Judaizers Within The Church

        Within the Christian church is increasingly found Christ's teaching being replaced by Old Testament of which Christ has in New Covenant made of non effect nor binding. Among these were the Mishnah teachings of which Christ spoke strongly against. These teachings are again what Paul found disturbing, and what he at the time called 'Judaizing'. The following will describe concerning this issue within the Christian church today.

        Judaizers is predominantly a Christian term, derived from the Greek verb NT3450 'ioudaïzo' (???da??? "live according to Jewish customs", see NT2453 'Ioudaios'). This term is most widely known from its single use in the Greek New Testament (Galatians 2:14) where Paul publicly challenges Peter for compelling gentile converts of early Christianity to "judaize", also known as the Incident at Antioch.

        This term also includes groups who claim the necessity of continued obedience to the Law of Moses found in the first five books of the Christian Old Testament, although this is sometimes disputed by members of these groups, notably the Seventh-day Adventist Church, as the term Judaizers is typically used as apejorative.

        Most Christians believe much of the Old Covenant has been superseded, while some modern Protestants believe it has been completely abrogated and replaced with the Law of Christ. Thus, "one who has Judaized", refers to a Christian who has accepted the necessity of adhering to the Mosaic Laws or to specific laws that are believed to be superseded, such as circumcision, Sabbath observance, or observation of the Passover. The ongoing Christian debate over Judaizing began in the lifetime of the apostles, notably at the Council of Jerusalem and the Incident at Antioch.

        That Gentile Christians should convert to Judaism and obey the Laws of Moses was the assumption of some in the Early Church, represented by Pharisees who had become believers in Acts 15 (Acts 15:5). This was the Jewish Christian version of the opinion within Judaism that Gentiles should convert to Judaism in order to be right with God (see convert to Judaism). This opinion is traced by some scholars to a faction within early Christianity after the crucifixion of Jesus led by Jesus' brother James the Just (though compare Acts 15:24). Paul opposed this position (Col 2:15-16), with a Jewish Christian version of the opposite opinion in Judaism that Gentiles did not need to convert and obey the entire Law, more accurately called the traditions of the elders, teachings of commands Christ described making Gods laws of non effect [Mark 7:7-9]. See also Hellenistic Judaism.

        This conflict between Apostle Paul and his others was the reason for the Council of Jerusalem (see Acts 15:1-35). Here James, Paul, and the other leaders of the early Christian movement agreed that Gentile converts needed only to follow the "three exceptions" (Acts 15:20,29; counted by some as four), laws that roughly coincide with Judaism's Seven Laws of Noah said to be established by God for all humankind (see also Genesis 9:1-17). This Apostolic Decree, still observed by the Orthodox Church, is similar to that adopted by Rabbinic Judaism, which teaches that Gentiles need only follow the Noachide Laws to be assured of a place in the World to Come. See also Dual-covenant theology.

        Probably the best description of Judaizers is in Acts 15:1 "And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, and said, 'Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.'… Circumcision performed for the purpose of being "saved" meant a full, formal conversion to Judaism, complete with a baptism into Judaism and an embracing of the rabbis' entire Oral Law (probably the law that Peter had in mind when he referred to "a yoke...which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear)...The Judaizers believed that this conversion process would turn the Gentile believer into a full-fledged Jew, and that without this the Gentile could not be saved. Without a complete, formal conversion to Judaism, the Gentile believer could not become a full-fledged member of the saved Messianic Community, the Judaizers said...No Scripture-loving Jew could describe the written Torah as an unbearable yoke. See Psalm 19 and Psalm 119."
The word Judaizer or Judaize is seldom used in English Bible translations, however, an exception is the Young's Literal Translation for Galatians 2:14
But when I saw that they are not walking uprightly to the truth of the good news, I said to Peter before all, `If thou, being a Jew, in the manner of the nations dost live, and not in the manner of the Jews, how the nations dost thou compel to Judaize?

RtPriceTag@comcast.net

| Return to Top | Return to Index of Articles |