I love opinionated non-PC people. This blog is to vent my opinions on life, the universe and everything. Which is 42 which in gematria is "My Heart" (LBY) according to Rabbi Abulafia. The Divine Heart is the centre of everything.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Messianic One Law Controversy: A Hebrew Catholic Opinion

In certain evangelical Protestant circles among those interested in the Hebrew Roots of their faith arose those who believed that there was one Law-the Mosaic Law- which was to be observed in the same way by Jews and Gentiles. One of the leading groups who formerly held this opinion began in 2006 to retreat from this position which then upset those who still held this position. Many other Christians hold to a variant of this, that there is in the New Covenant one Law- the Law of Christ- which must be observed in the same way by Jews and Gentiles and the Mosaic Law has no relevance in the era of the Church. Both these positions on the Torah are not correct.

It is true that there is one Law of God which must be observed by Jews and Gentiles. However they are not obligated to observe the Torah in the same way. Gentiles are called to the Torah observance appropriate for their Gentile culture and calling and Jews are called to Torah observance appropriate to Jews and their calling. There are not two separate laws but the terms Old Law and New Law refer to two ways of observing the One Law of God. Even among the Gentiles the consecrated religious observe the Torah differently than the lay people just as among the Jews women observe differently to men.

The famous Hebrew Catholic Cardinal Lustiger explains this in his book called "The Promise": "...The Church is then faced with the question of the extent to which these Gentiles who share in Israel's Election should be obliged to observe the laws which are Israel's trust, responsibility, and privilege. To what extent should these Gentiles be associated with the totality of Israel's mission? This is the major problem facing the first generations of Christians, as all the New Testament writings testify...In this early Church, the status of the Gentile-Christian assemblies begins to be established. They are not dispensed from observing the Law- if the Gentiles did not observe the Law, they would have no share in either Israel's Election or grace. But the gift of the Holy Spirit, a grace of the Messiah, enables Gentiles to observe the law differently from Israel, which remains charged with this "delightful" burden of observance. The Church of Jerusalem is, in the Catholic church, the permanence of the promise made to Israel, the presence of the fulfillment of that promise, an attestation of the grace bestowed on the Gentiles. Thus, the church is that of both Jews and Gentiles...". He then explains what the term New Law means: "...The commandment to love as Jesus loves is not to be substituted for the other commandments. That would make no sense. There is only one holy Law. The law is the revelation of God's commandments. The newness is in God's act, in that he sends Israel his obedient Son... It makes no sense to understand the Sermon on the Mount as the substitution of one commandment for another...It is essential to understand what is meant by the expression "a new law". If the novelty meant is that the Holy Spirit enters the heart of the one who participates in Christ's life – the `law of the spirit' ,as Saint Paul expresses it- then, yes, the expression "new law" is appropriate. However to maintain that the revelation has been substituted for another is to understand absolutely nothing of the mystery of Christ. It is to deny the gift of God..." .

Cardinal Lustiger also wrote about the Gentiles accessing Israel's Torah inheritance through the Mashiach:"...Gentiles also have a right to the Law , as a holy law inscribed in their hearts. It is by acting through the Messiah , with him and in him who made himself obedient to the Law to death on the Cross, that they obey the Law. The discipline of the church dispenses them from Israel's observances, a burden too heavy for them, and which remains Israel's privilege. It is not for the Gentiles to take on the physical history of the Hebrews, since they, through Christ, have become spiritual offspring of Abraham, but not his physical descendants. Nevertheless, in Christ they have access to the plenitude of the law, and receive the Holy Spirit which allows them to fulfil it...". At the funeral of Cardinal Lustiger elements of Catholic and Jewish customs and prayers were observed as the Cardinal always insisted that he remained Jewish after his entry into the Catholic Church.

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