Recently, our family has been asked critically about our relationship with Nehemia Gordon, a Karaite Jew.
Sadly, it seems there is always some reason to question or criticize our fellow believer. I am not sure why that is. I wonder if we want so badly to be sure we are doing everything just right, that when we see others doing something differently, it makes us uncomfortable.
I know that uncomfortable feeling. I have felt it many times myself. Most of the time when that uncomfortable feeling comes over me, I step back and consider why do I feel so uncomfortable. I ask myself, is what this person is doing or saying making me question my beliefs, or is it that they are clearly sinning and I don’t want to be around sin?
If I am unsure of my beliefs then I go to the Word of God to find the answer. But if I think my brother or sister is sinning, then the right thing to do is to lovingly point out that sin. If after I point out their sin they choose to continue in sin that is no longer my issue. I must place them in the Father’s hands.
Honestly, I think sometimes I have been so excited about the things I have learned in the Word of God that I have over zealously debated with someone who wasn’t ready to hear the Truth that I had found. As I have grown in my relationship with Yehovah, I have learned that debate and even heated discussion is usually not honoring to Him. Gentleness, Kindness, Patience, and Love these are the Ways of God.
So, what does all that have to do with my friend, Nehemia Gordon?
Our friend, Nehemia, has been falsely accused over and over of trying to lead believers away from Yeshua as the Messiah. Because of this false accusation many believers who do not know him have told congregations and followers of Yeshua not to have anything to do with him.
First let me make it very clear in all our dealings with Nehemia, he has never ever tried to convince us or anyone we know that Yeshua is not the Messiah.
Another issue that believers have with Nehemia is that he is a Karaite Jew. That means he believes the Old Testament scriptures are the only sacred scriptures and follows the Torah laws only, not Jewish oral law or traditions. Therefore, we should not listen to him as a teacher.
My answer to this line of thinking is simple. Do you learn from only teachers of the Word of God? Or do you learn from other scholars? Many people go to college or take courses online to learn a trade or skill. Many people study and read books about other cultures, history, and places. Nehemia Gordon is a leading scholar in the Hebrew language, history, and culture. My Bible, the Holy book of my people, was written in Hebrew for Hebrews, and by Hebrews. My Saviour, Yeshua, is and was a Hebrew. I want to know and understand everything I can about the Hebrew people. So, even tho, my dear friend, Nehemia, doesn’t yet have his eyes open to see Yeshua of Nazareth as His Messiah, I can still learn a great deal from him.
I do not look to Nehemia as a shepherd or preacher, nor does he claim to be one. But I would be a fool to not see him as the gifted and educated scholar that he is.
So, please stop trying to divide us over this issue.
Let’s learn and grow in love together.