BACK TO YOUR (HEBREW) ROOTS?

“A confused effort to live like Old Testament Jews and help Christians to appreciate Hebrew roots they do not actually possess.”

By Mike McGuire

For several years there have been movements encouraging Christians to get back to their roots, their Hebrew roots. Many movements, called Messianic movements, have led some Christians to celebrate Jewish feasts and to feel spiritually superior to other Christians who do not follow Jewish feasts. These movements are not new. Paul dealt with “Judaizing” in the first century. Many of the teachers believed that people had to become Jewish before they could become Christian.

“So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17 NKJV). Here Paul deals with the same idea of keeping feasts and observing sabbaths. Some believers felt superior to others and required them to observe festivals, new moon celebrations, and sabbaths.

Today some Christians worship on the Sabbath. They feel that they must do so because the Ten Commandants say to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. They feel that not having church on Saturday is a violation of that commandment. Many Christians worship on Sundays in honor of Christ’s resurrection on the first day of the week. Christians followed this tradition in the New Testament. Jesus appeared after his resurrection on the first day of the week as the apostles gathered together (John 20:19). Christians gathered together on the first day of the week to break bread and Paul preached (Acts 20:7). Paul also asked the Corinthians to take up an offering for the church in Jerusalem on the first day of the week (1 Corinthians 16:2). No commandment was ever given for a day to esteem as holy among the Christians.

Paul also wrote in Romans 14:5, “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.” Paul never indicated that one day to worship was better than another. He said that each person should be convinced in his own mind. If you and your congregation worship on Sunday, Paul said that it was all right. Those who worship on Saturday should not try to force others to worship then. Those who worship on Sunday should not seek to force others to do so. Whichever day you chose, you do it unto the Lord (Romans 14:6).

Besides Sabbath worship, author Todd Friel lists nine additional things that characterize Messianic movements:

  1. Celebrating Old Testament festivals
  2. Obeying select Old Testament laws
  3. Circumcision upon conversion
  4. Keeping kosher or partially kosher
  5. Elevating unbiblical texts like the Mishnah to the level of Scripture
  6. Calling Jesus by his Hebrew name, Yeshua
  7. Never spelling G-d
  8. Women wearing long skirts and head coverings
  9. Men wearing untrimmed beards

(Friel, Todd, Judge Not, p. 163, 164)

Friel calls this a confused effort to live like Old Testament Jews and help Christians to appreciate Hebrew roots they do not actually possess (p. 164). The New Testament never even hints that Christians should follow Old Testament Laws or extra-biblical teachings. The danger is that we cannot select which laws to obey. A Christian who tries to follow certain laws becomes obligated to keep all of them. This is what Paul meant by falling from grace, not losing one’s salvation, but trying to earn salvation by keeping the law (Galatians 5:2-6). Paul wrote: “If righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:21).

James echoed the same message: “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it (2:10). If we try to keep the law, we must keep all of it, not just certain parts, like the festivals or Sabbath attendance. If we fail in one part, we become guilty of breaking it all. We cannot keep the Law regarding sacrifices because there is no Temple and no altar. If we try to follow the Law, we will fail at the point of the sacrifices.

The Church dealt with this issue at the Council of Jerusalem as recorded in Acts 15. There the Judaizers wanted to make the Gentile Christians follow Jewish practices to become followers of Christ. The Church and the Apostles debated the issue. They finally arrived at the conclusion that they would not “test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?” (15:10).

Can we Christians learn from studying the festivals? Yes. Can we learn from studying the Laws? Yes. Are we better off if we follow them? Resoundingly no. These things were shadows that led us to Christ, who is the substance. Why do we need to go back to the shadows when we have the light? The old covenant is obsolete (Hebrews 8:13)

Learn more about the new covenant at Crescent Park Baptist Church, Odessa, Texas. Mike McGuire is the pastor. You can leave comments at www.mikemcguireministries.com Also available in Hard copy. Look for Embracing Faith on amazon.com.

THE FALLACY OF ANALOGY

 

Arguing from Analogy Rather Than Reasoning from Scripture

By Mike McGuire

Many false teachings arise from using analogies to derive doctrine rather than scripture. Analogies can illustrate or enlighten a teaching, but when the Bible clearly teaches a different message, we must follow the Bible.

An analogy is simply an inference that because two known things are alike in some ways, they must be alike in other ways. Analogies can help; they can explain or illustrate, but they can also distort clear teaching of Scripture. When analogies fail, they must give way to the authority of Scripture.

Cults often use false analogies to promote false teachings contrary to the Bible. One recent example is the “God the Mother” cult. They are a growing religion with between 2-3 million followers focusing on rich college students. To be saved, one must believe in “God the Mother.” This “mother” is a seventy-something Korean woman.

Their rationale is that since the beginning of Christianity, we have been taught to pray to God the Father, and we are his children. So, their rationale continues, we cannot be children on earth without both a mother and a father. If that is true, and we have a heavenly father, then we must also have a heavenly mother. That is how the analogy goes. The Bible does not support this doctrine.

For more information, click here. In the description below that video is a link to the direct website about the “God the Mother” teaching. You can verify my assertions there.

Here is another take on it all.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses use another false analogy to identify Jesus Christ. Rather than using the scriptures accurately, they take bits and pieces of scripture to create a doctrine. I call this “Frankenstein Theology.” In the novel, Dr. Frankenstein took bits and pieces of recently deceased cadavers and knit them together into a body that became known as “Frankenstein’s Monster.”

Let’s examine their teaching. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Their official name) denies the deity of both Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Their deity is a tenet of Orthodox Christian belief. To make the Watchtower’s case, they rely on analogy and non-logical thinking.

Quoting from their book Reasoning from the Scriptures: “Is Jesus Christ the same person as Michael the archangel? … Michael means ‘Who is like God?’ The name evidently designates Michael as the one who takes the lead in upholding Jehovah’s sovereignty and destroying God’s enemies.

“At 1 Thessalonians 4:16 (RS), the command of Jesus Christ for the resurrection to begin is described as ‘the archangel’s call,’ and Jude 9 says that the archangel is Michael. Would it be appropriate to liken Jesus’ commanding call to that of someone lesser in authority? Reasonably, then, the archangel Michael is Jesus Christ” (page 218). They leave out the part about the trumpet. Is Jesus Christ a trumpet?

Can you spot the false analogy here? This faulty reasoning causes persons lacking formal training to fail to spot this error. This is a logical non sequitur, that is, it does not logically follow their rationale. In those days a forerunner preceded an official to make an announcement saying, “Hear ye! Hear ye!” That preceded a formal proclamation. The official did not make that announcement; a subordinate did. The same here. The subordinate, Michael the Archangel, shouts the command preceding the coming of Christ. Christ is not making the announcement. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are in error. Their logic similarly fails regarding the deity of the Holy Spirit.

A final false analogy is that of Judaizing legalism, saying that Christians must follow a Jewish lifestyle to be true Christians. I recently heard this analogy: When you are adopted into a family, you adopt their customs as well. Since we have been adopted in God’s family (they say the Jews), we must adopt their customs. Therefore, Christians must obey all the Old Testament rules and regulations.

A detailed reading of the book of Galatians will refute the heresy of this doctrine. It is a different gospel that the apostle Paul warned about in Galatians 1:8. Adding anything to Christianity is both heresy and deceptive teaching. Reading from Acts 10 through 15, you will see that Gentiles were never obligated to follow Jewish customs, not even the Sabbath.

Whenever someone tries to argue a point from analogies, remember that analogies are illustrations at best. Draw your doctrine from a close study of Scripture, not simply analogies.