Much of the debate over the One Law issue has erupted on various Internet blogs, and on blogs there is often a dynamic present of provoking and antagonizing people to anger. It should go without saying that this is not a fruit of the Spirit.
Today I am very happy to announce Messianic apologist J.K. McKee has published a landmark paper on the issue of the applicability of God’s commandments: One Law For All.
(For the uninitiated, “one law” refers to verses in the first 5 books of the Bible which suggest there is a single law for both Israelites and those joined to Israel. It’s a big deal because it affects whether both Jews and gentiles should keep God’s commandments (One Law), or if the commandments are just for Jews (Bilateral Ecclesiology).
McKee is a good guy, I love him personally, I love him as a teacher and Bible scholar. He regularly rises above the fray: when all of us are busy fighting our Super Important Internet Battles, John is busy digging into the text. I’ve seen him bless folks that curse him out. Respond kindly to insults. I think in my years of knowing him, I’ve seen John lose his cool maybe once? Even his theological enemies will attest to this. It’s one of the reasons I follow his ministry: fruit of God’s spirit is evident there unlike any other ministry I know.
McKee’s organization, TNNOnline, is grounded in the Scriptures, Biblically conservative, free of pop theology, a bastion of apologetics, standing firm in the face of shifting ministerial alliances. If you’re a Messianic looking for stability, I would recommend John’s ministry before any other.
So when I hear John McKee has written a landmark paper, my ears perk up. When it’s on an issue so important to our movement, an issue I’ve put much thought and debate into over the last few years, one that affects even the Messianics in my congregation, I turn a careful ear.
This paper is important. It cuts past the distracting noise and goes to the heart of the matter, difficult as the subject matter is. As John puts it,
Sadly, when [one law] verses get mentioned among different Messianic teachers or leaders, rather than some reasonable discussion and constructive dialogue occurring, a great deal of accusations and misstatements are instead more likely to be made. The amount of negative emotions present, from all the various sides regarding the different One Law verses, has been quite disproportionate to the actual amount of careful dissection of these verses. There has been much written about the One Law subject matter, but most of it has unfortunately been in the form of refutations and counter responses to other teachers, with some territorialism quite easily detected.
I laughed at this only because it’s true. Accusations and misstatements…does that sound like any blogs to you? If not, you haven’t been reading many Messianic blogs lately.
Go check out the paper. I’ll be blogging about its contents in the next few weeks.
Have a good shabbat.