I just finished reading Dr. Daniel Juster’s recent article titled The Danger of Jewish Roots Movements. I was left feeling somewhat confused and disappointed. I have followed Dr. Juster’s ministry for many years and he is normally clear and articulate on the subjects he addresses. He is a godly man and a great leader. However, his article cries out for a much needed response. In his article, Dr. Juster posits several errors of Jewish Roots Movements. I intend to address each of them over the next few posts. I pray that in my response, I will not misrepresent Dr. Juster’s article.
In his article, Dr. Juster states in Error #1:
“that Gentile Christians are to keep the whole Law just like Jews
I have called this error "One Law"- from the verse in Numbers 15:16 often used to justify it. I wrote a paper specifically to address this. Incredibly, these folks try to explain away Acts 15 and Galatians. They claim that all are called to keep the Law in the same way.”
Dr. Juster does not define his term “whole Law” so I may be missing his point here. However, let’s look at whether the Law is just for the Jews and that the Gentiles are mostly free from its glory, revelation, spiritual dynamics, and associated blessings. For the sake of brevity, I will a cite only a few passages with the caveat that this post, like Dr. Juster’s, is not intended to be a full treatment of any issues. Let’s start with the context Acts 15.
NAS Acts15:1 Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”
NAS Acts 15: 5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.” 6 The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter.
It seems clear from the context given, the matter addressed was directly related to how a Gentile gets saved, not how a saved Gentile should live within the covenant of salvation. It seems that some were saying the Gentile had to first change his ethnic status from Gentile to Jew through a ritual conversion conceptualized in the 1st century usage of the term circumcision. Some believed if the Gentile became Jewish, then he could be saved and directed to observe the Law of Moses. This theology touts ethnic status as the basis for getting saved. It makes salvation ethno-centric. As a pro one Law advocate, I adamantly believe that covenant status is the only basis for salvation. Covenant status is the epicenter of salvation and not ethnic status! Bloodlines, genealogies, ethnic conversions, and other sociological standings and status will not procure nor secure salvation. Salvation comes to the Gentile by the grace of God through faith in his only Son, our glorious Messiah (Acts 15:11; Eph 2:8-9). In fact, I will be so bold as to also declare with every fiber of my being: the Jewish person is also saved on the same exact basis as the Gentile – by God’s loving grace through faith in Yeshua the Messiah! There are not two laws or covenants of salvation, one for the Jew and one for the Gentile. God has only one plan of salvation for everyone regardless of whether a person’s name is Levi or Cornelius. Salvation is covenant-centric and not ethno-centric.
Salvation is by grace through faith and not a result of works of the flesh or fleshly ethnic status. Acts 15 directly addresses the matter of how a Gentile gets “saved” and thus relates directly to the issue of justification rather than sanctification. As pro one Law advocates, we do not dismiss Acts 15; we clarify it setting it in its proper context. In my opinion, Dr. Juster begs the question rather than answering the question. Whether or not a Gentile who is already saved and part of the covenant people of believing Israel should be pro Law or liberated from the Law is the real question that Dr. Juster seemingly evades. Resolving this question is the real danger. Why? Because in resolving the real issue at hand may result in some losing respect and funding from an institution that has embraced a theological paradigm rooted in approximately 2000 years of antisemitism, Gnosticism, and the seduction of the mystery of Lawlessness.
Setting the Matter Straight
Many one Law advocates resolutely believe that Jews and Gentiles are saved as Jews and Gentiles by grace through faith in the merits of Yeshua’s atoning death and victorious resurrection! One God, One Lord, One Savior, One Spirit, One new man, and One Torah which he has written on our new creation hearts (Hebrews 8 and 10). We affirm what Acts 15 resolved; namely getting saved is a matter of God’s grace and not our ethnic status as Jews or Gentiles. Grace through faith in Yeshua alone is our mantra on how we all get saved! No Dr. Juster, many of us who are pro Torah and One Law do not explain Acts 15 away, we establish it!
Does God have two Laws, one for the Jews and one for the Gentiles? Does God have two different sets of morality, one for the Jews and one for the Gentiles? Does God have two different sets of ethics, one for the Jews and one for the Gentiles? Does God have two different revelations of who He is, one for the Jews and one for the Gentiles? Does God have two different standards of virtue, one for the Jews and one for the Gentiles? Does God have two different standards of justice, one for the Jews and one for the Gentiles? Perhaps He does and if so let’s make sure that we separate from each other and stay forever apart in our own congregations and communities. Separate holy days! Separate weekly worship day! No intermarriage! And in the age to come perhaps He will create two heavens and two earths, one for the Jews and one for the Gentiles so that we can continue in eternity to live separate and different lives! What do you think? I have one word for this: Mashugana!