Biblical Christianity vs. Traditional Christianity – part 4

Biblical Christianity vs. Traditional Christianitypart 4

This is our fourth and final installment in this series: Biblical Christianity vs. Traditional Christianity.  In order to understand this episode in this series, you will need to have read and digested the first three.  Here the links to the previous 3 parts to this series: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

During the first three installments of this series, there is a group of highly devoted religious folks that have been cheering me on in exposing the pagan-rooted, Roman Catholic traditions and practices so many, so-called Protestant Evangelical Bible-Believing churches have embraced and upheld for the last 80 years or so (but prior to that, they were ardent protesters of such things).  There is a group that has been saying – “Way to Go, Andy, you tell them … !” … but, like the commercial on TV says: but, wait, there is more.

God doesn’t want us to forget that He worked, in Christ (in the Messiah), via the Holy Spirit, through the Apostles to expose another fallacyThe Judaizers.  During the time of Paul, the apostle, there was a group of Jewish believers in Yeshua, of the background of the Pharisees, that followed Paul’s church planting routes, and attempting to corrupt those new, mostly Gentile, churches that were recently planted by Paul and/or Paul’s team, etc.  Those Judaizers attempted to intimidate, with highly persuasive speech, those Gentiles to convert to Judaism in all facets of their lives – either in order to be saved – or – after they were saved by Jesus (born again).  They wanted those Gentiles to “follow the Law of Moses” along with “following Jesus” (or Yeshua).  They would say that these Gentiles “must OBEY the LAW of Moses” in order to be saved – and/or – “they must OBEY all of the Law of Moses” in order to follow Jesus Christ (Yeshua h’Mashiach), etc. And, in some cases, as with many of the Gentile churches of the region of Galatia – they were successful, in some degree. And that is why Paul wrote the Book of Galatians, to combat that false teaching that corrupted the Gospel (read the book of Galatians).

Thankfully, we have the record of this in Acts 15:1-35.  The Council of Elders, Apostles and church leaders met in Jerusalem to examine these claims – that Gentiles coming to faith in Jesus Christ – “must be circumcised and OBEY all the LAW of Moses” in order to be saved or to maintain their salvational relationship with God in Christ Jesus, etc.  Please, read Acts 15:1-35 in its entirety, and notice the verbiage of the Letter that was sent to the Gentile churches in Acts 15:23-39 – you’ll see there is nothing laid upon the new Gentile believers that would seem, in any way, force Gentiles to observe anything within the Law of Moses, at all.  You must understand, that those Gentile churches in Galatia (region – see the book of Galatians) and in region around Antioch, only had that Letter to read – the text of the letter is in Acts 15:23-39. You would be hard-pressed to find anything in the text of that Letter that would even give a hint that Gentiles, in Christ, needed to follow any of the Law of Moses – observe the Sabbath, Tithe, Circumcision, etc.  They were free to follow Jesus Christ, within the context of the New Covenant, while being sensitive to the Jews still living around them (the restrictions regarding “things strangled, eating things with blood”, etc.). While it is clear, beyond any shadow of any doubt, the new Gentile believers in Jesus Christ were to avoid, reject, and renounce all idolatry and paganism, they were also NOT being forced to become Jews (e.g.: observe the Sabbath, pay tithes, give offerings or sacrifices in the Temple, and if you are male – get circumcised, etc. – or to observe any of the other 613 Laws of Moses to Israel, by God in that specific Covenant), etc.  That Letter put the nail in the coffin of the Judaizers’ False Doctrine that corrupted the Gospel of Christ (again, please, read the book of Galatians).

In today’s world – The Judaizers are ALIVE and WELL – repackaged in the various Hebrew Roots Movements and/or Messianic Judaism Movements, and the like, that you can find on the internet, today.  Again, as I’ve said from the pulpit many times, we, as Biblical Christians must and should know our Hebrew Rootsthere would be no Biblical Christianity without the Old TestamentBut to go head-long into any of these Movements and then become a legalist – is no different than the heresy and false doctrines that the apostle Paul (Rabbi Shaul) faced in his day with the Judaizers (again, read the book of Galatians).  It is the same set of false doctrines repackaged for “today’s world” with no difference in essential essence, etc.

Today, the scenario plays out like this – a born again Christian, finds out that many of the non-Biblical, post-Biblical, so-called Christian traditions, celebrations, practices, rituals, and yearly “holidays”, etc. are Roman Catholic. And, then, he or she finds out that all those traditions, celebrations, practices, rituals, and yearly “holidays” all have pagan roots. They were all fully idolatrous and pagan in their origin and the Roman Catholic church “Christianized” those pagan things, etc.  Then, that born again Christian stops participating in those things – or at least attempts to.  In the process he or she finds out  or “stumbles upon” some new Hebrew Roots ministry and, “coincidentally” that ministry is also exposing those pagan things of Roman Catholicism.  With very slick, highly persuasive speech he or she is convinced to follow this Hebrew Roots Messianic Judaism as a Replacement of those things he or she used to participate in.  Then, as time goes by, he or she is convinced that other born again Christians MUST or SHOULD follow all the Law of Moses, as he or she is doing, now … thus, he or she has become a Judaizer, a Hebrew Roots Movement Legalist – just exactly as those that Paul faced during his day.  Thus, the full Pendulum Swing of Extremes occurs and seems to be the normal tendency and pattern of folks realizing the pagan-roots of the many Roman Catholic traditions, etc. They go from one extreme to the other – from Roman Catholicism or Roman Catholic-Lite – to Hebrew Roots Legalism / Messianic Judaism Legalism.  And they think they are correct in their new-found religious logic.  This was also similar to what happened within the few churches in the region of Galatia during Paul’s time (read the book of Galatians).  Those churches in Galatia – for a different reason and motivation came to the same conclusion after listening to some slick, highly persuasive speech about their need to OBEY the Law of Moses in order to become good Christians or good Followers of Yeshua, etc.

Thus, God wants us to understand His Word, which is based upon what Covenant of God is in force, and the 3 P’s.  Each Covenant is a Framework of how we are to follow God and how God will both respond and bless or curse, etc. as the case may be.  The Covenant of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacobpreceded the Mosaic Covenant of God to the nation of Israel. It is very important to understand that The Abrahamic Covenant (i.e.: The Covenant of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) is eternal and unconditional. It was partially individualistic and partially generational. It was partially related to Land and partially related to Blessing all Nations through Israel.  The Blessing part – is what we are a part ofin Christ, in the Gospel of Christ.  We see this revealed well in Romans 2 thru 4 and in Galatians 1 thru 5.  That part of the Abrahamic Covenant – has an Extension attached to it -> The New Covenant in the Messiah of Israel, the Savior of the World – Jesus Christ (Yeshua h’Mashiach).  In the New Covenant – we find in the book of Hebrews chapters 5 thru 10 and in Jeremiah 31:31-33 – it is NOT LIKE the Mosaic Covenant – it is a New Covenant – which will include Israelis and Gentiles, alike, in a New Body (see Romans 1:16; Ephesians 2:11-22; Romans 11:1-36).  And this is where the Hebrew Roots Movement Legalists get things wrong – we, Gentiles are NOT Grafted in along side or within Israel – be we are GRAFTED IN at the point of Isaac. We are grafted in as sons or children of Abraham – not great, great, great grandchildren.  Galatians 3 is very precise in its choice of words used.  We are grafted in BEFORE the Mosaic Covenant – at the point of living in the Tents with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – in a Personal Relationship with God – in Covenant Relationship.  We must understand, now, that we are in the New Covenant in Christ.   Over and over again, we find that this New Covenant in Christ is NOT LIKE the Mosaic Covenant – at all.  It is Brand New – in the Messiah of Israel.  It is NOT a Modified Mosaic Covenant in which we must do certain rituals, fulfill certain obligations, pay tithes and offerings, keep the sabbath, be circumcised, go to the Temple, etc.  That was the way it was under the Law of Moses. But we are NO LONGER under the Law of Moses (again, read the book of Galatians).  Galatians 5:18 is very clear regarding this: “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are NOT under the Law.” Thus, if you are NOT led by the Spirit – you ARE under the Law. Which is it going to be?

Folks balk at this and say that we MUST KEEP the SABBATH – didn’t Jesus Keep the Sabbath?
Well, of course He did. He was a Jew, living during the time of the Old Covenant of the Law of Moses in the Land of Israel. He said that He came to fulfill the LawBUT did Jesus ever say that all His new Disciples in the New Covenant were supposed to fulfill the Law of Moses? Of course not. He said things that relate to the Law of Moses during the time it was in force in the land of Israel, before the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) – such as when He healed folks and told them to go to the Temple and tell the priests certain things and to offer certain sacrifices.  Remember, the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. and the Levitical Priests were disbanded, as well.  Thus, there really is NO Way to fulfill the Law of Moses, since, there is NO Temple/Tabernacle  –  AND – there are NO Levitical Priests – thus all of Leviticus 23 / Numbers 28 & 29 cannot be fulfilled.  That is according to God’s Word, and should not be ignored Jesus is our sacrifice, New High Priest, and we, the Body of Christ are the New Growing, Living Temple (ref. Hebrews chapters 3 thru 10; Ephesians 2:11-22). For more on this – please, go to: The Mosaic Covenant, the Israeli “Sabbath Laws”, and the New Covenant in Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus Christ)

What should we have learned?

  1. We should have learned that God wants us to stick to His Word, alone, as we follow Christ, together, as the Body of Christ, and as local church families. SOLA SCRIPTURA – or Scripture ONLY – was the Loud Cry of the Protestant Reformation.
  2. Along with Embracing God’s Holy Word, alone – it also means that we must REJECT that which is false and Pretends to be “Christian”. We’ve seen that the Roman Catholic Church “Christianized” many idolatrous / pagan practices, beliefs, traditions, and celebrations and they are still embraced, supported, and propagated, today, as if they are really “Christian”.  But the tragedy is, that many of those “churches” that have their origins in the Protestant Reformation are now more than ever, embracing more and more of these Roman Catholic, post-biblical inventions as if they are, indeed, truly, Christian.  Thus, we must Continue to Protest and Reject such pagan-rooted and man-made religious things that pretend to be Christian, but are plainly not.
  3. We are NOT obligated, forced to, nor do we have to follow various rituals, celebrations, feast days, etc. of the Law of Moses in order to follow Jesus or to be saved by Jesus. The Judaizer Heresy of Paul’s day has been repackaged, today, as the Hebrew Roots Movement, the Messianic Judaism Movement, and other names like that. They are still pushing: that unless you are circumcised, keep the sabbath, and follow all the Law of Moses you cannot be saved or you cannot truly be living the Life our Messiah Yeshua wants you to. Anything short of that is sin, to them. We cannot avoid Acts 15, the book of Galatians and the book of Hebrews regarding what those related passage teach about this modern-day Judaizer Heresy. They all warn us about this heresy and tell us this – that we are No Longer under the Law of Moses (or under the Covenant of the Mosaic Law of Israel).  Hebrews 8:13 says, “In that He says, “A New Covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” -> You can’t get any clearer than that, no can you?

In Conclusion:
We must follow God’s Word, following God in a Simply Biblical way
– but it is NOT simpleton. We are to Simply Follow Jesus according to the Word of God, alone – and we cannot avoid some passages, such as those in in Acts 15, Galatians, and Hebrews to justify our modern-day Judaizer heresies we may hold. Neither should we embrace Roman Catholicism nor any pagan, worldly beliefs, traditions, celebrations and/or practices.  Just because some Christian, or so-called Christian Pope “ordained” something, or Christianized some Pagan thing – doesn’t make it a “Christian thing”.   We must, follow Jesus Christ, in the New Covenant, according to the Bible, alone – and not according to some Pope or the Law of MosesWe must be in the Simply Biblical, Sound Doctrinal Middle Ground of Biblical Christianity.

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Biblical Christianity vs. Traditional Christianity – part 3

Biblical Christianity vs. Traditional Christianitypart 3

This is our third installment in this series, Biblical Christianity vs. Traditional Christianity.  If you, somehow, happened upon this installment and you have not read the first two installments, please, read those first.  Click Here, to go to the beginning of this series.

In this third installment we will look at the First of the two major reactions or responses to what was presented in the first two installments. These reactions do follow a predictive model of how folks would naturally react or respond.  One reaction is to JUSTIFY their post-biblical, non-biblical, so-called “Christian” religious traditions. which are really Roman Catholic, pagan-rooted, syncretistic blending, etc. The other reaction is to Join one of the many factions of Hebrew Roots Legalism Movements. These are the two major reactions and/or responses. So, let’s explore the first one – Justification – a little bit and see how it measure up to what Jesus Christ and His Holy Apostles have to say about them.

Justification:
It has been amazing the kinds of reactions I’ve experienced while preaching, teaching and writing on this subject. Folks who are very logical, very concise in their apologetic wisdom regarding defending the Christian faith, seem to throw out all semblance of sanity in their radical defense and justification of these “traditions” that stem directly from the Roman Catholic church’s attempt to compromise with and to seek to “Christianize” and/or “redeem” fully pagan and worldly traditions, annual celebrations, beliefs, practices, and rituals.  One very popular Christian Apologetics Ministry that is almost always very logical, Biblical, consistent and very articulate in the defense of Biblical Christianity, Biblical Creation (6 – 24 days, Young Earth, Young Universe) – they explained to me that I was wrong.  And they said that a certain Roman Catholic tradition that I was exposing as pagan (its historically verified pagan roots), they said that it was fully Christian and Biblical.  So, I challenged them, and asked if they could find, in the New Testament, Jesus and/or any of Christ’s Apostles celebrating this “tradition”, etc.  Their retort, was the following (summarized), “We have electric lighting. We use modern music and electronic presentation, like PowerPoint, computers, electronic musical instruments, and air conditioning. Paul and the apostles didn’t have those things. So, in the same way, they didn’t have these newer, post-biblical Christian traditions.” I think you can see through that horrible “logic” if that is what anyone could call it.  For a person from a very popular Christian Apologetics Ministry – of which I love and support – for them to use that kind of so-called “logic” to distract from the truth, is just unbelievable. If they would use their normal consistent approach to find the truth about anything else, they do that very well and should come to the same conclusion as I did, if they’d apply it in this situation. But, when confronted with this, it turns out that they love their Roman Catholic, pagan-rooted, post-biblical, non-biblical traditions more than the Word of God or God Himself (ref. 2 Timothy 3:16-4:4).

In another instance, I watched a video from a very popular, Southern Baptist Seminary, seeking to defend a very popular, common, Roman Catholic winter festival (a Mass – the word ends with “mas” – hint, hint).  The Biblical Scholar starts the video admitting that these traditions and celebrations are Roman Catholic, that they are pagan-rooted . . . BUT . . . he switched gears and said it is OK, now, to celebrate them, since, we, now are not bowing down to those old idols, and worshiping false gods in our newer traditions, etc.  I say – wow – ridiculous. He would never use that same Biblical Hermaneautic (i.e.: approach and framework of interpreting the Bible) with any other kind of subject.  It seems that folks will do anything to promote, defend, and support these pagan-rooted, post-biblical, non-biblical traditions – even within the Southern Baptist churches.

To add to this, when I was looking through LIFEWAY Books online (the Southern Baptist Bookstore, online) they had a whole section regarding “Discovering our Liturgical Past”my brain exploded. This was about 2 years ago.  They must’ve received a ton of complaints, because, I cannot find that section or those books in any Topic Section like that anymore.  Then I noticed, more and more, books on LENT, and other Roman Catholic Traditions creeping into the lists of new books.  Again, these are the very things the Protestant Reformation PROTESTED against the Roman Catholic church about.  The Reformers cried out – SOLA SCRIPTURA! – Scripture ONLY.  The Reformers wanted the church to go back to the Bible – and the Bible, only – as the basis for everything the church believes, supports, promotes, defends, and does (mission, etc.).  I thought, the last place on the planet that I would find Roman Catholic Traditions infiltration would be the Southern Baptists – but it is happening, little by little – like the, proverbial, Frog in the Kettle.

 

 

God has something to say about this – in Deuteronomy 12:29-31 – God specifically warns Israel to NOT go and find out how the pagans worshiped their false gods – and then come back and worship Him in that way.
An example of this is seen in 2 Chronicles 33King Manasseh repented of his sins and started to put in reforms to get rid of all the idolatry in the Kingdom of the House of Judah (the southern kingdom).  Then we read in verse 17:

Nevertheless the people sacrificed still in the high places, but only to Yahweh their God.
2 Chronicles 33:17

If you are a student of the Bible, you would have read, many times, God’s Hatred of His People sacrificing on the High Places – since, they were used exclusively, in the past, by pagan idolaters.  God’s people used to follow other gods, the hosts of the heavens and sacrifice to other gods on those High Places or worship.  Thus, if you read Exodus through Deuteronomy, God warns His people to NOT worship Him or other gods on those High Places. That practice and form of worship traces its roots, exclusively to the worship of false gods and goddesses, which includes human and child sacrifice, etc.  It was considered an abomination, in the highest degree to Yahweh God of Israel.  So, in 2 Chronicles 33:17, this practice is highlighted, in the sense, that, at that time, even though some folks were still using the High Places, they were only being used to Worship Yahweh God of Israel from that point forward.  That is the equivalent of saying, “We’ve redeemed that pagan practice and have incorporated it into our regime of ways to worship God.”  Doesn’t that “logic” sound familiar?  Again, nowhere in Scripture are God’s People commanded to “redeem” anything pagan or idolatrous. Never, NADA. In all cases, God’s People were commanded to destroy, knock down, burn, flee from and avoid. Of course, in the New Covenant, we are just to avoid.  But, you get the drift, here. God wants us to stay as far away from idolatry as possible.

Someone might say, “well, that was just the Old Testament…”  Well, read 1 Corinthians chapters 8 & 10. Pay attention to 1 Corinthians 10:14Flee idolatry! Is that plain enough for you? You see, idolatry isn’t just the bowing down to an idol, praying to it (praying to that false god – demonic entity behind it, etc.) It is all the trappings of idolatry, the worship and obeying of the pagan gods and goddesses, etc.  It is all their traditions, annual celebrations, rituals, practices, beliefs, etc.  If a person doesn’t worship, bow down to, pray to, and follow that “god” symbolized by that statue (idol) or image (icon / picture) – but fully involves himself / herself in the traditions, annual celebrations, beliefs, and/or practices – that person IS INVOLVED in IDOLATRY – from God’s Biblical Perspective.  The Apostle John warns about this in the last verse of 1st John:

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
1 John 5:21

Why would the Apostle John warn born-again disciples of Jesus Christ about Idols?  Because, Idolatry is deceptive, subtle, sticky, and addictive. If many people are “doing it” it is easier for you to go along with the crowd. You might even feel left out if you don’t participate in it.  You don’t want to feel like an outcast, do you?  You, also, might even think that this is the way we follow Christ together as Christians – even though it is NOT even in the Bible. There are no examples of anyone in the Bible following Christ in that way, etc.  But, because of the power of social-relational peer pressure, even within “churches” – folks go along with it, regardless of any misgivings.  When folks are screaming loudly, that we have to PUT CHRIST BACK INTO [Fill in the Blank] – but you find out that Christ was never in it, Jesus never did it or celebrated it, the Holy Apostles of Christ never did it or celebrated it … but you keep on doing “it” because everyone else is doing it.  You say to yourself that it is “fun” or what will we do with the kids?they will miss out on “it”, etc.  Those are all horrible reasons, non-biblical, worldly reasons. They are definitely NOT God Pleasing Reasons, for sure, based upon the Bible, alone.

Jesus told the churches of Ephesus, Pergamum, Thytira, Sardis, and Laodicea to REPENT.  That is what the church needs to do, today.  The body of Christ has compromised with, placated, supported and defended the world and paganism and she continues to promote things that God in Christ through His apostles would reject immediately.  You can’t continue in something that Christ is not pleased with and expect God to bless you, as well.  Seek to please God first and live accordingly, in Christ, according to His Holy Word, alone.

In our next installment, we will address the other response to our first two installments: going fully, headlong into the Hebrews Roots Legalism Movement … to go to the 4th Installment, please, CLICK HERE.

 

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