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by Dr. Eitan Bar
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Clarification Regarding My Divorce

I am writing this letter to address some rumors that have been spreading about me and my personal life. Unfortunately, some of these rumors are quite malicious. In addition, recently, a mass email was sent out to hundreds of thousands of people, which has resulted in a flood of inquiries and messages. While some of these messages have been uplifting and encouraging, others have been quite hurtful and even hateful by Christians wishing me things I wouldn’t wish my worst enemy.

I want to take this opportunity to set the record straight and provide a brief summary of my personal situation.

    • No, I didn’t leave my faith. Despite no longer holding to a Calvinistic worldview(s), I have never stopped believing that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. In fact, my faith is stronger than ever and my divorce did not change a thing! Please ignore any rumors about me leaving Christianity and returning to Orthodox Judaism.
    • In the Messianic movement in Israel, divorce is considered one of the gravest sins one can commit. It is viewed as worldly and something that God despises just as much as murder. As one prominent Israeli pastor once told me, a person who divorces is likely to end up in hell. The Messianic movement in Israel is considered ultra-conservative, often compared in its level of strictness to the Brethren church, and by much of the greater Israeli public, considered a cult. Indeed, large parts of it have strong cultish motifs.
    • In 2021, following years of counseling, my wife at the time informed me of her decision to divorce. I have much respect to her both as a person and as a mother. We ended it calmly and without unnecessary tension or lawsuits. But since we both served in a Messianic ministry, we decided to keep it mostly to ourselves, after all, marriage is supposed to be a private matter between a husband and his wife. But quickly, we realized that it doesn’t work that way in our Messianic movement. As word spread that we were going through divorce proceedings, leaders around us began to intervene and engage in spiritual manipulation. For example, my pastor tried to prevent the divorce by telling me how God “dealt” with a relative of his when she got a divorce – she got ill with terminal cancer and died. This story was repeated by my pastor several times.
      In another instance, another senior leader and pastor told me that “God is not interested in our happiness,” and therefore, the purpose of marriage has nothing to do with our happiness. I was shocked to hear this kind of view from a person who is supposed to guide and counsel people on spiritual matters. As someone with a doctorate in Bible and theology, I could easily ignore all this nonsense about a God who doesn’t care how I feel and will punish my ex and me with cancer.
    • In 2022, a prominent and influential leader in my immediate environment informed me that as a divorcee, I am not allowed to get married again. This announcement was made not in private but in front of other leaders, which made me feel very uncomfortable. Feeling pressured, I politely agreed to their statement. However, I must admit that I lied, as my personal convictions differ from what was expressed to me.
    • Later, in the summer of 2022, I began dating a co-worker who had been a great comfort to me during my divorce. Her name is Anastasia. Given the hyper-conservative views that some people around me hold, we decided to keep our developing romantic relationship confidential for the time being.
    • Soon after, our relationship became known and we both no longer serve/work where we used to.
      • As you can imagine, this was not well-received by our Messianic community. Quickly, we were ostracized and a rapid spread of gossip, slander, false rumors, and even threats began coming at us from different directions in an attempt to shame and boycott us. This experience felt very much like what you may see in films about cults. All of this occurred during the summer of 2022. Since then, only few inside the Israeli Messianic movement have kept in touch with to us.
    • I have sent an official letter of apology and repentance to a few elders at my former place of worship. Two of them were also involved with me in ministry. However, I have never received a response from any of them.
    • Fast forward to March 2023, my personal situation became publicly known to half a million people.
    • It is worth noting that this happened the exact same week my new book (challenging Calvinistic doctrines) was released: ‘The “Gospel” of Divine Abuse.
    • Everyone is entitled to their own religious convictions in regard to personal relationships. Our romantic relationship, however, was not meant to hurt or offend anyone. Also, it is a private matter of the heart and not someone else’s business. We did not commit any crimes or break any laws. As Jewish believers, we take so much heat from the Jewish community. It hurts immensely when it comes from fellow believers. But this is yet one more example of the messianic’s fundamentalist and legalist worldview, same one that brought about Dasha’s murder.
    • I produced hundreds of videos sharing the gospel (evangelism), answering rabbinic objections to Christianity (apologetics), and even engaging in the first-ever debate with an Orthodox rabbi. These videos helped many thousands of Jewish and Arab Israelis come to know Jesus. Unfortunately, all of these videos were removed. This is very unfortunate for me, as the gospel must transcend any personal issues.
    • For many years, both Anastasia and I sacrificed our reputation in the Jewish and Israeli society to proclaim the name of Jesus. We have seen Jewish Israelis accepting Christ like never before. However, this also came with harassment from religious people and rabbis alike, curses, death threats (we lost count of how many times we had to go to the police), including death threats over my child’s life, lawsuits, “visits” to our homes, sabotage of my car multiple times, and even hacking of my personal accounts, including email, while speaking to people in my name. These are only a few examples of what we had to go through while sharing the gospel in Israel these past few years. And yet, we don’t regret standing for Yeshua even for a second!

Despite different attempts to shame, degrade, and humiliate me, I have no intention of seeking revenge or retaliation. I, too, was once on top of the legalistic ivory tower, thinking I was holier than thou. I am well aware of my weaknesses and faults, and with the grace of God, I have been working very hard these past several months to restore myself through the grace of God.

“Do not go about spreading slander among your people.
Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life.
I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:16)

I have written this short devotion to express how I feel about the situation: “Jesus had the Perfect Father.”

Dr. Eitan Bar
Author, Theologian, Activist