Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Myth of the Christian Tzadik (Or "Why the Golden Rule Doesn't Work Outside of Judaism")


Christians believe that the "Old Testament" laws (in contradistinction to 2 Tim. 3:16) are inapplicable--and therefore not useful as instructions for righteousness:
"Two kinds of old-covenant stipulations have clearly not been renewed in the new covenant...the portion of laws from the Pentateuch that no longer apply to Christians can be grouped conveniently into two categories: (1) the Israelite civil laws and (2) the Israelite ritual laws....some aspects of the Old Testament ethical law are actually restated in the New Testament as applicable to Christians....No other specific Old Testament laws can be proved to be strictly binding on Christians, valuable as it is for Christians to know all of the laws," pgs. 167-169 of How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart
Fee and Stuart here regurgitate the classic tripartite legal hermeneutic of Christianity as seen in the writings of Aquinas and Calvin:

"We must therefore distinguish three kinds of precept in the Old Law; viz. ‘moral’ precepts, which are dictated by the natural law; ‘ceremonial’ precepts, which are determinations of the Divine worship; and ‘judicial’ precepts, which are determinations of the justice to be maintained among men," (Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 2a, Question 99, Article 4)

"We must attend to the well-known division which distributes the whole law of God, as promulgated by Moses, into the moral, the ceremonial, and the judicial law," (Calvin, J, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Translated by Henry Beveridge, James Clark & Co., 1962, Volume 2, Book 4, Chapter 20, Section 14, page 663)
Blackstone explains that this concept of universal morality/ethics which Aquinas calls "natural law" is something one can derive from reason alone without the aid of the revealed law of Scripture:
"These [natural laws] are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the Creator Himself in all His dispensations conforms; and which He has enabled human reason to discover, so far as they are necessary for the conduct of human actions," (Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, pg. 38)
Thus we have the Christian version of a tzadik:  a person who acts according to principles he thinks are ethical (i.e. the Golden Rule).  

The problem is that the Golden Rule ("do unto others as you would have them do unto you") only works within the confines of Torah and Judaism.  Here are a few examples of how a de-contextualized Golden Rule breaks down into lawlessness:

  • A homosexual believes that homosexual marriages are ethical and therefore should be promoted to others.
  • A pagan idolater believes that child sacrifice appeases the wrath of the gods and therefore believes it is ethical to promote child sacrifice to others
The Golden Rule only works if you're a covenantal member of Israel following the standard of righteous conduct set forth in the Torah!


So, for a Messianic who accepts the precedent set forth in Torah that there is "One Law" for covenantal members, a completely different image of a Tzadik (righteous person) emerges.  A Tzadik is someone who follows both the mishpatim (e.g. "thou shalt not kill") and chukim (e.g. kashrut law, the laws of family purity).

In Judaism, a person cannot be a Tzadik and at the same time neglect a "ritual" command such as Niddah:
"{18:5} But if a man be just (tzadik), and do that which is lawful and right, {18:6} [And] hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour’s wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman (niddah), {18:7} And hath not oppressed any, [but] hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment; {18:8} He [that] hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, [that] hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, {18:9} Hath walked in my statutes (chukkotai), and hath kept my judgments (mishpatai), to deal truly; he [is] just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD," (Ezekiel 18:5-9)


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Iron Dome Intercepting Rockets Above Israeli Wedding (VIDEO)

CLICK HERE FOR LINK


The Mid East Problem in About Five Minutes (VIDEO)

So I logged on after a hiatus (who wants to blog when Israel is under attack?) and was about to post a link to a Dennis Prager video--and then I notice that Zion posted that very same link!

But in case anyone missed it, here it is again--a five minute video synopsis of the mid-East situation:

CLICK HERE FOR LINK




Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ruach Tzahal

As everyone knows, I don't censor comments on this blog and the recent visits from an anti-Israel commenter attest to this.  But I would like to make 2 quick points:

(1) the IDF is the most principled military in the world:


(2) the Jewish people, over the course of millennia, have developed the most well thought out theoretical framework for justice which, in turn, has led to the development of the most reasonable set of laws in going to war (jus ad bellum) and laws in properly conducting war (jus in bello):


G-d bless Israel!  

Sunday, June 29, 2014

You are Located Here: Mapping the Ecclesiologies of Dispensationalist Christianity, and Inclusionist and Exclusionist Messianic Judaism

There are 3 basic views on the ecclesiological composition of the Body of Believers:

(1) Dispensationalist View:  The Church replaces Israel.  Dispensationalist George Eldon Ladd explains:

"The Greek word, ekklesia, is the word most commonly used in the Greek Old Testament to refer to Israel as the people of God.  The very use of this word [in the Apostolic Writings] suggests that our Lord purposed to bring into existence a new people who would take the place of the old Israel....In the Old Testament era, the olive tree--the people of God--consisted of the children of Israel....[in the New Testament era] a new community has been formed...The Church is the community of the Kingdom of God...," (pgs. 112-121 of The Gospel of the Kingdom:  Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God by George Eldon Ladd).

(2) Exclusionist View:  The Church is composed of Gentiles ("the Gentile wing of the Ekklesia") and Israel (the Jewish wing of the Ekklesia).  Gentiles are excluded from Israel.  Dan Juster (UMJC) explains via diagram:


(3) Inclusionist View:  The Ekklesia (Church) is the Messianic Kingdom of Israel, composed of Jews and Gentiles, who are equal partners in the covenants (see Eph. 2).

Thursday, June 26, 2014

1,100 VISTORS A DAY?!

Well, I don't really understand it but many thanks to all the visitors from around the world!  Don't forget to message me if you would like to guest blog or have a particular topic discussed.

Shalom,

Peter

This is the Way We Should Talk About Yeshua

...with the same passion as Mr. Rogers defending his program before the Senate in 1969.  Hope you at least make it to the 4:57 mark:

VIDEO LINK: MR. ROGERS BEFORE THE SENATE

Two House Debates: A Quick Word About How to Structure Definitional Arguments


Whenever there's a debate about whether something is X or Y, that's a definitional argument.  Examples:

  • Is Johnny an alcoholic or non-alcoholic?
  • Is the living organism in the mother's womb a human or non-human?

There are two types of definitional arguments:  (1) elemental arguments and (2) applicational arguments.

If there's disagreement about how to define something (the elements of a thing) then you've got an elemental argument;  if there's agreement how to define something but disagreement as to whether it applies then you've got an applicational argument.

So the basic structure for a definitional argument looks like this:

(1) elements of the definition

(2) application:  examples of how the elements apply to the subject

I say all of this so that if someone wants to place a label on someone, to say that a person is a Two Houser for example, then in the interests of fairness, he really must define the category by listing all the elements and then show examples of how the person meets each element.  As followers of Yeshua, we should be fair in all of our dealings and show ourselves to be clear thinkers.  




Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Liturgical Resource Links (Share 'Em If You Got 'Em)


So this post is for anyone to share links to nifty Jewish liturgical resources.  I'll start us off:

Siddur for Shabbat Service (Torah Resource)

Various Liturgical Resources (Messianicliturgy.com)

Free Audio Recordings Made by Conservative Rabbi


Argument vs. Pseudo-Argument: Why Humility Matters

Some musings from earlier today...

An argument should be a dialogue that is reasonable (where claims are supported by evidence), intellectually honest, and built upon common ground (or potential common ground).  Why?  Because otherwise argument is not pleasurable or productive but rather a shouting match where the combatants are merely taking turns expressing their own infallibility.




Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Join the Fight: Reclaim the Core Value of Group Study Using Interactive Surveys from TNN Press

Each movement begins with an individual who notices a problem and does something about it:

  • The Natural Foods Movement:  a response to processed foods containing pesticides or GMOs
  • Civil Rights Movement (in America):  a response to racial violence and racist laws

In the same way, the Messianic Movement is a response to a perceived evil:  anti-Judaism, anti-Semitism, Liberal Theology, etc.  Or to put it more simply (and less nerdy):  we are fighting against Satanic deception.

We want the Truth!  

But how badly do we really want it? That Theological McDonald's food does taste pretty good after all...

But if you are interested in getting back to the Truth and emboldening and energizing others to do the same, you should consider leading/hosting a small group that utilizes the following INTERACTIVE workbooks from TNN Press:



Time is short, brothers and sisters.  Make no mistake: Satan will try to drag everyone you love down to hell.  Are you going to let him do that without a fight?


Sunday, June 22, 2014

COMING SOON

I'm going to be updating and adding several sections to this blog.  Since there's now close to a thousand people a day viewing this blog, I'm going to add an "About Me" section (still keeping a low profile though).  Also, I'm updating the "Introduction"and "Frequently Asked Questions" sections.  

Stay tuned...


Trying to Obtain a Review Copy of This One...

The book is "Transformed by God" by David Peterson and is a comprehensive look at how Jeremiah 31:31-34 is treated in the Apostolic Writings.

Here is the chapter by chapter breakdown:

LINK


About the author (he's done his homework):

LINK


Convicted About Unforgiveness

So earlier this week my daughter was laughing and playing with one of her stuffed animals and, for no apparent reason, said the name of one of the individuals that I've been holding a grudge against.  I said, "Let me tell you a little something about ______.  Do you know that he said we should consider giving you to strangers?"

She looked shocked.

"Yes, it's true.  And not only him.  You know _____?"

"Yes."

"Well, he suggested the same thing.  I was very offended by that evil suggestion....and I still am.  That wasn't very nice of them to say, was it?"

And so my wife hears this conversation and steps in.  She said I should forgive these individuals and that she would pray that G-d would convict me about it.

I think I said to her, "But they didn't treat me like a brother!  Can you imagine [my brother's name] ever saying something like that?  No, because that's not how brothers act.  They treated me like an outsider--an enemy."

Flash forward just a few days...

Today we attended a prayer service at the church we visit.  Can you guess what the pastor asked for people to pray about?  You guessed it:  forgiveness.

Still I was absolutely convinced that didn't apply to me--these individuals are not repentant and we don't have to forgive someone who is not repentant.

And then this verses pops into my head:

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,"  (Romans 5:8)
Yeshua didn't wait for the world to become repentant.  While we were busy sinning, He was busy forgiving.

Yesterday I felt this urge to look up all the instances of hesed in the Tanak.  It was all very obsessive, painstakingly looking at every occurrence of the word.  Oh, and I also felt the need to do the same thing for the word "truth".  So I found verses like this:
"Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other," (Psalm 85:10)
AND:
"And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth," (Exodus 34:6)
Hesed v'Emet...over and over again HaShem was making me study these terms.  Why???

And then the pastor put up the following on a big projection screen:

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth," (John 1:14)
May HaShem pardon me for my unforgiveness and help me to be more like His Word, Yeshua who is full of hesed v'emet.  

I am a slow work in progress...