Recently a new teaching has emerged in Messianic Judaism. “Divine Invitation Theology” has been defined as “other than” the so-called “One Law” position in Messianic Judaism. While we do not define ourselves by “One Law,” “Divine Invitation,” or any such name; here at Bereans Online, we will always question theologies that:
- Diminish the Deity of Messiah Yeshua
- Blur the distinctive standard of righteousness as defined by Scripture
- Separate Jew and Gentile
This series will address some of the questions that “Divine Invitation Theology” raises.
Our goal in this series is not to single out any person, or organization. We cannot know motives, and to pretend that we can would be to engage in lashon hara [evil speech]. We will not engage in questioning the scholarship of those promoting differing views. We will not accuse others of being pro-Rabbinic, nor are we anti-Rabbinic (on the contrary, we find great value in extra-biblical Jewish texts and practice). We will not place ourselves in the position of seeming to have a superior revelation.
We are simple students of the Bible. We are Bereans.
We will not “name names” because our goal is only to answer some of the issues this new teaching raises. To that goal we are guided by:
Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of HaShem your G-d which I command you.
Our bottom line is:
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear G-d and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.
"Divine Invitation Theology" Part 1
“Divine Invitation Theology” certainly sounds inviting. Although the aim of developing a theology that makes Torah observance friendly, gracious, and allowing for individual growth is laudable – it is unnecessary. The Scriptures have always indicated that new believers are permitted time to grow in their faith and practice.
So who can oppose something that simply unnecessary? That is where we look beyond the name, and the stated purpose for this new theology. It is a theology of division. While purporting to permit healing between Messianic Judaism and greater Christianity (which would be a very good thing indeed), it only fosters greater division within Messianic Judaism – where Jews and Gentiles are not fellow-heirs, fellow-citizens, nor are they family.
“Divine Invitation Theology” digs up traditional explanations that in the past have been used to impugn the Law and those that sought to live by it. Although it claims not to divide the “moral” from “ceremonial” commandments, it certain does. It claims the commandments are “a burden” and “very difficult” – but only because it sees Torah observance from the prism of strict rabbinic halakah. We would argue that even in light of rabbinic halakah (which we find instructive and valuable), the Torah is not too difficult, but regardless, this teaching is in direct contradiction to the Scriptures that declare that HaShem’s instructions are not too far off, too difficult, or unattainable. Our Master’s yoke is light.
Ironically, some of those that promote “Divine Invitation Theology” also claim to promote Torah study. Yet, they base this new theology upon a few passages in the Apostolic Scriptures, and then interpret those in contradiction to the very Torah passages they want to promote. The Torah contains over thirty references to the “ger” [sojourner] with the native-born in reference to the commandments. The majority of those references are specifically focused on what “Divine Invitation Theology” purports to be “Jewish identity commandments.” When confronted with the Torah, the adherents of this new theology explain the meaning of “ger” in an eisegetical way – projecting a much later Greek translation back into the original Hebrew, and perverting the very meaning of the Torah with regard to Gentiles.
Beloved, while we can love those who claim this new theology as their raison d’être; we must speak out against this divisive philosophy. It is like the man-made traditions of the First Century that kept Gentiles at bay – where the man-made soreg kept them away from intimate fellowship with the very G-d that had called them.
The Almighty sent Messiah into this world to redeem men from every tribe and tongue. He joined them into One People. His righteous standard is a guide for them all – each one.
We have all been brought near. All of us. One King, One People, One Torah.
All who are native-born shall do these things in this manner, in presenting an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to HaShem. And if a stranger dwells with you, or whoever is among you throughout your generations, and would present an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to HaShem, just as you do, so shall he do. One ordinance shall be for you of the assembly and for the stranger who dwells with you, an ordinance forever throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the stranger be before HaShem. One law and one custom shall be for you and for the stranger who dwells with you.’”