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Bugg's Closing Statement

First, let me say that it has been a real pleasure to have this debate with Myles.  He is an extraordinary young man who is to be commended for his faith and dedication to the Lord, and I’m proud to know him and to play some small part in his growth as a Christian. 

In his closing statement, Myles attempts to close his case on the following points:

1)      “Is it not true that the Jews rebelled agents God by not accepting Jesus there for God added the Gentiles to salvation through the New Law.”

Yes to the first half of the question, no to the second.  As we have pointed out before, if Yeshua came to do away with the Torah and put a new one into place, this would make Him a false prophet per Deu. 12;32-13:5.  But more to the point, notice how Myles has reversed himself!  He started out this debate equating Christians to the American colonies—now he seems to say that it is instead the Jews who are under a “new law” by virtue of having rebelled against the King! 

In the end, his attempt at an analogy fails for the same reason that it has since the start of the debate:  As Americans, we ceased to be under Britain’s king, but as a Christian, Myles has adopted Israel’s King.

2)      Myles attempts to claim that Deu. 6:4ff, which commands us to love God with our whole being is for Israel only!  Some Christians claim that faith that does not produce any works can save them (cf. Jas. 2:14ff)—apparently Myles is arguing that he doesn’t even need to love God.  Well, certainly that is the end result of ripping Acts 15 out of context, but by now it is obvious that Myles doesn’t actually believe that.  He is simply grasping at straws.

Besides which, the Ekklesia is grafted into Israel’s olive tree (Rom. 11:17ff) and has thus become part of the commonwealth of Israel (Eph. 2:12)—how then are we to think that the most important commandment, the one on which everything else (including the command to love our neighbors) hangs, does not apply to us?  Did not a mixed multitude go with Israel out of Egypt (Exo. 12:28), even as a mixed multitude called the Church has gone up with Israel out of the world at the direction of her King?  And did God give that mixed multitude one Torah or two?  See Exo. 12:49 for the answer.

Regarding teffilin, this is a traditional way of keeping the commandment, and should not be confused with the commandment itself.  They are also a subject for another day.

3)      Back to metathesis again.  Myles confuses translation with interpretation: It is possible to translate a text correctly from one language to another and still misinterpret it.  In this case, the translation is not in doubt:  meta- signifies a movement, while thesis means “position.”  Hence, the Torah “changed positions”—it was not abolished or replaced.  In what sense did the Torah change positions?  In the same sense that the high priesthood did:  It was moved to the true Tabernacle in Heaven, where Yeshua officiates and intercedes every hour of every day.  Therefore, we can still keep the Feasts of the Lord, because Yeshua has seen to the requisite sacrifices in His own flesh and officiates in the Temple that the earthly structures were only the type of.

4)      In answer to Myles’ question re: Col. 2:16f, no, I do not pass judgment.  I have never condemned a Christian on the basis of whether he keeps the Feasts, kosher, ritual purity, etc.  I do invite Christians to join us at the Feast table, because I believe that the Church has passed up a great blessing by casting such things aside, but I have never judged a person’s salvation, spiritual walk, or worthiness to have fellowship with on the basis of these disputed areas of Scripture. 

That’s why I’ve spent so much time talking with Myles by phone for the last year, sharing one another’s insights and burdens both.  I would not have spent so much time and effort on someone who I didn’t regard as a full and faithful brother in the Lord.

5)      In regards to Gal. 5:3, Paul clearly states that Jews—the circumcised—were obligated to keep “the whole Law.”  Obviously, this means that there cannot be a “new law” or that keeping the Torah is opposed to Grace, or else one must conclude that there are either two laws or else that Jews are still “under the law” while Gentiles are not.  Neither position is Biblical, since these would imply two ways of salvation. 

The answer then lies in the dichotomy presented in Acts 21:21-25 – Jews were obligated to keep the whole Torah and the rabbinic traditions.  Gentiles were only obligated to keep certain commands that separated them from idolatry—every other matter of obedience was a matter of following the Spirit as He lead and as one’s circumstances permitted.  A Gentile who became circumcised took on all of the obligations of being part of the Jewish community, both in the written Torah and the oral traditions, the “whole Torah.”  

6)      And in regards to Gal. 3:28, what is there to explain?  There is no more Jew or Gentile in the same manner that there is no more male or female—the distinctions in roles and responsibilities and culture remain, but all are nevertheless saved as one Body in Messiah.

Besides, if such distinctions are truly done away with, and Jews were still expected to keep the Torah, then on what basis can we say that the Torah is no longer binding on the Ekklesia?

In the end, as one looks back on this debate, one simple question must be asked:  Did Myles pose any question or argument that was not adequately answered?  If not, then it follows that Myles has not been able to substantiate his resolution, and has lost the debate. 

Thank you to everyone who has been following this debate.  Both Myles and I apologize that it occasionally ran into repetitiveness, but we hope that all of our brothers and sisters in the Messiah found it to be both edifying and loving.



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