by Skip Moen, D. Phil.
Read above (click on the Skip link) then read below… Remember context…
I started having this thought a while ago and was working on how to articulate it. Even mentioned it to a few folks. So I should not be surprised that it shows up with others.
In the above article there is a thought between Ezekiel and Paul, turning towards God. Yet the difference between the two is not God, or even the topics discussed (abominations). Those two are clear and do not change. Yet one comes from a “return to God” and the other from a “turn to God”. Ezekiel is admonishing the Children or Israel, Paul target group is the “want to be” follower in The Diaspora along with those Lost Sheep, and these are those choosing to follow that God. They are leaving their gods in search of the One True God (YHVH).
They are not returning to God, they are turning to God. Paul is challenged by his previous teachings (Talmud is greater than Torah) and His understanding to return to God and at the same time disciple those who are turning to Him. How to not only help the Lost Sheep to return to Him, as they are supposed to be with the renewed heart (and understanding) along with the new heart of the new believer, and having those two live in harmony and love.
Being diligent to Torah was very important to Paul, but releasing the burden that the Talmud had was a challenge, teaching truth in love. Faith with action, focused on a heart towards God. How that action manifested itself in the Fruit of the Spirit. How the early diversified believers needed to engage in Torah with a heart towards God at the center.
I had the privilege, again, to listen to Hanoch Young speak at the Vine Community Church in Summerville, SC. Mutual respect, that theme echoed clear, engaging with one another with that attitude. Paul’s message of unity is not asking for “cookie cutter” uniformity, that would then have just been an easy “do this ONLY”. His plea was to be unified in our differences, let the the less weightier matters not be cause to divide (you can fill in your current Hebraic divisive topic here) and engage in building each other up in truth (weightier matters) and how do we do that in Love. May those “returning to God’ and the “turning to God” love and learn from each other, we have so much to offer each other. Let the both be, it is God’s to move as He wills, don’t try to do His job.