Privilege and Disadvantage

It is wrong for a person to be disadvantaged due to the color of their skin.  This is the cry of the Critical Race people on the injustice of white privilege.  Does it exist?  Yes, in court sentencing until recently (amazingly Trump acted to right this), in how police treat black young men in comparison to whites, in educational opportunity, and more.  However, there are circumstances where blacks may be more privileged as when a black is accepted to a top-flight university instead of a higher-performing Asian, or in being raised in a sports culture, especially basketball.  The well-known player in his day, Enos Country Slaughter, was amazed that he could lead a life making a salary at a game he loved, baseball.  In Basketball the pro-players all would be rich with the right financial discipline and investment.  That is a great privilege.  However, having said all that, I do believe that black skin is generally a disadvantage and white skin an advantage.  But it is overly stressed since it is not determinative.  Dark Indian immigrants do very well.  It is not as in the days of Jim Crow a barrier that cannot be overcome.  Those some whites will hire those who “look like and act like me” others really seek diversity.  I don’t think there are clear stats to know how this is breaking down. However, I want to talk about another issue of advantages and disadvantages through the lens of my life and then speak of some applications.  

My Jewish father died before I was 9 years old.  That was a terrible disadvantage.  I watched my mother who cried and grieved daily for years.  That also was a disadvantage.  However, my father left my mother a good sum in inheritance. He was a successful Wall Street broker.  That was a great advantage.  We never lacked food or clothing and grew up living in a large lovely home without a mortgage.  We all went to very good public schools in Northern New Jersey.  That was an advantage, a great privilege.  I became amazingly fat and was greatly rejected in elementary school to high school until I was 15.  I had few friends.  It was a terrible disadvantage.  Normal-looking thin people were so much more privileged.  Yet when I was 12 ½ I was drawn to God and went to Church.  This was connected to my Norwegian roots.  My Uncle was on the board of Billy Graham’s organization and an elder in the church where I attended. I prayed to accept Jesus.  Then I went to summer camp and dedicated my life to Jesus.  I also had friends at camp that accepted me.  After this, though at times my weight, connected to thyroid issues, gave me depression, I was yet mostly optimistic.  I had this deep conviction or certainty that my life would be good, and I would succeed because God was with me.  I did lose weight when I was 15.  Acceptance was not a big issue anymore though I was not cool.  I had two strong friends in the secular school and a few in the church youth group.  The family funds were enough to pay for Wheaton College and graduate school.  What a privilege this was!  I look back on the anti-Semitism of my grandparent’s era, living in the poor area of the Lower East Side of New York, but somehow, they made it financially, and I am so privileged that they did.  After a time of depression and doubt, God provided a spiritual father, an amazing man who nurtured me back to faith.  What a privilege to be loved and mentored by Wheaton’s Chaplain Evan Welsh. 

God has a good calling intended for all, but these callings are not equal.  To prevent a good destiny is a central meaning of injustice. (Destiny prevention) However, I have other thoughts.  This is for believers.  Paul notes that in the Body we should take care of those members who are especially not as beautiful or seemingly important just as we take care of the less presentable parts of our bodies.  Do note the many issues of disadvantage, not just black skin.  Those who are beautiful in form are given preferences in hiring, marriage prospects, and social advantages.  Ever notice how the women look on Fox news?  Yet, this can come with challenges. I sometimes think the middling people, not greatly beautiful or ugly but middling, not rich but not poor but well supplied, maybe more well-adjusted.  Each of us is called by God to make the most of what God has provided, for we all have advantages and privileges and disadvantages.  Those who were raised in loving two-parent families with a father and mother who loved each other show amazing privilege.  This may be the number one predictor of success.  Lastly, I mention the disadvantages of mental and physical handicaps, autism, genetic deformities, crippling from accidents or even from birth.  

The job of the Body of Messiah is to provide communities of love where those who are disadvantaged are well-loved and from that love, and healing can go on to succeed in life as God has called them. The emphasis of the Gospel is toward the disadvantaged; those who are marginalized.  With the power of the Spirit, all can come into the most amazing privilege and success.  All have a purpose in Him.  

What is God Like

In our last article, we argued that life on earth including human life can only be explained by intelligent design or that there is a designer who brought about our world. This is the overwhelming conclusion of most cultures.  Ancient China had the concept of the will of heaven and living in accord with the order of heaven.  Other cultures describe the gods in the plural as being the source of life on earth.  Maybe gods are eternal or maybe not.  The gods usually have one at the head of their company.  India posited Brahmin as the ultimate god idea but one that is left vague with lesser gods having great sway on earth. Native Americans speak of the Great Spirit and a happy life after death for good people. Africans worship many gods but sometimes perceive an ultimate god above all but only a few tribes seek to relate to him and not only the lesser gods.  Judaism and Christianity see God as ultimately good and loving.  

The dilemma is, what can be known about God or the realm of divinity without God revealing himself in acts and speech?  We now want to look at what can be known about God or the Divine realm without the revelation that is in the Bible.  In Acts 17 in Paul’s preaching, we are told that from one original human couple all peoples were created and given boundaries that they might grope after God and perhaps find him.  Indeed, this groping after seems universal. In addition, some cultures seem to fall into worshipping dark powers, sacrifice human beings on altars, eat other human beings, and do evil that is hard to comprehend, though in our own recent past terrible evil has been done, such as by the Nazis in killing six million Jews or Stalin in Russia starving from ten to thirty million.  Part of the motive was evil religious ideas. We return to our original question.  

Human beings find themselves in a world of great beauty and wonderful experiences.  Human love between men and women, the birth of children, the joy of nature, animals both pets and wild animals, flowers, sports, art, music, friendship shout that God or the divine is good and loving and pours out good gifts on us.  On the other hand, human beings know terrible pain, disease, suffering, death, war, terrible evil done by some against others, natural disasters, floods, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, droughts, accidents, and more.  This mixture of the wonderful and the terrible has led to three main theories or responses from those who believe that our universe is designed.  The first is Deism.  Yes, there is God, and He created the universe.  It was something He was interested in doing.  But He does not care about people and is uninvolved.  He created our capacities but left them all up to us and the forces of nature.  It is as if God created a clock wound it up and then released it to run on its own.  The other theory is dualism, that there are really two gods, the good and the evil god.  The ancient religious philosopher Manni in Persia put forth this view, hence called Manichaeanism.   The good comes from the good god and the evil from the evil god.  The great science fiction series Star Wars gets close to this idea, the good side of the Force and the dark side.  When they say they can experience the empowerment of the Force, it is the good side of the Force and they say, “May the Force be with you.”  But one can go over to the dark side of the Force.  The third response is to say it is too mysterious.  Yes, we see the Divine, but we see such good and such evil, that it is an ultimate mystery.  We cannot know, but this existence is an illusion (Buddhism). Hindus believe that the good and evil experienced in this life are a matter of just deserts due to our past lives and sins. If we pursue goodness, eventually we escape the wheel of reincarnation birth and death and enter the eternal realm of bliss with no more suffering. 

So, where does this leave us? I think a few more comments are in order.  First, the idea of one ultimate God is a more credible idea than two gods or many.  This is because we experience one universe.  The universe is an integrated whole and does not look like a multiverse with many different not integrated parts running on its own.  We are not a multiverse, but a universe.  Science discovers scientific laws that apply to the whole universe, from Mars to the farthest galaxy.  The basic elements are the same on that famous chart of the elements and the discoveries of physics not only of the atom but sub-atomic realities apply to the whole universe. So the designer behind the universe would be an ultimate unity.

So, we conclude that there is one ultimate God.  However, does God love us and is He good?  There is so much astonishing beauty and joy in living that it seems He is good when we focus on that.  But there is so much evil, pain and suffering that it seems He is not. This is called the problem of evil. Those who deny God’s goodness or even his existence due to evil and suffering (a truly foolish idea to deny design) have to deal with the problem of good.  How can there be no God of goodness with all the wonderful experiences in this life, all the good things in life? 

C. S. Lewis was one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century.  Children know of him through his children’s series, The Narnia Chronicles. Lewis put forth one more argument in his book Mere Christianity.  It was that our conscience that justifies us for good actions and condemns us for evil actions.  This is an important hint concerning the nature of the universe.  This is similar to Paul’s argument in Romans 1, 2.  Conscience is not a perfect guide, but it tells us that we are condemned or affirmed by a judge that is above us.  The judge is the Creator of the Universe.  This is strong evidence that God is good and cares about good and evil behavior.  However, is there an ultimate judgment beyond this life.  Many cultures have come to that conclusion. 

However, without biblical revelation, we just do not have enough information. 

Sukkot | Tabernacles

The sabbath rest of the first day of Sukkot/Tabernacles is now coming to an end.  We now celebrate the next six days as well but not as sabbath day rest days until the 8th day of rest, Shmini Atzeret. 

Messianic Jews and Christians who are zealous for a Jewish rooted (original context) understanding of their faith are familiar with the major Feasts and Holy Days.  Most know their historical meaning to ancient Israel, fulfillment in Yeshua, and last days and Age to Come symbolism.  I will not belabor this, but no doubt many of you see site after site and blog after blog teaching on this.  Here is a very brief review and then some new comments on what is not usually taught.

The Fall Feasts come on the seventh month of the biblical calendar.  It is the month of making perfect (as symbolized in the number 7).  The month begins with the sound of the Shofar.  It is called Rosh Hoshana due to the Rabbinic teaching that the universe began on this day. It is taught in Judaism, and I think it is likely, that the blowing of the Shofar is a clarion call to get ready and fully engage and prepare for the whole month.  We do see a foreshadowing of the trumpets of the judgments in the book of Revelation.  On the 10th day Yom Kippur is observed.  Confession of sin takes place, sin is forgiven and covered (kippur).  Of course Yeshua, our High Priest, fulfilled the meanings and brought His own blood into the most Holy Place.  The day looks forward to the general repentance of Israel and the nations where repentance will take place and His Yom Kippur/Passover atonement will be applied more fully to the whole world.

Sukkot is a festival of the final harvest of the year.   It is also the largest harvest.  We are to dwell in makeshift dwellings and remember our time in the desert before entering the promised Land.  This is to remind us that God provided in the desert and that our provision comes from Him.   However, it also looks forward to the Kingdom of God being in full manifestation on Earth.  After the last wars, the nations will enter the Kingdom of God and send representatives to the Feast, including all who battled against Israel and survived.  We are therefore commanded to rejoice during the week of the Feast.  This was the Feast in which Yeshua proclaimed himself the Light of the World.   The context may have been the candle lighting ceremonies in the Temple.  Also, he proclaimed himself the Water of Life.  “If any man thirst let him come to me and drink.”

The rejoicing on Sukkot would have especially been an enhanced rejoicing every seventh year, the Sabbatical Year, and the 50th year, the Jubilee Year.  First on the Sabbatical year, all debts were canceled.  All who were indebted were given a new start. This is an amazing law.  It influenced American law so that one can declare bankruptcy and be released from debt every seventh year.  All who fell into need and debt would have a new start, a clean slate.  Also, the land was to lie fallow and be renewed.  God promised that if Israel acted in faith, the sixth year harvest and what grew naturally would be so abundant, there would be no lack.  Such a law could only be possible by supernatural provision by faith obedience.  As a principle of agriculture, we know that land renewal is so important and fields must have fallow years.  The Feast of Sukkot therefore would produce much greater rejoicing in the sabbatical year.

The Jubilee Year was much greater than the Sabbatical Year.  Not only was debt canceled.  That happened in 7th Sabbatical year in the cycle, the 49th year, but the 49th year led to the 50th where land was redistributed.  All who had to sell their land now received it back.  The land returns to the family owners, even if the leader of the family who lost it had died. Since in an agricultural society great wealth is in the Land, the restoration of the Land in this way precluded an ensconced class of the very rich and those who would live on the land as serfs.

Yeshua proclaimed his ministry as a time of Jubilee and his announcement in Luke 4, that his ministry would reverse circumstances for the poor, the sick, the demonized, the grieving, the imprisoned and the abused, was an amazing announcement. It proclaimed liberty as the announcement on Yom Kippur on the Jubilee year.  “Proclaim Liberty throughout the Land” became the cry of the patriots in the American Revolutionary War and is inscribed on the Liberty Bell.  The goal of the Torah is amazing,  to see that all had provision and a store of wealth.

Alas, we are told in Jeremiah that Israel did not have faith to keep the Jubilee year. This raises other questions about economics.  The Bible allows for rich and poor in society, and gaining wealth in trade, production and more. It is not re-distributed.  But a part of the wealth is, that is the land. In the great debate between the most libertarian, the progressive Democrat and the Socialists is a great debate with a huge gap of the divide. For Libertarians, income taxes are a type of stealing.  The Democrats say that the rich need to pay their fair share (which percent is never defined and then the higher taxes end up being charged to the consumer in higher prices).  The socialists want to level wealth and income.  What a great gulf!  There is a middle ground, that the wealthy would pay for lifting the poor by providing job training, real education, and police protection so that the young would not turn to criminals for their advance.  Rather than the government doing so, I would like to see the incentives for taxes such that the rich have to give a percent that they choose to private programs that they believe are doing the best job with real results. Corporations can do job training and then hire.  This is more productive than paying for often worthless college experiences.

At any rate, let us rejoice this Sukkot.

Image source bit.ly/2ZcL89H 

A Patriots History of the United States

I wrote an article on my official page on Howard Zinn’s two histories of the United States, one the extensive one and one for high schools.  My daughter read these and alerted me to the fact that Zinn’s text was used in many high schools.  She said it was Neo-Marxist and presented a very dark history.  She said it explains why so many young adults today, college-age and after, are anti-American and not patriotic, not even in the way of support for the kind of qualified moderate patriotism I support.  I read Zinn and did an extensive review on my official Facebook page.  Yes, Zinn shows a lot of the dark side of the United States, but also exaggerates sometimes and ignores the good.  Thankfully he is critical of Stalin and the violence of the Soviet Union as a betrayal of Marx, but no nation who has followed Marx has not been violent and super oppressive.  Sad to see young people today turn to Marxism,  they are simply uneducated. Haven’t enough been slaughtered yet? From falsely seeing U. S. wealth connected to slavery (it was not so in the North), only giving limited place to the Christian fight against slavery (see Rodney Stark, For the Glory of God), and not showing how free enterprise has lifted more people, even poor people and even poor immigrants, millions of them, he presents a very skewed history.  Yes, he was right on the deep national sin of slavery, then Jim Crow, and then the terrible history with the Native Americans.  The Pilgrims and Puritans were presented in a negative and skewed way. Having read the biographies of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln and more, I know about how conflicted some were over slavery, but sadly the Virginia presidents still practiced it.  Adams is not covered adequately by Zinn, and he was very anti-slavery.  We cannot whitewash slavery.  But the revolution was not fought to keep the elite rich and only for them.  It was not fought to maintain slavery.  The Patriot history shows how false that claim is.  Washington did acquire land like crazy, but he also cared about the whole country.  Marxism colors Zinn’s whole presentation.  He cannot see the good, except for fighting the Nazis.  

Someone recommended the book A Patriots History of the United States by Larry Schwiekart and Michael Allen.  Both are serious tenured professors at major universities.  I wondered if this book would be a whitewash of America’s sins, but I found the presentation to be brilliant, conservative, honest, and even magisterial.  Schwiekart is a noted historian of business and economics.  He shows the great gains of free enterprise in lifting the population.  He shows the good of American exceptionalism and building a nation on an idea or ideas and the reasons for its strength.  Yet, he shows the exceptionally evil aspects of American history.  He blasts the compromise that led to Jim Crow and the giving up of enforcing the 14th amendment and equality in the South. He celebrates the Civil rights laws and Martin Luther King but shows how the Great Society gave wrong incentives and destroyed progress.  Brilliant!  His coverage of Vietnam was excellent.  It is not the received narrative that I rejected 40 years ago. 

I think there was one weakness in the book.  It did not adequately present the almost slave labor conditions for immigrant workers, especially Chinese, who were so abused in the 19th and early 20th century.  The railroad building abuse, the sweatshops  (this included many Jewish immigrants), and unsafe working conditions for women.  Amazing that state power was used to bust unions.  But Zinn even over covers that.  I am a supporter of Unions, but against public-sector unions as was Franklin Roosevelt.  Also, when labor is tight and skilled, wages go up without the need for unions.  However, they are needed for low-wage services especially. 

God help the United States for fostering anti-Americanism in our schools. At the same time, as followers of Yeshua (Jesus) let us be honest about the good and the bad.  Let us seek repentance for the bad when it was rooted in the churches, either in southern churches fostering evil or in the indifference in many of the white churches. 

The Great Loss of the Young Adult Generation to the Body of the Messiah

How is it possible that statistics say that the younger generation has been lost in droves to the Body of the Messiah? I don’t think the answers are difficult to find.  

The basic answer is that this generation in the deepest level of soul was formed much more by the secular world than by a culture of radical loyal followers of the Messiah.  Most parents allowed this generation to be raised by a public school system that does not respect biblical values in contradistinction to the time period when I was raised in public schools.  Teachers impart who they are.  Sometimes this includes demonic presence.  Our children were given at least 7 hours a day year after year.  Then they mostly attended secular higher education if they continued schooling.  The whole orientation and atmosphere were anti-biblical.  In addition, the young adult generation is the first generation raised on the internet.  Many found much anti-biblical content to influence them. However, there is another more insidious and hidden aspect.  Focus on the screen hour after hour produces for many an inability to focus and concentrate.  Brain physiologists and psychologists note a change in brain function and addictive behavior.  This produces an inability to read deeply or to appreciate the depth of truth, beauty, and goodness. Thomas Dubay in his great book, The Evidential Power of Beauty, one of the most profound books I have ever read, and an amazing apologetic for biblical faith, notes that beauty reveals God.  However, a jaded generation no longer can appreciate beauty on any deep level.  Their minds are dulled.  There is a lack of interest even in the beauties of sports, both participatory and spectator.  In summary, we did not produce a counterculture, but were blindsided and inadvertently allowed the world to raise our children.  

There are other reasons.  Did our children see and experience such a reality in God that it was difficult for them to deny it?  Did they witness real miracles?  Did they see an effective congregational life that brought deliverance to people according to the Luke 4:18 model of Yeshua and his Apostles where the marginalized are healed and freed?  Were they impressed with what the Church has done for the poor and marginalized?  Were they led into their own encounter with Yeshua and found that it was an unshakable reality?

So where do we begin?  First, the generation that seems lost can be awakened in revival.  Let us first repent for missing it and giving our children over to the world.  Let us pray and believe that Yeshua will reveal himself and awake the slumbering, for such is this generation of young adults, woke to deceptive philosophies of our age, but dead or asleep to the truth and reality of Yeshua. 

Secondly, let us now begin with what remains, those who are followers of Yeshua and raising young children.  We begin with preschool children.  Let us create a true counterculture including alternative schools, both private schools (as we did some 40 years ago) and home school consortiums.  Let us turn off the internet and have no unsupervised internet for minor children, and let us limit the time on the screen from none at all (yes, it is not necessary to do internet) to limited time.  Then let us create a reading culture in our families by reading great stories to our children, having them read great books, and discussing those books.  Let us give our children access to beauty, by trips in nature, camping, learning musical instruments, listening to great music, and seeing great art.  Let us center our lives on Bible reading, together and in personal devotions.  We can also take our children to venues where they will witness miracles and can see the reality of God’s interventions in amazing ways.  Let us lead them into being born again, immersed in the Spirit, and having a passionate relationship with God. 

When we speak about creating a counterculture, we are aware that the danger in so protecting our children that they will not be able to cope with the world.  We need much wisdom here.  Sufficient and guided understanding of the world, its teachings, its influence, and more is needed if our children are to be able to face this world with courage and not fall apart when exposed to it.  As children need to play in the dirt to develop their immune system, so sufficient guided exposure is needed if the children when they grow up will be able to face this world with courage and not be overwhelmed by it.  Yes, we need to educate our children about the world so they will not be overwhelmed.  We can raise a generation that for the most part will not abandon the faith. 

 

The Anti-Racist Church and its influence on civil society and public policy

Biblical Anti-Racism, Pt. II

CRT focuses on systemic racism but due to their leftist prejudices miss the social systems that really are fostering failure.  This is indeed very counter to what is being argued, but my views are in accord with most black conservatives that write much on this.   These views are the opposite of CRT solutions if there are such since there is such vagueness other than reparations, pouring more money into failed schools and redistribution of wealth (neo-Marxist solutions), and quotas in education and hiring.  One CRT proponent argued that right answers in math show white supremacy and are racist. Another argues that Medicare for all is anti-racist but rejecting this solution in health care is racist.  Now we get the point; not supporting socialist solutions is racist.

The embrace of cultural relativism by CRT is very destructive and will foster systemic disparity.  If there is no right answer in math or no objective evaluation of what is culturally healthy or destructive, then there is no path to success.

I am not hopeful that short of a massive religious revival that the policies presented here will prevail.  Leftists are seeking to move the society toward leveling, relativism, and mediocracy as the answer to disparities.

It should not be surprising that biblical-based solutions and conservative black ideas on solutions to race disparities are sometimes polls apart from the popularized CRT solutions if they do propose them.  This is not an exhaustive list.

  1. The restoration of the black family is a number one Bible-based anti-racist concern.  An intact marriage and family are the greatest predictor of economic success.  Therefore, welfare must be reformed to incentivize the father to marry and help raise his children.  Financial incentives for vocational training are also important. We should note that violating biblical law will not lead to prosperity.  This emphasis on family is rejected by CRT proponents who see it as a white value (note this fits Marxism).  As such CRT teaching is part of the systemic disparity problem!
  2. Public education is one of the most problematic centers of systematic racial disparity.  CRT people address education by seeking an end of testing or by more funding of failed schools.  Some of the worst examples of failure are in school systems in northern cities who graduate students who are illiterate.  Black parents have more clarity.  They want vouchers and charters.  They want competition in education and a choice.  Again, CRT people are leftists and pro-teachers unions.  This is a foundational systemic problem.  Every once and a while a largely black public school gets a principal who enforces discipline and educational standards.  It is amazing the positive change.  However, we now have several examples of Christian private schools educating the poorest from the black ghettos with an amazing success rate.
  3. Some CRT people argue that meritocracy is itself a white supremacist or white privilege idea.  It can be if not rightly applied and used as an excuse to not hire and promote qualified blacks.  However, it is obvious that people have to qualify or merit positions in society and prove their qualifications.  An engineer must prove applied math ability at a high level to be trusted to build buildings, bridges, and roads.  A surgeon like Ben Carson had to prove himself to become a top brain surgeon.  We cannot just snap our fingers and have equal outcomes without disparity.  Rather, only merit rightly applied in disciplined education can bring blacks into higher numbers into valued professions.  Even in the Bible, the builders of the Temple were highly qualified.  The Chinese and Japanese are very geared to rigorous education and merit.  It is how the Japanese built great industry.  Now we see such amazing performance among Koreans.  CRT people focus on America and ignore the progress of nations and the meritocracy that has been a key to progress in nations.  Non-meritocracy societies stagnate and foster poverty.

However, qualifications have to be justly applied.  An employer can use it as an excuse to hire a white instead of a black.  He or she can also pick the overqualified over against a fully qualified minority person.  I believe that hiring blacks who are qualified should be a social priority and unnecessary irrelevant matters of qualification should not be used whereby people are kept back.  The standard for a job needs to be reasonable.  Meritocracy rightly embraced is the way forward to black advance.  Those opposing it are fostering systemic racial disparity.  Not requiring performance in black schools is a key issue part of systemic disparity.  Replace hard learning in math and science with emotional learning will be devastating to black attainment

  1. Enterprise Zones, job training and mentoring are another key. Government incentives for businesses to locate in the black underclass neighborhoods are important.  For this to happen those neighborhoods must be safe.  CRT is not against this but hardly talks about safe neighborhoods.
  2. Housing affordability and investment corruption is another issue.  Investment companies are driving up the cost of housing by buying vast tracts of houses and then making a profit by driving up prices. There must be some regulation against this.  A large supply of houses is key to keep prices low both for purchase and renting.
  3. Massive police presence and the elimination of gang violence and guns and drugs is important.  This is the opposite of Black Lives Matter and CRT who only seem concerned about a tiny fraction of police killings of innocent unarmed blacks while many are slaughtered in crime. However, it is in agreement with black residents of poor neighborhoods.  There needs to be such massive police presence that gun and drug crime in the black and Hispanic neighborhoods become largely impossible.  The police have to be trained for good relationships in those communities.  This will take a large investment.  It was done in New York under the previous administrations.  Only then can investment be made by businesses in these communities.
  4. Fighting drugs is crucial.  Generous but legal immigration is very important as part of this since gangs and drugs like fentanyl are so destructive to those who take it and is a part of the drug wars in the cities.  China is a huge offender.  Black lives are being destroyed by the drug trade.
  5. We can face the truth that is objectively proven about past discrimination, but many of the claims for our own day have been disproved.  See the work of Voddie Baucham, the black Christian scholar who gives the statistics in Faultlines.  If the black community is taught to primarily focus on victimization and grievance it will foster disparity.
  6. Prison reform is important. Society should return to the biblical norm where those who do none violent crimes are supervised to pay off their debt to society.  Prison teaches criminal behavior.

I would have all study the writings and the work of Robert Woodson who has shown effective programs that lift poor blacks into success.

Biblical Anti-Racism

I have evaluated Critical Theory and Critical Race Theory that grows out of it, (from here designated CRT) in several articles on my Facebook official page based on reading works from supporters and reading from those who are critics of the theories, both secular and Christian critics.  My conclusion is that CRT is profoundly contrary to the Biblical World View.  One book, by Voddie Baucham, a black Baptist theologian and missionary to Africa, gives a profound evaluation on a world view basis. 

The quest for equality of worth was originally a biblical norm.  Heresies from that norm are dangerous.  They turn the biblical ideas of justice into either a Marxist idea of equality of outcomes, as in income, or to the new idea of equity in outcomes.  It teaches that American society is to be divided into different ethnicities including categories of new sexual identities represented by the letters LGBTQ etc. On this basis of equity financial prosperity, educational access, and success in various life roles and positions are to be divided by the proportion of the numbers of such people in the society. Such a quest will be a never-ending failure and a source of continual strife.  Can you imagine this dividing for those of Asian background (the Chinese are really not the same as Japanese, Indians, Philippinos, or Indians) Hispanic and others?  Biblical justice is defined in my book Social Justice.  Justice, first of all, is motivated by love.  Love is defined by passionate identification with the other that seeks their good guided by law.  Their good is their destiny fulfillment which begins with loving and knowing God and then fulfilling his calling which is according to the gifts and talents he gives.  Justice or civil righteousness is an order where the maximum number of people can fulfill their destiny.  The Bible makes it clear that God’s ideal will includes sufficient material provision for people.   The Bible does not orient us to divide in conflict over the goods of society.  Rather it calls us to a different way.  

First of all, anti-racism or anti-ethnocentrism begins with Biblical affirmations that all human beings are created in the image of God.  Each human being thus carries unique value and is worthy of being respected and treasured.  Only people influenced by the Bible gave credibility to the idea of the equal basic worth of human beings.  Study the history of the world and you will not find this idea outside of the influence of biblical faith.  Yes, societies that claimed to be Christian often did not live out the implications of biblical faith.   They reflect the well-quoted statement of G. K. Chesterton responding to people who said, “Christianity has been tried and found wanting.”  Chesterton responded and said, “No, Christianity has been found difficult and untried.”  The most profound charter of anti-racism and the only charter comes from the Bible or law influenced by the Bible.  This unique universalism of the Bible has been the foundation of human rights such as found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, largely authored by the godly Christian scholar Charles Malik.  Though there are movements for equality and equity not based on biblical norms and some contrary to biblical norms, I don’t believe due to the sinfulness of fallen humans that such movements will succeed.  Again, such equality movements are only in nations that have biblical influence in their history. In rebellion against God, these movements are bound to lead to failure and more despair.   New Testament affirmations against racist and ethnic superiority and domination are unique and profound.  “From one He made every nation of men to live on the face of the earth, having set the appointed times and the boundaries of their territory.   They were to search for him and perhaps grope around if and find Him.  Yet He is not far from each of us, for in him we live and move and have our being.  Jacob (James) can say concerning the tongue, “With it, we bless our ADONAI and Father, and with it, we curse people, who are made in the image of God. . . My brothers and sisters, these things should not be.”  

In Revelation 21:26, each nation brings its distinct glory into the eternal Kingdom, the New Jerusalem, the new Kingdom.  So, every nation in the redemption has a distinct glory and will make a distinct contribution. Rev. 21 shows the fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham. He was not chosen, and Israel was not chosen as the superior race, but as a servant nation to bring the nations of the world into the Blessing of God.  

Biblical assertions of the foundational equal worth of all human beings if etched into the United States Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal” and have inalienable rights from the Creator.  The Good News leads to reconciliation between all races and ethnicities who become one with Jewish followers of Yeshua.  They are called new creations in the Messiah (II Cor. 5:17) and are given the highest status together, “Raised with him and seated with him in heavenly places,” at the very throne of God (Eph. 2:5). 

Contrary to CRT and CT, there is objective truth.   We are not relativists.  For CRT proponents their quests for equality and equity are power assertions of choice based on what philosophers call an emotive preference.  It is not based on objective truth and ethics.  There is no answer in CRT as to why the strong should not dominate and enslave the weak and make them serve them.  There is no answer to Nazism except for personal emotive aversion.  Nazis like the idea of the domination and survival of those who can conquer.  It causes humans to evolve and become stronger. It fits Darwin!

We are speaking here of the ultimate foundations and the picture of ultimate redemption.  However, the human race is divided by self-centeredness, strife, hatred, prejudice, the domination of one nation by another and even slaughter and genocide.  The profound level of sin and its effect on the world is clearly revealed in a study of world history.  CRT people point to the sins of western civilization but rarely point to the slavery and genocide that has been a great part of world history, especially in the East or in Africa or even in pre-colonial Mexico for example.   

The Gospel of the Kingdom makes its debut in Israel and Yeshua announces  Good News to the poor.  The power of God is so great that Yeshua announces his ministry through the power of the Spirit as being Good News to the poor, recovery of sight to the blind, the release of prisoners, etc.”  (Luke 4:18) The Gospel first comes to those in society beginning in Israel with those who are marginalized.  This is so contrary to Roman culture.  The often misunderstood beatitudes in Matthew 5 are very much in line with Luke 4:18. Blessed are the poor, for poverty no longer determines their identity or destiny.  The meek who are trampled upon will inherit the earth. The mourners will no longer be trapped in mourning, for they will be adequately comforted.  The great reversal of conditions comes with the coming of Yeshua.  If one is truly in Yeshua then one can no longer claim to be a victim since his power enables us to fulfill a destiny and purpose in him with eternal reward. 

Gospel realism states that all have sinned, and that sin will land us in Hell if we do not repent and receive the great atonement of his death for our sins and resurrection life in his Spirit.  Once this is embraced, God calls us to be joined to communities of reconciliation.  Galatians 3:28 provides a most radical anti-racist text, that in Yeshua there is, “Neither Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave for free.”  Rather we are all one in him and form one new humanity in him (Eph. 2:15).  This should not be read as eliminating Jewish calling and identity or homogenizing ethnic identities.  The Bible values the good in cultures, but the Bible is also the norming norm for evaluating what is good and bad in cultures.  Biblical multi-culturalism does not like CRT trivialize the value of all cultures by claiming they are all equal.  However, the value of our ethnic identity, even Jewish identity is now made secondary to the centrality of our oneness and equal status in Yeshua (Eph. 2:5).  The Bible, therefore, calls us to the ministry of reconciliation, to be reconciled to God and to one another.  

The Bible also is very clear about our priorities of commitment in sharing the Gospel. It is first to the poor and marginalized.  They have the first right of refusal.  The preaching of the Gospel is offered first as well to the Jews as the covenant people (Romans 1:16) but other than this, the first right of refusal in the great Gospel offer is to the marginalized, the poor, imprisoned, the crippled, the disposed of, the ill, the rejected.  This offer is not made on the basis of race preferences but without regard to race and ethnicity.  Not many of high status first responded, says Paul.  While the Bible allows for disparities of wealth, those who are rich are exhorted in the strongest terms to invest their wealth to lift the weak and poor or they and also that their riches will perish.  God, says James, has chosen the poor of this world to inherit the Kingdom.  (James 2:1-4, 5:1-6).  His warning to the rich is delivered with severe words of warning.  Lifting the poor is part of the essence of the Gospel and its outworking.  

Generally, the history of the world does not include multi-ethnic, multi-racial societies (my view is that race is a social-cultural construct but ethnicity is real and objective).  The Roman Empire comes closer to this but still was far different than the United States and its liberties. So, the Bible does not speak to the situation of the new reality of such societies directly, but its principles have profound implications.  If a particular race or ethnicity has a high proportion of those who are poor, marginalized, and imprisoned, that race or ethnicity should receive a high or disproportionate focus of outreach and care.  This is the clear implication of Luke 4:18 and the teaching of Yeshua and the Apostles.  In one sense the Gospel is race-neutral but in another sense, the issue of race is dealt with on the basis of the Gospel mandate if a group is poor and marginalized.  Yes, the rich are offered the Gospel, but they are not the primary focus of the efforts!  The power of the Gospel really does deliver!  Salvation is more than going to heaven. 

I note that the issue of privilege can never be solved by multiplying civil laws. Those with two parents in a loving marriage have the privilege.  Those who are beautiful versus those who are homely (this does affect hiring!), those who are handicapped versus those who have normal physical abilities, those who come from prosperous homes versus those from poor families, those children who were not abused, and those who were, show all kinds of privilege and disadvantage.  CRT does not know what to do with the prosperity of Asians who obviously are not white and not held back by white privilege.  There are social patterns and values in Asian families that do give them a leg up (privilege).  The Bible teaches that God gives different giftings and callings; gifts and talents are distributed by God. However, again the answer is the Gospel.  Those who embrace the Gospel and live in and from the Kingdom of God are empowered by the Spirit and can hear the voice of God leading them to a successful life.  All levels of underprivilege can be overcome by the Spirit and power of God. 

The outworking of the Gospel is to create communities of reconciliation.  Before society is influenced (the New Testament talks little about this) we are to create communities that are a model for society, communities of transformation with great interethnic love and mutual appreciation, serving and humility.  

At this point, I evaluate the American Church as mostly a failure.  There are wonderful exceptions.  The idea of mobilizing the churches in mass to be involved and focused without distraction on the poor and marginalized just has not captured the minds and hearts of the 20th century and now the 21st century Church in America. Yes, again, I can point to wonderful exceptions.  There have been rescue missions, ministries like David Wilkerson in Teen Challenge, reaching gangs and those dealing in drugs.  What would have happened if the Black, White and Hispanic churches pledged themselves in mutual love and commitment and created massive programs for the needy.   

I will return to the issue of who should repent.  For CRT all whites are guilty and should repent and even pay reparations (almost forever and ongoing!).  The Pole, the Arminian, and the Ukrainian who came last week to America now have white privilege and have to repent for white privilege and systemic racism.  CRT fosters false guilt and no possibility of real redemption.  However, the Bible does foster repentance from real guilt, and corporate guilt can be inherited if there is no repentance and restitution.  First, any individual who has held prejudice in his or her heart must repent.  Secondly, we repent for the history of racism in the Church bodies, both the racism that was overt and the actions of not caring or apathy.  Every individual who did now care about poor blacks can repent of apathy and leaders can repent for not leading churches out of apathy.   When the Southern Baptists and the Assemblies of God repented for purposely embracing segregation as a policy in their past, this was appropriate repentance for real guilt. The next steps would be involvement in poor communities, preaching the Gospel, mentoring, serving, educating, and more.  Perhaps whites who had ancestors who held slaves can repent and renounce the sins of their ancestors and act redemptively in involvement to lift poor black people. That would be wonderful.   The United States can still repent for not passing laws in the past that would have eliminated discriminatory practices, such as housing loans for those who qualify but are black. Great progress has been made on this.  Such repentance needs to ask God’s forgiveness.  Bible teaching is focused on real guilt, not a generalized fake guilt where the specifics of sin are not made clear.  The idea that an institution is racist can only be the case if people with racist intent set up institutions that discriminated in unfair ways.  There has to be clear objective evidence (CRT does not believe in objectivity!)  The institution may inadvertently be wrongly organized and need changing but racism is a wrong redefinition of the term. 

One more thing that will be hated by secularists is that the poor and underclass blacks have to repent when they embrace the Gospel, repent of bitterness, anger, and hatred, and to forgive the whites that did wrong to them.  Of course, they repent of their violations of God’s laws.  When CRT teaches that all cultures are equal and that such standards as punctuality, correct math answers, precision, language skills, etc. are racist, they destroy the potential for blacks to succeed.  All cultures are not equal. Some are better and others as judged by the Bible as the norming norm.  The Bible teaches that all have radically sinned and that our debt before God is incomparably greater than any debt we are owed.  This stand brings mutual humility and forgiveness though we indeed weigh the sin of the wealthier as much greater.  

When CRT lays guilt on all whites, no matter their history, and points to vague institutional guilt due to disparate levels of success in racial and ethnic groups, it lowers the potential for real healing and progress.  CRT really offends truth when socialistic solutions to help the poor are considered the only absolute answer.   Those who oppose such solutions are racist, eg. Medicare for all.  Actually, vouchers for the needy would bring competition and much better medical care for the poor than government-run health care.  

So, we begin our anti-racism program with massive church repentance and a massive re-direction of the Church.  May there be a movement toward this end that will grow and grow.  Some years ago, Donald McGavran argued that churches grow best when they are more homogenous.  People gravitate to their kind of people, their style of music and worship, their cultural ways of being.  While we may give some acceptance to this being natural, the Gospel requires that we act beyond being comfortable with our own kind.  A mostly white Church and a mostly black church need to deepen mutual involvement and relationships to demonstrate the power of reconciliation and effective ministry together. 

The program of the churches that commit themselves to anti-racism focus first on the basic Gospel and discipleship programs.  It incorporates those who are won into the church with a strong emphasis on discipleship.  Training programs are also needed for parenting.  Rebuilding marriage and biblical families in the black underclass will be a crucial emphasis.  

However, we have to begin with the situation as it exists with many coming from single-parent mother-led homes. Discipling the mothers is so important.  Many single mothers are illiterate.  They need education and training.  Some of the best programs I have seen begin with children and teens and puts them into tutoring programs and then full-time schools with a Gospel emphasis.  There are several such programs.  Until vouchers are available from public funds (they are available in some states) we need to mobilize wealthy people and all who can give to fund such schools.  The CHATS (Church Hill Activities and Tutoring and Schooling) program in Richmond, Virginia, is one such program I support.  They maintain a full high school and the success rate is amazing.  It challenges the lie that blacks must fail due to racism for the graduates of this ghetto school to succeed, and greatly so.  Overcoming massive illiteracy is crucial.  Public schools in ghetto communities graduate many illiterate poor from high school if they stay in school!  Practical job training needs to be part of such schools.  Christians can provide vocational training. 

Other programs that attract children and teens in sports and art are helpful. This opens people up to the joy of performance and beauty.  

If the Church had focused on prayer, power ministry, and serving as it should have, we would not have the racial issues today which frankly are exploited by the neo-Marxist left to foster their revolution.  

Understanding Biblical Teaching from the Best Biblical Teachers

I recently got an earful of anti-Bible and anti-Christian vilification from an unbeliever. I realized that the Bible and Christianity were being understood by the narrative of the secular anti-Christian culture, that the Bible is misogynistic, pro-slavery, and sends people to Hell lightly. I realized what a violation of fairness that evaluation is. Rather, we are to understand any religion through the eyes of its strongest proponents. Only then can we fairly disagree.  We have to show that we understand their point of view to their satisfaction.  Such was my study of other religions at Wheaton College.  After that, I studied liberal Christianity at a liberal seminary from strong proponents.

Actually, the Bible and Christianity should be evaluated in a very opposite way from the critics.  Christianity was a key to ending slavery among Christians in the second century.  Christians could not see enslaving brothers in the Lord and others created in the image of God.  Slavery at that time was not race-based slavery, but a matter of indenture due to economic situations. 

The Bible lifted the position of women far beyond the Greeks and the Middle Eastern and Roman cultures and really more than all the major cultures of the world.   Some point to the wife’s submission to the husband and are very negative to this.  The Kings of Israel had multiple wives, isn’t that misogynistic?  So how did Christianity establish monogamy in the Western World?  All the Kings of western nations were required to be monogamous.  What a contrast!  What happened.  The west came to enforce the teaching of Jesus that God’s ideal was one man and one woman for a lifetime.  This greatly transcended the culture and elevated women to a level of respect previously not entertained.  In Plato, women were only part of the value of men.  But in the Bible women are created equal in God’s image, deserving care and love to the level that Jesus loved his Church. (Eph. 5). Nothing was ever heard before of such a level of respect for women.  Read the history of India, China, or Japan and note the contrast.  On the status of women compared to the Roman world, see Rodney Stark.  The contrast is amazing. 

The Bible has been the great lifter of humanity.  The idea of just courts and clear evidence is from the Bible; the basic equal value of all people comes from the Bible, you won’t find it in other cultures to this level.  But you would not know this from the social media attack. 

Only a few years back, Reuven Hammer, the Jewish Conservative Rabbi wrote The Torah Revolution on ten revolutionary matters of progress from the Torah, great advances in the world. But when we do not understand the culture of the times and don’t treat the Bible fairly, then there is arrogant disrespect. 

One example of cultural context is the trial by ordeal of the woman accused by her husband of adultery (Num. 5). She drinks the dust of the Temple mixed in water. If she does not get sick, she is innocent. This looks like a terrible thing for the poor woman. It is actually the opposite, a great gain for women. In that culture and today in parts of the Middle East, a woman has no equal justice in the courts. Two witnesses to adultery are not required. The husband could kill her from suspicion or false accusation. So, therefore, the women are given supernatural protection by God in the Temple and a way out of false accusation or unjust suspicion. She is protected by the test and God supernaturally acts for her. If innocent, her husband must receive her, not divorce her, and not again accuse her. All Western movements seeking greater equality only came about in nations influenced by Christianity. Can there be a fair discussion?

The emphasis on care for the poor and marginalized comes from the Bible. You will not find it in most other cultures.  The underclasses were despised. The emphasis on mercy was the key to establish hospitals.  Hospitals were a Christian invention.  

One critic said the Bible was pre-science and its ideas antiquated.  However, the Bible and biblical faith only arose leading to great advancement due to Biblical emphases.  As many have pointed out; Stark, Whitehead of Harvard (Science and the Modern World), and the historian Herbert Butterfield, the Bible taught that nature was the creation of a God of order and followed his laws.  Such laws could be discovered.  This was a key to science.  The Bible anticipated science and its accuracies show its amazing divine origins.  

The quest for human rights only arose in cultures influenced by the Bible.  Again and again, we see how advanced the Bible is.  

Most of what I write here is not new to cultural apologists.  

The First Right Of Refusal

I have written several articles on the dangers of Critical Race Theory and that its orientation is contrary to the Bible’s solution to racial disparities.  I won’t repeat any of that here.  

I wonder how many of my readers have concluded that the CRT movement and the continued disparities in outcomes among races is due to a failure of the Church and its disobedience to make the priority of the Church the Gospel to the poor, needy and marginalized.  Yeshua makes this most clear in Luke 4 when He says that the Spirit of the Lord was upon him to bring Good News to the Poor, to the imprisoned, to the blind and their recovering sight.  The ministry of Yeshua demonstrates that two groups have the first right of refusal, the Jews (Rom. 1:16) and the poor and marginalized.  

The reconciliation of races and ethnicities in the Gospel, in a context where the emphasis of the ministry of the churches would bring great transformation.  It would lead to stable families, spiritually healthy children, mutual sharing of resources.  Though persecution would be possible, it would bring an economic lift to the poor and marginalized who would find the provision of Yeshua and their brothers and sisters.  They would see themselves as new creatures in the Messiah and would have the power of God to succeed.  In the Gospel our separate ethnic identities can be appreciated for the good things in cultures, but the value of those different cultures has to become second to our overall identity together in Yeshua and our love for one another. Serving the poor well may be a key to revival and also a reason why we have lost so many young adults. 

Eight Key Theological\Values Commitments: A Biographical Sketch

These Became Part Of Tikkun 

At the Kingdom Living Congregation in the Kansas City area on June 19, 2021, I reviewed the foundations of our theology in a biographical way.  Here is the progression. 

When I was 19 years old as a sophomore at The King’s College in New York, in the fall of 1966, I discovered that the teaching I had embraced, the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, was not in the Bible. It was a shock. Though I had a Reformed Pastor in high school that did not believe it, I was convinced by my Dispensational mentors and teachers.  This began 3 ½ years of skepticism and very difficult searching.  As I built back theological understanding, there was a progression.  These points of conviction are today established in part of the Messianic Jewish Movement, but all of the points are foundational in Tikkun, our American and Global network.  

  1. Understanding the relationship of Law and Grace.  I had amazing professors in college and graduate school who were, without my knowing it, helping my theological understanding in a way that would prepare me for Messianic Jewish leadership.  In dealing with the issue of the relationship of salvation by grace and the Law, I became convinced that Reformed theology was right on this and not dispensationalism.  We are saved by grace through faith and through not good works of our own. However, that grace is transforming and leads to obedience to the Law as rightly applied in the New Covenant.  This is affirmed in Romans 3:31, and 8:3 and explained in Calvin’s Institutes, Book II, Section VII.    
  2. The Mosaic Covenant is a Covenant Grace and Salvation.  In 1969 I was taught by Dr. Samuel Schultz who wrote The Gospel of Moses and Deuteronomy, The Gospel of God’s Love.  I was also introduced to Meredith Kline of Gordon Conwell Seminary and his Treaty of the Great King.  I understood from them that the Mosaic Covenant material was in the form of a vassal treaty from the 15th century B. C.  Its form proved that God saved Israel by grace and then required obedience as a thankful response.  It was not given as a covenant of works righteousness.  The New Covenant is a greater grace covenant than Moses and gives much greater power for obedience.  The Mosaic Covenant is a covenant of salvation by grace. 
  3. We are to build Acts 2:42 Community (1970-71):  In 1970 Patty, my wife today, and I were searching for the meaning of the Church.  We were not satisfied with just going to meetings.  We met with fellow students who believed we were to build lasting communities with intimate shared life, covenant relationships that would last a lifetime.  We were to build community under an eldership.  We were to be like an extended family, a tribe in Yeshua.  This has been my ideal ever since. 
  4. The Gospel is the Gospel of the Kingdom (1971).  I was before 1971 skeptical about the last days (eschatology) My spiritual father from Wheaton, the college chaplain, Dr. Evan Welsh, gave me a book. With tears in his eyes he said the teaching that my father gave is returning to the Church.  He gave me George Ladd’s book, The Gospel of the Kingdom.  It was so important.  I came to understand that the New Testament is eschatology and teaches that the future Kingdom has broken into this age with the coming of Yeshua and the gift of the Spirit.  The Gospel is the invitation into the Kingdom of God which is here now, but only partially. It is already but not yet, inaugurated but not consummated.  When the Kingdom is extended to the nations, history is moving toward the second coming of Yeshua where the not yet will be fulfilled.  We are called to live in and from the Kingdom.  The Kingdom is seen when people live by the Kingdom and its power is shown.
  5. We are to be a Connectional Church (1971)  (a church of city: Presbyterian (1971).  As the pull toward ministry returned to me, I asked the question, how is the Church to be ordered or governed?  I saw a disaster in college days in an independent church. No one could bring correction.  Then I understood that by the time of the end of the New Testament period, some cities had thousands of believers like Jerusalem.  They met in different house gatherings, but all were under one eldership of the city.  The cities were also linked.  The closest thing to what I saw in the Scriptures was Presbyterianism, where the churches were one in each city under an eldership.  I went to Presbyterian seminary and joined a Presbyterian Church.
  6. Jews Who come to Faith are to Identify and Live as Jews, as part of their people.  (1972-1973) Through Chaplain Welsh at Wheaton, I was encouraged to consider being called to the Jewish Presbyterian Church in Chicago where he was the interim minister.  I was called and accepted at the First Hebrew Christian Church, June 1972.  There some of the elders had come to believe in continuing Jewish life and identity in Yeshua.  They challenged me.  I studied the issue for a year, both biblically and in scholarly writings.  From the example of Paul, the early Messianic Jewish Community and Romans 9-11 especially, I came to believe that Jews who come to faith in Yeshua are called to identify and live as Jews and that Messianic Jewish congregations were crucial to fulfill that calling.  We became Adat Ha Tikvah Congregation.  We also affirmed embracing the Jewish rabbinic heritage where it is coherent to the Bible. 
  7. We must embrace Charismatic power, deliverance and healing.  (1975-1976).  I was challenged to bring psychological and spiritual health to very troubled people in my congregation.   I was not succeeding.  Through a dear couple whom I led to the Lord, I was encouraged to go to a church meeting with leadership that believed in deliverance.  I discovered deliverance ministry and inner spiritual healing when there were few books on the subject.  We learned by doing.  From this experience, I was now a committed charismatic that saw the power of the gifts of the Spirit in operation. 
  8. God Will Restore His Church, Eph. 4, John 17:21, Acts 2 and Five Pillars. (1980).  I was called to Beth Messiah Congregation in Rockville, Maryland outside of Washington, D. C.  (January 1978). A leader in one of the local churches visited me at our home and asked if I believed in the restoration of the Church.  I did not know what he was talking about.  I asked him if he believed in the restoration of Israel.  He was replacement theology and said, the Church is Israel.  He later had a total change of view on this.  Within the next month in a devotional time, I experienced a visitation form the Lord.  He encouraged me by sharing that all I was came from a succession of impartations from parents, relatives, and godly leaders.  He also noted that my calling was connected to honoring my Jewish father and the heritage of my Norwegian mother.  He then said that my Jewish calling was very rooted in my Norwegian ancestors. I later traveled to Norway and found that there was a heritage of support for the Jewish people and their restoration to the Land reaching back to the mid-19th century.   After this, God led me to connect John 17:21 and Ephesians 4:11ff.  I came to conviction that God would restore his Church to unity as both passages envision and that through five-fold ministry, especially through apostles and prophets, we would see the fulfillment of the prayer of Yeshua for unity and the vision for unity and maturity in Eph. 4.  This would be a key to the salvation of Israel and the return of Yeshua.  Our network that today is called Tikkun was started in 1984 to live out these convictions. 

For the first 9 years of its existence, I led the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations.  The UMJC affirmed the first six points of this theology.  However, despite my efforts, they did not generally affirm the seventh and eighth points.  I am committed to the UMJC for the first 6 points.  Tikkun embraces the seventh and eighth.  Much of what I taught in the early years was also taught by Dr. David Stern.  His books and mine are quite parallel.