I will admit that I have a problem with the Hebrew Roots Movement. Perhaps by the end of this blog you will realize the problem is not mine alone, but that the phenomenon is problematic.
First of all, surprise surprise, the church among the nations was meant to spawn a variety of cultural expressions of faith relationship to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, through faith in Jesus of Nazareth, who, in addition to being the Son of David/Messiah of Israel, was the Savior of the world, and that means, of all the nations of the world. In other words:
The goyishness of Christianity is a sign of its success, not its failure!
It was what God intended!
I don’t believe in teaching Gentiles about their Hebrew roots, because guess what: Gentiles don’t have Hebrew/Jewish roots. And when we use this rhetoric, the meta-message is this: “Who you most truly are Mr or Ms Gentile is you’re a Jew.” But this is NOT true. And it is one of the misconceptions that spawned the Two House Movement, a.k.a. the Ephraimites. And the flip side of that contention is that somehow being a Gentile of the Gentiles is a liability, that somehow it takes you one step away from real intimacy with God. This is a lie.
God sent the message of his salvation to the nations for the nations to develop their own cultural expressions of faith in the One True God. He was inviting them “turn to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come,” and all of that, from 1 Thessalonians 1:9, without becoming Jews or discovering their alleged Jewish roots. This is the miracle . . . and scandal . . . of Christianity. And my saying that being a Gentile is just fine, and that Gentile expressions of faith in Jesus are the way God intended things to be for Gentiles, is still scandalous. Just watch how this post creates a storm of protest. But it’s good: I just went from being a heretic to being scandalous. That’s an improvement.
It is true that Christianity at its inception had Hebrew/Jewish roots, but this is not Not NOT and never to be understood as recommending that Christians think they have Jewish roots or that they need to find those roots in order to legitimize themselves and their faith. Sean O’Toole has Celtic roots, and Sven Johanssen has Viking roots, and that is just fine!
Goyish is not bad. Goyish is good. It may not be good for Jews, but if you’re a Gentile—goy is good! It is what God made you. ENJOY!!! And realize that salvation has come to the Gentiles as Gentiles. You don’t have to discover your Jewish roots. You should not abandon or disparage the churches from which you came or where you still live, and move, and have your being. You should enrich them through engagement with the Bible, through discovering and expressing your spiritual gifts, and through your whole-hearted participation, but please please please: Don’t despise your roots or imagine that you have to abandon them to find God. God has come to find you and your people just as you are and where you are.
That was the good news for the Gentiles in the first century. And it still is. Some people won’t agree. But people have a right to be wrong 🙂