What is The Oasis?
It is a place where Judaism and Yeshua of Nazareth converge. Of course, historically, this shouldn’t be necessary, since he was fully Jewish and practiced Judaism. But Christianity has long-forgotten this truth.
The Oasis is (hopefully) a place where the dry and thirsty soul can find nourishment, encouragement, and strength. Hence the name, which is birthed from the scripture passage I have highlighted (Is.41:17-20). This passage is a vision which I believe God provided two decades ago and a good summary of what’s going on here on this site.
It is an attempt to recapture what was lost when the sect of Judaism known as the Way slowly and rather awkwardly split away and became (ultimately) something entirely other than Judaism, and even began to identify itself as distinct from that which it came from.
It is a collection of written and audio material that wrestles with this problem.
This is a safe zone for both Jews, Christians and others to wrestle with the Bible and with faith in an intellectually stimulating format, without fear of marginalization from their present community.
What do I believe?
I believe that there is only One True God, the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. This is the God that the apostles worshiped, and the God of Jesus, whom I happen to believe is God’s Anointed Messiah. Beyond that, let’s not go there at the moment. I would prefer that you simply engage with some of the material and then ask questions if you want to know more. You won’t find a “statement of faith” here. This is about learning, not declaring creedal formulas.
I believe that Judaism is the religion of the Bible, not Christianity. Does this make you uncomfortable? Think about it:
The apostles were Jewish men, following a Jewish Messiah, and their theology and worldview were entirely Jewish.
Oasis is a place where the perspective of the apostles is considered gold, and I mine the depths of scholarship and tradition to discover it, wherever it may be found, whether that is in Jewish or Christian commentaries, Talmud, apocryphal works from the period, my own study, or what have you.
I also have a positive view of Christians. This may seem like an odd thing to say. If you are a Christian yourself, you may be asking yourself ‘Isn’t he a Christian too?’. In terms of my allegiance to Yeshua as Messiah, I suppose. But I don’t practice Christianity. I practice Judaism. I am convinced, also, that Rabbinic Judaism is anointed by God as a preservation of both the Jewish people and also the religion of the Messiah. Yeshua practiced Judaism. It was his religion. I don’t support some of the directions in which Christianity has gone, in a corporate sense, over the past centuries, and particularly in the recent past. I struggle with the tendency of Christianity to define itself through creeds and dogmas, and with what I perceive to be a regression into Gnosticism and antinomianism. I also strongly disagree with most of the creedal statements that were formulated in the early centuries when Gnostic thought and Platonism held more sway in the Roman minds of the Councils than the religion of the apostles.
In my opinion, any expression of Christianity that fails to acknowledge the Jewish people as being in on-going covenant relationship with God, and also fails to recognize Judaism as the only religion taught in the Bible, is gravely deficient in its understanding.
Regarding Judaism, it grieves me that belief in Yeshua bars a person from consideration as a legitimate member of traditional Jewish space. It wasn’t like this in the First Century. But apocalyptic messianism is scary and dangerous to traditional Judaism when not held in check by Torah, as history has proven. The current environment of Messianic practice and culture has caused Orthodox Judaism to treat the movement as another form of Christianity, and they are correct to do so. Organizations such as One for Israel and Jews for Jesus perpetuate the problems, and cause great hurt to the Jewish community. I don’t support them.
Until the Messianic movement gets it act together, starts to collectively acknowledge Jewish authority on halacha and rejects, categorically, false doctrines that developed in the early centuries of Christianity and afterwards which are at odds with the worldview of the apostles, then this will continue to be a problem that is unresolved.
But Christians? I distinguish between the doctrines of organizations and my view of individuals. Most people have literally no clue about the origins of the Church, how various doctrines developed, the rise of Evangelicalism and the roots of the Reformation. No clue at all. They are just believers in Messiah and doing their best to live decent, moral lives. They are part of the tikkun of the world, although they are unlikely to have any idea what that means, really. And the Church, for all it’s shortcomings, accomplishes great good in this world, by spreading the message of Jesus, of faith in HaShem, works of righteousness, and compassion for the welfare of humanity. Great good indeed. It should be celebrated for these things, and not just criticized for its failings. But, unfortunately, their work is tainted by a history of anti-semitism and anti-Judaism; a history that has resulted in the most heinous acts of evil ever perpetrated upon other human beings. In these things, Christianity has been a tool of Satan, and not an instrument of God. Collectively, The Christian Church has yet to own this history, or be accountable for it.
Adolph Hitler credited the writings of Martin Luther for providing the inspiration behind the persecution and execution of millions of Jews.
But, nonetheless, I look at people individually, and I have many good friends who are Christian, and many have the Spirit of God indeed! If this describes you, welcome! This sight is for you. I hope The Oasis stimulates deep and reflective analysis of your own walk with God and causes you to wrestle with ideas that you haven’t been faced with before in your Church experience. Blessings.
If you are Jewish and reading this, please understand that I will never encourage you to leave your religion or your community, and I will never write or teach in a way that compromises the Torah or your allegiance to the covenant. You need to be Jewish. Not just culturally, but religiously. Your community needs you. Hopefully, this blog is a resource you will come to trust.
I have no official affiliation with any particular branch of either Christianity or Judaism. Truth can be found in many places. It is up to us to discern what to keep and what to toss.
Hope you enjoy hanging around. I’m thrilled you stopped by.