Hebrew Roots-Core Beliefs and Ideology

Core Beliefs, and Ideology

When I encounter people of the Hebrew Roots Movement, I find that they are constantly in damage control mode. As I’ve stated before, I believe the HRM began under contrived ideology, not revealed theology and many of its claims appear to have been made under the nose of what it thought was a sleeping or dying Church. Well, those of the HRM have quickly found out that this has not been the case; not only because there are modern scholars who simply disagree with their position, but because the evangelical church has already addressed these issues long, long ago. It’s possible the HRM was convinced that because the majority of evangelical churches do not observe Saturday Sabbath, nor study Hebrew, therefore we must somehow be Biblically illiterate. There is almost no issue that hasn’t been addressed and recorded by Bible scholars and systematic theologians which deal with HRM beliefs even prior to their inception. Along with Spurgeon, Wesley, F.B Meyer, James McGregor, Moody, Murray and countless others, what I believe has gone unrivaled to this day, when it comes to “Faith and Works”, or “Law and Grace”, are the works and theology of Charles Finney, Oswald Chambers, and Watchman Nee. I know there are disputes about these authors, but my point is that the HRM is nothing new under the Sun, and my experience with the HRM, reveals that there is a great deal of frustration among them over the fact that their ideology has been challenged.

The HRM seems to be ever evolving, and after you see what I know to be their beliefs, there’s no question as to why many are in constant damage control mode, and easily frustrated.

The beliefs listed below may seem odd at first, but I have compiled them from a street level point of view. Most of these are not written down somewhere in a church handbook or statement of beliefs page. They are however, exactly what will rise to surface during any debate and reveal that these are the core positions in which the HRM operates.

Core beliefs of HRM:

1) Saturday as the only true and Biblical Sabbath recognized by God or Jesus Christ.

2) The literal written Law of Moses is still in affect as a covenant and supreme guide and standard of which all who believe in the God of the Bible are obligated to obey, follow and draw from as their distinction from unbelievers.

3) Hebrew is the only language by which one can interpret the true meanings or implications of God’s Word.

4) Since we are grafted into Israel according to Romans 11, we are therefore obligated to practice and assimilate with the Biblical standards of ancient Israel.

5) Observance of Biblical Feasts, especially since they are contained in the Law.

Note: I do not mention Jesus Christ and Salvation by grace through faith as a core belief because, although they affirm these things, they do not hold to the view that all things are summed up in Christ, nor is there any mention of the Gospel apart from works. I have never come across a full blown explanation of the Gospel message from any in the HRM, without the addition and mentioning of laws and obligations.

-Lists of beliefs that are differed or undecided upon within the HRM:

1)The whole Law of Moses is still in affect, or only the Decalogue/ 10 commandments is in affect.

2)Should the Temple be rebuilt in Israel, all believers would be obligated to participate with it, in exact accordance to the Old Testament.

3)The penalties and legal proceedings of the Law of Moses should still be in affect and employed by every Christian/Bible based society or government.

4)The advent of Jesus Christ made no alterations to the Law and our obligations to it.

5) The advent of Jesus Christ provided nothing to the spiritual condition of man that wasn’t already available.

6) The advent of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the Cross did/didn’t abolished animal sacrifices.

7)The advent of Jesus Christ did not provide for any different manifestation of the Holy Spirit that wasn’t already available.

8)On what Jesus meant when He said He came to fulfill the Law.

9)The Deity of Christ. Some believe He was only a man appointed as Messiah, while others believe He was both Messiah and God in the flesh. But almost all, universally reject the Trinity.

10)Jesus did/didn’t establish a new covenant.

11)We are/aren’t in the New Covenant.

12) Observing all the Biblical Feasts/Feast days.

13)The New Testament is/isn’t God-breathed scripture.

-Common ideologies of the HRM

1)Nothing has changed with Jesus Christ, therefore our identity with ancient Israel is the only Biblical standard for living.

2)When Jesus returns, He will set up or reinstate life under the Law of Moses, therefore we must prepare for that by living under the Law of Moses now.

3)Since we are to live under the Law of Moses, and the 10 commandments were written in Hebrew(supposedly), the study of Hebrew is the only true way of interpreting them.

-Catch phrases commonly used (in one way or another).

1)The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to help us live according to the Law and not according to the Spirit as a self-sufficient form of righteousness.

2)Jesus is the Torah(Law).

3)We are supposed to keep the Law because Jesus is the Torah, and He said, “If you love Me, you will keep My
commandments.”

4) Since the Bible says that sin is transgression of the Law, and there is still sin, we must still be under the Law.

5) Faith has always existed according to Hebrews chapter 11, therefore there is no such things as righteousness through the Law, it was always by faith.

6) Faith has always existed according to Hebrews chapter 11, therefore salvation by grace through faith has always existed. It is not exclusive to the New Testament.

7) Jesus only/simply removed the penalty of the Law but not the Law itself.

8) We are supposed to keep the Torah because Jesus kept the Torah and He is our example.

These points above comprise the bulk of the HRM doctrines, or lack thereof. All of these issues, I will subsequently address either directly or indirectly throughout this blog. The theology in each article will confront at least one if not more of the points listed above, but I fully plan on addressing and confronting every point that is listed at some time or possibly dedicating one whole article for that purpose.

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10 thoughts on “Hebrew Roots-Core Beliefs and Ideology

  1. Are you sure HRM folk reject the concept of the Trinity? I don’t mean the actual word where people blather on about Constantine and the Roman Catholic Church, but rather rejecting the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one. If so, I’ve never noticed that before.

    1. As far as I know they reject the trinity, but they base alot of that as you said, on Constantine and Catholicism. When I have debated them, they claim that the verses about the trinity were changed by the Catholic church from their original text. Many believe that Jesus is Divine but not co-equal to the Father.

    1. First off, I have to apologize because your comment a few weeks ago did not make it on here but I was able to get it posted but my reply didn’t make it. Im still having a few issues with the commenting and replies through email, so if I dont respond it is probably due to the system.
      It took a long time to catalog their beliefs because in a sense there aren’t many definite theological points to this movement other than keeping the Law. Theology doesn’t save anyone, but of all the theology books written since the time of Christ, and especially since the protestant reformation, I would at least expect them to have some sort of concise and systematic beliefs even if we disagreed with them. There are many that have come out of evangelical churches with some background in theology but it seems they have thrown much of it away, which is probably due to the fact that since the gospels and epistles were written in Greek, this doesn’t fit some of the Hebrew narratives, therefore they have a slight degree of contempt or suspicion about them.

      1. I believe you are spot on here. During the short time I have observed these beliefs first-hand, the only consistent theme I have seen is #1 on your list, the Sabbath. You could probably have it as #1 with nos. 2, 3, 4, 5 blank above the others the way the Sabbath is regarded.

        In the Rives’ comments section, just about any other notions about God or the Bible are tolerated as long as one first indicates that they “rest” correctly. Every Saturday like clockwork the “shabat shaloms” appear, and everyone high-fives each other for their obedience. Different people post what I consider to be very esoteric interpretations, and these are generally not questioned if the source claims to be a Sabbath keeper. Even Mormonism is seems to be OK if you obey this law.

        While I certainly say they are free do observe as they please on Saturday, they are extremely intolerant of anyone who doesn’t obey to their satisfaction. This theory that Isaiah 24 is directed toward “New Testament folks” is an extreme example.

  2. One aspect that strikes me is the near-universal hatred of Catholics, and to a lesser extent, Protestants. They are treated as the enemy who must be vanquished. The origin of this isn’t hard to figure out, it is “dueling-lists”, i.e. the laws that are promulgated as being required. The most obvious of these is the Saturday-Sunday war. This issue is so topmost that the HR will tolerate any teaching, no matter how esoteric or extra-biblical, if the proponent first declares themselves to be a Saturday Sabbath keeper. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

    On the HR side, there is very little love or concern expressed for their fellow humans, other than “obey or die!”, which is nothing but religious pride showing itself. Strict Catholics can also be just as hard-nosed, which just fuels the fire.

    As Paul explained, the law (any law) can do nothing to restrain sin, but in fact does just the opposite by stirring up sin. Those unable to turn loose of the law cannot see that by canceling the written code, He has made it possible to be at peace with God.

    1. I agree. The HR also has this false notion of “authenticity”, and since the Catholic church has changed some specifics, the HR believes that opposition to the Catholics guarantees authenticity. I call it ‘anti-doctrine- doctrine’, meaning that, more of their beliefs seem to be based on being opposed to someone else’s beliefs. This is why they make such a struggle to propose the idea that the early church was more pure or more authentic. Jesus said “blessed are the pure in heart”. The only authentic religion is when someone seeks to be close to God through Jesus Christ and His claims. The idea that being like the early church has more authenticity, is the same idea that the Pharisees had when they said, “We have Abraham as our father”. No one is pure in heart by trying to assimilate with history. Yes, there is false doctrine to watch out for, and there are many things to be learned from those who have gone before us, but John the Baptist said, “And do not think to say to yourselves ‘we have Abraham as our father’, for I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.” I do believe that if a person claims to keep Saturday Sabbath, many in the HRM will roll out the red carpet for them, no questions asked. I know not everyone is like this but those who aren’t are like trying to find a needle in haystack.

      1. “Anti-doctrine-doctrine” is loaded with meaning, especially with the way they assume the people they “debate” are Catholics. This also goes to the “paganism” canard, which then goes to a core tenant not on your list — The Name. Unable/unwilling to accept or understand the concept of transliteration, they use the auditory similarity of ‘Zeus’ and ‘Jesus’ as evidence of paganism. But this is a corollary of Core #3 above, which is their law that only Hebrew names must be used. From what I’ve seen, some take this to the point that they deny The Son, as you note.

        When I have tried to explain how the tetragrammaton are four consonants that cannot be pronounced, so that words like “Yahweh” are really man-made and outside of reality, they tend to take it as a personal attack.

        This then goes to the common thread that the HRM shares with Mormonism, Islam, SDA (I know, almost synonymous), and even the mainstream Restorationist Movement of the early American frontier, that they are restoring the true worship that was lost, hidden, etc.

  3. Sir, thanks for the URL for this site! I look forward to combing through this H.R. stuff. Haha, concerning disagreements over what you’ve written here, I (hopefully) learned a hard lesson about pride/sarcasm and love this week. Therefore, if I do see something I disagree with I will do my best to speak with love and as-to a brother; if you’ve got a spare moment in your prayers, please mention me because I learned that I have so little love. Anyway, thanks again for the address, I’ll be reading through your site here in the coming weeks.

    1. Hi Bill,
      Thanks for checking out this site. I hope it will be helpful. As I tell other people, these are very dark waters that we are wading into with these debates concerning the HRM so your alarm and reaction to these issues are something that we have all dealt with at some point as well. It’s a real challenge for anyone but God will help us. My articles are a bit different than many other sites that confront the HRM because I try to go around some of surface arguments such as pork or Sabbaths. You might find my articles to be a little vague, but that is intentional because my goal is to show that we don’t believe what we believe, and feel what we feel simply based on sentiments. I prove it. Many times we can become easily offended by the HRM because they attack some of the areas of our beliefs that we have taken for granted and therefore have a lot of difficulty defending or spelling out. My articles should give a voice to, and reinforce those fundamental principles we know to be true, yet sometimes are difficult to explain. I hope my articles build up the confidence of fellow christians on some of the bedrock doctrines and psychology of the Bible so that our reactions can be more gracious and representative of love. I present some very gritty theology and psychology here and Im aware of that so don’t feel reluctant to disagree because I expect that. I had to go all the way to the root of things to confront this HR stuff so I understand that there will be disagreements even with those who side with me concerning the HRM.

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