Q & A
Some brief questions and answers.
What is the Difference Between HRM and a Christian of Jewish descent?
Can you help me understand the difference between the Hebrew Roots Movement (HRM) and a Christian of Jewish descent? Or point me to some sources? I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around this. Wouldn’t at some point, the 2 belief systems (the Old and the New Covenant) come into conflict?
I will give a brief summary and will consider preparing more Scripture in the future, but for the mean time: this playlist by Mike Winger gives a much more thorough breakdown of the topic: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZ3iRMLYFlHuOD_BytSxbejzCnGPOcgFw.
(Note: #2 is what I was addressing in the ORIGINAL POST.)
1) There is "Judaism as a culture" which Paul makes clear is NOT a roadblock to salvation, but is also not enough.
The Jew that believes in Jesus as their Messiah/Savior are Christian because of their saving faith in Jesus. Their salvation is not because of or even despite of their Judaism. Trust not in your heritage or culture, but the Gospel which says "…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved … (Acts 16:31)".
Galatians 5:6 — For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Romans 2:28,29 — For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Galatians 3:7 — Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
Romans 9:6 — Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
Luke 3:8 — Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
And there are many other Scriptures which emphasize salvation being brought through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ which is for WHOSOEVER that believes including someone who also happens to be a Jew.
Read Romans 3 for some of the "other side" of this teaching so as not to forget the blessing the Jewish people are and their important role in God's Plan of Redemption.
Romans 3:1 — What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?
2) There are non-Jewish Christians being pulled backwards into Judaism as a means of either salvation or at the very least a requirement for sanctification depending on you ask
Galatians 3:1-7 — O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 6 ¶ Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
Paul Concludes his epistle to the Galatians with the following strong charge:
Galation 6:11-18 — Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. 12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.* 13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. 14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. 17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. 18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen
- *NOTE: For fear of being persecuted by Jews, Christians were bowing to Jewish practices (circumcision), but Paul testified that by not preaching a Gospel of circumcision, but preaching the sufficiency of the cross He suffered persecution. To Paul, it was a worthwhile persecution to suffer if it was due to a cross-centered and therefore Christ-centered Gospel.
- "You want to talk to me about the marking of circumcision? I will glory in these marks: the marks of the Lord Jesus!"
Galatians 6:17 — From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
We can read the New Testament to find the correct Christian response to Judaism/Old Covenant. There are at least two major concerns voiced in the early church:
- Concern (A) is that the church would create a "divided body" on the grounds of cultural differences. Peter struggled with this dynamic along with many others. It had reached such an unhealthy point that Peter would "act one way" when with the Gentile believers and "another way" when the Jews showed up. Through Paul's calling as "an apostle to the Gentiles" and a vision given by God in Acts 10 & 11, it was finally brought to a head. There is one plan of salvation and it is the same for both Jew and Gentile and this bigotry and hypocrisy of Peter was way out of line.
Galatians 2:11 — But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
- Concern (B) is that the church would borrow too much from Judaism and teach AS DOCTRINES the commandments of men thus losing sight of Jesus. The danger of an over emphasis of the "hebrew roots" of Christianity is that it may undermine the simplicity and power of the Gospel (caution is needed). A soul hungry for God and determined to please God in all things could be led down a bottomless pit of endless rules and restrictions that God Himself does not require and ultimately choking out their faith. In my opinion, The Hebrew Roots Movement particulary brings stones into otherwise good ground hearts restricting Christian liberty and spiritual growth (read Mark 4:1-20; Romans 14).
Matthew 15:9 — But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Consider two relevant origins of a person who may come to Jesus Christ:
|Born Jew/Proseletyzed Jew (Gentiles converted to Judaism before receiving the Gospel)
|They are circumcised and in many cases raised up to follow rules of diet, dress, keeping of days and feasts, etc.
|In N.T. times at least, Not circumcised, not taught the Torah as part of their raising and not attending upon the temple and its related ordinances.
|Do not roadblock these requiring them to "forget they are Jew" or some such demand in order to be saved.
|Do not bring these under condemnation of an Old Covenant that was fulfilled in Christ in order to be saved or even just sanctified.
|The Old Covenant is not enough to satisfy the Holy God. You can be a Good Jew AND a Good Christian, but you can also be a Good Jew and a Terrible "Christian".
|Do not forget HOW you were saved. Do not fall under the condemnation (as particularly the ceremonial laws of Judaism would be to most Gentiles) of another spiritual law other than Jesus Christ.
|Keep on keeping on eating Kosher and celebrating your culture and history (if that is your habit), but do so knowing it is only the sacrifice of Christ that has purchased your salvation. Jesus Christ is the "Desire of the Ages", the "Messiah".
|Christ is the fulfillment of God's demands in the Old Covenant. Our obedience and sanctification is wrapped up in "Walking in the Spirit" and submitting our ourselves to the Lordship of Chirst. This way is that of a "heart walk" which is not mysterious or indefineable as we have the revealed will of God, we have the Word of God.
|2 Corinthians 3:5-8 — 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; 6 ¶ Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: 8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? 9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. 12 ¶ Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Ephesians 2:8 — For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
The Church (A Spiritual Body) is not Israel (a nation), And Israel (the nation) is not the Church (A Spiritual Body)
Israel (the nation) is a separate entity from the Christian Church. Someone can be both of Israel and of the Church, but being a part of the Christian Church does not make someone of Israel. They are two separate concerns and not one and the same relationship with God.
- Being of Israel (a soverign nation of people) which is a distinct entity from the New Testament Church does not equal salvation as it was to Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews, that Jesus said, you must be born again (John 3:7).
- God has made promises (of judgment and blessing) concerning the nation of Israel and He will keep those to Israel. They do not somehow default to a Gentile Church. God has made great and precious promises to the people of the New Covenant (the Church) and He will keep those promises to the church.
Romans 11:11-24 — I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? 13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: 14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. 15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? 16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. 24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
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