L. De Winter

(Investigator 22, 1992 January)

David Stocker is often asked why, as a Muslim he is doing a degree in Christian Theology at Flinders University (South Australia).

His answer is that when he debates with Christians they cannot tell him that he knows nothing about their religion.

David is not an ordinary Muslim. He belongs to a group of no specific name but often called The Yashua Tradition. David claims that "Yashua" is the correct name of Jesus Christ.

The group's religious beliefs and practices are based on religious writings they consider inspired: the Koran, Old Testament, New Testament, and The "Writings" a collection of scriptures written by Islamic mystics known as "Sufis". David feels there are no clashes between these religious books. He sees himself as belonging to the only true religion.

Married, with four children, David is 25 and was born in Austria. He lived in South Africa before coming to Australia at 19 years of age. Before his conversion years ago David was with the Assemblies of God.

David believes in polygamy (see Investigator 19) but has only one wife. His group teaches that women should marry at a young age provided they are of mature mind and able to conceive. Children are viewed as a blessing from God. Wives must be subject to the husband. David claimed that the reference in the Koran which Westerners usually believe allows wife-beating (Sura 4:34) should properly be translated as "instruct" or "teach". In addition, The Writings state (according to David) that a man who strikes his wife will himself be struck down by God on the Day of Judgment. The group is family conscious, emphasises love and care, and opposes many contemporary Western social and sexual values.

David and his fellow believers proselytise in the West. Orthodox Muslims view them as heretics and they suffer repression in some Islamic countries especially in Iran where they are often confused with Bahais.

The group is governed by twelve Imams (religious leaders) based in the West. Eleven of these are Arabs and one an American.

David's faith has elements from Islam, Christianity and Judaism. He keeps Jewish holy days and festivals (but on different dates) and worships in the Mosque. He believes in right conduct and right thought, self sufficiency, alms giving, and Jihad (or Holy War) in a spiritual and not a literal sense. Although there is proselytising those who do not hear the message are neither saved nor lost. Following Christ's Millennial reign from Jerusalem, there will be an opportunity for them to hear and understand God's message.

As a Muslim and a pacifist David experienced little trouble during the recent Gulf War. Said David, "Once people learn what you really believe it dispels a lot of mystery and fear."

David is not a Trinitarian but holds the view that Jesus Christ is a manifestation in the flesh, of God who is a Spirit. The substance of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is the one and same Spirit and the different names are different titles of the one Spirit.

David summed this up: "if you understand this you're doing better than we are."