Saturday, February 3, 2018

Shadows of the Son

There are dangerous ministries and false teachers today who are proclaiming a return to "Hebraic Christianity" as the true way of obedience to God. This return includes wearing tassels on your clothes, celebrating the Jewish feasts, not eating "unclean" meats, keeping the 7th-day Sabbath, only referring to Jesus and God by Their Hebrew Names, requiring circumcision, and more, to the point where I have actually seen stated that nothing of the old covenant has been changed or removed.
This is a destructive and divisive heresy, and we must be prepared to respond to it Scripturally. One might think such a response would be easy, but a short perusal of their voluminous teachings will show them to be confusing, ambiguous, and convincing. 
I know and love people who follow these teachings; I do not know the heart of these teachers; all I know is that the doctrines are enticing and destructive, and we must beware. 
In Christ, the Old Covenant is obsolete and has disappeared (Heb. 8:13). This does not mean that the Old Testament is no longer authoritative, but it means that everything having to do with the temple (9:1-9), the ceremonial laws- specifically washings and diet- (9:10-12), the sacrificial system (10:8-10) which by implication includes the feasts and all Jerusalem- and temple-specific commands- all of these are "taken away". 
On the question of the Sabbath there is Christian liberty as demanded by Romans 14. 
A disturbing pattern with these movements involves a few elements: 
- divisiveness (Titus 1:11)
- focus on "disputes about the law" rather than the weightier matters of Christianity, distracting from the Messiah Himself (Titus 3:9)
- a cult-like perception of being the true Christianity, rather than a humble appreciation for denominational differences
- a pursuit of Jew-likeness, rather than Christ-likeness (not stated, but taught in effect)
- rejection of church history and the authority of church elders, and failure to be in fellowship with other believers (1 Pet. 5, Heb. 10:25)
- lengthy and long-winded twistings of Scripture to remove Its clear meaning and replace it with one which fits an old-covenant narrative
-an explicit or implicit rejection of Christian liberty in any of these areas (Rom. 14)
"But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, "If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?""