Have any of your core theological beliefs changed during your spiritual growth? Is there anything you believed was true at one time and now believe to be false, or vice versa? These questions can reveal a number of interesting results.
Do the steadfast believers, those unchanged in their theology, indicate a strong core belief system that is not easily swayed? Or does it suggest a staunch unwillingness to learn anything truly new? People allowing their beliefs to shift; are they more susceptible to false doctrine, or are they more willing to struggle through the text and examine Scripture from different viewpoints, holding opposing paradigms simultaneously? It is difficult to say exactly.
It is an honorable thing to hold to the theology of one’s youth. Respecting the teaching passed down by parents and elders makes for a strong beginning in one’s growth. But eventually one must grow. Remaining stagnant is not beneficial to the relationship with our Creator. We can recall that the growth of our physical bodies was not without pain, so too our spiritual growth is not without some sort of friction. If one desires to gain physical muscle strength, then one must exercise these muscles with weights or friction. Just as there is resistance when physical growth occurs, there will also be resistance during spiritual growth. This is healthy and expected. Physical growth allows us to walk farther, jump higher, and do more. Spiritual growth allows us to make connections where none were seen before, it opens further understanding and strengthens our faith.
For this to happen, we must be willing to change. Rather than responding to change with fear, we should embrace it. We should test it, and be willing to submit to the conviction it presents, if true. It is not easy, and when this change conflicts with preconceived understandings, it will no doubt be met with resistance. The Apostle Paul knew this deeply. His own brothers rejected him for his change in belief. And so he makes a suggestion that should not be underestimated.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.1 Thessalonians 5:21
This book will no doubt shake the foundation of any Christian raised on mainstream theology. It will expose a more Hebraic worldview linked to the Jewish culture of Jesus and His disciples. The theology herein will cause the reader to reexamine what the Bible actually says about the Messiah. If it is successful, it will reveal prophetic connections to the purpose of Jesus and His teachings. It will realign theology to coincide with what Jesus says, and refocus one’s understanding toward a more cohesive story that blends both the Old and New Testaments in ways not frequently recognized.
This is the path that I have taken. It began several years ago as I delved further into the Hebrew culture of ancient Israel. I searched, asked questions, and read everything I could get my hands on regarding Israel, Judaism, and the Torah as understood by the Hebrews through the 1st century C.E. I wanted to know the religion and culture of Jesus, thereby learning who He is. I wanted to gain insight into the mind of the Apostles and the challenges they encountered.
I had many questions that were not being answered by today’s Christian theology. Replacement theology and the reformist paradigm did not help my studies. They may have provided eloquent theologies that lead to heart-warming feelings while uplifting my faith, but they did not examine the Bible as a whole. Nor did these Christian theologies analyze the end result of their claims. Their truths would bleed into ambiguous declarations that could not articulate a strong foundation based on Biblical history.
Other questions arise around how easily Christianity throws aside the teachings of God in the Old Testament replacing them with new teachings that are much more vague and ethereal. While the commandment to “love your neighbor” is both true and extremely important (also one of God’s laws in the Old Testament), how does one actually do that? What does loving your neighbor look like? The Torah, teachings of God, are filled with ways in which this can be achieved – real, tangible ways that a person can show love toward another person. But the desire has been to throw the specifics out so that we might impose our own understanding on the meaning. It becomes much easier to conform the Word of God to our own lives when we do not include the specifics found in the law. And for these reasons, I wrote this book. It is filled with verses from the Bible for the sake of weaving together the strands of history into a woven basket of understanding. Read through these verses because more than likely, they are verses often skimmed over without proper study. The pattern will emerge from the Bible, and the greatest love story ever told will make itself known to those who study commandment upon commandment, line upon line, here a little and there a little.