Friday, December 14, 2012

Deconstructing the Lies: a Look at the "Beliefs" Section of Derek Leman's Blog

You can find Derek's "Belief's" section HERE.

I'd like to take a brief moment to deconstruct his artfully constructed lies regarding Gentiles:


LIE #1:  "Acts 15 indicates that the sign commandments of Torah do not obligate non-Jews."

RESPONSE:  Acts 15 does not introduce the artificial dichotomy "sign commandments vs. universal commandments."  And the issue before the council was not whether Gentiles should observe Mosaic Torah but rather whether circumcision was required for salvation (i.e. does salvation come through works or by grace?).  Peter's argument before the council was that the Gentiles were saved through grace and joined to the covenantal People of Israel (i.e. the phrase "a people for His name" refers in Torah to the exclusive national covenant made with Israel).  Furthermore, the Gentiles were commanded to abstain from "pollutions" of idolatry, especially cultic prostitution and the drinking of blood from an animal that had been strangled for cultic sacrifice.  Why?  Because Gentiles needed to attend synagogue from week to week to learn the Torah of Moses (v. 21).  In short, Acts 15 explains that the Gentiles are joined covenantally to the people of Israel and must immediately stop practicing paganism and start practicing the Torah of Moses.

LIE #2:  "Yet Paul’s letters evidence the formation of congregations outside the synagogue which were for the Gentiles and which were Law-free (by Law-free I mean not bound to the sign commandments of Torah–I don’t mean they were libertines)."

RESPONSE:  Notice that Derek doesn't cite to evidence for his assertion that the Gentile congregations were "Law-free [of sign commandments]".  The observance of Shabbat was one of the most visible sign commandments and the Gentile congregations observed it (see Galatians 2:16).  Derek would argue that this was not the case.  But observe:  how could the Gentiles have even learned from Jews if they were not, like Cornelius the prototypical New Covenant proselyte, attending synagogue on Shabbat?  There was no such thing as Christianity back then even though Derek would have you think that to deny Christianity is to deny G-d's work:  "A Messianic Judaism that is anti-Christianity is equally false and in danger of denying God’s work amongst the nations."  In fact, Christianity is anti-Judaic and leads inevitably to political and social anti-Semitism as history has proven countless times.  Thus, in promoting Christianity Derek is unwittingly (1) promoting a system of anti-Semitism and (2) distorting the picture of first-century Gentile practice from the actual Judaic picture to a Hellenistic, Christian picture.  Derek would have all Gentiles suppress their G-d-given desire to reject the anti-Judaism that pervades Christianity.  

LIE #3:  "Another kind of supersessionism has risen in the recent Torah movements loosely associated with Messianic Judaism (Hebrew Roots, One Law, Two House) and involve non-Jews assuming Israel’s place as the Torah-keeping people and equating themselves with Israel on the basis of phrases in the New Testament such as “grafted in” and “commonwealth of Israel.”

RESPONSE:  Derek has redefined "supersede" here.  Supersede means to take someone's seat, to push them out of the way.  But Derek wants to attack One Law Theology and so he redefines supersede to mean "join."  The One Law Believers say that Gentiles join Israel.  For this, Derek calls them supersessionists.  But if this were true then Paul would be a supersessionist for asserting in Ephesians 2 that Gentiles are citizens in Israel.  Notice that Derek translates "citizens" as "commonwealth."  But he already admitted previously on his blog that he was in error to translate the Greek term as "commonwealth."  So now he is unashamedly basing his theology on known exegetical errors.  

DEREK'S CATCH-ALL LIE:  

"Responding to a comment, I came up with a list of points that is a good corrective to some ideas about Gentile relationships to Torah and Israel that arise in Hebraic Roots groups:

1) Non-Jewish followers of Messiah are not Israel, but are now in the commonwealth of Israel.

(2) Full Torah observance is neither an obligation nor a higher way for Christians.

(3) Jews and Gentiles remain distinct in roles and equivalent in blessing.

(4) The distinction will not disappear in the world to come.

(5) Israel is the Chosen People through descendancy from Jacob and Israel’s election is free and irrevocable.

(6) Christianity is not any more or less guilty before God than Judaism."

RESPONSE TO THE CATCH-ALL LIE:  All of these assertions on based on a single premise:  that Gentiles are excluded from the covenants.  However, Paul says that Gentiles are included in the covenants (Eph 2).  He says that the New Covenant inaugurated by Yeshua applies to the Gentiles (1 Corinthians).  The New Covenant, as Jeremiah 31 explains, is the national covenant of Israel.  Ezekiel 36 explains that this New Covenant contains the same categories of Torah as the Mosaic Torah (e.g. chukim and mishpatim, the supra-rational, ceremonial decrees as well as the rational, moral and civil decrees).  

A key misunderstanding of Derek's is that membership in Israel in determined by descendancy alone.  If Derek's assertion were true then he could never belong to Israel since he was born a Gentile.  So his arguments LIES are self-defeating.  



2 comments:

  1. Great points!

    I laughed when you brought up Derek "joining Israel", the reality is, he is practicing a form of suppersessionism according to his own hypocritical interpretation. But this also leads to another problem, which is the identity crisis Derek went through and is still going through, he is a gentile, who went through a fake conversion and now is a wannabe Jew, I don't agree with Two-House, but this seems worse than that. There needs to be a book written on the identity crisis that has plagued Messianic Judaism, such as the examples we see in FFOZ and UMJC.

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    1. Re: "There needs to be a book written on the identity crisis that has plagued Messianic Judaism, such as the examples we see in FFOZ and UMJC."

      Agreed. I'm working on a project that I hope to eventually enlist your help with. It'll be a fairly comprehensive book about this subject. I'll probably send it to some other key people in One Law, get their feedback, make the necessary changes and post it for free download on this site.

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