Sunday, January 12, 2020

A Biblical Perspective on the Hebrew Roots Movement

Some people, knowing of my love and support for Israel and the Jewish people and my desire to promote better relations between Christians and Jews, might assume that I would support the "Hebrew Roots Movement (HRM)." I do not. Here is why.

Looking at the spectrum of Christian views today regarding the Old Testament reminds me of the verse, "For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." (Matt. 7:14). On the one hand you have Andy Stanley and some other megachurch pastors saying the Old Testament (including the Ten Commandments) is irrelevant for Christians.

On the other hand, you have the Hebrew Roots Movement saying that we need to keep the law, the Sabbath, and even kosher dietary laws. While I am not questioning the salvation of those who follow either approach, both miss the mark terribly in terms of discerning God's will. (Read this article for a critique of the HRM that doesn't pull any punches.)

For my part, I see Romans 11 as being crucial to a correct understanding. The Church is the wild branches that have been grafted into the olive tree. But the tree is Judaism that comes from God's covenant with Abraham, not the Mosaic Covenant that applied to the Jews at Mount Sinai and their descendants. As Gentiles who are grafted into the tree, it does not mean that Christians keep the Law given to the Jews (see Acts 15). But in coming to God by faith, we follow the example of Abraham (Romans 4, Galatians 3, Hebrews 11, James 2). And whenever we make disciples among the nations, we are fulfilling God's promise to Abraham that all the families of the earth would be blessed through him.