Essentials of True Biblical Faith
Bob Larson, author of Larson’s
Book of Cults, says:
“Compatibility to Bible doctrine, not
social respectability and the usage of evangelical clichés, should
determine whether or not any religious body is truly Christian [we apply
the same test to any person or body that would claim to be “Messianic”].
When making this evaluation, test these five areas of teaching:
attributes of G-d,
2. the Person of Christ,
3. the nature of man,
4. the requirements of atonement,
5. the source of revelation. ...
[There is] a simple, alliterative way
to concisely express the basic faults of most cults: Cults generally
deny sin, and
There are many religious
groups today “which adhere to major doctrines which are pointedly
contradictory to orthodox Christianity,” [Dr. Walter Martin’s definition
of a “cult”] and we apply the same test to any person or body that would
claim to be “Messianic.” These are easily identifiable by a cursory review
of their teachings, and can quite neatly be classified as cults, according
to Walter Martin’s definition.
There are many other groups, however,
whose deviations from “orthodox Christianity”[NOTE]
are more difficult to spot. When trying to determine whether or not
to classify a particular group as a cult, the crux of the entire matter
lies in the answer to one simple question: “Is it possible for a person to
embrace the doctrines of this group and still be Messianic (a Believer in
Mashiach, whether Jew or Gentile)?”
A “Messianic” may be variously defined
as “one who belongs to Mashiach,” or “one who is involved in a personal
relationship with Mashiach,” or even more simply stated, “one who is
saved.” (The term “saved” is traditional “Christian shorthand” for
describing a person who has placed themselves under the Lordship of Yeshua
HaMashiach and accepted His completed work of redemption on their behalf.
They have entered into a personal relation with the G-d of
the Bible and will spend eternity with Him in heaven.) Since salvation
depends solely upon one’s personal relationship with the G-d
of the Bible through Adonai
Yeshua HaMashiach, it
is most important for us to have a clear understanding of what, according
to the Scriptures, are the absolute requirements for salvation.
For example, within the group of those
who consider themselves “evangelical Christians” there is a major division
on the doctrine of eternal security. On one side of the dividing line are
those Christians who believe that the work of salvation is totally
dependent upon G-d, and since G-d cannot change
His mind, once one is saved one can never lose that salvation. On the
other side of the line are many Christians who reason that since salvation
is dependent upon one’s faith, if one allows his/her faith to waiver, or
demonstrates lack of faith by a willful act of disobedience (sin), then
that person’s salvation is lost until the faith is regained or the sin is
properly repented of.
One must then decide whether one’s
position on the doctrine of eternal security, although terribly important
to the peace of mind of the believer, is in fact critical to the fact
of one’s salvation.
What, then, are the absolutes?
What teachings must one positively believe
in order to be “saved” (that is, to have eternal life with G-d)?
We agree with Bob Larson, that these are the five “absolutes” — those
things which one must positively believe to be “saved”:
attributes of G-d,
2. the Person of HaMashiach,
3. the nature of man,
4. the requirements of atonement,
5. the source of revelation.
The Scriptures, both the Tanakh (the
ancient Hebrew Bible) and the Apostolic Scriptures — which are rightfully
one of the four major divisions of the Tanakh, along with the Torah
(Divine Instruction), Nevi'im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings) — clearly
teach the three-fold nature of G-d (ok, we admit that the
teaching is more clearly defined in the Apostolic Scriptures than
it is in the Tanakh). According to Yeshua, the most important mitzvah
(commandment) within the entire Bible is this: “Sh'ma Yisra'el! ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI echad. Hear, Israel! ADONAI our G-d, ADONAI is one.
And you shall love ADONAI
your G-d with all your heart, and with
all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” However, the Bible also demonstrates that there are within the
one G-d of the Bible three distinct “Persons” who are
eternally the same in substance and equal in power:
(the Father), HaBen/Yeshua (the
Son), and Ruach
HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit), each of Whom is infinite, eternal,
unchangeable, indivisible, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, personal,
and perfect in wisdom, power, holiness, righteousness, justice, goodness,
truth, mercy, and love. The Personal Name of
is attributed individually to each of these “three Persons” in Scripture.
If one is absolutely correct in all
other points of doctrine but in error on this one point, he or she is
hopelessly lost because he/she is worshiping a G-d other than
the G-d of Avraham (Abraham), Yitzhak (Isaac), and Ya`akov
(Jacob), the G-d of the Bible.
Unlike any other religion known to man,
Messianic Judaism (true Biblical “Christianity” — that extremely rare and
true form of Judeo/Christianity that is based solely on the
doctrines and standards of the Bible alone, totally apart from the
traditions of men) stands or falls on the Person of its Foundation. Just
as there is only one G-d of the Bible, so also is there only
one Mashiach of the Bible (“Christ” is the Anglicized form of the Greek
word christos, which is the equivalent of the Hebrew word
Mashiach — “Messiah” — “the Anointed One”), Who was always one (Hebrew
echad, a plural unity like one bunch of grapes or one
flock of birds) with G-d the Father from eternity past. He is
the Creator of everything that is created. Besides the G-d of
the Bible, there is nothing that exists that was not created by Mashiach.
He has always been fully G-d and He will always be fully
Out of love for a lost creation, He
became fully human without giving up anything of His deity. He was born of
a virgin through the power of Ruach HaKodesh, He lived a perfect, sinless,
human life in absolute obedience to Torah (the teachings of
Scripture, not the “traditions of the elders”). He gave up His life
voluntarily to fully pay the penalty of sin for all mankind. He was
executed by crucifixion, died, and was buried. He was resurrected from the
dead and ascended into heaven in a glorified version of the same body in
which He died. He will return in that same body to gather His saints (His
Miqra/Ecclesia), to judge the world, to reign physically over all of
creation; and ultimately to create an entire new heaven and earth.
Any “Mashiach” or “Jesus” or “Christ”
that does not match the description of Yeshua
the “Jesus” of the Bible — is one of the false messiahs (“christs”) that
Adonai Yeshua predicted would appear in the last days (Matthew
Acts 5:36). The Yeshua we serve must be the same Yeshua presented in
the Bible, because:
• If Yeshua HaMashiach is not G-d, then He
holds no power to save.
• If He is not one with the Father, then He is a liar.
• If He did not become fully human, then His death did not
satisfy judgment of G-d against sin.
• If he was not virgin-born then He inherited the sin
nature of Adam, and His death did not satisfy G-d’s
requirement for a spotless sacrifice.
• If He sinned, then He was Himself in need of a Savior.
• If He did not die, then He did not pay the penalty for
sin. (“The wages of sin is death.”)
• If He was not bodily resurrected, then He does not have
the power to resurrect the Saints (the “Elect,” those who belong to Him).
• If He did not ascend into heaven, then He cannot return.
• If He does not return then He is a liar and not G-d.
And if He is a liar, then the Bible is a lie and mankind has no revelation
and no hope.
God created humankind, male and female,
in His own image. Mankind chose to sin against G-d, and in so
doing humankind became alienated from G-d and inherited a sin
nature, and is totally depraved. Humankind possesses no spark of divine
life, and, of himself, is utterly helpless to remedy his lost condition
apart from the grace of G-d.
If man is in fact not sinful, then
Yeshua’s death was for nothing and G-d has wasted an awful
lot of time and energy in providing a means of atonement (kiporah).
Also, if man is not sinful, then Yeshua
(Jesus of Nazareth) is a liar, and the entire doctrine of HaMashiach’s
person is jeopardized.
If man does not perceive of himself as
sinful, then he likewise perceives no need of a Savior. If he perceives no
need of a Savior, then he will never turn to HaMashiach for salvation.
If man already possesses the divine
life, then he too may be a god; yet the G-d of
the Bible expressly states that there is no G-d besides
Himself, that before Him was no G-d formed nor will any
G-d be formed after Him, and that He will not share His glory with
Deuteronomy 4:13,35,39 et al).
If man is able to save himself, then
Yeshua’s death was in vain, and man must work out his own salvation by
living out his life in total obedience to the absolute letter of the
Torah. Since Yeshua
(Jesus of Nazareth) was the only one to every have lived up to the whole
Torah, then no man can ever be saved.
The Tabernacle/Temple sacrifices
foreshadowed the Lamb of G-d, “slain from the foundation of
the world” (Revelation
13:8), Whose shed blood would be the final sacrifice and cleansing
from sin (1 John
1:7). Man, whose sinful rebellion has separated him from G-d,
can now have “peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians
1:20) and be “reconciled to G-d” (2 Corinthians
5:19) because of His vicarious, substitutionary death.
If one is in accord with the essential
elements of the doctrines of the Person of Mashiach and the Nature of Man
as outlined above, then the scriptural description of the atonement is the
only means by which sinful man can become reconciled to a Holy G-d.
To reject the doctrine of Atonement requires one to reject both the
doctrines of Mashiach and of Man.
Since our only reliable source of
revelation is the Bible, then we must look to the Bible to see what it
claims for itself. It claims that it is the Word of G-d,
inspired (God-breathed), inerrant, complete (Revelation
Devarim [Deuteronomy] 12:32), and the only infallible rule of faith.
It reveals the origin and destiny of all things; records G-d’s
dealings with mankind in the past, present, and future; and focuses on the
Person and Work of Yeshua HaMashiach. The Bible inspires faith (Romans
10:17) and will make men “wise unto salvation” (2 Timothy
The greatest possible evidence we can
have for the infallibility of Scripture is the fulfillment of Biblical
Hebrews 1:1-2:4, for example). G-d places His reputation
on the line with Biblical prophecy. G-d requires absolute
accuracy from a prophet, and declares that if a single thing spoken by a
prophet in the name of the Lord fails to come to pass, then everything
that the prophet has ever said must be disregarded (Deuteronomy
18:22, literal). By that criteria, if the Bible claims to be the Word
of G-d (and it does), then one single error in the entire
canon of Scripture would require us to discard the entire Bible.
Therefore, by its own testimony, the
Bible declares that the Believer in Mashiach, whether Jew or Gentile, must
accept the entire Bible “every jot [yod, the smallest letter of the
Hebrew alphabet] and tittle [the decorative embellishments on Hebrew
letters]” or must discard it entirely. That being the case, then all other
supposed “revelation” must be weighed and evaluated in light of the Bible.
Additionally, the Believer must evaluate
carefully everything that is said by anyone claiming to be a “prophet” —
that is, anyone who claims to speak for G-d or on His behalf,
to have any form of special “revelation” or “anointing” from G-d,
to have any form of “special message” from G-d, or to have
any “supernatural,” “sign,” “apostolic,” or “prophetic” gift. To claim to
have any of those things is to claim to be functioning in the prophetic
office. Any person making such a claim must be 100% accurate in every
single thing that they teach. The Bible says that if such a person’s
message is ever inaccurate in even the smallest detail, that person is a
false prophet, and the Believer in Mashiach must totally ignore every
single thing taught by that person.
You will notice that we occasionally use the terms
“Christianity” and “Messianic Judaism” interchangeably on this web site.
That is because we believe that the only valid form of
“Christianity” is that which:
• recognizes both its roots in Judaism and its proper
relationship to the G-d, the People, the Land, and the
Covenants of Israel (i.e., “grafted into”—and therefore a part of—Biblical
Israel, not replacing or superceding Israel in any way),
• recognizes and supports Israel’s undisputed right to the
entire “land grand” that G-d covenanted to Avraham,
Yitzhak, and Ya`akov, which includes all the land from the “River
of Egypt” (the Nile) to the Euphrates,
• includes G-d’s covenant people of all the
biblical covenants, and
• (preferably) submits to the authority of Torah.
Likewise, we believe that the only valid form of Judaism is that
• recognizes Rebbe Yeshua
as the Son of G-d and Melech
(Israel’s King Messiah) and which
• includes both Jews and non-Jews who are part of a
covenant relationship with HaShem, the
G-d of Avraham (Abraham), Yitzhak (Isaac), and Ya`akov (Jacob).
These two terms, therefore, when properly used, refer to exactly
the same body of people. [RETURN]