Let’s face it: We in the Messianic and Hebrew Roots movement have a lot of adversaries. More than any other reason, I think this is because of an old and misplaced fear in the Church of “Judaizing.” Now just what is Judaizing? Per Acts 15:1 and Gal. 3:3, it is believing that being circumcised—which is to say, becoming fully Jewish by the rabbinic ceremony of circumcision—is a requirement for salvation or for “perfecting” one’s walk. It is not Judaizing for a Jewish believer in the Messiah to continue to be Jewish and keep Torah, or else none of the Apostles were saved (Acts 21:20ff); nor for a Gentile to learn Torah in the synagogues, for then Jacob (James) was in error in Acts 15:21; nor even for a Gentile to become circumcised for the right motives after understanding his salvation by faith, or else Paul damned both Timothy and himself (Acts 16:3).
Now, under that definition, are some Messianic synagogues Judaizing? Possibly, but it seems to be the exception rather than the rule. We do encourage our Sunday brethren to rediscover the joys of keeping the Torah—particularly the Feasts, which all point to Messiah—but this is simply a matter of disagreeing that only the New Testament should be followed. The vast majority of us out here recognize that we are all saved by faith, so we can afford to honestly agree to disagree and all of us who have put our faith in the Messiah, whether we worship on Shabbat or Sunday, are brothers and sisters together and will be together in the World to Come.
Nevertheless, the accusation refuses to die. So it is with Vicki of SeekGod.ca, who has written quite an extensive series of articles attacking Messianism. Such challenges both deserve and require a response.
Vicki has wisely decided to maintain a certain degree of anonymity on the internet by withholding her last name and other personal information. We do not begrudge her her privacy one bit; however, she does not even disclose a denomination, and in fact claims in her introduction page, “This website is not supported by or aligned with any denomination. This is our family ministry.” She speaks of going to an evangelical church, but does not disclose which branch of evangelicalism. Her statements of belief are extremely general, not allowing for any practical cross-examination. For example, she says, “That the Bible is clear in saying that if we love our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we will obey all His commandments, not just some of them and that our lives will show a change, as ‘all things become new.’” I would agree (though pointing out that Yeshua told us to keep the whole Torah in Mat. 5:17-19); the problem is that she does not disclose the practical applications of what that means to her. In the interest of fairness, shouldn’t one who subjects the beliefs and practices to others to a microscope be willing to allow them to do the same of hers?
In fact, her whole page seems to be nothing but a series of attacks on other Christian groups, offering very little in the way of positive contributions to the faith. While I am all for challenging and testing beliefs that one does not hold to, it seems a bit unbalanced to spend 99% of one’s time attacking others for their “wrong” beliefs without also writing many positive arguments for one’s own. This is why, for example, HebrewRoot has focused on providing positive arguments for Messianic Judaism and Torah-observance and rebuttal arguments against the more common Scriptures cited against us, but does not attack our Sunday brethren directly or question their integrity or salvation for believing differently on certain relatively minor matters. Nor do we here attack Vicki’s integrity or salvation, though I do question the wisdom and humility of attacking a man who has done far more to spread Christianity than almost anyone else this century for alleged “occultism” in his fictional works.
The purpose of this post and those to follow is to defend Messianic Judaism against what I believe to be an unfair and unscriptural attack. While this of necessity requires a certain amount of “counter-attack,” I will try to keep the focus on the arguments rather than the person, though some comments about Vicki’s general tendencies in her writings are necessary. I do not intend to counter her attacks against specific individuals; those who have been the targets of her darts are the ones best equipped to answer her or to choose to ignore her, whichever seems best to them.