As Eddie Long Controversy Grows, Video Emerges of 'Rabbi' Messer Wrapping Paula White in Torah
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 02:08:52 PM EST
A Christian Post article dated February 5 is one of many reports of denials by televangelist Paula White and her attorney of any ties to "Rabbi" Ralph Messer. The denials were prompted by reports that White had plans for a "coronation" similar to the controversial and widely publicized video of  Eddie Long being wrapped in a Torah scroll by Messer.  Now video has emerged of a similar ceremony with Messer wrapping White in a Torah.  Jewish leaders from around the country have denounced these bizarre Torah rituals, which have no basis in any Jewish practice.  Messer is a self-proclaimed rabbi for Yeshua, advertised as having an "Apostolic and Evangelistic anointing."
Below is the video of Paula White being wrapped in a Torah by Messer.  If you look closely, you'll see that the Torah actually tears at a seam as it is pulled back from White.

A video of a similar ceremony with Eddie Long has infuriated Jewish leaders around the country, and resulted in an apology from Long. Not only is Messer not a rabbi by any Jewish standards, these ceremonies have no relation to Jewish practice and show disrespect to both the Torah and to Judaism.  

Ralph Messer's ceremonies are one example of the widespread co-opting of Jewish sacred symbols and holidays taking place in many Charismatic ministries, and particularly throughout the apostolic and prophetic movement or New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). Everything from shofars (ram's horn) to the High Holidays has been adopted as part of an end times fascination with "Hebrew Roots."

Until the controversy over the Eddie Long video, this growing phenomenon had largely gone unnoticed or dismissed as benign by Jewish leaders.  The same Charismatics co-opting Jewish symbolism and practice are also fervent Christian Zionists.

White is the "Apostolic Overseer" of New Destiny Christian Center and Without Walls International Church in Florida. Eddie Long heads his own extensive apostolic network, but was also one of the early members of the elite group of apostles convened by C. Peter Wagner as the International Coalition of Apostles.

Messer's ceremony is more outrageous than some (not all) of the other Hebrew Roots spectacles that I've seen, but the co-opting of Judaism's sacred symbols and practice is now widespread.  Perhaps Jewish leaders will now take a closer look at some of the things taking place behind the scenes in Charismatic Christian Zionism.

Also see Ralph Messer's ministry website to see their reaction to the nationally publicized controversy. They could not be happier!

Rev. Hagee's vile and despicable sermons, so that they can accept his "blessings" of donations to organizations in Israel. I'm pretty sure they'd just prefer that we not mention any more of this nonsense, so that they can continue ignoring it as well.

by trog69 on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 02:55:28 PM EST

The ram's horn was blown outside at the Perry Response rally.  There was a woman in line wearing a shirt promoting a rally led by Glen Beck in Arkansas. If memory serve me correctly the rally in Arkansas was a rally for Israel.  

by wilkyjr on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 08:56:21 AM EST

I feel a need to comment but don't even know where to begin. This is just so wrong on so many levels. I am appalled, and speechless.

by MLouise on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 12:17:48 PM EST
I've been watching these increasingly bizarre adaptations of what are supposed to be Jewish rituals.  Dance, music, holidays, and everything imaginable has been co-opted for these Hebrew Roots activities.  What's curious is it's not just in the U.S., but worldwide - South America, Africa, Asia and even Europe.  

by Rachel Tabachnick on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 12:30:25 PM EST
In a way this reminds me of what friends call "Indian wannabes" - white folks with no known Native heritage who go to the open pow-wows, dress up in feathers and buckskin, dance, etc. with no real comprehension of the meaning of what they are imitating. It's both a co-optation and perversion of ancient practices and rituals. This Hebrew Roots movement seems to be a lot more sinister, however.

by MLouise on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 03:09:26 PM EST
I follow the Way of the Square Ground (to the best of my ability and knowledge and limited by today's society), which is the religious system of my ancestors.  Our dancing is called Stomp Dancing, and I have heard of "Messianic Stomp Dances".

Those so-called "Stomp Dances" are meant to trap my people and get them into dominionism.

There have also been some disturbing reports of dominionists trying to take over square grounds.  It's been a long time since we've been able to go to ours (can't afford the 300 plus mile trip), and I hope that ours is still free.

My friend dogemperor also has mentioned that they've held "Messianic Potlatches", which is a distortion of one of the major practices of the far western tribes.  She's also mentioned hearing about Messianic Stomps.

Plus I've heard that they're even trying to get into Islam with "Messianic Muslims".  Which is really funny the way they hate Muslims and Islam in general.

by ArchaeoBob on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 09:55:25 PM EST

The Messianic "Jews" carry on the trappings of Judaism but at the same time are Christians, not Jews.  They continue to follow the same holidays and rules but the fact they believe in the man-god Jesus puts them right outside of Judaism. They are essentionally fundamentalist Christian missionaries with ties to the Southern Baptists in the USA and prey on those who aren't well versed in their own faith, those who are old or lonely.  They are more or less tolerated in Israel but certainly are not welcome because they carry on the same aggressive conversion processes there as they do here except with stealth which makes them a pretty dispicable lot.

by Concerned on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 05:06:42 PM EST
The heads of the two main US associations of Messianic Jews have put out a joint statement denouncing what Messer has done and saying that he is not a rabbi under their jurisdiction. c-mjaa-respond-to-messer-video

by MLouise on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 11:22:41 PM EST

When I first read the headline, my initial reaction was "Say WHAT???"  I will quickly say that I know little about Judaism, but what little I HAVE read suggests that this would be considered really dishonoring to the Torah.  Indeed, it makes no sense.

IMO, it's not even some form of syncretism.  It's a made-up excuse for a religion where they TRY to imitate another.  In other words, bogus.

by ArchaeoBob on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 10:00:42 PM EST

You're right when you say it isn't even a form of syncretism, and I say that as a self-declared syncretist.  However, Judaism is my birth religion and I still consider myself Jewish.  No syncretist would ever show such blatant disrespect for a religious tradition they claimed to honor.

The only point where I would disagree with you is where you say it appears they are TRYING to imitate Judaism.  Sad to say, they aren't even trying.  The procedures for handling a Torah scroll in ritual have been passed down through the generations, and are done essentially the same way in all Jewish denominations.  They could be learned by anyone with the desire to learn.  At the very least "Rabbi" Messer could come up with a credible approximation even if he had to say the appropriate blessings in English.  As the article points out, there is no precedent for anything like this in Judaism.

This looks to me like deliberate mockery and sacrilege.  It's hardly better than what the Nazis did when they forced observant Jews to dance on Torah scrolls to mock and humiliate them (both the believers and the scrolls).  Absolutely outrageous!

by Raksha on Mon Feb 13, 2012 at 01:49:05 AM EST

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