Published On: 10 May, 2011|By |

I have been amazed in recent years by the strong influence of Judaism within Christianity in Australia. I recently heard of an Independent Baptist church publicly celebrating Passover. I regularly hear of itinerant speakers who teach Jewish ceremonies and encourage their practice within the Christian community. In my travels, I’ve spoken to many Christians who are caught up in these Jewish religious practices, especially believers from country Australia.

My question

Is this fascination with Jewish religious practices helpful, harmless, or dangerous?

This is the question I’ve been wrestling with recently as I prepare to speak on the topic later in the year. I’ll lay out my thoughts at this stage in propositional form.

Proposition #1 — Jewish religious practices are not Christian.

Proposition #2 — Inasmuch as learning about Jewish religious practices helps to understand the history and context of the Christian Scriptures, they may be beneficial to the Christian church.

Proposition #3 — Just as with any study of manners and customs, great care must be taken not to impose Jewish religious tradition on the Scriptures in ways that strain reasonable interpretation.

Proposition #4 — Inasmuch as Jewish religious practices are strictly optional opportunities to learn about Jewish history and custom, they are harmless.

Proposition #5 — Inasmuch as Jewish practices blur the distinction between Judaism and Christianity, they are dangerous.

Proposition #6 — Inasmuch as Jewish practices are held to be required of Christians, they have become an expression of the legalism of the Judaiasers of Paul’s Galatia and are a threat to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Proposition #7 — Inasmuch as Christianity fulfilled Judaism rather than perpetuating it, a continued focus on the “shadow” of Judaism (Colossians 2:17) distracts from the “substance” of Christianity and constitutes a threat to the gospel of Jesus Christ itself.

Your input

This is an issue that I think needs to be of special concern to us in Australia because of the prevalence of Jewish practices among Christians here. I would appreciate your input on these propositions. Are they true? Precise? Are there angles that I’m missing? Can you suggest additional propositions?

Grace to you.

 

About the Author: Jason Harris

Jason loves to communicate God's word both in the local church and at conferences and retreats. Jason has been involved with Worship Music since 1996 and InFocus since 2005. Jason has degrees in theology, music, accounting, and research and is currently a PhD candidate and lecturer in the College of Business, Law, and Governance at James Cook University, Cairns. Jason is also a pastor at CrossPoint Church. You can contact Jason at jason@jasonharris.com.au.

5 Comments

  1. RoSeZ 10 May, 2011 at 11:33 am - Reply

    Our church does the passover thing…

  2. PJ 10 May, 2011 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Articles like these are the reasons I read this blog. Thankyou Jason.

    If I have time in the next day or two I will give you some feedback.

  3. Steve 10 May, 2011 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    I would agree with 1-6, not so sure about 7.

    They can certainly be beneficial to gentile Christians in the 21st century, since we are largely ignorant of Jewish manners and customs, especially in our exegesis and interpretation of the OT and some parts of the NT.

    Whether they should be practiced in church, e.g. Passover, is questionable, sure we have the freedom to do so with the understanding that they are not necessary for our justification or sanctification, but it may be a distraction if not handled properly.

    Another angle is whether Jewish Christians need to practice their traditions that are a part of their culture, with the understanding that they are not necessary for their justification. Perhaps even more difficult is whether they should practice the pre-Mosaic custom of circumcision.

    Personally, I think they should practice circumcision, but the other ones are optional.

  4. Jason Harris 11 May, 2011 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the comments so far. I’ve been busy but will try to interact a little soon.

  5. Brian Hyde 25 July, 2011 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    I think your propositions should be directed at the inroads that the Hebrews Roots Movement is making into Christianity. The Christian gospel is under threat already within Christianity from ultra conservative groups embracing Christian zionism. Satan has repackaged Judaism and given it a different brand name which makes it all the more dangerous to the unwary so why should we encourage anything in the church that would present Judaism as remotely acceptable? Paul’s ministry was under constant attack from Judaisers so lets not encourage them back into the church in any shape or form.
    In His Grace
    Brian

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