Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Should the Liberal UMJC be Allowed to Speak for the Entire Messianic Community?

There are really two types of Judaism:  Liberal and Traditional.

And I believe that Messianic Judaism also has within it the Liberal and Traditional camps.

First, let's start with non-Messianic Judaism.

In non-Messianic Judaism, the Liberal movement is made up of Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist.  How can I say that?  Because all three groups believe that Rabbinic Halachah must be updated in one way or another to the modern world.  

The major practical differences can be seen in the realms of:

(1) Shabbat observance;

(2) Kashrut law;

(3) Definition of a Jew;

(4) Gender role differentiation (e.g. female rabbis? mechitzah? etc)

(5) Taharat haMishpochah

So we can take those for examples.  In all those areas, the Orthodox follow the traditional halachah;  the Liberal movement has no determinative halacha:


"It would not allow the halachah to be determinative--and therefore Reform Judaism could not be considered halachic..." Movements and Issues in American Judaism by Bernard Martin

Thus, the Liberal movement is very flexible when it comes to how one should observe the mitzvot (or not).  

NOW...

Let's talk about the Messianic movement.

From my experience in the UMJC and from having read all of their major documents, I believe that the UMJC falls within the Liberal movement.  The leadership wing of the UMJC even alludes to this somewhat explicitly:

"Therefore, like Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist branches of Judaism we recognize that the new circumstances of the modern world require adaptation in traditional practices." (MJRC Standards)

In a recent email, Dan (and I hope he doesn't mind me using his words) explained the frustration he feels with the UMJC:


"The problem with all this is, and I am speaking from experience, the leaders of individual UMJC congregations are not educated enough to determine what Jewish halacha is.  For example: They will scold a Gentile member of the congregation for wearing a tzitzit and a kipah, saying these are uniquely for Jews according to halach, but then, turn around and conduct a Bat Mitzvah ceremony for a girl that is not halachically Jewish (her mother is not Jewish).

It is obvious that leaders in the movement are preferring the “pick and choose” theology.  There are numerous leaders whose mothers are not Jewish but never converted to Judaism.  Conveniently opting for the Biblical model that Jewishness is determined by the father, and therefore they don’t need to convert.  But how does it jive with Rabbinic Jewish halacha that they are so eager to push on the members?"

Other authors seem to echo Dan's frustrations with the Liberal movement:


"Liberal halachah remains unclear" (Liberal Judaism and Halachah by Walter Jacob)

Dan also points out something that I have personally found to be quite frustrating:


"In their zeal to become a part of mainstream Judaism, Messianic Judaism UMJC and BE style are :  1)  Trying to eliminate Gentiles from their midst. 2) Starting to deny the deity of Yeshua, 3) Pushing adherence to submit to Rabbinic authority.  It is the third  item on the list that I would like to address."

He even notes how Boaz Michael has jumped on the bandwagon:


"For years the leaders of MJ, first with subtlety, and now openly are forcing Rabbinic halacha in their teachings and congregations.  It came to a head with the leader of FFOZ, Boaz Michael (who BTW is not Jewish), equating believers who do not adhere to Rabbinic authority as “Sons of Korach.”"

CONCLUSION

The UMJC, as an extension of the Liberal movement, thinks that it carries some sort of over-arching authority, that it can speak for the entire Messianic movement.  

We need to give them a reality check.  The traditional movement of Judaism may be small but this doesn't mean, for example, that the Reform movement gets to dictate that Reform Judaism is MORE AUTHENTIC.  But that's precisely what groups like UMJC are doing!  Rudolph's new book is a perfect example of this.  Other examples are the UMJC paper that says One-Law is a threat to the Messianic community--AS IF THE UMJC REPRESENTS THE TOTALITY OF THE MESSIANIC COMMUNITY!  

But enough of my opinions.  What are your thoughts?  Agree, disagree?





38 comments:

  1. "The UMJC, as an extension of the Liberal movement, thinks that it carries some sort of over-arching authority, that it can speak for the entire Messianic movement."

    Actually, far from being liberal, the UMJC is an extension of conservative Evangelicalism. It only seems liberal because it views Torah observance as good for connecting to the Jewish community, if not taken too seriously in and of itself.

    However, I do not consider Hebrew Roots/One Law/Two-House/Nazarines/You-Name-It groups as part of the Messianic Jewish Movement, although many have at one time attending various MJ congregations (and many came from the Armstrong's church or the SDA, in my experience). Many of these groups are quite anti-Messianic-Jewish and also anti-rabbinic (although they borrow as needed).

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    1. Actually, far from being liberal, the UMJC is an extension of conservative Evangelicalism. It only seems liberal because it views Torah observance as good for connecting to the Jewish community, if not taken too seriously in and of itself.

      Ah, so you don't even think UMJC is part of the Messianic Jewish movement either, I am interested to hear who fits inside your box of definitions?

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    2. "Ah, so you don't even think UMJC is part of the Messianic Jewish movement either, I am interested to hear who fits inside your box of definitions?"

      Yes, UMJC is part of the MJ movement, along with MJAA. As far as Evangelicalism, I am describing the present reality. Hebrew Christianity was even far more integrated with Protestantism.

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    3. Who is Hebrew Christianity vs Messianic Judaism?

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    4. Hebrew Christianity no longer exists as such - it died out with the few Jewish Christians that existed. It also didn't exist apart from Protestantism and (with a few exceptions) it didn't have separate congregations but met in churches with other Christians. Dr. Michael Brown can be said to be one of the few remaining representative of Hebrew Christianity today.

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  2. Gene, I am a Messianic Jew, and I am anti-Messianic Judaism as expressed today...no big deal, you are too by what we see...

    But, as usual you are not addressing the issue, which is Messianic Jewish leaders who push Jewish halach but don't observe it themselves...

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    1. "But, as usual you are not addressing the issue, which is Messianic Jewish leaders who push Jewish halach but don't observe it themselves..."

      Yes, hypocrisy is a major problem, Dan. However, 20 years and certainly 100 years ago, even so much as suggesting halacha, much less "pushing it", would have been unheard of (in Hebrew Christian circles). Perhaps the ground is being softened (I am talking about Yeshua's connection to Judaism and Torah), inch by inch, for something greater down the road, something that may occurs when both of us are long pushing up daisies.

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  3. "The traditional movement of Judaism may be small but this doesn't mean, for example, that the Reform movement gets to dictate that Reform Judaism is MORE AUTHENTIC. But that's precisely what groups like UMJC are doing!"

    As I was saying... UMJC dictates nothing to the Hebrew Roots/One Law/Two-House/British Israelisms/Nazarenes/SDA/Armstrongism/Sabbaterian groups nor purports to speak for them since they do not fall under its umbrella.

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  4. "As I was saying... UMJC dictates nothing to the Hebrew Roots/One Law/Two-House/British "

    Well, Gene, thank you for changing your mind by accepting OL as part of MJ.....

    Even you agree that Reform Judaism IS Judaism, no?

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    1. "Well, Gene, thank you for changing your mind by accepting OL as part of MJ...."

      Where, when, what, who - what are you talking about, Dan? But, I can't let a good "thank you" go to waste - you're quite welcome!

      "Even you agree that Reform Judaism IS Judaism, no?"

      It's a liberal version of the same Judaism that Orthodox is part of, yes. What's your point? Hebrew Roots/One Law/Two-House/British Israelisms/Nazarenes/SDA/Armstrongism/Sabbaterian are loosely affiliated non-Jewish Evangelical groups that like to play dress up and imagine themselves as Israelites (one or two Jews here and there only serve to prove the point.)

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    2. So, why do you equate them with the UMJC? If the UMJC are Jewish and OL are not, why are you mixing apples and oranges?

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    3. "So, why do you equate them with the UMJC? If the UMJC are Jewish and OL are not, why are you mixing apples and oranges?"

      I am not, but Peter did in this post that we are commenting on - he's upset the UMJC somehow speaks for him.

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  5. Well stated Peter, the hypocrisy is overwhelming... Regardless of any affiliation with UMJC, God is doing something among them(UMJC), as well as One Law or Hebrew Roots groups and Christian groups, that will be out of all of our control. Regardless of Gene's opinions as well... :P

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    1. "Well stated Peter, the hypocrisy is overwhelming..."

      Zion, do you really think that OL is any better in the hypocrisy department?

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    2. Zion, do you really think that OL is any better in the hypocrisy department?

      No, no one is perfect, however, BE people tend to be very vocal about their claims, while making many claims against other groups like OL or HR, yet these same people are full of hypocrisy within their own group, usually failing to uphold what they are accusing others of themselves, stupidity at its finest.

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    3. "yet these same people are full of hypocrisy within their own group, usually failing to uphold what they are accusing others of themselves, stupidity at its finest."

      OL deride other Christians for failing to uphold Torah, they promote Torah to Christians, but many of them are full of hypocrisy themselves when it comes to actual observance (even according to their own sola-scriptura interpretation).

      As far as UMJC and hypocrisy, some Pharisees were hypocrites too, yet Jesus acknowledged of their authority and what they were teaching was to be obeyed. Like the rest of supersessionist Christianity, the OL denies the [Messianic] Jewish authority and interpretation of Torah and seeks to establish their own.

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  6. OL deride other Christians for failing to uphold Torah, they promote Torah to Christians, but many of them are full of hypocrisy themselves when it comes to actual observance (even according to their own sola-scriptura interpretation).

    Who does all this deriding, please point to OL leaders who do this?

    As far as UMJC and hypocrisy, some Pharisees were hypocrites too, yet Jesus acknowledged of their authority and what they were teaching was to be obeyed. Like the rest of supersessionist Christianity, the OL denies the [Messianic] Jewish authority and interpretation of Torah and seeks to establish their own.

    Gene by your very own definition, gentiles do not have to recognize the Jewish authority, as Yeshua was speaking to Jews, not gentiles. Catch-22.

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    1. "Gene by your very own definition, gentiles do not have to recognize the Jewish authority, as Yeshua was speaking to Jews, not gentiles. Catch-22."

      Zion, that's exactly my point - I am pointing out the discrepancy here with OL's CLAIM that they are part of the Messianic Judaism! However, in the first century for a few brief decades the Gentiles/Christians did recognize the Jewish authority out of Jerusalem (and that authority didn't obligate them to live as Jews).

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    2. "Zion, that's exactly my point - I am pointing out the discrepancy here with OL's CLAIM that they are part of the Messianic Judaism!"

      Can you show us some claims, or you are just making it up as you go?

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    3. Zion, that's exactly my point - I am pointing out the discrepancy here with OL's CLAIM that they are part of the Messianic Judaism! However, in the first century for a few brief decades the Gentiles/Christians did recognize the Jewish authority out of Jerusalem (and that authority didn't obligate them to live as Jews).

      Two main points here:

      1) Yeshua acknowledged there authority, but he also gave authority to the Apostles, and in some cases there were disagreements with the Pharisaic authority. With that said, based on your understanding of OL, you would also have to claim all Judaisms that do not follow rabbinic Halacha are not a Judaism. Regardless of title or status, according to Judaism, no one who believes that Yeshua is the Messiah is a Judaism, because Judaism does not believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, in any form. So your point is moot, the point to be made here, is that OL does follow parts of the Rabbinic, and I do believe Yeshua did give or acknowledge the authority of the Pharisees, but that has to be in balance with the authority given to the Apostles.

      2) So it is clear that Jews and Gentiles were under the Jewish authority, together, not a Bilateral Ecclesiology, I am glad we cleared that up. The specific argument laid out for gentiles was not that gentiles must live as a Jew(like Messiah), because its clear all who follow Him are to live like Him, but instead that gentiles do not need to become Jews/convert, as this devalued the covenant inclusion found in Yeshua, we find our inclusion in the Messiah. Simply our identity is found in Him, not in being a Jew. With regard to gentiles following the scriptures, gentiles are told many times to forsake their old gentile ways, for what, the way of the Jews? Of course.

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    4. Shalom dear brother.
      In response to your point regarding Messiah Yeshua recognizing the authority of the Pharisees, you are correct. However, you did not mention that Yeshua removed the authority from the Jewish religious leadership (Pharisaic Authority), and transferred it to the Shaliachim (Apostles). Read Matthew 21:33 -43. In conclusion, Messiah states,

      "Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit" (Matt. 21:43).

      As a result of Messiah's statement, the Messianic Community as a whole is not subject to Pharisaic/Rabbinic halacha. However, according to the scriptures, the Messianic community is only subject to the halacha established by the Shalichim (Apostles).

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    5. Shamash,

      Then how do you interpret Matthew 23? Why does Yeshua tell His disciples to obey the scribes and Pharisees?

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    6. dmshamash,

      You can't have Yeshua removing their authority, or He would have committed a sin, by breaking the Torah. We have to always keep in mind that Yeshua was born under the Law, He was not born above the Law, He had to keep it perfectly.

      We have Deut 16:18, talking about the appointing of Judges and Officers. In Deut 17:10 we read:

      You shall do according to the terms of the verdict which they declare to you from that place which the Lord chooses; and you shall be careful to observe according to all that they teach you.

      Observe according to all that they teach you, sounds extremely familiar to Yeshua's words concerning the Pharisees.

      If Yeshua went against them, then He went against the Torah concerning this command we see. Instead He kept the Torah by telling His Apostles to "do and observe as they tell you"

      So I am with Peter on this one, how do you deal with Matthew 23, without making Yeshua breaking the Torah.

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  7. " Like the rest of supersessionist Christianity, the OL denies the [Messianic] Jewish authority and interpretation of Torah and seeks to establish their own."

    Well, then Gene, we are in good company because ALL branches of Mainstream Judaism deny the MJ authority and their interpretation of Torah, or maybe you think this is not the case?

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  8. I just got off work and there's 17 comments! Give me a minute to catch up...

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  9. So, as I see, there are two major issues
    - Defining who is and who is out Messianic Judaism
    - The Halacha problem within messianic judaism
    I don't think we can deny the inclusion on the movement of the non-jews who claim to be one with Israel. It is one movement of people who say Jesus is the jewish messiah and Torah is not abolished: that kind of separates us from both mainstream chirstianity and (even more) maintream judaism, and as long as I can see we are one group, and I am sorry if it is against what you guys believe - it is a social fact. On the other hand, THERE ARE MAJOR DIVINDING ISSUES inside this movement, movement which is not even close to beeing uniform. It is like Chritianity: we have evangelicals, protestants and Catholic (roman and orthodox)- even cardecists believe themselves to be christians: and they are all christians, even though each one says the other is not a legitimate expression of it.
    Now, the thing is: are we christianity or are judaism? Or are we something else? I believe it varies according to each congregation, to say the truth, but all in all, we are A LOT linked to the christain church yet - maybe this is to change, I don't know.
    But I do believe we are all inside messianic judaism: even though we are all desagreeing about a lot of stuff. So when UMJC says who is and who is not inside it, as much as I desagree with them and think this is the wrong path, I can't say they are not messianic judaism, just the same thing with One Laws - you want it or not we are inside the same ship - even though we are all trying to take command on it.


    On the halacha issue, I must agree with all of you. It is a complete mess. My personal belief is that we should acomodate to orthodox halacha as much as possible, since they were recongnized by Yeshua as the one with such power. However, I also believe they are not perfect, and there is a lot of things that should be re-thought. I believe there Messianic Judaism should walk to become more like something between COnservative Judaism and Modern Orthodox - however, I also think it is imperative to have some karaite element on it, at least on the issues of blessings that say HaShem said something he dind't - like netilat yadaim - see, my point of view is that it should (almost must) be practiced, but with another blessing. Why I think that, because I believe most of orthodox practice could really have significance to us all, specially to the ones with a real jewish background. On the other hand I hate the choose and pick Messianic Judaism does on its relationship with orthodox judaism: it is worse than what Reform does: reform at least is honest: nothing is imperative. MJ on the other hand usally says: come on only the bible and tradition helps us - BUT ALLOWS PEOPLE TO KINDLE THEIR SHABAT CANDLES AFTER SUNSET because of the value of tradition!And also all the things everybody said before me.
    On te other hand OL's have this thing of doing almost the same thing, but saying otherwise: WE DO NOT BEND TO RABBINIC HALACHA WE FOLLOW ONLY SCRITURE - yeah right: but everybody drives on Shabat to their "synagogues", kindle ther shabbat candles - even though - I hope - before sunset.
    What I want to say is that people should listen more to Halacha, orthodox halacha, and stop goung in the flow of twnty first century. OK IF THEY DONT LIKE ORTHODOX JUDAISM at least go full karaite! This is really a sensitive issue for me! I hope I made myself understood!

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    1. Matheus, first of all, I would like to commend you for laying out your thoughts in a very rational and passionate manner.

      "I don't think we can deny the inclusion on the movement of the non-jews who claim to be one with Israel."

      I think the chief problem is that anyone can claim anything they want - and many do just that. On the other hand, Gentiles are not the problem. I have ZERO problems including some non-Jews in the Messianic Jewish movement and in fact I know many who are part of that movement and contribute greatly. The problem is conflicting agendas of some who wish to claim ownership of someone else's movement.

      The Messianic Jewish Movement is a specific movement of a specific people with a specific purpose - it does not now and nor has ever had the goal of becoming a universal movement because it recognizes that G-d works with others. It does not seek to turn Christians into Jews.

      And as the case with just about every single movement on the planet the Messianic Jewish movement too has the right to determine its own membership and direction, which unfortunately sometimes includes EXCLUDING those (regardless of ethnicity - some of these people are Jews) who harm it by subverting it with their own ideologies, theologies and personal agendas.

      Now, you Matheus seem like the kind of person who would get along just fine in a Messianic Jewish community.

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    2. Gene, I understand I should be more organized on my thoughts!
      You see, the fault I see in your thought about excluding and stuff in just that messianic judaism is not a institucionalized movement - it is pretty much heterogeneous. So yeah I agree with you that a part of the movement has the right to have an agenda and exclude based on that. I just think they should not speak on behalf of all the movement? Get it?

      This is not to say however that poeple cannot criticize other parts of the movment, I believe this is not harmful, this is good.

      I have to say, however, that one of the points I have agains the Messianic Judaism of UMJC is that they recognize christianity - or at least some parts of it - as a legitimate expression of the biblical faith. I don't believe in the church, not only because I believe that there is no such a thing as a separate entity from Israel in the relationship with HaShem and that all equally - jews and non-jews - are subject to Torah, but also because I see it as a failed institution and religion: they are no living the gospel, or at least not their majority.

      However, I must also say, that although I believe non-jews are part of Israel, I DON'T believe and don't agree with the way they live Torah out. First, the indiscriminate use of jewish symbols is sometimes not only laughable, but harmful to the messianic and to the jewish community. The way gentiles are getting full included is also very much confuse and deorganized(like my thoughts I guess lol). This is not to say that I defend that the non-jew must get - in this order - circuncized and immersed in order to be a part of Israel and start living out Torah, but I do believe that some division should be made between Torah and traditional visible signs, as, for exemple, the use of the Talit.
      I guess what I am saying is that, maybe, immersion should be the great getting in sign, and it should REALLY mean a rupture with christianity. From this momment on they should start living Torah. However maybe the visible signs of "jewishness" - wearing talit gadol, tefilin, etc. should be left for after circuncision.
      On the other hand, the whole issue of HOW someone will live out Torah is a mess both on One Law Communities and BE's ones. We have the christian influence, the orthodox influence, the conservative influence and the reform influence - allmost forgot the karaites!
      The christian with a relativization of mitzvot in the name of a so called love for the other, that makes it ok to break shabbat for almost any reason.
      Orthodox with the call for living some ancient traditions - what would be ok, if not for the ambiguity of, for example making a kidush on friday night, but without netilat yadaiym. Or worse, making a kidush, eating and not saying Birkat HaMazon after it.
      Which is a result of the "karaite - protestant" influence of "sola scriptura": if tradition is not obligatory - only scripture is, than we can do tradition the way we want!
      Conservative make it more of a fuss because MJ thinks it is doing the samething as they do, when they adapt traditions to the 21 century when they are acctualy living as, well, as reform judaism lives - everything is free!

      I usally say that Reform Judaism is Christianity without Christ. Well, if the judaism of our messianic judaism stands for a type of Reform Judaism, and the messianic to the belief in Christ...

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  10. So, MJ UMJC style is a private club...Good to know...And as all private clubs they are the ones to decide, not the Man Upstairs....

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  11. Interesting discussion. Yeshua clearly states in Matthew 23 that the Pharisees are the authority in Torah interpretation and practice. I think MJ often suffers from the same problem that Christianity historically has. That is, the inability to distinguish between Torah/halacha (which Yeshua clearly supported) and hypocrisy/oppression which he certainly didn't. Why is it so difficult for MJ's to study and follow Orthodox halacha, altering it slightly perhaps to accommodate minor differences as noted by the Yeshua/the gospel authors? Why don't MG's (Messianic Gentiles) study and observe the halacha for gentiles namely the Noahide laws? This would allow for Torah study and Torah expression on the one hand, while maintaining the appropriate distinction between Jews and gentiles on the other.

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    1. Re: "Why don't MG's (Messianic Gentiles) study and observe the halacha for gentiles namely the Noahide laws?"

      There's no such thing as Noahide laws. And if there were then Paul would be a liar, the non-Jews would be excluded from the covenants (contra Ephesians 2), and the Divine positive laws such as "Love the L-rd your G-d" and baptism would not be required of non-Jews.

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    2. Peter,

      In your August 10 post, you at least seem to imply that Yeshua taught his talmidim to obey Pharisaic authority. I am agreeing with you. For he says:

      2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3 so practice and observe whatever they tell you...(RSV)

      My point is that if we equate the halacha of the Pharisees of Yeshua's day with that of the Orthodox Rabbis of today, than gentiles should obey the Noahide laws in accordance with the instruction of Yeshua to do so.
      However I also stated that in clear points of difference between the teachings/halacha of Yeshua and that of the Rabbi's, for example gentile immersion and the command to Love the L-rd Your G-d, we would defer of course to Yeshua.

      That being said, I do not think that Ephesians 2 is discussing the Noahide covenant at all and need not be used to say that it did not exist or that if it did, Paul would be a liar.

      In Ephesians 2, Paul goes on to say:

      "14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God...(NIV)

      First, notice that Paul is saying that both Jew and gentile need to be reconciled to G-d.

      Second, as elsewhere in Paul's letters, Paul is making a distinction in Eph. 2 between "Law" and "Promise". The Jewish people had the covenant of Law, given at Sinai, but also had the "covenants of promise". This is what the gentiles/uncircumcised do not have.

      Compare with Galatians 3:

      "15 Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,”[i] meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise." (NIV)

      Here, Paul more clearly makes the distinction between a covenant of "Law" and a covenant of "Promise".

      My point here is that, for Paul, a covenant of Law, whether it is the Mosaic covenant or, if you will, the Noahide covenant, does not bring reconciliation/salvation, only the "covenants of promise", which is the promise of Messiah, does that. And this is true for Jews and Noahides/gentiles alike. This is I believe is Paul's point in Ephesians 2 and does not disprove the existence of a covenant of Law, a Noahide covenant, with mankind anymore that it could disprove the Mosaic one.
      So where does Torah (Law) and halacha fit in at all? These have to do with obedience and practice, not salvation.

      Finally to wrap up my case, consider that 1st John 3:4 states that "sin is the transgression of God's law". Without some kind of laws, and without some kind of understanding by human beings of their obligation to obey these laws (a covenant), on what basis did G-d punish mankind for their sins (death, flood etc.) prior to the Mosaic covenant?
      Isn't possible that Genesis 9 could at least hint to such a covenant?

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    3. Peter,

      Forgive me.

      After rereading your response, I realize that most of what I wrote above may be beside the point. If all you are saying is that if one could achieve salvation by obeying a Noahide covenant as opposed to being part of the covenants of promise than that would make Paul a liar I whole-heartedly agree! Most of the essay above makes that very point!
      But again, I think the whole discussion on halacha has to do with how should MJs and MG's obey and practice Torah/halacha. In this my point still stands, as does my argument that Ephesisans 2 does not negate the existence of the Noahide laws, just that they could not bring salvation, now that the promise has come.

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    4. Anonymous,

      This Noahide business is irrelevant (and I maintain that it is a purely rabbinic construct). Non-Jews belong to the New Covenant. The New Covenant includes the Sinaitic Torah. The Sinaitic Torah specifies that uncircumcised proselytes are included in the congregation of Israel and under "One Law". I'll write up an extensive exegesis for this in a future post.

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    5. Peter

      Thank you. I look forward to the write up.

      Interesting, you apparently make a distinction between Sinaitic Covenant and Sinaitic Torah.

      But even so, the Sinaitic Torah makes distinctions between the Cohen haGadol, Cohenim, Levites and Israelites in terms of obligations and commandments. The same can be said for men and women. Also under the Sinaitic Torah it was forbidden for a Jews to eat carrion but it could be given or sold to a foreigner. So why does One Law have to disregard distinctions?

      Again, I look forward to your write up.

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    6. Anonymous,

      In Deuteronomy, Torah says the Ger may eat that which dies of itself; In Leviticus, Torah says that it is a sin for the Ger to eat that which dies of itself. How do we resolve this? The same way the translators of the LXX did. Notice that they translated "ger" as "Paroikos" (non-covenanted ger) in Deuteronomy 14:21. They specifically do not translate "ger" as proselyte there. Yet in Exodus 12 the LXX renders "ger" as proselyte. In Exodus 12, the proselyte ger is uncircumcised and in the process of responding to the command to observe Passover (which necessitates him to ratify his faith as Avraham did by receiving circumcision).

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  12. Peter.

    I am not sure what your point is here regarding proving One Law.

    I am quite aware that the word ger has different meetings in different contexts. There are gerim (forieners), ger tzadikim (proselytes/converts) and ger toshavim (strangers at the gates-resident aliens -righteous gentiles.)

    Each had different obligations! All had to keep Shabbos in the land of Israel.
    Ger toshavim had to minimally keep the seven Noahide laws and Ger tzdakim had to, of course, keep all 613 mitzvot.

    The believing P'rushim of the 1st century wanted to circumcise the believing gentiles and have them keep the Torah of Moses, in others words they wanted them become ger tzadikim. This is likely, at least in part, because they were invoking the Exodus 12 passage you mention which states that to eat the Passover you had to be a ger (tzdekik) (and therefore be circumsised.)

    But Paul disagreed! This is the whole argument which ensued. And the Jerusalem council decided that circumcision was not necessary, at any point. For the NT, the circumcision done "without hands" is the only circumcision which is necessary.

    The fact that the proselyte may be "in the process" ad eventually get circumcised in Exodus 12 is not has nothing to do with Acts 15. It is very clear throughout the NT that gentiles are not obligated to become ger tzedikim.

    So, of course there is One Law, One Torah. But in that Torah there are different distinctions, different groups with different obigations/Mitzvot applicable to them.

    I mean no offense at all and I enjoy the dialog very much. You obviously have incredible knowledge on the issue. However, to compel gentiles to take on the 613 miztvot is to violate both the intentions of the NT and the Sinaitic Torah as well.

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  13. Hello, very interesting reading. Please keep in mind when dealing with Orthodox Judiasm and halacha that the rabbis claim they can trump Moshe. They build a hedge around the law that becomes a burden to the people. (which Y'shua rebuked.) THINK GRACE - Rav Shaul emphasized that in Romans 14. We must focus on prayer and study of the word (Eph. 5) Again let me say: Prayer is extremely important for supporting our local congregations. Every congregation is different, Every person is different. Everyone is hurting in some way. Skip the pilpul and focus on prayer - on the ONE who will give us peace and coherency. God is moving. Y'shua is transforming lives. Don't stop Him. For the one who is forgiven more will have greater cause to rejoice. Blessings to all.

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