by Frank Houtz
Many of you may wonder why in my first article I did not address any doctrinal issues raised by one who believes that separation from John Conrad is the only reasonable response to his attitude toward a certain book. First, I desired to establish character. John is a man of character and an elder – and that alone requires a degree of caution. [Footnote 1: NKJ, 1 Timothy 5:17 "Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine." John has earned a double honor status by the good character he exhibits and the good teachings he has produced. I think it very important to be cautious when correcting him. We need to follow strict procedure and make sure we do not publicly rebuke him before we have adequately presented our case to him. Furthermore, there needs to be a collection of elders who would caution him if he gave a bad teaching.]
What does Scripture teach us to judge? We are to judge men’s actions. [Footnote 2: 1 Corinthians 6:2-11, NKJ: "Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers! Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." We have a list of actions, not false beliefs that we are to judge.]
What sin has John committed? [Footnote 3: 1 Corinthians 5:11-13, NKJ: "But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner - not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore "put away from yourselves the evil person." Notice it is a list of bad actions, not bad beliefs that establishes who is evil. Which one of these sins is John committing?]
We are to discern between the righteous and the wicked. [Footnote 4: Malachi 3:18, NKJ: "Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God And one who does not serve Him." The righteous and the wicked are determined by proper serving, I suppose substantiated by who keeps the commandments.
You could argue that the Levitical Writings are a total fraud. So can we find the law forbidding one from being duped? John doesn't even teach from the Levitical Writings, so we cannot accuse him of teaching from a false book, and it would be difficult to find a Scripture to support such a judgment if he did. So I have intentionally discussed the thing Scripture encourages us to judge - his actions. I discern that John is righteous in his ways and if you had spent time with him, and heard his teachings, I think you would also.
I want to make it clear that I am not here to claim that the Levitical Writings should be included in Scripture or that they are inspired or that they should be read for the purpose of guidance. I don't even believe I need to make a decision about them. They aren't written to me, and do not pertain to anything that I do. The only reason I would read them is to check out the validity of the claims against Glendenning which have been transferred to the House of Aaron and John Conrad as its leader. For starters we need to keep in mind the following facts:
I believe the one inquiring in this debate has good motives. I certainly do not want to incriminate an innocent man in any way in my attempt to address this debate. I do detect that a few procedural errors have exacerbated the situation. For one example, I will refer to a statement made by John, which was followed by a quote of John’s statement on his blog. The exchange is below.
John’s statement: We do have in our possession the Levitical Writings and have never made a secret of them. We consider them inspired but not on a level with the Bible and consider the Bible to be the final standard of doctrine, practice and teaching. I would be the first to say there are things in the LW that I don’t understand.
Quote later made by one questioning John’s beliefs: Since I wrote this article John Conrad publicly stated “We do have in our possession the Levitical Writings and have never made a secret of them. We consider them inspired…”
John’s statement is clearly edited at a point that will cause more misunderstanding. John did not use the term inspired to mean, “inerrant word of God.” Often the term inspired is used for music or words from a dynamic and spirit filled singer or preacher. John’s use does not indicate that this book should be considered holy by the masses or even read. He believes it to be a book specific to that congregation and calling and knows it has little value to the greater Messianic community. I am not assigning bad intent on the part of the one who quoted John, only bad procedure for when we are trying to determine truth.
Many years ago, Batya and Angus Wootten (founders of the Alliance of Redeemed Israel), brought forward some new ideas to Christianity. In reality they are not new at all and have been debated for the past 2600 years. Jews have debated the question about prophecies concerning the lost tribes. Others from Christianity have discussed this over the centuries but Batya and Angus have brought it up in our generation and have some clearer understanding than those preceding. Those of us who grew up in evangelical Christianity needed a few questions asked to stir our curiosity. Those from Messianic Judaism may have needed
some talmudic sources to bring them to a new understanding. If we believe that Ephraim has been scattered into all the nations, then it is certainly possible that we will find Ephraim in every race and maybe even being called out from every religion. Remember, Ephraim was sent out because of idolatry and may have been influenced by any religion. Maybe Chinese Ephraim will have studied Confucius. Indian Ephraim my have studied the Upanishads. Where we are and where we are headed determines the path we take. That which will bring an evangelical Christian back to God’s ways will be ineffective
with a Sikh.
Glendenning was a man who believed in following the voice of God. He, like many of us may not have been 100% accurate. But in following that leading he could not remain with the LDS. He left them around 1931 after only a little over 1 year of membership. When he left, many Mormons followed him. The Mormons excommunicated him and those who went with him, causing a great deal of hurt in the process. This sounds a whole lot like many of us. How many of us have felt the sting of rejection by our previously believed to be closest friends? Glendenning led the group into forgiveness. He wrote down some of the things he had been told by the voice that was leading him which has been identified as an angel or Elijah. The things that he wrote down have later been formed into a book entitled Levitical Writings. These writings are the point of contention between some in the Messianic/Hebrew Roots Movement and the House of Aaron.
The first thing we must understand is that if you are going to St. Louis, Missouri from Lexington, Kentucky, you will use a different route than if you travel there from Seattle, Washington. Speed limits may vary according to road conditions and every sign along the way will be different. In like manner, one coming from Evangelical Christianity will have a vastly different path to understanding the reunification of Judah and Ephraim than will a Mormon. It is quite possible that Ephraim would be in both Evangelical Christianity and Mormonism. We certainly recognize that the Judah we are to be joining, can be found in both Messianic Judaism and Orthodox Judaism as well as other branches. If we think that the Orthodox must reject the Jewish Talmud in order for us to walk with them, we will be drastically disappointed. Even the one concerned about Glendenning’s writings has been known to defend a proper interpretation of the Talmud.
John teaches those in the House of Aaron to respect and honor their heritage. The source of this teaching came from an Elijah House Ministries seminar that many in the group attended back in the 90s.7 [Footnote 7: Elijah House Ministries, John and Paula Stanford, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho www.elijahhouse.org ] This seminar taught three spiritual laws and one of them was to honor your father and mother. John claims that God has ordered our path and to denounce your heritage will be denouncing God, from whom you received your heritage. He even shared with me that many of those who have denounced the House of Aaron and joined Charismatic Christianity have become less and less zealous for God and have even ceased to seek after Him. I see the same thing happening in the Hebrew Roots Movement where many of us are hyper-critical of the church we left. Some have taken the next step to leave Christianity. Unfortunately, I find that it doesn’t stop there and most who reject Messiah ultimately reject everything spiritual. I think John has discovered something that we all need to know. Bashing our heritage will lead to our destruction. Some are attempting to force the House of Aaron to denounce their heritage in order to be accepted by us. They know better and we ignorantly try to force the issue which could ultimately cause us to reject them. How awful it would be for us to reject a work of God.
We may not understand all the nuances it would take for God to lead people from Mormonism to understand the Hebraic roots. He certainly would speak to them in words they would understand. As Rico Cortez points out, the command to make Moses stand on the mountain with his arms raised up is an imitation of the Egyptian war god. In all the carvings of this god, he is portrayed with his hands raised up in battle. YHWH is not asking Moses to do a pagan act, He is communicating to the people in a manner that they will understand. Remember, language is for the purpose of communication.
Words from God turn us from our evil ways and direct us back to Him. What is effective with you, may not be with me. So God directs us in ways we can understand. Let’s not criticize that which brought a wonderful group of people to join us for a common cause. Who knows, the work may not be finished. Literally thousands of people who believe in the Book of Mormon are looking at what we are saying and seeking to understand this truth. They may need to see the Levitical Writings in order to understand the direction they need to go. This is a work in progress and we would do better not to shoot ourselves in the foot by destroying proven methods.
I find myself in an awkward position. Levitical Writings is not my book and in some ways I seem to be defending it. I am not truly defending the book only defending a person’s right to believe in it or parts of it. Some are claiming Glendenning to be a false prophet, but the House of Aaron does not consider him a prophet. Even if he were, I do not see this to be much different from the rest of us who have accepted a prophecy uttered in a church service. I have had several people prophesy over me, some I have believed, some I have rejected and others have been just plain false. We are to test each utterance and I have felt free to reject some without rejecting the speaker. I have often rejected prophecies given in congregations while the congregation accepts them. I do not find it necessary to reject the congregation based on this difference in discernment. I feel no different with the House of Aaron. We all know in part and prophesy in part. I see no reason to reject the people because of a book that they have which I believe may have some errors. Considering the number of people who have asked me if the Book of Jasher or the Book of Enoch are inspired, I think many of you may have your favorite additional book added to Scripture.
In my discussion of some of the paragraphs of the Levitical Writings with John Conrad, I found he believes a few to be very difficult to accept. I mentioned the passages speaking of Moroni. Since Glendenning did not recommend the Book of Mormon, why the obvious connection to Moroni, the credited author of the Book of Mormon. John gave some interesting facts. He stated that Glendenning also found that passage very hard to accept and actually claimed that this must be a different Moroni than is spoken about in the Book of Mormon. John isn’t so quick to agree with Glendenning and thought that it may be speaking of the Mormon Moroni but had no idea why it is used in that paragraph. While John does not use the Book of Mormon, he also does not believe in running it down. This attitude certainly will better enable him to present his ideas to that audience. If someone has considered a book sacred, it is counter productive if not crazy to ridicule or defame their book. This has been proven over and over again by people who wish to desecrate the Koran. When that happens, acts of violence erupt and we are portrayed as vile people. It polarizes and hinders our message. Yet, the one who desecrates the supposed holy thing thinks he is standing for truth. You cannot reach anyone with a message if you profane them or what they consider sacred, prior to teaching them. When the righteous come in contact with a holy thing, a ministering spirit can be released, but when the profane comes in contact with the holy there is a demonic reaction. This seems to include when someone profanes something that others consider holy even if God has not deemed it as such.
Today the House of Aaron is walking with the Messianic/Hebrew Roots Movement. I can easily show how the Levitical Writings facilitated that, but I find no reason to deal with that at this time. So let’s summarize my points:
Maybe we need to wait for time to substantiate or disprove the Levitical Writings. It was literally centuries before most books were canonized in the Bible. I am not suggesting canonization but some are demanding them to be rejected now.]
We do not have to agree on every point in order to walk together, we are all growing. The House of Aaron teaches the foundational beliefs of our faith including the work of Yehoshua as Lord and Savior and certainly does not preach another gospel.9 [Footnote 9: Galatians 1:6-8, NKJ: "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed." John Conrad does not teach another Gospel, however we vary in specifics when speaking on other subjects.]
If we find it difficult to disagree with them on a few minor parts while we agree on so much, how will we ever join with Judah who has the Talmud and does not believe that Yehoshua is Messiah? Are we really that naive? Because of good fruit exhibited in excellent character, it is evident that God is working in their lives and is bringing us to a common path. How can we reject these people when the Holy Spirit is strongly evident in their lives? [Footnote 10: Acts 15:8, NKJ: "So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us." The people in the House of Aaron show the fruit of having the Holy Spirit so how can we question their validity?]
When someone comes to this movement from a group not well understood by the masses, we need to be extremely cautious that we do not reinterpret everything they are saying into the long held prejudices we have of their historical view. It is easy to do and damaging when we do it. We must be cautious not to harm those who have come from a path less traveled.
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