Jacques Ellul- The Seduction of Christianity

Jacques Ellul- The Seduction of Christianity

Chapter 2-The Chief Forms, Part I

 

Last month, we went over Ellul’s premise that Christianity was a mass of contradictions. He claimed that while the Church claims to be G_d’s people, it is devoid of anything Biblical. He believes that instead of being a counter cultural force, Christianity instead mimicked every culture it found itself in rendering itself useless. In Chapter 2, we look at how the chief forms of the Church damaged its message.

Ellul posits here that regardless of the ‘good intentions’ of those who corrupted the message trying to adapt the message to their own time, it was that exact practice of modification, as well as making an alliance with cultural power structures in social, political and intellectual realms that has caused its irrelevant status.

His point is that at various times a ‘little bit’ of leaven was added; a little alteration here, a little there, until the mass of additions obscured the entire historical message of G_d with His people. Yeshua’s warning that a little “hametz” ruins the entire dough, echoes throughout the consistent sprinkling of improvements to the story.

Lest we get ‘puffed up’ about the ‘other’ Christians who do not happen to share our views, both types of Christians, liberal and conservative, fall off the horse here; albeit on opposite sides. We are all guilty of adding yeast (hametz).

Unfortunately, says Ellul, the Christian community also began to absorb the world around them in the spirit of evangelism. What actually happened, he says, is that the newly initiated social, intellectual and political elites brought in rituals and customs that were in complete opposition to the practices of Yeshua and the early body of believers. The church today is similarly plagued. We currently see the political polarization of the community; putting politics above unity. Both the conservative and liberal Christians have accommodated a force that Yeshua would not have seen as something to put before G_d, because unity or edah was more important to Yeshua; It is not important to Christians.

The incorporation of the powerful into the Church forced it into a ‘progressive’ stance. Because the Church had already changed the message to accommodate the people, they were now obliged to keep changing the message and were in fact, locked into making Yeshua ‘relevant’ to each new cultural trend; does this sound familiar? The Church was ‘seeker sensitive’!

The accommodation to the world had resulted in the slavery of the Church to the new god, current culture; instead of affecting the, culture, the Church was now its slave. Forced into a ‘future-looking’ headlock, it was unable to look back, unable to find comfort in the historical revelation of G_d’s history with His people. Moreover, while the story of G_d had not changed, and there must have been certain issues that clashed with what it knew to be right, the Church continued in denial and created new postures to justify itself as the various challenges arose.

Ellul mentions several categories of such challenges. He mentions changes to the nature of authority to subject, exploitation of nature, new relationship between a ruler and G_d and a new desire to go into the world and ‘conquer’ or, using the nicer word, ‘convert’ it. Institutions such as the lay state, democracy and socialism became ‘normal’ even though none bears any relationship to Yeshua or G_d. Ellul tells us that Feuerbach has summed up this idea, and refers us to his writings.

Ellul points out what he believes to be the fatal flaw in the Church’s wrong turn. He says that all of the subsequent ‘errors’ that well intentioned Christians made, all fall back on this one issue.

He opines, “It seems to me that everything goes back to a phenomenal change in the understanding of revelation. Namely the transition from history to philosophy; I believe that all the errors in Christian thought go back to this” (Ellul, p.23) He continues, “By coming to the Bible with their own questions they used the Bible for their own means instead of trying to understand what it really said”. ” They expressed a profound and authentic faith marked by a concern for the truth, yet it was all completely falsified by the initial transition”. “That”, he says “is why the deviations were stronger than the truth that they retained”. ” Instead of listening to the text as it was, theologians tried to draw from it a coherent philosophical system.” “The biblical stories were treated as myths from which one had to draw some abstract universal thought”. (Ellul p. 23-26)

While we may think we need tools to understand the text on our own, Ellul says “Hebrew thought has its own tools of knowledge that are fully set forth in the language”. He admonishes that “we should bow and submit and convert to these instead of forcing G_d’s revelation into the strait jacket of Greco-Roman thinking”(p. 26). When we decide to read Scripture to see, “what it says to me”, we do violence to that Scripture and elevate our own thinking above that of G_d’s revelation. It is the epitome of Chutzpah (hubris)! This is a long chapter. I think I’ll stop here. Next month, I’l finish the end of Chapter 2 and review all of Chapter 3. Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments. I’d like to hear your take on this book. Cheryl@livingtruth.us

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Review: Jacques Ellul’s The Subversion of Christianity

Summer Read with Me….

 

The next few months I will be reviewing a book that I believe has a relevant message for the life of every thinking Christian today. While written almost one quarter of a century ago, the points made by the author are still critical issues today.

The book I am reading, should you like to get a copy, is The Subversion of Christianity
by Jacques Ellul, former Professor of Law, Sociology and History at the University of Bordeaux in France.

M. Ellul, even in the title, makes clear that there are certain areas of faith and practice of which Christianity needs to take notice. Additionally, he opines, there needs to be a serious consideration of the accuracy of the Gospel message as well as the probable consequences for continuing to ignore and compound errors that are centuries old.

At the outset, M. Ellul declares that although Christian Doctrine often promotes the concept of “grace and works” as oppositional concepts, it was not the case that the Apostle Paul promoted such a thing, nor was it the position of Jesus. Ellul shows that Paul and James the Just both held the same position, even though many Christians believe otherwise.

Ellul takes an interesting position on how Christianity came to the place where they are sometimes 180 degrees in practice from the religion of Jesus and the New Testament writers. He does not take the blaming stance that often finds a scapegoat to justify why Christian practice is so different than the faith and practice of the first believers. Rather, he says that we have become accustomed to doing things our own way and it has become so comfortable, that our practices have obscured the original faith.

Unfortunately, for us, G_d may not see it our way! If that is the case, then Christianity stands to lose its standing in the covenant. After all, there is no Covenant made with Gentiles; only Jews.

I will be posting for the next few months, here and on my blog (link will be sent out for first post), which will take the place of our monthly teleconferences for the summer. I encourage you to read along and to chime in with your thoughts and feelings.

I hope you will join me…it should be an interesting read….

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WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?

There are a lot of things that are said by people that are assumed to be true or ascribed to a person that are not. Just recently, a Facebook friend found something I misquoted. I was very happy that he pointed that out, and I will be correcting that issue.

Unfortunately, there are many people who, when shown the truth of a matter, insist on believing what they want to believe despite the fact that it is false. Even worse, many of these people are Christians who would rather believe a lie than to uphold the actual teachings of Jesus and the Apostle Paul in the New Testament witness. My question is, is a person who does this a “believer” in Christ or rather a believer in something quite different?

Two particular issues stand out for me, as I hear them all the time. The first one is the idea that “individual salvation” and “individual freedom” come from the Bible, and the second is that the “new” covenant eliminated the need of God’s people to be Torah observant. Neither of these two ideas is Biblical. Rather, they are ideas over a hundred years after Jesus and Paul left the Earth by people who took incredible creative license without any authority to do it.

Yet, Christians still act as though these ideas were originated by the New Testament writers or worse yet as if they were spoken from the pages of Scripture.

We laugh at the idea of Jesus with a cell phone, but really have no clue about anachronisms that are not products of our contemporary age and worldview. Has anyone thought that if they saw Jesus on the street and called out the name “Jesus”, He would keep on walking? Why? Because it wasn’t His name! We assume that the first century community (because there was NO CHURCH) is just like the church down the street. That assumption could not be farther from the truth.

It is imperative that Christians become knowledgeable about Christian history as it relates to the Jewish religion of Jesus and the Apostles as the validity of Christianity as a religion hangs in the balance. We do not have the “individual freedom” to do whatever we want with no consequences to the rest of the body, Jew and Gentile, who by the way are not separate religious bodies. It is Christian ignorance that keeps Jesus from returning. He is waiting for us to act. When we do what HE already told us to do, but we ignore, then perhaps He’ll return. Hopefully He will not decide enough is enough, and bring judgment. I believe Jonathan Edwards sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” might apply here.

Feigned ignorance due to complacency on our parts will not rescue us from whatever consequences result in a falling away from God. So, if you are a Christian, and you don’t know Jesus’ real name, real religion, and real mission…I’d start looking. You never know when there might be a pop quiz.

 

 

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In response to Mistaken Identity

 

I responded to the blog below and thought it was worth repeating.

Of course, there is still one huge problem. Jews still think that we believe Torah doesn’t matter. So, how are you going to fix that? http://skipmoen.com/2011/10/23/a-case-of-mistaken-identity-2/comment-page-1/#comment-29267

I believe that some answers above sometimes reiterate the problem rather than provide suggestions for solutions. While all the opinions are good, they do not really address the problem. In reading them, I see many terms being used that assume universal understanding. This is a very good example of the problem.

It seems to me that what Skip is saying, then asking, is that for 2,000 years there has been misunderstandings and animosity between Jews and Christians because early on, first Gentiles and then Jews, began hostile and reactionary self-definitions as “not” the other rather than seeking common ground in creating a community that was congruent with G_d’s view of Israel as a mixed community. The problem began after the destruction of the Temple, and the two revolts, and the removal of all Jews from Jerusalem. Instead of Torah, Gentile believers began to use other factors, such as Greek philosophy and existing paganism and Gnosticism to reinterpret the halachah of Yeshua and Sha’ul and even Torah itself to bolster their “anti Jewish” ideologies, as well as to establish their political security in the world.

Words and phrases began to take on colloquial meaning and carried the bias of that particular community. Many of those meanings as they do today, and as I see above, are not about believers and unbelievers, truth and falsehood, but rather about who was “right and wrong”. While today it encompasses much more, back then it usually meant Gentiles right, Jews wrong. No distinction was made between believer and unbeliever, only a religious distinction based on race.

Ironically, to ignore Jews is to ignore Yeshua, and eliminates the very basis of the word “Christ-ian”. Consequently, because of the Gentile actions, and also to a certain extent, the Jewish believers’ actions, the Rabbis began to define themselves as distinct from “the synagogue of the Christ followers” first because of the trouble they was causing the established Jewish community and then because they rightfully saw the emerging Gentile beliefs as idolatrous. The Gentile believers are the reason this happens. Their orthodox and heterodox definitions strayed further and further from the truth, causing the Rabbis to follow their lead in defining “good versus evil” rather than “truth versus falsehood”.

No longer were the groups attempting to find commonality as Sh’aul had constantly stressed, but rather the focus was the distinction of the “other”. As I read the above, I saw the same pattern. We, as Christians, define ourselves as not Jews. Even Messianic believers, as we see them are “Messianic Jews”. Additionally, we see non-believing Jews (like we can really know that) as “the Jews”, repeating a phrase that is really entrenched in the problem, not the solution (Gal. 3:28). How does G_d view the world; as Jews and Christians, no, there is Israel, and not Israel, so why do we make distinctions? How is it we have the authority to make changes?

So, the question to answer is, how do we, as Gentile and Jewish believers, (not Christians and Messianic Jews), create the amalgamated community “in Christ” that is the intention of the Gospel?

How do we avoid the traps of a theology that idolatrously “replaces” the one that G_d intends and that we STILL do not have, and continue to perpetuate through our defense of our “doctrines” artificial and false categories and divisions that we ALL unconsciously fall into (cultural bias) or bad habits? How do we define terms? Do they mesh with how Yeshua and Sh’aul used those terms or do they carry anachronistic concepts that have no place in the Hebrew worldview?

I would suggest that the only way to do that is to find a group of people who are committed to creating this type of community, begin to live out the stuff we learn from Torah about it, make it a daily walk, and then and only then, reach out to others who are missing such a huge part of the community “in Christ”. If we are not in a mixed community on some level, locally or online, and we are not pursuing Torah learning in view of how Yeshua and the Apostles viewed things, then we are not even on the first page and we are just continuing the aberrant trajectory of the last two millennia. Taking the first step would be a big improvement. I could be wrong, but as I see it, this is what is needed.

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Who Appoints Your Time?

 

Are you a Disciple? Really? Who are you following? I often hear people say that they “follow” Jesus, but sometimes I think that what they really mean is that Jesus is following them. The more I learn about the origins of Jesus’ people Israel, the more I know that what I have been taught is really twisted.

 

For one thing, how many people think of the upcoming holy days for Israel as the “Jewish” holidays? Really? Is that an ethnic thing like “Black History Month”? or just national holidays like Cinqo de Mayo? or Australia Day? How many Christians stop to think that perhaps if we, as Paul clearly says in Romans 11, “are grafted into Israel”, that for some reason all of G_d’s appointed times only applies to people who are ethnically Jewish? Newsflash! They are G_d’s appointed times, not Moses’ appointed times. Even though G_d gave them to Moses, He didn’t make them Moses’ holidays! Those are the Holy Days that G_d ordained for all who call on His name. Hmmm, last I checked, that INCLUDES GENTILES who want to be a part of that thing called Israel, you know, what we are grafted into…yeah, THAT Israel. Is there another?

 

Why do we not already know this after 2,000 years? Where do we get off telling G_d which Holy days are His and which ones are OURS. Remember when G_d freed Israel from Egyptian rule, it was not to “do their own thing”, it was rather to worship HIM. (Check out Exodus 8:1, if you don’t believe me). Also, it was not so that they could be “free individuals”, but rather as His People (singular, like grapefruit, not grapes). His people is one unit. When we are grafted into Israel, we are grafted into the same ONE body that Jesus (not his real name) knew as his own. FYI, Jesus was not an American citizen. But thinking about that, let me make an analogy. G_d makes the rules, we are not excused because we are not ethnically Jewish. Remember when Paul says, “there is neither Jew nor Greek”? (Gal. 3:28) That is not a tacit invitation to ignore G_d’s defined boundaries. The fact is that “in Christ” we are all obligated as He was. Did you see Him celebrating Christmas and Easter? Gee! Don’t remember seeing Him do that. How about Jewish Holidays? All over Scripture! So, who are we “in”? What does THAT mean?

Many of us have relatives that came to America a hundred years or so ago. They left countries that they were born in, that they were part of and that they had some responsibility to. My great grandfather was one of them. When he came here, he took on a new identity. He pledged to be an American. He was no longer a subject of the Czar. He was Free! The question is, was he free to do whatever he wanted? Could he rob banks? Could he steal his neighbors goods? No! There are laws in America that define the community. These laws tell us how to “be” an American community. My great grandfather may have been free from the rule of the Czar, but now he was under the rule of Uncle Sam, which is the name he took, (Sam). Fortunately for him, the Law in the U.S. had a totally different ethical sub straight than did Russia under the Czar! However, leaving your country of origin and committing to a new one, presupposes that there will be claims made on your loyalties, maybe even signed pledges! G_d is no different. When we “sign on” to become His people, we also acknowledge His Sovereignty over our freedom. We are free to “worship Him”, but on His terms not ours. So what does that look like? Well, just as I am sure my great grandfather found out, there are certain appointed times and ceremonies, and ways of life that are different than from whence he came and where the newbies must look to the natives or at least the tenured to lead them. The newbies must follow the community. He found out about the 4th of July, the English language, and how we “do things around here”. So how are you doing in your big move to Jesus’ country? If you are grafted into Jesus, you are now part of Israel. How much have you learned about the way things are done in Israel? What are the appointed times (moadim)? Are you getting ready for the BIGGIES? Some of the holiest days of the year? Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur? Do you have any ideas for your Sukkah? What are you preparing? Got your apples and honey? Have you called those people who you need to “reconcile” with? What services are you planning to attend? How are you planning to “fit in” with the community you are grafted into? If you are planning, write me and let me know! If you think I am meshuge, then read the articles below!

Here are some articles to read:

http://skipmoen.com/2011/06/20/absorption-rate/

http://www.jcrelations.net/The_Separation_of_Early_Christianity_from_Judaism.150.0.html?

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Seven Mistakes Christians Often make when Reading and Teaching the Bible

 

 

Seven Mistakes Christians Often make when Reading and Teaching the Bible

Here are seven common mistakes that Christians make when reading and teaching the Bible that can lead them, and the people they teach, to misunderstand its message. While there are many more mistakes that Christians make when reading the Bible, these five will help a Christian begin to understand the problem. Then the average reader can begin to be a better student of G-d’s Word.

1. Anachronism-

Anachronism is the idea that we read into a text something that was, in time, not there. For example, while saying that Jesus called Peter on His cell phone, we would laugh, however, saying that Jesus told Peter, upon this rock I will build my Church, is just as ridiculous.

Why is that? The reason is because all of Jesus’ Disciples were Jewish and not Christian. Even using the word Jewish is somewhat Anachronistic, however, the Church, as we define it today, was not in existence then. People were known as the congregation not the Church. Congregation is a commonly used Jewish term for believers of a particular ilk.

2. Assuming that Paul and the Apostles converted to Christianity-

We take for granted that the Apostle Paul converted from Judaism to Christianity. This is also ridiculous. Aside from the obvious anachronism of the idea of Christianity, Paul states himself that he is a Torah believing and an upright Jew. He sees himself as a missionary from Judaism, with a call to bring Gentiles into the Jewish community, not the other way around. The Christian religion was founded on principles far removed from Jesus, Paul and the other NT writers. Christians are ignorant of Judaism because of what the “church” has done, not because Paul gave it up. There was a deliberate move by the Gentile congregations to distance themselves from Jews, specifically Jewish believers. This was result of socio-political pressure and infighting.

3. Thinking that Christian Doctrines and Christian Symbols were held by Jesus and The NT Writers.

Christians often assume that ideas such as the Trinity, and the Deity of Christ, are concepts always held by believers. Because of the ignorance of Christian History by a large group of Gentile believers today, we think that there was this automatic assumption that our doctrines have always been the same as the Apostles. Actually, they are in some cases the opposite. There is a distinct Hebraic view of the world that was held by all of the NT writers, as well as Jesus. The doctrines that we know as Christian today began to develop as the Church became more Gentile and the leaders of the Gentile congregation were ignorant of or opposed to the Hebraic Worldview. Their view of Scripture, reinterpreted with Greek Philosophy, rather than G-d’s history with Israel, is the view that developed the doctrines we often hold dear today. These views, developed after the death of the Apostles, were not held by them or Yeshua the real name of Jesus.

4. Thinking that Greeks wrote the New Testament-

While the New Testament writers may have lived in Greek speaking areas, it doesn’t mean that they were also Greek thinking. For those of you who are bilingual, you should be aware that even if you speak a different language, you think in your own native culture. The native culture of Jesus and the Apostles, was Hebrew; a culture that was often in opposition to the Greek culture. The Hebrew worldview was strange to the Greeks and often these worldviews clashed violently. Many of the Church doctrines were established well after the removal of Jewish influence in the body of believers and also in reaction to and opposition of a Jewish influence by Anti-Semitic Gentile Church Fathers.

5. Paul’s meaning of Law vs. Grace is misunderstood; however, ignorance of the Law is no excuse.

One of the biggest problems for Christians is a fundamental and potentially devastating misunderstanding of the book of Romans that leads Christians into believing that they are “the new Israel” or that they have no obligations to that community. This is far from the truth. The lack of understanding of the Hebraic Worldview that permeates all of the writings of Paul the Apostle has led the Church to misunderstand Paul’s total dedication to Torah, his nuanced views of who should follow what, and how Gentiles are to accommodate Jewish believers and not the other way around. Anti-Semitism is at the root of what many Christians believe, even IF, they say they love Israel. The Law is not in opposition to Grace. Grace is in opposition to Legalism. Paul upholds the Law and even fulfills it in his own life. He encourages Jewish believers to follow the Torah, and invites Gentiles to observe as well.

6. Evangelism is not what you think it is.

Christians often think that Jesus was sending Christians out to save the world. We are to go into all the world and teach everyone that Jesus died for our personal sins; well not exactly.

In Matthew 28: 19-20, Jesus was not setting a mandate for Gentiles to go convert everyone to Christianity. He was giving authority to His Jewish Talmidim, in the same Rabbinic Style of that time, to go and to teach Gentiles how to follow Torah. He was acting exactly in the style of teachers who had disciples in his time. There was nothing unusual about His message to his Talmidim.

Today, many Christians, ignorant of Torah, Judaism, history and the violent Anti-Semitic history of the Gentile “Christian Church”, ignorantly say things to Jewish people thinking that they will just hear and convert. The question is converting to what? If believing in Yeshua, because Jesus wasn’t his name, means Gentiles converting to Judaism into a congregation that interprets Torah differently as the Apostle Paul clearly said, what are we doing trying to “convert” Jews to a system that rejected and reinvented the message of the Gospel? No wonder they don’t listen!

When we read the Bible, often we see the message of Jesus as telling Christians that we need to bring His message to the Jews, as if they are just one of “the nations”. While it is important for Jewish people to know what G-d is doing, often the last people to tell them should be Christians. Just understanding that the words, “the nations” means Gentiles, should give us pause. Jesus was telling Jews to bring the Jewish message of Yeshua, a new way of interpreting Torah, to Gentiles. We, folks, are the Gentiles, the Jewish believers in Messiah are the ones called to teach all the He commanded. This, by the way is the Law.

7. We think the Cross is a symbol of Peace-

While Christians proudly talk about the Cross, they are unaware that the symbol of the Cross that we know was invented by Constantine, a pagan emperor in the fourth century, who used the idea after he supposedly had a vision of a cross and hearing the voice of G-d saying to him, “with this, conquer in my name”. That symbol then became a tool to kill and to force people to accept Constantine’s terms. In addition, after he did conquer, he set up a giant statue of himself. We think that it was this symbol of the peace of Christ, however, that is not how it came about. From early in the second century, the Gentiles began to take over the believing communities. As they did, they slowly incorporated ideas that deliberately removed them from the Judaism that Jesus told His Jewish Apostles to teach.

While these ideas are just the tip of the iceberg in understanding the huge problem we encounter by being ignorant of the history of the believing community of Jews and some Gentiles, Anti-Semitism of the primarily Gentile church, Jesus’ message and even Paul’s that lead us to a reading of Scripture that is fraught with error, just seeking information will help us begin to move in a direction toward rather than away from the message of the Bible.

 

<font style=”font-size:13px” color=”#000000″ face=”Arial”>Dr. Cheryl Durham, is a Biblical Counselor, Author, and staff member at Master’s International School of Divinity. You can learn more at her website. www.livingtruth.us/aboveandbeyond.html</font>

 

bible, christian, anti-semitism, learning, the bible, christian history

 

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Seven Mistakes Christians Often make when Reading and Teaching the Bible

 

 

Seven Mistakes Christians Often make when Reading and Teaching the Bible

Here are seven common mistakes that Christians make when reading and teaching the Bible that can lead them, and the people they teach, to misunderstand its message. While there are many more mistakes that Christians make when reading the Bible, these five will help a Christian begin to understand the problem. Then the average reader can begin to be a better student of G-d’s Word.

1. Anachronism-

Anachronism is the idea that we read into a text something that was, in time, not there. For example, while saying that Jesus called Peter on His cell phone, we would laugh, however, saying that Jesus told Peter, upon this rock I will build my Church, is just as ridiculous.

Why is that? The reason is because all of Jesus’ Disciples were Jewish and not Christian. Even using the word Jewish is somewhat Anachronistic, however, the Church, as we define it today, was not in existence then. People were known as the congregation not the Church. Congregation is a commonly used Jewish term for believers of a particular ilk.

2. Assuming that Paul and the Apostles converted to Christianity-

We take for granted that the Apostle Paul converted from Judaism to Christianity. This is also ridiculous. Aside from the obvious anachronism of the idea of Christianity, Paul states himself that he is a Torah believing and an upright Jew. He sees himself as a missionary from Judaism, with a call to bring Gentiles into the Jewish community, not the other way around. The Christian religion was founded on principles far removed from Jesus, Paul and the other NT writers. Christians are ignorant of Judaism because of what the “church” has done, not because Paul gave it up. There was a deliberate move by the Gentile congregations to distance themselves from Jews, specifically Jewish believers. This was result of socio-political pressure and infighting.

3. Thinking that Christian Doctrines and Christian Symbols were held by Jesus and The NT Writers.

Christians often assume that ideas such as the Trinity, and the Deity of Christ, are concepts always held by believers. Because of the ignorance of Christian History by a large group of Gentile believers today, we think that there was this automatic assumption that our doctrines have always been the same as the Apostles. Actually, they are in some cases the opposite. There is a distinct Hebraic view of the world that was held by all of the NT writers, as well as Jesus. The doctrines that we know as Christian today began to develop as the Church became more Gentile and the leaders of the Gentile congregation were ignorant of or opposed to the Hebraic Worldview. Their view of Scripture, reinterpreted with Greek Philosophy, rather than G-d’s history with Israel, is the view that developed the doctrines we often hold dear today. These views, developed after the death of the Apostles, were not held by them or Yeshua the real name of Jesus.

4. Thinking that Greeks wrote the New Testament-

While the New Testament writers may have lived in Greek speaking areas, it doesn’t mean that they were also Greek thinking. For those of you who are bilingual, you should be aware that even if you speak a different language, you think in your own native culture. The native culture of Jesus and the Apostles, was Hebrew; a culture that was often in opposition to the Greek culture. The Hebrew worldview was strange to the Greeks and often these worldviews clashed violently. Many of the Church doctrines were established well after the removal of Jewish influence in the body of believers and also in reaction to and opposition of a Jewish influence by Anti-Semitic Gentile Church Fathers.

5. Paul’s meaning of Law vs. Grace is misunderstood; however, ignorance of the Law is no excuse.

One of the biggest problems for Christians is a fundamental and potentially devastating misunderstanding of the book of Romans that leads Christians into believing that they are “the new Israel” or that they have no obligations to that community. This is far from the truth. The lack of understanding of the Hebraic Worldview that permeates all of the writings of Paul the Apostle has led the Church to misunderstand Paul’s total dedication to Torah, his nuanced views of who should follow what, and how Gentiles are to accommodate Jewish believers and not the other way around. Anti-Semitism is at the root of what many Christians believe, even IF, they say they love Israel. The Law is not in opposition to Grace. Grace is in opposition to Legalism. Paul upholds the Law and even fulfills it in his own life. He encourages Jewish believers to follow the Torah, and invites Gentiles to observe as well.

6. Evangelism is not what you think it is.

Christians often think that Jesus was sending Christians out to save the world. We are to go into all the world and teach everyone that Jesus died for our personal sins; well not exactly.

In Matthew 28: 19-20, Jesus was not setting a mandate for Gentiles to go convert everyone to Christianity. He was giving authority to His Jewish Talmidim, in the same Rabbinic Style of that time, to go and to teach Gentiles how to follow Torah. He was acting exactly in the style of teachers who had disciples in his time. There was nothing unusual about His message to his Talmidim.

Today, many Christians, ignorant of Torah, Judaism, history and the violent Anti-Semitic history of the Gentile “Christian Church”, ignorantly say things to Jewish people thinking that they will just hear and convert. The question is converting to what? If believing in Yeshua, because Jesus wasn’t his name, means Gentiles converting to Judaism into a congregation that interprets Torah differently as the Apostle Paul clearly said, what are we doing trying to “convert” Jews to a system that rejected and reinvented the message of the Gospel? No wonder they don’t listen!

When we read the Bible, often we see the message of Jesus as telling Christians that we need to bring His message to the Jews, as if they are just one of “the nations”. While it is important for Jewish people to know what G-d is doing, often the last people to tell them should be Christians. Just understanding that the words, “the nations” means Gentiles, should give us pause. Jesus was telling Jews to bring the Jewish message of Yeshua, a new way of interpreting Torah, to Gentiles. We, folks, are the Gentiles, the Jewish believers in Messiah are the ones called to teach all the He commanded. This, by the way is the Law.

7. We think the Cross is a symbol of Peace-

While Christians proudly talk about the Cross, they are unaware that the symbol of the Cross that we know was invented by Constantine, a pagan emperor in the fourth century, who used the idea after he supposedly had a vision of a cross and hearing the voice of G-d saying to him, “with this, conquer in my name”. That symbol then became a tool to kill and to force people to accept Constantine’s terms. In addition, after he did conquer, he set up a giant statue of himself. We think that it was this symbol of the peace of Christ, however, that is not how it came about. From early in the second century, the Gentiles began to take over the believing communities. As they did, they slowly incorporated ideas that deliberately removed them from the Judaism that Jesus told His Jewish Apostles to teach.

While these ideas are just the tip of the iceberg in understanding the huge problem we encounter by being ignorant of the history of the believing community of Jews and some Gentiles, Anti-Semitism of the primarily Gentile church, Jesus’ message and even Paul’s that lead us to a reading of Scripture that is fraught with error, just seeking information will help us begin to move in a direction toward rather than away from the message of the Bible.

 

<font style=”font-size:13px” color=”#000000″ face=”Arial”>Dr. Cheryl Durham, is a Biblical Counselor, Author, and staff member at Master’s International School of Divinity. You can learn more at her website. www.livingtruth.us/aboveandbeyond.html</font>

 

bible, christian, anti-semitism, learning, the bible, christian history

 

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