This morning I was flipping around the AM dial as I drove home from church. It’s kind of a sick practice of mine, wanting to hear what local pastors are preaching. Often it just irritates me (but I have to point out that I always enjoy the sermons from a certain pastor named Randy).
Today on the way to church I had stopped on a certain station that I was not familiar with, so when I got back in the car this station was still on, and I caught this pastor (I’m assuming – there was no identification of either the speaker or church when it was over) in mid-sentence.
The speaker was going on about the pagan origins of Easter, which is nothing I haven’t heard before, and which I am still not impressed by. He went on to criticize the early church (Eastern Orthodox), the Roman Catholics, Lutherans and Calvinists. He then went on to say that Yeshua did not have a people; there were hundreds of denominations, but no “one people.”
Now, it began to get interesting. He explained that the only way for there to be “one people” was for everyone to start following the Torah. And, just to make sure that I hadn’t misheard him or misinterpreted what he said, he made sure that this was understood; Christianity was a Jewish religion, and following the Jewish Law confirms that we are indeed followers of Yeshua. This also sets us apart from “the world.” Indeed. He rattled off a list of feasts and holy days we should be observing, but failed to mention where to find spotted goats or sheep for sacrifices…
When I got home I did a bit of research, trying to find out more about this guy. I figured he was some sort of Messianic Jew, due to his continued use of Hebrew names, etc. The station turned out to be an “all Christian” station based here, whose purpose is “to network people, resources, needs, news, events, fellowships and ministries and businesses in order to combine and multiply our resources, efforts and prayers.”
Or so they say. Reading further, the website states,
We especially want to welcome those who are still fellowshiping in Christian churches who are seeking a deeper walk with Yahweh, the God of the Bible. Our theme verse is Rev. 12:17 – those who keep the commandments of Yah and the testimony of Yahshua/Jesus.
Alrighty, then. I should mention that a number of non-Hebrew-oriented churches and ministries have shows on the station, or have placed ads on the site, or are otherwise mentioned somewhere on this site. (It’s a really bad website design, too… but that’s another issue.)
I wonder, do they realize that this group’s (I still don’t know who they really are) goal is to Judaize Christian churches? That is, they mean to convert grace-believing Christians into followers of the Torah. Or, at least those seeking “a deeper walk with Yahweh, the God of the Bible” (as opposed to the God of where?).
I wonder if these new Judaizers have ever read Galatians, or any of Paul’s other letters. Let me quote from Galatians 1:
6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
So what do we say then about these very helpful, well-meaning folks? What about “After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort (Gal 3:3)”? Or, “All who rely on the Law are under a curse (v 10)?” Paul challenges us to take a stand on the Gospel, and send false teachers packing down the road to Perdition. It really bugs me that Christians think they are so holy when they quote, “don’t judge,” but they’ll stand by and watch the Gospel being flushed down the toilet.
You foolish Galatians!
Here’s the bottom line that Paul drew in his letter to the Galatians: If you add anything to Jesus – that is, any laws or traditions or eating kosher – you haven’t just missed the Gospel, you’ve trashed it completely! There is no middle ground, no “tolerance” when it comes to grace.
Now, you can going ahead and do all kinds of good works, because they’re good things to so. Just don’t think you’re earning grace because of them. You are “good Christians” because Jesus was good, not because you are. Think of it this way: Grace produces good works, works do not produce grace.
This little sermon today is the most blatant attack on the Gospel that I can recall hearing, and it makes me angry. I’ve got a book about to be published (sometime this summer), tentatively called Free, that explains all this in far greater detail. Check back in a month or two for more information on the book.
In the meantime, read Galatians, and be Free.