Ever see some ugly, inflammatory thing said on internet, and you, filled with emotional zeal, just had to respond? You nerd-ily peck away at your keyboard with great fury, showing the world just how wrong that other guy is.
I dub that reactionary blogging.
I promised 2010 would see less reactionary blogging from me, and I’ve been faithful to that promise. Despite one Kineti blog reader mistakenly thinking I’ve abandoned my principles, in reality I’ve focused more on contributing good to the Messianic community – unifying topics, Messianic community round-ups, Chavah Messianic Radio, the Greatest Commandments Project, for example – things that benefit Messiah’s intarweb-dwelling kin.
But behold: today you all witness a reactionary post on the Kineti blog!
:cue boos and hisses:
But I promise it is not emotionally charged. Instead, it’s meant as a public, on-the-record response to another Messianic blog. Give the other side a chance to speak. Get both sides on record. That’s a good thing.
Here’s the statement I’m reacting to:
The fact that laws given to Israel in the Torah do not necessarily apply to non-Jews is evident from Deuteronomy 14:21. This verse is one of the banes of the universal Torah movement (One Law, Two House). It goes against every principle of the universal Torah movement to say that a gentile may eat unclean meat. To date, I have never heard a cogent reply from the One Law folk about how this verse fits with their theology.
I found this statement amusing: never once have I considered this verse problematic. It’s amusing to see it portrayed as this show-stopping, dead-in-the-water problem, when in reality it’s a complete non-issue.
I do not consider Deut. 14 problematic, and I’ll explain why in a moment. That Derek thinks it’s problematic suggests he is misinformed about what, exactly, pro-Torah folks believe, and that he may be missing a really big honkin’, lights-a-blazin’ important part of our Scriptural understanding. Yes, honkin’, I say!
Here’s the verse he’s talking about:
Do not eat anything you find already dead. You may give it to an alien living in any of your towns, and he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner.
Derek thinks this is a problem for pro-Torah people because it says gentiles can eat unclean things.
The reason this is not a problem for us is simple: In Messiah, gentiles are part of the commonwealth of Israel. Messiah made a transformation in gentiles. They are no longer the unclean dogs, foreigners, the heathens. They are not the foreigners or unclean gentiles referred to in the Torah. They are first-class citizens within the commonwealth of Israel. Or, as Paul said, contrasting gentiles before-and-after Messiah,
Remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” — remember that at that time you were separate from Messiah, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Messiah Yeshua you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Messiah.
Deuteronomy 14 presents no problem, as gentiles are no longer separated from God or excluded from citizenship in the commonwealth of Israel, nor are they foreigners to the covenants of the promise. The gentiles of Deuteronomy 14:21 and gentiles in Messiah are not the same people group. I would even venture a guess that Derek would agree with me on this point.
Deuteronomy 14:21 is a problem only if one ignores Messiah’s transformative role in regards to gentiles and Israel. Indeed, Derek’s post is silent on this honkin’ big crux issue.
Ok, I promise to stop using the word “honkin’” now.
While both parties agree the Torah was given to Israel, and both parties also agree Messiah made gentiles members of the commonwealth of Israel, what bilateral ecclesiologists (or at least, Derek Leman) fail(s) to recognize is that Messiah is central to this grand Torah-for-the-nations idea.
The Torah cannot go forth from Zion without Messiah. Now Messiah has come, he’s changed gentiles into first-class citizens in the commonwealth of Israel, and the Torah is going out into the whole world.
That old liturgical prayer,
ki m’Tzion teitzei Torah u’devar-Adonai m’Yerushalayim
is from an ancient prophecy found in both Isaiah and Micah:
Many peoples will come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths."
The Torah will go forth from Zion,
the word of the LORD from Jerusalem
These prophecies are coming to pass, right now. Because of Messiah, God’s righteous commandments have gone global. (Praise God!) Let’s not oppose it.