This morning as I turned on my computer and opened my email account, I was greeted by an email informing me that I had been gifted $8.5 million from a kind man because he had researched my ministry, and all I had to do to receive these funds was to provide certain banking account information and pay a few thousand dollars in processing fees. My first response to this email was to think, Does anyone actually fall for this type of scam? My second response was to acknowledge that if people didn't fall for these scams, the scammers would quit sending the emails.
You may be asking yourself, "Where is he going with this blog?" Well, where I am going with this is that within the body of Messiah, there are teachings going around that are just as unbelievable as the $8.5 million scam above, and yet a surprisingly large group of believers in Yeshua (Jesus) still fall for them on a regular basis. One of the most recent teaching is that New Testament believers are not supposed to follow any of the Old Testament teachings, including the Ten Commandments. The first time I heard this teaching, I thought, No one is going to fall for this line. Yet, unfortunately, because it was taught by a mega-pastor from a megachurch, this teaching has been gaining traction.
You may ask then, "Why would people accept something so absurd?" The answer is simple. They accept the absurd for the same reason people fall for internet scams claiming to be giving away large sums of money: Because they are vulnerable. We live in a society that is at war spiritually. Everything from politicians, media personalities, music, movies and yes, even churches and synagogues are attacking people who hold to biblical faith. Many feel surrounded by their enemies and convince themselves to accept the absurd because it will stop the attack. Rich people don't fall for financial internet scams because they are not financially desperate to try anything to relieve the pressure. Likewise, people who are scripturally sound in their knowledge and also in their lifestyle will not fall for unbiblical teaching scams.
How could someone accept that the first two-thirds of the Bible and the first four books of the New Testament (Remember almost all of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John take place before the death of Yeshua) should be unhitched from our faith? How could anyone believe that Yeshua came to do away with the Ten Commandments?
The answer is the same for this as for the email scam. People are desperate. They are entrenched in sin and are looking for a way to justify their actions rather than repent. They have family and friends living in ways that are incompatible with the Bible and the Commandments that G-D provided to be a pattern for our lives. They have been told that they are unloving because they expect believers to walk biblically by following the example of Yeshua and His disciples.
The list of possible vulnerabilities is long, but we must remember that the very first biblical scam is found in the very beginning of the book of Genesis 3:1-4. In this scam, Adam and Eve were told that they didn't need to keep a commandment G-D gave them. They fell for the scam. It is my hope that today's body of Messiah will not.
But the serpent was shrewder than any animal of the field that Adonai Elohim made. So it said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from all the trees of the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "Of the fruit of the trees, we may eat. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God said, 'You must not eat of it and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" The serpent said to the woman, "You most assuredly won't die!"
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, #ManWisdom:With Eric Tokajer, Jesus is to Christianity as Pasta is to Italians, and God Has No Plan 'B.'
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