74-4 It is fallen human nature (“the knowledge of good and evil”) that compels one to seek information not provided by the “anointing,” or to question the truth of that information.
The section of the Sent Ones teaching quoted on page 74 of the Analysis in support of this statement is not to be found in the original. As such, it is problematic for us, at best, to try to say what went into someone’s notes and why. It would be best if the authors feel they need teaching support for their conclusions that they find it somewhere else in the interests of fairness.
This statement is incredibly broad, and the reader is left with no guidelines as to what information, and from where, and about what, is being referred to. The scope of knowledge since the Fall is pretty vast. If the authors are implying their conclusion refers to all human knowledge, it is an inaccurate conclusion. As a matter of fact, nature books, how-to books, etc., are freely obtained and wisely used.
In reference to things which the Scriptures teach, are we to let teachers into the Body whose life we do not know, who come from we know not where, in defiance of 2 Jn 7-11? Reading what an author says uncritically is inviting him into the inner rooms of your mind. This is just as much a violation of 2 John as having him come and teach in your community. Unless a teacher bring the doctrine of the supremacy of love confessing that He, the God who is love,1 came in the flesh, we will not receive him as an authoritative teacher in any fashion. We do, however, believe there are brothers in our midst in many realms who can discern the precious from the vile, and with discretion bring knowledge into the Communities. We want to keep this a pure and wholesome environment.
The fallenness of human nature in relationship to the restless quest for knowledge men have had was seen and condemned in the early communities. Paul connected with other unrestrained passions:
“For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. And just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected as regards the faith. But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, as also that of those two came to be.” (2 Timothy 3:6-9)
We are quite content to walk in Paul’s footsteps, down the same path he praised Timothy for, as he writes in the verses immediately following the above:
“But you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me!
75-0 The average member would most likely not receive “permission” to purchase, or borrow from a local library, books on history, novels, “Christian” literature, the current Newsweek or Time magazine, etc.
This is another statement made from silence, based on the conclusions the authors have had about us for several years, and is presumptuous in the extreme. This is just not true. People go to libraries occasionally. Nobody is looking over their shoulder. They are responsible for what they read, they are responsible for what they give their children and the fruit of it in every way. The same goes for all the other mediums of communication mentioned here. Everyone has to judge the things that bear good fruit in their lives, or whether they rob them of time which could be more profitably be spent with their families, etc. As parents our primary responsibility in our child’s education is found in passages such as Dt 6:4-7, 4:9, Eph 6:4, 2 Tim 2:5, etc. We all have to grow up into the head of the Body, who is Messiah, and learn what pleases Him (Eph 5:10).
75-1 Thought control is the third component of a totalistic environment, an environment where all aspects of a person’s exterior and interior worlds are controlled and manipulated.
The conclusions come to in the “Thought Control” section of the Analysis stand in stark contrast to what the authors actually observed in our midst:
“Second, we did not observe any degree of thought or behavior control that could not be found in other religious communities, be it Catholic, Hutterite, Amish, etc. People could freely express their opinions, and there almost seemed to prevail a “democratic” form of government. We thought it was important that you were careful to let any perspective members know “up front” what was required of those who joined the Messianic Communities. This was one thing we were careful to ascertain in the many informal interviews we conducted with various members. In every instance we found that people joined of their own free will and were not coerced.”2
The openness we have shown you “Christians” stands as a witness against your conclusions, as does the personal openness, the family closeness and warmth, the compassion and loyalty shown to weaker members.
Since the report states several times the leadership does not do such things (practice these various aspects of mind control) intentionally, but that they result inevitably from Yoneq’s teachings, the only way to stop doing these terrible things is to throw out Yoneq’s teachings, and Yoneq himself. That is the voice the early Church heeded as they challenged and then silenced, by ignoring, the voices of the true apostles. You can see this in several passages like 1 Cor 4:2-5; 2 Cor 7:2, 10:7-12, 13:3-6.
75-1Thought control often involves thoroughly internalizing the group’s doctrine, accepting a new language system, and using certain techniques to “center” one’s thoughts on that which the group defines acceptable.
Disciples of Yahshua have come under the spell of God. This God-spell or gospel we have received has opened the eyes of our hearts as well as illuminating our minds to understand. It is from revelation that we choose to internalize the teachings in the spirit that we heard from the beginning. This Spirit leads us to love and unity and a good conscience. Thought control is a foreign concept to any disciple who is being transformed by the renewing of his mind (Rom 12:1-2).
75-3“Reason, the faculty of mind that causes you to think practically ...”
Since this quote is from someone’s private notes, and not from the teaching of November 18, 1990, which we have, and since the handwritten notes appear to come from throughout the teaching, making it difficult for us to place them in their original context, we shall deal with salient points from the original teaching, rather than this quote.
From the original teaching:
“Is reason good or bad? In Dan 4:36 Nebuchadnezzar came back to reasoning. It returned to him. Before he was like an animal and now the faculty of his mind by which he could think like a human being returned to him. Man has to have reasoning.”
We teach that everything you do should come from a conscious choice. That choice has to be based on how we hear. And how we are filled and led by the Holy Spirit. How we hear the spirit in our own heart. That effects our mind. Our mind is illuminated by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. It’s all based on that. We encourage people to think. But we must all learn to base our reasoning from the renewing of our minds that comes from the sanctifying work of the Spirit and not from fallen, natural thinking that is the fruit of living under the curse of sin.
“Isa 1:16-20 — ‘Come now, let us reason rightly together.’ It says now because perhaps man did not reason rightly before this (verses preceding verse 18), but now he could — with God. Mk 11:31 speaks about a reasoning. In Mk 2:6 they were reasoning in their hearts. In verse 8 they reasoned within themselves. Our Master perceived in His own spirit that they reasoned within themselves and so asked them why they did it.”3
The above quotes would be a much more accurate way to present the Reasoning teaching than the notes the Analysis does. The teaching is not hard to grasp, and it is not offensive to faith. The spirit it is spoken in is just like the words of our Master in John 14, “If you love me you will obey me.” Like the gospel of John in 3:36, it contains the warnings of what happens to those who don’t obey. Jn 8:51 is of vital importance to every true believer who never wants to taste death. The thought process of a man has to be judged as to whether it leads him to obedience or else to disobedience.
The example in the teaching in Mark 2 is very telling.
“And immediately Yahshua, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, ‘Why are you reasoning about these things in your heart?‘” (Mk 2:8)
That way of reasoning (described in Mk 2:5-7) needs to be exposed, or we may find ourselves in the seat of the Scribes, questioning the authority of the Son of God in the most fundamental matters of His gospel.4 This possibility is what the Reasoning teaching inveighs against — not the reasoning process itself, because that process of questioning God is ingrained in man from the fall of the human race:
“Reasoning can be a satanic principle. Satan reasoned. He thought he could be greater than the Most High.5 And the first sin of man is that Satan made Eve reason. She reasoned that the fruit was good for food, so why would her Father not want her to have it ... reasoning.”6
We have to learn to reason rightly. Our lives depend on it, entering the Kingdom depends on it because those who reason away the will of the Father in heaven will not enter, Mt 7:21-23. This is what the Reasoning teaching is talking about. It is not hard to see:
“Reasoning is earthly wisdom. Our parents taught us to reason wrong. We must teach our children to reason right. We must train our children to reason properly. Hence, actually our reason can be properly oriented. The gospel is not earthly wisdom (1 Cor 1:18). The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but we have learned not to reason away the gospel and the commandments because it is the power of God to us who are being saved.”7
75-f20 Flowers also have no brain, and birds have no will power. However, Spriggs point is that they live completely under authority and so also should human beings as an antidote to reasoning. Of course this is submission to the authority of the leaders of the Messianic Communities, the only focus of God’s anointing on the earth. It is interesting how Spriggs takes this famous figure of speech from the Sermon on the Mount (“consider the birds and the flowers...) and uses it in a fashion foreign to its original usage. Its intent was to convey, in context, a life lived in utter dependence upon God to supply the necessities of life. Spriggs uses it to shore up his concept of authority and refute “reason.”
It is also interesting how the quote of the teaching in the footnote truncates enough to obscure what it was actually saying (everything after the hyphen was not included):
“To live by reason is so complicated. Consider the birds and flowers how simply they live. The more we subject ourselves to authority, the simpler our lives become and the more our offspring will be full of grace. The flowers and birds do not have reasoning. We have to live like them — as if our flesh was crucified. Our Master says, If you obey Me you will never die (Jn 8:51). If you obey Me you will never be separated from Me; you will always be near to Me.”8
The part of the teaching right before this dealt with the inability of parents to expect their children to obey them, if they, the parents, are not obeying the Word of God. In worldly terms, it is like a parent who drinks telling their child not to do so because its bad for them. The example drowns out the wisdom of the counsel. In the same way, the example of Messiah, for those who are of the faith, can, by His grace, outweigh the powerful voice of reason in our lives which seeks to preserve our comfort, our pleasure, ourselves, even at the cost of our lives (Mt 16:25). The teaching says this about Yahshua: “Our Master submitted Himself to His Father’s authority (Jn 5:19, 6:38, 8:28, 12:49,50), never questioned, only obeyed.”9
This is the way we must walk, or finally be proven to be liars who only claim to know Him (1 Jn 2:4-6). It is the flesh in us, which must be put to death, just as Paul says, “for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom 8:13). And if there are other places where God’s true anointing is on the earth today, we know one thing, they will teach the disciples to obey all the commands of our Master. They won’t reason them away.
76-1 Even though reason may initially be defined as a “faculty ... that causes you to think practically,” which is a positive statement, there is very little if anything said about the positive use of reason. Rather there is a steady diet of the evils of using the mind’s critical faculties.
We train our children to reason rightly. We don’t just let them reason, but we train them how to reason. So it is in the Body of Messiah that if we can reason rightly, we can think according to the mind of Messiah that Paul speaks of 1 Cor 2:10-16, and our minds can be renewed and our thought processes can be healed. We cannot think and use our brain to its fullest capacity if we are limited and stifled by the reasoning that insists on walking by sight and not by faith (2 Cor 5:7). This is what the Reasoning Teaching is talking about, walking by our fallen human reasoning and so judging the word of God instead of letting it judge and guide us.
The spirit of reasoning allows us to disobey the word, like Eve did in the beginning, and receive that thought in our heart, which then dominates our thinking, “Did God really say that?” This is the attitude of so many towards what are called the “hard sayings” of Yahshua. It is not that we don’t use reasoning as the Analysis so relentlessly and inaccurately says. We don’t say that. Our reasoning can lead us to submit to authority. Very solid, sound reasoning can lead us to surrender our life to Messiah. This surrender is not based on no reasoning whatsoever — it is not blind faith with no use of the thought processes. That is not what our God is looking for. It is not what will endure. It is the conscious choice to surrender that brings glory to Him.
So, just like many “higher criticisms” of the Scriptures have fallen by the academic wayside with new archeological discoveries, so many conclusions come to in the Analysis are simply statements made in ignorance of the richness of both our life and our teachings. For instance, here are some of the things we do teach regarding reason and the mind:
“Without understanding Proverbs they will not understand anything. Proverbs teach conceptualization. They are one of the main teaching and training devices of Israel. Pr 1:1-6. You can see the essentiality of Proverbs. The Proverbs are a device given to obtain the mind of Messiah along with the rest of the Scriptures. But Proverbs are essential. Math, history, etc., are no good unless they know Proverbs. The Word says that Proverbs give prudence and wisdom to the simple.
“The purpose of the teacher is to awaken the spiritual and mental aspects of a child and to serve the mental and moral education of youth and further instruction of the mature. Proverbs mentally awaken you. They awaken your mental powers and that awakening goes on to spiritual also and moral. It helps you understand a figure, metaphor, parable, allegory.
“We want to awaken the knowledge of the truth in our children. We want them to know who they are, where they came from and where they are going. To know their purpose for living and acquire all the skills needed to accomplish that purpose.”10
The following excerpt from a teaching explains the complex human thought process by which one reaches a conclusion:
“(Strongs 7919) To be wise, behave wisely, be instructed, to wisely consider, to be prudent and intelligent. Sachal is the word that describes the complex, intelligent thinking process that occurs when one observes, ponders, reasons, learns and reaches a conclusion. The word is sometimes used as prosper. 1 Kings 2:3 — David urged Solomon to be obedient to God’s instructions so that he could prosper — literally do wise in everything he undertook. A derivative of Sachal is Maschil which means to give instruction — to make wise and skillful.
“Jer 3:15 is a promise. Isa 49:17 is also a promise.”11
A teaching explaining the purpose of parables teaches the ability of the mind to perceive the truth:
“...a parable’s message is found by letting the metaphor stimulate the imagination is a new way. Parables do not obscure the truth but present the truth in a new way.”12
From the Educational Statement of the Community in Island Pond:
“With this foundation firmly laid we begin an accelerated education between the ages of 5 and 12. Taking full advantage of their natural curiosity and love of learning, we seek to establish mastery of reading, writing, spelling, and arithmetic skills by the time of adolescence, where we are just beginning to develop an apprenticeship program.
“There are no failures in the Community — no one flunks out — but all are encouraged to fulfill their potential, not as isolated individuals, for the sake of their own worth, but as integral parts of the Community because each one does have worth. For this reason academic training is only a portion of the whole education of each child. Much more is taken into account, according to the child’s need. Some may be early bloomers in one area and late bloomers in another. One may progress rapidly, gaining a foundation in math and language skills at an early age, while another may seem to lag behind. We see to it that both will get to where they are going (full maturity) if they progress at the pace which is appropriate to their individual needs and gifts.”
From the Literature Meeting Notes, which the authors of the Analysis had in their possession, come the following:
“Imagination is neutral — you can use it either way. We can’t see what lies ahead without imagination...” (page 4)
“We don’t discipline our children for the use of imagination. We do, however, correct them when they leave reality and go off into another realm — into fantasy. We lead them back into reality. This is right reasoning versus reasoning to get out of your discipline.” (page 4)
“Most Scripture is plainly written. There are only a few places, like Yacob getting the blessing ahead of Esau, that are vivid. Generally, you need to use your imagination to see the story to be able to bond to it and so internalize it.” (page 5)
There are three main types of questions teachers and parents can use to develop their children’s ability to understand and form concepts (i.e., to think):
1. Questions whose answers come right from the text or the facts of a situation.
2. Questions whose answers require deduction or reasoning from the facts presented either in the text or in the situation you are dealing with.
3. Questions that cause you to draw conclusions from what you have read or what you have done.
Questions from the third category are the least favorite for the children in training — and even the second makes them insecure (“I can’t find the answer,” they say) — but the third type are by far the most valuable. Without developing that ability, then education has largely been in vain. This is precisely where proverbs fit in because proverbs teach concepts. Without concepts there can be no self-judgment. We will need proverbs till the day we die. The forming of concepts allows us to unite our experience — past, present, and what we will encounter — with what we have been taught. Our children need this critical ability and as Qatan put it, “It is never too late to be stimulated.” (page 17)
If we didn’t have the ability to think critically, we would have no way to come to any kind of rational understand of the word of God. It is obvious from the above quotes that mindless, robotic obedience is not what we teach. We love the positive use of reasoning.
76-2 Christianity is the “Great Satan” of Messianic Communities. Thus it is consistent that Christianity is at least one of the major sources of “reasoning.”
We don’t teach that Christianity is the “Great Satan.” We teach that Christianity is the Harlot of Revelation 18. It’s true that Christianity has reasoned away many essential things in the Bible. This is why there is so much confusion in her ranks. She has the nature of babel — confusion — hence she is called the Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth. Much of the theological section of the Analysis itself was devoted to misrepresenting what we believe and arrogantly flaunting Mr. Pardon’s Calvinistic theology as “the standard” of orthodoxy. This comes out clearly in the areas of what the Word says about the nations, the judgments, the kingdom, possessions, etc.
76-5 The point is that a prior understanding of Christian doctrine is a corrupting influence upon the life and spirit of a new convert to Messianic Communities.
It is true when it says the harlot has corrupted the whole world (Rev 18:23). It’s pretty clear that Christian doctrine is a corrupting influence on the life and spirit of anyone. Not just new converts to Messianic Communities but to everyone. That’s what we believe. It has corrupted and confused so many people that within Christianity it is okay to be a homosexual. There is so much division in the Christian church over their doctrines that it speaks for itself.
76-7 Such reasoning is a “work of the flesh” and evidence of great spiritual darkness. It is ultimately the height of pride to “reason.” So the communities teach:
We say what we say about works of the flesh and spiritual darkness because of the fruit that it produces. That’s what the Word teaches. Those who know Him live and walk in the light of His love. They have crucified the flesh with its reasonings of the flesh.
76-8 If you live according to reason, you have your mind on the flesh which results in death (Rom 5:8)... Those who know him live and walk in the light of His love; they have crucified the flesh with its reasoning of the flesh....To reason is to walk in darkness.
This severely-abridged quotation from Reasoning (11/18/90), p. 12, is a clear indication that the authors are not merely ignorant of what we believe regarding the improper use of reason, but are deliberately suppressing it. The unabridged passage is clearly not forbidding rational thought, but contrasting fleshly reasoning (which argues against the Word of God) with obedience to God:
“Only the obedient know Him. If you live according to reason, you have your mind on the flesh which results in death (Rom 5:8) To live in obedience is to keep your mind on the Spirit and have life and peace. Those who do that do not argue or complain. Those who know him live and walk in the light of His love; they have crucified the flesh with its reasoning of the flesh. Reason is judged by the light. We cannot say we know Him and walk in darkness. To reason is to walk in darkness. To reason with God’s words means that God needs our consent for what He does (1 Jn 1:6; 2:4).”
77-3 Since such reasoning is sinful and contrary to the “anointing,” finally leading to being cut off and spiritual death, it is critical to control the use of reason. Spriggs teaches:? “We are to know Him with an undivided — loyal — heart. Let nothing come in. Don’t let thoughts come in like unclean birds, such thoughts are Satan’s messengers.” (No Cause for Stumbling, 7/18/94, page 3)
The whole context of the teaching is:
“1 Chr 28:9 — Eternal life is a relationship with our Master. (We can only have a relationship with Him on His terms — Mark 8 and Mark 10 and Luke 14 — total surrender.) Verse 8 — Be careful to seek out all the commandments of the Lord your God. Verse 9 — We are to know Him and serve Him with an undivided — loyal — heart. Let nothing come in. Don’t let thoughts come in like unclean birds; such thoughts are Satan’s messengers. Christianity is full of these unclean birds, that is what Rev 18:2 says. They flew in over the wall.”
We don’t want to control the use of reason but we want to understand reason in the light of God’s Word. So we can only teach what the Word of God says, as it says in 1 Chr 28:8 and 9:
“So now, in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God, observe and seek after all the commandments of the Lord your God in order that you may possess the good land and bequeath it to your sons after you forever. As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.”
This is how we are to know him with and undivided, loyal heart, and it does no one any good to know Him any other way because He searches everyone’s heart. He knows whether they are willing to do His will or not, and His eyes are looking to and fro on the earth to find those people and strengthen them (2 Chr 16:9). So we can’t do or teach anything less, because that is the way He is and we love Him for being that way.
It is just like the teaching says, “Don’t let those thoughts come in like an unclean bird, since those thoughts are Satan’s messengers.” The teaching is not even in the context of reasoning as it is put in the Analysis. It is dealing with doubts and accusations, just like the next quote of it on the same page shows.13 Are we to entertain doubt? How about accusation and other things that tear down? To do so is against the word of God, like 1 Tim 5:19 and Phil 4:6-8. We are to take every thought captive. Should Yoneq not teach the Word? (2 Cor 10:5,6)
Do the authors of the Analysis deny that thoughts come to you from spirits? That thoughts that come to you are not your thoughts as the quote of the Thoughts teaching says? If so, the authors must not know about the voice of the accuser. Again it should be noted that the Thoughts teaching is out of place in the author’s discussion of reasoning. Should we listen to the condemning thoughts that come to us? (Rom 8:1 — So often the Analysis’ criticism of the faith of the people in the communities seems to be urging us to disobey the Word. I can’t understand why they are doing that. They must think the first Church was a mind controlling cult.) Someday the accuser will be cast down because there will no longer be any room for him (Rev 12:8,9). Right now he is before the throne of God accusing but he’s also accusing believers night and day. Paul knew about these things. These teachings speak for themselves.
77-7 A current member we have had contact with “hums” when they go out in the “world” or during conversations with loved ones not in the Communities who bring up disagreeable subjects.
What are we to do with people who have slight mental problems and they come to us looking for God’s home on earth? We take them into our homes. The Analysis is referring to one very new disciple, coming from a background of meditation, drugs, and following the Grateful Dead. But he makes it sound like this is what we teach — you get around somebody and they start saying things that are contrary to the anointing, just hum.14 The definitive quote on the hummites is this:
“Our criticism of the community sociologically would be as follows: first is our sense that, at times, the community has fallen prey to one of its own stated goals — to take in anyone.” 15
77-7 This is another thought stopping technique that deadens reason, preventing any possibility of value judgments. But that is just the point according to the teaching of Spriggs. The solution to “reasonings” and being pleasing to God, is obedience.
If this is another, what are the first ones? Since none are mentioned, the whole statement is barely anything more than slander. The teachings of the Messianic Communities do not have as their goal the ceasing of making value judgments. The solution to being pleasing to God, is however, obedience. Many verses to that effect have already been cited.
78-6 “Jean Marc — If you trust in our Father you can put your foot on reasoning. I learned reasoning by day and by night. When I came here one day, I gave up my head. (He sighed with relief.)” Reasoning, 11/18/90, pages 18,19. This last comment by a relatively new member (Jean Marc does not yet have a new name) is most telling and disturbing. This is almost total abdication of one’s decision making power and responsibility to the “group mind.”
It is not an abdication of one’s decision making power which is being described here. In fact he said, “I gave up my head” which means that he gave up his sovereignty over all his decisions — he gave up his inability to trust others. He gave up his decision to only trust what goes on in his own head. That is what he means by “giving up his head.” He surrenders to a higher authority which is our Master Yahshua. He chooses to submit to his brothers and sisters out of reverence to Messiah (Eph 5:21), and to consider what they say and make no decisions apart from the unity he has with his brothers. That’s a conscious decision.
Now he engages his mind in that direction, to be in unity, and he no longer disengages his mind to mindlessly follow someone else, or go off on some whim of his own. If he were to do this, he would be unfit for the Kingdom.16 This is the epitome of the lack of understanding that the authors have concerning anything about the spirit and how the Holy Spirit works in individual people.
It is also an unfounded assumption that someone with a non-Hebrew name is a new member. There are disciples who have lived here for many years without receiving a new name.
78-8 Emotion Control - This last aspect of mind control is the narrowing of a person’s emotional responses.
Again, one of the most instructive comparisons we can make is what the authors saw with their own eyes and later understood after talking with people who left the Community and after reading the teachings:
“Third we did not detect any excessive emotional control. This is not something that can be easily hid. We did not sense any manipulation of fear in order to control. The group did not appear to have any sense of paranoia (‘people are out to get us’), or the outside world is persecuting us. We also did not detect any sense of terror or exaggerated fear of the leadership if one failed in their responsibilities or behavior. The Messianic Communities do have very high standards of behavior for all to live within, from the top leadership to the new member.” [emphasis added]
“However, there appeared to be a great toleration of ‘weaker’ members. This was particularly evident in the woman who came Friday evening to the Sabbath Celebration. It was obvious the woman had caused the Community problems in the past by her behavior and had been difficult to handle. Yet she was working through these interpersonal problems with the support of the community and not their coerced conformity.”17
78-8 There is a “prophet” amongst us, an “apostle,” who has a direct pipeline to God. There is no longer the need to individually discern the will of the Lord. God now speaks directly through His “apostle” of the anointing.
This is not true. The individual has to discern the will of God. He has to have the same witness in his heart as what the anointing teaches or else he wouldn’t be in agreement with it. The unity of 1 Cor 1:10 is deep. One heart and one way of Jer 32:38-41 and Acts 4:32 is deep. The Holy Spirit wants to reestablish Acts 4:32 on the earth in full measure. This takes what it did then, all. That is why each individual has to use the abilities of his or her spirit, soul, and mind to discern the will of God. We understand that the will of God can’t be discerned apart from the unity with our brothers and sisters that comes from offering our bodies as one living sacrifice, morning and evening, and not conforming to the pattern of thinking of this present world (Rom 12:1-2). How can it be since apart from unity there is not even the blessing of eternal life (Ps 133)?
78-8 Within this kind of climate there is usually the manipulation of two powerful emotions, fear and guilt, to keep people under control. The manipulation of these two emotions produces an intense compliance and conformity.
The manipulation of guilt and fear he talks about is nowhere to be found in the Community. It is not taught and it is not our experience. We teach that guilt is dealt with by confessing our sins (1 Jn 1:9). We teach that fear is dealt with by loving each other perfectly (1 Jn 4:18). Each individual is responsible to deal with guilt and fear in his own life. Some don’t do this. Some live with a bad conscience and some hold onto their lives, not giving up their lives for their brothers and sisters. Compliance comes from guilt and conformity comes from fear. Many who left the Community are surely full of both. We are abiding because of the love of God in our hearts which casts out fear (1 Jn 4:18).
79-2 Redefinition - In this instance commonly understood “sins” are redefined and narrowed to the point where the member is perpetually in a state of transgression.
We do not teach that people are under a perpetual state of transgression. We teach that we ought to be constantly going to the throne of grace (Heb 4:14-16). He can sympathize with us. We would defile our gatherings if we were to come there in a perpetual state of transgression. Our spirit knows when our conscience is clouded. We teach that the Holy Spirit speaks to us with clarity, like it speaks of in Jer 23:29. It is the accusations of the evil one which debilitate and leave one in a discouraged state. They are vague and unclear, and do not require evidence or the proof of bad fruit. All that is necessary is to plant a thought in our minds.
So, we go to the throne of grace when we are being oppressed. We go when we need to confess our sins. The very first milk of a new disciple is 1 Jn 1:9. It says that if we confess our sins, he is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us and that is the absolute rock bed of our belief.
79-3 “It is all right to have opinions, but never bring them across as if they were the mind unless you have the Amen of the Body.” (Lack of Overweening Self-Confidence, undated, page 2)
That is what we teach right there. That nullifies so much of what is being said on all these pages of the Analysis. We do not say that every time someone expresses his own likes or dislikes, his own emotion or opinion, that he is off. It’s all qualified in that last sentence. It’s all right to have opinions. Its all right to have likes and dislikes. We have all kinds of emotions and that’s how we find out what the mind of the Body is because we talk about these things. We talk, talk, talk about these things (Mal 3:16; Eph 4:15). Satan is always trying to shut people down and get them to not talk to prevent us from coming to the mind of the Spirit in agreement by talking and expressing our hearts to one another. That’s how we believe. That’s how we come into the unity in the Spirit. This is how we treat one another, and this is how we listen to one another, as brothers and friends. We appreciate the distinct and wonderful qualities of each brother and sister. We have to or we wouldn’t be able to live in such close proximity as we do.
However, the rest of the paragraph of the teaching (omitted by the authors) makes it even clearer what the teaching is talking about:
“Be careful that you don’t inject your own thought or overly stress your own opinion and expectation so that the facts are changed and it becomes a lie. This happens especially in the case of negativity or harshness.”
The “average community member” would focus on this last statement, about the dangers of negativity or harshness presenting a false picture of a person or a situation. That is the focus of the teaching — not the bizarre thing the Analysis had made the teaching to be. It has to do with sound self judgment, not a guilt-ensnaring concept of lying.
79-4 Rather, the truth is now determined by its conformity to the amen of the body...
Well, of course we trust the wisdom of the Body. That is why we are in it. We trust in many counselors. We come to an agreement. That agreement is in the Holy Spirit. That’s what the Holy Spirit always brings us into. He does not function or dwell in discord because that is not His fruit (Gal 5:19-24). Sometimes we lack in our ability to hear from Him, therefore sometimes we make bad judgments. When we do, we repent.
79-4 Thus, the member continuously carries the burden of potentially lying when they strongly express their opinion. This produces great fear of “lying” when an opinion is stated strongly, or having done so, dealing with the guilt such a “transgression” now creates. More than one ex-member, caught in this “catch-22,” told us they stopped being spontaneous and kept their opinions and true feelings to themselves.
This stuff about lying is unreal — about how the member carries the burden and potential of lying when he expresses his opinion. This is totally ridiculous. We are sensitive in our consciences to expressing strong opinions. You can tell by how your brother draws back and finds it hard to be in agreement with you.
It’s true that there are ex-members who stopped being spontaneous and kept their opinions and true feelings to themselves. They did this for all kinds of reasons — either they had a bad conscience about something, or they stopped confessing their sins, and so they became apathetic. It could have been that they were under a leader who really did shut them up and who really wasn’t listening and didn’t respond to what they expressed. This can happen in the Body. But it is not what we teach. It is not where we are going. It is not what the Holy Spirit in our midst is cooperating with.
79-f22 Lacking a dictionary, how would anyone in Messianic Communities know the meaning of “overweening?”
The way the average community member would know what overweening meant would be to listen as the teaching was taught. Overweening is defined on the first page as:
“Arrogant, presumptuous, immoderate, exaggerated: a person who comes in and takes over.”
Yoneq often defines words in his teachings. We regularly use dictionaries to look up the meanings of words. Our children have dictionaries, many people have dictionaries. Our leaders and teachers use them and it inspires us to do so as well. We like new words. The criticism in this statement, if the word had not been defined in the teaching, is presumptuous. Since it was, the criticism seems to be a deliberate attempt to influence people about the Messianic Communities with a false picture of what we believe and how we, especially the leadership, behave.
79-5 Pleasurable experiences are also redefined and narrowed to create a sense of guilt, shame and fear. “Do we eat to live or live to eat? We have been trained wrongly. We must be restrained. (Phil 3:18) Overeating is a sin: an evil that kills us...”
It is not true that pleasurable experiences are redefined to create guilt. It is just not true. Over-eating is not a pleasurable experience. It is a sin. Eating is a pleasurable experience, because of the food we eat, and hopefully the way it is prepared, the way it tastes, and the fellowship we have while eating. Eating is the highest form of fellowship. It means you are at peace with everyone present; there is no undercurrent between you and anyone else. Bob, did you really experience people in Island Pond not enjoying the meal they shared with you? If you deny the normalcy of what you saw and experienced, then the word — Pr 17:4 — proves you to be a liar.
80-1 However, simply taking a second helping or enjoying dessert, now makes the Community member an “enemy of the cross of Messiah,” and causes them to “walk in darkness.” The fear of enjoying the taste of food, or the guilt of gaining a pound can be very controlling.
Simply reading what is recorded of the teaching in the Analysis and the conclusions drawn from it would allow one to confidently assert the authors have missed the point in significant but predictable ways. For instance, there is no fear in enjoying the taste of food. The teaching does not say that; it speaks of overeating and of eating dessert for the pleasurable sensations when one is full already. This is the beginning of gluttony. So, we have to really judge ourselves as to whether we do or don’t eat, just like we have to judge everything else.
But there is a deeper problem at work here in the quote of the teaching, pages 79-80 of the Analysis. It is one we have found in a good number of the “quotations” of the teachings and has to do with all that is left out in the ellipsis (the ...) which changes the whole picture when restored. Then one can have an understandable view of what problem the teaching is actually trying to help with. The spirit of the teaching is then transformed, when the excerpt is seen in its context, as having nothing to do with trying to instill guilt in people or manipulate behavior. Of course people who consistently overeat should feel guilt — they are slowly killing themselves:18
Do we eat to live or live to eat? We have been trained wrongly. We must be restrained. (Phil 3:18) Overeating is a sin: an evil that kills us. We must stop short of being fully satisfied at meals. Takes about one month to be restrained. Hunger — primitive instinct that triggers the body’s need for food. Appetite is based on memory of past sensual experiences (eating pleasure stored in brain and the autonomic nervous system). We want certain foods rather than just food. Notion of appetite is particularly important for those who tend to overeat. It is when our hunger is satisfied but we could still eat a little more that the taste of food becomes paramount in our decision to eat more or not. We only overeat something tasty. In doing this we become an enemy of the cross of Messiah (Phil 3:18) Second helpings. Eating dessert when hunger is satisfied. Giving into this appetite leads to being overweight. Control your appetite and you will control your weight. If you cut down on sweets it will help a whole lot. (Eze 33:34; 1 Cor 10:13) We are walking in darkness if we gain weight.” (This is the whole teaching.)
Yoneq is talking about practical and spiritual advice concerning what to expect when changing one’s eating habits. A portion in accordance with actual need — instead of desire — will take about a month to feel right as the stomach slowly shrinks. Our stomachs accommodate our portions, and a large stomach does not feel satisfied until a large amount of food is in it. There are exceptions due to glandular problems and some deep-seated family type disorders, but most overweight people eat too much and too fatty of foods to ever lose weight, or keep it off when they do. This short teaching was meant to help people see the inner motives for their eating too much. If they could have this objective word in their conscience it would help them understand and judge the self-destructive desires at work in them. Such desires speak of idolatry, and this what Paul was getting at in Phil 3:18,19.
The setting of the quotation in the Analysis changed or twisted what it was trying to say. It is hard not to see (considering what was left out and what was said about what remained) this editing as deliberate — an intentional bearing of false witness. The conclusions come to in the Analysis are simply nonsense.
80-22 Guilt most often within the Communities this is a guilt over past actions or the lack of conformity to the group and its leadership. It appears life in the Communities is one of guilt. This is because expectations are so high in every area of life that perfect compliance is impossible. Laboring under guilt, as an individual, begins when a person first becomes a member.
Aside from the issue of the misquoted teaching which follows, there is a very real issue in the high expectations the authors correctly surmise we have in the Community. They are what has to be taught. We may fall short every day, but we go to our Father and confess the ways we fall short. We will not be perfect as He is perfect until we have glorified bodies, but we can be blameless. So we have to teach the high standards of love and unity our Master upheld in the New Covenant or we won’t know when to confess our sins. We are guilty when we violate the word of God, no matter in how small a matter. Jn 8:51 includes everything our Master said — that’s why He spoke the way He did in Mt 5:17-19 and Mt 28:19-20, because He knew we would taste death if we didn’t see the importance of obedience. He sent His apostles so they could teach disciples how to obey His commands. Not even one jot or tittle is going to pass from the law, so we have to see it in the right light, or else it looks like we live under this incredible burden. But our burden is lifted because we’ve been forgiven for our sins and we can experience this forgiveness every day. Rom 2:11-12 applies to every man, and 2 Ths 1:8 apply to those who have heard the gospel and refused to obey it. He does not want to pour out His wrath on us — He wants us to walk in His ways. He came so we could be forgiven and become like Him, not so we could live like all the Gentiles.
In every way we can, Mt 5:48 is the standard we want to attain to. We can encourage someone with the same grace and warmth as Messiah could. This is the standard that we are attaining to. As the teaching says on page 4:
“A person looking to be loved places an impossible burden upon others, for a person like that can never be pleased or satisfied... Our job and responsibility is to love, and not even to seek love in return, or we will still place an impossible demand upon others...How do we know love? What is its nature? How are we called to love? As our Master died on the cross. We are to be of this nature.”19
We need the Holy Spirit in order for this good foundation of unselfish love to be laid in our lives. What makes us thankful and full of praise is that we perpetually and constantly have access to the throne of grace to help us in our time of need. We can go boldly there, as Eph 3:12 also says. When we are tempted or when we fall we can go there and find forgiveness. It is not that we live in a perpetual state of guilt. We wouldn’t say these things if there wasn’t a remedy in the blood of our Master Yahshua. We point people to Him, to where we can be forgiven. It’s through confession, according to 1 Jn 1:9, that we find forgiveness and cleansing and that’s how our soul is cleansed and healed (Pr 28:13). It’s the only way healing can come; it is His way. We have to know the standard, in order to know what to confess. Without that standard our lives in fact would be full of guilt.
The context of the quoted teaching, The Treasure of a Good Foundation, can be seen in this longer quote:20
“Mt 5:21-22 ... One of the signs of anger is self-pity, hurt feelings (because of craving attention and not getting it as much as you think you ought to.) ... You sulk and pout and become resentful. This leads to another sin — withdrawal. We can’t bring this sour disposition to the communion table or we will die.21 When you find yourself getting into this trap it’s time to take immediate action. The worst thing you can do in this situation is to attempt to avoid the issue altogether by crying on God’s shoulder (prayer — without thanksgiving). For your benefit, because God loves you, He will not listen to you — your heart is condemning you. It is time to obey the Sovereign if you really love Him.”
So, this teaching has nothing to do with when someone first becomes a member; it has to do with a self-centered immaturity which demands the attention of others and then, like an untrained child, gets angry when he doesn’t get his way. This is the withdrawal the Analysis misleadingly speaks of. Since so many of us were raised to look at life this way, that others existed to meet our needs and give us pleasure, a teaching like this serves to raise our standards to what His love in our hearts will do (Rom 5:5).
80-6 Only perfection in the member’s relationships with others creates a “guilt free” zone in their life.
This is a misrepresentation of our belief. It’s not perfection in our relationship that creates a guilt-free zone, it’s confessing our sins that makes us guilt free. If you confess your sins according to 1 Jn 1:9, you’ll have wonderful fellowship with one another. It’s fellowship, not perfection in relationships. Our life is in fellowship and this is what disciples are devoted to — fellowship (Acts 2:42), which means they are devoted to doing all they can to make sure the social life of the Community is full and satisfying. This is impossible without confessing our sins.
80-6 And it is only this perfection that will allow the world to believe the “Father sent the Son.”
It’s not perfection that allows the world to believe that the Father sent the Son. It’s love being perfected in unity. They missed that very important word — love being perfected. This is critical.
81-1 “Every reaction, every response must be perfect. For instance you go to the laundry room. It’s your time to do laundry. Someone has just finished putting their clothes in the machines. There is so much opposition to reacting as Yahshua did. He always brought peace. There’s no other way for the world to believe that the Father sent the Son...” Elders, Part II, 1/8/89, p.16.
The response being perfect means that our love is perfect. Love is what is perfected. The only way that our response can be perfect is if our love is perfect. We love the way He loved. That’s what we are commanded to do (Mt 5:46,48).
81-3 “Our houses are getting filthy. Everyone has a sexton who is working all the time to fix it up and keep it clean. If your house doesn’t have a sexton don’t go to work; just board up your windows and leave. Don’t fool yourself — you are not part of the Body of Messiah if your house doesn’t have a sexton.” The Ten Commandments/Sowing Discord/Priesthood, 4/8/94, p. 3.
This is in a particular context and it is coming against a particular problem. We have to understand that. If you have a house without a sexton it means you don’t have any real discernment of the Body. It means you don’t care about your house. You don’t care about how it looks; you don’t care about how people view Messiah — because all they have to see of Him is His Body on earth. It would be like being unkempt in your appearance; it would mean you don’t care about your own body. And the way we treat our houses physically has everything to do with the way we see and live spiritually. There is no way around it.
81-4 Not being part of the Body of Messiah is tantamount to being outside the Kingdom of God.
There are people who are in the Body who, if they continue on in a state of dullness, not caring about the Body, not forgiving their brother, lording it over him, etc., they are going to be outside the kingdom, the thousand year kingdom age. They won’t be ruling and reigning. It does not mean they are going to damnation and the Sea of Fire.
81-4 Ex-members told us that whenever the “apostle,” Spriggs, came into town there would be a great amount of effort expended in fixing and cleaning everything.
The communities that have done what those ex-members told about whenever Spriggs comes to town have gotten rebuked for doing it — really rebuked — because we have been instructed to keep our houses clean all the time, for the reasons listed above. Cleaning and fixing should be done when needed, not when the apostle comes to town. That is the wrong foundation to build on.
81-5 Guilt also becomes a prominent experience group wide. “Everyone who gathers together will have a song ...Breaking of Bread, 1/14/89”
This statement is made in a context of a breaking of bread where there was dullness and silence. This was an exhortation to the Body. The scripture says that every member has a song (1 Cor 14:26). That is the word of God. When we gather together in the Holy Spirit, everyone has a song. If we gather and nobody has a song, what does it indicate? That is the context Yoneq was speaking in at that breaking of bread.
81-7 “If a shepherd is depressed everyone is depressed. That is why a shepherd always has a light spirit, a receptive spirit. They do not have a heavy spirit. Shepherds are sober-minded [sic] but they do not have a heavy spirit. They encourage everyone.” For Shepherds Only, undated, p. 1.
Shepherds are trusted to keep watch over the flock, and they are expected to have encouragement for the sheep because they know where to find it, either at the throne, that is, in prayer, or by being open about their needy condition with their fellow shepherds, their wife, a friend. They are shepherds because they are trusted to know where to find the grace they need, either for others or for themselves. They do not have to have it all themselves, but they are expected to know where their grace ends and where they need help. When elders have ignored these internal warnings in their conscience and their spirit, they and/or their flock have suffered. We trust elders to be open with their lives, otherwise they are incapable of being an example to others.
81-9 Even a person’s physical health can become an opportunity to use the emotional lever of guilt... Spriggs replied, “He can’t do this. He’s got to set an example. Tell him to get down here. Everybody will be laying down.”
Hakam himself has something to say about this report:
“Either this ex-member is misquoting, misrepresenting, misunderstanding, or else Yoneq didn’t understand what was told him about me because when he came up to see me, he was very compassionate about my condition. I know from my own personal experience during that time that I didn’t feel that I had any guilt that I had this sickness. I didn’t feel guilty and he didn’t make me feel guilty. It is just not true.”
Also, hepatitis has broken out only once.
82-1ff [Story of Hobab’s repentance at the sacrifice.]
In personal conversation with Hobab after giving him a copy of the May 19, 1994 notes which accompany the Analysis, he said,
“Well, to tell you the truth, I didn’t hear much of what was said. I left the Community a week later, and came back a few weeks after that. What I see out of it is that you shouldn’t miss the sacrifice.”
83-5 Fear: This is another very powerful emotion that can be manipulated to bring people into line.
This is followed by quotes of several teachings. If we fail to obey His word we will taste death. It is His word, and you can count on it. If these quotes are the manipulation of people through fear then Yahshua and Paul did the same thing. (See also response to 17-5 on page 19.)
84-1 This is a form of phobia indoctrination where a panic reaction can set in if the particular injunction is transgressed.
As noted earlier, for such a strong reaction, and with such an encompassing array of things to have this reaction from — so many commands to transgress, etc. — it is more than a little odd the authors did not see it on their visits to the Community. Is this a particular kind of phobia that acts up when the person leaves the threatening community but is quiet in it?
Might it not be the devastation which occurs emotionally and spiritually in the lives of ex-members be a result of their own sin and guilt. We don’t know how anybody could leave the communities with a sense of well being any more than anybody could leave a marriage with a sense of well being (see response to ii-2). Why would they have good feelings about the group if they left? Why would they leave if they were in agreement with the life and the teachings of the group? The overwhelming majority of the people are happy in the Body, obeying the teachings, living in the Holy Spirit, confessing their sins, enjoying fellowship, working toward the purpose that our God has saved us for.
This is a fact which the authors do not wish to face, but prefer instead to construct on paper a fictional tale of oppression based on isolated “proof texts” wrenched from their context and edited so as to conform to the bias of the authors.
84-3 Messianic Communities evidences all the classic traits of mind control...
This conclusion is based upon the authors’ misinterpretation of our beliefs and our practices. They analyzed us into the mold of a “mind-control cult.” If they had stated what we believe and not what they think we believe, the reader would have the opportunity to decide for himself.
84-3 The devastation emotionally and spiritually that occurs in the lives of ex-members is heart wrenching...
All the things he says he finds in these people he won’t find in those who are abiding in the land. He won’t find people feeling ripped apart from their families, incapable of functioning. In the words of the psalmist, “If I forget Jerusalem, may my hands forget their skill and my tongue her speech” (Ps 137:5-6). This is normal; this is what true Israelites will feel. They can do nothing but hang their harps in Babylon.
Once again, we think that the authors should be careful and consult their colleagues and learn from the error of Ronald Enroth, in giving so much credence to the testimony of ex-members — two dozen unhappy ex-members versus two thousand happy current members.