Part II: Excerpts from UMJC 2012 Conference lecture by Boaz Michael (FFOZ)
I was asked by a number of my readers to post more excerpts from the Boaz Michael’s One Law and Supersessionism lecture. [Note: Part I can be found here.] So, without further ado:
There’s no value or distinction in being Jewish [in a Messianic Gentile movement]. Anyone who claims that there’s value or distinction in being Jewish is labeled in the Messianic Gentile world as arrogant, racist and exclusivist. By Jews trying to defend their identity and guard what is rightfully theirs, unfortunately they are labeled in this manner.
Gentiles who choose this path are often mistaken for being Jewish. When they reveal that they are not Jewish in the normal sense of the word Jewish, it brings confusion and resentment. It has the same effect as someone who does not have medical training claims to be a doctor – they might argue they have the right to dress like a doctor, but in reality they are sending a message that is misleading and harmful. When Gentiles dress and act like Jews it simply becomes difficult to tell who is Jewish and who isn’t, it blurs the line of distinction between Jew and Gentile that Paul so adamantly fought to keep throughout his ministry. It hurts both Jew and Gentile by making Gentile identity seem somehow inadequate before G-d and by misusing the customs in an inappropriate way that were designed to set the Jewish people apart as a unique people.
But there’s more to One Law theology than just looking and acting Jewish. Some of the core ideas inherent in One Law destabilize the very foundation of what it means to be Jewish and practice Judaism. One way is the unique role that the Jews have [and one] that is completely removed within the One Law theology is an across the board rejection of the authority of the Jewish people to define the halachic parameters of how the Torah is to be applied. One Law theologians have no desire to defer to the halachic standard normative of the Jewish people because in doing so would remove any basis for the idea that Gentiles should be obligated to the Torah the exact same way as Jews. Judaism has always rejected this idea and rightfully so.
In rejecting the right and the responsibility of the Jewish people to define what it means to be Jewish and practice Judaism, One Law theology strikes directly at the core of authentic Judaism. One Law replaced the Jewish rabbis and sages with self-appointed Gentiles who believe that they are divinely sanctioned to interpret Torah outside of the Jewish context. Whatever conclusion they come to are given a greater weight than those of the Jewish halachic authorities. That can be compared to the rebellion of Korah in the wilderness. Moses and Aaron have been given unique roles by G-d, but Korah and those with him thought that they were just as qualified to take on those roles. They were not content with being Israelites and Levites. They wanted something more. Similarly, One Law adherents are not content with just simply being Gentile followers within the broad community of Israel – they want ownership and leadership and the right to define or redefine.
When G-d intrusted Israel with the Torah, He commanded them to appoint leaders to interpret the Torah and to judge whether or not the people had broken the Torah. Inherent in this process is the development of case law, history, tradition of the Jewish people which establishes the precedence that fleshes out the full meaning and implications of each of the commandments. This body of tradition was created by the Jewish people at the commandment of G-d…The Torah invests the divine authority in the spiritual leaders of the Jewish people (this is in the Deuteronomy ch. 17), where their rulings are called…”a word of Torah”. Any Israelite presumptuous enough to reject the rulings of the judges of Israel was cut off from his people, the same punishment as for someone who rejected the written Torah. How much more presumptuous is it for a gentile to cast off entire body of Jewish tradition and claim the right to act as the judge and definer of the Torah? By divorcing the Torah and its interpretation from the Jewish people and their culture and their religious heritage and history, One Law theology assumes a role that G-d specifically gave to the Jewish people. That is Supersessionism.
The denigration of Judaism always masks itself in a form of antisemitism. You can hear it when it is spoken of. They speak of the rabbis in a joking way. They speak about the rabbis following “traditions of men.” They do not respect the spirituality of the Jewish people. The unexplainable desire to control the Jewish literary and religious heritage is an implicit statement that the Jews have no right to interpret their own texts or define their own national or religious character.