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Tuesday, 31 March 2009 04:09

More Ignorance & Folly from Carmen Welker & "Refining Fire"

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Carmen Welker, who calls herself "Rabbi Shali Bat Yehudit", the front woman for a group calling itself "Refining Fire" which denies one God in three Persons (the Person-hood of the Holy Spirit) and promotes mandatory Orthodox Jewish Religious observance for Christians, has again demonstrated the outlandish ignorance to which she subscribes with claims that are beyond buffoonery.

Welker takes exception to the term "Trinity", challenging that it should be found in Scripture. In actual fact, Moriel never used the term "Trinity" but rather "one God in three Persons", which can certainly be found in Scripture. It has remained the overwhelmingly predominant belief of Christians since the time of Jesus and the Apostles, including all non-Ebionite Jewish believers in Yeshua.

It is Welker's claim that Paul the Apostle did not know Greek very well. In fact as Rabbi Saul of Tarsus, Paul was born in Tarsus, at that time a Greek-speaking city. Moreover as a member of the Pharisaic School of Hillel headed by Gamaliel (and a classmate of Yochannan Ben Zakai and Onkleos), Paul would have been required to know Greek because the Septuagint, apocryphal and other inter-testamental Jewish and rabbinic literature was published in Greek. Excavated temple mount inscriptions on display at the Israel Museum show the use of Greek in the temple ordinances. Moreover, Acts 17 portrays Paul on Mars Hill debating the Epicurian and Stoic Areopagites in what had to be Attic (formal literary) Greek in Athens; the rules of the Areopagus required Attic oration. Paul's "great learning" was evident even to Greco-Roman authorities (Acts 26:24) which would have demanded a fluency in both Greek and Latin. Yet Welker's "Refining Fire" insist that a man of great learning, an Athenian debater, and a diasporic rabbi could not even speak his mother tongue very well! These Refining Fire charlatans are demonstrably academic frauds who would be laughed out of any scholarly symposium as a low-grade pack of virtual clowns.

Their further assertion that the New Testament was not authored in Greek but Aramaic is likewise beyond ludicrous. Via Papias we have exactly one late patristic reference courtesy of Heggisipus claiming that Matthew's Gospel was originally authored in Hebrew (according to Eusebius writing in the Fourth Century), but no manuscript evidence or archaeological proof to support the claim. Seemingly, without properly understanding what it is, this group who many clearly would recognize as a heretical cult, point to the "Peshita Text" (with which we are certainly familiar). Jacob Prasch speaks in a Pentecostal Assyrian Church that uses Aramaic liturgically, colloquially, and in its Holy Writ and Moriel has an association with a native Aramaic speaker in Jerusalem. Yet no Aramaic-speaking church will support these hideous claims with even a single manuscript.

Our own Moriel academic advisers including Dr. Calvin Smith (Principal - King's Divinty School, University of Wales), Dr. Siam Bhayro (Cambridge University Dept. of Ancient Near Eastern Languages, former asst. professor at Yale University), and Dr. Athanasius Chlaris (Senior Professor, Department of Antiquities, National University of Greece), and friends with whom Jacob participates in conferences with such as Dr. Randolph Price (Dead Sea Scrolls Excavation Commission and Professor at Liberty University) can all confirm that the bulk of the earliest Syriac New Testament texts, although Chaldee, are themselves universally agreed as being translated from Greek. We have 20,000 New Testament manuscript fragments, manuscripts, and early codexes including over 10,000 of the Gospels alone. This compares to only 420 of "Caesar's Conquests". The volume is massive, far outstripping anything from the ancient world. Yet not a single source manuscript or copy "“ be it Alexandrian, Byzantine or otherwise "“ is anything other than Greek. Real scholars do not support the groundless thesis of Welker and her dubious ilk.

The Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research (Dr. Roy Blizzard, Dr. Joseph Francovic, Dr. Bevan and others) have enjoyed some limited support from Jewish academics such as the late Professor David Flusser (Hebrew University) arguing for underlying Hebrew textual sources (again, without any archaeological or manuscript corroboration), but the Aramaic hypothesis is patently absurd. We seriously doubt if Welker even speaks Hebrew or is an accredited theological graduate in Judaism with a background in Aramaic. (Although a mathematician by profession, the Israeli wife of Jacob Prasch has additional degrees from Haifa University in Hebrew and Jewish History and is indeed qualified in Aramaic and advises Moriel).

Welker was an army Sergeant (not a commissioned officer in the chaplaincy corps with a post-graduate theological education as the armed forces require) before calling herself "Shali Bat Yehudit" and a "rabbi" of some description that no rabbinate (Orthodox, Conservative, Liberal, or Reformed) would ever recognize as serious. Within Moriel Ministries we have ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Michael Guberman from B'nai Braq in Israel who has been saved by Yeshua. He will readily concur that within Judaism Welker would be seen to be as ridiculous as she is scripturally and academically ignorant.

Welker and the Refining Fire sect appear to prey on the ignorance of their devotees who are oblivious to the fact that the claims of this group would be viewed as absolutely silly among professionally qualified experts in source criticism, biblical linguistics, academic Judaism, or biblical archeology. By God's provision, Moriel however is blessed with those ranking among the best of the best from real Profesors belonging to leading institutions to real rabbis, to real language experts, to real archaeologists, and there is not a one of them who would not dismiss the crass foolishness of this preposterous woman as pure lunacy.

Welker and her Refining Fire are not only plainly devoid of theological credibility, but anyone who teaches that the Apostle Paul did not really know Greek is for all practical purposes where the dividing of the Word of God is concerned, devoid of common sense.

(Moriel & JJ Prasch)

Read 7424 times Last modified on Tuesday, 31 March 2009 04:09

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