Stemme wat waarsku teen die Torah

CT, Malmesbury

Baie, baie dankie vir jul “website” en al die briljante artikels wat getuig van uitstekende navorings en feite. Ek gaan soek gereeld antwoorde daar. Hierdie pad is maar ‘n eensame pad en ek ervaar ongelooflike onbegrip by mede-gelowiges wat ook ‘n spesiale pad met die Almagtige stap. Die afgelope week het ek drie keer ‘n artikel van Andrew Strom per e-pos ontvang wat aangestuur is deur “bekommerde gelowige vriende”. Die artikel het my baie ontstel en ek het begin om ‘n reaksie daarop te skryf. Dit is nogal ‘n moeilike taak, want waar begin mens… Ek wonder of julle ook bewus is van die artikel – interessant genoeg het ek nogal ‘n “folder” op my rekenaar van Andrew Strom se artikels, aangesien sy artikels vir my op ‘n stadium baie sin gemaak het.

Dink julle mens moet reageer op die e-pos en vure probeer doodslaan? Een van my kosbare buurvroue wat baie ontvanklik was, het nou besluit om te “run” soos Andrew hulle aanmoedig! Hy maak vir my net te veel aannames wat so verdraaid en vals is, dat mens dit seker nie daar kan laat nie, maar gaan ‘n e-pos enige verskil maak? Hy vra nogal vir kommentaar! Om hierdie aanvalle op skrif te sien, maar beslis ‘n groter impak as verbale aanvalle en ek weet nie waar dit al orals gaan draai het nie. Wanneer mens reageer en skrif kan gee wat die artikel weerspreek, kan dit tog tot gevolg hê dat mense meer daaroor gaan dink. Gee asb. vir my raad!!

RETURN of THE JUDAIZERS??

-by Andrew Strom.

I have friends who call Jesus “Yeshua”. I don’t mind it at all. I have other friends who keep the Saturday Sabbath. It doesn’t bother me too much, unless there is a kind-of “aggressive attitude” about it. But in recent years I have witnessed a worrying trend – that in my opinion is growing worse – and we need to address it. Today when a Christian tells me that they are “Torah-observant” then all kinds of alarms go off. It may be that they are just into ‘Hebrew roots’ – but usually it is a lot more than that. We all know that in the early church, the biggest problem they had was with the “Judaizers” who went around trying to convince the Gentile Christians that they must obey the letter of the Old Testament Law. This shipwrecked the faith of many. It was the biggest problem they had. The book of Galatians is all about it – and many other sections of the New Testament. It was a battle between the old Law – with its subtle bondages – and the new walk of the Spirit and of grace. A few months back, we published the testimony of a Christian woman who got involved with a Messianic group that slowly under- mined her faith in Jesus – and basically converted her gradually into a practicing Jew – even though they all thought of themselves as “Messianic Christians”! She realized later that in almost every way she had slowly had her faith in Jesus and the New Testament replaced with the keeping of the Torah. She had been “Judaized”! And I fear this is happening to a great many Christians today – in all kinds of subtle ways. This is exactly what the Bible warns against – losing the “simplicity” of the faith. And that is why Paul was so strong against the Juda- izers. He saw that Christians were being tempted – not to place their faith in Christ alone – but rather in Christ PLUS the keeping of the Law. It was no longer a simple trust in JESUS to be their righteousness. They now started to feel they had to keep the letter of the Old Law too – in order to be truly “holy”. And so they became “Judaized”. This is the worst trap possible. And so subtle! Let us look at a few vital Scriptures. Please open your Bible to Acts 15:1-

29. This whole passage is about a great meeting of the apostles to decide whether – with the new Gentile Christians – it was “necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses” (v 5). So what did the apostles conclude about this? As Peter declared during the debate about it, “Why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” (v 10). At the end of the great meeting, the apostles put out a letter to the Gentile Christians that declared: “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.” (v. 28-29). And as far as the Old Law went, that was it! In other words, no “Torah observance”, no Sabbath, no circumcision, no Old Law apart from these few

things. This brief list only. That was the pronouncement of the apostles. If they wanted to tell the Gentiles, “You must keep the Jewish Sabbath,” then this was the place to do it. But it is definitely not included. And neither are a thousand-and-one other things from the Old Testament. Of course, this should be no surprise to us. In Colossians 2, Paul tells us very clearly that Christ has “wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us” by nailing it to the cross (v. 14). He then goes on to say: “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” (v. 16-17). So all these Old Testament practices are only a “shadow” of the New. In fact, as Hebrews makes clear, the entire Old Covenant was only a ‘type’ or shadow of that which was to come. It was not the real thing! It does not make us more “holy”! The substance is found in Christ – and Him alone. The Old Torah “requirements” were nailed to the cross with Jesus. We don’t need them any more. If anybody ever tells you that the New Testament is simply a “continuation” of the Old, run a mile from that person. They simply do not know what they are talking about. In fact, what they are spouting is dangerous heresy. Thus, as Paul tells us in Romans, observing the Sabbath is only necessary if our conscience is weak in this area – and we feel we have to:- “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it” (Rom 14:1-6). So we do not “have” to observe the Sabbath. It does not make us more ‘holy’ or righteous to do so. It is simply a matter of conscience. This runs against a lot of the teaching that is doing the rounds right now. There is a lot of dangerous “Back to the Torah”-type emphasis that is bringing a lot of harm to a lot of people. Many of them don’t even realize what is happening to them. Paul clearly tells us in Galatians that you can lose your salvation by beginning to rely on the Law in your Christian walk: “You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain” (Gal 4:10-11). He then goes on to say, “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” (Gal 5:4). Alarming statements, are they not? You see, it is a direct insult to the work of Christ and to God for us to go back to the “works of the Law” to try and make us more ‘righteous’ in His sight. It is placing our trust in something other than just Jesus. We are “adding works” for our salvation. And it will not do. I believe that just like the Galatians, a lot of people today need to repent of trying to add the Old Law to their salvation – sometimes in subtle ways – sometimes major. This is not the kind of thing to toy around with. It can be utterly deadly. If you are someone who is adding “Torah observance” to your faith, I urge you to repent.

Kommentaar

Dit was lekker om weer van jou te hoor en ons is dankbaar dat Elim se website soms help om antwoorde te kry. Daar is natuurlik baie “knope” wat ons ook maar sukkel om los te kry en een daarvan is wanneer iemand met Andrew Strom se bekendheid en aansien die wêreld probeer waarsku teen die geloofspad wat ons gekies het – ‘n geloofspad wat sommiges sien as iets wat mense se geloof kan “shipwreck”, maar wat ons beleef as iets wat die Woord vir ons oopbreek en krag en betekenis gee aan ons geloof. My gevoel is dat selfs al lees en beantwoord Andrew Strom jou email persoonlik, sal dit nie ‘n duit se verskil maak aan sy sterk opinie dat mense soos ons met een of ander vorm van moderne “Judaizing” besig is nie. In dieselfde asem wil ek egter byvoeg: As jy sterk daaroor voel om te reageer, doen dit! Dalk is dit die Gees van Yahweh wat jou dring om dit te doen. Wie is ons immers om vooraf te besluit dat daar nie salf aan iemand te smeer is nie…Net ‘n paar opmerkings van my kant af oor dit wat Andrew Strom geskryf het.

1. Verreweg die meeste mense wat ek ken wat sterk voel oor die Shabbat, doen dit nie met ‘n “aggressive attitude” nie, maar met ‘n gesindheid van “no-compromise” – juis omdat hulle siek en sat is daarvan dat die kerk so maklik kompromieë aangaan en in die proses niemand se lewe werklik aanraak nie.

2. Strom is myns insiens nie heeltemal verkeerd as hy waarsku teen die gevaar om heeltemal Joods te raak nie. Die feite is dat die Jode ook nie die waarheid in sy volheid het nie en in baie opsigte afwyk van die Woord – net soos die hoofstroom Christelike kerke. Daar is beslis groepe waarvan ek weet wat ernstiger is daaroor om Joodse elemente in hulle geloof en aanbidding in te bring, as wat hulle daaroor is om die waarheid van die volle Skrif na te jaag.

3. As ‘n mens Galasiërs mooi lees, kom jy agter dat die “Judaïseerders” méér gedoen het as om die gelowiges bloot op te roep om die letter van die wet (die geskrewe Torah) te onderhou. Die groot probleem wat Shaul met hulle gehad het, was dat hulle van die gelowiges “jode” wou gemaak het – wat insluit: mondelinge tradisies (Gal 1:14), Joodse (mensgemaakte) leerstellinge (“dogmasin” – sien Kol 2:14, waar dieselfde probleem as in Galate bespreek word) en die eerste (filosofiese) beginsels van die wêreld (sien Gal 4:3 en 9). Net soos Shaul, moet ons ook hierteen waak.

4. Om te sê iemand se geloof in die Messias “had (gradually) been replaced with the keeping of the Torah”, is om die clichés van die kerk oor die afgelope 2000 jaar na te praat, sonder om die implikasies van so ‘n stelling te deurdink. Die Messias het dan die Torah gehou! Ons word dan opgeroep om navolgers van die Messias te wees! ‘n Mens kan nie verstaan hoe meeste Christene na hulleself verwys as navolgers (dissipels) van die Messias, en nogtans ‘n renons het in die onderhouding van die Torah nie.

5. Die “simplicity of the faith” is om die eenvoudige, klinkklaar boodskap van die Skrif (en die gebooie van Yahweh wat nie te swaar is nie – 1 Joh 5:3) te aanvaar en te gehoorsaam en nie jou geloof op ‘n mensgemaakte sisteem te bou nie.

6. Strom het gerieflikheidshalwe vergeet om die konteks te vermeld waarbinne die uitspraak oor nuwe gelowiges uit die heidendom (Hand 15) gemaak is. Dit staan in Hand 15:21: “Want van die ou tyd af het Mosheh in elke stad diegene wat hom verkondig, terwyl hy elke Shabbat in die sinagoges gelees word.” Met ander woorde: moenie hierdie arme mense (wat nog nooit enige blootstelling gehad het aan die Torah – of die Ou Testament soos dit vandag genoem word) versmoor met die volle “pakket” van die Torah nie – laat hulle geleidelik aan die Torah blootgestel word, wanneer dit elke Shabbat in die sinagoges gelees word.

7. Sy verstaan van Kol 2 is presies soos wat ons leermeesters dit ook verstaan het, maar myns insiens beslis nie korrek nie. Daar is ‘n stuk op ons webblad oor Kol 2 (“A new look at Col 2”) wat jy seker al gelees het.

8. Rom 14 rep nie ‘n woord oor die Shabbat nie (alles gaan oor kos aangeleenthede en dus aanvaar ons dat die “dae” hier vasdae is) en tog hou soveel “kenners” vol dat die Shabbat hier as iets opsioneel voorgestel word. Daar is ander dinge in hierdie brief waarop ‘n mens moet reageer, maar ek volstaan maar hierby. Seker daarvan jy het baie ander dinge ook opgetel.