The False Teachings of the Hebrew Roots Movement

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Over the last few decades, a movement has been growing which aims to get Christians back to their Hebrew roots.  While there are many things to be gained by studying the Old Testament and the development of God's plan of salvation-history prior to Jesus' incarnation, this particular movement is not merely an attempt to better understand the role of Israel and the Old Testament background of the New Testament.  Rather, adherents of the Hebrew Roots movement advocate that the Old Covenant (also known as the Mosaic Covenant or the Law) is still obligatory for Christians today.  That is, the New Covenant based on the shed blood of Christ has not abrogated the Old Covenant.  Rather, it merely builds on it, so that Christians today have an obligation to keep the commandments of the Law.  This, however, is in clear contradiction to several New Testament passages.

Adherents of the Hebrew Roots movement recognize that not all commandments of the Law can be kept today, seeing that there is no temple in Jerusalem for making the animal sacrifices.  To be fair, most do acknowledge that Christ's own sacrifice of Himself supersedes the animal sacrifices.  So, they cannot be 100% consistent on their insistence of following the Law.  Also, not all those associated with the Hebrew Roots movement believe exactly the same things.  There is a spectrum of the degree to which they adhere to Hebrew Roots teachings.

There are two critical dangers to this movement.  First, it seriously undermines the New Testament teaching of sanctification.  The Christian life is meant to be lived by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, not by trying to live according to the Law or any other set of rules.  Legalism seriously conflicts with and hinders sanctification by the Spirit.  Second, some (though certainly not most) have gone so far with this movement as to deny the deity of Christ.  For them, the "Word" that was in the beginning with God (John 1:1) was Torah.  When John says that "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:18), they interpret this to mean that Torah was most perfectly lived out in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

For a helpful introduction explaining the Hebrew Roots movement and the false teachings associated with it, see the following recommended article:

        "Dangers of the Hebrew Roots Movement"  -  Tim Chaffey,  Content Manager for the Attractions Division at Answers in Genesis


        "The Significance of Mk 7:19 ('Thus He declared all foods clean') and the Question of Christians Today Being Obligated to Keep the Mosaic Law"  -  Dr. J. Paul Tanner

"18 And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him,

  19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.)"

        "The New Covenant in Hebrews 8:7 and the Temporary Role of the Mosaic Law"  -  Dr. J. Paul Tanner

7 "For it that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second."