Is Tim Hegg Serious?

I’d like to have gone to Tim Hegg’s seminar in Atlanta this November. I wanted to sit on the front row wearing a T-Shirt that said on front and back: “Noah Ate Pork!”

He did, by the way. Noah, I mean. He ate pork, or at least had permission to. Check Genesis 9:3.

After I saw posted on Hegg’s site a recent paper by someone affiliated with him, a paper giving a very one-sided view of certain Hebrew Christian pioneers and an obvious continuation of Hegg’s crusade against Vine of David/First Fruits of Zion, I decided to check out more of Hegg’s recent newsletters. Here are some of my thoughts about this peddler of pseudo-Jewish identity.

If you get 200 people at a conference, is there something constructive to teach?
I can’t believe it, but when Hegg got 200 people to buy plane tickets and come to my lovely city of Atlanta, what did he spend 2 out of 5 sessions on? Refuting the “competition.”

That’s right. Hegg actually advertises in his newsletter, completely unaware of how self-serving it must sound, that he spent two-fifths of conference attendees’ time on “The Fundamental Errors of Divine Invitation.” In case you don’t know the parties involved, Hegg is teaching a don’t-be-fooled-by the writers over at First Fruits of Zion class.

Many non-Jews were drawn to a message that through faith in Yeshua (Jesus) they were called to live the way Jews live without any distinction: Sabbath, dietary law, tzit-tzit, circumcision, etc. When First Fruits of Zion realized that what they had been teaching was an error, they changed. Many people felt spiritually homeless. They liked the One Law or One Torah teaching. It gave them a pseudo-Jewish identity, made them feel more important than “regular Christians.”

So, Hegg is the father-figure who will pick up the leaderless minions.

What is my complaint? Well, it is that with all that is wrong in the world, with all that God wants us to do, be, and know, when I speak to groups of people I don’t waste any of that precious time deconstructing others in order to build myself up.

I should also point out, the attendance at Hegg’s seminar gives an idea how small his constituency is. The various Messianic Jewish organizations bring large quantities more people than that altogether. And the Two-House group called MIA has quite a few more people than that. Yet are we to believe this tiny movement is the only voice of truth in the whole Jewish and Christian world?

Are we self-authorized, self-authenticating interpreters going it alone and deciding what people should believe?
In another place in the same newsletter, Hegg warns his followers not to rely on “rabbinic or Christian” tradition. Instead, “we must commit ourselves afresh to the disciplined study and application of the inspired Scriptures, seeking to know and understand what the text says, what it means, and how it is to be applied to our lives, both individually and corporately.”

Sounds good, right?

Wrong. How do you think we wind up with all the craziness that substitutes for sound practice and belief in the so-called Messianic movement?

Everybody is an authority. They don’t need to know what he sages think or Augustine or to build on the scholarly work of the past few hundred years either. The Bible means what-it-means-to-me-as-revealed-by-my-shoddy-level-of-study! I don’t need to be aware of the pitfalls and insights of previous generations. I have my New American Standard and it’s all I need.

It’s interesting. Hegg (thank God) doesn’t follow his own advice. On most matters his beliefs are sound. Why? Because he follows a tradition. He is a Calvinist. And while I have some major problems with aspects of Calvinism, it means that Hegg is solid on things like Trinity, divinity of Yeshua, grace, and so on.

But the rhetoric of ignore-the-rabbis-and-church-fathers-and-scholars serves well a community of people eager to see themselves as superior in understanding to historic Judaism and Christianity.

Are people who take Jewish identity seriously in league with the Serpent of Eden?
In his June 2010 newsletter, Hegg laments those who believe that non-Jews who follow Yeshua are not included in or required to observe certain covenantal signs between Israel and God (Sabbath, dietary law, circumcision, tzit-tzit, etc.).

Hegg actually compares us (I’m proud to be among those who do not require gentiles to live like Jews in order to be kosher to God) to the Serpent in the garden! He says that we questions God’s stated word to all people just as the Serpent did when he said, “Has God said?”

Wow!

Enough Already!
So, in Hegg’s most recent newsletter he includes a paper by Rob Vanhoff criticizing Hebrew Christian leaders of the past for two amazing deficiencies:

(1) They did not anticipate the results of Pauline scholarship and develop a New Perspective on Paul long before academics, historians, and theologians began to find some consensus on the matter! How dare they! Didn’t those Hebrew Christians know better?

(2) They were Hebrew Christians and not Messianic Jews! Hello, that’s why we refer to them as Hebrew Christians.

And the sad part is the paper will cause many to overlook the wonderful contributions made by these writers and thinkers. After all, they were just wrong.

It’s all a not-so-subtle attack again on First Fruits of Zion and the Vine of David project to restore some of the writings of these great thinkers who began to bridge the impasse between Judaism and Christianity in some unique ways.

Newsletters have a subtext as well as a text. Hegg’s readers are not stupid. They know what he is implying in such an article.

Meanwhile, if you have a viewpoint like Hegg’s:

(1) You are isolated from the Jewish world because you don’t have any meaningful definition of Jewish identity but instead replace Jews with Hebrew Roots Christians in a new kind of supersessionism the church fathers never dreamed of.

(2) You are isolated from the Christian world because your interpretation of Paul is completely unsustainable and you force yourself to consider Christianity anti-nomian. By contrast, Messianic Judaism, properly understood, is not telling Christians to keep Sabbath and avoid pork. We are simply asking churches to rid themselves of supersessionism through good Christian theology and to allow Jews in Christ to be Jews.

About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
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59 Responses to Is Tim Hegg Serious?

  1. James says:

    What is my complaint? Well, it is that with all that is wrong in the world, with all that God wants us to do, be, and know, when I speak to groups of people I don’t waste any of that precious time deconstructing others in order to build myself up.

    It grieves me that the disagreement between FFOZ and Hegg has come to this. While Hegg perpetuating the conflict is bad enough, is it any better to continue the friction by responding to him?

  2. I’m going to be told that I am doing the very thing I am decrying. So here is my answer: I have no problem with holding public figures accountable for public statements. It is not my point that Hegg has no right to make public criticisms of FFOZ either. He certainly does. My point is that something is amiss when the basis of an organization is opposition and when a negative is more important in an organization than a positive. The fact that Hegg’s conference was two-fifths a negative is revealing. His drawing card is essentially this message: we One Torah people are the only ones in the whole world of Judaism and Christianity that understand everyone is supposed to keep Torah with faith in Jesus.

    I think that Hegg’s “scholarship” needs to be held up to the light. His negative campaign needs to be exposed.

    The small group of people who think that Christian-Jewish relations don’t matter, that Jewish identity is theirs to take, that historic Christianity is so far amiss, that Judaism is so bankrupt, and that their little One Torah movement is God’s answer need to have their false enthusiasm deflated.

    Though painful, it will be a great joy to these people when they come home and find that historic Christianity and Judaism have been here all along endued with God’s Presence. They don’t have to be a little protest movement calling everyone else wrong. They can be part of the big thing God has been doing in both communities for 2,000 years.

    Derek Leman

  3. James says:

    I suppose you could always challenge him to a debate over the issues.

  4. Yeah, I wouldn’t mind. But what would the point be? To try and persuade the thousand or so people of his constituency to come back over to the vast millions of Christians and Jews and leave the little One Torah sect behind?

    On my side is the vast body of literature from traditional rabbis and church fathers to the recent literature about the historical Jesus and the New Perspective on Paul.

    Derek Leman

  5. “You are isolated from the Jewish world because you don’t have any meaningful definition of Jewish identity but instead replace Jews with Hebrew Roots Christians in a new kind of supersessionism the church fathers never dreamed of.”

    Very well said, Derek. Even though Timm Hegg denies it, much of his teaching is precisely that: supersessionist at its core. Coincidentally, today I posted my own assessment of supersessionism in the Messianic Movement (the last place on earth one would expect to see such a belief) and its historical origins.

  6. James says:

    Actually, it wasn’t really a serious suggestion. Even if Hegg were to consent to such a debate, it would end up like a divorce trial..lots of emotion and testimony but no positive resolution. Honestly, if we just leave this alone, it will fade away. Publicity, even negative publicity, always keeps issues alive. Just look at the recent Arizona shootings and the Sarah Palin tie in.

  7. James, it’s true that I’m giving Tim Hegg more publicity with this post. That, honestly, was the main reason I considered saying nothing about it.

    But I have seen more than once that a person reading a blog can change their mind. I have had correspondence with people who have a much healthier view of the Bible, Christianity, and Judaism with some help from things I have written.

    If a few people who follow Hegg and cannot see beyond the “facts” as he presents them were to be opened to the bigger world, that would be a blessing.

    Leaders like Hegg have tools they can use for good or for harm. Holding people with religious power accountable will hopefully lead even to the leaders themselves changing and seeking to do good and not harm.

    Derek Leman

  8. Boaz Michael says:

    I do not believe that the One Law position is biblically sustainable. I agree (as Gene develops) that it is another form of supersessionism—a charge that, I believe, the good-hearted people that embrace a One Law view cannot even fathom.* We (FFOZ) have chosen to build our understanding of the Bible, Israel, the Torah, etc. through our publications and resources—in a positive sense. I believe that our message of the Torah for the nations and the nation’s connection with and in Israel is now more in line with the Apostolic view.

    Tim has much to offer. He is a talented and knowledgeable teacher. I feel that his efforts and time might be better spent on establishing his One Law perspective as a valid (or THE valid) expectation of the Apostles. He has his work cut out for him in this area and it will require all of his attention to establish his perspective as it has been missed by every Jewish and Christian scholar to date. He has no credible agreement in the educated and scholarly world he is a part of—and this makes his task much more difficult.

    Debates would not be helpful. We need real solid teachings to work from, to consider, to be challenged by. I would love to see work from Tim in the area of “One Law” that is supported, has contemporary and historical Jewish and Christian agreement, that the One Law perspective is NOT a form of replacement theology (he’ll have to leave Calvin behind) and do teachings that bring his constituents from a place of theological (and practical) isolation that will not make his movement so disconnected from Christian brothers / sisters and from the Jewish people.

    I cringe with each new Torah Resource newsletter that is published—knowing that there will be subtle allusions toward our work that have and may continue to hurt us. I have had to practice equanimity many times to not respond. My (our) lack of public response has allowed our understanding to be, in some cases, redefined by our opponents (and we have many).

    My intention in no way is to escalate this discussion. I just felt that since FFOZ is mentioned, that I needed to say something.

    *fathom: this is not a swipe in the since of “ignorant” but rather “fathom” in that it goes to against everything they intend to be. One Law people genuinely and sincerely think they are Israel’s greatest friends and are adding to or enhancing Israel.

  9. danbenzvi says:

    And I thought you are a mench….You have opened a pandora box, you have no Idea how big. you have now open yourself, your beliefs, and your associates to personal attacks just like you do here. See you on my blog. for this display of abomination I will return blogging….

  10. Dan,

    Could you please specify how any of my comments are out of line?

  11. “for this display of abomination I will return blogging…”

    Derek, what have you done!!

  12. llynn56 says:

    “I feel that his efforts and time might be better spent on establishing his One Law perspective as a valid (or THE valid) expectation of the Apostles.” Are you saying, Boaz, that One Law is THE valid expectation of the Apostles?

  13. benicho says:

    this is a sincere question as it’s always sitting in the back of my mind (gentile observance of the law in general), but what really is the difference between eating pork and committing a homosexual act? from what i understand they’re both considered an abomination, so what separates eating pork from homosexuality for example? if it’s considered an abomination to God to eat pork why would we want to do it?

  14. Boaz Michael says:

    @llynn56: Absolutely not.

  15. benicho:

    I would need to look into the issue of to’evah (abomination) in the Torah to give a complete answer (I’d be interested in Near Eastern background to the concept, perhaps something like “taboo” and also halachic issues in Judaism).

    But while a man lying with a man may be called an abomination and also eating pork, so that they seem to belong to the same category in one sense, in another sense, they are completely different. The restrictions on Israel’s diet are in the purity regulations of Lev 11-15. The purity regulations are not ethical in nature. The statements about a man lying with a man (Lev 18 and 20) occur in a totally different context.

    I realize this is not a complete answer, but I hate to answer questions I know I need to research first.

    Derek Leman

  16. benicho says:

    Well that much makes sense even though it isn’t complete. Perhaps one thing that made me question the dietary law and my observance was pork being an abomination. Reading it outright as an abomination certainly makes you think twice about it. Would it be an abomination only for Jews and not Gentiles? Doesn’t quite seem to add up, so your opinion is greatly appreciated.

  17. Seth says:

    The Apostles instructed the Gentiles to avoid sexual immorality (obviously, it appears in every book of the NT). They did not bind them to the laws of kashrut (except for blood, strangled meat, and idol food).

  18. benicho:

    You asked if it makes any sense that eating pork would be an abomination for Jews but not for gentiles. Well, if you take the Torah as a harmonious body of truth, then you would have to agree that it is not an abomination for gentiles to eat pork. Why do I say that? Genesis 9:3.

    Derek Leman

    • Genesis 9:3 is not conclusive evidence. There is scholarly disagreement about whether this meant God’s statement indicated unclean animals were free to be eaten.

      I guess Derek is unaware of this scholarship, perhaps due to confirmation bias.

      I’ll have a post up this week elaborating.

  19. benicho says:

    Good point. So when did it suddenly become an abomination to God? I find it hard to believe that it was okay during the time of Noah, but later change God His mind. And again, why would it be an abomination for Jews yet not for Gentiles? Sorry if these are elementary questions.

  20. James says:

    I agree that Genesis 9:3 could swing either way. We know Noah knew the difference between a clean and unclean animal because God instructed him to put 7 pairs of clean animals but only 1 pair of clean animals on the ark. Also, when Noah made his first sacrifice post-flood, he used clean animals. The concept wasn’t foreign to him at all.

    However in context, the Genesis 9:3 passage doesn’t seem to be absolute one way or another. Maybe Noah “ate pork” and maybe he didn’t. The fact that I choose not to eat pork as a personal conviction (and because my wife keeps a Jewish home) isn’t affected by the interpretation, though.

    • benicho says:

      I don’t find it to be conclusive either, although I do see the point trying to be made. I have often wondered how the term gentile could be applied to Noah considering there weren’t Jews (I was under the impression that a gentile was simply a non-jew according to the Jews). Therefore how can you have a gentile without any notion of a Jew? They were all humans with no distinction between Jew or gentile yet (please correct me if I’m wrong). Given that Noah had a clue about clean and unclean animals and that he was not jewish still leads me to believe that G-d did establish these laws (at least some) for mankind. At the very least they were His intention for all of mankind albeit they were later directly given and recorded.

      • James says:

        Oh, I can get that part alright. We were all “Gentiles” or “nations” until God took Abraham out and separated him (and Isaac and Jacob and the Children of Israel) and ultimately made them distinct via the giving of the Torah at Sinai and other covenants (brit milah, for example). At that point, the rest of the world remained Gentile, but the Children of Israel were specifically chosen for a different lifestyle.

        I’m waiting to see if Derek will try to get me to eat a ham sandwich now, even though I haven’t had one for many years. ;-)

  21. James says:

    Oh duh. I meant 7 pairs of clean animals and 1 pair of unclean animals. The curse of the typo strikes again.

  22. benicho:

    About your saying that the reader should assume that God revealed dietary laws to the pre-flood generation . . . beware of making theologies on invented history. When you have to resort to that sort of thing to make your theology work, something is wrong.

    And with One Law, you have to keep doing things like that over and over again.

    Derek Leman

    • benicho says:

      Sorry about that Derek, I wasn’t trying to say that G-d had literally given them as he later did, just that some things were known to Noah. We’re left to speculate how Noah knew the distinction between clean and unclean. If I’m to believe the Word has existed since the beginning then it would make slightly more sense as to why the laws would have existed (not saying G-d gave the dietary laws or any other laws). Which brings up another point, given that Noah knew a distinction do you think he would’ve ate something G-d called unclean despite what it says in Genesis 9:3? I’m asking these questions out of sincerity, not to contradict what you’re saying.

      I can’t even say that I’m OL, because I just don’t know. I do know that the Jews made a covenant with G-d and that I am not a Jew, nor do I say I’m a Jew. Because they made a covenant their relationship to Torah is quite a bit more intimate than ours. As a gentile the question is “should I?” but for the Jews, as mentioned above, they made a covenant they have to uphold. It’s hard for to me imagine, although I’ve been pondering it given the contention in these blogs lately, that I may be a supersessionist. Any form of replacement theology almost feels like pulling the rug from underneath my feet. Anyways, if I make errors, please do correct me, I come to blogs like this to learn a better way.

  23. benicho:

    It would be good to do an article sometime on the issue of clean and unclean animals in Gen 9.

    First, many in this discussion have been sold a certain view of Genesis that needs to change. It is without a doubt that Genesis at the very least has additions from later than the time of Moses. I don’t care how literalist-traditional your view of the text. Abraham pursues the kings who took Lot hostage as far as Dan? There was no territory of Dan until later (land apportionment is not completed in Numbers 33-34).

    But years of simplistic readings of books like Genesis have conditioned us to read as if later editors had no impact on how the stories are told.

    In other words, even for those of us who believe Noah and the story of the flood is real, we have no need to assume that God said “clean” and “unclean” to Noah.

    There are many possibilities. The issue of a clean animal is what is proper for sacrifice here, not what is proper to eat. It is likely that people had certain ideas about what kinds of animals were fit for sacrifice before the Torah was given.

    Meanwhile, while reading one part with a wooden literalism, many are unwilling to use the same literalism on the words “Every moving thing that lives shall be food.”

    It is inconsistent to speculate about preexistent Torah mitzvot on the one hand and then not read the actual words that DO exist in some qualified sense that renders them meaningless.

    Derek Leman

  24. James says:

    In other words, even for those of us who believe Noah and the story of the flood is real, we have no need to assume that God said “clean” and “unclean” to Noah.

    You bring up an interesting point, Derek. How far can we trust the accuracy of the Bible? At what point does our confidence in the Bible we have today (at least in the Bible I can buy in a bookstore) break down? If a plain reading of the English text such as “clean” and unclean” may not be accurate or those words didn’t even exist in the “original” Genesis 9, then what else can we consider “up in the air”?

    Much of our understanding of God, Yeshua, and the basis for faith rests on believing that we can trust the Word of God. If we can’t where does that leave us?

  25. james:

    Ham sandwich? Ha! I think it’s great you make home life so easy for your wife as she has grown in observance.

    The Bible unreliable? Not at all. I think unrealistic and unstudied readings of the Bible are the problem. For example, take Genesis 14:14.

    The typical biblical illiterate doesn’t even see a problem. Dan in Abraham’s time? Sure.

    The naive literalist: wow, the Canaanites must have called it Dan before there even was a tribe of Dan! What a miracle!

    The realist: oh, at the very least we should believe that the Torah was edited long after Moses and maybe the story is even more complicated.

    The realist view in no way detracts from the Bible’s authority. And with Modern Orthodox and Conservative scholars and rabbis such views are standard. I might add that Catholic clergy usually also have realistic views. It is in fundamentalist and evangelical circles where people too often don’t read the Bible closely enough to notice such things. Or they wear literalist glasses that make them read naively.

    And there is no reason to read the Bible naively. It is what it is and God is God.

    Derek Leman

  26. Lest I be accused of it, this does not mean I accept some version of the Documentary Hypothesis either. I’m not convinced. But many people are unaware of the wide variation in Documentary Hypothesis views. For now, I’m following Umberto Cassuto on all this.

    Derek

  27. James says:

    The Bible unreliable? Not at all. I think unrealistic and unstudied readings of the Bible are the problem. For example, take Genesis 14:14.

    The typical biblical illiterate doesn’t even see a problem. Dan in Abraham’s time? Sure.

    The naive literalist: wow, the Canaanites must have called it Dan before there even was a tribe of Dan! What a miracle!

    I can see someone going back to the original text in the days when that area was called “Dan” and changing it so that more “modern” readers would understand the piece of geography being referenced. A number of 20th century science fiction novels have been updated recently to include references to laptops, the Internet, gaming, and such, since those stories are supposed to take place in “the future” and the original stories (the one I’m thinking of was written in the 1950s) now sound archaic.

    Lest I be accused of it, this does not mean I accept some version of the Documentary Hypothesis either. I’m not convinced. But many people are unaware of the wide variation in Documentary Hypothesis views. For now, I’m following Umberto Cassuto on all this.

    Being uneducated, I had to fire up Google and plug in your specific references. I don’t want to be unfair, but is this your way of telling me that you know what you’re talking about and I don’t and I should stop asking questions?

  28. benicho says:

    sorry, i replied instead of posted.

    Hey, I like this explanation. It does leave a lot of questions yet, but I do understand it. I understand what you’re saying about additions later by the recorders. A point could be made that translators “updated” the name given in earlier texts of Torah to Dan later to keep current names. For example a historian might translate “Hibernia” to “Ireland” for the sake of keeping names current (or because the general populace doesn’t know what Hibernia is). In other words, the territory of Dan existed prior to the names given in Numbers, just that it would have been known by a different name (and different names by different cultures). This may seem like a stretch, but it is a possibility.

    How would we know that it originally did not say clean or unclean? Or that it was added later? What other words would have been used? Unfortunately I don’t have an extensive background in the Hebrew language but I understand what you’re saying about it being proper for sacrifice rather than eating. This makes sense given Genesis 1:29. Although it doesn’t outright say they didn’t eat meat, it does say they were given plants and their fruits. This would nullify any instructions on what meat they could eat simply because meat wasn’t given as food. Furthermore this would make sense then as to why all meats were given as food later on. However it doesn’t fit with saying (to me at least) that Noah was a gentile and that is evidence that we may eat whatever we wish. As I stated previously the notion of a gentile would’ve been foreign to the people of that time as there were no Jews. What you’ve told me does fortify one thought however, which is that as a gentile I don’t have to keep mitzvot. This may seem like old news to you but as for me I have been battling with my role as a gentile with all of this. As I’ve stated before, when I read Isaiah 56 (particularly verses 6-7) I can’t help but believe that it’s important that I do cling to that covenant mentioned. Perhaps you can expand on what Isaiah is saying in those verses, am I understanding them incorrectly? Shouldn’t we as gentiles strive for holding fast to His covenant regardless if we’re obligated?

    If you do decide to do an article on Genesis 9 I look forward to it.
    Thanks for your patience and knowledge!

  29. james:

    No, I wasn’t trying to tell you I know what I am talking about and stay out of it, LOL.

    I was just anticipating a possible criticism from someone reading the thread who might pigeon-hole me for not reciting the proper Shibboleths of conservatism.

    Derek

  30. If the Apostle Paul was a Messianic Jewish blogger and posted his letter to Galatians on his blog, he may have gotten these comments from his readers…

  31. James says:

    Gosh Gene, you sure are “marketing” your new blog post. I’ll have to remember that. ;-) (just kidding)

  32. I think Tim Hegg has made some positive contributions to the Messianic Movement and I believe he has the ability and is still capable of doing so in the future….with that being said I agree that over the last couple of years his focus has been stunted and derailed by the FFOZ split and change in direction. I agree that he needs to let go and move forward in a way that is not acusatory and more productive to his interpretation and expression.

  33. randalw says:

    I do think that this debate will move beyond this conflict. Many a new movements in theology are born this way. Protestants,the name means those who protest, this represents a good chunk of the followers of Messiah. Then anabaptists were born from conflict. While conflict should not be our goal it does serve to define our ideas. We should move on in a gracious way. I would like to move beyond the ad hominim arguments. I would also like to move beyond the “so few people” arguments. If we used this measure most Christians would still be papist. It takes a bold move to set out from the masses and do what is theologically correct.

    I do feel there is strong impetus to move from “traditional” Jewish and Church father theological moorings. The Orthodox Jews believe in reincarnation, and a pantheist view of God. The Eastern Orthodox Church, bows and worships icons, and saints, and has Plotinus theology. Are we not to move beyond pantheism and idolatry? There are still truths in these “traditional” sources, but a return to apostolic faith is what we should be moving towards. Both camps seemed to make wrong turns long ago. We should be about finding the true ancient path. I support Hegg and his inquiries. I find his scholarship to be spot on in regard to the Law and Gentiles. I believe he is representing the apostolic faith that was lost by both the traditional church and rabbinics. Indeed what you espouse on this blog represents a reformation of the teachings of both the rabbis and the church fathers as well. So, both camps are firmly in the reformation of traditional world.

  34. randalw:

    Let me challenge this idea. The apostles did not lay down a complete set of ideas which required no development. Just as Torah is incomplete and requires communal tradition to fill it out, so does apostolic tradition. So your idea of “returning to the apostles” and that Christian tradition is corrupted by pagan influences and so on has major problems.

    I urge you not to read just sources from the Hebrew Roots movement. You need to read broader thinkers.

    Derek Leman

  35. randalw says:

    Don’t assume that I have not. I have read from Chabad and have read Church Fathers too. Chabad teaches reincarnation, the church fathers taught me Sabbath was anathema of God. Which do you recommend I use to illumine the apostles and Messiah’s teaching? I do incorporate a lot of tradition in my life. Tradition cannot be ignored but must be in harmony with scripture.

    I lived in Greece for a decade a land that used Christian tradition 100% to illumine the path of faith. I researched this faith at length. It looks nothing like what Messianics practice. Their traditions go back to the apostles and it does. Their Christian lineage is deeper than any other. They would say all Jews and Gentiles must follow their traditions. They and the church councils agree that for Christians, Jew or Gentile to keep Sabbath, Festivals is anathema, and that the virgin is worthy of Hyperdoulia. What gives one the right not to follow the Church Fathers and the Apostolic Councils of the past? If tradition informs practice of the apostles, then why are you not following the traditions of the Christian Apostolic succession of the ancient Church?

  36. randalw:

    You’re still not understanding. There is more than one tradition. Ours is Judaism and we locate ourselves in a variable set of traditions within the tradition and also add our own unique nusach (specific tradition) to everything based on our distinctive faith. There are many Christian traditions with some parts shared by all, such as the Nicene Creed. In Judaism there is a shared core, but also much room for variation.

    Derek Leman

  37. randalw says:

    I do understand. My point is this. You have filtered which traditions. You follow some and not others based on criteria, scriptural criteria be they Christian or Jewish traditions, not based on age or linage. You have rejected Easter Orthodox Traditions, even though they are very old and have apostolic linage. You reject Hassidic reincarnation based on scripture, not linage or age.

    Why is this important? You play your hand that the Divine Invitation theology is based on a traditional reading of Torah. Without the reading of Proselyte back into the text, the interpretation fails. Divine Invitation filters Scripture by tradition not tradition by Scripture. Tradition keeps the Ger from his place as co-heir to the covenants and the citizenship in Israel. Scripture does not.

    Bottom line, Divine Invitation is inconsistent. Claiming to be very sensitive to tradition, but at the same time filtering much of it out. Using scripture to filter some tradition and theology out when it is convenient and other times not. Ultimately it has proved a dangerous tack letting in Kabbalah, and excluding Gentiles from their God given citizenship. I think Hegg is being consistent in his application of tradition. Tradition that does not hold with Scripture is rejected.

  38. randalw:

    Dude, you don’t understand tradition and your continued comments reveal each time greater ignorance. Your beef with FFOZ’s Divine Invitation theology has nothing to do with tradition.

    First of all, the notion that there are identity markers of Jewish peoplehood in Torah is not merely a tradition. Check the numerous Jewish and Christian biblical exegetes who say this is Pentateuchal theology, not merely tradition (you might check the abundant New Perspective on Paul literature for example).

    Second of all, you are mishmoshing ideas that are not related and I weary of trying to make a coherent argument out of what you are saying in order to challenge your statements.

    So much of what you said in your last comment is wrong, I’ve no idea where to begin. If your vision of Torah Observant Yeshua-faith is so compelling, start a blog, write books, see if you build a following. Shooting little bullets at other people is so easy. Build something yourself or point to something someone has built. If you’d like to argue that the One Law and MIA (Two House) movements have a more consistent theology, then make that point and give some evidence.

    Meanwhile, it sounds like you advocate people adopting a pseudo-Jewish identity and doing whatever seems right in their own eyes. Not compelling. And when the people in your movement grow a bit, as I’ve seen over and over, they leave because what you advocate is so pathetically shallow. It won’t satisfy people who are into learning for long.

    How long have these shallow ideas persuaded you? When are you going to grow? And what the heck do the claims of the Greek Orthodox church have to do with anything?

    Derek Leman

  39. benicho says:

    I’d have to agree with Derek, there’s no argument there to even begin to dissect.

    Eastern Orthodox tradition is based on some Jewish tradition, does that surprise anyone? Would you say there’s some bias there because you happened to live in Greece for some time?

  40. randalw says:

    You mentioned in your blog: That Hegg was using the scriptures to filter tradition. You seemed to imply this was wrong headed or a naive approach. I was merely pointing that this is indeed what should be done. We must filter rabbinic and Christian traditions by the scriptures. I was pointing out that you are also filtering biased on similar criteria. You do not accept all tradition but filter it. So, that it was not a valid criticism of Hegg. Hope that helps you understand what I was angling at.

  41. randalw says:

    @benicho Yes living in Greece did have an affect on my perspective, I would say it informed it. Yes, one would naturally make an opinion based on that experience.

  42. randalw:

    Now you have made a good argument. If you’d started with that, you’d have gotten a different reaction. You say, “You mentioned in your blog: That Hegg was using the scriptures to filter tradition.”

    You may have misunderstood or perhaps I did not explain with clarity: I objected to Tim Hegg’s statement because what it implies is that people can determine the right way to practice with only scripture using their own interpretive abilities and ignoring those who have come before. He said we should not rely on tradition but our own interpretation of scripture.

    It’s pious sounding hogwash. The scriptures don’t tell you how to keep the commandments beyond a few general cases. Christians and Jews keep commandments and do the work of being God’s people by filling in the non-specific and very general directives of scripture with tradition. That’s what tradition is.

    Scripture by itself is not enough. Anyone who says it is is simply naive and ignoring the fact that they follow dozens or hundreds of traditions about how to keep what scripture says.

    Now, you’ve been thinking and discussing these issue for more than a little while, Randal. You should have graduated from this point by now.

    Derek Leman

  43. randalw says:

    Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.

    I keep tradition. Hegg keeps traditions. Tradition builds on a command and beautifies it. There comes a point though where we judge traditions by their scriptural basis. They can pass outside of what is in line with revelation from the Father. This is the point Hegg makes, and Messiah is making above. And the point I am making.

    By not accepting this it seems you are putting tradition on par with scripture as being divinely inspired.

  44. I’m siding with Hegg on this one folks. Sorry. It may change next week but right now it seems evident there is to be one set of standards for those who fear HaShem; Jew or Gentile. I’ll come back and reply to this post if my position changes in the future.

    • jmarkrandall says:

      Yes I completely agree with you. I mean was Abraham a “Jew”? this whole idea that there is separate Torah for Jew and gentile is almost ridiculous. Or maybe the book of Romans is just off base.
      Are there different traditions? Of course there is. But, in no way does traditions over ride what Scripture says.

  45. imaseeker2003 says:

    Have traditions become part of “every word” that proceeds from the mouth of Yah? Do we need “every word” plus tradition to “live”? I’m surprised no one mentioned the role of the Ruach haKodesh in leading us into all truth, but talk about “tradition” and those who have gone before as though they have something to contribute other than death.

    Didn’t those Yeshua spoke to concerning the keeping of the law, also keep tradition but Yeshua said “none of you keeps it”? Since none of them kept it but were convinced they did, I don’t think I will go to them for authority on how to keep the law. After all, Yeshua said to leave them alone because the blind would lead the blind and they all would enter the ditch. (everlasting destruction).

    Yeshua explained that all authority in heaven and earth are now his, then he
    sent the 11 disciples to the nations to teach all gentiles to observe “all things whatsoever I have commanded you”. Too simple?

    Perhaps James got a little off track and lost sight of this commandment (if he even was aware of it) at the council. When Paul went to Jerusalem to inquire concerning the Law of Moses as it applies to gentiles, perhaps he should have been told “Yeshua commanded us to teach all men to live the same way he commanded us to live”. No difference, go and teach the gentiles THAT.

    I was thinking we might want to acknowledge Yeshua’s supreme authority and begin to teach all nations what the disciples were commanded to teach. “Observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”.

  46. we all have excuses for not following G-ds law.So lets all change our beliefs so we can win numbers and get rich, lets not lead people into observance.

  47. Noah did not eat pork nor had permission to, read the text more carefully.
    Gen 9:3 Every moving creature that lives is food for you. I have given you all, AS I GAVE THE GREEN PLANTS.
    God gave all creatures as He gave all plants; but this does not mean every creature or all plants are food. He gave us only seed bearing plants not just any or all plants for food, in the same way He gave us only clean animals not all animals for food.

    Gen 1:29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;

    Noah understood what God told him concerning animals and plants for food and Noah understood there are clean and unclean animals, after all, he did load the Ark with them.

  48. I came across this article recently and found myself dismayed at the hypocrisy and lack of scholarship. I would argue that the musings of bloggers like yourself have done more damage to the Christian community as a whole than from men like Hegg. Why? Because the fundamental difference between men like Hegg and men like yourself is that his website is littered with one well researched article after another where he time and again draws from the bible, Talmud, midrash, and various other works to substantiate his position. He’s not being argumentative for arguments sake rather he has come to believe something is true and is making a case for his position. If you disagree you are welcome to refute him using those same standards.

    But as I peruse over your article I find no such attempt at the same level of scholarship only hollow words and empty platitudes. You attack Hegg for doing the same thing you are doing to him (ergo hypocrisy). You use scare tactics rather than scholarship to keep people from following Hegg suggesting that his diminutive following denotes true authenticity and that those who do follow him may be brainwashed into some cult. Hegg is in good company though after all it was a paltry band of twelve men that changed the world forever. It was single individuals like Luther willing to confront the ubiquitous power of the Catholic Church.

    And through all of this the only thing you have for your reader is one measly scripture that cannot be used to justify your position. There is nothing in the text that would suggest Noah ate pork only your irrational interpretation. To counter your argument from silence then let me offer my own. The bible tells us that Noah grout on to the ark two of every unclean animal and seven of every clean animal. How was this possible since the ritual laws of purity had yet to be given? Since Noah was able to distinguish between these two types, if I employ your same level of scholastic aptitude then I too can come to the conclusion that Noah in fact did not eat pork since he knew it was unclean.

    I say all that to say this. I actually respect your website as a whole and what you are trying to accomplish as a follower of Christ, even though as a gentile I am made to feel like a second class citizen in G-d’s kingdom by people like you and those at FFOZ and do wonder if isn’t driven by an unconscious anti-gentilism or anti-goyism (still working on this copyright pending). I digress. Please stop this unnecessary division of our faith. And if you disagree with Hegg then break out a bible and some commentaries and try to refute him, otherwise keep your opinions and your scare tactics to yourself. This article should have been beneath you and I am disappointed to see it here.

  49. Reuel Dillon says:

    Amein. In my studies, I have found what Tim Hegg teaches, and proves from scripture, to be true. It is the “Two Law” position that I find to be completely unsustainable. Scripture clearly teaches one instruction and standard of holiness for all of God’s people. If Yeshua was here teaching on the Earth today both Jew and those from that Nations would be sitting at his feet learning the same things. He would not have a seminar for just the Jewish people and than a separate seminar for all of the Gentiles to teach them something different. In my estimation the “Two Law” position taken by some in Messianic Judaism actually stems from bad Christian theology that got started around 2000-1700 years ago, that originated from replacement type of theology…keeping God’s holy instruction separate, and thus the Jews separate from the Gentile Christians. The other bad theology came from some of our people Yisra’el around the same time that taught Jews and those from the Nations should remain separate and not have contact or fellowship with one another.

    You have to jump through some fiery hoops and do a lot of spiritual gymnastics to somehow try to support the “Two Law” position. But, the teaching that Adonai’s Torah (he only has one, and it will not be changed) is ultimately for all of His children. Granted, some of his children are at different levels of maturity. For example, even though the same rules and law governs my home, I will keep my older children much more accountable to these house rules than my very young children. This is how I believe it is in the Kingdom of God. There is one Torah of Adonai, but His children are at different points of the path to learning that Torah, and are being held to different levels of accountability as they mature, as they choose to take hold of it, and learn to obey it.

    To say that those who are teaching one instruction and holy standard for all of God’s people are teaching a type of replacement theology is not only completely wrong, but I agree that it is a underhanded fear-tactic that has no basis, whatsoever, in the scripture. Historically speaking, since when has it been a negative thing to become a convert to the God of Yisra’el and His ways??? How is this Replacement Theology? The people who are doing this are not claiming to replace the Jews by coming into covenant with God and by learning to keep His Torah. Was Ruth guilty of replacement theology?? It is just a silly, silly accusation, and one that people should be ashamed of. People to this day continue to convert to all branches of Judaism. Is this do to Replacement Theology? Are they replacing Yisra’el by doing this?? Of course not! When someone today converts to non-Messianic Judaism…how would you describe it? Whatever that description is could also be a description of those who are believers in Yeshua from the Nations who have chosen to come into covenant with the God of Yisra’el and to take hold of a life of Torah. But, for some reason when it is a Gentile who is a believer in Messiah Yeshua it is said by some to somehow be “Replacement Theology”. It is not only an unlearned statement, but I believe it is also a hypocritical and unfair one.

    Furthermore, one thing that people loose site of is how central the Torah is to the Brit Chadashah (New Covenant). Is it not written on the hearts of those from the Nations, and only us Jews?? The teaching that says the Torah is not for those of the Nations actually is a great heresy because it teaches against the centerpiece of the Brit Chadashah…which is the Torah written on one’s heart. To loose sight of this is to completely loose sight of the Brit Chadashah and one of its purposes. Therefore, if the Torah is not for those of the nations who come to faith in the God of Yisra’el and Yeshua The Messiah…than what such a one is saying (perhaps unknowingly) is that the Brit Chadashah is also not for those of the Nations! And, there is not one Torah written on the heart of Jew, and a different Torah written on the heart of a Gentile. That is just ridiculous!

    Of course FFOZ, and other teaching organizations like them, probably don’t realize the implications of what they are teaching, and how they are actually frustrating the plans and covenant of HaShem. They just want to get along with the majority (that is the theme I keep on hearing). To answer the question about all of those scholars, from both Judaism and Christianity that disagree…I believe that many of them are simply doing there scholarly best to maintain the status quo that was established close to two thousand years ago when many in Judaism and many of the “Church Fathers” took a wrong turn…Otherwise they would loose there credibility in the Jewish or Christian community that they find themselves in. And, we can’t have that! But, it takes a courageous scholar to stick his neck and reputation out to speak the truth when everyone else is too afraid or wants the praise of the majority (regardless if they are going in the wrong direction). And, we know that during Yeshua’s time and shortly after that most of them indeed took a wrong turn, theologically speaking. Keep in mind that the Beit HaMikdash (Temple) was destroyed during the first century (they were not going in the right direction), and the “Church Fathers” quickly thereafter started to remove Judaism from their midst and engage on a long path of anti-semitism and anti-Torah theology that still characterized much of Christianity today. Not much has changed since than for many of these groups. So could it be possible that they, and the schools they have produced since than been wrong on subjects like these for all this time?? Of course.

    I echo my brothers’ comments…if any of these scholars can soundly refute Tim Hegg’s, Rob Vanhoff’s, and the scholarship of many others like them (there are many more than what has been suggested)…than do so. But, they simply can’t, so they have to resort to fear tactics and insults. This alone should tell everyone that they don’t have a leg to stand on. So what do we do? If the majority don’t believe do when then through our hands up in the air and just give in to bad doctrine?? Heaven forbid! Romans 3:3-4 states, “For what if some did not believe? Will not their unbelief nullify the faith of God? Let it not be! But let God be true, and every man a liar”.

  50. Just stumbled across this post. Seems you’ve spent most of your post knocking down Hegg, perhaps in an attempt to build yourself up? It’s laughable that you go on about Hegg spending two-fifths of his audience’s time refuting the competition, in a blog entirely dedicated to refuting your competition (Hegg). I also noted that you’re lacking any significant attempt to refute Hegg’s theology. You seem more comfortable with the I-try-to-be-funny-while-I-serve-someone a-dig technique. It seems proper that God would not have two lifestyle standards for a unified Israel consisting of Jews and grafted in Gentiles One law shall be for Israel and the foreigner, forever.

    Shalom,

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