It is time to put the rumors to rest…about where I’ve come to spiritually and how I got here. A concerned friend messaged my husband the other day after hearing through the grapevine about my leaving Christianity, “how does this happen?” she wrote.
That is a good question. How does a person get anywhere in life? Some say life is a journey… Some start out on a journey and go where their heart leads them. Others set a specific goal and a purpose. Still others allow themselves to be swept up in the winds of change and various doctrine. Some start out on a path and then come to a fork in the road that leads them off the well worn trail…Like Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken … I relate to having taken the Road less traveled.
For inquiring minds, I thought it might be helpful to share THE WHAT, WHY, HOW AND WHEN of my journey… so let’s begin with “THE WHAT“…
THE WHAT is, in short, after 23+ years of being part of the Christian church and “walking” with Jesus, I, simply put…
- Left Christianity to worship YHVH, the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob
- No longer believe that Jesus is Savior or Messiah
- No longer embrace the so called New Testament as inspired or inerrant (hope to write more about “why” in a dedicated post to that topic.) in short because, most of the prophecies that allegedly point to Jesus are grossly taken out of context plus many of “Paul’s” quotes from the Hebrew scriptures/Tanakh are misquotes or proof texts and when read in context do not support his arguments. For an example click here.
- And oh by the way, no, I am not Jewish
Before we get to the why, how and when, here are some common questions that have been asked me (or others about me) concerning this change in faith …
1. What about Jesus?
- Jesus slowly faded away, as I turned my attention to YHVH and the Torah/Hebrew Scriptures where I found a clear and unambiguous path of forgiveness of sin and relationship with YHVH.
- Further I reject the gnostic/mystical arguments that Jesus is in the Hebrew Scriptures by way of “types and shadows” that only the Holy Spirit can reveal. To accept Jesus at this point would require me to believe that the God who does not change and cannot lie, tricked the children of Israel into thinking that salvation was found in YHVH when YHVH really meant it was found in “Jesus“. It would require me to believe that God uses slight of hand when communicating with us. If that is the case, how could anyone trust the “New Testament”? How would one know or have confidence that Jesus is God’s final word to mankind, when God obviously did not say what he meant in the Tanakh.
2. What about the Holy Spirit – Where is the power in just following God?
- Simply put, it’s not something I give a second thought to. I rely on God (especially through His Torah which instructs us in all wisdom) to live a life pleasing to Him. After all, it was YHVH that said, “What I am commanding you today is not to hard for you or beyond your reach.” Deut 30:11. Secondly, not that this point had anything to do with my leaving Christianity, but it is worth an honorable mention, the anecdotal evidence for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit is rather flimsy. But, more about that in another post.
- Further, the Hebrew scriptures in no way point us to worshiping the Holy Spirit, nor does it elaborate much about the Holy Spirit. Therein lies another serious conundrum between the “Old” and the “New”.
3. How are your sins forgiven without a blood sacrifice?
- Read Psalm 51, Is 1, 2 Chronicles 7, Psalm 103 just for starters – and answer the question for yourself. Now, how do YOU think your sins are forgiven?
4. But what about the “fact” that Jesus is the Messiah and did miracles and rose from the dead and ascended to heaven?
- The Hebrew scriptures are pretty clear about how to identify the Messiah (Zechariah 14, Ezekiel 34 – read LORD: YHVH ). Plain and simple, Jesus does not fit the profile. Dying and being raised from the dead, as impressive as that might be, is not one of those criteria for identifying the Messiah. Again I ask, “Did YHVH trick the children of Israel, telling them to look for certain criteria and hiding the most important from them?” Furthermore, saying or writing that one day Jesus will reign the world in peace and every enemy will be put under his feet when he returns in the future in no way proves he is messiah right now.
5. Who are your mentors? What curriculum are you following?
- I find this question somewhat interesting and curious at the same time. On the one hand I understand that some people are very baffled at what has happened to me (and others from the fold i once belonged to.) By the same token it seems that people have a hard time accepting that this happen to me independent of following any particular person or curriculum. I simply believed that the Bible (Old and New) were the most important vehicle through which I could know God and Jesus. Therefore I have devoted much of my life to studying it. My studies in the last few years veered off into the study of the history of the Bible itself, 1st century (BC and AD) history, ecclesiastical history, textual criticism, inerrancy, the church fathers, and the dead sea scrolls. Also, as a hobby I enjoy writing and researched and wrote a number of topical papers from a biblical perspective on: Reproduction/birth control, the Sabbath, the Feasts, Salvation as well as numerous other smaller articles. Most of my studies were supported by the resources of Christian authors and theologians. In the last year I’ve enjoyed the teachings of a few Jewish scholars and Rabbi’s. Again, I hope to do a more comprehensive post on the specific resources, Christian and non Christian, in the future.
6. Are you Jewish?
- Worshiping the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob alone and embracing the Tanakh does not make a person Jewish or make them a follower of Judaism. Let me ask the reader, does a person have to have a religion? Religions are part and parcel derived from traditions of man…and yes, Christianity is a religion derived from the traditions of man. I do not currently identify with any specific religion or sect.
7. What is your goal?
- I have heard through the grapevine that there may be some people who are concerned that I may be proselytizing others to leave the Christian faith. My goal is what it has always been, to use my interests, desires and gifts to help people find truth and freedom and to honor God. People who know me, know I am passionate about sharing what I know: whether it’s about the Bible and Christianity or whether it is about health and nutrition. That is just me and always will be I suppose. However, one huge difference in the before and after: Previously when I was in Christianity I was compelled to share the gospel so that people could be “saved” and not go to Hell. Now I have the freedom to love and enjoy people just for who they are and to agree to disagree and respect and learn from others as well. I have no need to convince anyone anymore that I am right and they are wrong. For those who ask, I enjoy sharing. If you ask me or talk to me about the Bible, you will likely receive a very passionate discourse about what I think. If you don’t want to know or want to avoid the topic, that is perfectly fine as well. Some relationships I have with people have not skipped a beat because those relationships are not based on whether we agree on theological issues or not. We love and enjoy each other and have a God given connection – end of story.
- Also, there is likely a misconception among some folks who know me and a few of my spiritual sisters who have also left Christianity. Some likely believe that I was instrumental in somehow convincing or deceiving these ladies into leaving Christianity. All I can say to that is, you likely do not know the story nor took the time to find out. And you do these godly women a great disservice by assuming they cannot think and decide for themselves what they believe. And just to inject a bit of logic into the matter, why would anyone forsake the church and all the relationships and support they had within the church to maintain a relationship with little ole me.
8. What about your husband – has he left Christianity?
- Please, have the courtesy of asking him and letting him answer for himself.
Ok, back to the WHY, HOW AND WHEN…
First of all because, as I became more and more acquainted with the Torah, I saw that…
- YHVH said He was God and Savior and there is no other. (Deut 32:39, Isaiah 45)
- YHVH forgives sin and calls us to walk in His ways (Ez 18, Psalm 103).
- Those who follow YHVH will be accepted and blessed by Him. (Deut 30, Ez 18)
Second, I saw that there are serious problems with the New Testament…
- The Christian sacred writings were often in direct contradiction with Torah compare: Deut 30:11-14 with Romans 10:5-9 (just for starters)
- God commanded us against idolatry (Deut 4:16) and explicitly said, “I am not a man” (Numbers 23:19) and further declared human sacrifice an abomination. (Deut 12:31). IMO, as I understand the text, Jesus worship is both idolatry and human sacrifice.
- Most, if not all of the prophecies about Jesus in the “NT” are not prophecies at all and are often taken out of context. A favorite of mine is the alleged quote by Jesus about “striking the Shepherd of the Sheep”. Compare Mark 14 and Zechariah 13 – (read a few chapters in Zechariah to get the context right and always use God’s name YHVH rather than LORD as to be clear who the text is referring to).
Third, I began asking other questions like…
- If God accepts people who follow him and turn away from their sin, when did he begin to require people to “believe in ‘Jesus’ to be accepted?
- At what point in time did God flip the switch and require ALL people everywhere to believe Jesus was God incarnate who died for our sins?
- Did he grandfather in righteous Jews who had not gotten the news that Jesus had come and died and rose and ascended? Especially since there is nothing in the OT that would cause the Jews to be looking for a person who did that.
- Logic dictates, that if even one person was “grandfathered in”, then there was no need for Jesus to die – for God could have grandfather all righteous people in.
THE HOW did this happen – I took off my “Jesus glasses” and began reading the texts for what they are not what I had been been told they are by Christian sources – For example the conveniently placed capitalization’s in the “Old testament” suggesting or plainly stating that certain passages referred to Jesus or the Messiah. I read and reread the Torah (first 5 books) itself and compared the message to what was taught by Jesus, Paul and others. Besides the serious contradictions between Torah and the Christian writings which became more and more evident, I realized that when I became a Christian it was largely an emotional subjective experience…Let me explain…
- It was a difficult time in my life and I was searching for God
- I had a “born again” experience in conjunction with reading/hearing some teachings from the Bible
- I accepted that what I was begin told and was reading about Jesus was true
- Therefore I attributed my changed life to him
THE WHEN happened slowly over the last few years…Now I have personally reckoned with these sacred writings rather than just accept what I had been told they meant:
- This lead me to see things differently and come to different conclusions
- I also began to notice how many well known and respected Bible teachers use a lot of emotional arguments in their preaching/teaching, thus using a powerful form of manipulation rather than simply let the text stand on it’s own. For an example read about 7 forms of manipulation used by a prominent Christian teacher in one particular article.
- I also had an epiphany, which was, that I could submit to God and trust Him to lead me to the right conclusions as I reckoned with the scriptures and drew my own conclusions without fear of going to hell for “getting it wrong” or worried that “my heart just wasn’t in the right place” or “I was being too intellectual instead of faithfilled” or that “I was being deceived.”
A few other questions and line of thinking that propelled me down the path of reckoning with the NT writings were: I began to ask myself questions and notice things like…
- “Why would the gospel writers take the Hebrew scriptures out of context and apply them to Jesus?” (For example Hosea 11:1, Matthew 2:15)
- “Who has the right and authority to change God’s word?” (example Is 45:23 and Phil 2:10-11)
- Why does end time and Christological doctrine change as one reads NT in chronological order?
- Noticing that if one reads the gospels and epistles as the separate and individual writings that they are and not as if they are all simply different chapters of the same book, they tell a some what different story.
- The religion Jesus taught was different than the religion taught about him
- The much later gospel of John is radically different Christological doctrine than the other gospels
Some more red flags that concerned me along the way were…
- God’s personal name replaced with LORD over 6,000 times
- Gods personal name never showing up in NT
- God’s personal name which is to be exalted replaced by the name “Jesus”
- Christianity abandoning God’s appointed feasts in lieu of non appointed feasts that are often rooted in paganism (Christmas and Easter)
- Christian teachers twisting Paul’s words in Colossians to mean no one should observe God’s feasts any more, rather than as it is written suggesting, “observe them but don’t let any one judge you as to how you observe them.”
- Christianity breaking Bible interpretation rule #1 letting the clear scripture interpret the unclear, not vice versa. For example in coming to the conclusion that the 7th day Sabbath has been made null and void or replaced by the 8th day or the Lord’s Day. This IMO, is an example of the unclear reinterpreting the clear.
- Lacking intellectual honesty – i.e. picking and choosing church father and other quotes that fit the Jesus agenda, and abandoning the the quotes and teachings that do not.
- An example would be excusing the vitriolic hatred Martin Luther had for the Jews when the number one sign of being a “true Christian” is love, especially love for one’s enemies.
- Assuming that anywhere one reads LORD in Hebrew scriptures it is fine to substitute the name “Jesus”.
- Coming to understand that Joshua is just as good, maybe even better translation for the name Iesus (Jesus’ Greek name)
- Noticing that James, the brother of Jesus plays a very small part in Christian writings, yet he was head of the Jerusalem church and clearly was at theological odds with Paul.
- Wondering, “who” get’s to decide what is the “correct” translation/doctrinal understanding of Christology.
- If the apostles, especially Paul who claimed to have direct teaching from the risen Jesus, were receiving divine revelation, why was there confusion on Paul’s part about when Jesus was returning?
- Realizing that much of the way church is done today is simply “tradition” not truth. Nothing wrong with tradition, just don’t happen to believe that one religion’s tradition is more valid than an others…I need something more solid called truth to stake my eternity on.
So there you have it dear friends…hopefully you have some answers to, “How did this happen?” No body could be more surprised than me…but in my quest for knowing God and His truth this is the road that makes the most sense as a result of 23 plus years of studying the Bible….to stay in touch with where this road takes me please follow me on my Out Of The Snare Facebook Page.