The law of God is at the heart of the HRM and the debates surrounding it. The traditional understanding of God’s law is that there are three parts of the law and three uses of the law. Reformed understanding would also include three main principles for understanding the Ten Commandments (though I will not go through those principles in this post). As far as I can tell, the HRM rejects all or most of these distinctions.
The three parts of the law are the moral, civil, and ceremonial. The moral law is the Ten Commandments. The civil laws are those laws given to Israel as a political entity for the Old Testament time. They were given to Israel for the time when they were in the land (Deuteronomy 5-6, note the recurring phrase “in the land”). They taught the Israelites about holiness, being distinct from the rest of the world. they included laws such as not sowing the land with two different kinds of seeds, or weaving cloth with two different kinds of thread. The dietary laws are also usually reckoned to be in this category. The ceremonial law is the sacrificial system, the worship laws, the feasts and festivals. Of course, there has always been some debate about whether a particular law belongs in one or the other of these three basic categories. However, the vast majority of the church has held to this distinction for most of its history.
The HRM believes the church invented this distinction without any biblical basis whatsoever. The HRM erases category distinctions between sets of laws, thus (at least potentially) putting the law of two different kinds of threads on the same footing as “Do not murder.” Jesus says, in Matthew 23:23 that there are weightier and less weighty matters of the law. Tithing mint and cumin is less weighty than justice and mercy. He says none of them should be neglected by the Pharisees, but the Pharisees lacked a sense of proportion. For a far larger and exegetical position defending the biblical position of the three parts of the law, see this excellent tome. Read More»
Lane Keister | “Hebrew Roots Movement, Part 3” | December 30, 2022
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