Thursday, September 20, 2012

Muddlesome terms ...

I blew it.  Again.

I won't quite call it the "2X4" treatment, but G-d did bring me to a rather rude awakening recently.  About something I'd essentially been claiming in err.  So this post comes to you with the sheer purpose of clarifying some muddlesome terms.

For some time now, I've been claiming to have "a foot in the door of the Hebrew Roots movement."  Frankly, I saw the phrase used by a professional blogger and thought it rather clever.  I also completely misunderstood it.

See, I had grown up literally immersed in a family culture impassioned for Israel, both the land and the people.  My parents were long-time supporters of Chosen People Ministries and I was practically raised listening to the very pro-Israel Calvary-style teaching of Chuck Missler (Koinonia House Ministries).  I loved the history and culture of my Savior, my Messiah.   But we weren't Messianic; we were, in a word, non-denominational.  Actually, "interdenominational" would probably be a better description.  Mom was raised Roman Catholic.  Dad was raised Nazarene.  Then he opted for LDS for a while (but that didn't "take" with him, either).  By the time I was born, they just kind of served G-d in whatever church He deposited them.   Calvary Chapel and Converge Worldwide (formerly known as the General Baptist Convention) were the strongest influences in my memory of church involvement.  But I digress ...

Point is, I never really realized how hard-core people could-and would-get about doctrinal differences.  Romans 14 was a bit of mystery to me.  Why the heck did Paul have to write all that?  The bitter reality of how divided the Bride becomes over issues not relating to salvation didn't quite hit home ... until college.

Phew-boy!  That was a rude awakening.  I joined a supposedly non-denominational campus ministry but as I got to know people, those doctrinal differences really started to make their presence known.  I decided I needed some kind of label, an identifier so that people wouldn't be so taken aback when I opened my mouth.  You know, kind of like the Scottish Tartan?   The tartan tells the clan's history and mantra in a single visual.  Christians, I've found, kind of lean on their eschatalogical self-ascribed labels to do the same.

Originally I said I had Messianic (Jewish) leanings as far as doctrine was concerned, but that wasn't altogether correct.  Still, given all the options out there, it seemed the best fit ... except for the whole, "I wasn't born a Jew" part.  I am a Celt saved by and completely in love with a Jewish Messiah, sworn to serve the God of the Hebrews.  How the heck am I supposed to "label" that succinctly?

So when I first heard the term, "Hebrew Roots," I thought "Sure!  Gentile church has roots in the Hebrew faith system.  This label acknowledges the validity of both Old and New Testaments to the Gentile Believer.  Awesome."

I should have done my homework.

Yes, the Hebrew Roots movement does place heavy emphasis on Torah Observance by the followers of Y'shua (Jesus) and frankly, I take no issue with that.  In fact, I am not posting to critique the Hebrew Roots movement at all, but to simply correct my own misinterpretation ... and apologize for any misinformation I may have communicated.  I will state, however, that there IS a distinctive difference between the Hebrew Roots movement and Messianic Judaism.  Don't mix them up - you'll likely offend a whole lotta people like I'm sure I did.  ::hide::

It's still difficult for me to succinctly define my personal beliefs concerning the Gentile church and Torah observance (though Jews for Jesus touched on it beautifully).  I'd have to return to my old claim, "I'm a gentile in love with the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."  And I want everyone to know Him as I do.  Yes, I am a bit preoccupied with the ways of my Kinsman Redeemer, much in the same way I'm preoccupied with my husband and his ways.  And perhaps that's better than any title.

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