Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New Testament Legalism is just as bad as Old Testament Legalism

Alan Kurschner did a Pod Cast on the Hebrew Roots movement.

I agree that the Blood Moon theory is bunk.  And I agree that it's vitally important to stress how we are not Bound by The Law anymore.  And not just Ceremonial Law but Moral Law too, the Sabbath, Circumcision, Decalogue, Leviticus 18-20, all of it..  While there are lots of nuances to his approach I may not like, I agree with what he was trying to say, until he started defining the "Law of Christ".

He defines the Law of Christ as an even heavier standard to meet then the Law of Moses was.  That could not be more of an insult to Christ.  Jesus said in Matthew 11:30 "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  And in Matthew 23:4 condemning the Pharisees.  "For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."

The Basis for Alan's error would be a common misunderstanding of The Sermon on The Mount's intent. I too used to love observing how Jesus in fact makes each Law he address more difficult to obey, not easier.  But I've learned from that error, and will quote the Sermon study from the Grace Thru Faith blog.
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
Matt. 5:21-48 is a part of the Sermon on the mount that has always bothered me. It’s not what Jesus taught that’s a problem for me, but how it has been perceived.

I grew up learning that in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus was giving us a guide for holy living . But I no longer believe that was entirely the case. I believe in Matt. 5:21-48 He was expanding on His statement in Matt. 5:20 that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
For all their faults, the Pharisees and teachers of the law were men who devoted their lives to keeping even the smallest details of the Law. They thought by doing this they were earning a righteousness that would gain them admittance to God’s kingdom.  But Jesus said that even as obsessive as they were about the Law, they had fallen hopelessly short of the mark and would certainly not enter the Kingdom.
I believe what He said after that was a series of examples showing what it would take for them to attain the level of righteousness necessary to enter the kingdom in their own strength. I think He chose the first two examples because they were straight from the 10 commandments and were something no self respecting Pharisee would never dream of doing.
The "Law of Christ" is a term The Bile uses only once, in Galatians 6, I prefer the term Law of Love, which is founded on many more Bible verses like Romans 13:10, and the words of Jesus himself, and Johns Epistles.  Or "Law of Liberty" used by James.  That's Semantics however.

The Law of Love has only Two Commands.  Matthew 22:35-40 (Parallels in Mark 12 and Luke 10).
Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, "Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law?"  Jesus said unto him, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like unto it, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
 That is it. Christians should not be Legalistically judging each other on how well their behavior matches the Sermon on The Mount, or Paul's Epistles, or anything else.  As long as we're walking in the Spirit and trying to obey these Two Commands we will do well.

The point of the New Covenant is that The Law is Written on our Hearts.  Not in a book, not even The Book (Jeremiah 31:33, Romans 2:13, Hebrews 8:10 and 10:16).  As Commander William Riker once said "When has justice ever been as simple as a rulebook"

I won't accuse Alan of failing to understand Salvation by Faith Alone.  But it seems he is accusing anyone who chooses to keep any of The Law.

He does make a point to say he's all for Studying Judaism, including Rabbinic sources.  (I think Christians should be very weary of Rabbinic sources.)  But Studying is all. 

This may not be his intent, but it seems like he's accusing any Christians who Observe the Sabbath, or Jewish Holy Days and any other aspects of Mosaic Law of rejecting The Gospel, no matter what their mindset in doing so is.  He's Forgetting Romans 14.  Paul makes clear we are not to Judge other Christians who choose to or feel called by The Holy Spirit to follow Mosaic Customs, including even the Dietary Laws.  And a careful study of Scripture makes clear New Testament Christians absolutely kept the Sabbath and Observed Jewish Holy Days.  It wasn't doing these things at all Paul was condemning in those passages Alan so enjoyed citing.  Judging brethren for engaging in Jewish Customs at all is itself a form of Legalism.

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