Roots and Culture Series
Doug Van Pelt (editor and founder of HM Magazine) and I had discussed my doing a monthly column for the mag for over a year. A lack of subject matter on my behalf kept it from happening. A couple of months ago, Doug made the suggestion, "Why don't you write about the Jewish/biblical roots of our Christian faith?". My immediate response was "Are you kidding? You trying to get me in even more trouble? Christians strain at the gnat of 'Christ and Him crucified' let alone the Jewish roots of our faith". How was I going to present a scriptural truth - a truth virtually lost, ignored and rejected by the vast majority of Christendom for almost 1900 years - in a column of 600 words or less? It was an insane task.
I took it.
Roots and Culture Part 1 was published in the December 2011 issue of HM Magazine. I'll be reposting each column here around the time the following issue goes to press. As always, comments, suggestions and flame mail are always... entertained...
Welcome to Chameleon Church...
Roots & Culture
of Olive Trees & Wild Branches
My involvement with Punk Rock between 1978-85 has become a “badge of honor” and has garnered me the label of “authenticity.” This experience also carries the frustration of decades worth of genre hybrids and musical counterfeits that has branded everything “alternative,” warranted or not. Time, and time alone, has buried the essence of an era deep below the sands of conjecture and opinion.
The same can be said of our faith.
Centuries’ worth of hybrids and counterfeits that have branded everything “Christian,” warranted or not, defines us today. Time and culture have buried the essence of an ideal deep below the sands of conjecture and opinion. An ideal, once synonymous with a specific Root and Culture that defined it (much like the Ramones or the Sex Pistols defined Punk Rock), gives way today to roots and culture seeped in hybrid manifestations much like Avril Lavigne defining “punk rock” to a generation — a far cry from the original ideals represented by the X-Ray Spex.
The same can be said of our faith.
In Acts 24:14, Paul, while on trial in Jerusalem before the Roman governor Felix and the Sanhedrin, had this to say in his defense of his faith: “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.” (NKJV) Christianity, (aka the Way), was considered a sect of Judaism and involved the belief of “all things which are written in the Torah (‘law’) of Moses and in the Prophets.” Quite a different “religion” than the one we practice today. It would behoove us to learn about this Way.
- I propose that 1900 years of Greek and Roman linear thought processes of a Jewish cyclical concept have buried the essence of an ideal deep below the sands of conjecture and opinion.
- I propose that we have fallen victim to the ripple effect of ramrodding a square peg into a round hole - disguised as doctrine - and have fallen short of the documented biblical responsibilities and results that this Way requires and produces.
- I propose that a life sold out to the biblical instruction of this Way, a Way
- followed by Paul and the original 11 disciples
- taught and modeled by the Jewish Messiah Himself
- established and founded on ‘all things which are written in the Torah of Moses and in the Prophets’
would not only reestablish us on the intended foundational path instituted by our God, but it would also breathe sound scriptural Life into the New Creation that was bought with the shed Blood of the Lamb.
I propose we go back to our biblical Roots and Culture.
Paul, in Romans 11, establishes this root and culture as well as our roles as the wild olive branches that have been grafted into the cultivated Olive Tree of the House of Israel. This is a hybrid I can support and, because of the blood of Jesus, it’s not a counterfeit. It’s because of Jesus we are able to be grafted in. “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)
Welcome to Roots and Culture…