WHAT IS REVERSE LEGALISM?
Rabbi Shaul, otherwise known as the Apostle Paul, made it evident that Gentile Believers in Yeshua as the Messiah do not have to become Jews in order to be approved by G*d.
The message seen in Romans, Galatians, and parts of other writings in the Brit Chadasha, often called the New Testament, make this clear.
WE DO NOT DISPUTE THE TEACHING THAT GENTILES DO NOT HAVE TO BE CIRCUMCISED, DO NOT HAVE TO START EATING KOSHER, AND DO NOT HAVE TO START LIVING COMPLETELY JEWISH LIFESTYLES TO RECEIVE A NEW LIFE IN THE MESSIAH.
The concept being fought by Rabbi Shaul, the idea that Gentiles must become Torah Observant to be approved by the Almighty, is often called LEGALISM.
Messianic Believers, whether from a Jewish or Gentiles background, who prefer to live a Torah Observant lifestyle, frequently are subjected to a curious reversal of that attitude. We are assaulted with REVERSE LEGALISM.
Many Christians demand that we abandon all evidences of a Jewish identity as a pre-condition to their accepting us as believers in the Messiah. We are faced with this belief, along with what are often harsh, strident, and imperative demands that we MUST give up Kosher diets, we MUST forsake circumcision, we MUST no longer keep the Sabbath, and we MUST abandon "Jewish" Holidays if they are going to accept us as believers, and admit that we might be approved by G*d. They insist that we identify ourselves, in one way or another by the word CHRISTIAN.
MANY PEOPLE SEEM TO HAVE THE IDEA THAT WE MUST ABANDON OUR HERITAGE IN ORDER TO:
No scripture requires us to identify ourselves as Christians in order to accept Yeshua as Messiah!>
The word Christian is used in a variety of ways today. In some minds, it means a person who has experienced a life-changing encounter with the Messiah, having been re-born from above. It is used by others to describe themselves after they have gone through a meaningless ritual of repeating a formula prayer by which they have supposed themselves to have been born again, when in fact no change has been made in their moral standards, the way they think, live, or arrange their lives. Others use the word to describe someone who has publicly accepted the same interpretation of Rabbi Shaul's teachings ABOUT Yeshua as are accepted by their denomination. Society uses it to describe a culture which is very loosely based on, and has some of its roots in a belief that Yeshua, called Jesus Christ, is the Messiah.
Of course, the "Jesus" many of churches and denominations proclaim has very little resemblance to the strong and vital Nazarean carpenter we see in the Brit Chadasha.
To many Jews, the word "Christian" identifies a cultural mind set that has repeatedly attempted to force Jews to abandon their heritage and adopt one which denies any value in their ancestry. The fact that most modern Gentile believers in Christ do not know about the millions of incidences of anti-semitic hatred in the history of their faith does not negate the facts. It does not wipe out the pain.
The fact that many Christians still speak of men who were vicious anti-Semitic Jew haters, like John Chrysostam, Augustine, and Martin Luther, as heroic examples of faith may be ignorance on their own part. To us, it has the unmistakable appearance of full support for their hateful words to and about Jews.
Neither Paul, nor any of the other writers through whom the Brit Chadasha was transmitted, ever addressed any of their letters to "The Christians in...." They addressed them to the HAGIOSTES, Saints, or Specially Chosen Ones, to the EKKLESIA, or called out.
No evidence exists to suggest that Rabbi Shaul or any of the other Apostles used the term "Christian" to describe a system of faith and belief based upon an absolute conviction that Yeshua was/is the Messiah. No evidence suggests that they even encouraged that use.
IF WE CHOOSE NOT TO USE THAT WORD TO DESCRIBE OURSELVES, IT IS BECAUSE EXPERIENCE SHOWS US THAT IT COMMONLY REPRESENTS SOMETHING WE DO NOT WANT TO HAVE ANY PART IN. IT IS A WORD THAT WOULD BE NEITHER EXPEDIENT NOR APPROPRIATE FOR US TO USE.
We do not demand that others abandon the use of the word CHRISTIAN. Why do so many want to demand that we must use it?
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