04 July 2010

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for March 9th was eclectic.

1 : selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles 2 : composed of elements drawn from various sources; also : heterogeneous

M-W provided this background on the word:

"Eclectic" comes from a Greek verb meaning "to select" and was originally applied to ancient philosophers who were not committed to any single system of philosophy; instead, these philosophers selected whichever doctrines pleased them from every school of thought. Later, the word's use broadened to cover other selective natures. "Hard by, the central slab is thick with books / Diverse, but which the true eclectic mind / Knows how to group, and gather out of each / Their frequent wisdoms...." In this 19th century example from a poem by Arthur Joseph Munby, for example, the word is applied to literature lovers who cull selective works from libraries.

While Messianics generally do not select ideas from multiple systems of philosophy we do often find ourselves selecting ideas from various forms of Judaism and Christianity.

Why is this so?

Often it is because of a lack of discipline.

Developing a form of Torah observance apart from existing ideologies is time consuming and highly challenging.  It requires a measure of discipline to study Scripture repeatedly and thoroughly.  In today's "let me just look it up on Google" mindset this type of discipline is rare.

It is much easier to simply follow Orthodox Judaism or Karaite Judaism and call it done.  Someone else has done all the work.  Is this the instruction we are given in Scripture?

By no means!

Paul exhorts the Philippians to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12).


Relationship or religion?

Christians are often fond of saying that they don't have a "religion" they have a "relationship".

First, let's consider the word "religion":

religion- a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.  [from]

Do Christians have a set of beliefs concern the cause, nature and purpose of the universe?


Do they have a moral code governing their conduct?


So Christians do have a religion.

Let's move on past this particular nit... :)

As Messianics, we, have a relationship with the Creator of the universe but it is through the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua.  It is in the context of that relationship that we work our salvation with fear and trembling.  We should not ask our brothers and sisters what the Father desires for us.  That is for Him to tell us.  What the Father has planned for person "A" may be completely different than His plans for person "B".  Instead we should, as Paul put it, work our salvation with fear and trembling?


Because we will be going before the Creator of the universe in prayer and petition to seek His instruction for our lives... not the instruction of the pastor or rabbi down the street.

Yes, we should consider what G-d has revealed to others in terms of Scripture but that does not make them an authority over us nor should we place them in a position that they do not belong.  Namely the position of G-d.

While we can be eclectic in choosing the best examples of how to work our Torah observance we should always seek validation from our heavenly Father that it is His will we should do so.


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