About

A picture of me with the Old City of Jerusalem behind me, covered in snow.

A picture of me with the Old City of Jerusalem behind me, covered in snow.

Shalom!  Thanks for stopping by.  My name is James Prather, and I am a follower of Jesus.  I am 32 years old, I live in Abilene, Texas, and I am married to a wonderful woman named Erin. Erin and I have two children (b. 2013, 2015). I did my undergraduate work at Oklahoma Christian University in Computer Science.  I followed that up with a Masters of Science at the University of Texas at Dallas.

From May 8, 2006 to June 17, 2010 I worked as a programmer in Dallas, Texas. From 2010 to 2013 I was a full time graduate student at Abilene Christian University Graduate School of Theology, an adjunct computer science professor, and I worked under Dr. Jeff Childers as his Graduate Assistant. I pursued two degrees there: Master of Divinity and an M.A. in Old Testament. I graduated in the Summer of 2014.

I was hired to be a full time faculty member at ACU in the Computer Science department starting in the Fall of 2013. As of Fall 2015 I am a Ph.D. student in Computer Science at Nova Southeastern University, hoping to graduate in the summer of 2018. I am still teaching at ACU during this time. Here’s my faculty profile.

If you love The One True God, no matter which Christian or Jewish tradition you are from, I’d love to discuss our God with you.

Note: Anything written on this blog before September 2010 was before I started graduate religious studies. Take those posts with grains of salt. Many of them are still excellent, though some of them are not quite based in sturdy scholarship. Nevertheless, I have kept them on the site untouched.

Advertisements

35 thoughts on “About

  1. Hello James

    I just replied to a discussion you had with Anne Spangler and then clicked on your about link to find out you live not far from me.

    Perhaps I could take you to Starbucks and pick your brains?

  2. James, I am a member at Legacy and have been there for over 20 years – you may or not recall me and my wife Jean. I read your blog off and on and appreciate the depth of your writings. I have no linguistic skills — not even engish!
    I am not naive enough to think that I could bring something new to you about the Hebrew language but I stumbled on to a couple of articles that even I could appreciate. Perhaps the one on the math of the Bible will treat you well.

    http://www.jewfaq.org/alephbet.htm

    http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/panin2.htm

    May God bless you in all you do.

    Paul

  3. Shalom from Ireland. I discovered your site blog while ‘googling’ James and it is a joy to read your material. We share a similar passion for the roots of our faith. My life is devoted to teaching the Hebraic context of Jesus and the new covenant. Please take a look at http://www.xplorations.org sometime. Blessings on all you do.

  4. James,

    I very much appreciate your enthusiasm for a deeper, more meaningful faith and greater understanding of scripture.

    The depth of your study causes me to wonder how you have dealt with the Sabbath. Searching your site, I don’t see that you have gone into it. My guess is that you keep the peace at Sunday school by just avoiding the subject. Is that the case?

    I have recently upset a local pastor by sharing my own convictions about the Sabbath, so this subject is fresh to me.

    I have been wondering about how to not offend, but at the same time, not to deny the truth. What is your insight on this?

    Don

    • Don,

      Thanks for coming to my blog! I’m glad you like it.

      I have not addressed this question on my blog because I haven’t yet found a satisfactory answer. While it’s true that Jesus never changed the day of God’s Sabbath, it’s also true that the early Christians met on the first day of the week. I’ve read an explanation of the early Christians meeting on the first day of the week to be that they were meeting after the Sabbath was over since they were already together. This makes good sense, but it’s pure speculation. It’s also true that when Paul went to the various Greek towns, he went to the Synagogue on the Sabbath.

      This subject is something that bothers me intensely. It’s not just “part of the law”, because it definitively predates the law. There’s something deeper at work here, but it’s not something I’m comfortable giving a 100% firm answer on yet. But you are correct that I keep the peace at Sunday school by largely avoiding the subject. :)

      If you’ve found anything that you feel is highly definitive, please share.

      Peace,
      James

  5. Thank you, James, for your candid sharing concerning the Sabbath.

    As to a definitive statement, I don’t know how one would get much more direct than the Word (Exodus 20:8). None of us would dare suggest that it is fine to murder, steal, commit adultery or such… but no such constraint exists concerning the Sabbath. I am constantly amazed by this fact, yet often afraid to speak out lest I be seen as a trouble-maker.

    Surely, we can not earn our way to the Father’s heart by observing His Words, and I am positive that the blood of the Messiah is necessary for my cleansing–yet those things make me want to obey Him more, not less.

    Recently, I have come under a personal conviction not to reject the Law of God in favor of the traditions of men. Consequently, I have been deemed apostate by the local pastor (we live in an extremely rural area.) The Sabbath, I have found, is an issue that can upset even the churchiest cart of apples.

    • Don,

      Certainly there is much more to the law than typical Christians give it credit for. I like how you put that – no one would consider murder or stealing…but the Sabbath? I am also amazed at how some people like to say that “tithing is an ‘Old Testament’ concept, and now that we’re ‘free from the law’, we don’t need to do it anymore”! But how can they say that when tithing existed long before Moses (e.g. Abraham tithing to Melchizedek)? I too have come under a personal conviction to not reject God’s Law. We’re headed down the same path, and I think that perhaps you are at a different juncture than I am. Perhaps together we can sharpen one another as iron sharpens iron. Please feel free to comment on my blog and lay out your opinions and thoughts.

      Peace,
      James

  6. Wow… I stumbled upon this website trying to goggle information on kosher for passover food. I read Parts 1 and 2 of “Did Jesus Really Declare All Foods Clean?”, but couldn’t find Part 3. No fear, many other articles and three hours (time I should have been working) later, I’m officially hooked.

    I must admit, you are wise well beyond your 25 years. You speak with eloquence, and yet in a manner that an “everyday Joe” (myself) can read and understand.

    To introduce myself, I’m Cory. Originally from AZ, spent two years working for the Army (civillian) in CO, and moved to Germany in January. In CO, my wife and I began attending a Messianic Synagogue in addition to our non-denominational Sunday service. In Germany, I haven’t found one to attend, and feel I’m missing something.

    I’m looking forward to reading more of your thoughts/musings/rants/etc. Thanks for your time and lending us a piece of your brain. It encourages me, when the Saturday service is lacking!

    • Cory,

      Thanks for coming by! I’m so glad that God is blessing you through my writings. Your life sounds very fascinating – I know my wife would love to live in Germany for a while. As far as a MJ Synagogue not being in Germany, that’s okay, the one I frequent does live streaming of their Shabbat services. Click here for live streaming of Baruch HaShem Messianic Synagogue in Dallas.

      I am humbled that you find my blog so helpful. I look forward to discussing many things with you as iron sharpens iron.

      Peace,
      James

  7. James,

    G-D inspires me when reading your story. Mine is very similar as I heard RVL at Focus in ’03 and then did a year of M. Div. at ACU. After that, I was accepted into Hebrew University and worked for a year on an MA in The Bible and It’s World. Graduated from ACU with my M. Div in ’09, and am ministering at a church in Early, TX, with dreams of leading groups over to Israel.

    I would love to talk with you sometime about your story.

    Shalom,

    Geoff Carroll

    • Geoff,

      That is amazing! The one thing that lit my fire and started this whole chain of events was when I listened to the recordings of RVL @ Focus in ’03. That was the first domino to fall. It’s very cool to meet you! I would LOVE to hear about how you arranged going to to HU and got ACU to accept the credit, etc, your experiences at HU, and pretty much everything. Let’s get together sometime after I move out to Abilene (maybe…mid-July?).

      Peace,

      James

  8. James, I think you are quite a teacher! I live in Charlotte, NC and I came upon your website while doing a little research into the Samaritan Messiah. I have a dear friend James Tabor, who heads up an organization called United Israel World Union, he’s also the Chair of the Religion Dept at UNCC. You might want to check out their website. You wouldn’t by chance to going to Israel in October would you?

    • Joanna,

      Thanks so much for your kind words! I’ll definitely check out UNCC’s website, though I am committed to going to ACU for my Master of Divinity. And no, I’m not going to Israel in October…though I wish I was! :)

      Peace,

      James

  9. hello brother james,

    i have a question to ask……… in my study of the torah, and hebrew roots…… i find that a deeper study of judiasm is a must in order to appreciate what it was that the jews who kept the torah did…. so that today a non-jew like me can have a torah to study…..

    your thoughts please………. baruch hashem

    brother george

    • George,
      Thanks for stopping by! I think you’re definitely onto something there – a deeper study of Jewish culture and Judaism is very helpful in understanding our Bible. I have discovered it especially helpful to understand the culture at the time of Jesus. It has given me new appreciate for my Jewish friends.

      Peace,
      James

  10. I was so excited to stumble across your blog today (I say that knowing that it was actually no coincidence). As disciples of Yeshua, our family and I have been on a journey over the past year or so of discovering our biblically Hebraic roots. It has been an amazing journey and we have been forever changed. I came across your blog this morning because, as I was reading Matthew chapeter 21 in the CJB I didn’t know what “s’mikhah” was. So, I googled it and your blog post on the subject was the first thing to come up. Then, after looking into it, I was surprised that we have the same religious background. I grew up attending a Church of Christ, attended Lubbock Christian University, and then my family and I spent time in Russia as missionaries supported by Preston Road Church of Christ. We now live in Amarillo, TX and no longer attend a Chruch of Christ but meet with a home fellowship. Anyway, I wanted to introduce myself and let you know that I am looking forward to following this blog.
    Blessings to you from Abba,
    Michele Fant

    • Michele,

      Thanks for stopping by, and I’m glad that some of my writing is/will be blessing you. I especially enjoy dialog with people from a Reformation background because it seems like we really left a lot of our Hebraic roots out of the picture in an effort to “get back to basics”. I am going to try and write on here whenever I can, though as it turns out, graduate Bible work is extremely time-consuming. :) I might make one or two posts during the semester, and hopefully much more during Christmas.

      Peace,

      James

  11. I have just been introduced to your site by a friend who shares similar interests in our Jewish Roots… I am sure I will be returning often!

    I am currently in study at a seminary that teaches from a Messianic Jewish perspective (they also have a Yeshiva). My professor is a Rabbi as well. I am thoroughly enjoying my course work. One of the posts mentions the Sabbath. One of the reading assignments I had included the book, “Celebrate the Feasts of the Old Testament in Your Own Home or Church,” by Martha Zimmerman. This book outlines ways to celebrate with your children and others. It lists prayers, recipes, craft projects, etc. It also suggests that one can indeed celebrate the Sabbath whether one does it Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, Saturday to Sunday or Sunday to Monday. For families who are non-Jewish families, but interested in keeping the Sabbath, this book outlines a way to do that from Saturday to Sunday that incorporates attending your chosen place of worship. The book is very family-friendly and a great resource!!

    Blessings on your studies! Shalom.

  12. Hi James. I just want to let you know that I have received a WEALTH of information concerning my (our) faith through your blog. I stumbled upon it a few weeks ago and finally got to your very first post tonight. I just want to tell you thank you for helping me grow in my walk with Jesus. There is definitely and maturity in your writing in the last couple of years and I’m glad God led me here. God bless and I’ll be keeping your blog on my Google Reader for your further insights.

    • Jonathan,
      Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad that God used my writings to bless you! But don’t expect too much until the semester is over. :) I’m hoping that this summer I will be a bit more free to blog….my coursework this semester has given me all sorts of ideas for blog posts.
      Peace,
      James

  13. Thank you so much for your wonderful research. I will be reading as much of your site as I can, and listenening to your lectures. I, too, am a follower of the One true God, and Jesus is my savior indeed!!

    I also teach Bible study classes, albeit on a much more elementary level than you. I love Israel and the Jewish people and have just returned from Israel where I toured the Holy Land. The culture of the people is fascinating to me, and I believe understanding the customs and times of the people of the Bible is key to understanding it.

    Thank you for your wonderful information. May God continue to bless you.

  14. Thank you for your study on s’mikhah – laying on of hands. Your description of the meaning, relative to conveying authority and identifying with a sacrifice, seems more Biblically correct than those who teach that the laying on of hands to the sacrifice was to “transfer sins” to the sacrifice. Those who teach this seem to be strong supporters of the Penal Substitution theory of the Atonement. Are you aware of any literature underscoring such direct connections? Since there are progressively “less costly” alternative Sacrifice for Sin allowances for the poor, from two lambs to “two turtle doves” to a bag of flour (Lev 5:1-15), the “transfer of sins” makes little sense since it would be absurd to transfer sins to an inanimate object and to “punish” a bag of flour. Your explanation not only maintains the integrity of the nature of Sacrifice, its vicarious effectiveness and relation to New Testament theology, but eliminates the shades of absurdity in
    ‘punishing” inanimate objects and restore the Substitution Theory of Atonement to one that substitutes God’s chosen sacrifice to be offered on our behalf as with Abraham “God will provided the sacrifice” to substitute to Isaac. Can you point me to any authoritative writings that support these ideas?

    • Hi Greg,

      As you picked up by reading my article, I don’t hold to the Penal Substitution Atonement Theory.

      Here’s a great book that explores other Biblical ways to understand atonement: by Tony Jones.

      Peace,
      James

  15. Hi James,
    I’m looking to discuss with a group of friends from church how God calls us to glorify Him and love others with our speech. Your February 19 article “Paul’s Profanity” was a good read but I’m still reading up on this some more. You say up here in your bio that your scholarship is less “sturdy” at the time you wrote this article, so I was wondering if you had any additional insight since finishing your MA’s. Hope to hear from you soon and thanks for what you do.

    Best Regards,
    Michael Buster

  16. I just found your blog as I was searching for a picture of a fig tree. Your post concerning the significance of the parable was very interesting. As a follower of Christ, I have an insatiable hunger for Him and studying His word is probably my favorite thing to do. As God would have it, I watched a video of Amir Tsarfati this morning that inadvertently led me here. Your blog is now bookmarked so I’ll be visiting often.
    God’s love to you,
    Cindy

  17. James, found your website looking for more information about “s’mikhah” in my reading this morning from Hebrews using the CJB which along with Names of God translation seem to be my favorite two translations. Anyway, loved several of your blogs so if your travels get you to Tulsa I would love to meet you. FYI, worship along with Mitch Wilburn at Park Plaza congregation.

    • I’ve met Mitch before when he was speaking at a church. Park Plaza is a fantastic congregation that I continue to hear great things about. I first ran across s’mikhah by hearing Ray Vander Laan talk about it in a set of audio recordings that got passed around about 10 years ago. So I was eager to see if there was anything to it. I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s