Monday, November 17, 2014

Dear Sam Nadler: Please Stop Calling Yourself Messianic

Dear Sam Nadler,

I was in a bookstore recently and noticed your book entitled "Messiah in the Feasts of Israel."  The book identifies you as Messianic.  And so I purchased the book thinking I was purchasing Messianic teaching on the Feasts of Israel.  Let me emphasize this point:  I wasn't looking for Christian teaching on the Feasts of Israel; I was specifically looking for Messianic teaching.

But now I realize I wasted $6.50 because you are not Messianic at all but rather Christian in both belief and affiliation.

Belief:

Your teaching matches Christian teaching exactly in that you teach Yeshua abolished the Law.  I noticed an example of this in the very first chapter of your book in which you claim that Yeshua “fulfilled” the commandment of Shabbat which you go on to explain is why this commandment is not reiterated in the New Covenant (in your opinion). You even praise the “flexibility” of Bishop Ambrose who famously rejected the commandment of Shabbat “when in Rome.” 

Affiliation:

So then I discovered from online research that, as a member of AMC, you believe the following:

"The Believer and the Law of Moses...We believe the Law of Moses as a rule of life has been fulfilled in the Messiah and therefore believers are no longer under its' obligation or condemnation. While the Law of Moses is no longer obligatory for believers, the Law has much to teach us regarding a joyfully Jewish way of life. Both Jewish and non-Jewish believers have the freedom in Messiah to maintain any aspects of the Law of Moses which do not violate the entirety of the rest of scripture.(Acts 21:24-26; Romans 6:14;8:2;10:4;14:1-23; 1 Corinthians 9:20; 2 Corinthians 3:1- 11; Galatians 3:3,3:10-13;6:2; Ephesians 2:14 )," from http://www.messianicassociation.org/believe.htm

Now, I’m sure you’re a nice guy and not trying to be intentionally deceptive.  But ask yourself this:  “Is my teaching any different than Christian teaching?”  If you want to be truthful, acknowledge the fact that “Christian” is the correct and precise term to describe your teaching.  You don’t need any other term. 

So please stop calling yourself Messianic.

P.S.

For the record, a Messianic is a Yeshua-follower who believes the Mosaic Law is still in force.

Sincerely,

Peter








23 comments:

  1. "Both Jewish and non-Jewish believers have the freedom in Messiah to maintain any aspects of the Law of Moses which do not violate the entirety of the rest of scripture."

    So which aspects of the Law of Moses do violate the rest of Scripture? Can Scripture contradict Scripture?

    Ken

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  2. Honestly, I think that the traditional Christian approach to the Torah is far more distant from your approach than Nadler's is. The group with which he is affiliated might not represent his opinions perfectly (I suspect they don't), but even under the assumption that they do, the statement is at least accepting of practice of the Torah - by both Jews and Gentiles, while affirming that the Torah is of value. That's something.

    Historically, the Christian approach has been, "The Law is bad, and if you obey the Law you don't really believe in Jesus. You hate Jesus. You (as one self-styled "theologian" recently told me) spit in His face. You're an apostate, you're trying to be saved by works, and you're going to Hell. (Except, of course, those parts of the Law that we like. Those aren't the Law. Even though they are. And everyone who *doesn't* obey those parts is in the wrong.)" Makes my head spin.

    So, while I would agree that the AMC's statement is not the right approach, I wouldn't say that it falls in line with the traditional Christian line of thinking on the Torah. It's *much* better.

    Moreover, with people on one side telling us that affirming the Torah is evil because it means we hate Messiah, and people on the other telling us that everyone who's not the right race must be forbidden from obeying it because doing what the Bible says means usurping sacrosanct treasures, I'll take "moderate disagreements" like "both Jews and Gentiles are free to observe the Law and it has much to teach us, but isn't obligatory" as a small victory - even though I don't see completely eye-to-eye with it.

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  3. Good points. You've given us some things to consider.

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  4. Hovav Ben Avraham AvinuNovember 18, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    As I said in the other post: a matter of identity. This stance should be good enough to label someone as messianic friendly. But not even believing the Torah is still in force is enough to make someone a messianic (sorry to disagree Peter).
    Actually, we do have this (Christians with Torah) and it has a name: Hebrew Roots Christianity.


    To be messianic has to be more than that. It has to be more jewish than that. Actually I believe those you call "exclusionists" are trying to get the right thing on this issue: they are trying to be jews who practice a form of Judaism. Albeit one that shares something with Christianity, still something theologically different from Christianity.
    Don't get me wrong, I could go for lenghts talking about the inconsistencies they have with this premise, and what I think is wrong with their approach (the exclusion of gentiles, for example). But when it comes to the issue of identity, I think they have the right goal: to be more than Christians with Torah.
    We do have inclusionist ministries that also count as Messianic for me: Torah Resource and TNN, that I know.
    I do think this is an issue to be debated and thought about, but we can't accept as messianic everyone that does not think we are satan's pawns.

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  5. I'd read his book on "Establishing Healthy Messianic Congregations" (and I think commented on here once when you mentioned it), and found just that - this is church-y and nothing especially different than what I'd find in a Christian book...a rather poor Christian book at that. "9 Marks" ministries, led by Mark Dever, provides far better information for establishing healthy believing congregations, Messianic/Torah/not because it's simply biblical. The would have the traditional view of the role of Torah for the believer, but at least you know that going in and can filter out what needs to be filtered.

    I checked around his site and watched some of his videos back then, and there is not much there for those who hold to Torah as the lifestyle for Yeshua-followers. Like you said, nice guy, sincere, I'm sure a true believer, etc., but to folks like us I'd have to say, "move on, nothing to see here."

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  6. "a Messianic is a Yeshua-follower who believes the Mosaic Law is still in force."

    That is incorrect. All the Messianic Jews I know believe Yeshua fulfilled the Mosaic Law and is no longer in force.

    Just because you define a Messianic a certain way, does not mean that is correct. That is the way you have been taught, and is incorrect.

    A messianic Jew is simply a Jewish person that believes in Yeshua. And if you follow Yeshua, then you know the Mosaic Law has been rendered inoperative and fulfilled in Messiah. We now follow the Law of Messiah, not the Law of Moses.

    Believing the Mosaic Law is still in force is part of the Jewish roots movement, which is heresy.

    And lastly, a Messianic Jew is a "Christian." Messianic Jew, Hebrew Christian, Jewish believer in Jesus - are all synonymous terms.

    Thank you,
    Chris Eisbrenner
    http://arielsmjs.org/

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  7. "That is incorrect. All the Messianic Jews I know believe Yeshua fulfilled the Mosaic Law and is no longer in force. "

    How many you know? 2 1/2?

    "A messianic Jew is simply a Jewish person that believes in Yeshua. And if you follow Yeshua, then you know the Mosaic Law has been rendered inoperative and fulfilled in Messiah. We now follow the Law of Messiah, not the Law of Moses. "

    Just because you define a Messianic a certain way, does not mean that is correct. That is the way you have been taught, and is incorrect.

    You see, two can play this game.......

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  8. Chris,

    RE: "All the Messianic Jews I know believe Yeshua fulfilled the Mosaic Law and is no longer in force."

    All the Messianic Jews you know are wrong. Yeshua emphatically stated that no one should think He came to abolish the Law. Rather, He came to exemplify the Torah. Here's a little excerpt from a post of my entitled "the Triple Locked Door":

    Here is the passage at issue:

    "17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

    18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

    19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven," (Matthew 5:17-19)

    Here is the three-part analysis:

    (1) In vs. 17, "abolish" and "fulfill" cannot be synonymous. If they were synonymous then the passage would have the absurd reading "I have not come to abolish but to abolish." Thus, logically, Yeshua argues that the Sinaitic Torah continues to be valid. Furthermore, the word for "fulfill" is the Greek verb pleroo which means "to carry into effect, bring to realization, realize" (Thayer). Yeshua thus indicated that He came to exemplify the Torah, to show everyone what real Torah observance looks like.

    (2) In vs. 18, Yeshua asserts that Sinaitic Torah continues until the cosmos is obliterated. The last time I checked, we're still here. Thus, the Sinatic Torah continues to be valid;


    (3) In vs. 19, Yeshua warns that if a teacher says that the Sinatic Torah is abolished (in any way) that such a teacher will be rebuked as "least in the kingdom".

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  9. GA, 5
    Freedom in Christ
    1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. 2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

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    1. Don't explain why you posted these verses, lets just pit scripture against scripture, and assume each others interpretations. :P

      Romans 3:31
      Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

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  10. I'm curious, what is the orthodox messianic interpretation of Paul's epistle to the Galation church?

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    1. David,

      Thank you for your comment. I wrote a post about this a while back, trying to break down the 2 different Messianic approaches to the central issue in Galatians (specifically Galatians chapter 5). Check out this link and let me know what you think:

      http://orthodoxmessianic.blogspot.com/2012/10/whats-harm-two-different-messianic.html

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  11. The church have misinterpreted Paul's letters...This sums it up for me:

    2 Peter 3:15-17

    15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

    17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.

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  12. Two things... For those who say that the law is abolished, this would contradict the Hebrew Scriptures. Jews were required never to more to the right or to the left from the Torah of Moses, so that only gives them one more reason to reject Yeshua.

    "Messianic is a Yeshua-follower who believes the Mosaic Law is still in force."

    That's just plain not true... A messianic is "A Christian with a kippah"... There are fare more messianic that don't keep torah than messianic that do, most would say that you are the legalistic. And because there is no Statment of Beliefs in the messianic movement and because it's only a movement that came out of the Baptist CHURCH, then you are the one that are redefining what "true" messianics are.

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  18. Peter, if you believe the law is in force you need to read Galatians and Romans. Know too that by writing what you did it means you are under the law and the law is an instrument of death, not life. Further, the mystery of the church is that Jews and Gentiles who believe in Christ while distinct, are one in Christ. And it is appropriate to use Christ or Messiah by believers; unless you intend to be offended by everything. Also I should hope he sounds like a Christian if by Christian you mean one who believes Jesus Christ was fully God and man who saved us by Grace through his shed blood in death and resurrection in Power and Glory. To close, a believer is under the precepts of the Messiah for living and constrained by love of the brethren for righteous living, but we are saved by Grace and must appropriate this for living such a life. Because those who try not to sin will, but only appropriating Grace gives us victory against our sin nature. And if you hate Paul as is a trend now, I hope that you realize (if you are in this trend) that it is his writings that gave us the Lord's Supper as a regular worship observance along with church precepts; plus rules for the Church for both Jews and Gentiles. Peter, James and John do not explain this.

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  19. Sorry for all the deletes; my computer got goofy. : )

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  20. I'm a Messianic Jew, from a Chabad upbringing. I'm called to Pastoral ministry, and to bring the Gospel to my people. I still live Jewishly, am encouraged to keep living Jewishly by the president and faculty of my Bible College, my pastors (there's not a healthy Messianic congregation in my hometown nor in the town my school is in), and I do. Sam, nor any other truly born again Jew believes what you do. Your assessment of Sam and his ministry is nothing more than a character assasenation, and its l'shon hara! Sam's ministry is a great testimony of how God is using him to reach out to our people!

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