Do you pastor a congregation?
No. I do not believe that is my calling.
What is your spiritual background?
As a child, I grew up in a Pentecostal church. I was spiritually born again at the age of twenty-one while attending a Sunday service at a small independent Baptist church in Altus, Oklahoma in 1977. I have taught Bible studies in churches and Bible fellowships of various denominations both in and outside of the United States since 1978. I am ordained with the International Assemblies of God Fellowship. Although I have attended and been a member of Baptist, Pentecostal, and non-denominational congregations in the past, I consider myself a messianic believer and my wife and I currently attend a small messianic home church.
What does the term "messianic" mean?
Simply put, “messianic” means “relating to the Messiah” or “things of the Messiah”. It is typically associated or identified with believers in Jesus (Yeshua) who practice the observance of the Sabbaths, biblical feast days, and dietary laws as outlined in the Old Testament and who believe that the Torah and the Old Testament in general is still pertinent to the New Testament Church as a guide for practical living. In other words, the phrase describes New Testament believers who seek to practice their faith in much the same way our Lord’s early disciples did.
What do you mean when you say the "Hebrew" or "Hebraic" roots of the Christian faith?
As believers, our faith and Judeo-Christian heritage stem from what was originally a Hebrew culture. When God called out from among the nations a people for Himself, He chose Israel. When God gave His Law at Mount Sinai, He gave it to Israel. When the Father sent His Son into the world to save sinners, He did so through Israel. When He commissioned His followers and sent them out to make disciples of all nations, He commissioned men and women of Israel. When God inspired men to write His word for the benefit of all mankind, He wrote through the holy prophets and apostles of Israel. Again, when God’s word was first proclaimed, taught, expounded, and interpreted, it was done through the apostles, prophets, and teachers of Israel, a Hebrew people.
When our Lord appeared on the scene and began His ministry, He often instructed those listening to Him to test what He said against God’s word and frequently quoted the Tanach (the Hebrew Old Testament) to establish His claims. His disciples did the same. Therefore, we must keep in mind that our Lord was not a Catholic priest, a Baptist preacher, or a Presbyterian minister. Neither was He a reverend in a Pentecostal church. He was a Hebrew Messiah. As such, we must understand that the roots of our Christian faith are Hebraic in nature.
The Hebraic perspective is unique in that it seeks to interpret and define the New Testament in light of the Old rather than attempting to interpret the Old Testament in light of the New. It allows the Old Testament to serve as the dictionary, so to speak, for the New Testament rather than the other way around. When it comes to properly interpreting and understanding the Bible, applying the Hebraic method of Scripture interpretation to God’s word makes all the difference in the world. Hence, the phrase “Hebraic roots of the Christian faith” is simply a means to describe what is an attempt to get back to the original meaning of Scripture as understood by our Lord’s first century disciples.
Why is an awareness of the Hebraic roots of our faith important? What difference does it make?
The Holy Spirit inspired the writing of God’s word (2 Timothy 3:16). Thus, we must allow Him to define and interpret it (2 Peter 1:20–21). This can only happen when we properly allow Scripture to define and interpret itself. Applying the Hebraic method of Scripture interpretation to God’s word is the only way that we have found that actually puts us back in touch with God’s word in the manner that He originally proposed. Applying the Hebraic method of Scripture interpretation to God’s word reconciles the whole of Scripture and makes the Bible truly one book, without contradictions and consistent throughout, like nothing else has. It allows the Bible to speak for itself and is the only method of Scripture interpretation that truly dissolves all denominational differences and that truly makes the Church, the body of Messiah, one. It is the only method of interpreting the Bible that genuinely allows God’s word to address the subject of how we should live and speaks to the challenge of what it biblically means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ (Yeshua Ha’Mashiach). An understanding of the Hebraic roots of our faith, among other things, helps to define what true biblical Christianity looks like and gives us the understanding of Scripture we need to live biblically sound and godly lives.
How did you get involved in the Hebraic roots?
It was an answer to prayer, really. Years ago, I came to a place in my Christian journey where too many things just did not add up or make sense to me anymore. As far as I was concerned, there were too many contradictions between what I had been taught as a Christian and what the Bible appeared to say. There was also no consistency between what the Bible appeared to teach and my personal walk as a Christian. So I took it to the Lord in Prayer. It was then that He introduced me to the Hebraic roots of the Christian faith through the teachings of the founder of Shoreshim Ministries, Bill Cloud, and teacher Brad Scott, founder of Wildbranch Ministry.
Do you keep the Sabbaths and the feast days as described in the Old Testament? Why?
Yes, my wife and I observe the Sabbaths and the feast days to the best of our ability because, as far as I can decipher, nowhere in the New Testament does God teach that they have been done away with or that they are no longer applicable.
Do you keep the dietary laws? Why?
Yes, we observe them because, again, the New Testament does not appear to teach otherwise.
Do you think Christians are wrong if they do not observe the Sabbaths, feast days, or dietary laws, or if they do not pay much mind to the Old Testament in general?
I do not think that it is a matter of right and wrong so much as it is a matter of acquiring the proper perspective and growing in our understanding of God’s word. What I think is irrelevant. My opinion does not matter. What matters is what God’s word says. If living according to God’s word is important to us, then we will want to know what it says; and if we want to know what it says, then we will have to allow it to speak for itself. If, on the one hand, what we believe on any given subject is more important to us than what the Bible may actually teach on that particular subject, then we will not hear what God has to say, seeing that we have already made up our minds. If, on the other hand, what God’s word says on a given subject is more important to us than what we may have come to believe, then we will be open to hearing His perspective and to genuinely growing in our understanding of His word.