The primary heresy in Hebrew Roots Movement (HRM) beliefs is that Christians must keep the Torah. HRM holds the view that Christ’s death on the cross did not end the Mosaic Covenant, His death renewed it. But is the Torah the foundation of Christianity? Should believers observe the Mosiac laws? In this piece, Tim Chaffey of Answers In Genesis examines HRM and reveals the dangers of the movement. He writes:
The Hebrew Roots Movement has influenced hundreds of thousands of Christians in recent decades, and many more have encountered arguments from those in that group. The movement places a strong emphasis on Hebrew traditions and the Mosaic law. This article will describe the nature of the Hebrew Roots Movement, examine some of its major beliefs in light of relevant biblical passages, and challenge those who have been influenced by its teachings.
The Growing Dangers of the Hebrew Roots Movement
In recent years, an increasing number of Christians have adopted teachings associated with the Hebrew Roots Movement (HRM). Properly defining this movement is difficult because it has no central hierarchy or leader and no official statement of faith for members to endorse. While this article will explain and critique some of the major teachings connected to this movement, we recognize that some adherents to the HRM may not agree with all of the positions outlined here.
What Is the Hebrew Roots Movement?
Broadly speaking, followers of the HRM believe that Christians are obligated to follow Jewish laws and practices from the books of Moses. Oftentimes, extrabiblical rabbinic teachings and traditions are elevated (if not in official doctrinal beliefs then in practice) to the same level as Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
Although they often speak of keeping the “law,” they are usually inconsistent in how this is understood and defined. For example, certain laws are either broken or neglected while a great deal of attention is placed on keeping the Sabbath (Friday sunset through Saturday sunset) and celebrating the feasts mentioned in Leviticus 23. These issues will be discussed in more detail below.
It is difficult to document the movement’s history because of its lack of organizational structure, but the modern HRM has been influenced in some ways by Seventh-Day Adventism and the Worldwide Church of God during the lifetime of its founder, Herbert W. Armstrong. Additionally, the HRM has been influenced by the practices of Messianic Jews, but the similarities between the groups are superficial and should not be conflated. In fact, many Messianic Jewish organizations have denounced the beliefs of the HRM.1
The past few decades have witnessed a growing influence of this movement among conservative Christians. It is not unusual to see some HRM proponents give themselves Hebrew names, write “God” as “G-d,” eat kosher foods, claim that the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew (or at least several books were), condemn numerous Christian traditions as pagan, and dismiss teachings from Paul’s epistles. Some have gone so far as to challenge orthodox Christian beliefs such as the Trinity and even the deity of Jesus Christ. Fundamentally, the HRM teaches that many modern Christian beliefs and practices were introduced to the church by pagan Greeks. This is why they generally do not like to be identified as Christians. Instead, they believe that they need to recover the first century Hebrew roots of Christianity.