The Torah and Serious Commitment to Application
by DAN JUSTERFEBRUARY 7, 2021
As a student at Wheaton, I was able to study under the famous philosopher, Dr. Arthur Holmes. He was fond of calling for us to engage in world viewish thinking. This meant that the Bible provides us with the foundations for thinking about every sphere of life and engaging every academic discipline from a Biblical perspective. To do this, we have to know the Bible and its theology well and what it teaches in every subject. This includes our relationship to God first of all, but then marriage and family, neighbours, civic life, law and justice, the courts, artistry, social sciences, science, economics and much more.
Christian worldview thinking is not possible for people who think that Torah has been done away. Much of what the Bible has to say on the different spheres of our existence is based in the Torah. The disturbing thing is that most Christians do not think this way. They think that the “Old Testament” is a past book. It provides the predictions of Yeshua and some good devotions in the Psalms, but that is the end of it for them. They have no idea of the Torah being the foundation for justice issues and the key to our understanding and involvement in culture.
However, the problem is not only Christians, but Messianic Jews. The professions of Torah loyalty are often merely a matter of commitment to aspects of Jewish specific law, circumcision, Sabbath, Feasts, foods, and often Rabbinic traditions. These are important aspects of our covenant as Jews. However the universal is what Yeshua called the weightier matters of the Torah. Often the Messianic Jewish approach is shallow. Sometimes the Torah is compromised by Rabbinic approaches that do violate the heart intent of the Torah and like Yeshua said, “make void the world of God by traditions of men.”
The Barna organization estimates that only 7% of Christians have a worked-out world view. This is why our political and social disagreements are often based on surface arguments and do not get to the root of the issues. When I have said that I vote for the leaders and parties that take us more in the direction of God’s Law, I think that goes over the head of many. The idea that the Torah will give us direction for the major issues of our time is not perceived.
Historically, many did believe this, from Arminian Methodists to Reformed Calvinists. Brilliant scholars like Dr. Walter Kaiser, former President of Gordon Conwell still argue this. I try to show this in my book, Social Justice. But it is more than that issue.
The Bible gives us a framework for the purpose of art, literature, science, and so much more. We have to study the Bible with an eye to its implication for all disciplines. I think many are arguing over issues without the foundation first in place, a true and deep biblical understanding. The lack of this understanding is why some of our young cannot address the movements of sexual liberation in our culture from a compassionate, but Torah based perspective. It is why some are given to socialism.
Unless we discuss the foundations in the Bible we are only ships passing in the night in our interactions. We do not really connect. Our Tikkun books, authored by Dr. Michael Rudolph, Torah in Messiah, provides a good beginning to see how Torah can be applied today.