that dwell in it. 

"Who can stand before his indignation and who can bear the fierceness of his anger? His fury is poured out like fire and the rocks are thrown down by him. The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knows those who trust in him. But  ...  darkness will pursue his enemies" (Nahum 1:1-8)

 It is high time for the church to rise up and be the church, a city on a hill, the salt of the earth. It is high time for the church to regain the message: "repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand." Society must hear God's thunderous voice through the church, calling the nation to repent, mend its ways and embrace God's will and commands.

 That is true evangelism, not the promise of peace, success and happiness but a call to turn from our self-seeking, egoistical hunger for comfortable pleasure to him for whom the worlds were made.

Could we aspire to anything higher? Dare we aspire to anything else?

 

Let us pray

 

Our God,

We first seek not your forgiveness 

but the grace to be what we ought to be 

rather than what we are.

Change us, O' God.

We then – and only then -- seek your forgiveness 

for not being what we were meant to be,

For not fulfilling the wonderful duty you have laid upon us,

and this in spite of the grace with which you treated us in Christ.

We are unlike those who overcame  by blood of the Lamb 

and the word of their testimony,

who loved not their lives even to death.

We have loved our lives. 

We have loved comfort, popularity, pleasure, food, financial security 

and the bland religiousity that serves to salve our conscience

But we have not loved you 

with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

Rather than leaving the dead to bury the dead, 

we have engrossed ourselves in society.

We have become so much like the world 

that we have lost the sharp edge of the Gospel.

We have entertained ourselves with the truth instead of obeying it.

We are ashamed. We have sinned. We seek your forgiveness.

We  seek grace to be different.

You are all-glorious, our truly beloved,

worthy of every sacrifice, worth more than any loss.

We commit ourselves to work at being different

and seek your grace to be true to our commitment.

We will follow you wherever you choose to lead

and undertake to serve you more faithfully

as individuals, as families and as members of the church. 

Be merciful to us, Lord, for your own glory

and be merciful to our nation.

Almighty God, turn the nations to yourself, 

and use us to that end.

This we ask, unworthily, in Jesus' name,

Amen.


The Messianic Movement - A Brief Assessment

The modern Messianic Movement began as an expression of a commendable and legitimate desire on the part of many to present the Gospel to the Jewish people in terms the Jewish people would more readily understand. However, the Movement erred on two major accounts.

First, a confusion was between rendering the Gospel more understandable and rendering it more palatable. The Gospel can never be palatable to man because it insists that is not Lord of his own destiny. He cannot save himself. Consequently, in an effort to present the Gospel in terms more acceptable to the Jewish people, more and more of its fundamental tenets were discarded: faith was considered a saving work in which man engages; the Trinity tended to be denied in practice if not in theory; repentance was, at best, a matter of verbiage rather than one’s despair of oneself and a cry to God for mercy. The result was an emasculated message rather than that glorious declaration that is the power of God to save whoever believes, Jews first but also Gentiles.

Second, by clothing the Gospel in Jewish traditional garb (in many cases wholly unbiblical), fundamental issues of the Gospel were obscured while tradition was accorded disproportionate, at times sacramental, importance. Grace tended to be viewed as something people earn; the primary authority of God’s word was subjected to rabbinical interpretations; the unity of the body of Christ was diluted by the creation of congregations whose distinctive was Jewish tradition rather than Christ; political Zionism in the name of Christ was allowed to disenfranchise all who embrace a contrary political view. Once again, the result was an emasculated message rather than that glorious declaration that is the power of God to save, Jews first and also Gentiles.

We need to return to a grace-oriented Gospel in which God as he is known in Christ has preeminence, not Jewish things; that strives after holiness rather than playing at being Jewish. That is the Gospel, God’s power to save. 

The December 2017 MaozNews letter is avialble here:

The January 2018 MazNews Letter is available here




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

http://www.kingschapelbaptist.org/sermons/?sermon_id=36 

Baruch's Musings


Israel, Eschatology and the Church

I was recently asked:

Do you believe that the Church is the New or True Israel however?

Many Reformed folks say Christ constituted a New Israel around Himself and His apostles. Can one hold this view AND believe in a future for ethnic, national Israel per Romans 11?

And where do you stand eschatologically?

Thank you! 

I responded:

Dear XXXX,

In response top your inquiries.

I frankly am hard-preesed to find scriptural warrant for the term “spiritual Israel” as I do for “a new Israel”. Both seem to me to smack of the kind of discontinuity between Old and New Covenants against which Calvin and the Puritans protested so firmly. So far as I understand, the “church in the wilderness” is finds its' continuation in the New Testament church, composed of natural branches who have entered their inheritance, and those grafted in contrary to nature, both equal objects of the same grace and sharing in the same hope.

I desire to stand eschatologically where the Bible stands, and am convinced that we have not been well served by the pre- post and a- positions that have been imposed upon the church since John Darby’s days. The real issue in eschatology is not whether we are pre or post the Millenium, or if there is to be one. The real eschatological issue is the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. That is where i stand most firmly.

As to your latter questions, I know of those who affirm that the church has replaced Israel and yet believe that there is biblical promise of (spiritual) hope for ethnic Israel. This seems to be somewhat contradictory, but I may not be understanding their position as carefully as it deserves.

In Chris by grace,

Baruch




A Sermon on the Love of God

http://cpcissaquah.org/sermons/behold-how-great-the-fathers-love/

 

The Church or Organizations?

I have a growing concern that is in no way unrelated to the scene in Israel and which I believe is relevant in a much wider sphere. My concern has to do with the role of organizations, by which I do not mean inter- or intra-congregational bodies established and meaningfully overseen by churches but those many Christian impressive organizations with which we are all well acquainted.

It is not without wisdom, nor by oversight that our Lord established his church rather than organizations. The truth of the matter is that there is no biblical justification for the existence of such. Some organization pay lip-service to the role that the church ought to play in the lives of those they employ or service and whose work they guide. But the perceived needs and initiatives of the organization always have priority. For example, those who work with or for Christian organizations are often absent from the worship and ongoing activity of the churches to which they belong due to their duties toward the organizations under whose aegis they labor.

In some cases, workers are not accepted accept they come with a recommendation from a church. But such recommendation is more often than not sought after the candidate has been cultivated to some extent by the organization, facing his church with the painful option of either losing him or her altogether, or acceding to their request for a recommendation. In not a few cases, individuals are absorbed into organizations in spite of the lack of such recommendations, sometimes in spite of their unsuitability.

Churches are best equipped by the Lord to measure, recognize, correct and cultivate Christians’ spiritual and moral lives. That is one of the main purposes for which the church was established. Churches are also best equipped by the Lord to exercise spiritual and moral oversight and, when necessary, spiritual and moral discipline. It will not do to simply dismiss someone from an organization without there being meaningful, biblically-authorized pastoral ministration. At times, such ministrations might mean excommunication – all steps which no organization is authorized by God’s word to take, all the more so when the biblical goal of such action is the restoration of the erring brother or sister, not merely getting rid of a troublesome individual or ensuring the good reputation of the organization.

What is more, Christians taken up with the activities of organizations, however valid and important, invest their time, talents and other resources in the context of their organizational callings instead of investing them in the life of their churches. They thereby deplete their churches of gifts the Lord has given to his church, to which church they rightfully belong.

As much is true of the considerable financial resources organizations and volunteeristic (do forgive the invention of a new word) energies organizations take up, sapping the church still further of her strength and vigor.

It is true: in many cases, organizations came into being because the church was not fulfilling its’ duty. But the biblical solution is not to supplant the church, but to reform it. 

There are many activities to which the church is called and for which no single church is able to shoulder on its’ own. That is one of the many areas in which churches should recognize they belong one to another, and find ways to work together as the body of Christ. Inner and intra-congregational organizations should be the norm, not modern practice.

In Israel, some excellent organizations are doing a very fine work in the sphere of their perceived callings. For that they are to be commended. But they are doing so at the expense of the church. Not a few of them, awash with financial resources, attract the finest of our talents away from their churches. Local church membership is maintained, but practical engagement in the life of the church is sparse except where they manage to enlist the church in support of their organization’s efforts.

O for the day when Pastors will begin cultivating in the churches they serve a high, biblical, view of the body of Christ! O for the day when Israeli Christians will be taught that the way to belong to the body of Christ is to enlist one’s heart and soul in the life of the church! O for the day when Israeli Christians will be granted a truly biblical view of Christian service and will live out the Gospel in the context of their church life!

 

*

As regular readers of MaozNews will know, issue 113 carried indication of my concern over the way many organizations replace the church in various spheres. A summary of my argument follows, with responses from well-respected brethren.

According to scripture, our Lord established the church, not organizations. The church is to be a central factor in all shared Christian activity. Organizations often usurp the role of churches as well as the role of the church in individual lives. Lip service I paid to the authority of the church, but often in such a way as to secure the interests of organizations at the expense of the church, sapping her energies and resources.

Churches are best equipped to nurture Christians and to guide them in their endeavors. It is true: in many cases, organizations came into being because the church was not fulfilling its’ duty. But the biblical solution is not to supplant the church, but to reform it.

There are many activities to which the church is called and for which no single church is able to shoulder on its’ own. That is when inter-church cooperation is called for.

 Responses received:

 Dear Baruch,

I do assent to all that you have said. You described the 'ideal' church in this fallen world. But as I move amongst different kinds of evangelical churches, I am sadly seeing more and more, that the Bride of Christ is like 'Cinderella with Amnesia' - to quote a book title. 

How you describe things IS how it SHOULD be. But I am finding that fine young people are not being challenged by their churches to 'look unto the fields'. When they are challenged by others to look (perhaps through their University CU's or by reading good books) and then go back to their churches, they find little enthusiasm there, and sometimes get the "sit down young man" treatment which Carey allegedly received. The churches themselves are failing. 

I know our great need is to pray for revival, but the Great Commission is too great to wait for that. I know what you might say - 'let those young people go and find solid outward-looking Reformed churches'. But such churches are few and far between.

Warmly in the Lord,

XXXX  

Dear XXXX

I think the problem is that, instead of reforming the church and getting her to do what she should be doing, we set up organizations that, as a result, further weaken her. I’m not calling for an immediate dismantling of all non-church organizations, but I do believe that such bodies should work for their own demise by seeking to challenge, equip and motivate the church.

In Christ by grace,

Baruch

 

Another brother insisted that Paul’s activity was, in essence, identical to that of a modern Mission organization, with various of his helpers being funded by various churches.

I question that on a number of grounds. First, Paul was sent out by a church, to which he repeatedly returned to report. Second, there is no biblical evidence to the claim that any one of his various helpers were supported by various churches. Third, there is no evidence of and individual church supporting individuals that were not sent out from that church.  An important exception is, of course, the church in Philippi, to which Paul was careful to send formal confirmation of receipt. There was nothing of the “golden handshake” with bills being discretely passed from donor to recipient.

The same brother rightly insists on sending churches playing a large role in the oversight of those sent out by them. However, when the interest or considerations of the local church run contrary to those of the organization, it has almost always been the case that the concerns of the sending church were over-ridden by the organization.

This is not to say that I believe missionary organizations should be dismantled at once. Many such organizations are doing a valuable work! But I do believe they should be working toward their own dismantlement by gradually reverting to biblical principles, handing over more and more of their endeavors to churches and subjecting themselves in increasingly meaningful ways to the oversight of churches.

Further reflection from friends, foes and readers is welcome.

(to be continued)

 


We Need a Reformation

Baruch Maoz  2017

We’re never satisfied unless we’ve made our mark, justified our presence, proven our worth, earned some accolade, gained recognition, been noticed. If someone says something, we have to add our two bits. If anything goes on, we have to be involved – or at the very least appear to be in the know. We do not like to be obligated and would much rather have others obligated to us. “Freedom” is understood as the liberty to do all we want, when we want and as much as we want. “Do your own thing”, “be your own person”, and “be yourself” have become watchwords for a truly successful life. “Be your own boss” is a goal we pursue in all walks of life. That’s why we have so many divorces, church splits and broken friendships: we love ourselves too much, and others merely for our sake.

So, we climb the Everest or win a race, are nice to neighbors, buy the newest gadget and aspire to the most prominent position to have a sense of value. When we see a TV camera, we put on a childish smile, poke our mugs into the frame and wave like idiots and call our girlfriend to have her tune to the right station. We love to drop names of well-known people we’ve met, as if that will add to our importance. We rush a hundred times a day to see how many likes we received on FaceBook, or note there that we’re drinking coffee in the Asinine Motel on top on Mount Boorishness.

We love ourselves too much. We love ourselves so much, and are so insecure that it is too painful for us to apologize or admit failure. We prefer to lay the burden of responsibility for our actions on the others, who purportedly provoked us; on circumstances that imposed upon us and justify our actions; on our education, our parents, our culture or lack thereof and so on. Moral failure – the worse kind of failures – is all the more difficult for us to admit.

Man has created an endless stream of religions, all of which share a common characteristic: he becomes his own savior by way of “good works”, sacrifice, meditation, ritual or prayer. He may serve a Buddha, kiss a scroll, bow before an idol or minister to the needy. He may evangelize, fast, serve the church, deny himself or study the Bible. He may be an atheist who denies to existence of God (another form of religion) or an agnostic (who dares to crown reason as the test of all things). It does not matter; his salvation depends on him --whatever he does is what secures his salvation.

Of course, most Christians acknowledge that the larger part of salvation comes from God. Others attribute their salvation to the gods, if they believe in such. He, or they, respond to our efforts and grant us the blessings we crave or the salvation we need. If we are atheists, we thank and compliment ourselves with hollow words that, deep in our hearts, we know to be false.

After all, whence came our abilities, opportunities and advantages? They are not of our own making. In all cases, the initiative is ours, and what God or the gods do for us or what we make of life is in response to our actions. If they exist, he or they laid the ground and paved the way. The rest us up to us. If there is no God, it is all up to us. Perhaps we obtained salvation, or a moment’s experience of happiness (and few know the difference). It is now up to us to ensure we do not lose what we’ve gained, or to bring it to a higher level. Ultimately, we are all atheists, because we are the ones who make the choice and thereby become the arbiters or our fate. Even if saved by the kindness of God, our two bits are necessary.

The Gospel runs contrary to the general vein. It tells us the truth we do not wish to hear: that life – real, true LIFE – does not consist of doing our own thing or pursuing an endless string of enjoyments that serve to deafen us to the hollowness of our lives. We inevitably lack that inner sense of meaning that can only derived from an eternal purpose that has to do with a goal beyond ourselves.

Yes: beyond ourselves. Instinctively, we all know we cannot and ought not be the goal of our lives. Our egotism has not achieved that heightened state of satanic persuasion that dares openly declare ourselves worthy of being the goal of our lives. Nor are we able. Deep in our hearts, we sense the futility of the selfish, hedonistic pursuit of pleasure.

When encountered with pain, we have no means to address it. We seek, instead, for meaning by escaping, by inventing alternate purposes such as family, ideology, culture or sheer enjoyment of various kinds. In doing so we flee the very source of meaning and of exhilarating value. All becomes vanity, a vapor liable to dismissal by the slightest wind.

The Gospel, on the other hand, tells us that we are never freer than when in bondage to God; never more like ourselves than when we are Christlike; never wiser than when we submit to the truth of him who made the worlds; that we never, ever deserve to be happy, and that every moment of enjoyment is a gift of grace.

The Gospel calls for humility, for a frank admission of demerit. It teaches us that without God we can do nothing, that with him we can do only by his kind enabling, and that even after we have done our best, we are but unprofitable servants whose labors are acceptable only because of Christ. It teaches us to love God at our own expense and thereby find life by way of a holiness that embraces the world without succumbing to it.

That is the essential nature of the Gospel, the essence of grace – it is utterly unearned and undeserved. Not only so, but grace, to be grace, does it all: the initiative is God’s, the grounds are laid by him. He places us on those grounds, and he ensures we remain on them, guiding, sustaining and protecting us all the way to glory. We are secure because our holiness now and for eternity, without which there is no happiness, depends on him.

That is how the Gospel imparts meaning even to our darkest moments. It points to pleasures that far exceed the realities we experience in the here and now, and thereby accords even pleasures a value while dismissing them from the pretension of being the purpose of life. We thus find more pleasure in denying a craving than in satisfying it, in forcing ourselves to fulfill a duty rather than seeking to shirk it.

That’s it: grace calls for human effort. The only reasonable response to grace is that we offer God our full, hearty, unreserved, sacrificial and continuous obedience. We love, not to be loved, but because we have first been loved. We obey, not in order in order to obtain but because we have been given so much, so liberally and so undeservedly. We serve, not to ensure our inheritance but because – contrary to all desert – we are assured of an inheritance unblemished, undefiled, reserved in heaven for us, purchased by the blood of the Son of God, affirmed by the Spirit of God and secured by the promise of the Father.

Christian obedience is not a burden, it is an act of love and of gratitude, a recognition of sweet duty made all the sweeter by being rendered to the most glorious, beautiful, worthy, magnificent, worthy and beloved One who is altogether holy, perfectly lovely, unimaginably himself. That is what Paul describes in Romans 8 as walking in the Spirit, as minding the things of the Spirit rather than those of the flesh. When we do not our own thing, but his; when we seek to please him rather than ourselves; when we respond to his grace as we ought, then we are all we were meant to be, all that we ought to be, all that – deep down in our hearts – we long to be. Then we find life and peace.

Such was the original Faith of Israel until corrupted by human contrivance and driven by prideful self-assertion. Paul of Tarsus came to understand that. He learnt to love the law of God with exuberant affection. He was changed, so that he learned to delighted in the law. It framed his desires. It challenged his habits. It changed the course of his life. He learnt to deny himself and thereby find himself, to forgo pleasure and find the greatest of all pleasures – the pleasure of loving God because we are loved by him. Coming under God’s pleasant yoke, Paul became the freest of all men. We will know no real peace until we follow Paul’s example, with abandon.

Upon destruction of the temple at the hands of the Romans in 70 AD, Judaism took a decisive turn which set it on a path of self-obtained righteousness of the kind often promoted earlier by some within Israel. Instead the religion of grace described in the Old Testament (later in the New), tendencies castigated by the prophets found expression in Pharisaical understandings and arrogant self-assertions. These became the norm, resulting in a major departure from the ways of God.

God in his unilateral grace gave Israel the blood of sacrificial animals as a means of atonement for sin (Leviticus 17:11), but stringent ritual became a means by which Israel pleased God and sought to obligate him, (Isaiah 1:4-17), often without regard to the intended meaning of the ritual and without engaging the affections. Ritual was divorced from its intended content and thereby detached from daily life. Moral behavior was no longer motivated by a sense of gratitude to God, nor viewed in terms of worshipful, loving obedience. Instead, acts of generosity and kindness were viewed as ways by which man obtained merit and thereby earned God’s blessing, or simply replaced by efforts to increase earthly gain. Even humility was a transformed into a kind of purportedly meritorious self- motivated, self-imposed abasement.

Illogically, everything had to do with life on earth. There was no recognition of value beyond that. No one was expected to have to give account for the life he lived. Consequently, life became a case of “let us eat and drink because tomorrow we die”. There being no God, there was no purpose beyond life itself. Selfishness ruled, and rules today.

Of course, there were exceptions. But they were just that: exceptions, not the rule. God’s authority was supplanted by an authoritarian Rabbinocracy, liberalistic Atheism or presumptuous Priestcraft in which the Creator had no real say. Religion was handed over to the Rabbis, the Kadis, the rationalistic intellectuals or the Priests, manipulators of the divine will. Indeed, Jewish tradition has it that God was silenced and his opinion rejected, while rabbis, kadis, scholars and priests arrogated to themselves the right to determine the practical implications of the biblical text.

Israel today has followed the logical path outlined by such presumption. The choice is presented as between secular humanism and blind obedience to a tradition as interpreted by the Rabbis, and the majority has chosen the former. The world at large has followed suit. Religion is, at best, considered to be a means to obtain and secure human happiness: “If that is what makes you happy, that’s fine with me”.

Christians too, have been deceived. God is once again viewed as subject to human manipulation through prayer, fasting and other human endeavors. Truth is relative: “Everyone has a right to his own opinion” and Bible study becomes an event in which everyone shares his own ignorance rather than listening to someone who has seriously studied the scripture. Obedience is not as valued as an emotional rush, and worship has more to do with feeling good (“let’s celebrate God”) than with the fear of the Lord.

The church has departed from its biblical moorings and degenerated into liberalistic humanism, a means by which man obtains merit, or a form of blind obedience to traditional practices and doctrines expounded from the pulpit. Many of the historic churches have chosen the latter. Modern evangelicalism has chosen the second. The majority, disappointed by both, has chosen the first. In many so-called churches, man is the focus of attention and God exists for man’s self-centered sense of comfort, pleasure and success.

Even common evangelical thought and practice has come to assume a kind of meritocracy which affirms that Jesus did much and the rest is up to us. This is expressed in many ways. Some affirm that God would dearly love to save every individual, but his will is stymied by man’s independence. His sovereignty has to do with everything – especially with what we expect him to do for us -- except man’s freedom to choose.

Election is man choosing God, God foreseeing that choice, and then running ahead and choosing him first. Others affirm that evangelism, prayer and fasting, Bible study, self-denial or other such activities are the means by which Christian ascend the ladder of spirituality and secure their final arrival at heaven’s gates. Worship is no longer worthy of the name because it is ultimately focused on man, his feelings and his trials, enjoyments and successes.

Few today have more than a mediocre understanding of the Faith as presented in the word of God. The majority prefer “practical” sermons, shallow evangelistic appeals, mega- churches in which their emotions are stirred while their minds are ignored and where there is no clear call to holiness in life, the fear of God, repentance or the forsaking of sin. People come to church to be petted, pampered, encouraged and taught to feel good about themselves. Hence the popularity of preachers such as Joel Olsteen, Mark Driscoll and the like. So-called Christian hedonism is just that: man finding ways to enjoy himself, be it hunting, music, God or a good meal. Hopefully it will be something good. The idea that we might be called upon to suffer loss, or even life, for God is anathema. God’s whole purpose is to make us happy.

The church has refused the discomfort of a truly prophetic ministry. Christians prefer chronologies and understand their Bibles in terms of world events, rather than viewing the world through biblical lenses. The church has turned its’ back to truly biblical congregational life, in which men of all races and cultures mix, theologies rub against each other and customs are challenged, modified and made to be more like Christ.

We prefer the theological, cultural, racial and linguistic ghettos in which our practice is never challenged and our assumptions are never questioned. In consequence, we are not called upon to change except in the direction of our cherished prejudices. We separate into congregations and clusters of congregations into which only those who agree with us are allowed to enter, and then love fellow-Christians (some, not all) over the fences our self-love has erected – until we divide again because some new area of disagreement has been discovered.

We are in desperate need of reformation. We desperately need to return to the word of God and to re-examine the best of our traditions, confessions, practices, polity and systematizations. Our fear of God our Savior must not be the fruit of human traditions rather than of the mighty, truthful, powerfully living word of God, which is able to save and sanctify us to the glory of him for whose sake we were created, redeemed and assured glorification. We are in desperate need of a revolution, a change in course.

We need to hear and heed the word of God afresh, change our ways and return to the biblical standards, in which God, his glory and his will come first, and man was made to honor him.

 

Two recent sermons, summarizing Paul's letter to the Romans:

Part One: https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=5251719319

Part Two: https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=525171124510

  


Israel's Defense Forces

 

From Chief of Staff and later Prime Minister of Israel, Itshak Rabin’s speech at the Hebrew University, June 8 1967 upon receipt of an honorary doctorate of philosophy:

 

“Today the university has conferred this honorary title upon us in recognition of the I.D.F.’s superiority of spirit and morals, as was revealed in the heat of war, for we are standing in this place by virtue of a heavy battle which, though forced upon us, was forged into a victory that is already called miraculous.

War is intrinsically harsh and cruel, bloody and tearstained, but this war in particular, which we have just undergone, brought forth rare and magnificent instances of heroism and courage, together with humane expressions of brotherhood, comradeship, and spiritual greatness.

Whoever has not seen a tank crew continue their attack with their commander killed and their vehicle badly damaged; whoever has not seen soldiers endangering their lives to extricate wounded comrades from a minefield; whoever has not seen the anxiety and the effort of the entire Air Force devoted to rescuing a pilot who has fallen in enemy territory, cannot know the meaning of devotion among comrades-in-arms.

The entire nation was exalted, and many wept, upon hearing the news of the capture of the Old City of Jerusalem. Our sabra youth, and most certainly our soldiers, do not tend toward sentimentality; they shy away from revealing it in public. However, the strain of battle, the anxiety which preceded it, and the sense of salvation and of direct participation of every soldier in the forging of the heart of Jewish history, cracked the shell of hardness and shyness and released wellsprings of deeply felt spiritual emotion. The paratroopers who conquered the Wailing Wall leaned against its stones and wept. As a symbol, this was a rare occasion, almost unparalleled in human history. Such phrases and cliche?s are not generally used in the I.D.F., but this sight on the Temple Mount, beyond the power of words, revealed, as though by a flash of lightning, a deep truth.

And more than this, the joy of triumph seized the entire nation. Nevertheless, we find, increasingly, a strange phenomenon among our fighters. Their joy is not total, and more than a little sorrow, and shock, permeates their celebration. There are those who do not celebrate at all. The warriors in the front lines witnessed not only the glory of victory but also its price – their comrades who fell beside them, bleeding. And I know that the terrible price paid by our enemies also touched the hearts of many of our men deeply. It may be that the Jewish people never learned, never accustomed themselves to experience the thrill of conquest and victory, and so we receive it with mixed feelings.”

 

Such is the spirit of Israel’s defense forces.

 





We Need a Reformation

We’re just not ever satisfied unless we’ve made our mark, justified our presence, proven our worth, earned some accolade (Ezekiel 28:1-5). If someone says something, we have to add our two bits (Proverbs 18:2). If anything goes on, we have to be involved – or at the very least in the know. We do not like to be obligated and would much rather have others obligated to us. “Freedom” is viewed as the liberty to do all we want, when we want it and as much as we want. “Do your own thing”, “be your own person”, or the purportedly milder “be yourself” are considered watchwords for what we consider a successful life. “Be your own boss” is a goal we pursue in all walks of life.

 So, we climb the Everest or win a race, buy the newest gadget and aspire to the most prominent position. When we see a TV camera, we put on a childish smile, poke our mugs into the frame and wave or invite our girlfriend to tune to the right station. We love to drop names of well-known people we’ve met, as if that will add to our importance and we rush a hundred times a day to see how many likes we received on FaceBook, or noted that we’re drinking coffee in the Anserine Motel on top on Mount Boorishness.

 That is why we find it so painful to apologize and to admit failure. We prefer to lay the burden on responsibility on others (Genesis 3:12). We were provoked; circumstances imposed themselves upon us or even justified our actions; or our education or lack thereof is to blame and so on. Moral failure – the worse kind of failure – is especially difficult to admit.

 Mankind has created an endless stream of religions, all of which share a common characteristic: man becomes his own savior. He may do so by “good works”, by offering sacrifice, by meditation or prayer. He may be serving a Buddha, kissing a scroll, an ancient wall or some other relic, bowing before an idol or ministering to the needy. He may be evangelizing, serving in the church, denying himself or studying the Bible. Whatever he does is what secures his salvation and assures his blessing.

 Of course, in many cases we admit that most of our salvation comes from God, or the gods. He, or they, respond to our efforts and grant us the blessings we crave. But the initiative is ours, and what he or they do for us is in response to our actions. God or the gods laid the ground and paved the way. The rest us up to us. If he or they accorded us salvation, it is now up to us to ensure we do not lose it; or we must bring it to a higher level of spiritual achievement. Ultimately, it is we who make the choice. We are the ultimate arbiters or our fate. Even if saved by the kindness of God, our two bits are needed to make it stick.

 But the Gospel runs contrary to this general vein. It tells us that we are never free than when in bondage to God; never more like ourselves than when we are Christlike; never wiser than when we submit to the truth of God. The Gospel tells us that we never, ever deserve God’s blessing. It calls for a sincere humility that is borne out of a sense of inability and lack of worth, for a frank admission of demerit. It teaches us that without God in Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5), that with him we can do only by his kindness and enabling (Philippians 2:13), and that even after we have done our best, we are but unprofitable servants (Luke 17:10) whose labors are acceptable only because of Christ (Philippians 4:13, Hebrew 13:21).

 That is the essential nature of grace – it is utterly undeserved. Not only so, but grace, to be grace, does it all (Colossians 2:10): the initiative is God’s, the grounds are laid by him, he places us on those grounds, and he ensures we remain on them, guiding, sustaining and protecting us all the way to glory.

 Not that grace does not call for human effort. On the contrary. The only reasonable response to grace is that we offer to God our full, hearty, unreserved, sacrificial and continuous obedience (Romans 12:1-3). But we love because we have first been loved (I John 4:19), not to be loved. We obey, not in order in order to obtain but because we have been given so much, so liberally and so undeservedly. We serve, not to ensure our inheritance but because –  contrary to all we deserve – we have been assured of an inheritance unblemished, undefiled, reserved in heaven for us (I Peter 1:4).

 Christian obedience is an act of love and of gratitude. It is a recognition of sweet duty (Romans 7:21), made sweeter by being rendered to God, the glorious, beautiful, worthy, magnificent, beloved One who is altogether holy, perfectly lovely, unimaginably himself.

 Such was the original Faith of Israel until corrupted by human contrivance driven by prideful self-assertion.

 Upon destruction of the temple at the hands of the Romans in 70 AD, Judaism took a decisive turn which set it on a path of self-obtained righteousness instead of being the religion of grace described in the Old Testament. Tendencies castigated by the prophets and which again found expression in Pharisaical understandings became the norm and Israel engaged in a major departure from the Word of God 

God in his unilateral grace gave Israel the blood of sacrificial animals as a means of atonement for sin (Leviticus 17:11). Stringent ritual now became a means by which Israel pleased God, (Isaiah 1:4-17), often without regard to the intended meaning of the ritual and without engaging the affections as the rituals were followed. Moral behavior was no longer motivated by a sense of gratitude to God, nor viewed in terms of worshipful, loving obedience. Instead, acts of generosity and kindness were ways by which man obtained merit and thereby earned God’s blessing. Even humility was a transformed into a kind of self-motivated, self-imposed abasement that was considered meritorious.

 Of course, there were exceptions. But they were just that: exceptions, not the rule. God’s authority was supplanted by an authoritarian Rabbinocracy in which God had no say. Indeed, tradition has it that God was silenced and his opinion rejected as the rabbis sat to determine the meaning of the biblical text.

Today Israel has followed the logical path outlined by such presumption. The choice is presented as between secular humanism and blind obedience to a tradition as interpreted by the rabbis, and the majority has chosen the former.

The church has likewise repeatedly departed from its biblical moorings and degenerated into liberalistic humanism, a means by which man obtains merit, or a form of blind obedience to traditional practices and doctrines expounded from the pulpit. Many of the historic churches have chosen the latter option. Common evangelicalism has chosen the second. The majority, disappointed by both, has chosen the first.

 Yes, common evangelical thought and practice assumes a kind of meritocracy which affirms that Jesus did much but the rest is up to us. This is expressed in many ways. Some affirm that God would dearly love to save every single human individual, but his good will is stymied by man’s independence. His sovereignty has to do with everything but man’s freedom to choose. Election is man choosing God, God foreseeing that choice, and then running ahead of man and choosing him first. Others affirm that evangelism, prayer and fasting, Bible study, self-denial or other such commendable activities are the means by which Christian ascend the ladder of spirituality and secure their final arrival at heaven’s gates.

 Few today have more than a mediocre understanding of the Faith. They prefer “practical” sermons, shallow evangelistic appeals, mega-churches in which their emotions are stirred while their minds are ignored and where there is no clear call to holiness in life, the fear of God, repentance and the forsaking of sin. People come to church to be petted, pampered, encouraged and taught to feel good about themselves. Hence the popularity of preachers such as Joel Olsteen, Mark Driscoll and the like.

 The church has refused the discomfort of truly prophetic ministries, or of congregational life in which men of all races and cultures mix. We prefer the cultural and linguistic ghettos in which our practice is never challenged and our assumptions never questioned, so that we are not called upon to change except in the direction of our cherished prejudices. We separate into congregations and clusters to which only those who agree with us are allowed to enter, and then love fellow-Christians over the fences our self-love has erected – until we divide again because some area of disagreement has been discovered.

 We are in desperate need of reformation. We desperately need to return to the word of God and to re-examine the best of our traditions, Confessions, practices, polity and systematizations, lest our fear of God our Savior be the fruit of human traditions rather than of the mighty, truthful, powerfully living word of God, which is able to save and sanctify us to the glory of him for whose sake we were created, redeemed and assured glorification. 

 

MaozViews, March 2017 -- Socail, Political and Spiritual Trends in Israel

https://www.dropbox.com/s/o2rgcft2x6sran4/MaozViews%20March%202017%20Social%2C%20Political%20and%20Spiritual%20Trends%20in%20Israel.pdf?dl=0

March 21, 2017

ISRAEL'S EXISTENTIAL THREAT: THE OCCUPATION

Gili Cohen  Ha’Aretz March 22, 2017 12:02 PM 

Former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo asserted on Tuesday that the Israeli occupation and the conflict with the Palestinians are the only existential threat facing Israel.

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“Israel has chosen not to choose, hoping the conflict will resolve itself – perhaps the Arabs will disappear, maybe some cosmic miracle will happen,” Pardo told a conference at the Netanya Academic College. “One day we will become a binational state because it will be impossible to untie the Gordian knot between the two peoples. That is not the way to decide.”

 

Pardo stated: “Israel has one existential threat. It is a ticking time bomb. We chose to stick our head in the sand, creating a variety of external threats. An almost identical number of Jews and Muslims reside between the sea and the Jordan. The non-Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria live under occupation. This is Israel's definition, not mine. The law in this territory is as we have made it, a military justice system that is subject to the authority of the Israel Defense Forces.”

He said that despite the full withdrawal from Gaza, responsibility for the territory remains in Israel’s hands. “Israel is responsible for the humanitarian situation, and this is the place with the biggest problem in the world today,” he said.

Pardo added: “Israel must deal with the demographic reality and [decide] which state we want to be. Life with alternative facts harbors a disaster for the Zionist vision. The key to saving the state requires brave leadership.”

 

March 16, 2017

For those interested, the following is our March-August 2017 itinerary:

March 27 Saturday depart for/arrive in Seattle WA.

April 1-2 Saturday - Sunday

AM Port Angeles WA

PM Bothell WA

 April 7 Friday flight to Baltimore, drive to Camp Hill

 April 8 Saturday Al Herman

 April 8-9 Saturday-Sunday Media PA AM, PM

 April 16 Sunday

 AM Mount Carmel PA

 PM RB Camp Hill

 April 19 Wednesday– Mebane NC

 April 20-24 Thursday-Monday Louisville KY

 April 24-25 Monday- - Tuesday open for engagements

 April 25-26 Tuesday – Wednesday Knoxville TN

 April 26-27 Wednesday- Thursday open for engagements

 April 28-May 1 Friday - Monday Hartsville TN

 May 1-4 Monday-Thursday Atlanta GA

 May 4- 6 Thursday- Saturday Tallahassee FL

 May 6– 7 Saturday - Sunday Gainesville FL

 AM OPC

 PM Luzt FL

 May 8 Monday Newly formed church

 May 9-15 Tuesday - Monday Birmingham AL

 AM Reformed Baptist

 PM Briarwood Presbyterian

 May 15-19 Monday – Saturday New Orleans Details to follow

May 19-22 Friday – Monday Cinton LA

 May 22 Monday Shreveport LA

May 23 -25 Tuesday - Thursday Pasadena TX

May 25-26 Thursday – Friday open for engagements

 May 26-29 Friday – Monday Fort Hood TX

 30- 31May El Paso TX

 May 31 – June 8 Wednesday – Thursday Phoenix AZ

 MAY 1 Wednesday OPC PM

 June 2-3 Friday - Saturday Show Low AZ

 June 3 Saturday Gilbert AZ

 June 4 AM Mesa AZ

 PM Gilbert AZ

 June 7 Wednesday Prescott AZ

 June 8 Thursday San Diego

 Friday June 9 Los Angeles

 June 10-12 Saturday – Monday Visalia CA

Monday June 12 Sacramentoopen for engagements

 June 13-15 Tuesday – Thursday Sacramento

 June 15-July 5 Thursday – Saturday Seattle WA

 Sunday June 18 PM Emmanuel Reformed Baptist

 AM Kirkland WA

  PM Issaquah WA

 July 6-7 Thursday- Friday Post Falls, ID

 July 7-8 Friday-Saturday Worland WY

 July 8-10 Saturday - Monday Powell WY

 July 10- 11 Monday - Tuesday Leith North Dakota

 July 11-12 Tuesday - Wednesday Minneapolis MN open for engagements

 July 12-13 Wednesday - Thursday Waukesha WI

 July 13-15 Thursday – Saturday Bloomington IN

 July 15-17 Saturday - Monday Grand Rapids MI

 Am Reformed Baptist Jeffrey 09:30

 PM Rev. Heritage Reformed

 July 17- 18 Monday – Tuesday Datron OH

July 19-20 Wednesday – Thursday Dayton OH

&n

The Recent MaozNews
MaozNews No. 109, March 2017

to access, click below
 

In This Issue:

The Scene in Israel, pg. 1

Ministry and Family News, pg. 3

 

Breaking News

Fighting Iran's Ambitions in Syria, Israel Risks Angering Russia

Israel plans mass evacuation if war erupts again

A visual guide to the demons that spooked the Jews of Babylon

Ex-Mossad Chief Says Occupation Is Israel's Only Existential Threat

Israeli Ministry Trying to Compile Database of Citizens Who Support BDS

House With Phallic Amulets, Frescoes Found in Northern Israel

Israeli-made astronaut radiation shield set for moon mission trial

In an Israeli warehouse, clues about Jesus’ life and death

War Against ISIS and Syrian Kurds' Aspirations Could Spark Another Civil War

Explained: Why does it seem like Israel is always having a new election?

Israel's Growing Tensions With Syria, Lebanon and Hamas Leave Little Room for Maneuvering

Archaeologists Find the Last Hideout of the Jewish Revolt in Jerusalem

Before Islam: When Saudi Arabia Was a Jewish Kingdom

Second Monumental Arch of Titus Celebrating Victory over Jews Found in Rome

The winds of war are blowing on Israel’s borders

Haredi coalitionists enraged at PM’s Shabbat meet

On His First Visit to the Middle East, Trump’s Envoy Jason Greenblatt Surprises Everyone

THE MOSCOW-WASHINGTON MIDEAST TANGO

DISPATCH FROM MOSUL: THE BATTLE TO CLEAR AN ISIS STRONGHOLD

1967 | The Six-Day War was a watershed in Middle Eastern history

1967 | The Six-Day War and Israeli society: an interview with Yossi Klein Halevi

1967 | As long as the Arab world views Israel as a temporary aberration to be conquered, Israel will stand fast

Trump Middle East envoy meets Palestinian leader Abbas

$900,000 AWARDED TO ISRAELI-AMERICAN MOBILE VIDEO TECH PARTNERSHIP

REVOLUTIONARY GUARD COMMANDER: HEZBOLLAH MORE PREPARED THAN EVER TO ATTACK ISRAEL

ANALYSIS: PALESTINIAN ISSUE PUTS JORDANIAN-ISRAELI PEACE ON ICE

Israel Police Fail to Charge Offenders in 95% of Reported anti-Palestinian Attacks

FORMER JORDANIAN SOLDIER AHMAD DAQAMSEH, MURDERER OF SEVEN ISRAELI SCHOOLGIRLS, UPON RELEASE: ISRAELIS ARE "HUMAN GARBAGE" THAT MUST BE REMOVED "BY BURNING OR BURYING"

Intel Buying Mobileye in Biggest Ever Deal in Israeli High-tech

Israel's Gaza Island Mystery: Everyone Seems to Be on Board but Netanyahu

MIGRATING STARLINGS SWOOP OVER SOUTHERN ISRAEL

ARCHEOLOGISTS DISCOVER 2,000-YEAR-OLD ‘EMPEROR’S ROAD’ NEAR BEIT SHEMESH

High art: Historic aerial shots of pre-state Israel revealed

Two filmmakers scoured the globe for last Ben-Gurion interview, before finding it in Israeli desert

Monumental Carved Dolmen More Than 4,000 Years Old Found in Golan Rewrites History of Civilization

Netanyahu offered opposition leader to push together for regional peace initiative – and then backtracked

CAN 250 ISRAELI GENERALS BE WRONG?

Israeli medical innovations to be presented

Shame on the Silent Christian Leaders Who Refuse to Stand Against Government Tyranny

ISRAELI SHOOTS, KILLS TERRORIST DURING ATTACK IN FAMILY HOME

ONE EYE ON HAMAS WHILE DOING THE DISHES IN NETIV HA’ASARA

Israel Quietly Begins Exporting Natural Gas to Jordan Amid Political Sensitivities

Israel Demolishes Settler Homes Built on Private Palestinian Land

In Last Monologue, Israeli Comedy Show Host Implores Israelis to Wake Up and Smell the Apartheid

State and religion in Israel: An interview with Elazar Stern

CHRISTIANS FEAR FOR THEIR LIVES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Days of Terror and Defiance for U.S. Jewish Parents as Bomb Threats Force Toddlers Out of Classrooms

Leaping to West Coast: 29 Bomb Threats Against Jewish Targets Across U.S. in Fifth Wave

Mounting Threats Against Jews Leave Security Expert Baffled and Concerned

ISRAELI HOSPITAL TREATS FIRST PALESTINIAN FOR UNIQUE BRAIN CONDITION

The Syrian War Shakeout Is Changing the Mideast’s Balance of Power

Ignoring Forecasts of Its Demise, Palestinian Authority Develops Six-year Policy Plan

Afghan toddler undergoes live-saving surgery in Israel

The untold story of the Jews forced to work in Nazi death factories

How Jewish artists reclaimed Jesus as their own

Who Really Started the 1948 War and When

The Arab Commander Who Lost the 1948 War: Hero or Failure?

Isaac Herzog Details His 10-point Plan for Israeli-Palestinian Peace

SECRET LETTERS REVEAL NAZI DEATH CAMP HORRORS

Two States, One State, No State

At Secret Aqaba Summit, Netanyahu Offered Construction Freeze Outside Settlement Blocs

'Hezbollah might have game-changing naval missiles'

Egypt Got the Economics Right, and Will Pay Dearly for It

Seize the Moment – Build a New Regional Paradigm

Haredi IKEA catalogue is a no-ma'am's land

Syrian forces used chemical weapons in final push for Aleppo

Hamas’ new leader in Gaza: A radical and a militant

The AG’s war to protect Israeli democracy

Ancient Judean Jar Handles Prove the Earth's Magnetic Field Won't Kill Us All

Syrian Women Who Fled Civil War Find Refuge at Center Opened by U.K. Jewish Group in Turkey

Israel's President on Land-grab Law: We Will Look Like an Apartheid State

As the world keeps silent in light of Syria massacre, Israel must act

'Orgy of murder': The Poles who 'hunted' Jews and turned them over to the Nazis

A day with wounded Syrian kids hospitalized in Israel

In Iraq, the U.S. Invests, ISIS Loses and Iran Gains

Returning Jihadis: A Generational Threat

The Six-Day War was a watershed in Middle Eastern history

Fair-weather fighters: ISIS jihadists claim headaches, bad backs to get out of battle, documents show

Most Israelis Against Exploiting 'Friendlier' White House to Expand Settlements, Poll Shows

Assad Has Killed 13,000 in Mass Hangings Since Syrian Uprising Began, Amnesty Says

2.6 million tweets of hate

Explained: Israel's New Palestinian Land-grab Law and Why It Matters

Israel Passes Contentious Palestinian Land-grab Bill in Late Night Vote

'Jews belong in the ovens' written on NYC subway

Desalination Problems Begin to Rise to the Surface in Israel

BEHIND THE LINES: THE MIRAGE OF THE MIDEAST’S ‘MODERATE’ ALLIANCE

Settlements and 'The Ultimate Deal': Trump's Surprising Statement on Israel in Context

Peoples of the Bible: The legend of the Amorites

Milky Way galaxy is being pushed across the universe

UK WATCHDOG: 2016 HAD HIGHEST-EVER LEVELS OF ANTISEMITISM

Donald Trump Is The First President To Turn Postmodernism Against Itself

Rights groups provide jihad with free services

Mystery of Galactic Hyperspeed Cracked: It's the Universe's Imperfection

How an unknown monumental palace rewrites ancient Greek history

SpaceIL achievement: Israel is getting close to the moon

The Dangers of Annexing the West Bank

Hatikva at Bergen-Belsen

200,000 survivors left in Israel

Being a second-class citizen in Israel

The hateful whispers that make me want to move from London to Tel Aviv

Justifying Israel: An interview with Chaim Gans

'LAST LETTERS FROM THE HOLOCAUST' DISPLAYED IN YAD VASHEM PROJECT

Brothers in Arms - but Not to the Grave

PALESTINIAN CLERIC SAMEEH HAJAJ EXPLAINS WIFE-BEATING IN ISLAM: NOT ON THE FACE, NO MORE THAN 10 BLOWS, AVOID PERMANENT MARKS

Russian Octopus Reaches Beyond Syria

How Israel Went From Atheist Zionism to Jewish State

Israeli Intel Warns Netanyahu Against Pushing Trump to Undo Iran Deal

ARCHAEOLOGISTS UNEARTH ANCIENT COPPER-SMELTING SITE DATING TO KING DAVID

Water deal reached between Israel and Palestinians

Paris peace conference: Wrong message, wrong time, wrong place

How the 'Israeli Arab' was created

Two-thirds of Israelis Still Back Two-state Solution, J Street Poll Finds

A Jewish girl's pendant was found at a Nazi camp - and now Yad Vashem is looking for her relatives

SYRIAN PATIENTS LEAVE MARK ON STAFF AS THEY RECOVER AT ISRAELI HOSPITAL

Why Nationalist and Jewish Orthodoxy Are Taking Over Israel

Board game and luxuries discovered in Crusader castle in the Galilee

Archaeologists find vast pagan sanctuary outside Roman city in north Israel

Archaeologists Debunk Myth: Human Brain Evolution Didn't Cause Our Teeth to Shrink

Israel's 'flying car' passenger drone moves closer to delivery

Ancient Jerusalem Road Hints at Possible Reason for Jewish Revolt Against Rome

An archeological mystery and the search for King David

The best archaeological finds in Israel of 2016

PLO official: Overall message of Kerry speech welcome, but parameters unacceptable

Abbas: Willing to resume peace talks if Israel freezes settlements

Netanyahu tells Kerry: Israel doesn't need to be lectured about peace by foreign leaders

FULL TRANSCRIPT: Kerry Blasts Israeli Government, Presents Six Points of Future Peace Deal

Stone wall from First Temple period destroyed by rains in Israel 

Israeli missile alert technology saves lives in Chile

Israeli youth collecting winter supplies for Syrian kids

Palestinian land owner preparing to take settlers to ICC

Jaw Dropping: Lab-Grown Bones Successfully Transplanted In 11 Jaws

US consistent against settlements — and against UN as appropriate venue 

Full text of US envoy Samantha Power’s speech after abstention on anti-settlement vote

Too Many Israelis Don’t Properly Understand Democracy

Understanding the UN Resolution on Israeli Settlements: What Are the Immediate Ramifications?

Jesus sites in Jerusalem: Are they real?

The War on Christmas Opens a New Front in Jerusalem Hotels

Netanyahu to Amona: I Feel Your Pain, I Was Kicked Out After '99 Election - to Sheraton Plaza

Israeli University Rabbi Forbids Jews From Entering Student Union Due to Christmas Tree

Former Mideast diplomat decries Trump envoy’s "Kapo" labeling of J Street.

Rare coin from King Antiochus’s rule discovered in Jerusalem

Oldest-known Images of Hanukkah Menorahs: Not What We Know Today

New Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments Found in Judean Desert

In Israel, Settlers of Amona Come Before Fighting Poverty

More and more land, less of a state

Obama Admits He's Unwilling to Pay a Price to Save Aleppo

The Fall of Aleppo Signals the Dishonorable Decline of the West

Israelis raise half a million NIS for Syrian children

Israeli Reservists Demand to Be Sent to Help Wounded Syrians

Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei Explains the Chant "Death to America" 

Saudi Writer Khaled Mushawah Calls For Reexamination of Islamic Concepts: Our Understanding of the Meaning of Jihad Is Stagnant 

Aleppo Massacre: Assad Is Only Getting Started

Head of MI6: Britain faces 'fundamental threat to sovereignty from Russian meddling'

Million-Year-Old 'Hero Bug' Emerges From Cave

Bill Banning non-Orthodox Services at Western Wall Submitted to Knesset

Egypt- Between International Stardom and Dignified Survival

Comment: Why is the Middle East so disappointed with Obama?

Israel’s responsible adult

Supreme Court president warns: Majority's decision is not necessarily democratic

Expert claims inscriptions from Egyptian exodus proves Hebrew is world’s oldest alphabet 

American media need psychotherapy

Arab IDF soldier: 'I love this country and want to contribute'

Were the Israeli fires arson terror claims premature and exaggerated?

How the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Affects the Brains of Arabs and Jews

Iraq's Fight Against ISIS Is Prologue to Its Next Bloody Civil War

Israeli Startup Reports Successful Transplant of Lab-grown Bones

Divers find unexpected Roman inscription from the eve of Bar-Kochba Revolt

70 C.E.: The Roman Siege of Jerusalem Ends

Shiraz Maher | Mapping contemporary Salafi-Jihadism

Returning Jihadis: A Generational Threat

The reality of women in combat roles

Analysis Syrian Rebels Can Blame America for Loss of Aleppo

Israel's Biggest Threat Is 'Nationalistic' Demon of Netanyahu, Former PM Barak Says 

Vast Majority of Jews Don’t Want Rabbis Deciding if They’re Jewish, Survey Shows

Analysis Unprecedented Clash With ISIS Could Open a Dangerous New Front for Israel 

Analysis: The battle for Mosul and the rearrangement of the Middle East 

Divers uncover world's oldest harbor, in Red Sea

4000-year-old version of Rodin's 'Thinker' found in Israel

Why I find the black community's response to Trump's election a little embarrassing

With All Hospitals Out of Action, Syrians in East Aleppo Are 'Left to Die'

Why regulation must be limited to settlement blocs

Analysis Middle Eastern States Fight Each Other Like There's No ISIS

Egyptian Human Rights Activist Hany Elsadek in Defense of Hitler

The Demise of Totalitarian Liberalism

Gold, silver offering to the gods 3,600 years ago found in Canaanite Gezer

Amidror: Still against deal, but Iran’s recovery slower than expected

Iran deal violation: Sign of emboldened country... or simply more transparency?

Operation Wedding in the Sky

US-Israeli clean-tech projects get $4 million boost

WHO: Israel's field hospital best in world 

ISIS Expands Its Reach and Finds New Recruits in Pakistan

Archaeologists find 'snapshot' of 4,500-year-old Canaanite citadel's last hours

The Best Two Minutes You’ll Hear On Tv All Year About The Presidential Election

Analysis: Showtime for the Egyptian president

Behind the lines: Syria’s interlocking conflicts

The Palestinian Economy: On Artificial Respiration

 Watch: No Place on Earth (2012) 

 Is Evangelical Worship Headed for a Huge Crash?

Analysis U.S. Caught in a Vise Before Battle for Mosul Even Begins

World is silent, except when it comes to Israel

Iran Slams UN Human Rights Council for Electing Saudi Arabia as a Member

So was it David who killed Goliath?

Looking for the light in the dark: A Holocaust survivor's story

The Kurdish battle for Mosul, and independence

Parts of Bible Were Written in First Temple Period, Say Archaeologists

Yemen food crisis leaves millions at risk of starving

Papyrus With Earliest Hebrew Mention of Jerusalem Likely Fake, Experts Say

Iraqi forces marching toward bloodbath with ISIS: Special report from the Mosul front lines

Mostly Children Among 26 Killed in Airstrike on School in Syria, Medics Say

Papyrus With Earliest Ex-bible Hebrew Mention of Jerusalem Is Revealed

Israel Displays First Temple-era Pottery Found on Temple Mount

The inconvenient reality behind the long, messy battle for Mosul: a special report

This Day in Jewish History 1946: Nazi Doctors Are Indicted

Insight: Egyptians losing patience with Sisi

Lieberman: If Hamas forces war on us, it will be their last

Israeli Discovery May Help Ward Off Famine 

Analysis: Which Iraq will triumph in Mosul? 

Visiting the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, no time machine necessary

Do You Like Poison Spray on Your Fruit? Israel, EU Collaborating to Reduce That

Previously unknown Canaanite revolt against Egypt revealed in ancient Jaffa

Uncovered Ancient City Wall in Jerusalem Tells Story of Great Jewish Revolt

Trump Supporters Tweet Naziesque Death Threats to Jewish Women Writers

Analysis: A new crack in the Sunni bloc?

B'Tselem's disgraceful appearance at the UN

Opinion B'Tselem Head: Why I Spoke Against the Occupation at the UN

The Forgotten Story of 'Gertrude of Arabia,' Who Created Modern Iraq

The Universe Has Almost 10 Times More Galaxies Than We Thought

Recently released IDF soldiers combine volunteer work with world travel

When Putin decided to help Assad

Opinion How the Environment Can Bridge the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse

The art of occupation, according to Israeli General Gadi Shamni

West Bank soccer team honors Ammunition-Hill terrorist

Chief rabbi calls Syrian conflict ‘Holocaust,’ urges action

Israeli-designed Bacteria Could Help Solve World's Gigantic Plastic Problem

As Vehicles Go High-tech, Israel’s in the Driver’s Seat

For whom the bell tolls: Listen to the sound of the Temple high priest's coattails

Victory of Orthodox Judaism is everyone’s defeat

Jerusalem City Budget for Houses of Worship Goes Only to Synagogues

Opinion Israel Has Overcome Every Threat, Except the One From Within

Opinion Russia Is Fated to Lose the War in Syria; We Should Let It

Opinion Needed: A 'Secularism Officer' for Israel's Army

The banker who used Nazis to help save Jews

Ultra-Orthodox crowds verbally abuse Haredi soldiers

The sickness of narrative thinking

Ad Informing El Al Female Passengers They Don't Have to Switch Seats Rejected by Port Authority

A Synagogue in Every Precinct and Rabbi-approved Pens: Israel Cops Get Religion

The Holocaust train that led Jews to freedom instead of death

International conference promotes Israel as a leader in multiple sclerosis research

Obama’s US failing the test of power

We will win, together

Analysis Putin Will Stop at Nothing to Increase Mideast Influence at U.S.' Expense

A former spy chief is calling on Israelis to revolt

I'm black and I'm afraid of black men

Obama says goodbye in Hebrew: Shimon, toda raba haver yakar

The best of Israel archaeology in 5776

Ancient Toilet Reveals the Unique Way the Judeans Fought Idol-worship

Gate shrine from First Temple period unearthed at Tel Lachish National Park

Why So Many Children Are Being Killed in Aleppo

Shimon Peres, 1923-2016: From nuclear pioneer to champion of peace

Global agtech investors find 'rich pipeline of opportunities' in Israel

New Israeli tech sees machines leading the blind

Love, Unity and No Women Singers at Yom Kippur Concert in Tel Aviv

Alternative wedding revolution underway in Israel

Kerry: Israel and Palestinians Headed for Binational State, World Must Act or Shut Up

Scientists Prevent Breast Cancer Spread, in Mice

Rare High Priests stone weight from Second Temple period found in Jerusalem

Opinion Israel as We Know It Has Less Than a Decade Left

Opinion Begin and My Father Had the Courage to Be Real Leaders. Netanyahu Hasn't

He

Testimonials

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

For more, see below.

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TAX-deductable support for our ministry should be written to the order of Berean Baptist church, P.O. Box 1233, Grand Blanc, Michigan48480-3233. Direct bank transfers may be made to Franklin Bank, 24725 West Twelve Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48034 USA, Routing Number 241271957 Berean Baptist Special Account No. 567495976.

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