Before we answer this, I’m wondering if you are hearing things like this. Any response?
This is unbelievably forward of me. I am a reader of your blog. I
have a question about New Testament history, perhaps you can point me to
a resource or might want to write about it on your blog sometime.
I belong to a message board for evangelical Christian mothers. An
increasing number of the members are intrigued by “Messianic worship”
and quite a few have found congregations in which they can worship in a
more Jewish fashion while upholding their Christian beliefs. They begin
to refer to Jesus as Yeshua, replace Christmas with Hanakkah, replace
Easter with Passover, start keeping Sabbath starting at sundown on
Fridays, and dream of becoming fully Torah observant.
Some believe Christians are /commanded/ to do this. Convincingly one
woman explained that Acts 15:19-21 points to the idea that Gentile
believers were being directed to abstain from a few key things in the
short term and for long term teaching (v. 21) they would naturally hear
Moses (the Law) expounded upon in the synagogue…and therefore learn to
keep the rest of the Law.
Others believe that when we are saved, Torah is written on our hearts,
and we will be “prompted by the Spirit to live Torah.”
They believe that the reason this is news to most Christians is that
anti-semitic pressure arising from events between AD 70-300 caused an
intentional stripping of Jewishness from the beliefs of the church.
Here is how one woman (who is a rabbi in a messianic congregation) put it:
With the destruction of the Temple in 70AD there was a revolt that
the Messianic believers missed because they had heeded Jesus’ words
and fled to the mountains. They were accused of being traitors to
the Jews. So they stayed and participated in the next revolt until
the rabbis named a general messiah and then they had to leave. This
caused a strong split between the messianic church and traditional
Judaism. Combine that with it being dangerous to be Jewish and the
teachings of the Church became radically anti-semitic. The
*intentional goal* was to strip everything Jewish looking, sounding
or rooted from the Gospel and the NT writings. This is the first
time you hear teachings that Jesus came to start a *new* religion
instead of radically reform the Jewish understanding of Torah
(interpret it correctly); or that Sabbath was *changed* to Sunday;
that Torah didn’t apply to believers. Through 70AD and until this
shift began there was an understanding of everything being rooted in
Torah. If you study church history you can see the transition.
This really has my head spinning because as a Protestant (and generally
leaning to New Covenant theology, to boot) I’ve believed that a blessing
of the New Covenant is to not have to follow the Law of Moses, but the
law of love.
I’m suspicious when people find a new way of looking at things after
2000 years of viewing the situation differently. But the explanation is
plausible. On the other hand it also sounds a little
conspiracy-theory-ish. It’s always tempting to believe that the truth
has been suppressed and subverted until MY group rediscovered it.
I just don’t have the background to know. Does any of this ring a bell
for you? Can you point me to a resource?
Thanks very much. Please excuse me if I’ve been terribly presumptuous
in writing to you!