Tag Archive | Pennsylvania

Building A Torah Community

Does building a Hebrew Roots community mean moving to the country, shunning electricity, and growing beards like the stereotypical Amish?  Not necessarily, but it does mean association in close proximity with like-minded believers.  (Picture:  Amish Family wallpaper, widehdwalls.com)

Does building a Hebrew Roots community mean moving to the country, shunning electricity, and growing beards like the stereotypical Amish? Not necessarily, but it does mean association in close proximity with like-minded believers. (Picture: Amish Family wallpaper, widehdwalls.com)

Five hundred years ago, in the midst of the great Reformation that gave birth to the various sects of Protestant Christianity, like-minded believers began to seek out one another in the interest of living according to their understanding of God’s instructions from the Bible.  Many, if not most, of these sects found refuge in America, forming the communities we know as Puritan, Separatist (Pilgrim), Quaker, Mennonite, Moravian, Amish, and many others.  In the pre-modern world bereft of electricity, mass communications, and rapid transit, the communities these believers formed often took shape around existing communities where families and congregations began to take advantage of the new translations of the Bible in their native languages.  In time these communities attracted like-minded believers from near and far, bringing growth in population, wealth, and influence to such places as Geneva, Holland, New England, and Pennsylvania.

It would seem that a similar phenomenon is happening today.  The Lord is restoring to His people a Hebraic understanding of the Scriptures which has been obscured for many centuries.  This is the time anticipated by the Prophet Daniel, when many run to and fro and knowledge is increased (Daniel 12:4).  Like the Protestant Reformation, the Torah Awakening is creating a desire among Messianic and Hebrew Roots believers to establish communities where they can associate with like-minded people and live according to their understanding of the Scriptures.  Yet the very aspects which have facilitated the Torah Awakening in this post-modern age are the things that make it more difficult to establish communities.  Here in the West we are well-connected by social media and instantaneous communication which permit us to share ideas with fellow believers across continental distances.  This is a blessing, but it is not a community.  Often it is easier to connect with someone 1,000 miles away than to find fellow Torah-observant disciples of Yeshua in the same county.  When we do find these brethren relatively nearby, what are we to do?  Shall we buy land in common and live in the same house?  Shall we establish a business or a farm together and contribute to our common welfare?  What examples do we have from Scripture, and how has human history and recent experience shaped our understanding of these examples?

These are things we must understand if we are to come together as a nation.  As noted on this blog and elsewhere, this process begins in the local community.  But exactly how do we build these local communities? 

Fortunately, someone who has traveled this path of faith is willing to share his experience.  Zach Bauer of New2Torah recently released a video teaching in which he discusses the subject of a Torah-observant community.  He starts with the example of the community Yeshua’s disciples built according to the book of Acts (Acts 2:42-47, 4:32-37), examining this record in the context of Torah principles.  Along the way he shares some practical lessons on what to do and what not to do.  For those who are considering seriously how to associate more closely with like-minded Hebrew Roots believers, Zach’s teaching is an excellent starting point.

Click here to see Building a Torah Community.

Click here to see Building a Torah Community.


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2014-2015.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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Fox Byte 5775 #41: Pinchas (Phinehas)

פִּינְחָס

One of the great depictions of American historical events is John Trumbull’s painting, Declaration of Independence, which hangs in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol.  The scene captures the moment on June 28, 1776, when the five men who drafted the Declaration present their work to the Continental Congress.  Of the 56 signers of the Declaration, 42 appear in Trumbull’s work, the others having died before he could obtain their images.  The painting also depicts five men who did not sign, including Robert Livingston of New York.  Livingston was one of the men who drafted the Declaration, but New York recalled him from the Congress before he could sign his work.  In Trumbull’s painting Livingston appears in the center of the drafting committee, with Roger Sherman of Connecticut on his right and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia on his left.  Americans may not remember the distinguished men from Connecticut and New York, but they do remember Jefferson and John Adams of Massachusetts, two future presidents.  Jefferson and Adams embraced different visions of how to govern the infant American Republic, and even though they became political rivals, they remained friends until their deaths on the same day, July 4, 1826. 

There is a legend that Jefferson paid Trumbull to paint his foot on top of Adams’, but it is only a legend.  The two men’s feet are close together in the picture, and as time and dirt wore away at the painting it came to appear that Jefferson’s foot was resting on Adams’.  That is not the only oddity in Trumbull’s work.  Like many works of art it is not entirely accurate, but is effective in capturing the spirit of the moment and of the age.  So also is 1776, a musical play which humorously explores the events during that fateful summer of American independence.  Howard DaSilva dominates the film version with his portrayal of Dr. Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania.  If we are to believe the movie, independence was Adams’ idea, and the declaration was expressed in Jefferson’s words, but it was Franklin who brought it into being with his wisdom, wit, and ability to achieve consensus.  1776 embellishes the story with fictional dialogue, but it captures a number of famous quotes by the Founding Fathers, including Franklin’s immortal words:  “If we do not hang together, we shall most assuredly hang separately!”

Dr. Franklin spoke a warning to a people facing the threat of political extinction before they could become a nation.  Long before Franklin uttered his warning, Yeshua of Nazareth spoke the same truth to the people He had come to redeem from the threat of extinction by the enemy of their souls:

And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand.  (Matthew 12:25 NASB; see also Mark 9:38-40; Luke 9:49-50, 11:16-23)

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