Whole Bible Christianity

It's a God Thing

 

Identity Issues - How About Identity Based on the Word

Two House False Teaching - Distracting People From the Word of God

Whole Bible Identity Issues

So you embrace both Torah and Jesus. Now you've got some identity issues, because both Jews and conventional Christians reject you. There are different ways to resolve this, and Bruce Scott Bertram suggests a novel approach.

Whole Bible Christian

I've got an idea. Instead of believers defining themselves by organizations that have done a lot of drifting away from God over the centuries (like synagogues and churches, neither of which is biblical), why don't we define ourselves by His Word? Isn't that an odd concept? We are not members of an earthly country club, but members one of another with the head being the Christ and the Holy Spirit binding us together in love for the Father.

Hebrew or Greek thinking: how about God thinking?

There's a difference between Hebrew (or near east) thinking and Greek thinking. But so what? Investigate the differences if you wish, but don't choose one or the other. Choose the mind of Christ. His thinking transforms us by renewing our minds, no matter what thought processes we had to begin with. Choosing God's thinking is as easy as reading the Bible and doing what it says.

False Teaching

The two house doctrine, or the divine invitation doctrine, comes straight from the Deceiver. It's purpose is to distract people from identity in the Christ, the one Body, and the Word of God. And it's doing a great job. Just when we should be uniting on the whole of the Word, we get distracted by shiny baubles and led into splits and hateful divisions. The point is not Jewish. The point is not ten tribes, or Christianity or Bible codes or other crap. The point is God and His Word. The Law written on a heart of flesh, sensitive to Him and not to stupid teachings of men.

Our playlist on Youtube is Whole Bible Christianity: A Whole Body

This playlist has nine videos covering the subject of the Body of Christ. We talk about Israel, the church, Jews, Gentiles, Judaism, Christianity, the remnant, the olive tree, and so on.

 

Identity Issues From A Whole Bible Walk

On this part of the web site we get into some of the issues that affect our Identity. Many people who have begun incorporating all of the Word into their walk with God and His Messiah (including the Torah) begin to ask questions such as, "What do we call ourselves?" "Are we Jews, or are we Christians?" "What is the meaning of Church?" "Can I trust the New Testament?" And lately, some have been asking "Two houses or One house?"

Two Houses

There is a teaching circulating in some circles called the 'Two House' teaching. The basics are that these people believe the northern 10 tribes of Israel were never returned to the Land after their captivity by the Assyrians about 180 years before Judah. These tribes, it is said, emigrated to other countries, intermarried, and eventually lost their heritage as children of Israel. It is further said that present day Christianity is very likely an outgrowth of this movement of the 10 tribes throughout the nations. For an introductory article on these concepts see the articles below, especially the 'Two Into One' article.

It seems very likely to us, after a great deal of reflection and study on these teachings, that the driving factor in the development of them is a desire on the part of the adherents to find some sort of identity. We agree that the Jews who have accepted Jesus as the Messiah while continuing to keep Torah, or the Gentiles who have begin to practice Torah while maintaining their belief in Jesus, have some difficulty with identification. But we are opposed to the 'self identification' inherent in the Two House teachings. This is one of the reasons for selecting Ephesians 4:4-6 as our theme. Instead of Two houses we should be focusing on One house, where there is neither Jew nor Gentile but God only.

There are at least five reasons why we disagree with the teachings of the Two House people.

  1. The 10 tribes are not lost (James knew where they were - James 1:1). Most Jewish people nowadays do not know which tribe they are from. Therefore God has already blended the 'two houses' into one. There is still a gathering to take place, but the 'two sticks' are no more.
  2. All people are adopted into the family of God by grace through faith, not genetics or culture.
  3. Everywhere in the Word where it says the two houses will come together it also says God will do it in His time and His power.
  4. We are not given the 'Great Commission' to go forth and bring the two houses back together. We are supposed to go forth and make disciples and teach them what God says.
  5. 'Jewishness' in the Scriptures is described most frequently as hard-hearted, flint-headed, stubborn, disobedient, and idolatrous. 'Jewish blood' is not drawn to God any more than any other 'natural' blood (therefore those who feel drawn to 'all things Jewish' are not necessarily 'godly'). Just because people are drawn to 'Jewish things' does not mean they are drawn to God's things. 'Jewish things' and 'God's things' are two different things (My ways are not your ways...).

Without a doubt there are Two houses of Israel. And there is also no doubt that they will be reunited one day (if they are not already). There may even be an element of truth in quite a few of the Two House teachings. But the simple answer to most of these issues is that we find our identity in the Messiah, not 'Jew' or 'Gentile,' 'one house' or 'two.' We are, first and foremost, children of our Father, adopted into His family, and brothers or friends of the Messiah Jesus. It is not a Jewish issue or Gentile issue. But to help you sort through some of these issues, we have written or assembled some articles below that might help in addition to the Youtube video playlist on the whole Body in the link above. There are also articles from some people who teach the Two House stuff (Messianic Israel Alliance). Remember, this web site is intended to help you learn how to think, not what to think, so that's why we may present some information we do not endorse. Enjoy.

by Bruce Scott Bertram - Two Into One | Adoption | One House
Printable versions: Two Into One | Adoption | One House

Bruce was the first one to use the term "one house" some 15 or more years ago to point out the incongruity of preaching unity while preaching two houses. Later on, the two house people starting using the same term, but still teach two houses. Go figure.

by Tim Hegg - Two House Fatal Errors is one of the best articles we've seen systematically addressing the fallacies of the Two House Movement. 11 pages, and you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader.

by Boaz Michael - Encounters with an Ephraimite outlines the position of First Fruits of Zion by its president and founder. Good article and one which this ministry mostly agrees with. About 18 pages and needing the Adobe Reader.

Messianic Israel Alliance Shepherd's Council - We Declare These Truths is a position paper outlining many of the beliefs of the Two House thinkers. A very reasonable presentation, using appropriate language and working very hard to clarify the issues at least from their standpoint. 12 pages (need Adobe Acrobat Reader)

For another Two House viewpoint, try the 308 page "The Truth About All Israel" by Moshe Koniuchowsky. It's not on the original website anymore, but we found a copy to which we've linked to above. It is a response to a position paper by another organization, with the other organization's comments included.

By the time you get through reading the pro's and con's of the Two House stuff, you will see that the best response is "Why raise these issues in the first place?" At best it is a non-issue, and should be relegated to the closet.

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Jews or Christians?

The root of the word 'Jew' means 'lifter of hands (in praise)' or 'praisers of God.' The probable meaning of 'Christian' is 'partisan of God,' a political term from Greek. Neither word is bad, and either word will serve as a reasonably accurate description for the followers of God. Paul tells us that there is neither 'Jew' nor 'Gentile' in the Kingdom, not because neither one exists but most probably because one is not superior to the other. He also tells us that whatever state we find ourselves in should be the one we continue in, not trying to convert to one or the other. I was raised a 'Christian,' and in spite of the many bad things done and taught in that name it still serves to describe me.

This ministry defines itself in terms of the whole Word of God, so we modify the name Christian with the term 'whole bible,' and it sort of sets us off against those Christians who only follow part of what God says. It's too bad we have to resort to these types of labels, but we feel that every once in a while it is good to shake things up, attempt to reverse the human tendency to drift away from God such as we are able (and Christianity in general certainly has drifted), and try to make a statement pointing people back to His Word.

Trusting the New Testament

Some teachers suggest that the New Testament cannot be trusted as part of the Word of God because of something called 'translational bias.' This means that because some scholars and translators have or had preconceived notions (they already had their minds made up about what the Bible taught), they mistranslated much of the Greek language.

We acknowledge that most of the time there was (and is) a translational bias. But this bias applies to everyone, not just scholars. It can be mitigated by comparing translations, and comparing Scripture with Scripture. The New Testament is most definitely part of the revealed Word of God, and can be trusted in the same way as the other books. Translational bias is something we must all work to overcome; it just takes more work than that required for sitting on the couch and watching TV or being entertained in a similar fashion by your pastor.

The Meaning of Church

The word 'church,' and similar words such as congregation and synagogue, simply means a gathering of people. The broadest meaning includes all who follow God, while the narrowest definition is 'where two or three are gathered.' Fortunately, God has not assigned anyone in this ministry, or anyone else that we can see in the Word, as the 'church police.' No human is going to make the determination of who is 'in' and who is 'out,' save the One God who became human. All are welcome, but not all will take advantage of the offer. Many who want the name of 'God's follower' do not want the sacrifice of really following. Some will only go so far, while others will 'overcome.' There are wolves in sheep's clothing; divisions and arguments abound. It seems that every time there is a movement back to God's Word a number of teachers pop up to distract people from that return.

We encourage all 'church people' to maintain their testimony, and continue to humbly pursue His Kingdom and His righteousness, no matter what the distraction. Stay pointed toward Him through His Word; fight the good fight, keep the faith. Our God and Father is the author and finisher of your faith and is able to sustain you in the darkest of days and the most strenuous of trials. Your identity is safe with Him.

'Hebrew Thinking' versus 'Greek Thinking.' Some in the Messianic movement like to teach that there is a difference between the way Hebrews think, and the way Greeks think. Much of modern Western thinking has been influenced by Greek thinking, goes the teaching, and it is inherently inferior to Hebrew thinking. Therefore a great deal of Scriptural truth is missed because Western people read it with a 'Greek mindset.' Without going into the two different modes of thinking, there is one 'thought' that stands out:

Did 'Hebrew Thinking' help the Jews?

God's Thinking

'Think' about it. How does the Bible describe the Hebrews? In positive or negative terms, mostly? The answer is: mostly negative. The godly ones were in the minority then as they are now, no matter the 'Hebrew-ness' or lack of it in their thinking. Hebrew thinking didn't help the Jews get closer to God at all. They had the Ten Words engraved personally by the finger of God in their midst. Moses gave them a direct translation, and fleshed out what God wrote in the first five books of the Bible. They had priests to communicate directly with God and give answers if needed. Yet what did they do? Before Moses even made it down the mountain the first time they were worshipping a golden calf. Not long after they got into the Land, they again and again and again turned to idols and rejected God. Even now most Jewish people are secular, and the religious ones are not any better at reading or following their Bibles than Christians. No, there is almost nothing to recommend 'Hebrew thinking' to anyone.

What is really needed is 'God's Thinking.' We do not need Hebrew or Greek thinking, both of which are natural. We need the 'mind of Christ;' to be transformed by the renewing of our minds through humility and submission to God's will. We need to take in the Body and Blood of the Messiah, otherwise known as 'The Word' or the Bible, on a daily basis - to 'hear and obey' which is the key to abiding in His love. Hebrew thinking won't help, and Greek thinking is no big deal to the Spirit. He can communicate life to us no matter how we think. There is no inherent superiority in any kind of natural thinking. Spiritual thinking, on the other hand, trumps them all.

Shalom

Bruce Scott Bertram

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