This is an incredible article that deals with the ever-growing-in-popularity lies that “Jesus isn’t ALL of God’s Word made flesh, just some of it” and “Hebrew Roots people make the Torah an idol!!!” I highly recommend this blog.
Monthly Archives: January 2012
If this testimony does not move you to tears at how awesome our God is, then nothing will. For years, this young woman was afflicted with a disease of the womb called endometriosis. The doctors told her it was incurable, but the Great Physician had something else to say about it. This couple decided to step out in faith and follow God’s Instructions, and He blessed them for it. Watch the video.
Welcome back to another installment of Answering the Critics. Today we will be taking a look at another frequently cited web article that supposedly proves that following God’s Instructions is “cultic”. This time the featured critic is the interestingly named “cyshift.com” and his article “The Hebrew Roots Cult”. Honestly, I have no idea who this guy is or what he believes about anything other than “Hebrew Roots”, and I’m pretty sure nobody else does either. The only reason this article seems to be referenced so often is because it’s the first result when you Google “hebrew roots cult”. That’s hardly compelling, I know, but the critics do try so hard, don’t they? Let’s jump right in.
The first thing we read is this Bible verse with a comment by the author following:
Titus 1:10-11, 13-14 For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach…For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth.
What an insidious and devious Enemy we have! The ability to take devout men and women of God who are zealous for good works and twist their desires so as to put them back into bondage to the Law illustrates the truly evil nature of Satan.
That is one of my favorite verses, mostly because it is so brutally abused by the anti-Torah missionaries. Right off the bat, the author demonstrates a remarkable lack of reading comprehension. What does Titus 1:13-14 say? For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. Hmm… so Paul is warning Titus to watch out for Jewish myths and commandments of men, yet cyshift is telling us that Paul is warning against God’s Law! For someone holding himself up as an expert on Hebrew Roots, this guy can’t even get the basic facts of Scripture correct, and in his opening statement no less. Are we really expected to believe that Paul is calling God’s Instructions “Jewish myths” or “commandments of men”? Or that Satan himself would preach God’s Instructions as truth? Blasphemous hogwash!
Why Haven’t I Heard About This?
As a rule, this spreading wave of false doctrine is not being addressed by the church. This is due to several reasons:
“False doctrine” is highly subjective. The Baptists think the Methodists have false doctrine, but nobody seems to be too upset about that. The real reasons the message of the Torah isn’t being addressed by the churches at large is because they’re either afraid of it or they’re not aware of it. I have had several friends approach their pastors about God’s Instructions, and the response was usually the same: “Do you want me to lose my job??”. This attitude belies the author’s assertion that the Torah is false doctrine; these pastors know otherwise, and admit as much behind closed doors.
- There is a fear of appearing anti-Semitic
- The depth of the movement’s doctrinal heresies is not generally known
“Heresy” is another highly subjective term. One man’s heresy is another man’s truth. Just ask the entire Protestant movement. They’re heretics according the Catholics, and proud of it.
- There is within the church in general a reluctance to address false doctrine
Here we are with the “false doctrine” moniker again. See above.
- The movement usually hides their beliefs and presents itself as simply seeking to educate Christians concerning their Jewish heritage. As they become acclimated to the Jewish orientation the more aberrant doctrines are slowly introduced.
And now we get to the cultic conspiracy theories, ie “those rascally Torah keepers are infiltrating us to pick us off and drag us to hell one by one!” In other words, it’s okay for mainstream Christians to preach their doctrines, but when Torah believing Christians teach God’s Instructions from the Bible to their fellow believers, it’s a scheme of the Devil and the work of an insidious cult. The author also trumpets the common fallacy of “the Torah is Jewish”, which anyone who takes ten seconds to think critically about that statement knows is abjectly false.
The influence of this movement is working its way into our churches and our seminaries. The longer we refuse to address it directly and publicly the greater the damage will be to our brothers and sisters and to the core doctrines of our faith. If it is not the responsibility of the clergy to correct issues of doctrine, then whose responsibility is it?
I wish the Torah was influencing our seminaries! How amazing would that be? What’s ironic is that the author of cyshift.com is giving legitimacy to the very movement he purports to discredit. Every time someone rails against those who wish to obey ALL of God’s Word, they are recognizing us as a threat to their man-made doctrines and legitimizing the message, the same way the Pharisees did to Jesus. The Pharisees didn’t hate Jesus because He was wrong, they hated Him because He spoke the truth, and it shattered their doctrines and power structures. It is the same no matter where Truth is preached.
A Few Symptoms
Allow me to delineate some of their more common symptomatic doctrinal heresies:
- All Christians should adhere to a kosher diet
- The Sabbath can only be observed on Saturdays
- The Jewish festivals and holidays should still be observed today
First of all, God’s Holy Days and Feast Days are not “Jewish”; this is the “Torah is Jewish” fallacy cropping up again. God says multiple times in His Word “These are MY feasts!”. I’m going to believe Him over some guy on the internet. Second, according to Scripture, the Sabbath IS the seventh day, which is Saturday on our calendar. Finally, if the biggest “heresy” that this guy can find is the Biblical belief that eating clean foods and keeping the seventh day Sabbath is from God, then I will keep my heresy, thank you very much. The apostles were heretics too, according to this guy. Next.
The root of their symptomatic heresies is hermeneutic (having to do with the methodology used to interpret scripture) in nature. The Protestant Reformers used a grammatical-literal hermeneutic when interpreting scripture. In other words, it means what it says unless there is a significant reason to believe otherwise. This movement uses a grammatical-historical hermeneutic with a twist. Their underlying assumptions when approaching any scripture are:
- Whatever God has ever commanded of those who seek Him (i.e., the Jews, their ancestors, their descendents, and Christians) is still in effect today (including the Levitical law)
- Gentile followers of Christ were “grafted into” the Jews which they interpret to mean that Gentiles must assume Jewish customs if they really want to mature and please God
Based on those unquestionable assumptions, they then decide how they can best interpret a given scripture to support those beliefs
The grammatical-literal hermeneutic only gives you valid conclusions if it’s based on the foundation of absolute truth, which according to Scripture is the Torah (Deut. 13). If you have a dispensational/replacement theology foundation, you’re going to make all kinds of incorrect assumptions. I prefer using the grammatical-literal-historical hermeneutic, with God’s Instructions as the litmus test. Cyshift then goes on to criticize the fact that Torah folks have assumptions when interpreting Scripture, when in fact ALL Christians do this. His problem is simply that he doesn’t like the Torah, so therefore the people who use it as the litmus test for truth must be heretics.
The farther down this rabbit hole they go, the more bizarre their doctrines become. Many see the New Testament as inferior to the Old (or a conspiracy by the Catholic church). More still say that Paul’s teachings are contrary to Christ (since they have trouble with his obvious statements against their beliefs) and, therefore, reject his epistles as scripture. Some say that the only reason we aren’t still sacrificing animals and stoning people for their sins is because there is no Temple and no Sanhedrin. But when they are restored then these will resume. Others go so far as to eventually reject Jesus as the Messiah and simply say that He was just a Rabbi. The inevitable outcome of following this train of thought is to put people back into bondage to the Law.
Ah yes, the scaremongering begins in earnest. Very very few Torah folks actually reject Paul, and even fewer still reject Jesus as Messiah. The problem is not the Torah as cyshift likes to proclaim, but rather with their hearts. Plenty of mainstream Christians end up denying Jesus also, particularly college students, yet cyshift wants to blame God’s Torah for a heart problem that fallen men have. This is the kind of ignorance and scare tactics that fuels the fires of witch hunts and distracts from the doctrinal issues of Christianity at large. Scripture is also clear that the Law is not bondage, but freedom (Psalm 119:45). It appears cyshift has not read Psalm 119 very thoroughly.
We (as Gentile believers) were not grafted into the Law and Judaism but into the faith of Abraham which preceded the Law and Jewish customs (Romans 4, Romans 11:17-24, Galatians 3:15-18).
Straw man. Nobody teaches or believes that we are grafted into the man-made religion of Judaism. God’s Instructions are not Judaism; they are HIS WAYS.
No where in the Bible do we find Gentile believers being instructed to follow Levitical laws or Jewish customs. In fact, just the opposite (see my previous article). However, we do find several examples where Jewish Christians are reprimanded for trying to convince Gentile Christians to follow the Law (Acts 15, Galatians, Romans 14, Titus 1).
That’s because the Gentile believers weren’t Levites, and even Jesus Himself taught against several Jewish traditions! Once again, the “Torah is Jewish!” fallacy rears it’s ugly head. The author clearly cannot distinguish between man’s ways and God’s ways. That much was made evident at the outset, with his bizzare application of Titus 1.
Those in the Hebrew Roots cult have stumbled over the Great Stumbling Block (1 Corinthians 1:23,24, Galatians 5:11). This heresy goes all the way back to the first century but like a bad penny it keeps turning up every few centuries. Beware of those who come to you professing to educate you about your Hebrew roots in order to “make you a better Christian” or to “restore your Biblical Hebrew heritage.” Question them closely concerning these heresies to prevent them from being introduced into your churches and families (as they have been introduced into mine).
And so we finish off the article as we began, with ignorance, fear, and name calling. Here, those who love both Jesus AND His Torah are accused of not really loving Him at all, and they are regarded as “heretics” to be “closely questioned”. Spanish Inquisition, anyone?
That’s all we have time for today. I apologize that this cyshift article was so easy to refute, but that’s what happens when your doctrine is based on man’s teachings and emotion, rather than the firm foundation of God’s Instructions. Perhaps next time we will tackle a more amusing challenge. 😉
(You can read the original article in its entirety here: http://www.cyshift.com/hebrew_roots.htm)
Another excellent short teaching from 119 Ministries. Today we issue the challenge of Amos 3:7 to those who insist that parts of God’s Law that they didn’t like were abolished. If you can’t find a prophecy for it, God didn’t do it.
Welcome to the first part of a new series of articles we are launching, entitled “Answering the Critics”. From time to time, we will take a look at some of the most popular articles from around the web that are frequently cited as “proof” that those who teach and pursue God’s Instructions (Torah) are false teachers/in a cult/cult leaders/misguided/what have you. All material quoted is the property of the author, and is used under Fair Use. Links to the original article will be posted at the bottom of the page. Quotes will be in red.
Today we will be taking a look at an article from Joyfully Growing in Grace, aka JGIG. The article is entitled “12 Undeniable Truths that Drive Law ‘Keepers’ Crazy”. We are going to take a look at these “truths” and see if they indeed drive us crazy, or if they are in any way unanswerable as she implies. With that out of the way, let’s begin. The following is her opening statement:
Having debated with those in Law-keeping sects for the last couple of years, the following are some truths that I’ve found to be of particular frustration and annoyance to them as they try to convince me that those in Christ are mandated to ‘keep’ Torah:
First of all, nobody in Christ is “mandated” to do anything, “or else…”. Everyone has free will. You are free to obey or disobey any commandment you choose. The consequences are on your head. Secondly, to approach this topic from this perspective implies that those who teach God’s Instructions (Torah) are doing it in order to be saved, which is probably the greatest straw man facing those who desire to teach Torah to all nations as Jesus commanded (Matthew 26:18-20). Nothing could be further from the truth. Obedience to God is the result of one’s conversion, not the condition of it.
1. Yes, it is the NEW Covenant, not the RENEWED Covenant.
People have made good points for both sides on this, but I tend to agree with the author here. However, what we need to keep in mind is that all that is necessary for a contract/covenant to be considered “new” is for one word to be changed. The book of Hebrews tells us precisely what has changed from old to new in chapter 8; God found fault with the people,(vs. 8) specifically the human high priesthood, and turned the high priesthood over to Jesus, after the order of Melchizedek. This is why the new covenant is better than the old, because we now have a PERFECT high priest interceding for us in the heavenly tabernacle (Hebrews 8:1). There is no mention of all of Torah being taken off of God’s List of Very Important Things or somehow not being Truth any longer. That is a fabrication of men created by gross ignorance and failure to read the context of Hebrews. Cherry picking at its worst.
So far, I’m not being driven crazy. Moving on.
2. Paul’s letters, read as written, really do teach that the Body of Christ is no longer under the Law.
Yes, they do. My question to you is, what is your definition of “under the law”? If you think being “under the law” means “God expects you to obey His Instructions”, then you’re sadly mistaken, because God’s Instructions never went anywhere, and all Christians believe God has instructions to follow after getting saved. “Under the law” is a reference to having broken the Law and being under its PENALTY. Paul is telling us that because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we are no longer under the PENALTY of breaking the Law. Halleluyah and amen.
3. God is eternal, Torah is not. Torah is created, not eternal.
Here’s where we begin to have a dilemma with logic. If we assume that John 1:1 is true, and the Word of God was with Him in the beginning, and indeed WAS God, then JGIG has a problem on her hands. We know that the Torah is part of God’s Word; indeed, it is the foundation of absolute truth, for without it we do not know what sin is and how to avoid it. If the Word equals God, and God is eternal, then the Word must be eternal as well. Torah is part of the Word, therefore Torah is also eternal. There is no escaping the simple logic. A child could understand this, it’s that simple.
It is at this point where JGIG tries to play word games with the Greek word for “Word”, logos, in an attempt to get herself out of the logical nightmare she has created. Strongs defines logos as “a word uttered by a living voice, a conception or idea”. JGIG tries to take this a literally as possible by limiting John 1:1 to ONLY God’s spoken words, denying that His written words are the same thing as the spoken words, and therefore are not eternal. I’m sorry, but are you really trying to tell me that God’s spoken Word is somehow different or in opposition to His written Word? Are God’s conceptions and ideas pro-Torah one day and then anti-Sabbath and feast days the next? Hogwash! God is not double minded; He does not write down one thing and then say something entirely different with His mouth. This is nothing but wishful thinking born from a desire for JGIG to continue ignoring commandments that she doesn’t like. Logic certainly plays no part in this for her.
4. The catch-22 problem with the ‘Yeshua is the Living Torah’ doctrine: If Yeshua is the Living Torah, then the Law DID die. If the Law died, then it is no longer in effect.
The catch 22 problem with JGIG’s entire argument here is that Yeshua rose from the dead. If we take her extrapolation to its logical conclusion, the Law also rose from the dead, thus making it still in effect today. Game over.
Her issue with the “Living Torah” phrase is nonsensical at best. Nobody believes that God’s Law was literally walking around on two legs when they use this phrase, nor is it a “doctrine” that people must adhere to or be called a heretic; this is a total straw man argument. Rather, it is a metaphor used to illustrate the point that Yeshua was the living embodiment of His Father’s Instructions, obeyed them perfectly, and taught us to do the same. Also by logical extension, the Torah is part of Him, since He IS the Word of God in the flesh (John 1). We have already proven that you cannot parse out God’s written Word from His spoken Word. Attempting to do so only demonstrates the desperation and futility of the law abolishing paradigm.
Still not going crazy…
5. It was our SIN that was nailed to the Cross, not just man’s additions to or the curses of the Law.
This is 100% correct. No issues here. Next.
6. The Holy Spirit is perfectly capable of sanctifying the believer apart from observing Mosaic Covenant Law
“Mosaic Covenant Law” is JGIG’s pet phrase to describe the Torah. It is used to create a mental division in the reader’s mind and pit God’s Word against itself, with the subtle inference that the Torah was written for some dusty people in a desert somewhere and has nothing to do with modern day Christians. It would be interesting to see if she can provide Scriptures that state sanctification takes place without the Christian DOING something that God has commanded. “Sanctified” and “holy” are synonyms; we are called to be holy (set apart) from the world. This is not some mystical, esoteric process that takes place wholly internally; being holy is an ACTION. Physical deeds are required if one truly wishes to be set apart for God. You cannot separate the physical sanctification from the spiritual; they work hand in hand.
Interestingly enough, holiness is commanded in the Torah that JGIG insists is not for her. Anyone care to venture a guess as to where? How about Leviticus 11, smack dab in the middle of the dietary laws.
Leviticus 11:42Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination.
43Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.
44For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
45For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
There you have it. Holiness is connected to what we eat, according to God Almighty. Contrary to JGIG’s opinion, this is a physical action that is found in the Torah. I’m sorry, JGIG, but if God didn’t want us to connect holiness with obeying His Instructions, then why did He put the command to be holy right in the middle of the food laws? I’m convinced He did it to confound people like her.
7. Law is not law unless it is enforced.
That’s why the word “torah” means “instructions”, not “law”. God is the Judge, not us. To attempt to enforce His commandments on others while not living in Israel under His rule would be a violation of them in and of itself. This is yet another variation of the “Why don’t you stone your children?” fallacy. This is answered and put to rest here: http://q.b5z.net/i/u/10105283/f/FAQ_-_Are_We_to_Still_Observe_Punistments_for_Capital_Offenses_in_Gods_Law.pdf
8. The fruit of the Hebrew Roots/Messianic Judaism belief systems and related sects is not good.
This is purely subjective. JGIG has no possible way of knowing what the fruits of the hundreds of Torah-pursuant congregations are. Broadbrushing statements like this are the norm with her. Calling this a “truth” is an insult to thinking individuals everywhere. It is her opinion, and a very biased one at that. I could produce dozens of quotes and comments from mainstream Christians saying the most heinous things against Torah folks, completely unprovoked, and turn this statement back around on JGIG. I won’t, however, because that would be intellectually dishonest.
Still not going crazy.
9. Torah is not our access to God and His Character or His promises
Straw man. I have never once seen anyone make the argument that Torah is our access to God. Obeying Torah is our part of the relationship between us and God; notice I said relationship, not salvation. Salvation is free, but true relationship is a two way street. “If you love Me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15. Next.
10. The hermeneutic (a method or principle of interpretation) used by those teaching HRM/MJ doctrines is fluid.
Again, totally subjective opinion. Another opinion asserted as “truth” and sensationalized. For my part (and most of the teachers that I have heard), the primary hermeneutic that I use is that the “Old” Testament is the foundation of absolute truth, and nothing can contradict it (Deuteronomy 13). That’s about as non-fluid as you can get. This sends theologians and seminary students into a tizzy because they’ve spent so much time and money teaching themselves and others their dispensationalist nonsense.
11. Those in Law-keeping sects seek to make the simple complicated.
Quite the opposite actually. It is man-made doctrines from the “church fathers” and seminaries which complicate the Scriptures, not those folks who seek to return to God’s ways. Scripture is vastly simplified when you come to the realization that the Torah was never abolished/made so we can ignore it. Another “truth” dismissed.
12. Law ‘keepers’ cannot deal with contextual writings written to the Body of Christ, or their theology falls apart.
Once again, broadbrushing to the point of absurdity. JGIG does not consider the Old Testament to be written to the Body of Christ, so that is why she can make such outlandish statements and call them “truth”. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16). If all Scripture is from God and for training in righteousness, and Torah is Scripture, then Torah is from God and for training in righteousness. Again, a child can grasp this, but those who kick against the goads of God’s Instructions are blinded by their own selfish attitudes. If your “contextual writings” abolish or make void any of God’s Instructions, then it’s time to rethink your assumptions.
Mercifully, we have reached the end of the list. I trust none of you were driven crazy by any of these “truths”. 😉 Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope it has blessed you. There’s more to come.
(The original JGIG article can be found here: http://joyfullygrowingingrace.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/12-undeniable-truths-that-drive-law-keepers-crazy/)
Fresh from 119 Ministries, here is the long awaited part two of their series on Paul, the Pauline Paradox. This series takes a closer look at Paul, and sets out to reconcile Paul’s seemly being against God’s Torah with his very pro-Torah statements. Highly recommended!