The Yahad of East Tennessee
2005 Westland Dr SW
Cleveland, TN 37311
Phone (423) 790-1651
THE NURTURING COMMUNITY
Listen, Yisra-el: YHWH Eloheinu, YHWH is first.
Love YHWH Eloheinu with all your courage, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
Do not take revenge or bear a grudge against members of your community,
but love your neighbor as yourself;
I am YHWH.
Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you also won’t be tempted. Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Messiah. For if anyone considers himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each person should examine his own work, and then he will have a reason for boasting in himself alone, and not in respect to someone else. For each person will have to carry his own load.
The one who is taught the message must share all his good things with the teacher. Don’t be deceived: YHWH is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to The Household of Faith.
The Yahad of East Tennessee is the environment for edifying and restoring humanity into the image of our Creator YHWH.
The Gospel is all human beings created by YHWH in His image, male and female, are loved through and by Yahshua Messiah. The Kingdom of The Almighty is our sacred society, for maintaining and strengthening all members of The Body of Messiah.
We reflect respect for all persons inside and outside The Kingdom, using appropriate language when referring to all persons. Language of a derogatory nature (with regard to race, nationality, ethnic background, gender, sexuality, and physical differences) does not reflect value for one another and contradicts The Gospel of Yahshua Messiah.
The Yahad covenants to advocate for the weak and defenseless, first for protection and care; and where possible for edification, healing and maturing. The Yahad is a community of refuge that includes wounded souls and blighted spirits. The Yahad covenants to edify and nurture and offer resources of healing for survivors of abuse and neglect in dealing with the residual hurts, habits and hang-ups.
Woundings in our souls most often occurred in the context of relationships. It’s within the context of relationship and community where we know we are accepted and loved, and when we feel safe we become vulnerable enough to be honest, we can begin to receive healing, growing, being restored more into the image of our Creator YHWH.
CULTURE AND IDENTITY
Humanity’s purpose is to glorify YHWH and to enjoy Him forever. The Yahad world view and cultural relational expectations flow from the truth of Torah. Our identity is as The Covenantal Children of YHWH. His purpose for us is to bring His Gospel in Word and in deed, within The Yahad Assembly, into our communities and out into the world.
“For I know the plans I have for you”—this is YHWH’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
Yahad cultural identity evolves through our history, traditions and experiences. The Yahad embraces cultural diversity that reflects the Torah. We affirm that no identity or culture has more legitimacy than any other. The Yahad challenges any hierarchy of cultures or identities.
SINGLE PERSONS IN YAHAD COMMUNITIES
Single persons are welcome within the Yahad communities, never married, divorced or widowed. Single persons are loved and valued in their state of singleness. Anyone with a gifting or calling has equal opportunity to ministry without prejudice to marital status, age, gender or financial status.
MALE AND FEMALE
We affirm the Scriptural truth that male and female are created with equal worth in the eyes of YHWH, both having been made in the image of YHWH. We reject the erroneous notion that one gender is superior to another, that one gender must strive against another, and that members of one gender may only be entitled to receive love, power and esteem at the expense of the other.
We especially reject the idea that YHWH made individuals as incomplete fragments, made whole only in union with another of the opposite gender.
We call upon women and men alike to shared responsibility and authority, to learn to give freely and to receive freely, to be complete, and to respect the wholeness of others. We seek, for every individual, opportunities and freedom to love and be loved, to seek and receive justice, and to practice ethical self-determination.
We understand gender diversity of male and female to be a gift from YHWH, intended for enrichment of our shared human experience and perspective and vital to fulfill our responsibilities as caretakers of YHWH’s world, with the rights and responsibilities of having dominion over it, and as reflections of YHWH to His creatures. We guard against attitudes and traditions that would use this good gift to leave members of one gender more vulnerable in relationships than members of the other gender.
We affirm that sexuality is YHWH’s good gift to all persons. We call everyone to responsible stewardship of this sacred gift.
Although all persons are sexual beings, whether or not they are married, sexual relations are affirmed only within the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage.
We deplore all forms of the commercialization, abuse and exploitation of sex. We call for strict global enforcement of laws prohibiting the sexual exploitation of children and for adequate protection, guidance and counseling for abused children, and for survivors of childhood prostitution, with respect at every age. All persons without prejudice of age, gender, or marital status are entitled to have their human and civil rights ensured, and to be protected against violence. The Yahad will support the family in providing age-appropriate education regarding sexuality to children, youth, and adults.
We affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of YHWH. All persons need the ministry of The Yahad in their struggles for human fulfillment, as well as the spiritual and emotional care of a fellowship that enables reconciling relationships with YHWH, with others, and with self. The Yahad does not condone the practice of homosexuality and/or transgenderism and considers these practices incompatible with the teachings of The Torah. Anyone experiencing personal conviction to repent from a sinful lifestyle is welcome into the community of The Yahad, where we are all being restored into the image of YHWH.
We affirm that YHWH’s merciful favor is available to all. We implore families and Yahadim not to reject or condemn anyone who comes to Yahshua. Instead, pray for them and for all who are not in a state of regeneration, that they might repent and be healed. We will seek to live together in community, welcoming, forgiving and loving one another as Messiah has loved and accepted us. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.
We believe the family to be the basic human community through which persons are nurtured and sustained in mutual love, responsibility, respect and fidelity. We affirm the importance of loving parents for all children. We also understand the family as encompassing extended family as well as nuclear family. We affirm shared responsibility for parenting and encourage social, economic, and religious efforts to maintain and strengthen relationships within families in order that every member may be assisted toward complete personhood.
RIGHT TO LIFE
We call all members of the believing community to a searching and prayerful inquiry into the sorts of conditions that may cause the parent(s) of a preborn child to consider abortion. We entrust YHWH to provide guidance, wisdom, and discernment to those facing an unintended pregnancy.
The Yahad shall offer ministries to reduce unintended pregnancies. We commit our Yahad to provide nurturing ministries to those who terminate the life of a pre-born child, to those in the midst of a crisis pregnancy and to those who give birth.
We mourn, and are committed to promoting the diminishment of high abortion rates. The Yahad shall encourage ministries to reduce unintended pregnancies such as comprehensive, age-appropriate reproductive education.
Young adult women disproportionately face situations in which they feel that they have no choices due to financial, educational, relational and/or other circumstances beyond their control. Yahad local congregations and campus ministries should be in the forefront of supporting existing ministries, and developing new ministries that help such women in their communities. They should also support those crisis pregnancy centers and pregnancy resource centers that compassionately help women navigate the option of adoption.
Governmental laws and regulations do not provide all the guidance required by the informed Nazarene Essene conscience. Therefore, a decision concerning the ending of the life of a pre-born child should be made only after thoughtful and prayerful consideration by the parties involved, with medical, family, pastoral, and other appropriate counsel.
Children are a gift from YHWH to be welcomed and received. We recognize that some circumstances of birth make the rearing of a child difficult. We affirm and support the birth parent(s) whose choice it is to allow the child to be adopted. We recognize the agony, strength, and courage of the birth parent(s) who choose(s) in hope, love and prayer to offer the child for adoption. In addition, we also recognize the anxiety, strength and courage of those who choose in hope, love and prayer to be able to care for a child. We affirm and support the adoptive parent(s)’ desire to rear an adopted child as they would a biological child. When circumstances warrant adoption, we support the use of proper legal procedures. We support and encourage greater awareness and education to promote adoption of a wide variety of children through foster care, and domestic adoption. We commend the birth parent(s), the receiving parent(s), and the child to the care of The Yahad, that grief might be shared, joy might be celebrated and the child might be nurtured in a loving assembly.
We hold all life to be sacred and that life begins at conception.
The beginning of life and the ending of life are the YHWH-given boundaries of earthly human experience. While individuals have always had some degree of control over when they would die, they now have usurped the authority of YHWH to determine when and even whether new individuals will be born. Our belief in the sanctity of preborn human life makes us despise abortion.
But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother and the preborn child.
We do not affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control, including the use of IUDs and the Plan B pill (morning after pill.) We unconditionally reject abortion as a means of gender selection or eugenics (see Resolution 3184).
We oppose the use of late-term abortion known as dilation and extraction (partial-birth abortion) and call for the end of this practice, except when the physical life of the mother is in danger and no other medical procedure is available. This procedure shall be performed only by certified medical providers. Before providing their services, abortion providers should be required to offer the mother the option of general anesthesia.
The Yahad holds to the basic principle that marriage is a monogamous, heterosexual covenant between adults.
Effective completion of premarital counseling is pre-requisite to a marriage ceremony being performed (witnessed?) by an ordained minister of The Yahad.
Conflict resolution must be learned within the context of relationship: ideally within a loving family and community. The effective, respectful skill of conflict resolution with the goal of preserving and strengthening the marriage and with careful consideration for the greatest good for each member affected. Conflict resolution is a prerequisite within the relationship of the couple receiving premarital counseling, rooted in mutual respect and in the spirit of friendship.
We affirm the sanctity of the marriage covenant that is expressed in love, mutual support, personal commitment, and shared fidelity between one man and one woman.
We believe that YHWH’s blessing rests upon such marriage, whether or not there are children of the union.
We reject social norms that assume different standards for women than for men in marriage.
We support laws in civil society that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, yet we reject federal and state laws that couples be married exclusively by the state. We also reject marriages outside the state if they have not been properly witnessed by an official of The Yahad or some other continuing religious organization.
The Yahad does not impose regulations within households or families.
The Yahad will provide or recommend counsel as needed.
The Yahad understands the necessity for hierarchy within marriage and family. Both spouses may have voice in discussion of a matter, but the husband as head of the household accepts the responsibility for the decision. The wife accepts the responsibility once the decision has been made, to figure out how to make that work and to refrain from any attempts to subvert the husband’s good purpose for the marriage/family.
YHWH’s plan is for lifelong, faithful marriage. The Yahad must be on the forefront of premarital, marital, and post-marital counseling in order to create and preserve healthy relationships. However, when a married couple is estranged beyond reconciliation, even after thoughtful consideration, prayer and counsel, divorce is a regrettable alternative in the midst of brokenness.
We grieve over the devastating emotional, spiritual and economic consequences of divorce for all involved, understanding that women and especially children are disproportionately impacted by such burdens.
The Yahad is concerned about high divorce rates. It is recommended that methods of mediation be used to minimize the adversarial nature and fault-finding mentality that often derails the true intent of family law. (Ephesians 6:10-12, Luke 6:27-28) We encourage reconciliation wherever possible. We also support efforts by governments to reform divorce laws and other aspects of family law to address negative trends such as high divorce rates.
Although divorce publicly declares that a marriage no longer exists, other covenantal relationships resulting from the marriage remain, such as the nurture and support of children, and extended family ties. The Yahad supports the atmosphere of respectful negotiations in deciding the custody of minor children, and support consideration by both parents for the responsibility of the care and well-being of the minor children. Custody and/or visitation rights are not contingent upon financial support. The inherent rights to relationship for each parent with each child must be honored according to the decision of the court. Parents of minor children have forfeited their rights to the custody of their children upon filing for divorce, and each minor child remains ward of the state until reaching an age of majority. Adult to adult (parent to parent) conflicts are to remain between the adults, with both parties seeking mediation, prayer and godly counsel that is Torah based and Spirit filled, as needed, to resolve any residual or new issues affecting the care and well-being of the minor children.
No aspects of adult (parent to parent) conflict should be imposed upon the minor children, including using a minor child as any part of an attempt to control or influence the relationship with the other parent, nor may a minor child’s relationship with the parent be used for the purposes of manipulation and/or retaliation. The welfare of each child, and preserving the relationship with each parent and extended families is paramount. Provided the safety of the minor child is not being endangered.
Divorce does not preclude a new marriage. We encourage an intentional commitment of The Yahad and society to minister compassionately to those in the process of divorce, as well as for members of divorced and/or remarried and/or as members of blended families, in a community of faith where YHWH’s merciful favor flows freely.
Harassment is a growing problem. It is a contributing factor in suicide and in the violence we see in some cultures today. We affirm the right of all people, regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, race, religion, disability, age, and/or physical appearance, to be free of unwanted aggressive behavior and harmful control tactics. This includes what is eaten as food, what is taken as medication and what is consumed through addiction.
As the Yahad, we can play a pivotal role in ending this problem. We urge Yahadim to seek opportunities to be trained in responding to the needs of those who have been harassed or abused, to those who perpetrate or condone harassment, and to support those in authority who may be witness to, or be called to intervene on behalf of those who have been victimized. Yahadim are urged to join in ministry with community associations and schools in this outreach.
We encourage Yahadim to adopt a policy of zero tolerance for harassment, including cyberbullying within their spheres of influence; to stand with persons being harassed; and to take a leadership role in working with the schools and community to prevent harassment.
FAMILY VIOLENCE AND ABUSE
We recognize that family violence and abuse in all its forms—verbal, psychological, physical and/or sexual—is detrimental to the covenant of the human community. We encourage The Yahad to provide a safe environment, counsel and support for the victim; and to work with the abuser to understand the root causes and forms of abuse, and to overcome such behaviors. Regardless of the cause or the abuse, both the victim and the abuser need the love of The Yahad. While we deplore the actions of the abuser, we affirm that person to be in need of YHWH’s redeeming love.
Violent, disrespectful and/or abusive sexual expressions do not confirm sexuality as YHWH’s good gift. We reject all sexual expressions that damage the humanity YHWH has given us as birthright, and we affirm only that sexual expression which enhances the sacred covenant within marriage. We believe that sexual relations where one or both partners are exploitative, abusive or promiscuous are beyond the parameters of acceptable Yahad behavior and are ultimately destructive to self, relationships, families, and the social order. We deplore all forms of the commercialization and exploitation of sex, with their consequent cheapening and degradation of human personhood. To lose freedom and be sold by or to someone else for sexual purposes is slavery, and we denounce such wickedness and support the abused and their right to freedom.
We call for strict global enforcement of laws prohibiting the sexual exploitation or use of children by adults, and support efforts to hold perpetrators legally and financially responsible. The Yahad calls for the establishment of adequate protective services, guidance, and counseling opportunities for children thus abused.
We believe human sexuality is YHWH’s good gift. One abuse of this good gift is sexual harassment. We define sexual harassment as any unwanted sexual comment, advance, or demand, either verbal or physical, that is reasonably perceived by the recipient as demeaning, intimidating, or coercive. Sexual harassment must be understood as an exploitation of a power relationship rather than as an exclusively sexual issue. Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, the creation of a hostile or abusive working environment resulting from discrimination on the basis of gender.
Contrary to the nurturing community, sexual harassment creates improper, coercive and abusive conditions wherever it is tolerated in society. Sexual harassment undermines the social goal of equal opportunity and the climate of mutual respect between men and women. Unwanted sexual attention is wrong and discriminatory. Sexual harassment interferes with the moral mission of The Yahad.
Sexual assault is wrong. We affirm the right of all people to live free from such assaults, encourage efforts of law enforcement to prosecute such crimes, and condemn rape in any form. There is no excuse as to where the person is, what the person is wearing, whether or not he or she is intoxicated, if he or she is flirtatious, the victim’s gender nor any other circumstance. Sexual assault is not the fault of the victim, nor is it ever caused by the victim.
FAITHFUL CARE AT THE END OF LIFE
We will minister to all those who have needs in the areas of bereavement and end of life.
Miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. About 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. But the actual number is likely higher because many miscarriages occur so early in pregnancy that a mother doesn’t realize she’s pregnant.
The Yahad recognizes this heartbreaking and often overlooked needed ministry.
SOULS DEVASTATED BY ABORTION
We urge local pastors to become informed about the symptoms and behaviors associated with post-abortion stress. We commit our Yahad to continue to provide nurturing ministries to those who terminate a pregnancy, to those in the midst of a crisis pregnancy, and to those who give birth. We further encourage local Yahadim to make available contact information for counseling agencies that offer programs to address post-abortion stress for all seeking help.
While we applaud medical science for efforts to prevent disease and illness, and for advances in treatment that extend the meaningful life of human beings, we recognize that every mortal life will ultimately end in death. Death is never a sign that YHWH has abandoned us, no matter the circumstances of death. As believers we must always be prepared to surrender the gift of mortal life, and to claim the gift of eternal life through the death and resurrection of Yahshua Messiah. Care for dying persons is part of our stewardship of the divine gift of life when cure is no longer possible. We encourage the use of medical technologies to provide palliative care at the end of life, when life-sustaining treatments no longer support the goals of life and when they have reached their limits.
We recognize the agonizing personal and moral decisions faced by the dying, their physicians, their families, their friends and their faith community. We urge that decisions faced by the dying be made with thoughtful and prayerful consideration by the parties involved, with medical, pastoral, and other appropriate counsel. We further urge that all persons discuss with their families, their physicians, legal counsel, and their pastoral counselors, their wishes for care at the end of life, and to provide advance directives for such care before they become unable to make these decisions for themselves, to protect people who cannot protect nor advocate for themselves. Even when one accepts the inevitability of death, The Yahad and society must continue to provide faithful care, including pain relief, companionship, support and spiritual nurturing for the dying person and for their family and friends, in the hard work of preparing for death. We encourage and support the concept of hospice care whenever possible at the end of life. Faithful care does not end at death but continues during bereavement as we care for grieving families and friends. We reject euthanasia and any pressure upon the dying to end their own lives. YHWH has continued love and purpose for all persons, in all states of health. We affirm laws and policies that protect the rights and dignity of the dying.
A Nazarene Essene perspective on suicide begins with an affirmation of faith that nothing separates us from the love of YHWH (Romans 8:37-39).
We believe that suicide is not the way a human life should end. Often suicide is the result of untreated depression, or untreated pain and suffering. The Yahad has an obligation to see that all persons have access to needed pastoral and medical care, and therapy in those circumstances that lead to the belief of lost self-worth, suicidal despair, and/or the desire to seek physician-assisted suicide. We encourage The Yahad to provide education to address the Biblical, theological, social and ethical issues related to death and dying, including suicide.
We encourage pastors and faith communities to address this issue through preaching and teaching. We urge pastors and faith communities to provide pastoral care to those at risk, to survivors, to their families and friends, and to those families and friends who have lost loved ones to suicide, seeking always to remove the oppressive stigma around suicide. The Yahad opposes assisted suicide and euthanasia.
MODERN IDOLATRY: ADDICTIONS
Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you also won’t be tempted. Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone considers himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each person should examine his own work, and then he will have a reason for boasting in himself alone, and not in respect to someone else. For each person will have to carry his own load.
The one who is taught the message must share all his good things with the teacher. Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.
Pornography is one aspect of sexual addiction.
Scripture teaches that humans are created in YHWH’s image and that we are accountable to YHWH through right relationship. Sexual images can celebrate the goodness of human sexuality through positive depiction in art, literature, and education. We deplore, however, images and literature that distort this goodness and injures healthy sexual relationships.
We oppose all forms of pornography and consider its use as a form of sexual misconduct. Help is available through participation in Bible based programs such as one of the areas in the Celebrate Recovery Ministry. Pornography is sexually explicit material. It is explicit description or exhibition of sexual activity in literature and films. Such as is found in some genres of romance novels, chick flicks, and television shows.
Pornography also includes portrayals of violence, abuse, coercion, domination, humiliation and/or degradation for the purpose of sexual arousal. Pornography sexually exploits and objectifies male and female bodies, and degrades humanity. Any sexually explicit material that depicts children is abhorrent and victimizes children. Pornography ruins lives, careers, ministries and relationships.
We grieve the pervasiveness of Internet pornography, including the use among Messianics, and especially its devastating impact on young people and on marriages.
The Yahad is called to transformation and healing for all persons adversely affected by pornography. Congregations should send a clear message of opposition to pornography; where we commit to safe environments for everyone. We encourage strategies to eradicate pornography, to support victims, and to provide open and transparent conversation and education around sexuality and sexual ethics, and the avoidance of escaping into all types of sexual fantasies that create unrealistic and/or ungodly expectations in human relations. We also believe that people can be rehabilitated and should have the opportunity to receive treatment; therefore, Yahadim should seek ways to offer support and care for addressing issues of sexual addiction. Further, all Yahadim are encouraged to review and update appropriate child, youth, and adult protection policies to reflect The Yahad’s position that the use of pornography is a form of sexual misconduct. By encouraging education, prevention, and pathways to recovery for all affected by pornography, we live out our understanding of merciful favor and healing.
RELEASED FELONS AND OTHER OFFENDERS
Ministry for re-acclimation into society and The Yahad.
A minimum of three years Yahad Discipleship is a pre-requisite before being invited into the Yahad leadership. Anyone with a gifting or calling has equal opportunity to ministry without prejudice to disability, with reasonable accommodation, and without prejudice to marital status, age, gender or financial status; and with prayerful consideration for personal strengths and weaknesses.
Never be alone anywhere with a member of the opposite sex who is not your own spouse or a close relative.
Never be alone with a child or children who are not your relatives.
Transformation Prayer Ministry (TPM)
Bishop Darrell K Henry
The Yahad of East Tennessee