Israel: Hullo Gershon, how are you?
Gershon the sojourner: Fine. And who are you?
My name is Raphael Gamaroff. I live in South Africa. My parents were Jews who immigrated to South Africa from the Russian Empire when they were children in the early 1900s. I converted to Roman Catholicism at university but left that Church in the 1980s. I have remained in the Christian faith. I studied philosophy, French and linguistics, and taught at schools and universities. My theology has been shaped by Martyn Lloyd Jones, John Macarthur, R.C. Sproul,. Wayne Grudem, James White, William Webster.
My user name is “bography”. How did this name come to be? Rapha-el in Hebrew means “doctor/healer of God.” But I am not literally the rapha of el; so I have opted for a more modest user name “bography” (Dr bog). What is the Russian for God? Bog. What is the Russian for doctor of God? Raphabog. In changing from Rapha-el to Rapha-bog, all I’ve done is change the Hebrew “El” to the Russian “Bog”.There’s no escape from my name – I’m spellbound by knowing who I am, as Alan Watts would say. Watts speaks of the “taboo” of knowing who you are. Alan Watts was obviously not Jewish.
Part of this “bog” is my autobiography. Joshua Liebman in his “Peace of mind,” writes: “One man’s spiritual Odyssey may be of interest to others seeking peace of mind.” For many, the supreme quest of humanity is peace of mind. Gerald Jampolsky, in his “Love is letting go of fear,” says this about peace: “[w]e have been given everything we need to be happy now. To look directly at this instant is to be at peace now” (p. 7). The Christian view is that the peace that the world gives is not the peace that the Lord Jesus gives: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid (John 14:7).
Contrary to Jampolsky, as much as I feel strongly drawn to a fellow Jew (as I feel to a lesser extent with Joshua Liebman), “look[ing] directly at this instant” of the eternal now, living in the vibration of the eternal now, living in a “nowgasmic” encounter with other selves, this is not the Christian way – nor the Torah way – to find the peace that surpasses all understanding. The peace that the Lord Jesus gives is intimately tied up with this basic human question: “How can man be saved from sin?” The two (Jewish) psychologists I mentioned are vehemently opposed to this view, and try to dissipate the notion of sin, where the effort to do so is, arguably, the mother of dissipation itself. My biography, if not an Oddysey, is the story of my spiritual journey from enslavement (to Self) to adoption into the family of God through Jesus (the) Christ. My early years can be found here.
Can a Jew, for example, John (Yochanan) the Baptist and Paul (Shaul) the Apostle, followers of Jesus (Yeshua), and indeed Jesus himself, remain a Jew after falling flat on their face before this?
Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ (which means “Messiah” – the sent one) the Son of the Blessed One?”
“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”
They all condemned him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him. (Mark 14 (60-65).
Or is it true that once a Jew always a Jew? Some Jews say “yes, always”; other say, “no, oiveys.” See my two posts on this question: When is an “ex-Jew” not a Jew? Once a Jew Oiveys a Jew and Assimilation and the Jew: I am who I – erm? My bography is not obsessed with this question at all, yet it is important, not only because of who I am (erm?) but because of its implications for both Jew and Christian in general – for all mankind, I suggest.
*The following is my transcript from an audio message from Albert Martin. The brackets are mine.
He is talking about Jesus’ sermon on the mount:.
“Not only is the blessed man someone who knows something of holy mourning, holy meekness, hungering and thirsting, but one of the beatitudes is this: blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake, rejoice and be exceedingly glad (Matthew 5:11-12). He (Jesus) assumes that one of the characteristics of his people will not only be these others (previous things mentioned), but that their lives will stand in such contrast that the world cannot stand it and will rise up and persecute them, and say all manner of evil against them falsely. Now he (Jesus) says to people like us who hate the suffering of rejection, “enter through the narrow gate.”