Wednesday, 15 July 2009

A True History of the Not-So-True Church (Pt.3)

So where would you go to find a bunch of folk who were spiritual successors to the kind of early Christianity that continued to keep the Sabbath, Holy Days and other characteristics that traditional Church of God people believe identify the true church?

In part 1 I suggested that Church of God believers are totally unrelated to that movement, which died out in the West centuries ago. Have a look at the Bible that Meredith, Flurry, Pack, Kilough and others pound and quote: it's the 66 book Protestant version. The early Christians couldn't have used that, because it didn't exist back then. Their Old Testament was primarily the Septuagint, and they freely cited books that were never accepted into the later Hebrew and Protestant canons. The Churches of God are merely a cluster of confused Protestant sects with delusions of antiquity.

What about the New Testament? Well, there was no New Testament as we know it till 367 CE. In the years before then Jewish Christians had a particular affinity for a version of Matthew's gospel, but were wary of Paul's writings. There's a good case to be made that their beliefs underlie the later Pseudo-Clementine literature, but that's a bit beyond the scope of this discussion. But ask yourself, have you ever seen the Pseudo-Clementines quoted by Herbert Armstrong, or any of his imitators?

I also suggested that scholars may indeed be able to - at least tentatively - identify a more legitimate line of descent for the original non-Hellenistic church, the faction that continued to maintain boundary markers (such as food laws) that kept them apart from emerging Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

Hans Kung (see part 2) suggests that the Monophysite Christians of Ethiopia have continued the Jewish Christian lineage to some significant degree. These folk keep Saturday and Sunday, abstain from pork, circumcise their male offspring, and display other characteristics that indicate Ebionite origins or influence.

But Kung's most shocking conclusion, particularly in a post 9/11 world, is that these Jewish Christians, with their strongholds in places like Syria (where they may have formed the Christian majority), were eventually swallowed up by Islam; but not before they exercised huge influence on that faith. Schoeps, writing back in 1969, anticipated this when he wrote:

"Many of their central doctrines, however, appear to have survived... in the period of the Monophysite quarrels, [and then] to have entered Arabia by means of the Nestorians. ... From this religion many beliefs flowed in an unbroken stream of tradition into the proclamation of Mohammed."

Kung (2004) states:

"[U]nderground relations between Jewish Christianity and the message of the Qur'an have long been discussed by Christian scholars ... Muhammad took over the prize possession of the Jewish Christians, their consciousness of God, their eschatology proclaiming the day of judgment, their morality and their legends, and established a new apostolate as 'the one sent by God.'

Schoeps:

"[M]any Ebionite beliefs and customs may have been preserved in the mixed population of Syria and Mesopotamia as regional traditions which shaped not only Nestorian Christianity but also the still later Islamic Shi'a sects...

"The fifth Sura (5.48-59) especially, sounds like the extension of the Jewish Christian theology of the covenants to the population of Arabia through Mohammed, the new messenger of God."

Remember the reference to the Pseudo-Clementines?

"In the Pseudo-Clementines religion is defined as follows: 'This is religion, to fear him alone and to believe only the Prophet of Truth' (Hom.7.8). This definition is so constructed that Islam could find its own confession of faith... extensive similarities in structure between Jewish Christianity and Islam explains why the population of the countries bordering Arabia, areas permeated with Monophysitism and Nestorianism, could so quickly become Mohammedan."

Kung:


"The famous designation of the prophet Muhammad, the 'seal of the prophets', already appears in one of the earliest works of the earliest Latin church father, in Tertullian's Adversus Judaeos (before 200) - of course as a designation of Jesus Christ. ...there is no doubt that Judaism was established on the Arabian peninsula by a variant which we call both Jewish and Christian. It may have been this Jewish Christianity which the title 'seal of the prophets' reached, and the title may have been used there and in principle throughout Jewish Christianity to guarantee a particular confessional identity.

"[T]he designation of Jesus as servant ('adb) seems to have been the dominant christological confessional formula. So when Muhammad puts the the title 'servant' at the centre of his preaching about 'Isa (Jesus), he is adopting a scheme from earliest Christianity..."

Schoeps:

"And thus we have a paradox of world-historical proportions, viz., the fact that Jewish Christianity indeed disappeared within the Christian church, but was preserved in Islam, and thereby extended some of its basic ideas even to our own day."

Kung, the Catholic theologian, wonders:

"Let us be clear just for a moment what it would mean for a dialogue between Jews, Christians and Muslims if Muhammad could be understood as the 'Jewish Christian apostle' of the one true God in Arabian garb..."

Muhammad as the Jewish Christian apostle to Arabia? My oh my. Rod Meredith would surely have a hernia at the very thought.

39 comments:

Baywolfe said...

Look, if you insist on throwing genuine scholarly research into this argument, nobody is going to have any respect for you whatsoever.

We want our beliefs full of half-hinted innuendos, spurious logic, bare faced lies, and a sprinkling of plausible nuggets tossed into the mix.

Throw in a Medicine-Man, slash, ex Soap Salesman, slash, Incestuous Horn Dog as the Pitch Man and you've got Hollywood Gold.

Leave the scholars for people who can actually think, not for the Marching Morons...

Gavin said...

Ah, but here's the thing...

Alas, I too was one of those "marching morons." Weren't you?

Hope is better than cynicism. Even the angriest, text quoting herbophile of today can suddenly discover that they've been cut loose from The Matrix too.

So why not drop a pair of scissors in plain view?

;-)

Juvenal said...

Give us bread and circuses! In this I delight!

And speak not the truth to our inching ears, for we seek indulgence's.

Anonymous said...

you folks are fun. totally misguided, but fun :-)

lnrd said...

take a tea

larry said...

I am always astonished at how certain those living in the present can be about what happened in the past.

Right here on this board, we have proof that currently living "eyewitnesses" don't know what happened in Pasadena, California, USA 30 years ago.

But we have "scholars" who profess to know what happened, and what people were thinking in the Middle East 1500 to 2000 years ago. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this Ritenbaugh's assertion?

Tkach's $wiss Banker said...

Fascinating information here, fills in important gaps for me on the smooth evolution to Islam from a dead branch of Christianity loosly revived in 19th century American cults.

Gavin said...

I've never bothered trying to work out what Ritenbaugh thinks - though I'd be surprised if he teaches this. At the end of the day it's a question of history, not theological spin, and Ritenbaugh is a spin artist with a tithe account to fill. Having said that, maybe someone can prove me wrong and provide a link.

Skeptic Pro said...

Gavin said:

"Hope is better than cynicism."

And trying to keep hope alive will extend this debate further than the God/No-God discussions with the same lack of a conclusion. The believers in the "True Church" concept will be as adamant in its support as they are now for their mythical god. Most true believers have just too much invested to give up.

Mickey said...

Snip, Snip, Snip....Thanks for the scissor loan, Gavin:)

I can't say I buy into the theories proposed (only because I've not studied the books quoted, and I'm rather slow in mental digestion) However, it's immensily valuable to me to be exposed to alternative ideas even in small snippets like this blog.

HWA (supposing him to be sincere) came up with what he believed to be a cohesive "big picture". But rather than recognizing it as one possibility among many (possibly due to limited resources and lack of scholarly background) he chose to promote it as the one and only explanation of God's working with His creation.

In fairness we all want to have a complete story to tell ourselves and others. It's human to want the comfort of certainty in these things so we bought into it.

But the recognizing other possibilities of how things may have happened can lead one into having an even larger picture, one so big that it cannot be entirely taken in. This in turn, one hopes, leads to a greater humility.

I think as I write this that there will be some who will think that I mean that we must be accepting of all ideas that come our way. I don't mean that at all. But I think we do have to keep an open mind and realize that when evidence that presents itself of alternatives, we shouldn't dismiss it if it doesn't fit our worldview but examine our worldview to see if requires expanding.

Tom Mahon said...

Kung, the Catholic theologian, wonders:

"Let us be clear just for a moment what it would mean for a dialogue between Jews, Christians and Muslims if Muhammad could be understood as the 'Jewish Christian apostle' of the one true God in Arabian garb..."

Kung may wonder, but Muhammad was not the "Jewish Christian apostle" in Arabian garb. If this supposition was remotely true, the Koran would never have been written. For the Koran denies the atoning sacrifice of Christ for the sins of the world. The doctrines of forgiveness, redemption and the resurrection depends upon the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

However, since the Apostle Paul avers, that during his life time, the gospel was preached to every creature under heaven, it doesn't therefore require a very big leap of logic to realise that Arabia is also under heaven. But wherever the gospel was preached, enthusiastic heretics infiltrated the church and corrupted the word of God, by disagreeing with the teaching of the original apostles.

As a consequence, today we have volumes of writings by a cabal of disunited heretics, masquerading as the "real truth." And for some mysterious reason, some people are more ready to believe these writings than the wholesome teachings of Jesus and the Apostles. Yet Paul calls down an imprecation upon the head of anyone who perverts the gospel of Christ thus: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."

So people should not be surprised, that a curse has tormented Islam, Judaism, Catholicism and her daughters ever since their founders sought to usurp the authority of the Apostles, by claiming that their writings were divinely inspired.

jack635 said...

Be careful Gavin, Ronald Weinland is sending earthquakes and tsunami'. He's been doing it since April last year. No, December last year. No, since February....I think.

Seriously though, Geoscience Australia "records more than 14,000 earthquakes a year, though only about 150 are felt by residents", so you have nothing to worry about regarding RW's "One True Church" mockers and critics curse.

Tuatapere Police said there were no reports of serious damage or injuries. So much for Ron's superpowers. He is a legend in his own mind.

As for the Not So True Church; being a member of a COG requires this belief: I don’t want someone I can believe in, I want someone who’s unbelievable.

SKMarin said...

Christ said, «And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.» (Matt 16:18)

Of course the church died. In order for the phrase, shall not prevail, to make any sense, the church died and will be resurrected, just as Christ's body did not stay dead.

Anonymous said...

"I've never bothered trying to work out what Ritenbaugh thinks - though I'd be surprised if he teaches this."

I'm not entirely certain, but I vaguely remember reading somewhere on one of the ex- sites, that there was a Mythter with a micro-splinter, who had taken his flock "whole hog" (hah) into Islam, using rhetoric based on some of the conclusions drawn above.

Not that's it of any import me; I've definitely evolved out of the Abrahamic tree, personally speaking.

Byker Bob said...

Actually, I believe that it was our old nemesis Wade Cox who came up with a curious mixture of ACOG "restored truth" and Islam!

BB

Baywolfe said...

you folks are fun. totally misguided, but fun :-)

Just another Camera Angle brother.

Anonymous said...

Try this site for controversy. http://www.darrellwconder.com

Anonymous said...

Oh, right, the one who tried to get the Internet shut down. A bit before my active participation days, but I've read the horror stories.

camfinch said...

"Kung may wonder, but Muhammad was not the "Jewish Christian apostle" in Arabian garb. If this supposition was remotely true, the Koran would never have been written. For the Koran denies the atoning sacrifice of Christ for the sins of the world. The doctrines of forgiveness, redemption and the resurrection depends upon the atoning sacrifice of Christ."

Perhaps Tom misses the essential point: "Jewish Christianity" did not see Jesus the Christ as a sacrifice for the sins of humanikind. He was a Messiah figure, which in Israelite terms, is a very different commodity altogether.

Muslims see Jesus as perhaps the last of the true prophets before the "seal of the prophets" himself, Muhammad.

And by the way the Qur'an/Koran was not written down until some decades after Muhammad's death in 632 C.E. It was actually a gradual process, much like the writing of the books canonized as the New Testament.

Neotherm said...

HWA started by conflating the Old and New Testaments. He took two things which were holy in their rightful contexts and made an unholy brew (the theme of the book of Galatians). This addition of one holy thing to another holy thing and producing something unholy is a barrier beyond which most Armstrongites cannot exceed.

After The Great Conflation, HWA reviewed church history (I am postulating here) and found that the only period of the church where this conflation seem to be accommodated was the Jerusalem Church or early Jewish Christianity.

But since that period was short-lived, he developed the theory of the true church going underground for 18 and a half centuries to re-emerge at the end of the age in the form of the WWCG and through the special personage of HWA.

It is amazing how someone can start with a mistake and develop it into an idea that sounds plausible. But hiding under many ornamental layers is that little hard, steely nucleus of undeniable error.

-- Neo

Anonymous said...

I must say, this Tom Mahon character who writes on this site has the most amazing ability to say so little of real value using so many words. Yet he seems to take himself seriously, even if nobody else does.

What a moron. An obvious disciple of Armstrongism!

Corky said...

When the whole world is Islamic, will the Sunnis and Shiites still be killing each other?

Are there any real Christians in existence, Scottish or otherwise?

Is Jesus really the "saviour of the world" or just the saviour of a select few?

Does any of it matter if Genesis 3 is only an allegory?

If Jesus died for the first Adam as the last Adam, doesn't that remove the death penalty for sin from everyone?

Did Jesus say that we are judged according to our doctrines and beliefs or did he say we are judged according to our deeds?

So many questions, so little time.

Tom Mahon said...

camfinch said...

TM>>"Kung may wonder, but Muhammad was not the "Jewish Christian apostle" in Arabian garb. If this supposition was remotely true, the Koran would never have been written. For the Koran denies the atoning sacrifice of Christ for the sins of the world. The doctrines of forgiveness, redemption and the resurrection depends upon the atoning sacrifice of Christ."<<

Camfinch...

>>Perhaps Tom misses the essential point: "Jewish Christianity" did not see Jesus the Christ as a sacrifice for the sins of humanikind. He was a Messiah figure, which in Israelite terms, is a very different commodity altogether.<<

I am not sure that I have missed "the essential point." Christianity, whether it be Jewish or Gentile is predicated upon the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and its related doctrines. To reject, deny or remove the atonement from Christianity would divest it of its substance.

>>>Muslims see Jesus as perhaps the last of the true prophets before the "seal of the prophets" himself, Muhammad.<<<

But Jesus was more than a prophet. In fact, he was and is the son of God, an apostle, high priest and king.

And the idea that Muhammad was the "seal of the prophets" is simply arid nonsense! For Jesus brought the final revelation from God the father. Anyone who came after Jesus claiming that he was sent by God is a heretic. But please don't tell me that Paul came after Jesus claiming he was sent by God, for Paul preached the revelation that was given to Jesus.

The only religion that provides a solution to death is Christianity, because Christ rose from the dead! But, of course, I don't mean the kind of Christianity that Catholicism and Protestantism have proclaimed to a deceived world.

Anonymous said...

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is not Monophysite but Miaphysite

Bamboo_bends said...

camfinch said...

"Kung may wonder, but Muhammad was not the "Jewish Christian apostle" in Arabian garb.

If this supposition was remotely true, the Koran would never have been written.

For the Koran denies the atoning sacrifice of Christ for the sins of the world.


Denies? Would you call also call the original 12 apostles denier's too?

That concept wasn't formulated until those writings attributed to Paul came into being.


The doctrines of forgiveness, redemption and the resurrection depends upon the atoning sacrifice of Christ."


Those are the Apostle Paul's attempts to attach mystical meaning to Jesus brutal death.

It assumes God does not forgive without blood being spilled. But then that was the time of the Roman Empire, a very bloody era.

I get the sense of Paul trying to integrate his upbringing in Jewish law, with his Greek mentoring and seeking to make sense of a great man dying a very ignoble death. It seems like something a righteous man shouldn't have to suffer unless there was some higher reason.

The question that is never asked is: what if God does forgive? And what if all do live on after death (don't ask me to explain how that works). If such were true - would people who call themselves Christian continue to live in the example Jesus set? Or do they need the threat of a Hell - (or in the Amstrongist case - eternal annihilation in the Lake of Fire) to do what is right, just and what leads to peace?

The Jews did not and do not (by and large) believe in an afterlife. There is some indication of a belief in reincarnation in early Judaism. They asked Jesus if he was Elijah.

Anonymous said...

"That concept wasn't formulated until those writings attributed to Paul came into being."




actually that concept was formulated before the foundation of the earth....it wasn't understood until the Pentecost following Jesus' resurrection when the holy spirit was made available to the Church.

SmilinJackSprat said...

Bamboo says, "The Jews did not and do not (by and large) believe in an afterlife. There is some indication of a belief in reincarnation in early Judaism. They asked Jesus if he was Elijah."

Not so, maybe so, absolutely so, Bamboo. The problem derives from the fact that "the Jews," at least in terms of uniform beliefs, don't exist.

One Jew, 2 synagogues. One to attend, the other to shun. We have Reform, Renewal, Reconstructionist, Orthodox, Modern Orthodox, Conservative, Traditional Conservative, Hassidic, and there must be others that don't come to mind.

Traditional Judaism, through the kabbalistic traditions, embraces an intricate version of reincarnation. And we accept the Torah as the instrument through which God imbues us with eternal life. We affirm this belief seven times during the Torah service every Sabbath day.

You can find this material at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/13_principles_of_faith#Maimonides.27_13_principles_of_faith -- but you might be hard pressed to find two Jews of any stripe who accept everything, nay, anything, at face value.

larry said...

Bamboo Bends said,


"The question that is never asked is: what if God does forgive? And what if all do live on after death (don't ask me to explain how that works). If such were true - would people who call themselves Christian continue to live in the example Jesus set? Or do they need the threat of a Hell - (or in the Amstrongist case - eternal annihilation in the Lake of Fire) to do what is right, just and what leads to peace."

Yes, BB, God does forgive. And Christians, even those of us in the former WCG, actually do CHOOSE to do what is right. And, we do not do it because of any existential threat of eternal annihilation! The Lake of Fire will be a merciful end for those who have CHOSEN rebellion and selfishness, that God wants to put out of their misery. And selfish people are very miserable.

We do it because it is proper, and we are motivated to try to make things better. Yes, this (for all you doubters) is an effect of God's Spirit.

Byker Bob said...

One thing has become painfully obvious. And, that is that we've allowed Armstrongism to define us as being Sardis, Philadelphian, or Laodecean. The reality is that we're the Galatians. We're the Romans, or even the Maccabeans!

In our era today, how are we any different from the Judaizing and Gentile Christian mix in Galatia? Are the problems in relating and getting along any different today than they were at the time when Paul wrote his advice to the Romans on the occasion of the return of the Jewish Christians who had been exiled from Rome?

Armstrongism did not accept either epistle as they had been written or were intended. You had to apply Armstrong modifiers to make Paul conform to the Old Covenant. This was bogus and contentious 2000years ago, and it has the same effect today!

I wonder if the Tkaches are in fact actually (gasp!) telling the truth when they state that the old man told Senior to correct the many doctrinal errors which had infected his church. Perhaps HWA, on his death bed, finally came to terms with the realities of Paul.

BB

SKMarin said...

BambooBends said: «If such were true - would people who call themselves Christian continue to live in the example Jesus set? Or do they need the threat of a Hell - (or in the Amstrongist case - eternal annihilation in the Lake of Fire) to do what is right, just and what leads to peace?»

The essence of Christianity should be whether you will do what you believe is right, even if no one (other than oneself and God) is looking. Having swallowed a «bill of goods» from a fear mongering salesman shouldn't even enter the equatian.

Robert said...

A case has been made that the Koran is a commentary on the Bible and we can only understand it if we read it alongside the Bible. Historical Islam is likely to be different than modern day versions of Islam.

The Christian Jewish faiths of Islam is one we do not usually consider because our own bias prevents us from studying any source outside of the scriptures.

Tom Mahon said...

Byker Bob said...

>>Perhaps HWA, on his death bed, finally came to terms with the realities of Paul.<<

This comment suggests that you know something that we don't. What are "the realities of Paul?"

Byker Bob said...

Tom,

To me, the realities of Paul are what one perceives when one reads the epistles without one's Adventist or Armstrongite sunglasses.

Robert touched upon the set of criteria which led to Armstrongism, when he expressed that one could only take seriously the ideas which Paul expressed that directly agree with what Jesus taught. This was in response to a discussion on the topic of grace. Robert seemed to feel that neither Jesus, nor the OT, taught grace.

WCG seemed to teach something which I call "reverse dispensationalism". In practice, this meant that the OT, and Mosaic Law, were weighted in such a way that they were to be used as the ultimate filter or harmonizing point for everything found in later books and chapters of the Bible, no matter what those later chapters plainly stated. In the epistle to the Galatians, Paul implies that this was the same type of thinking which blinded the Jews and Pharissees of his day to the teachings and freedoms of the New Covenant.

This is in contrast to the dispensationalist teachings of mainstream Christianity, in which it is believed that God has progressively revealed His truths to mankind, with the latest information having precedence over the earlier information.

That is, of course, my layman's digest of the topic, and based on my own personal study. I realize that you read widely, just as I do, so my opinion is obviously not going to have the same effect on you as would that of St. Augustine. But, what I have stated illustrates the key difference between Armstrongism, and mainstream Christianity. Armstrongism uses the most ancient as criteria for judging the later. Mainstream Christianity uses the latest writings as a tool to understand what led to the present.

BB

Anonymous said...

Byker Bob wrote, "Armstrongism uses the most ancient as criteria for judging the later. Mainstream Christianity uses the latest writings as a tool to understand what led to the present." This is a remarkable and accurate observation, or so it seems to me -- although the concept was never formally implemented at AC.

HWA constantly quoted God's words to Isaiah on his radio broadcast, before GTA became the main spokesman (8:20). "To the Law and to the Testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." And this is corroborated by Deuteronomy 13. Unfortunately, this perspective was never directly supported by the faculty or curricula at AC. If it had, our theology could not have allowed the D&R travesty.

I was taken aback when arriving at my first Freshman Bible class at AC, because both semesters were drawn from a harmony of the gospels. Not once did AC get around to anything approaching an in-depth study of Law and Testimony. An Old Testament Survey of one or two semesters had to suffice as our foundation, upon which, at least theoretically, the NT is built. How were we to judge the veracity of Biblical writings if we never probed the depths of "the law and the testimony"?

The definition RCM gave us of "the law" was the 10 commandments, inferred from James 1 and 2. But James also speaks there of bridling the tongue, loving one's neighbor, showing no respect of persons, quite a number of non-10 commandment directives, all drawn from the Torah (Genesis through Deuteronomy), which in fact is the "Law" we should have been studying.

During my tenure there I asked two ministers what "the law" was, and neither of them could answer me. One of them was Dr. Hoeh. Was that political correctness, or did he really not know? Never mind that Jesus' disciples would have been completely through the Torah and related Prophets about 7 times, with comprehensive discussions, agreements and disagreements, by the time they were 30. It was that way for every observant Jew, which those men were. There obviously was no NT during their lifetimes.

No one seemed to care about the tremendous and horrible gap AC students were unwittingly made to endure at God's own college. The Protestant Bible was God's inspired Word, and for God's chosen student body, Matthew was the starting point. But wasn't it Mr. Armstrong who often spoke of entering a movie too close to the end to get a context for evaluating the whole picture?

Byker Bob said...

Thanks, and good post, Anonymous. I certainly agree with you that AC Bible classes were very simplistic.

I've learned that in order to interpret the writings of Paul, and to harmonize them with the Old Testament, one must use the Armstrongist/Adventist principle of "parsing" the law. Once one divides the law into various categories, one learns how to pick and choose, leading one to the conclusion that the sabbath, holydays, and clean and unclean meats are still in force for Christians today. IOW, Peter's dream, and Jesus statements regarding nothing one eats defiling one, can't mean what they seem to plainly state. Jesus' fulfilling of the law, and dying statement on the cross that "it is over" is not allowed to mean that Christians are totally under grace, as opposed to being required to keep "the law".

HWA was a master salesman, and his uneducated religous spin deceived many of us, turned some against God, and robbed us of what could have been a very rewarding and blessed Christian life for us and our families.

BB

Anonymous said...

Byker, I don't think God, Moses, Jesus or anyone properly within the continuum of Godly teachings, from Adam forward, ever intended that non-Israelites (or non-Jews as we call them today) be obligated to the terms of covenant between God and Israel.

Mr. Armstrong unfortunately knew of no Biblical distinction between Jews and non-Jews, and therefore sought, mightily, to merge Paul with Jesus and James. Such a merger can't work. There have been two distinct lifestyles in existence, both of them equally moral, ethical and acceptable to God, from the time of Moses forward. Of course there is no superiority or inferiority between Jew and Greek, bond or free, male or female. But there is a difference in job description. And for anyone who wants the extra burden, he or she is welcome to accept the Israelite covenant and become Jewish -- but why?

Brits drive on one side of the street; Yanks drive on the other. Who is to say one tradition is better than the other? So it is between Jews and Gentiles, except that Jews are a Kingdom of Priests, and are obligated to maintain a priestly culture, which is the purpose of the covenant between God and Israel. Because most Israelites ignore the covenant, not even knowing who they are, the world is in one hell of an ungodly mess.

My guess is that this post will find few, if any, adherents, but the Protestant grace argument has never made sense IMO. A messianic kingdom without law is the height of absurdity in my thinking. When David was the royal messiah of Israel (anointed king) he was equally beholden to Israelite law as were the rest of Israel. So it is with all messiahs, whether royal, priestly or prophetic. Messiahs must fulfill the law, or be branded as outlaws.

Grace has always been with us because humanity is fallible -- but grace can never take the place of law, which must be learned and applied if ever the world will live at peace. For Jesus to have fulfilled the law is a fine example; he did precisely what every Jew lives to do, to fulfill the law -- in fact, to become a walking, talking example of responsible law-keeping. To learn this lifestyle requires grace, so God created it before he made Adam & Eve beholden to His commands. God created grace to make the development of Godly character possible. We have to crawl, and fall, even morally, before we can walk.

I can't imagine why people believe grace entered the human condition with Jesus. Are we all unaware of Psalm 51, its inspiration and consequences?

Byker Bob said...

Good points, Anonymous. I pointed out examples of Yahweh's grace to Robert in one of my recent posts.

Most people from the WCG background seem to be completely unaware of Noahide law, or Noahide tradition, a factor of which the Jerusalem Council was apparently well versed. Either that, or the COGgers deny that there ever was such a thing as Noahide law.

HWA's British Israelism adaptation served him well in many ways, although it is a false and unprovable theory. By making us all into Israelites, he placed us under Mosaic Law in the same way as those of the Jewish persuasion find themselves by genetic heritage.

BB

Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff, Byker. No way you got all that from Armstrongites. I'm encouraged. All the best!