My recent post/review of Boaz Michael’s Tent of David has really fostered some good discussion. Probably one of the longest and best discussion thread on any post on this blog. At times it has been spirited, but peace and grace have been the general tenor. Thank you!!
Leaders in the discussion have been bloggers James Pyles of “My Morning Meditations” and Ruth of Sojourning With Jews. Both are friends I have gotten to know over the last year in the blogosphere and though we do not see eye to eye on all things Messianic, we all desire truth and enjoy the pursuit thereof. Each of us has publicly wrestled with thoughts and understandings as we search the Scriptures (though I envy both for being more open with their hearts than I have been…).
“You are invited….”
Hebrew Roots (HR) blogger Pete Rambo has issued a challenge to me (Ruth had to back out) to read one or more leading HR books (since Pete and I have already discussed Boaz’s book Tent of David: Healing the Vision of the Messianic Gentile in the comments section of his review) and to “co-review” the book, he with his perspective on his blog and me on mine.
Pete generously sent me two books to choose from, both written by a gentleman named J.K. McKee who maintains a personal/professional website called TNN Online (Theology News Network Online). McKee’s rather lengthy Statement of Faith is also available on his site, so in addition to his About page, you should be able to find out all you need to know about him.
As far as Pete goes, he describes himself as a “46 [year old] recovering seminary trained pastor.” He also says:
During most of my life I have had a particular interest in eschatology (end times events/prophecy) and in understanding truth. (I used to be a conspiracy theorist… now, I am a conspiracy factualist… ) In my quest, I began to run into pieces of information that challenged my very conservative traditional Christian religious perspectives. Only when I began to pray earnestly for Yahweh to show me TRUTH did He move my focus from geopolitical events and onto a close scrutiny of what I now call ‘Churchianity.’ As I learned how far the Church had moved from the simplicity of the Book of Acts and the clear teaching of the Word, I became convicted of the need for a personal reformation.
To “bottom line” it, my understanding (and please correct me if I get this wrong, Pete) is that both Pete and Mr. McKee would fall into the theological/doctrinal category within Hebrew Roots of being One Law (and I’ve linked to a set of definitions created by Rabbi David Rudolph from his website MessianicGentiles.com).
The book Pete and I agreed upon (via email) to review first is McKee’s One Law for All: From the Mosaic Texts to the Work of the Holy Spirit. The book is about two-years old and so far has rather stellar reviews on Amazon with a total of nine reviews as I write this. Either the book is incredibly good, or the deck is stacked, or both.
Let me explain.
Since I’m also published author, though not in the religious or theological space, the publishers I’ve written for typically send me anywhere from five to ten “review copies” of my books once they go to market so I can pass them out to family and friends, asking them to write and publish reviews on Amazon.
This is a traditional marketing technique and the assumption is that the author’s family and friends or perhaps “fans” of his/her work will be more likely to write favorable reviews, elevating the book’s ranking at Amazon. Of course, at least from my experience, every time I’ve sent out review copies of one of my books and asked people I know to review it, it’s always a tad risky, since I want the reviewers to be honest and sincere, and there’s always a chance they’ll take exception to some portion of what I’ve written (if not the whole book). On the other hand, I don’t want anyone to be dishonest in writing their opinion of something I’ve created. If one of my books is to be praised, I want that praise to be authentic.
I say all this with the idea that the individuals who have reviewed McKee’s “One Law” book at Amazon may be those people who are already predisposed to like the content of McKee’s book (and his general theological bent) and thus write positive reviews.
I know one of the reasons I reviewed Matthew Vines’ book God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships is because I knew it would draw exactly two audiences: those who automatically supported his platform and those who automatically opposed it. I wondered if Mr. Vines would ever get a truly objective review of his work, so I made it my “mission,” so to speak, to do just that, setting aside as much of my own personal bias as was possible.
I intend to do the same thing here with the caveat (please pay attention to this part) that I am theologically and doctrinally opposed to the position that there is One Law, that is, a single and unified application of the Torah mitzvot that applies to all disciples of Jesus Christ (Yeshua HaMoshiach) whether they be Jewish or Gentile (that application would ultimately be applied to all human beings since the Bible refers to how “every knee will bow, see Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10).
I have a history in “One Law,” and after coming to faith within the context of a Christian church nearly twenty years ago, I swiftly (long story) transitioned into a Hebrew Roots/One Law congregation (which billed itself as “Messianic Judaism”) and learned my basic understanding of the Bible and my faith there.
Without going into a long explanation, after some years, I finally was prompted to question all of the assumptions I naively accepted back in the day and spent nearly a year publicly exploring said-assumptions on my previous blog spot (to which I no longer contribute).
In the spirit of friendship and learning, I have agreed to Pete’s proposal but I could be considered what trial attorneys call a hostile witness in that my attitudes and beliefs regarding “One Law” are not supportive of the theological presuppositions it entails.
In the process of our discussion, I mentioned to James via email that we ought to read and review/discuss a book at the same time…
One point to stress for all of us from the outset: the goal here is to learn and grow. We may be challenged, but we want to plan on good vigorous discussion that at the same time is peaceful and displays the fruit of the Spirit!!
That is, Pete and I will read McKee’s book and each of us will post our impressions/reviews on our respective blogs (and I also intend to post a review on Amazon). We will insert McKee’s book into a crucible and attempt, through our differing viewpoints, to tease out the essence of what’s been written, then present those findings to whoever chooses to read our blogs.
As Pete says, we both want to show that two people can discuss differing theological perspectives in a peaceful and cooperative manner, and avoid those emotional meltdowns that we all frequently have witnessed in the religious blogosphere. We aren’t (necessarily) trying to convince the other to change his mind, but rather are trying to provide clarity of thought and expression of our respective points of view.
I hope you will follow along on our two blogs and feel free to join in (politely and respectfully) on our discussions.