Roots and Culture Part 3 was published in the February 2012 issue of HM Magazine. I'll be reposting each column here around the time the following issue is released. As always, comments, suggestions and flame mail are always... entertained...
Welcome to Chameleon Church...
Roots & Culture
of Olive Trees & Wild Branches
We have established in Parts 1 & 2 that the Punk Rock and Alternative genres established by bands such as The Sex Pistols and Bauhaus have, through time, been replaced with mainstream hybrids and counterfeits like Avril Lavigne and Dave Matthews, and that the essence of these genres have been buried deep below the sands of conjecture and opinion.
I’ve stated that this same “disregard” for authenticity can be applied to our faith and how centuries’ worth of theological and doctrinal hybrids and counterfeits characterize our faith today. A faith, once synonymous with a specific Root and Culture, has given way to roots and culture seeped in hybrid manifestations.
I’m convinced that an understanding and application of the biblical roots of our faith would breathe new sound scriptural Life into the Covenant relationship bought for us with the shed Blood of the Lamb.
Paul, in Acts 24:14, defined Christianity as being a sect of Judaism and defended his faith by confessing that he believed “all things which are written in the Torah (‘law’) of Moses and in the Prophets.” A far cry from today where 1900 years of Greek and Roman linear thought processes of a Jewish cyclical concept have buried the biblical roots and essence of our faith deep below the sands of conjecture and opinion. A hybrid.
Scripturally, Paul’s faith was embodied, modeled and taught by Jesus, the Jewish Messiah. Scripturally, salvation is by and given to the Jew first - then the gentile. Scripturally, it is intended to be practiced and rooted in ‘all things which are written in the Torah of Moses and in the Prophets’.
Paul establishes this in Romans 11 in regards to gentiles being grafted into the cultivated Olive Tree of the House of Israel: “But if some of the branches were broken off [Israel], and you - a wild olive [a gentile believer] - were grafted in among them [Jews] and have become equal sharers in the rich root of the olive tree, then don't boast as if you were better than the branches [Jews]! However, if you do boast, remember that you are not supporting the root, the root is supporting you.” Romans 11:17-18 (emphasis mine)
Paul continues, “… you had no Messiah. You were estranged from the national life of Israel. You were foreigners to the covenants embodying God's promise. You were in this world without hope and without God. But now, you who were once far off have been brought near through the shedding of the Messiah's blood.” Ephesians 2:12-13 (emphasis mine).
Christianity today remains a foreigner to the Mosaic Torah covenant embodying Messiah; a foreigner that has rejected the scriptural foundational root of its faith. Not only does it believe that it’s “better then the branches”, it also believes that it supports the root - ripping this “root” entirely out of the equation, centuries ago - thus estranging us ever the more from the national and spiritual life of Israel. And all heaven just weeps…
Paul continues, “For he himself is our shalom - he has made us both one and has broken down the middle wall of separation which divided us by destroying in his own body the enmity occasioned by the Torah, with its commands set forth in the form of ordinances.” Ephesians 2:14-15a. Did Paul just say that Jesus destroyed Torah with its commands and ordinances? Doesn’t that contradict what he said in Acts 24:14? Doesn’t this kill my argument?
And herein lies our 1900-year-old dilemma.
What to do… what to do…