No Longer Christian

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Why I No Longer Identify Myself as “Christian”

In their historical novel Jerusalem Vigil, Bodie and Brock Thoene describe a conversation that occurred during Israel’s war of independence between a Catholic nun and a Jewish physician in Jerusalem who had come to faith in Israel’s Messiah. Although I have these and different reasons for no longer thinking of myself as “Christian,” it describes one man’s thinking about the subject.

The old woman gave a wink. “I have heard Brother Nathan was less than hospitable.” She addressed Dr. Baruch. “You did not tell him you are a Catholic.”

The doctor replied without bitterness. “I am not a Catholic. Not any longer. I am … since the war … since Auschwitz … a Jew first. That separates me from what the Church has become. This Franciscan would have been turning Jews over to the Nazis in Czechoslovakia if he was asked … for the sake of neutrality.”

… The nun continued, “Brother Nathan is a Syrian. His hatred of all Jews is long-standing. Ingrained, I fear.”

Baruch said brusquely, “As a Christian he wears the name of the greatest Jew who ever lived, and yet still in his small mind Jews are Christ-killers. He walks Via Dolorosa each Friday carrying the cross, but he does not know what the cross means. I tremble that a man such as this calls himself a Christian.”

Mother Superior said sadly, “But surely the smallness of his soul cannot make you deny your faith.”

Baruch looked her in the eye. “I deny those in the Church who deny the Jewishness of the Messiah. They have made Jesus a Gentile. One of themselves. For centuries Jews have known almost nothing about Jesus … Yeshua … and, because of hatred from men like Brother Nathan, have wanted to know even less.”

Mother Superior sat down wearily on the bench. “Not all have forgotten that we Gentiles are merely branches grafted into the root and trunk of Judaism.”

Baruch sat beside her, his hands open as though he held a book on his lap. “The Gentile Church has forgotten its roots. … The way, the truth, and the life grew out of the covenant God made with Abraham. Those Gentiles who are grafted on do not replace the original branches. From the seed of Abraham all the nations of the world will be blessed. The blessing was, is, the Messiah, Yeshua, descendant of David. Shepherd and sacrificial lamb. King. Redeemer. Healer of the sick. Lover of the unloved. Bread of Life. He who calms the seas. He who goes into the battle to slay our giants. I know my Savior well, Mother, but I will never again call myself by the name Christian. Too much evil has been done in that name. I am a Jew who follows The Way.”

— from Jerusalem Vigil, the first book in the Zion Legacy series
by Bodie and Brock Thoene www.thoenebooks.com,
 a “fictionalized” but historically extremely accurate
series about Israel’s war for independence.


I was “born into the Church.” The son of an evangelical Christian pastor, I cannot remember the time before I came to faith in Yeshua as my Savior. I began teaching “little kids’” Sunday school at the age of 10, and by the time I was a sophomore in high school I had assumed a position of leadership in my local congregation.

My first “pastoral” position was assumed when at the age of 19 (in 1965) I served as Youth Pastor in the base chapel at the U.S. Naval Hospital on Guam, and I have held both pastoral and non-pastoral congregational leadership responsibilities almost continuously since then.

As early as 1966 or 1967 I began to notice what I considered “uncomfortable” discrepancies between what I had been taught in Church and Sunday school and what I was reading for myself in the Scriptures. I thought that perhaps some formal Bible education might help resolve the issues, so while still in the Navy I enrolled in correspondence courses from the Bible school from which my father had graduated.

Somewhere along the line, about my mid- to late-30’s or so, I discovered my genealogical records which traced my Jewish ancestry (surprise!) back to England in the very early 1400’s, considerably before that Messianic Jewish explorer Cristobal Colon discovered America. It was then that I began to search out my “Jewish roots,” though with not much success.

Some time later, in a futile effort to resolve those “uncomfortable discrepancies,” I attended seminary on the west coast, earning summa cum laude post-graduate degrees (Th.M, Th.D, and D.Min.) in theology and ministry, and have I held both instructional and administrative positions at three seminaries, with a teaching specialty in systematic theology.

While serving both as Professor of Systematic Theology and a bi-vocational pastor, I continued to teach and preach “the party line” even though after seven years of post-graduate theological education I still had not resolved those “uncomfortable discrepancies,” but could find no viable alternative in which to serve.

That led to the 1997 establishment of Family Bible Church and the launching of this web site, in both of which I have endeavored to share those things that are being revealed to me by Ruach HaKodesh.

In early 2000 I was introduced to the Messianic Restoration Movement, and as I began to study the Scriptures from the perspective of my Jewish ancestors, I soon realized that those “uncomfortable discrepancies” were never going to be resolved, because what the Church teaches is very often considerably different from what the Prophets and Apostles actually taught and wrote.

As I now have come to understand that Christianity bears little, if any, resemblance to the first- and second-century Jewish sect of the Apostles known as “The Way” — in the words of the fictional Dr. Baruch — 

“I deny those in the Church who deny the Jewishness of the Messiah. They have made Jesus a Gentile. One of themselves. For centuries Jews have known almost nothing about Jesus … Yeshua … and, because of hatred from men like Brother Nathan [and Mary Nero], have wanted to know even less. I will never again call myself by the name Christian. … I am a Jew who follows The Way.”

I, too, deny those in the Church who deny the Jewishness of Messiah Yeshua and who blaspheme Him by making false claims about His supposed antagonism towards His Jewish heritage. Since that includes most who call themselves Christian, I deny the Church. I, too, will never again call myself by the name Christian. I, too, am a Jew who follows The Way. I am a Jew who follows Yeshua as Israel’s Messiah, King of the Jews, and King of all kings. He is my King and my Sovereign. I  am a citizen of His Kingdom, the Commonwealth of Israel.

For a much more thorough discussion of my personal spiritual quest please refer to Why is This Teaching Different and to Chapter One of my in-process work The Model for the Messianic Community.

Revised Friday, 15 January 2016 09:25 AM
Revised Friday, 03 May 2015

Page last updated on Wednesday, 03 August 2016 11:18 AM
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Major content changes after May 3, 2015 are identified as "Revisions”)