The Hebrew Roots Movement is a heretical cult that has many factions. Therefore, it is difficult to explain all of their doctrines. The crux of their heresy is that they deny the atonement of Christ by denying that He fulfilled the Mosaic Law. They further deny the work of the Holy Spirit by rejecting the “Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (The indwelling of the Holy Spirit) that sets us free from the law of sin and death (the Mosaic Law) (Romans 8: 1-4).
They also deny Colossians 2:14, that states, “…having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” HRM proponents are famous for taking verses out of context and adding extrabiblical interpretations (Midrash) to God’s word. They claim that this passage is not about the Mosaic Law’s regulations, but about punishment. However, Paul goes on to write in Colossians 2: 16-17, “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” Again, they must add to the word of God to force a different meaning on the text.
Recently, I heard a HRM pastor claim that Christ only delivered us partially from the Mosaic Law, but not in full, making a partial atonement. Without any scriptural authority (and that does not seem to bother them) they split the Mosaic Law in two parts. That would be like splitting the life of Christ into two parts, His words and His sacrifice, and declaring that somehow we are free from His commandments but have the privilege of His atonement. Establishing that error as a premise, they insist that Christ died to remove the sacrificial system, but not the rules and regulations. Thus, from that flawed conclusion they insist that we remain under the Mosaic Law minus the requirement of sacrifices. They conclude that anyone that claims to be a child of God must observe the Mosaic Law including diet requirements and Sabbath observance.
Other claims include the notion that no one can truly understand the New Testament until they are fluent in Hebrew. Of course, lacking that skill they can always sit under the ministry of a Hebraic Roots teacher who will tell him or her everything they need to know. Professing Christians that succumb to that error apparently do not consider the consequences of it, namely that most Christians throughout history (that had a New Testament) did not know the true Gospel. Did all of these believers enter hell because they did not keep the Mosaic Law’s diet requirements, Sabbaths, and other regulations and rules? Further, it implies that God did not give us the simplicity of the Gospel that is able to lead us to Christ, but that He gave us a complicated book susceptible to the interpretation of individuals that are fluent in Hebrew. There is also the fact that there have been many Christians fluent in Hebrew and Greek that never came to the flawed conclusion that the Atonement of Christ did not deliver us from the Mosaic Law.
Another claim is that there is no salvation under any other name but the Hebrew name of Jesus. This claim is the essence of the Sacred Name Movement, which is also essential to the Hebraic Roots Movement. Therefore, every prayer that was prayed by godly men such as David Brainerd, E. M. Bounds, Rees Howells, Leonard Ravenhill, John Welch,
J. Hudson Taylor, and everyone before and since those mighty men of prayer prayed in vain. Further, it means that the multiple thousands of souls that they won to Christ were won in vain. In fact, the Book of Life would have to be wiped nearly clean of the great majority of names if the HRM is correct in their doctrine. To these consequences the HRM must reply with a resounding “yes”. Therefore, Christianity is dismantled and rebuilt on the opinions and interpretations of men who denounce nearly every soul, every work, and every prayer that was before the modern hodgepodge of Hebraic “gospel”. However, please consider the following verses, and the New Testament is replete with like statements about the Mosaic Law.
“Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and [from] fornication, and [from] things strangled, and [from] blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.” (Acts 15:19-21)
(In other words, those requirements were not for salvation, but to keep from offending the Jews that still clung to elements of the Mosaic Law.)
“Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law” —to whom we gave no such commandment— 25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.” (Acts 15:24-29 NKJV)
(This is a direct statement that the Early Church did not require Christians to keep the Mosaic Law.)
“19 For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23 NRSV and other translations)
Obviously, Paul is saying that he is not under the Mosaic Law, but would appear to be so in order to win the Jews. While the Mosaic Law needed the rules and regulations as instruments of teaching, the Holy Spirit does not need such things. Instead, we are convicted by the Holy Spirit when we are tempted or actually commit an act that is against the Divine Nature of God.
It certainly does not qualify one as a heretic to observe the dietary part of the Mosaic Law, but it is heresy to claim that Christ did not fulfill and thereby deliver us from the Mosaic Law including the dietary requirements and sacrifices. Christ did not come to do half of the job, but a full work. The Law was a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ. Christ fulfilled it and nailed the “handwriting of ordinances against us” to His cross. His finished work set us free from the “law of sin and death” (Mosaic Law) by giving us His Spirit of Life. The Spirit of Life is the Holy Spirit. It is by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that His law is now written on the hearts and in the minds of every true Christian. This new law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is portrayed clearly in 2 Peter 1:2-11. There are no scriptures that declare that God has re-written the Mosaic Law in our hearts and minds. The Mosaic Law was a teacher, but God declares that teacher is no longer needed (Hebrews 8:10-13). A new Teacher has arrive, the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:27).
The Mosaic Law was a reflection of the Divine Nature of God. The law in our minds is the Divine Nature, not a reflection. It is a higher, greater, and more perfect law than the Mosaic Law. Christ declared that the Law can be reduced to two commandments, love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. The law that is written in our hearts and minds teaches us this exact truth. When God saved me, I did not receive a law that impressed me with the ordinances of the Mosaic Law, but with the elements of the Divine Nature of Christ as expressed by Peter in 2 Peter 1. In that statement of calling and election for salvation, Peter, the most Judaistic of all the disciples, never mentions the Mosaic Law.
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-11 NKJV)
To illustrate which law is more perfect, consider the following verses.
“Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:28-29)
The blood of the covenant by which we are sanctified is the blood of Christ that activates the New Covenant. The Old Covenant with the Mosaic Law has faded away, and the New Covenant with the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus is in effect. It is a greater and more perfect Law because it is not written on tablets of stone, but in our hearts and minds.
In Matthew 5:17, Christ states, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” Christ fulfilled the Mosaic Law, thereby ending its authority and God the Father replaced it with the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. The new Law is greater than the old Law because it resides in us through the Divine Nature, the Holy Spirit. It is more powerful and intimate because it is embedded in our hearts and minds. Christ did not die to send us back to the shadows, e.g., regulations, ordinances, and other requirements.
Instead, he nailed them to His cross by His atoning death as the perfect Lamb.
The only way for the law to be used lawfully is for the Holy Spirit to apply it to sinners. The Holy Spirit convicts the sinner of his or her sin because sinners remain under the Mosiac Law. They are in danger of the wages of sin because they remain under the law of sin and death.
“But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.” (1 Timothy 1:8-11)
True Christians are not under the Mosaic Law because they died and their life is hidden with Christ in God. No dead person is subject to a law from the temporal realm. They walk according to the Spirit and the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
“ For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4)
In summation, the New Testament is replete with references to the fact that we are no longer under the Mosaic Law and its works-based attempt at salvation. A huge portion of Galatians is devoted to striking down the heresy, which was one of the more persistent ones the Apostle Paul dealt with. Some HRM leaders attack Paul in an attempt to marginalize the scriptures that are against their heresy. Of course, HRM leaders will also “explain” all of those scriptures if you are willing to listen to their spiel. God’s word tells us not to accept whatever is contrary to His word. Claiming that HRM doctrine is not contrary to His word is not of itself evidence to a fact. Further, once explanations go beyond the boundaries of the Bible, they are subject to the opinions of men. I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit and the Word of God that is given to us in the form of the Holy Bible is enough.
It is important to recognize that we are in the last days. It is a period of great deception, and in my opinion, the final deception. There has always been and will always be heretics with clever methods and enticing words. The best way to avoid being lured into a cult such as the HRM is to love truth more than doctrine and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Even if you have little knowledge about their doctrines, and feel inadequate to debate them with Scripture, the Holy Spirit will warn you. That should be enough to reject their advances. You do not owe them any other explanation than that.
Finally, anyone indwelt by the Holy Spirit will understand in a much greater measure the righteous nature of God than the Mosaic Law (as a shadow of things to come) could reveal. Although it is possible for one to fall away, such a person has the resident power to conquer sin. The danger in HRM is denying the work of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, reintroducing people to the bondage of the Law of sin and death, and denying them the power to overcome sin. As such, it is a very dangerous doctrine. Not many that are deceived by it in this day of deception are being delivered.
Included on this page is a series of excellent articles by Vicky Dillen that expose the origin and the errors of the HRM. I am posting them here with her permission. Although the data presented in this series is more than a decade old, it is still very helpful to understanding the Hebrew Roots Movement. However, as Vicky Dillen puts it, “They are very adept at morphing to deal with the exposure and biblical and factual refutations. Many have dropped the upfront animosity and wicked words used so easily to denigrate Christ and now mask their true beliefs with Christian speak. They have learned much. Because of that, and their incredible use of Christian media (which I am sure they just love the irony of) they have managed to become accepted as ‘brothers and sisters’ who are just being obedient–unlike the rest of us poor misled Christians.”
The HRM has made inroads into mainstream Christianity. I often see HRM teachers on religious television and their books in Christian book stores. True Christians need to understand that these are not people who simply wish to learn about the Jewish roots of Christianity. It is a Movement that has the intent of replacing the true gospel of Jesus Christ with a false gospel. May God give wisdom and understanding to everyone that avails themselves of the information contained in these articles.