Redeemed or Forgiven?
Part 1 of 8
This article, -Redeemed or Forgiven?- is spread out over a series of articles which you may find by clicking on the menu.
This Part 1 of 8 will cover the preface of these articles and the position of the HRM.
PREFACE AND INTRODUCTION TO
REDEEMED OR FORGIVEN?-
As I have studied this whole subject of the Hebrew Roots Movement, I believe I have seen just about every attempt to debunk the HRM. I have used many of the standard arguments at one point or another and they all have their validity and truth, but many of them are lacking in a certain fundamental effectiveness. Most arguments against the HRM are built around doctrines and persuasions of grace in one form or another. Most of these arguments include the following points:
2)Salvation and justification by grace, not works.
3)Eternal security (in multiple variations).
4)Understanding grace and election.
6)Abolition of the Law
7)Understand the different covenants.
8)New covenant vs. Old covenant.
The problem with many of these arguments is that many of them aren’t even accepted to the same degree among mainstream evangelicals, not to mention the HRM. Many of these arguments also attempt to confront the HRM on the basis of attitudes, motives and perceptions, and using these for a basis, really amounts to nothing more than presumption and speculation about those in the HRM.
Using theology, such as the explanation of covenants, is a much better, and less offensive type of argument but I have seen this easily dismissed as well. Understanding the covenants is a key component when confronting the HRM, but it usually fails to address all the specifics about obedience and the obligations of a believer.
I’m not discrediting these arguments, but I have simply seen most of them easily rejected. Many Christians fail to realize that people in the HRM live in a very literal world that deals with commands about the physical body and days and months and words and dialects and translations. They’re not looking for truth in the areas of attitudes, motives, perceptions and speculative theology, (no matter how true they may be). Many Christians also fail to realize that the Apostle Paul’s theology is logistic and mechanical in nature. Paul presents a great deal of cause-and-effect theology that concludes with philosophy and perspective, but he doesn’t begin his theology on the basis of philosophy. Romans 5,6,7, and 8 are sequential and chronological for the purposes of proving the logistics and mechanics of the gospel. Paul begins the book of Romans with a worldview that he narrows down the logistics of the gospel in chapter 8, but many Christians fail to summarize this chronology of Romans into a basic argument against the HRM. Most Christians usually rely on their personal and philosophical summary of these chapters, but when confronting the HRM, it cannot be done along these lines. It must be done along the lines of the literal and logistical. I hope to present an argument more along these lines in the following articles.
As a disclaimer, I want to say that in this article, I will be focusing on a certain evangelical doctrine that not everyone may agree with in it’s entirety. I do not not agree with all of it in the manner that some view it either, but this doctrine is going to be our point of reference for this article and I would encourage anyone reading, to be willing to overlook some minor differences about it in order to see the larger point that I am trying to make.
The purpose of this article is to cover one particular doctrine or theology that addresses what I believe is the bulk of the HRM beliefs and why they believe what they believe. What we will be looking at is the doctrine of original sin and not so much the doctrine itself, but the actual scriptures that this doctrine is built upon and many others as well.
Due to the fact that that there are different interpretations and opinions concerning original sin, I am not going to try and define this subject along any specific line or denominational slant. However, the basis of it is not optional and I believe that it is essential to understanding the Redemption.
We are going to deal with and break down the whole issue of original sin and the Redemption as it applies to confronting the Hebrew Roots Movement and especially where it applies to these topics:
1) The fall in the garden
2)God’s dealings with Abraham
3)Moses and the Law
4)The Cross of Christ
5)Salvation by faith
6)The Holy Spirit
From the standpoint of original sin and the Redemption, we will be exploring the “Bigger Picture” which is a component that seems to be missing entirely within the Hebrew Roots Movement. The HRM would like to convince the Christian world that they have the bigger picture that comes through the exploration of Hebrew or Jewish roots, but this is not really expressed anywhere in the Bible. The bigger picture is contained and summed up in God’s plan of redemption for mankind.
I fully intend to make these articles as long and drawn out as I possibly can because I believe this is the one single issue that divides, and should divide, the Hebrew Roots Movement from Christian theology and practice.
When I began this blog, I stated that I wanted to avoid the surface arguments and controversies about the Law and go deeper by laying a foundation of proven theology in order to confront the HRM.
The reason or reasons that I say that is because I don’t have the right to trespass into someone’s personal walk with the Lord and diminish what they feel is imperative or beneficial. I do not wish to stop anyone in the HRM from doing what they do, but I am here to challenge how they define and determine what everyone else should do. I really don’t care what people believe or practice, but what I do care about is how they promote and defend their beliefs and practices. We all believe and practice certain things that may not be considered mandatory or expedient for someone else, but if we are going to promote and enforce a certain belief or practice upon someone else, then the whole matter becomes subject to scrutiny and debate, and it should.
This is why I have resorted to theology or doctrine in order to establish the large and more broad concepts of the Bible as a framework whereby we can compare or contrast it to the HRM position, or any position of any one else for that matter. When a person does not consider the broad and basic theology, outlines or philosophy of scripture, there is a greater chance for obsessing and adhering to very singular and limited aspects of scripture that do not take the rest of scripture into account.
The whole purpose of theology is not to establish one single formula or system, but to establish perspective, scope, direction, intention, boundaries, balance and priority so that we may properly judge and determine the more finite and specific aspects of scripture.
In almost every other area of doctrine or theology, I would like to consider myself an eternal optimist that hopes to find some thread of unity and cohesion among believers, but on this topic, I make no apologies if a division is created. I can’t really apologize in anyway because the issues that we are going to deal with are the foundational aspects of the Redemption of Jesus Christ. I try to give a wide margin and consideration for different beliefs, but on this one, there is very little room for fluctuation.
The Cross and Redemption of Jesus Christ carries with it some very fundamental logistics and mechanics in regards to how sin is dealt with. Many Christians, and especially the HRM, do not consider the logistics of the Cross, but only the general benefits such as forgiveness and salvation. I hope that you will stay with this series of articles entitled “Redeemed or Forgiven?” to understand the logistics and mechanics of the Cross in order to see that there is much more to the debates between Christianity and the HRM.
THE HRM POSITION-
In order to grasp how the Hebrew Roots Movement is in opposition to the Redemption of Jesus Christ and the concept of original sin we have to get a clear understanding of the HRM position and where it ultimately leads.
This section is going to be very difficult to understand if you are not familiar with the HRM and how they argue their positions so I hope you take the time to read over this as much as possible in order to get an idea of what I am presenting.
As we look into the HRM position or positions, please understand that I know good and well that not everyone in the HRM is of the same mindset, belief or intention. This is true of any denomination or movement, but I have done my homework on this so this isn’t some straw man argument or presumptuous blanket statement that I am trying to make out of carelessness and spite. I don’t have any axe to grind or denominational and doctrinal loyalty that I am trying to defend.
If my articles seem to be inert, indirect or even ineffective in confronting some of the hard line arguments of the HRM, that’s because they should be.
While the HRM is busy arguing their hard line positions of the Sabbath day, Feasts and the Law; I am busy building fences. Im pretty confident that I can hang with all the debates about the Sabbath, Catholicism, Early Christianity and the Law, but that is not my objective.
My objective is to put everything into the context and perspective of the Redemption of Jesus Christ. I am building fences in order to bring everything within the confines and scope of the Redemption in the same manner that Paul said:
“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2)
As Christianity has let its guard down, the HRM has taken the gospel and broken down the fences and confines of the Redemption in order to make the gospel according to Moses and not Jesus Christ. It is my objective to repair these confines and parameters.
THE HRM DOCTRINAL AMBIGUITY-
It has become completely obvious that if there was one single point or doctrine that we can put our finger on that reveals the error of the entire premise of the Hebrew Roots Movement; It would be the concept of original sin and the sinful nature inherited by the transgression of Adam.
When you summarize or boil down all of the HRM positions into one, it becomes very clear, where and why the HRM is contrary to Christianity. In Christianity, original sin and/or the transgression of Adam presents us with a context of what the Redemption is all about and what we are redeemed from because of it. The reason that the HRM is contrary to Christianity is not because of where we stand on issues such as the Law or traditions. The contrast all comes down to the issue of how and why mankind has been redeemed and from what we have been redeemed.
However, its isn’t a simple matter of determining whether the HRM believes in original sin or not. It’s about how it is understood and understanding how it is directly related to the plan of redemption for mankind.
I assume that they do believe in it as it pertains to the idea that man is sinful in nature, but I truly believe that most of HRM is unknowingly in opposition to the dynamics and logistics of original sin. It is more of a default negligence rather than an intentional opposition, but many don’t seem to be interested or open to learning in this area and it is usually rejected once they become aware of it.
The problem begins with the fact that the HRM as a whole has no real doctrine or theology and with the dawn of each new day, so also comes a new argument or defense from the HRM. So far, Jim Staley of Passion for Truth Ministries is the only one that has a workable position about the work of the Cross but it is far from complete when it comes to covering the whole spectrum of the Redemption.
This business of having no theology puts me in a position where it may seem that I am creating straw man arguments but I am not. The HRM has banked on their adherence to the Law as an end-all-be-all and in doing so, they have neglected all the doctrines and scripture concerning original sin and the Redemption.
When trying to determine the HRM beliefs, you have to move right past the surface arguments about the day of the Sabbath, Feasts, Catholicism, Early Christianity and the Law. These are hot button issues by there is more at the root of them.
To determine what they HRM believes, you have to pay attention to how they defend or discredit certain beliefs and practices. This is where you find what are the bulk of their beliefs and philosophy. How they defend or discredit certain beliefs is almost always done out of a disregard or ignorance of what original sin really is and what the purpose of the redemption is concerning it. This reveals what they truly believe about the Bible, not just the hot button topics.
THE HRM OBJECTIVE AND STRATEGY-
When I began investigating the HRM, I was never really alarmed over their position on the Sabbath or Feasts. The alarm came when I realized how their defense of the Law had almost zero connection to the concept and context of the Redemption of Jesus Christ. There has always been the component of faith and Jesus Christ to correspond with their position, but there seemed to be a great denial or dismissal as to what effect those components had.
The most dangerous aspect of the HRM is not whether they believe that we are still under the Law, but the most dangerous aspect is WHY they believe we are still under the Law.
For many in the HRM, it is an abomination to think that a person can apprehend righteousness and all the things of God by faith and revelation through the Redemption. This is why they hold to the very specific belief that a person can only know and apprehend the things of God through a Hebrew perspective and study of both the Old and New Testaments. That is why they are called the Hebrew Roots Movement.
The HRM does not seem to believe that the Person and Redemption of Jesus Christ contains the full spectrum and parameters of the Kingdom of God. It is from this standpoint that the HRM has to work to dismiss or discredit anything that would suggest that the Kingdom parameters are summed up in the revelation of the Person and Redemption of Jesus Christ.
When the HRM cannot deny certain Christian beliefs or scripture, they resort to the strategy of blurring and diluting those beliefs in order to prevent Christianity from standing on one singular foundation and belief system that is a result of the Redemption.
The HRM does not promote its position by rejecting or denying the basic principles of Christianity, but they promote their position by raising the similarities between the Old and New Testaments to such a degree whereby they are able to dilute and dismiss the “newness” of Christ which is expounded upon in the New Testament.
All the HRM has to do is highlight the similarities between the OT and NT, and then force you to prove what is supposedly “new” about Christ, or what is so new about Christ that would be significant enough to alter how we view the Law. By dismissing the “newness” of Christ, they can dismiss certain distinctions between the OT and NT that describe how we operate differently because of Christ.
Here are some basic examples of how the HRM simply dilutes the concept of “newness” in Christ.
1)Since grace existed in the OT, there really isn’t anything new about grace and Jesus Christ in the NT.
2)Since there is faith in the OT, there really isn’t anything new about faith and Jesus Christ in the NT.
3)Since the Holy Spirit is in the OT, there really isn’t anything new about the Holy Spirit or Pentecost in the NT.
4)Since there is righteousness in the OT, there really isn’t anything new about righteousness and Jesus Christ in the NT.
5)Since circumcision of the heart is mentioned in the OT, there is nothing new about circumcision of the heart and Jesus Christ in the NT.
The HRM is very successful at dismissing scripture or interpretations that would say or suggest there is a newness because of Christ, but there is a more difficult matter to deal with and that is the matter of chronology and events.
The Bible is very specific about chronology and it’s a huge obstacle for the HRM to overcome. The HRM position cannot really stand if certain redemptive events are subject and confined to a specific time. With events, comes revelation, and the HRM wants nothing to do with the idea that people were under different revelations because of different events. This is why they try to propose that all men have always been under the teaching and revelation of the Law all the way back to Adam and Eve in the garden. This is also why the HRM doesn’t want anything to do with the idea that there was greater purpose and revelation to the events that were subject to time.
Newness and chronology are extremely, extremely fundamental and essential in understanding original sin and how it is ultimately dealt with by the redemption of Jesus Christ.
And it just so happens that 2 core objectives of the HRM are to dismiss these two issues.
So let me reemphasize that the HRM is not out to dismiss the general basics of Christianity; they are out to dilute them and dismiss the newness and chronology concerning them, and thereby making the universal theme of the Bible to be under the Law, rather than righteousness “by faith”. This must be understood especially when it comes to the issue of original sin and the sinful nature which pivots upon newness and chronology.
So before I cover any more about this subject, put these issues of NEWNESS and CHRONOLOGY in the front of your brain and we will take a look at what the Bible says about them, and where the HRM stands according to it.
If what I just told you is not rock solid inside your brain, I highly recommend that you read it again. I’ll take the blame for any incoherence but it’s extremely important to understand how the HRM undermines the context and confines of the Redemption by dismissing or blurring the dynamics and logistics surrounding it.
In the next article, Part 2 of 8, we will look at the distinctions between redeemed and forgiven.