Readers are increasingly asking me questions about a set of doctrines called Hebraic Roots. In recent years, Hebraic Roots teachings have invaded many churches and even some seminaries. There are even Hebraic Roots Bibles and a Hebraic Roots Network. Because this trend appears to be growing in numbers and adherents, we should know something about it. It would be too much to explore all of the teachings of this movement in one article, and, to complicate matters, there are some variations in belief from one specific Hebraic Roots group to another. What I would like to do is briefly examine a few of the core beliefs of this movement and compare them to Scripture.
Many non-Christians, and all too many Christians, are of the opinion that science, (i.e., the physical or natural sciences) is an ever-growing body of truth about the universe. The progress of science, its technological triumphs, so we are told, demonstrate its truth. Science is seemingly unassailable. After all, it works doesn’t it? And isn’t success the measure of truth?
The thinking I want to address in this article is this: There are some people who profess Christianity who say that it doesn’t matter whether hell is real or not, the doctrine of hell is an unnecessary teaching that can be dispensed with, and, in fact, speaking of hell as a reality is harmful to the furtherance of Christianity. Their reasoning goes like this: Since (whether we believe in a literal hell or not) we would all agree that Christians are not going to hell, therefore Christians don’t need to hear anything about hell. They may as well just forget about it. Further, since many non-Christians refuse to believe in a God so cruel that He would condemn people who do not trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior to eternal torment in hell, then it would be better if we also stop talking to them about hell. In other words, we would get more people saved if we dropped hell from our vocabulary. Thus, why don’t we just stop talking about hell altogether? This sounds reasonable to many people. Is this sound thinking? Does the Bible support it? Is there a flaw somewhere?
Many Christians suffer from various illnesses and injuries or have loved ones who do. Understandably, they wonder whether God still heals today. As we know, the Bible is full of accounts of healings. Many of them were spectacular, and the authorities of the day investigated some of them. In John 9 and in Acts 4:16, for example, the authorities never denied that the healing had occurred, they just took the stupid position of trying to cover it up. But does God still heal today? Or, to get right down to the heart of the controversy, does God promise physical healing to believers?
So that we know what we are talking about, let’s begin with a definition. A basic formulation of the Trinity doctrine is, God is a Trinity of three Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. Many who teach against the Trinity misunderstand this formula. They make a wrong assumption about what is meant by God being a Trinity of three Persons. They assume this to be tritheism, a belief in three gods. What is meant by “Person” in speaking of the Trinity is that which has the attributes of personality. It comes from the Latin word persona. In the ancient world, actors wore masks. The actor’s mask was his persona. It showed the role he was playing. In the discussion of the Trinity, “Person” never means “person” as we commonly use it today; that is, it never means a free and independent consciousness with his own will. Nevertheless, it does mean that the Persons have an I-you relationship: as I will point out in the Scriptures cited in this article, they communicate with each other.
In Part 1, I defined open theism, examined its history, included some statements made by its adherents, and started examining Scriptures used by open theists to support their view. In this concluding article, I finish examining the Scriptures and end with the dangers of open theism.
Jonah 3: Open theists likewise cite the case of Jonah. In Jonah 3:2, God tells Jonah, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I give you.” What was the message? We read in verse 4, “Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried out, and said, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!'” And the beginning of verse 5 tells us, “The people of Nineveh believed God.” So, what did they do? God says they will be overthrown and they believe Him. Did they say, Oh well, there’s nothing we can do about it? No. They understood that what God said was intended to get them to repent. So, “they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from their greatest even to their least.” And the king issued a proclamation for a fast, ending with the statement, “Who knows whether God will not turn and relent, and turn away from his fierce anger, so that we might not perish?” (verse 9). Verse 10 says, “God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way. God relented of the disaster which he said he would do to them, and he didn’t do it.”
Any view that minimizes or reduces God’s “God-ness,” including his
absolute sovereignty over his creation, appeals directly, though subtly, to our sinful hearts.
Scott Oliphint, “Most Moved Mediator,” Themelios 30 (2004): 39
There’s a pretty good chance you’ve never heard of open theism. On the other hand, there’s a very good chance that you’ve been exposed to, and possibly even influenced by, its teachings. And those teachings can be dangerous to your spiritual health. If you get nothing else out of this article, I want you to know that open theism lowers God in order to raise man. It is essentially a man-centered religion dressed in semi-Christian garb.
In 2 Kings 18, we read that the forces of Sennacherib (which means “Sin [the name of Assyria’s moon god] sends many brothers”), the king of Assyria, came up against Judah. The Assyrian king demanded tribute, which Hezekiah (meaning, “Jehovah is my strength”), king of Judah, gave him, but the scoundrel wanted more. He sent a delegation, headed by Rabshakeh (not really a name but a position meaning “chief cupbearer”).