Sunday, June 15, 2014

Does It "Cheapen" Jewish Identity When a Gentile Practices the Torah of Israel?

James Pyles cracks me up.  In his latest post, he actually says the following:
"Also, living with a Jewish wife and daughter, I have a special appreciation for their own uniqueness as Jews and how my mimicking Jewish behavior in some sort of evangelical Jewish cosplay cheapens who they are and totally misrepresents me and all other Gentile disciples of the Master."
There are so many classic rebuttals to this attack.  Here's one of my favorites:

"Did it cheapen Judah's identity when the other tribes kept the Torah?"

Or how about:

"Did it cheapen Boaz's identity when Ruth kept the Torah?"

We could of course go on and on.  Okay, one more:

"Is G-d trying to cheapen Jewish identity when He writes in the Prophets that all people will keep Sukkot in the Messianic Kingdom or that all "flesh" will come to worship before Him on every Shabbat?"

Let's call this "bilateralism" what it really is:  RACISM.  It's the same affliction of the UMJC and IACMS--they're all a bunch of racists.  And I challenge any of them to a public debate on what the Scripture has to say on this matter!

To see an overview of the case for One Law, please read The Messianic Gentile Manifesto.


  1. Agreed! read that post last night and just shook my head... The whole identity confusion thing begins with wrongly believing Judah IS Israel, not PART of Israel. Maybe Israel should feel cheapened that Judah has tried to assume her entire identity...

    I can understand when a Jew who does not believe in Messiah makes this error, but those who read and believe the Apostolic writings are without excuse.

    11 Therefore, remember that formerly
    you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one .........

    17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

    Numerous other good places to go... 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

    Romans 9-11 and being grafted in....


  2. I don't know the person whose blog you reference, but this idea that seems to have emerged that Gentiles somehow have the magical power to cheapen or threaten Jewishness is just about the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. How can anyone pose a threat to what G-d has established?

    If someone's grounds their Jewish identity in their undershirt, then a Gentile wearing an undershirt like theirs is a threat to their identity. If someone's Jewishness is grounded in nothing but a haircut, then a Gentile can sit in a barber's chair and leave the sides of their head long and cheapen Jewish identity. If someone's Jewishness is grounded in the audacious idea that they have the authority to forbid 99.8% of the world's population from obeying any part of the Bible they choose, because those people have the wrong kind of grandmom, then the fact that those people obey - or even have access to - all those "forbidden" parts of the Bible is a threat to Jewish identity. Never mind that the Apostles seem to take for granted that these Gentiles had the Tanakh. Who's going to be the one to call Zondervan and give them the bad news?

    Now, if Jewish identity is grounded in those things, then those Gentiles who observe such things truly cheapen Jewish identity. Necessarily, then, those Jews who do not observe those things - haircuts, garments, holidays, etc - are no longer Jews, since Jewish identity is grounded in those things which they no longer do.

    On the other hand, if someone's identity is their G-d-given soul, ingrained in all that they are, and all that Hashem has made them, baked eternally into their being and coded unchangeably into their DNA, a result of their chosen ancestors, then nothing so surface and trivial as a shirt or haircut, nor any other observance no matter how significant, can cheapen it in the least. It doesn't matter how many Gentiles obey it, nor how many Jews neglect it.

    Gentiles are no threat to Jewish identity. They don't have that kind of power. Likewise, a Jew who eats Chinese food isn't a threat to Chinese identity, or one who enjoys Celtic dance is no threat to Celtic identity. Jewish identity - like all ethnic identity - is deeper, and more significant, than the question of "are other people doing things like we are?"

    Who's really cheapening the essence of Jewishness here? Is it the Gentiles who obey the "Jew-only" parts of the Bible, or is it those (particular) Jews who see Jewishness as something so transitory and circumstantial that undershirts, haircuts, and candles on Friday night somehow have the mystical, other-worldly power to threaten who someone is?

    To understand that Jewishness is immutable and that Gentile observance is no threat to it - because nothing could be a threat to what Hashem has established - that is the antithesis of cheapening Jewish identity. That affirms Jewish identity! It says, "You remain a Jew, and you remain a Gentile, no matter if the two of you practice the same religion. Why? Because your identity is not your praxis. Your identity is *you.*" Jew, Chinese, Sioux, Celt, Norman, Saxon, Rus, Xosa, Bantu, it doesn't matter what you do - you are who you are and nothing can cheapen that.

    Stressing over goyim in tallitot? That makes Jewishness into something that, far from being core to one's soul, can be threatened by another person's clothing. It's defining one's own identity based not on G-d, and not even on oneself, but based on other people. It's no different the "cool kids" in some pathetic junior high school social ladder whose "identity" is somehow in jeopardy when an unpopular kid shows up in trendy brand-name clothes.

    In point of fact, it's that kind of thinking that truly cheapens Judaism, and it really disturbs me that people have such an insultingly low view of G-d's work in establishing the Jewish people.

  3. AMEIN!!!

    Was thinking more on this post a while ago and thought, 'I'm not offended when a native American wears pants or a t-shirt. Doesn't change their heritage and who they ARE. Nor, does it in any way infringe on who I am or my heritage. D'uh!!'


  4. Oh, your comment got a mention... LOL!

  5. All good references!

  6. Ahahaha. And I'm not offended when someone eats pizza (or any other Italian food).

  7. Wow, excellent point. Imediately, my mind goes to the scripture that explains my identity is in Christ and nothing or no one is able to cheapen it.

    "My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand."

    Christs identity was in the Father, nothing that was done to him could change that or cheapen his identity, "I and the Father are one."

  8. Great comment. Thanks for stopping by, John.

  9. I think one of the problems here, is to understand Israel's purpose. Most people understand that Israel was/is set apart from the nations, they know that God did this on purpose, what they fail to understand is for what purpose Israel was set apart... don't worry though, we don't need to guess or play "what if" games. The scriptures tell us very plainly, that Israel is to be a light to the nations, there example of righteousness, lived through God's Torah, would draw the nations, their relationship to God would be so close or near, that the nations would see it and also desire such, effectively being a nation of priest and servants that God called Israel to be and drawing the nations to God... Deut 4. & Matthew 28:19, sadly this has not been the case, instead the reality has been isolation and if it was not for a small sect of Judaism called "the Way", the light that Israel was supposed to be bringing to the nations, would have never gone out to the world and still does not today from Judaism, it is mainly gentiles being a light to the nations, "Cheapening Jewish Identity", :P, you won't hear James raise that point... Remember the Jews are to be the light to the nations... Maybe James can send a letter to all the churches to cease being a light, it cheapens Jewish identity... Following the same reasoning James offers, this only seems right.