No man can, of course, copyright the Word of Elohim (God) and the emet (truth) is no man's private possession. Indeed, we should - and do - rejoice when the emet (truth) Yahweh reveals to us is spread as far and wide as possible, and delight when that emet (truth) serves as a stepping-stone or catalyst for yet more spiritual food from the Throne Room of El Elyon (the Most High). However, we are rightly concerned when that emet (truth) gets 'modified' by others to fit into some pre-conceived (and not infrequently erroneous) doctrine or is used to bolster some other false teaching, which is why this ministry copyrights its materials to ensure that it is not thus abused.
"Imitate me, just as I also imitate Messiah (Christ)" (1 Cor.11:1, NKJV).
Over the years one Messianic Rabbi, who heads a very controversial ministry indeed, has been liberally borrowing, rewording and expanding my materials and propagating them as his own. Yesterday he heavily borrowed from my study on the Patriarch Isaac written five days ago without so much as a source reference or acknowledgement ... but then he has never sourced my materials - ever - except, on the one rare occasion when in the past I gave him permission to reproduce one of my essays on Lashon Hara in a newsletter - this was at a time when we were on relatively amicable terms before the acceptance of some of his more bizzare teachings starting becoming tests of fellowship or friendship, and those who did not agree with them were unceremoniously thrown off his online groups.
What troubles me the most in all of this is the fact that these plagiarised 'inspirations' are being indirectly used to bolster his claims to be a great end-time 'apostle' and 'restorer' of Israel. This is especially tragic as the man is a brilliant teacher and possesses great Torah knowledge especially when I consider some of his teachings to be dangerous carnal heresies that are leading people astray.
This deficiency in his character - the way he treats other people (which ought to be the primary mark of authentic discipleship) - never fails to disappoint me and whilst we cannot be faulted for being imperfect - for we are all defective and works in progress, requiring considerable grace from one another - there are certain Gospel standards that devolve upon believers and especially on ministers.
Using the revealed works of others and claiming, by inference, that they are one's own and thus bolstering one's own claims to divine ministerial anointing, is dishonest and therefore unbecoming of a servant of Messiah. Forgetting to credit the works of others in our writings we all do from time to time, and for which there is some justifiable excuse, but doing so systematically and unapologetically bespeaks a dulled or numbed conscience that might indicate a lack of integrity in other areas of life too. Such should not be ministering to flocks but quietly working out their issues in fear and trembling as followers rather than as leaders (Phil.2:12). And though the man in question has apologised for abuses against people like myself in the past, he continues as he did before, apparently without shame, leading us to doubt the sincerity of these repentances and to view them more as devices to recruit into his flock (which I have never been a member of, I hasten to add).
I am not, as my readers and listeners know, one of those who likes to name names in public when such matters concern only the Messianic Community (Body of Christ) - there are those in the Messianic movement who know of whom I am talking and will hopefully put their own pressure on him to get his act together. He is shaming the Body when his undoubted talents could be used to do great things.
I repeat, I do not mind people using my materials provided that appropriate credit is given, not because I seek glory for myself but because I desire that what Yahweh has revealed through me is seen in its proper overall context and not as having arisen in what I consider to be the muddied theological waters of another. And though imitation is regarded, in the world, as the sincerest form of flattery it is not something I court for myself or want remotely.
In the end it is our character that matters the most and not our theological/intellectual prowess, oratorial skills or charisma which are, in any case, giftings and not things we have striven for. It's how we use these giftings that ultimately matter the most.
There is plenty of room for theological difference provided we are all honest and earnest in our searching and do not try to impose these on any other man or make them tests of friendship or fellowship, but rather seek to attract him in a spirit of meekness and gentleness to all emet (truth). True, we must abide by certain basic theological absolutes that are to be incarnated in the way we interact with Deity and with men, in our moral and ethical treatment of one another.
With the enemy raging at our gates and fired with bloodlust, we cannot in any case really afford to allow the meatier things (rightly or wrongly divided) to unnecessarily divide us but should choose to 'live and let live' until we all finally come to unity at that brighter day of the Master's Return, quietly reasoning with one another about the things we are not yet agreed.
That is why in this ministry we have insisted on no more than the Apostles Creed as being the common theological denominator of true believers. In these times we need men and women of the Zinzendorf School to unite around, for without a true foundation of humility, no theological pontificating will in any case make the least bit of difference to needs of the inner man.
Let us give credit where credit is due and be about imitating the Master!