“G-d” instead of “God” – really?

YahwehIn this correspondence between Phil Johnson and someone embracing Hasidic superstitions when it comes to the name of God, man made ideas often trump the Bible. I am talking about the practice of writing “G-d” instead of “God.” All I can say is “You are right Phil. Well done!”

To: K___ B_____
From: “Phillip R. Johnson”
Subject: Cr–t-r?!

Dear K_____,

You wrote:

> I serve M-ss–h in a Jewish
> context. Hence the omission
> of the vowels in the names
> of G-d. You have my per-
> mission to publish any part
> of my messages you choose,
> but I have one request: Please
> do not edit my words so as to
> add the letters I have omitted.
>
> Were my post to come into the
> hands of a Jew, my credibility
> with the community would be
> suspect for writing out the
> name of the Cr–t-r. See what
> Rav’ Shaul (the apostle Paul)
> wrote in 1 Cor. 9:20-21.

Perhaps you could explain this practice further. It seems to me that this is an accommodation to a superstition that is grounded in an unbiblical notion of what it means to take the Lord’s name in vain. And as far as I can tell, it is not even the whole Jewish community who follow this superstition, but a fairly narrow segment of Hasidim.

Since the whole idea behind this practice goes against what Christ taught, I’ve always felt it is inappropriate for Christians to cater to it. We don’t cross ourselves or bow to the communion elements in order to accommodate the superstitions of Roman Catholics. Why omit vowels in order to accommodate selected Pharisaic-style superstitions? (And even in the word Cr–t-r?!! That’s the first time I’ve seen that.)

This isn’t a case of obeying any law or tradition that reflects the true intent of the Old Testament commandments. In fact, it tacitly seems to sanction a perversion of God’s law. It’s precisely the kind of thing Y’shua refused to accommodate for the sake of pleasing overscrupulous Pharisees (cf. Mark 7:2-9). In fact, He attacked the myth that lies behind the superstition against pronouncing or spelling out the name of God (cf. Matthew 23:16-24). Continue reading