About Me - Messianic Rabbi Bruce R. Booker


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My Birth and My Upbringing

I am a native of St. Paul, Minnesota and was born on December 14, 1951.

I was not raised "Jewish," since my father Robert is Scots-Irish - raised in the Methodist Church in Dover, Minnesota - and my mother's mother Dorothy was an child taken from an orphanage at the age of two and whose adoption records were sealed when she was adopted by a Christian family whose last name was Gates in the Bemidji area of Northern Minnesota. [This was normal procedure back in the early 1900s. So, until I obtained a lawyer when I was in my late 30s, and had the records unsealed, we had no idea of her ancestral origins.]

My mother's mother, Dorothy Hinzie, married Herbert Hinzie, a devout Christian man, and so my mother was raised in the Presbyterian Church as a child. When she married my father, she became a Methodist.

I was raised a Methodist until the age of 12. At that time, the Methodist Church was joining with another church called the Evangelical United Brethren (EUB), a more liberal Christian organization, which troubled my mother immensely. The two denominations formed the United Methodist Church.

So, she pressured my father to go looking for a more conservative church to join. After about a year of "church-hopping" my parents settled on the Christian Church (aka - Church of Christ).

In short, from the age of 12 on, I was raised in this "non-Denominational" church and after graduation from Plainview High School in 1970, went to Minnesota Bible College (now Crossroads College in Rochester, Minnesota) in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I attended Minnesota Bible College from 1970 to 1972. Crossroads College is a member of the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), [15935 Forest Road, Forest, VA 24551; telephone: (434) 525-9539; e-mail: info@tracs.org] having been awarded Candidate Status as a Category II institution by the TRACS Accreditation Commission on April 9, 2013. This status is effective for a period of up to five years. TRACS is recognized by the United States Department of Education, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE).

I met my first wife, Barbara toeLaer Kloster there at the bible college in Minneapolis and we married in October, 1971.

I had to work to put myself through college and since my parents were too poor to help me (plus there were three siblings of mine at home) I had taken a job at a gas station in Rochester, Minnesota (the college sold off the building in Minneapolis and had moved to Rochester).

Shortly after finishing my first quarter in 1972, I lost my job at the gas station and had to seek work elsewhere.

The job market was very bad, my eldest son was now in the womb and I looked to the military for employment. The war in Vietnam was still going and I felt that since they needed bodies, I enlisted into the United States Marine Corps with no contract or guarantees.


My Military Service

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I joined the United States Marine Corps on March 27, 1972 and was sent to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California..

Expecting to be sent to Vietnam as a "grunt" (infantry), when the duty assignments were read by the Drill Instructor at the end of our Boot Camp experience, I was surprised to hear that I was going to Basic Electronics School (BES) in 29 Palms, California.

The first eight weeks of BES was nothing but mathematics: all the way from 1+1=2 to logarithms and trigonometry - with Geometry sandwiched in between. I flunked the Geometry portion of the course (not good, since electronics relies heavily on Geometry).

Now, I may have gotten away with dropping Geometry in High School for an elective, but the Marine Corps was NOT going to let me get away with it!

The "Gunner" (Warrant Officer) called me into his office and explained what they would do if I didn't want to retake and pass the course. They would send me to "radio humper" school and send me to Vietnam as a "radio humper." He told me what "Charlie" (the Marines affectionate name for the "Viet Cong") does when targeting a platoon. First they take out the platoon leader (the L.T. "Lieutenant") to get rid of the leadership, then they take out the "radio humper" to get rid of communications. By taking out the leadership and the communications, he said, they will have the platoon, should I politely say, in an inextricable place. He then asked me what I wanted to do.

Now, having gained a little common sense by then, this Private told the Warrant Officer that the Private would go through the course once again and pass it.

Now, I must confess: to get through the mathematics part of the course was "blood, sweat, and tears" but somehow I passed near the top of the class and went on to my secondary school, Basic Telephone & Switchboard Repair Course.

I then graduated at the top of my class and the Marine Corps made me a technical instructor without a single day of field experience! By that time I was a Lance Corporal filling a Sergeants' billet!

During my time as an Instructor, I had a "Meritorious Mast" and then was promoted to the rank of Corporal meritoriously!

In 1974 I re-enlisted in the Marine Corps. During my time in the Corps I was promoted to Sergeant, and finally to Staff Sergeant. My last three and a half years in the Corps were spent at the U.S. Army Signal Schools, Fort Gordon, Georgia as an instructor.

I received a Letter of Commendation from the Army Commander of my Department at the Signal Schools.

The main reason I left the Corps was because of my hearing loss. The words "deaf" and "Marine" are an oxymoron and do not belong together; as a Marine is first and foremost a Rifleman and after that, whatever his or her Military Occupational Specialty (MOS).


My Civilian Teaching Experience

I left the Marine Corps on May 15, 1980 and joined what was then General Telephone Electric in Northlake, Illinois as a Senior Instructor. My wife's parents lived relatively close in Hammond, Indiana so it was a good place for the kids to get to know their grandparents.

Unfortunately, General Telephone Electric had a layoff of a number of Instructors in my first couple of months of employment with them and then a few months later, there were rumors of another layoff, so I looked for steady work elsewhere. I took a job with the telecommunications manufacturer Mitel as an Instructor in December of 1980 and moved to Lakewood, Colorado.

Sadly, due to the hardness of my heart, my marriage with Barbara fell apart. We separated and ultimately divorced in 1982.

I taught at Mitel and worked as Technical support until June, 1985 and went out into the field as the Chief of Engineering for a telecommunications installation company.

It was while I was working for a telecommunications company in Southern California that I was listening to the Christian radio station and heard about a Messianic Prophecy Seminar at Adat Hamashiach Messianic Congregation in Irvine, California and decided to go to the Seminar.


My Messianic Introduction

I was remarried by the time I began to attend "Adat" as it is so fondly called. My wife Patricia and I attended my bosses congregation in Walnut, California. It was a very charismatic congregation and I was part of the music ministry and the Adult Sunday School teacher. My wife was part of a woman's ministry and we both felt very connected with the congregation.

I attended Adat because I wanted to learn more about the "Jewish roots" of my Christian faith and incorporate what I learned into my Adult Sunday School class. There was never any intent to leave the Christian church.

Then one sabbath at Adat the congregation leader was speaking from the Torah about the permanence of the Seventh-day Sabbath, I remember from my freshman year at Minnesota Bible College that the professor said "the Apostles changed the Sabbath day from the Seventh day to the First day in honor of the resurrection of Christ on Sunday."

Well, that made sense to me back when I was a Freshman in bible college, but now that I was re-confronted with the issue, I had to find out for myself.

I studied Scripture, both New and "Old!" I studied history. I studied the "Early Church Fathers." There was NO evidence that God's Word had changed, nor that the Apostles had changed the Sabbath day in honor of ANYTHING!

That convinced me: I had to leave the Sunday-going church in favor of what Scripture actually said: the Seventh-day IS the Sabbath and no one can change or alter it EXCEPT God Who instituted it!

I resigned from all my responsibilities as the church Patricia and I went to and began to solely attend Adat. Though I felt as though the "rug was pulled out from under my feet" theologically, I knew it was truth and I had to pursue truth, regardless the cost. This was 1987. [What I didn't realize at the time was that it wasn't that the words of the Bible that had changed - it was the world-view with which I understood it that had changed. Think about it this way: the Bible is a Hebraic book. It was meant to be understood from a Hebraic world-view. Since the times of the "Early Church Fathers" who were non-Jewish - the Bible has been made by them to be seen from a Greek world-view. Hence, even in the name Christian, from the Greek word "Christos," we see the orientation being Greek. Yet, in the word Messianic, from the Hebrew word "Moshiach," we see the Hebraic orientation. The Greek world-view is a whole different world-view (orientation) than the Hebraic world-view. To understand the Bible correctly, one must approach it from its own orientation: the Hebraic - NOT the Greek.]

I had no intent to become a Messianic anything! I just knew that I was a "talmid" (disciple) of the Lord Yeshua (Jesus' Hebrew name) and nothing more. I was quite content with that.


My Messianic Leadership Experience

Every Sabbath day, Trish (as my wife likes to be called) and I and our young son David would go to Adat. The problem was that we lived at the time in Ontario, California - by road a 50 mile one-way trip [a 100 mile round trip].

It was tough enough every Sabbath to make the trip, but it was impossible for us to attend the other functions of that wonderful congregation: Sisterhood, etc. So we missed out on much fellowship due to the distance involved.

Another couple, Bill and Mary Rothschild also attended Adat and wanted to start a Erev (evening) Shabbat (Friday evening) fellowship at their place along with others who attended Adat in our area but couldn't make it.

The planters of the fellowship were Bill and Mary Rothschild. At the beginning I believe we had like 5 other families who joined with them.

Since I had my bible college degree, one day, Bill came to me and asked if I would be interested in leading the fellowship since he was retiring from the Air Force and moving down to Florida to join the space program.

If my recollection serves me correctly, this was back in 1988 or 1989.

We were blessed by the Lord and grew quickly, changed the name from Shalom Fellowship to Beth Shalom Messianic Congregation, incorporated the congregation and grew to more than 100 people. I led the congregation for about three years. [If you go to their website, you will NOT find my name as leading the congregation. The reason why is because the leadership has written me out of the congregation's history Our Story for whatever reasons. The good thing is that I have over a hundred witnesses who attended the congregation when I led it that can verify that I led it. This is in part the reason that I call the Messianic Movement, the "Messy"anic Movement. If they don't like your message, they disown you.]

I was ordained ("smicha") a Messianic Rabbi by the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (UMJC) regional representative on October 29, 1989. Rabbi Fred W. Butler, Beth Yeshua Messianic Congregation of Westminster, California officiated.

As I led Beth Shalom Messianic Congregation (then in Colton, California - now in Corona, California) I went through Yeshiva courses through the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations to do work toward my ordination through the Union. [I never did finish my work towards ordination in the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations.]

At the 1990 Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota and after much study through Messianic Rabbi Dr. John Fischer, I entered the covenant of circumcision (b'rit milah) of Avraham (Genesis 17). Not to obtain my salvation - by any means - but as Paul/Sha'ul had Timothy circumcised because of the people he would be ministering to (Acts 16):

    1 Sha'ul came down to Derbe and went on to Lystra, where there lived a talmid named Timothy. He was the son of a Jewish woman who had come to trust, and a Greek father. 2 All the brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke well of Timothy. 3 Sha'ul wanted Timothy to accompany him; so he took him and did a b'rit-milah, because of the Jews living in those areas; for they all knew that his father had been a Greek.

Sha'ul (Paul) had Timothy circumcised because the Jewish community to whom he would minister knew his father was not "Jewish." In the same way, my father is not "Jewish."

    [Timothy's mother and grandmother were "Jewish." Taking a DNA (mitochondrial DNA) test years after my circumcision, I found out about my "Jewish" DNA lineage that came through my grandma Hinzie. Through her, I am descended from Katrine (Haplogroup K mtDNA) - one of the "Seven Daughters of Eve." Approximately 32% of people with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry are in haplogroup K. I am of that descent DNA-wise. Accordingly, I am 1/4 "Jewish" by DNA. The country of origin of my grandmother's mother was Poland.]

So, what I did decades earlier in my undergoing b'rit milah merely confirmed what I felt in my heart all along: The Hebrew people are my people. Even without the DNA, I would say the exact same thing, as did Ruth (Ruth 1:6 - "Your people are my people and your God is my God"), as do hundreds and hundreds of non-Jewish Messianic believers in the Messianic Movement.

Since I was raised as a Christian, and knew very little of the Jewish faith, I had much to relearn. I felt at times as though the theological rug was literally pulled out from under my feet. I thought I knew a lot, but realized I had much more to learn.

In 1991 my wife and I were called to minister in Scranton, Pennsylvania. We tried to plant a congregation there, but between my full-time telecommunications job, the work of the ministry, etc., I got burnt out and closed down the ministry in Scranton - never intending to lead a congregation of any kind ever again.


My Sabbatical from Congregational Leadership

In September, 1995, I took a job as Vice President, Technical Services for Genesis Communications in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1996, I believe it was, I became a shammash (deacon) for B'rit Chadasha Messianic Congregation in Memphis, Tennessee.

The congregation already had a Messianic Rabbi, Rabbi Gary Shansky (a dear brother who has since gone on to be with the Lord), so I welcomed being in a support role. B'rit allowed me to teach and preach from time-to-time and to learn the Hebrew liturgical chants.

After Scranton I never intended to resume congregational leadership again, but the Lord had other plans.

When the company I worked for moved us up to Idaho, there were no Messianic congregations in our area. At first, we thought that we could go to a Seventh-Day Adventist Church, since we were in agreement with them about the correct day of Sabbath, but unfortunately, there are lots of other things in the Seventh Day Adventist church that we disagree with - so that was not an option.

We started Beth Shalom Messianic Congregation in a home here in Priest River, moved it to Sandpoint where for a while we met at the River of Life church then eventually John and Laura Popp, who attended Beth Shalom Messianic Congregation which we led in Southern California heard about us moving up here to northern Idaho, and quit their jobs, sold their house and moved to Sandpoint to help Trish and I with the ministry.

After a time, my job at the telecommunications company here in Priest River got so stressful that we ordained John Popp to be the Messianic Pastor of Beth Shalom Messianic Congregation - now in Post Falls, Idaho.

We lead Beth Yeshua Messianic Congregation here in Priest River, Idaho and have done the work of the ministry here since Passover, 2003 after the telecommunications company that I worked for went out of business.

I have been blessed to write a number of Messianic books and to have completed my Doctor of Theology degree from Biblical Life College & Seminary . [Since it is important here to be open and honest in this bio, I DO have my detractors, which you can find by "Googling" my name on the internet. Unfortunately, when I defended a fellow graduate and faculty member of Biblical Life College & Seminary , a Dr. Gary Hurd ("Stones n'Bones"), a retired professor at the University of California, Irvine, took it upon himself to write a derogatory Blog on his website about me and my education. Since Dr. Hurd is an atheist, he doesn't consider any degree from any bible college or seminary worth the paper it is printed on. I responded back to his charges (which, of course, he didn't put up on his site: About Bruce R. Booker's Degrees and Affiliations)]

Dr. Michael Lake, Chancellor of Biblical Life College and Seminary also wrote a rebuttal: Response to Dr. Hurd and His Stones and Bones Blog Post and to be an Associate Professor of Hebraic Heritage Studies there.

I have also been the Rosh Yeshiva of Messianic Bureau International Yeshiva before its' doors closed.

Thankfully, the Lord has blessed me and my wife in many ways too numerous to count - especially with the wonderful Messianic community that we lead. We have some awesome members in our fellowship that the Lord has brought in.



My Interests & Memberships

Interests

Teaching the Word of God

Firearms and Firearms Training

Amateur (HAM) Radio

Prepping

Memberships

I am a Life Member of the following: The National Rifle Association, Disabled American Veterans, the International Hi IQ Society, Front Sight Firearms Training Institute (Commander) and the Vietnam Veterans of America.

I am a Member of the following: United States Concealed Carry Association, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO), MENSA, the Sons of the American Revolution, the Priest Lake Search & Rescue, American Radio and Relay League, Amateur Radio Emergency Service, Sheepdog Society and Oath Keepers.

I am an Amateur Extra HAM radio operator, Call Sign: KF7WHP.