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Soli Deo Gloria is the writing and teaching ministry of Baruch Maoz in Israel. Baruch is engaged in writing original commentaries on the Bible, and theological and practical works in Hebrew. Some of his books are available in English. His critique of the Messianic movement, Come Let Us Reason Together: The Unity of Jews and Gentiles in the Church, has been published by P&R, and his Devotional Commentary, Malachi: A Prophet in Times of Distress by Crossbooks. Both are available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Shepherd Press is now preparing to print his Devotional Commentary Jonah: A Prophet on the Run.
Baruch is also engaged in writing (in Hebrew) a commentary on Romans and Micah, futher books in the Devotional Commentary series, an Introduction to Systematic Theology, editing a modern translation of the Bible into Modern Hebrew and writing other expositional and theological books. In the pipeline are also books on church life and structure, How to Preach and Listen to Sermons, and daily Christian disiplines. To date, Baruch is the only author writing Christian literature n Hebrew.
Baruch and Bracha are Israeli Jewish Christians who have served in Israel for 5 decades now. Between April 1974 and December 2006 Baruch served with Christian Witness to , most of that time as Israel Field Leader. Betwen May 1975 and December 2008 he served as Pastor of Grace and Truth Christian Congregation in Rishon LeTsion, Israel. Our website reflects the experiences gained in the course of that time.
Our monthly newsletter, MaozNews, is available for the asking, with back-issues to be found on this website (Baruch's Writings/News From Israel). To subscribe, click address at the bottom of this page.
A taste of my commentary on Micah:
"Woe to those who think up evil and who act out wickedness on their beds". Woe betide those who are so busy with doing evil that they spend their nights thinking how to carry out what their heart desires. Of course, Micah does not mean to say that those of whom he speaks consciously prefer evil over good. Conscious or not, Micah is saying that what they do relish is, by nature, evil and that this fact is incapable of keeping them from engaging in such thoughts.
The picture Micah paints is of one of an individual so addicted to his evil heart that he does not stop to think about self-denial, nor is he engaged on moral improvement. There is no fear and love of God in his heart. He is a slave of his desires, addicted to the motions of his heart to such an extent that he cannot sleep at night due to the strength of his lust -- for whatever it might be -- so he spends the night planning how to satisfy his lust.
Such an individual becomes increasingly insensitive to the moral implications of his desires, so much so that he is capable of framing wicked plans with not a twitch of conscience. He could not sleep because he was constantly taken up with the thought, "How do I get what I want?" regardless of the moral price involved.
As soon as the morning light [appears] such people execute their plans because it is within their power. What they planned over night, they hasten to do as soon as the light of the sun is visible. They are spirited (in spite of losing a whole night's sleep!), not for doing good but evil. They are energetic in selfish, wicked, lustful efforts, guided by nothing than sheer power: they carry out their intentions because it is within their power, and not because it is right. Not because such action will benefit others, glorify God or be pleasing in his eyes. They have but one standard: because it is within their power. Might has become right, so they reach out for whatever they can take.
We've already said it: they have no fear or love of God. That is why they do not taken other's needs into account, have no interest in other people's distress, and are void of a recognition of their duty toward their fellow humans. So what if a widow is incapable of paying her debt? Her creditor will not consider the need to feed her children. She owes him money, and that is all he is willing to take into account. He has the legal right to take over her home, take possession of her few belongings and leave her completely destitute.
"Because it is within their power", they are unmoved by the fact that their debtors are unable to buy medicines, or that older folk sit at home without heating in the winter because they cannot pay the bill for ample electricity. All they care about is how to evade paying taxes so as to increase his already-bulging bank account. They will take advantage of every loophole within reach even if this will adversely affect the national budget, even if they have garnered far more than they would be able to spend if he lived another hundred years.
Not too long ago we heard one of the richest men in America complain that he pay a much lower level of tax than does his secretary. Crocodile tears: he forced the poor man into such a painful situation? If he really cared, he could have avoided using tax havens and legal loopholes. No one forbade him to pay the same rate of taxes his secretary is forced to pay.
Mankind was created for the glory of God, and man's happiness is contingent on the measure of his love for and devotion to God. True happiness is derived from fulfilling one's intended purpose. "Self-fulfiment," that slippery goal so often sought these days, is usually defined in terms that do not take into account that the "self" God created was intended for the doing of God's will, the loving of his person and the gloryfing of his name. The privileges granted to man and the limitations imposed on him were meant to serve that amazingly wonderful purpose. There is no greater joy, no truer self-fulfillment, no higher satisfaction than that of the blessing of God and of a heartfelt affection for him. This is the kind of joy no-one can take from us, that none can destroy.
Israel and the Church
I was asked to suggest what Christians may do vis a vis the Israeli church's needs and opportunities.
Perhaps the first thing that should be mentioned is that Christians should rid themselves of the doting attitude so many have adopted with regard to Israel. Jews are no more spiritual and no less sinful than individuals from any other nation. Nor is our culture more biblical -- certainly not more so than the various national Christian cultures that have developed over the years. Israel is not helped nor is the Gospel promoted by the reticence to criticize, nor is the Israeli Church helped by the willingness to accord legitimacy to anything labeled Jewish.
It is high time for the Church to cease using the Holocaust as an excuse for not challenging Jews with the Gospel. The Holocaust is, precisely, a good reason why Christians should preach the Gospel to the Jewish people. Having discovered in the Holocaust the depth of human depravity and experienced the wonder of God's restoring forgiveness, we are far better equipped to do so than before. The Gospel should never be preached in a triumphalist spirit; it is as one man eloquently put it, a message preached by sinful, dying people, to other sinful and dying people. It is not a messagae of "my religion is better than yours," but of the grace of God to undeserving sinners, the power of God for the salvation of all who believe, a message that portends to the glory of God, in whose sight none can boast.
The second thing I would like to mention is that Christians should be willing to engage with all forms of anti-Semitism, including that which nowadays masquerades under the mask of anti-Zionism and even as just criticism of some Israeli policies. There is a fine line that needs to be drawn here, but it truly needs to be drawn. Where Israel is right, it should be honestly, openly and frankly defended. Where it is wrong, it should be challenged and, if need be, opposed in a spirit of honest friendship. This has to do not only with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but with other aspects of Israeli endeavors and society.
The third thing I would like to mention is that Christians worldwide need to be more critical of news received concerning the Church in Israel. Evaluate us on moral and theological grounds. Far too much assistance is extended to fringe elements among us, contributing to the confusion, strengthening trends that should probably be weakened and ignoring opportunities to strengthen trends that should be strengthened and encouraged.
Not everything Jewish, or purportedly so, is valid. Not everything that lays claim to a biblical background is to be embraced, or viewed as legitimate. Do not patronize us. Do not concede fundemental doctrine for the sake of acceptance. Declare to us the whole counsel of God, and measure us by that wholeness.
Fourth, Christians should engage in more prayer for Israel, with a focus on the health of the Church and the consequent spread of the Gospel, rather than on Israel's political and economic wealth. Christians should assist efforts being made to challenge, nurture and equip Israeli churches for the task of Christian living and witness in the context of our respective societies. We are not in need of more missionaries. We need more solid, biblically-minded Christians in pursuit of holiness, engaged in the daily walk of Israeli life both among the Arabs and among the Jews.
Finally, those who hold to a firmly biblical view of the Gospel as expressed in the historical Reformed Confessions should seek to encourage local Israeli churches and individuals who share those convictions.
New Articles posted:
To Be (Messianic) or Not to Be?
The Messianic Movement has become a familiar feature in the kaleidoscope of shades and colors of those who profess to follow Jesus. What is the Messianic Movement? What is its history? What are its views? How should Christians view this movement? This article will endeavor to answer those questions, however briefly. For a more extensive discussion, readers are referred to my book, Come Let Us Reason Together (Presbyterian and Reformed, 2012).
Law and Tradition in the Gospel of Matthew (Hebrew only)
The word 'Law' has many meanings in the Holy Scriptures in general, and particularly in the New Testament. What does Law mean in the Gospel of Matthew, and how does Matthew present Jesus' attitude towards the Law? Judaism, which has continued in the way of the Pharisees, considers itself to be the true interpreter of Jewish Law and Tradition. What does Matthew tell us about what Jesus though of this tradition?
Christ as telos
The scripture on which the church was founded was the Old Testament. The first christians read the Old Testament in light of the life, teaching, acts, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. Those events revolutionized their lives in every respect, including how they read and understood Scripture. But they argued the validity of their faith on Old Testament grounds, and on old Testament assumptions. Their initial concepts of messiahship were based on and shaped by the Old Testament. Jesus' coming shed light on the Old Testament, but it did not transform it into something new. Its message - the same message it had delivered for centures - was the same. The difference was that now the message was heard with greater clarity.
Baruch's thesis, written for a Masters in Biblical Studies at the Israel College of the Bible, proposes a hermeneutical approach liable to consistent application by those who hold to the Christian Faith and those who do not, with the latter particularly in view. Such an approach aims at being capable of indicating the grounds and fabric of the unity of the scriptures, leading to a modern reading of the Old Testament that drives toward the Christological message of the New.
Audios from Baruch
Other audios may be found on Sermon Audio (click here) or by browsing the Internet.
Last updated: 2013-05-22 12:36:57
Wahhabi Islam p. 1
Orthodox Insist on Promoting Ignorance p. 3
Israeli Navy Deploys Unmanned Vessel p. 5
Syria p. 6
Ministry and Family news p. 6
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Baruch and Bracha are preparing for their 2013 tour of the US, in the course of which they expect to be driving through Oregon, Montana, North or South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisianna, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California and Washington State.
Baruch is available for ministry in most of these states, He is prepared to preach, report on the scene in Israel, or offer an expository seminar on a biblical book. If your church is interested, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Israel Attacks in Syria
Israel is said to have attacked Syrian military targets near Damascus. It has allegedly done so without flying over Syrian territory. The targets are said to be medium range (200 miles) Fatah Iranian missiles scheduled for delivery to Hizbollah. However, multiple targets were hit, including a military research center on Mount Qassioun, just north of Damascus. The Center is known to be engaged in the production and improvement of chemical weaponry. An attack so close to the capital is of immense strategic implications. This attack comes a mere 48 hours after an earlier one, details of which were not disclosed.
Syrian national radio blamed Israel for the attacks, without specifying their number or location, but accusing Israel of supporting the rebels -- a means to rally their own troops and an effort to embarrass the Sunni Arab nations, presently hostile to Syrian.
Israel has repeatedly said it would use every means at its disposal to obviate the delivery of strategic weaponry, including chemical weapons, to Hizbollah.
Israel forces are on high alert in the North, bordering Syrian, as is the Israel Air Force. In the rest of Israel, life goes on as normal.
Projects Progress Encouraging
Just completed the Hebrew commentary on Micah, now to be translated into English in preparation for the oncoming US visit. Next week I am one day in the Netherlands, lecturing on the Major Theological Challenges Facing Jewish Christians in Israel.
I am presently working on a translation of Matthew as part of the Hebrew Bible for Youth (on day a week). U've completed teaching ten out of 13 lessons in a course titled Introduction to Systematic Theology and am pleased with the progress achieved the students.
I have deep respect and love for Baruch Maoz, and the work that he is carrying on in Israel, despite obstacles and opposition. He has been a dear friend for many years. I’ll never forget doing a conference for him in Israel several years ago. I pray that God may use his sound theology, helpful preaching, excellent books, and numerous gifts for the conversion and spiritual maturation of thousands of Israelis and for the abundant glory of God. Rev. Joel R. Beeke, Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation, Author
Baruch Maoz has been a minister of the gospel, author, publisher, and voice for believers in the land of Israel for four decades. I have seen firsthand the fruit of his ministry and I cannot recommend it too highly. Baruch’s preaching, teaching, and writing ministry should be supported by all who care about the gospel and its impact in Israel and beyond! Pastor Jerry Marcellino, Audubon Drive Bible Church, Federation of reformed Evangelicals – Laurel, Mississippi
Knowing and embracing our Lord’s clear directive to bring the Gospel to the “Jew first” I, along with BPC have been extraordinarily blessed to work in partnership with the effective biblical and faithful ministry of Baruch Maoz. His ministry of evangelism, discipleship, along with his strategic and insightful writing/translation projects, only enhance my opportunity to recommend him and his ministry. Rev. Harry Reeder, Senior Pastor, Briarwood Presbyterian Church (PCA), Birmingham AL
Tom Ascol of the Founders Movement writes: "Baruch and Bracha Maoz serve in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Baruch has served as a pastor, publisher, author and church reformer in his homeland of Israel. He has ministered several times with our Grace Baptist Church family in Cape Coral and our people have come to love Bracha and him dearly. I highly recommend his and his ministry to any church that values expositional preaching and the gospel of God's grace." Dr. Thomas Ascol, Grace Baptist Church (SBC), Founders Movement, Cape Coral FL
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