Saturday, July 17, 2010

Part Two: Jacob Prasch, Midrash and Some of those False Jewish Traditions

continued from Part One:

I am going to give an example of false Jewish traditions brought in by a teacher that took me even time to see through with prayer and conviction by the Holy Spirit.

Jacob Prasch, who is well known in Calvary Chapel circles, and still adheres to the true gospel of grace unlike some of the others mentioned in Part One, was a Messianic oriented teacher of Jewish ancestry that at first glance, I really liked. Exploring the Old Testament learning more about Judaism and what the apostles and Jesus believed as Jews, was very interesting and good learning experience. But when I read his teachings about Midrash, I knew something was very wrong.

Even Midrash itself seems to be extraordinarily vaguely defined: Prasch himself even states "“Unless someone has been educated in Judaism, Hebrew, or theology,
it is easier to demonstrate midrash than to explain it.”
which adds to the megapot of confusion. Here is how it is defined by Wickipedia:

Midrash (Hebrew: מדרש‎; plural midrashim, lit. "to investigate" or "study") is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible.

Midrash is a way of interpreting biblical stories that goes beyond simple distillation of religious, legal or moral teachings. It fills in many gaps left in the biblical narrative regarding events and personalities that are only hinted at. [1]

I find the filling of gaps thing to be pretty interesting, but what is that when stripped right down? {it basically means adding to the biblical narrative!}. Even Jewish websites and others will admit Midrash is a collection of stories, allegory, history, scientific observations and legend. Even if the word Midrash is supposedly mentioned in the Bible as Prasch in his article refuting Midrash critics claims , that means nothing, Enoch is mentioned in the Bible as well but this doesn't mean the book of Enoch is inspired scripture. That word which Prasch translates as "Midrash" is translated as "saying" ["speech and words"] on Blue Letter Bible [Strongs].

When something can barely even be defined even by a practitioner of it, that should be major red flag time. With the claims that someone needs to be a well educated, Hebrew-Greek scholar who studies boatloads of rabbinical teachings to "truly understand scripture", this matches Catholicism too which offers forth its special experts and denies teaching by the Holy Spirit of the indwelt Christian.

Prasch states:

"You will never understand the Book of Revelation with the kind of limited approach to biblical interpretation that is taught in Protestant seminaries. Midrash is like a quadratic equation or a very complex second order differential equation, a thirteen or fourteen step equation. Some people take the first step of grammatical-historical exegesis and think the equation is solved"
This too ties into Prasch's dubious claims about the Reformers lacking a supposed Hebrew way of thinking and adhering to a Greek {Hellenistic} way of thinking. He states as well that

"The problem with the Reformers is that they only went so far. They made rules governing the application of their grammatical-historical system in order to refute medieval Roman Catholicism, and many of those rules are still taught in theological seminaries today.

This is kind of scary stuff, so the Reformers who taught that one could read the Bible and fully understand it, were wrong? Isn't Prasch trying to take us back to the days of governors and tutors talked about in Galatians 4:2-12? How is this different from the Catholic church making claims that only its successors to the apostles, who are Latin trained can interpret scripture, with Prasch's claim that only rabbinical Midrash folks [past and present] who are Greek and Hebrew trained are needed to fully understand the Bible?

Then there is the MYSTICISM connection. Google Midrash and Kabbalah. There is a connection, the claim will be that the earlier Midrash differs from the later Medieval versions, but what difference is there? There were Jewish writings and study that were not inspired during Old Testament and Biblical Times, [this is where some of the Apoprhyca comes from, with the book used by Catholics called the Maccabees as an example]. Those warnings about Israel embracing paganism [from Babylon] over and over and then repenting, exist in the Bible for a reason.

Let's go back to the Wickipedia definition of Midrash, which further states:

Midrash (Hebrew: מדרש‎; plural midrashim, lit. “to investigate” or “study”) is a Hebrew term referring to the not exact, but comparative (homiletic) method of exegesis (hermeneutic) of Biblical texts, which is one of four methods cumulatively called Pardes. The term midrash can also refer to a compilation of homiletic teachings (commentaries) on the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), in the form of legal and ritual (Halakhah) and legendary, moralizing, folkloristic, and anecdotal (Aggadah) parts.

What is Pardes? Also from Wikipedia:
The term, sometimes also spelled PaRDeS, is an acronym formed from the name initials of these four approaches, which are:

eshat (פְּשָׁט) — “plain” (simple) or the direct meaning.
Remez (רֶמֶז) — “hints” or the deep (allegoric) meaning beyond just the literal sense.
Derash (דְּרַשׁ) — from Hebrew darash: “inquire” (seek) — the comparative (midrashic) meaning, as given through similar occurrences.
Sod (סוֹד) (pronounced with a long O as in gold) — “secret” (mystery) or the mystical meaning, as given through inspiration or revelation.
This stuff is concerning too. We can note that Prasch, desires for people to seek "deep" meanings of the Bible via Midrash which seeks to smack of Gnosticism or "hidden knowledge. Even the stuff about "multiple fulfillments" and "wisdom of the ancients" and "each cycle" made me wonder what is he really teaching here? It sounds like stuff I learned in the Unitarian Universalist church where eastern theology about time being cyclical [endless repeating] was forwarded.

But then there is SOD [in bold and green above] , the supposedly "mystical meaning" of the Bible. One question I once asked some Prasch supporters , was "So what I want to how come acouple people DENOUNCE MYSTICISM when it comes to Catholicism and other false religions, but consider it OK, when it comes to MIDRASH?"

This sounds like the usual deception that comes via various forms of Mystery Babylon, this type with a Talmudic flavor of it. Basically this is using the Bible in a twisted way to get into MYSTICISM!

One other statement from the same Prasch Midrash article also as well leapt out at me and also noticed by other writers warnings of this:

Midrash makes heavy use of allegory and typology to illustrate and illuminate doctrine, but never as a basis for doctrine. It sees multiple meanings in Bible texts found in strata,”
Why would any Christian, suggest that another explore things that do not back up doctrine? This seems to be an equivocation of sorts, and an exploration for 'secret knowledge" using the Bible itself as mentioned above.

This article too warns of the same and I fully agree with this:.

"What have we got above? No longer should we read the Bible, relying on the Holy Spirit to open the revealed texts, all there in front of us, plain and simple given by the Lord, NO. We must rely on Midrash to
“illustrate" and "illuminate" doctrine, we can’t just read it from God’s Word. You have to have a Jewish rabbi who can explain Midrash before you can have the “secret key” that will open the door to understanding. If you are to have the “multiple meanings” you must have and desperately need Midrash or else you will NEVER get God’s proper meanings and truth. Jacob insists that we must have something superior to the Alexandrian and gnostic hermeneutic. But Jacob presents what is classical gnosticism in his Midrash errors! Gnosticism is mysticism which holds that the Bible cannot be understood as it is presented, but has to have a “secret key” which unlocks the hidden mysteries in the texts.This is precisely what Prasch presents".

If you cant even trust your own reading with Gods Word, [and we are promised to be taught by the Holy Spirit] and have some guy telling you, that you need rabbis and need Hebrew and Greek to *fully" understand it, that is a problem. That whole premise goes against this Bible verse.

John 14:26: But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

No one should trust readily any teacher who tells them to GO OUTSIDE of scripture or an "outside source" to "understand" it. No one needs to be a Ruckmanite [who has his own false teachings] or a doctorate level Hebrew scholar to "get" that as Prasch claims in his rebuttal article to Midrash critics:

"Such so-called “scholars” and “experts” are dangerous because they do not know Greek and Hebrew but rather pretend to have expertise where they have none."

I'll admit I may not have the years of study, cannot speak or read Greek or Hebrew outside of translation websites, nor when I left the Catholic church did I know Latin either. That doesn't matter. The Holy Spirit will warn a Christian when something is false and to be avoided and the warnings of scripture are endless about going to extra Biblical sources, false traditions, legends, lore or adding to God's Word. I have discerned and learned without a doubt that the Midrash is something that should be avoided at all costs. I reject Midrash as a source for truth for the same reason I rejected Catholic legends about saints, the fate of various bible figures and more.

Always test every teacher with God's Word. This includes those who on the surface, seem to have the positive goal of exploring the Jewish aspects of the Christian faith, but never go outside of God's Word.


Dan said...

Believe it or not I actually held opinions very close to those stated here for a long time. What I finally discovered about Jacob Prasch, however, is that he is not talking about accepting the extra-biblical writings called "Midrash" as authoritative, and he is not giving any credence whatsoever to the way mystics -- particularly Jewish mystics -- use Midrash.

Specifically what he does is use the seven midot -- the seven rules of interpreting Scripture -- which were originally taught by the likes of the school of Hillel during the First Temple Period. He applies these rules in the course of INDUCTIVE study in combination with teaching from the original languages. This is what "Midrash" originally was -- a set of interpretation guidelines -- not what it has become today, which by and large is one form of Gnosticism or another.

What Jacob is specifically referring to is how he personally conducts his own Bible study and is making an attempt to restore the term to its original meaning. In the course of using these rules, he in no way endorses or refers to the midrashic writings which are so prevalent. His teachings derive completely independent of those things and thus are never actually in agreement with them.

I hope this helps. Keep up the good work.

Lisa Ruby said...

You wrote, "If you cant even trust your own reading with Gods Word, [and we are promised to be taught by the Holy Spirit] and have some guy telling you, that you need rabbis and need Hebrew and Greek to *fully" understand it, that is a problem. That whole premise goes against this Bible verse."

Agreed! This is no different, really, than Catholicism which has required that its adherents not interpret the Bible for themselves, but to leave it to the priests to do it for them.

Bible Believer said...

Dan, I found what you brought up to be interesting, but where is the scriptural proof for the "seven midot"? There are many who have taught different interpretations. Even much of Hillel's life "story" is based on Talmudic renditions, legends and tradition. Hillel [admitted to be a Pharisee in the traditions] is only mentioned twice in the Bible in relation to a son. Even here the claims that the supposedly older forms of Midrash are more pure, does not hold up. They too are based on traditions and errors of the Pharisees, which Jesus Christ addressed many times. The Bible tells us test by the fruit, and if Prasch admits there is false mystical Midrash, he does little to distinguish the type of Midrash he follows from the type he supposedly rejects. While you found his explanation acceptable, probably wishing to give the benefit of the doubt, I ask where is the scriptural proof?
Finding out that even what is known about Hillel and the school of Hillel is based on Talmudic tradition, makes all of it questionable.

As Lisa points out why does Prasch overall want to have Christians return to the rabbis [in this case a supposed Pharisee!] and to have the "priests" [this time Jewish ones] interpret scripture for them?

Dan said...

First, the assumption of his desire for Christians to return to the need for others to interpret Scripture is absolutely wrong in Prasch's case. He absolutely never ever advocates that and specifically states that such is wrong. I know that when we see "midrash" this is an automatic assumption because 99 out of 100 employing the term advocate this exact position. Again, he would agree word-for-word that such never be the case.

I think the healthy discussion IS whether the way he employs these rules is biblical or not. One of the things he does is show where he believes such were employed in the New Testament. I would qualify as "controversial" his assertion that prior to the destruction of the Temple midrash was used differently than the way it has been twisted into since. He has often shown in Jewish writings themselves from the Second Temple Period (Ezra until 70 AD) that the way they interpreted and handled Scripture is in great conflict with those same sources produced since.

One of this repeated sticking points is that Judaism underwent a radical revision post destruction of the Temple, beginning to coalesced in formal meetings around 110 AD. In other words, modern Judaism and its approach to Scripture began to change and as time went on changed even more radically, particularly from the Middle Ages on. One of their techniques for evangelizing Jews is to show how those post-Temple writings and teachings are in great conflict with Jewish Second Temple Period writings and teachings because the way they handle Scripture has changed.

So his ultimate argument goes something along the lines that what people call "midrash" at present is not how it was originally employed even by Jewish standards, and that he can show in the New Testament writings how Christ and the Apostles ORIGINALLY employed this approach in their own teachings. This is very different from a blanket approval of Midrash no matter what.

In my humble opinion, we should examine what Prasch is specifically doing with Midrash in each instance he illustrates using it. But the fact is that he is NOT in that group which advocates you can only know Scripture through a guru using Midrash. In fact, his repeated teaching to others regarding Bible study is that they should first and foremost learn to study the Bible inductively.

Because I have examined so many instances of Prasch's use of this in sermons provided, I have not found it to be the same crazy stuff we so often encounter when someone says they are using Midrash. But I perfectly understand people's reaction when they see "Midrash" because it is statistically substantiated by the myriad of those employing it in a crazy way, if that makes sense.

Hope this helps.

Bible Believer said...

Dan, thank you for being polite in your responses, but I really want to stress this point as I wrote on the other entry: Why would Prasch refer people to the Pharisees? The same men Jesus warned about and called "generation of vipers" in Matthew 3:7? To anyone that should be a giant red flag. Also Dan, when 99 out of 100 people as you mention see Midrash in a certain way/and or use it in a crazy way: this idea of a "pure-unadulterated" Midrash seems to be a dubious concept. The problem here too is Prasch, does go to the outside stuff: Hillel etc, to back up his version of Midrash. Even if Prasch admits Midrash should not be used for doctrine [which seems to be hedging of bets to me] this seeking of biblical understanding via written and oral traditions of the scribes, Pharisees and rabbis is totally off target. [depending on Talmudic sources-a book that is essentially antichrist in that it denies Jesus Christ for information [such as the same info on Hillel]is not a good way to go]

I'm with this writer who says:

"Prasch's often repeated assertion that Jesus and His apostles used MIDRASH in their interpretation of Scripture he expects you to be believe, just because he said so. I challenge him to prove it!"

Please read and study these things Dan, and think about the foundational errors here. On the surface this stuff looks good, but essentially Prasch is telling people to go to the scribes, and trying to sell this idea, that Jesus Christ and the apostles interpreted scripture the same way the scribes and Pharisees of their day did. That makes no sense to me.

So when Prasch tells us:

"“The clearest set of guidelines in Midrash are the Seven Midroth attributed to RABBI HILLEL, the founder of the Pharisaic School of Hillel"

I remember this Bible verse; where Jesus warns about the leaven of the Pharisees.

Matt 16:6Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Prasch's referring Christians to a Pharisee for insight on the BIble [and inversely Talmudic writings because that is where he is getting his information on Hillel.]

Is very deeply concerning.


Bible Believer said...

Oh want to add this too..Some of the statements of Prasch's I find very contradicting.

Just so folks know this was written BEFORE these blog entries.

His comment " Anyone who has ever suggested that I have even once ever maintained we must look to extra-scriptural rabbinic sources to interpret God’s Word is lying or never actually read my teachings on using Midrash"

Makes absolutely no sense.

Otherwise, why even bring up Midrash as a way to "understand" scripture MORE or even ADVOCATE it's USE?

Dan said...

First, the immediate quote above, in context, is actually a statement in support of one of your previous points that no one should be using midrashic writings to validate anything. The most common issue he deals with is the same one coming up here, that he is not endorsing midrashic/extra-biblical commentary to exegete Scripture but independently of those sources using the principles of a hermeneutic.

Second, are you really saying that because SOME heretics mis-use a hermeneutic that therefore it is automatically wrong no matter who uses it? In that case we have to completely throw out historical-grammatical exegesis because of the all-too-long list of false teachers over the past 400 years who have tried to justify their heresy with that particular approach. I think a heretic is defined by their professed conclusions regardless of the mechanics employed to arrive at them. Perhaps I live in a bubble, but I measure a teacher's credibility by whether or not their teaching is supported/contradicted by Scripture. I have never ignored the teaching in favor of critiquing their methods. I guess I'm whacky that way. ;-)

Third, I would be curious as to what you believe is going on with Paul, a graduate of the School of Hillel under Gamaliel, and what hermeneutic he is employing in Galatians 4:21-31? To assign to each of Abraham's wives that they actually represent the two covenants is completely contrary to the rules of the grammatical-historical approach. So too is Matthew's assignation that somehow Hosea 11:1, "Out of Egypt I called My son" could refer to anything but Israel in its originally given context. How does Matthew justify assigning it also to the Messiah? These are examples of the application of the principles of Midrash among others.

Prasch isn't "referring Christians to a Pharisee for an insight", he is actually contrasting how they got it wrong. The conclusions of the Pharisees of the day were wrong, but I don't think the writers of the New Testament were.

In the examples of his use of Midrash I have studied they seem to most often conform to what Paul did in Galatians, which I would call something more akin to "typology". How do we ultimately derive that physical things and/or historic events and characters also represent something greater spiritually as Paul indicates with Sarah and Hagar? Is it possible that Paul, a Christian convert from that school and self-professed Pharisee is an example of the RIGHT way the Pharisees SHOULD have exegeted Scripture? If so, would it not be possible for someone to follow THAT example?

In Paul's time, he would be like Prasch, the lone guy independently using this approach contrary to the thousands of others misusing it. But in the final analysis it is not the approach which defined him so much as the conclusions published as a result of it.

Bible Believer said...

"no one should be using midrashic writings to validate anything"

To me this is a giant red flag, why go into them? if something cannot be validated when it comes to religious truth; then all that can come about is confusion. One thing I learned being freed from the false religions I was in, was to avoid that which has no foundation, and God's Word for the Christian should always be what everything is tested by.

"The conclusions of the Pharisees of the day were wrong, but I don't think the writers of the New Testament were."

I agree with this, but the problem with Midrash remains, that it is going to outside sources to interpret scripture. Also if Jesus Christ Himself came to warn against the scribes and Pharisees [many rabbis] of that time? Why would anyone support using their techniques to interpret scripture? You are right about Paul interpreting scripture the RIGHT WAY. But I doubt that was via "technique" or via the training of the rabbis [who by the way set him up for sinful ways before his conversion to Jesus Christ] and it was via the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. No mystical special multi-layered analysis of scripture. As I said in another answer on the other Midrash entry, yes Jesus and the apostles were correct in what they preached but we do not need Midrash to "prove it" or "them". Where is the inspiration of God in a view of the Bible that insists that Jesus Christ and the apostles depended on Midrash [past interpretations of rabbis -I am talking about NON-SCRIPTURAL sources] for what they taught? That gets even odder.

One thing about Midrash is it majorly reminds me of Catholic Lectio Divino where they seek special meaning beyond the plain meaning of the text, told to focus on one word even for ten minutes, and that "god" sometimes delivers a special and personal message. Midrash reminds me of this, in examining multi-layers, multi cyclical meanings, and special analysis of scripture, that uses more false intuition rather then dependence on truth.

One website says this:

Midrash minimizes the authority of the wording of the text as communication, normal language. It places the focus on the reader and the personal struggle of the reader to reach an acceptable moral application of the text. While it is always governed by the wording of the text, it allows for the reader to project his or her inner struggle into the text. This allows for some very powerful and moving
interpretations which, to the ordinary user of language, seem to have very little connection with the text. The great weakness of this method is that it always threatens to replace the text with an outpouring of personal reflection."

I have to agree with that. For what Paul preached in Galatians 4:21: there was no special or mystical rabbinical techniques there. The Bible itself speaks of the BONDWOMAN.

Gen 21:12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

This is where I say inspiration via scripture {God's Word} and the Holy Spirit comes in. No special Midrash, no depending on rabbis. There are a lot of scary places people can end up if they depend on the teachings of man {special Midrash techniques that are nonscriptural] instead of on the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Hbr 4:12 For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Thanks for the discussion it has been interesting and a learning experience. Just please think these things out.

Dan said...

My final thought: I think the salient point of confusion is you keep thinking of midrash as "going back to midrashic writings". That is NOT what Prasch does and he even repeatedly advocates against it. I get how confusing it is because when someone normally refers to midrash that is what they are normally advocating. That really is not the case here. Prasch is independently exegeting Scripture first and foremost inductively, in the original languages, and aided by this method. Nothing he preaches is derived from nor even confirmed by midrashic writings. He is delivering content completely separate and independent from those sources.

One of many examples would be whether his conclusion is right about the theme of the tree of life in the garden, the one in Genesis representing creation, the one in Gethsemane (Jesus) representing new creation, and the one in Revelation depicting re-creation. It's a teaching derived from the APPLICATION of midrash which no one would ever find in any extra-biblical midrashic source. In fact, I'll bet we can confirm that teaching through others who did not even use the same approach to reach the same conclusion. He is not saying, "Look to midrashic writings", he is saying, "I arrived at this teaching based on my study technique."

Personal Note: I hope you keep at it. I actually jump in like this very rarely because most of the time people involved in such discussions are so busy name calling and insulting each other I can see it would just be "pearls before swine". Is it a sign I'm getting too old or something that I feel like there are fewer and fewer people out there capable of a civil discussion in spite of legitimate disagreement? In the end I don't have a problem if you never fully subscribe to this because you are concerned with how Scripture is handled, and that is probably a healthy jealousy in the long run. Hang in there, baby. ;-)

Bible Believer said...

Thanks for the discussion Dan, I like that we have been able to discuss this having honest sincere discussion even while disagreeing too. Maybe the problem is the use of the word Midrash in general: I think the nebulous use and definition of the word is connected. Prasch has to know what the word represents to many.

Quoting verses for Catholics on one message board about the "tree of life", I figured there was connection between the trees spoken of in the Bible in all the books of the Bible as I saw the long lists of verses related to them. {that is what I mean by letting scripture interpret scripture.}
Course I never called it Midrash. LOL

Hey thanks for understanding my position out of concern of how scripture is handled and thanks for the encouragement, feel free to comment on any other subjects I come up with here. God bless you.

Dan said...

There is an article by Prasch himself published this past June 4th "Jacob Prasch and Midrash" at which addresses the core issues. He specifically rejects the use of midrashic writings. Hope this helps.

The Radical Pilgrim said...

I'm with you. Have you seen

JP says, said...

These are the scriptural facts. As hermeneutic, as literary genre, and as prophetic interpretation of history, Midrash is found in and taught in God’s Word. If rabbis distorted it, tell me what does false religion — be it Christian, Jewish or otherwise — not distort? It is not reasonable to reject the validity of something that is true just because it is counterfeited. It is a poor scholar or teacher who would tell us to do so. Anyone who has ever suggested that I have even once ever maintained we must look to extra-scriptural rabbinic sources to interpret God’s Word is lying or never actually read my teachings on using Midrash. Likewise, anyone who suggests that Midrash is not found in God’s Words is also a liar or uneducated. God’s Word is true and if it says “Midrash” I believe and accept it. To reject one bit of God’s Word is to reject all of it.
In Jesus,
Jacob Prasch

Anonymous said...

The Bible doesn't give us "seven midot" or any reason to go to Pharisees either. The first Christians were fishermen and other regular guy types. But the religious leaders noticed that they had been with Jesus.

Prasch is a false teacher because he teaches you can lose salvation (which is a false gospel of works) and he puts believers under a yoke of judaism, in having to come to him and his ilk for the "real truth".

If Prasch was listening to the Holy Spirit, then he would believe in eternal security.

Matthew Perri said...

[sing it to the tune of "Rapture" by Blondie]

I'm Boss Paul, the Pharisee
My hypocrisy's plain for the world to see
I travel the land and travel the sea
to make a convert who is just like ME

"All have sinned" - we know that's true
but it never means ME - it only means YOU
My sins are all theoretical
"I'm the worst of sinners"- but don't ask where

To be more like Jesus is what some strive
except for me - I've already arrived
I'm the perfect model since the road to Damascus
What were Paul's sins? Don't ask us!

I justify everything I do
If I testify about myself it MUST be true
I'm the only man in all history
whose testimony doesn't need two or three

If I did something it MUST be right
Don't use the Scripture to shed any light
Don't do as I say, do as I do
and then you can be a Pharisee too.

Anonymous said...

In the Bible, Luke records that in the general area of Galatia, "Paul wanted to take him (Timothy) along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area..." [Acts 16:3]. After that, Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians telling them that, as Christians, they should NEVER be circumcised, under any circumstances.

Jesus is our pattern – not Paul. Here is a parable in the form of a “Letter” to illustrate what happens if you follow the wrong pattern.

Letter to the Angelenos
Setting and context: Los Angeles California, Summer 2009. Due to lack of rain, there is a water shortage.

The Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, preached that homeowners should only water their lawns 2 days a week, not every day, in order to save water. But after that, a TV news crew camped out 24/7 at the mayor's house, and found that the mayor's own lawn was being watered every day. Now, it has come to the mayor's attention that some other homeowners are also watering their lawns every day again.

The mayor could write a letter to the homeowners of Los Angeles about the need for water rationing. If he decided to use the life of the Paul the Pharisee as his example, and he wanted to "be like Paul," he could write the letter below, using Paul's letter to the Galatians as his pattern.


Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles,
To the homeowners of Los Angeles:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the 2-day-a-week plan for watering your lawns. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion. But even if we or an angel from heaven should tell you to stop the 2-day-a-week water-rationing plan, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody should tell you a different message, let him be eternally condemned! Not even my personal staff members at City Hall are watering their own lawns every day.

You foolish Angelenos! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes I clearly explained the need for water rationing. I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you. I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. What has happened to all your joy? Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? How I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!

Mark my words! I, Antonio Villaraigosa, tell you that if you water your lawn every day, your life in Los Angeles will be of no value at all. You have fallen away from grace. For in Los Angeles, neither a green lawn nor a brown lawn has any value. You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the 2-day-a-week water-rationing plan? A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty whoever he may be. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and turn their lawns into swamps!

Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to water your lawn every day. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for having a brown lawn. In Los Angeles, neither a green lawn nor a brown lawn means anything.

Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I've suffered a lot for the City of Los Angeles. Do as I say, not as I did. How dare you ask me why I was watering my own lawn every day?
The Mayor of Los Angeles - Antonio Villaraigosa

Bible Believer said...

Matthew Perri, I'm not posting any more anti-Paul stuff. How can you claim to be a Christian when you want to throw half of the NT in the garbage can? You need to get away from false teachers.

Anonymous said...

I see a lot of people In the the "Hebrew roots" camp deny Paul. The reason being is because Paul in his letters to the Romans , phillipians , and last but not least Galatians, destoys their whole false doctrine. in Galatians Paul did not give them even an hour before he showed them the door, he called it bondage. It's sad to see these false doctrines coming back 2000 years later. Maybe they never went away.

Bible Believer said...

Of course for Hebrew Roots to work they have to "erase" all of Paul's writings and say they do not apply. It is crazy because they are basically dismantling God's Word. I suppose these false doctrines have always been somewhere but definitely being revived. The whole Dominionist-Zionist stuff helps promote them more too.

Anonymous said...

Galatians 2King James Version (KJV)

2 Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.

2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.

3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:

4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:

5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

Anonymous said...

Great blog by the way!

Anonymous said...

Jesus was asked twice which Commandment is the greatest or most important one, (Matthew 22 and Mark 12)
Both times Jesus answered quoting the same two commandments, from the Law of Moses.

Jesus said that one of these two commandments is the first and greatest most important one. Which one is it? The one in Deuteronomy 6, or the one in Leviticus 19 ?

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “ is this: ‘Hear, of Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ [Mark 12:29-30, Deuteronomy 6:4-5]

Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” [Matthew 22:37-38, Deuteronomy 6:5,]