"But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code." Romans 7:6
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WORLDVIEWS AND A "HEBREW PERSPECTIVE"
PART 1
     Recently, I was given a copy of the book, "Assumptions That Affect Our Lives:  How Worldviews Determine Values that Influence Behavior and Shape Culture" by Christian Overman.  This book discusses the author's opinion on the necessity of understanding many different worldviews and the necessity of acquiring what he describes as a "Hebrew or Hebraic perspective."  He divides patterns of thinking into two categories:  Hebrew and Greek.  The following pages are notes accumulated concerning this book and related topics.
 
     I have read many good Christian teachers who write about many different "worldviews" as well as postmodernism, humanism, secularism, relativism and many other "isms."  The subject is very interesting.  However, studying "worldviews" and gaining an understanding of any of them is not necessary for Christians as this author claims. "A person's worldview matters!  And because it does, it is important for Christian youth to:  1) clearly comprehend the distinctiveness of the biblical worldview; 2) fully understand how the biblical worldview connects with every aspect of the world around us; and 3) know why the biblical worldview makes more sense than any other worldview out there." (Page 161)  This statement is completely untrue and unbiblical.  It is important for Christians to learn to share the Gospel!  This is what the Bible calls us to do in order to change lives.
 
     The world the early church faced was completely pagan with no understanding whatsoever of God.  The Apostle Paul and other followers of Christ, with no regard to the different "worldviews" they encountered, went to the lost, boldly proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ, and changed the world!  Nowhere in the Bible are we taught that understanding every philosophy or "worldview" contrary to the Word of God is a necessary prerequisite for sharing the Gospel and being an effective witness for Jesus Christ, and the reason is simple. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:  for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" Romans 1:16. (KJV)
 
    The Bible clearly teaches us how to be prepared to face a lost world and that is to know the Scriptures"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17.  This verse doesn't say that, by learning the Scriptures, we will be thoroughly equipped for "some good work" or "most good work"; it says,  "every good work"!  The author apparently believes that the Scriptures alone are somehow insufficient to deal with all the various "worldviews" Christians will encounter, and as a result, we must spend time researching and studying many different "worldviews", philosophies and their origins.  This belief and teaching (that the Bible alone is insufficient in its ability to equip Christians to face a lost world) is a direct contradiction to what the Bible teaches.  It is a lie from Satan himself and a sin against the very Word of God!
 
     This author lists five questions, on page 8, he claims shape all "worldviews."  Whether his claim is true or not is irrelevant.  For the Christian, the answer to all of these questions is the same.  Jesus Christ!
 
1) Who or what is my final authority?  Jesus Christ"Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.' Matthew 28:18.
 
2)  What constitutes reality?  Jesus Christ"Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.  These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ." Colossians 2:16-17.
 
3)  Who am I, how did I get here, what happens when I die, and how do I know what is true? Jesus ChristWho am I, "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" John 1:12.  How did I get here, "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." John 1:3.  What happens when I die, "Jesus answered him, 'I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." Luke 23:43. How do I know what is true, "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life." John 14:6.
 
4)  How do I determine right and wrong?  Jesus Christ"But to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." 1 Corinthians 1:24.
 
5)  Is there a reason and purpose for human life and the existence of all things?  Jesus Christ"Father, the time has come.  Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.  For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.  Now this is eternal life:  that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.  I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.  And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."  John 17:1-5.
 
     The real question we should all ask ourselves is this:  What does the Bible say the "worldview" of all people should be?  Simple, from Genesis through Revelation the message is the same, Jesus Christ!  This is not what this book teaches.
 
    "Since the term 'Hebrew model' appears throughout this writing, a word of clarification is necessary.  First, and most importantly, the Hebrew model refers to the model of thought and behavior revealed in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible."  (Page 9)  First of all, it is completely incorrect and misleading to define any model of thought and behavior revealed in the Bible as being Hebrew!  Everything revealed in the Bible is from God!  Secondly, in establishing the New Testament Church (which now consists of all believers living as the Body of Christ) Paul's message to the Gentiles was not based on the "Hebrew model" of the Old Testament, the Law of Moses, or Judaism.  His message was in no way Hebrew in nature, and it is wrong to label it as such!  It was a completely new revelation.  How do we know this?  Simple, it's in the Bible!
 
     The Bible tells us many times that Paul's message was a mystery never before known to anyone until its personal revelation to Paul by Jesus Christ Himself.  "I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness (God's revelation for believers on earth, until the Apostle Paul, was not yet complete) - the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints." Colossians 1:25-26.  Paul was not merely teaching the acceptance of Christ in addition to the adherence to the Law of Moses or Judaism.  There would have been no mystery at all in that message!  That was the status of Jewish believers since the earthly ministry of Jesus and His disciples to the nation of Israel.  That is why the Jewish believers of the day (those that adhered to Judaism and believed in Jesus as the Messiah) had such a hard time dealing with Paul's message (as seen in Acts 15 for example) and even questioned his authority as an Apostle of Christ, causing Paul to write, "I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached (which is causing so many problems among the Jewish believers) is not something that man made up.  I did not receive it from any man (he did not receive his message from the twelve disciples), nor was I taught it (his message did not come from his previous life and education in Judaism); rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ." Galatians 1:11-12.  Paul's new message of the Gospel of Grace to all people and his authority to preach it, were given to him personally by Jesus Christ Himself!
 
     Jesus was born under the Law of Moses"But when the time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under the law (meaning that the earthly ministry of Jesus and His disciples, as illustrated throughout the four Gospels, was predominantly, but not exclusively, to the Jews)" Galatians 4:4.  Jesus and His disciples were all born and lived under the Law of Moses.  He was born under the Law in order to come to the nation of Israel as the Messiah of prophecy.  As the Messiah, Jesus came to the nation of Israel to establish His kingdom.  That is why the Gospel taught by Jesus and His disciples, as mentioned in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John is sometimes referred to as the "Kingdom Gospel", which is not only a reference to the spiritual kingdom present in Jesus Christ Himself, but also the physical kingdom of prophecy available to the nation of Israel.  "Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom" Matthew 9:35.  "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John.  Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached" Luke 16:16.
 
     Since the Hebrews, as a nation, refused to repent and rejected Christ, His physical kingdom was not established on earth at that time and God turned to the Gentiles.  "Israel has experienced (and is still experiencing to this day) a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in." Romans 11:25.  This initiated the New Testament Church now referred to as the Body of Christ, a term never used to describe believers before Paul's ministry.  It also marked the transition from living as a believer under the Law of Moses to living as a believer by the Spirit of God under the Gospel of Grace revealed to the Apostle Paul.  This message was like nothing else any Hebrew had ever heard before.  Paul said, "Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the ministry hidden for long ages past, but now revealed" Romans 16:25-26.
 
    "Second, the term Hebrew model refers to the model of the nation of ancient Israel itself.  However, this aspect of the Hebrew model (that is, the way the Israelites actually lived) was not always in harmony with the model of God's Word." (Page 9)  The obvious question is; why is this book about following the "Hebrew model" and not about following the model of God's Word?  The two are obviously not the same.  This is a perfect example of why Christians should not point people, especially the lost, to anything other than Christ as a model for faith and conduct.  The Bible does not teach the world to follow a "Hebrew model."  This is how the Bible describes the saved of the Lord, "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, (from one great nation all living like Hebrews?  No!) from every nation, tribe, people, and language, (obviously, not all speaking Hebrew) standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb." Revelation 7:9.  The early church was a mixture of Jews and Gentiles.  People of all backgrounds became followers of Jesus.  What brought these believers together was not their race, culture, or language.  Rather, their unity was rooted in the personal relationship each of them had with Jesus!  Christianity crosses all cultural and ethnic backgrounds!
 
    "There is another sense, however, in which we can rightly say the Bible is not a Hebrew book at all.  Its actual author is neither Hebrew nor Greek, but God Himself." (Page 15)  This is not "another sense" as the author claims.  It is the ONLY sense in which we can correctly look at the Bible!  The author then goes on to discuss the Bible throughout his entire book as if it were indeed a Hebrew book filled with "Hebrew thinking" (giving credit to the Hebrews for its content) which directly contradicts his own true statement and the Bible itself.
 
    "In an ultimate sense, then, the Bible is not the product of any culture, Jewish or otherwise." (Page 15)  Again, this is the ONLY correct way to view the Bible.  This is exactly why we do not teach people that it is necessary to acquire a "Hebrew perspective."  Since the Bible is clearly "not the product of any culture, Jewish or otherwise", the Jewish culture and customs are obviously not our model.  Our model is Jesus Christ!
 
     "In other words, the Bible did not come from Hebraic culture, it came through it." (Page 15)  It's interesting that these last three quotes are made as a small side note at the very beginning of the book when they should be the basis for the entire book itself.  This true statement totally discredits the entire premise for the book concerning the "Hebrew model."
 
     Looking back through history and stopping at the Hebrew nation and culture as our "model" for living is to stop short of the real "model" and commit an injustice against Jesus Christ Himself.  This is simply not what the Bible teaches believers to do as Spirit-led Christians living under the New Covenant of Grace.  Christians recognize that the true source for everything needed for living is God Himself!  We find that instruction in both the Old and New Testaments.  The Bible is NOT a Hebrew book.  The Bible is NOT a collaboration between God and the Hebrew people.  It is the Word of God, not the word of the Hebrews, and we do not ever label it or its message as such!  The Bible was merely written by Hebrews.  They are only the instrument God used to write the Bible.  To give even the slightest impression of credit to the Hebrew people or their culture (by advocating that "Hebrew thinking" is what the Bible contains) for any part of the Bible is just as foolish as an author giving credit to his computer for helping him write his novel and requires a person to ignore Scriptures which directly contradict this belief. "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work within you who believe." 1 Thessalonians 2:13.
 
     No person, people, nation, race, or culture can claim the Bible as theirs.  It is the inspired Word of God.  Everything in the Bible is from God, not the Hebrews.  Everything good about the Hebrew culture or ANY other culture is given by God.  We, as followers of Christ, don't hold up any people, their culture, or their "perspective" as being our "model" or synonymous with the Word of God or the Will of God.  As Christians, we have "the mind of Christ" and we have the personal, practical, specific instructions of the Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit, available to each of us, to direct our lives.  We need not look anywhere else for direction!  To look to anything else other than Jesus Christ as our model for righteous thinking and behavior, whether it's a culture, a nation, a tradition or a "Hebrew perspective," is to take glory away from God and place it somewhere else.  That is pure idolatry!  God does not share his glory"I will not yield my glory to another." Isaiah 48:11.
 
     The Bible does not teach righteous living through a "Hebraic view" as this book and many in the Messianic Jewish movement teach.  God forbid!!  The Bible teaches righteous living by the renewing of our mind and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit!  "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2.  "I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming (the "Hebrew model"?  No!) the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified (by their "Hebraic view"?  No!) by the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:15-16.  As disciples of Christ, we teach, preach, and live Jesus Christ!  Period!!
 
     It was the intervention of God into the lives of the Hebrews that distinguished their beliefs from the Greeks or any other culture.  Nothing from within the Hebrew people made them any different from all the other sinful people on earth.  Even Abraham came from a pagan family.  "Joshua said to all the people, 'This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says:  'Long ago your forefathers, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the River and worshipped other gods." Joshua 24:2.  It wasn't until God intervened in his life that Abram knew the true and living God.  Even with the presence of God in their lives, the ancient Hebrews of the Bible were still just as sinful as the Greeks.  They turned their backs on God all through history.  Even today, Israel as a nation, rejects Jesus Christ.  They are a nation that does not know God.  Jesus said, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God" John 8:42.  They are a nation living in sin just like every other pagan nation on Earth that rejects Christ.  This is why we do not teach people to follow a "Hebrew model," past or present!  We teach people to follow Jesus Christ!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
    
WORLDVIEWS AND A "HEBREW PERSPECTIVE"
PART 2

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