Pythons and Starlings
A number of years ago, approximately one hundred thousand starlings arrived at my home within minutes of each other. Swooping down in gigantic crashing waves, just above the treetops, the black sea of birds swirled wing to wing for an hour, in what seemed a joyous dance, before settling down to nest together in my trees. It was an unexpected answer to prayer, a precious gift from the God who made all starlings. The birds returned every Fall for the next few years, before moving on to entertain some other child of God.
The odd thing is, not a single one of the 200 million starlings in America are native to the United States. In fact, every one of them, including the birds dancing over my barn, descended from 100 birds released into Central Park in 1890.
Unfortunately, not all invasive species bring such wonderful displays of God’s creative nature. In Florida, the Everglades are now infested with pythons, some up to 20 feet long and as wide as a man’s arm, courtesy of pet owners tired of sharing their apartments with the ever-growing creatures.
Whether by ignorance, foolishness, or evil design, humans have introduced foreign species into local habitats throughout the World, often with disastrous results. Kudzu vines smother vast swaths of indigenous pine forests, while feral pigs and rats have caused the near extinction of exotic birds in the South Pacific. While every good and perfect gift is from God, not every gift is good or perfect, and many are clearly not from God.
So it is with Christianity. In the beginning, Jesus and His Apostles preached a pure Hebraic Christianity, based solely on the Old Testament. With their theology reflecting the Jewish worldview of God’s perfect Torah, first century Christians were deeply rooted in the truths of Yahweh’s Word. Christian theology accurately reflected the personality of the Father, and Believers understood Jesus to be the incarnate Torah, the right arm of Yahweh, the Lion of Judah. Everyone recognized Jesus as the way to Yahweh, the door to an intimate relationship with the Father.
However, as years passed and the gospel spread through one foreign culture after another, the Jewish understanding of God and humanity became increasingly difficult for other cultures to understand. Instead, alien concepts, rooted in foreign worldviews and religions, were introduced into Christian theology.
These foreign ideas often became the norm, as fewer and fewer Believers understood the biblical, Old Testament context of New Testament scriptures. As this invasion of alien ideas supplanted a Jewish understanding of God and humanity, Christians were no longer able to tap into the richness and truth of God’s Jewish Scripture.
Consequently, these divergent notions robbed the Church of its power to transform lives. The age of miracles and healing seemed to be over. Because the Church was no longer familiar with the personality and heart of Yahweh, it ceased to radically reflect the passion, intensity, and humanity of the Father.
Believers divested of the magic and mystery of the Hebrew Scriptures began to increasingly embrace doctrines built on Greek concepts. As a result, the beguiling rationality of Greek analysis has virtually drained the church of the deeply counter-intuitive nature of Jewish thought.
Instead, most believers have embraced a life of benign principles that demand little courage or risk. The Word, spoken before the foundation of the earth has, for many, become a self-help book, perfectly adorning millions of living room coffee tables.
Embracing a way of life they mistakenly assumed was a reflection of Jesus Christ, Believers began to rely on “truths” which had never entered the mind of God. While this new diversity of thought sometimes added depth and nuance to man’s understanding of our Creator, it far more often proved to displace important Jewish concepts. Replacing the power of the ancient gospel with ineffective, but familiar, Pablum—a new gospel has emerged, a gospel utterly unable to transform believers into the priests and warriors they are meant to be.
These ideas, now enmeshed in Christianity, include such bizarre concepts as equalizing minor trespasses with crimes worthy of death. The God who demands justice, who repays those who hate Him to their face, has been transformed into a Messiah who cares as much about the perpetrators of evil as He does their victims.
To make matters worse, many believe it is improper to argue with God, choosing to blindly obey without understanding or joy, refusing to wrestle God to the ground for His blessing as Jacob did. The righteous zeal of our Patriarch is often characterized as disobedience, although God rejoiced to give him the blessing.
Telling untruths is uniformly considered “lying,” regardless of the consequences of telling “the truth.” Consequently, many in the Church consider Esau, Jacob’s victim, and express sympathy for the man who despised the blessing of God. The Church has now chosen the man God hated from the time he was in his mother’s womb.
Believers have been convinced they are only sinners saved by grace, although the scriptures declare the people of Yahweh are not only the beloved of His soul, they are His righteousness and His glory,
Furthermore, by incorporating Buddhist worldviews, many parts of the Body of Christ have rejected their own humanity, fleeing all things human to become disembodied spirits, without natural affection or desire. Paul’s foundational exhortation to richly enjoy all things has somehow been transformed into a call to reject everything in the world as “soulish” or “worldly,” even to the point of abandoning one’s own natural talents. Far worse, rootless faith has become an excuse to declare Torah obsolete or, incredibly, a bondage to be thrown off.
Because modern Christians believe God gives according to need, and not in response to relationship, food pantries have now replaced a call for repentance to the homeless and the lost. Taoism’s false humility and aversion to conflict encourages believers to avoid exposing sin to the fiery light of God’s judgment. Polite discourse, courtesy and moderation are now considered biblical righteousness.
In their reticence to judge, Christians no longer step into their calling as the Light of the World. Depriving their communities of the moral clarity that dispels darkness, they are unable to reveal Truth. “The righteous,” Yahweh declares, “are as bold as a lion.” The wicked hold their peace.
Like spreading vines, psychology, counseling and humanism have supplanted the glorious truths of God. Deliverance, prophesy and miracles have become strangers to most of the Body of Christ. Christianity is not a western religion based upon rationalism. It is, in fact, incompatible with the Greek philosophy western civilization is founded upon. Jesus simply declares, “Salvation is of the Jews.”
Although it is extremely difficult to drive out these invasive views, Hebraic thought is slowly being reintroduced to Christianity. Here and there, Jewish believers are taking back the land, restoring an ancient Jewish flavor to the church and exposing the hidden darkness of alien worldviews—spiritual tares which were never meant to become a part of God’s field of wheat. The incarnate Torah came bearing a sword. In time, He will cut out the non-Hebraic concepts that have found a home in Christianity. This is because Truth, in the end, will destroy everything but itself.