Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Unpacking Luther’s Baggage, chapter 3, page 2

Moses led the tribes of Israel to the Jordan, but could not cross it himself; that was left to Joshua. Joshua led the tribes of Israel across the Jordan, but could not keep them focused on taking the land. As Joshua passes away in the book of Judges, the people are struggling to win their inheritance and flounder in defeat; each doing what is right in their own eyes. 
In a similar way, the early reformers paved the way for Luther as he led Protestantism into a new land. When Luther passed away, the movement struggled to define its legacy as the enemy regrouped. Eventually, each Protestant denomination did what was right in their own eyes.
The point in common is that Israel and Protestantism each turned their back on the same foundation. The cry “Sola Scriptura” is hollow when you despise God’s Chosen people and minimize God’s Word. The Written Torah and the Living Torah go hand in hand; you cannot understand the One fully without first understanding the basis of the covenant. In the absence of a solid foundation, the different church buildings began to sway on the shifting sand. The architectural styles lacked cohesion and the buildings could go no higher.
Picture a dial that is shaped like the top half of a clock face, but with 4 positions. 9 o’clock is the first position, 11:00 is the second, 1:00 is the third, and 3:00 is the fourth. In the middle is an hour hand that is pointing at 9:00. I am going to call this device the Extremeter. For the next few pages I want to define these four positions as: 9:00 - Torah Ignorant; 11:00 - Torah Friendly; 1:00 - Torah Honoring, and 3:00 - Torah Observant.
In many ways, the church today is Torah Ignorant and I want to change that. Here is an example of using the Extremeter to understand the story from Acts 15: The Messianic Jews in Jerusalem are Torah Observant (3:00); the new converts from paganism whom Paul is representing are Torah Ignorant (9:00). The Jerusalem council decides to require a few minimal changes to move them to Torah Friendly (11:00), while still encouraging them to attend the Synagogue to hear God’s Word with the hope that they can possibly advance to Torah Honoring (at 1:00). 
My goal is to look at the many aspects of church life today in order to see what could be done to take the church from Torah Ignorant to Torah Friendly.

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