Initially, he attempted to reform the Roman Catholic Church, yet eventually his raw doctrines became the foundation for numerous Protestant denominations.
One of these new denominations is the modern Messianic movement of Jewish believers in Yeshua (JBY). These followers of Yeshua (Jesus) embrace rabbinical traditions and Jewish folklore, support Zionism, and also accept the theological guidelines of Protestantism. However, from a Christological perspective, the Protestant doctrines are not much different than Roman Catholic ones. Both Protestant and Catholic Confessions of Faith follow the creedal formulas of the ecumenical Councils of Nicaea (325 AD) and Chalcedon (451 AD), which introduce non-biblical terminology.
Nowadays, most JBY adopt, nearly verbatim, the creeds of different Protestant denominations including Lutheranism, Calvinism, Anglicanism and Adventism, alongside the beliefs of the Baptists and Plymouth Brethren. The majority of contemporary JBY have adopted the faith in the Lord Yeshua through the testimony of Christians and Protestant missionaries.
Naturally, these JBY absorbed the doctrines of their spiritual parents. Not a few among them were also encouraged to become “leaders” and teachers and to attend denominational schools of theology, often described incorrectly as “Bible Schools.” In these institutions they were systematically indoctrinated with Protestant dogmatic principles. After they were ordained and authorized to teach, they repeated what they learned to new generations of JBY.
A salient example of this situation is Luther’s fundamental doctrine called in Latin sola scriptura—“[salvation by] Scripture alone”—which is based upon his German translation of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (3:28). According to this standard, God’s ultimate Word, spiritual authority and conclusive guidance are now embodied exclusively in the Bible because the Almighty has stopped communicating with humans via revelations, prophets, etc. Thus, in order to discover God’s sovereign will one must search exclusively in the canonical text. In other words, the original and infallible divine truth is found only in the “Christian Bible.” Part of this doctrine is the principle that Scripture interprets Scripture.
However, the Bible itself does not teach sola scriptura. In the Gospels, for example, one reads about the great and unique instrumentality of the Holy Spirit. The clear teaching of Yeshua places the direct instruction of the Holy Spirit above the teachings of biblical verses.
Thus in the Gospel of John the Lord Himself says: “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth.” These divine words come straight from the Son of God, who sends the Holy Spirit as “He [the Spirit] will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will tell you things to come” (John 16:13). To put this differently, the Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of Truth, is not only part and parcel of biblical interpretation, but it also guides true believers in a personal way as well as unfolds individually the secrets of the Kingdom of God. This is consistent with the Lord’s teaching that “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (John 4:23).
While on the one hand human interpretations of Scripture can mislead believers, on the other hand the true guidance of the Holy Spirit is infallible. Moreover, no biblical verse can fully convince a person unless the Holy Spirit provides assurance. Only the Holy Spirit can touch every believer on earth. The one who “has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says” (Revelation 2:7). If one loves the Lord Yeshua and keeps His commandments (John 14:15, 21; 15:10), will indeed hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Gershon Nerel (www.iseeisrael.com)
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