When Christians start studying under the Hebraic Roots Movement their family and friends become concern. Family and friends believe their loved ones are entering a cult that teaches false doctrine and puts them in bondage through legalism. In this article we will compare legalism in the Hebraic Roots Movement with other religions. If you are curious, you can read how this movement is a cult and teaches false doctrine.
Let’s begin by finding out what exactly is legalism and what it means to be legalistic. This will give us a better understanding of what is being said and done.
Legalism and Being Legalistic
Legalism has three meanings with two of them pertaining to Theology. The main definition means “strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription, especially to the letter rather than the spirit.” The two definitions dealing with Theology are (1) “the doctrine that salvation is gained through good works” and (2) “the judging of conduct in terms of adherence to precise laws.”
To be legalistic means “of, relating to, or exhibiting strict adherence to the law, esp to the letter of the law rather than its spirit.”
So does the Hebrew Roots Movement teach legalism? I believe it does, but so does every other religion. Every religion has their dos and don’ts list. If you do this then you’re good. If you don’t do this then you’re bad. I’ll only focus on Christianity and the Hebrew Roots Movement.
Christianity vs Hebrew Roots
I have met people in Christianity and in Hebrew Roots that believe salvation is gained through good works. Some Christians may not say this out loud, but you can tell by their lifestyle what they believe. A lot of Christians are great at telling you what you did right and what you did wrong, which will put you in hell and separate you from God. In this respect salvation is gained through good works.
Some Hebrew Roots people may tell you to your face if you don’t keep Torah you don’t have salvation. Thus, they are no different than the above Christians.
There are people in both groups that support strict adherence to the laws they believe in. I have been in Christian churches the majority of my life. I have dwelt with the no lipstick, long skirt church. You know the one that says if you wear red nail polish, wear a skirt that isn’t pass your knees, or long sleeve shirts then you are presenting yourself as a whore. I’ve been in the church that says if you don’t come to church every time the church doors open then you don’t love God as much as you say you do. You should always want to be in the house of God. I’ve been in the church that says by their actions that you must honor the pastors like they are gods and if you don’t you are going against scripture.
I’ve watched some Hebrew Roots teachers who teach legalism at its finest. If you don’t do this you are not saved. If you don’t do that you are not a disciple. You must pronounce his name this way or you don’t know him. You must follow the Rabbinic laws in addition to the Torah or you are not keeping God’s laws at all. This is what these teachers believe, thus legalism at its finest. These kinds of teachings lead people to be afraid more of man than of God. Just like in the Christian church.
I’ve also heard stories about how some people have embraced the Hebrew Roots to the point of practicing Judaism, which doesn’t believe Jesus Christ is the Messiah. They are still waiting for the Messiah. This is nonsense. How can you believe Jesus is who he says he is, and then no longer believe him? Really? It would have been better not to believe at all then to do this.
They are Both Legalistic
As you can see, Christianity and the Hebraic Roots Movement are legalistic in one form or another. It all depends on the teacher. Once again, it is our job to determine who we are sitting under. We should go to God and ask him if we should be under this particular teacher. If not, then where should we look? Ask him to point us in the right direction.
Until we find that teacher who will be responsible enough to teach us correctly and encourage us to learn from the Holy Spirit, let us follow Yeshua (the living word of Yahweh) and his commandments.
Be blessed and grow in understanding.
Our Heavenly Father, who is in heaven,
Help us to follow you and your ways only, growing in understanding. Teach us to walk in the spirit and the truth.
In Yeshua the Messiah’s name, Amen.
“For it is impossible to restore to repentance those who were once enlightened — those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come –and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people to repentance again because they are nailing the Son of God to the cross again by rejecting him, holding him up to public shame.” (Hebrews 6:4-6 NLT)
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14 KJV)
“Indeed, this is what you were called to; because the Messiah too suffered, on your behalf, leaving an example so that you should follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21 CJB)
“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” (1 Timothy 6:11 KJV)
“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22 KJV)
“But among the people there were also false prophets, just as there will be false teachers among you. Under false pretenses they will introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and thus bring on themselves swift destruction. Many will follow their debaucheries; and because of them, the true Way will be maligned. In their greed they will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their punishment, decreed long ago, is not idle; their destruction is not asleep!” (2 Peter 2:1-3 CJB)
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV)
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8 NKJV)
“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” (Romans 14:5 KJV)
“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12 KJV)