Me: There is nothing inherently wrong with challenging “orthodox” Christian beliefs, as long as the conclusions we reach come from the very Word of God itself. In fact, we are commanded to “test everything” (I Thessalonians 5:21). However, I believe that anyone with a firm grasp of the Hebrew language will see the deity of Jesus Christ everywhere they look. They will also see evidence of the Holy Spirit.
AiG: “Fundamentally, the HRM teaches that many modern Christian beliefs and practices were introduced to the church by pagan Greeks. This is why they generally do not like to be identified as Christians. Instead, they believe that they need to recover the first century Hebrew roots of Christianity.”
It’s true that many modern Christian beliefs and practices were introduced to the church by pagans. Why hide it or ignore it? Why not admit it if it is true? I’m not sure this is the only reason that many Torah-observant believers don’t like to be identified as Christians, however. I myself know that I am a Christian. If Christian means “Christ-like,” and if Christ obeyed the Torah, and if I am following that example as the Bible says we ought, then I am quite literally a Christian: “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (I John 2:6). I think the reason why many don’t wish to be called Christian is that they don’t wish to be identified with the beliefs that spring to mind when the word “Christian” comes up. Nearly everyone believes they know what Christianity means already. Because Torah-observant believers do not fit into that box, many do not call themselves Christians. But they are still Christians in the literal sense of the word, and they know that they are.
Quoted by AiG: “It is a very modern movement that insists that we must resurrect first-century Judaism (our Jewish Roots) and the milieu and lifestyle of first-century Jews and impose them on both Jewish and non-Jewish believers. This is not just an academic study to better understand Scripture and its setting but is rather a movement of restoration that claims that the church has moved off its Jewish foundation and must return to a more Jewish way of life to be authentic.”
Me: First of all, is Torah-observance very modern, or is it very ancient? The writer uses the phrase “very modern” to make it seem almost silly to the reader. He knows that if the movement is very modern, it can’t possibly be correct. Why? Because God doesn’t change. However, Torah-observance is the oldest religion that worships the Creator of the universe. It’s all God ever asked of His people. All throughout the Torah, He says obey my commandments. The poetry books speak of the righteousness of His Law. The prophets continually call the people to repent and turn back to His Law. Jesus obeyed the commandments as the perfect man and as our example. Paul kept the Law himself (Acts 21:17-26) and says that we establish the Law (Romans 3:31). And our God doesn’t change. This is what mainstream Christianity is completely missing. Keeping the Law doesn’t save us (He saves us in spite of our sin), but it does please the Law-Giver when we obey it.
Secondly, we do not “impose [Judaism]” on either Jewish or non-Jewish believers. He saves us in spite of our sin, not because of our ability to keep the Law. (We would all be doomed in that case.) Christ’s blood pays for the sins of all who believe on Him, even if we are prone to misinterpreting what He wants from us.
Thirdly, the church has definitely moved off its foundation. However, I wouldn’t say they must return to a more Jewish way of life to be authentic. I’d say they need to return to Torah-observance to be obedient. God’s way and the Jewish way can be as different as night and day. Read anything that Jesus had to say to the Pharisees to understand what I’m talking about.
AiG: “Chief among these misunderstandings is the notion that ‘the law’ was intended to be binding on all people throughout history.”
Me: If the Law is not binding on all people, then those who are not under it do not need a savior to save them from their “sins.” If there is no Law, then there is no sin.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” Isaiah 53:6. (The definition of iniquity is “lawlessness.”)
“…sin is the transgression of the Law” (I John 3:4).
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
But here’s the entire chapter of Romans 3, to get a clearer picture:
What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?
2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?
4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
5 But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)
6 God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?
7 For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?
8 And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.
9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:
17 And the way of peace have they not known:
18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.