Thursday, November 13, 2014

By What Standard?

Imagine a newcomer to Messianic Judaism, a man who is drawn to the Faith because He loves Yeshua and desires a clear standard of conduct by which to pattern his way of life.  This hypothetical newbie is the deliberative and philosophical sort and so he understands that there are approximately four possible standards for conduct (the first three being relativist, the last option being absolutist):

  • Do what feels good.
  • Do what seems good.
  • Do what culture says is good.
  • Do what Scripture says is good.

With this in mind, he then turns his attention to the standards offered by the two camps of Messianic Judaism: the Exclusionists who say Gentiles are excluded from Israel, the Inclusionist who say Gentiles are included in Israel (through Messiah Yeshua):

  • (1) Exclusionist:  Gentiles must keep moral law, may keep Scriptural laws that are not "distinctive sign commandments given to Israel";
  • (2) Inclusionist: The "One Law" precedent in Torah dictates that all members of Israel, whether native or newcomer, must keep the Torah of Moses 

Now, our very logical newbie will find the first view very confusing.  All law is moral after all.  And all revealed law in Torah contributes to Israel's distinctiveness.  So the Exclusionist standard is void for being incoherent.

So then the last option is the Inclusionist standard.  It takes into account that all law is moral. It's based on binding precedent and the fact that the Apostolic Scriptures state that Gentiles are included in Israel through the Messiah Yeshua.  Also, it is an absolute standard (as opposed to a relativist standard).

In conclusion, for our slightly above-average newbie, the choice is obvious.  In Messianic Judaism, there really is only one viable standard for conduct that is based upon an absolute standard.

1 comment:

  1. Most who claim that gentiles in the Messiah are responsible to selective Torah commands as opposed to national Israel (responsible to the whole Torah), have no leg to stand on. Without validating how gentiles are responsible to a covenant law without being responsible to the covenant that contains the law, they have nothing to stand on, this is the elephant in the room, and until they get past this elementary hurdle, there argument simply does not work. The second issue, is when most claim selective commandment status for gentiles in Messiah vs national Israel, they have to make it up on a whim, most have no idea what commandments should and should not apply and in many cases contradict each other. It is a theological disaster. It creates a sub group within the body of Messiah, promoting division and confusion.