Robert Shriner became a believer in Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) in 1980 while pursuing a military career flying fighter/attack aircraft in the U.S. Marine Corps.
He is married to his lifelong friend and sweetheart, Marcia Voelker. Her strong Christian faith produced a life-changing transformation in her husband.
He left the service in 1983 to begin a theological education attending both Christian and Jewish graduate schools. He was awarded earned masters and doctoral degrees in the field of theology, focusing on the Biblical languages of Hebrew and Greek.
He retired from St. John Lutheran Church in Kendallville last year to devote time to writing.
His newly-published book “Yeshua: He Will Be Called A Nazarene” is the result of years of scholarship and research. It is available online from Amazon.
“I have long had an interest in the historical period known as the Second Temple Era, which is the period of Biblical history that begins with the return of the Israelites from Babylonian captivity in the mid fifth century B.C.E. to the conquest of Israel by the Romans and destruction of their Temple in 70 C.E.,” he said. “This was the age that produced the three most prominent sects or denominations of Judaism: the Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes. Ancient sources indicate that the Essene sect also produced a “branch” group called the Nazarenes.”
“Nazarene” means “branch” in Hebrew.
The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls revealed abundant new information about this Essene/Nazarene sect, he said.
The title of the book comes from Matthew 2:23 that states that Yeshua/Jesus would be called a Nazarene. It has been traditionally assumed that the term Nazarene referred only to his residence in the town of Nazareth.
“I believe the evidence links him to the sect of the Nazarenes,” Shriner said. “My book makes a case for that relationship and shows how many of the beliefs, teachings and practices of Yeshua and his disciples have a remarkable similarity to those of the Nazarene sect.”
He also made an effort to trace the histories of the Sect of the Pharisees and the Sect of the Nazarenes to modern times and show how both are impacting the religious environment worldwide.
Shriner said the time-consuming research was rewarding and enjoyable because he had complete freedom to write as he desired.
His next book is tentatively titled “Good News about Yeshua the Nazarene: A Commentary on the Four Gospels.”
While serving in Nebraska, Shriner received a Doctor of Ministry degree from Christian International School of Theology. In 1993, he was called by Grace Lutheran Church, Oberlin, Ohio, to be their pastor. In Oberlin, he studied the Hebrew language at Cleveland College of Jewish Studies (a Jewish graduate school).
St. John experienced an interim pastoral ministry program from 2012 - 2014 when Shriner was called to be the senior pastor of St. John. He served in that capacity until he retired last year.