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Hebrew Roots Movement

Posted by Matt Postiff February 14, 2021 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Theology  Bible Texts 

I taught some recently about the Hebrew Roots Movement--what it is, and why we do not believe it. The following messages were delivered in December of 2020: December 2 December 6 December 13

I received a couple of negative comments on the message. Here is the first:

Moses didn't ever make up his own law. Who's finger do you think wrote the 10 commandments?

I replied:

Hello Mike, the statement and question you write in your comment are not a point of difference between us. That is, we never said or even implied that Moses made up his own law. It was obviously the Law of God; it is called the Mosaic Law for short because God gave it through Moses. And, of course God wrote the tablets (twice--Deut. 9:10/10:2 and Exodus 31:18/34:1). But Moses wrote them again in the manuscripts of Exodus and Deuteronomy which have passed down to us through preservation and translation.

Now, perhaps your question is meant to suggest that GOD wrote the Law, therefore it is eternally binding. That is, it is not man's law, but God's law, and therefore must be followed by all men of all ethnicities at all times. We differ with you very firmly if that is your point. Illustrations: Have you had a son and had him circumcised? Did you do it on the eighth day? If not, you broke the Law of God (Lev. 12:3)--if you believe that God has made it still binding, even upon Gentiles. And if you broke the law in one point, you have broken all of it. The Apostle Paul commanded the Gentiles in Colosse that they were not to accept a man's judgment against them if they did not observe days such as Sabbath, and months, and other sorts of external religious rites. Those rites do nothing to restrain the appetites of the sinful nature of man (Col. 2:16-23). The book of Galatians is clear, as is Acts 15, that circumcision is not necessary for Gentiles to practice. Only if you believe that God's law is like the Law of the Medes and Persians (which cannot be revoked, book of Daniel), could you believe that once God sets an instruction in place that He can never change it again. He is the boss, and can change the terms and conditions whenever He pleases. A great example is found in Ezekiel 40-48 where the temple and its operation have quite a number of differences compared to that given under Moses.

Hope that is helpful. If not, please try to formulate your follow-up question in a way that is a bit more clear, and less adversarial sounding. Thanks, and may God bless you with a clear understanding of His Word!

The writer responded:

OK, brother, at about 10:50, you begin to say that 1 John is not speaking about the law of Moses, but about the "law of Christ" and your own words, "the law of God." It is manipulative. (I don't say you were intentionally trying to mislead). Over time, a little twisting of words and phrases will tend to establish one's viewpoint, but it can be misleading. We can discuss more over email if you prefer.

And I reply again:

Hello again Mike, Thank you for recognizing there is no intent to mislead here. In using the phrase "Law of Christ," I am following the apostle Paul in Galatians 6:2 and 1 Cor. 9:21. I understand this law to be precisely the same as the law of liberty in James 1:25 and 2:12. It is the code given by Christ through His teaching and the writings of His apostles (the New Testament). It is summarized by the law of love for God and neighbor. Indeed, it looks very similar to the Law given through Moses because it comes from the same God. But it is different--circumcision is not required; Sabbath observance is not required; kosher diet is not required; observance of the three major Jewish holidays is not required; animal sacrifice is not required. All these things are abundantly clear in New Testament teaching.

I would offer this rebuttal to the HRM viewpoint: The words I used were not twisting or manipulating the text of Scripture. Rather, something has become twisted in the teaching of the Hebrew Roots Movement. It appears to be going back to something substantially similar to the Galatian error that Paul wrote so strongly against.

There is a certain romantic idea of going back to the early church, but the church had a lot of problems as evidenced in Paul's letters and in the book of Acts. It was not the pristine thing that we might like it to be. Furthermore, we have the benefit of completed written revelation which in the first decades of the church, the believers did not. Finally, in those early years, there was a lot of going back and forth on the Jew/Gentile issue. Acts 15 made clear that the church is not primarily Jewish in flavor. Of course it arises from the Jewish faith in the Old Testament; but it includes the Gentiles as Gentiles.

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