Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Born-Again Agnostic

I am a born-again, regenerate agnostic. What, a born again agnostic? Let me explain.

The essence or the guiding drive of the unregenerate (those who are not "born again") is the flesh. "The mind of the flesh cannot please God," Paul advises us. I have always been appreciative of Paul's use of the word "flesh" in Romans 8. It is the perfect exemplar of what it means to be unregenerate or "of the flesh." Paul chose this word, in the KJV mind you, because it carries a secret, embedded message. Spell the world flesh backwards and you get h-self. With a slight degree of anachronistic political correctness Paul refrained from inserting an "im" for "himself" or an "er" for "herself."

"The minding of the flesh" is the minding of oneself. It is a life focused on selfish gratification. However, selfishness or self-interest need not take the simple form of immediate gratification as there are many fleshly, self-interested individuals who, while acting in their own interests, forgo immediate gratifications for delayed benefits. These individual's may appear noble and self-controlled on the outside, but their hearts' desires are often revealed through their treasures....frequently the accumulated capital of ruthless pursuit for the bottom line.

When the unregenerate loves, it is out of selfish interests. By loving a daughter, the unregenerate fulfills her maternal instincts. By nurturing a feral cat, the unregenerate feels warm and fuzzy inside. Though displaying love, the pursuit of the unregenerate is not the interest of the object loved unless such betters the interest of the unregenerate.

There are many Christians in name who are unregenerate or not born again. Their sole focus in life is the self, the flesh. Though they have professed a moment at which they have "asked Jesus into their hearts," they have never forgone self interest. Their sole goal is the flesh. So, while they perform good works and charity, an underlying drive for the gratification found in ritual and outward benevolence reigns.

In contrast to the condition of the unregenerate, the pursuit of the regenerate is the best interests of others. The regenerate loves the other for the benefit of the other without the condition of self interest; hence, the regenerate, the one "born again," displays true love, true benevolence of the most altruistic avidity.

I am regenerate. I am growing weary of being called unregenerate due to my want of faith in the Bible. I am a benevolent person, aware of my selfish nature, who yet operates as a guiding principle in the interests of others. I do not claim to be perfect, but my profession is benevolence or love.

I am a born-again agnostic among the ranks of the many non-Christian regenerate of all the religions and people groups.


Williams_Melody said...

Nicely stated, Peter. I have to laugh a bit at the very term "born-again" because I always here it in my head with a Southern Baptist accent. There is something to be said though about deciding to act contrary to your own human nature.
I would have to say though, that since we are never literally born again, we never literally change our own nature. Whatever we choose to do exemplifies human nature because we are humans and that is the only nature we are capable of. So I think that the idea of being reborn is in fact a metaphor for maturity and the acceptance that life does not revolve around us. It is true that some people don't quite get to this point, but that unfortunately is human nature too. We are born once, but every day is both a chance and a test to be that self-less person or the selfish person.
Doesn't it seem then, that since our nature, human nature that is, is both selfish and self-less, that there is not a sinful nature to turn from?

Andrew T. said...

Hello Peter,


This is to a degree even more cryptic than what you usually write.

If I read you correctly, you mean to say that you choose to call yourself "born-again agnostic" because it dispels the stigma of you being a nihilist, as you submit that you are more benevolent than many religious folk. If I do not read you correctly, then part of the blame must be on how cryptically you've written this.

PeterS said...

Hello Andrew,

This is not cryptic. I did not engage in excessive prose. I simply wrote using language that you might not be familiar with.

In a coarse sort of way, you got the gist of my post. I was trying to assert that I am not an unregenerate reprobate. There is more than be fleshed out in this regard, and Melody's reply will help as I reply to it.

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

That is a profound insight....re: flesh (h self)! I love it! I can’t wait until you return from the far reaches of the religious galaxy, daring to tread where no man has gone before, and become a Bible teacher.

I could be wrong....but I do believe you are regenerate. How else did I, Dan, and others see the image of God in you and relate to you in the bonding of fellowship and like-mindedness.

Yeshua is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.....and that’s how you were born again. If there are those in other cultures who do not understand who Yeshua is but seek God with a whole heart in surrender to Him, it is possible that they become regenerate too. I have heard Muslim testimonies of this. It is still through Yeshua, whether they know it or not.

What I do not understand is how you can deny Yeshua, with all that you know. That is the great enigma. Yet your namesake, the apostle Peter, denied Yeshua three times...and yet was restored.

You are being honest about your doubts. I cannot fault you for that. You are exploring your closet of doubt. Once you clean that closet out, may it be filled only with genuine and persevering faith. May you be an overcomer. Maybe you will have to explore every known religion and philosophy of man first and discover what is down each path, the good and the bad, the true and the false.

But isn’t this choosing the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

Rather than the tree of obedience which leads to life?

You scare me, Peter. Don’t you scare yourself sometimes?

You seem to be walking along the edge of a precipice. How dangerous is that!

It seems to me that you choose not to believe the Bible because you choose not to obey some of the commandments therein. Otherwise, you may experience guilt and condemnation. But will that answer stand in the Judgement? Will you tell God you found it too difficult to believe the Bible because you discovered discrepancies in it; therefore you declared the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, etc. null and void?

Concerning discrepancies, the LORD implied that this would be the case (Rev. 22:18,19). “When that which is perfect shall come...” has not come yet. Satan is still on the loose and on the prowl, like a devouring lion (or a Siberian tiger at the San Francisco zoo!).

God is merciful...but you know that He is also just. If you want to be judged on your own merit, without the benefit of the substitutionary Sacrifice for your sins, the Lamb of God....well, you know the result of that. We must abide in Him...and if there is a disconnect between man and God, we need to be plugged back in. The broken branch must be grafted back to the tree.

When I was first born again, I “accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour” but I really did not know what that meant for quite some time. I did not consider myself a Christian. I did not know what I was. My experience happened at home, alone. I did not attend church until 18 months later when my husband came to faith. I explored various religions, including visiting the Bahai temple in Wilmette, even after my conversion experience. (That place kind of gave me the creeps.) I read Swedenborg and whatever religious literature I could get my hands on at the public library. At the same time, I continued to read my Bible, cover to cover. When I was finished, I started again. The Bible (KJV) won out over heretical doctrines and heretical Bible versions in the end.

I remember the first time through Leviticus how sorry I felt for the poor little animals, animal lover that I am. I thought, “Why would God want the innocent little animals killed?” All I could do, since I did not have all the answers at the time, still don’t, is remember that, “God is good. Good can’t be bad.” I put many things “on the back burner” for later reflection. Like a giant jigsaw puzzle, each little piece is meaningful in its proper place, but when we don’t know where it belongs, it has to sit on the edge of the table until more pieces come together.

These are my morning musings. Enough for now...sorry I take up so much space on your blog. You always get me thinking and writing. Maybe I should do more of it on my own blog and less on yours?

Jamie G. said...

"I am growing weary of being called unregenerate due to my want of faith in the Bible."

I am growing weary of being called an "unbeliever". Christians didn't corner the market on belief. I AM a believer, but not in Christ or Yahweh. I believe in a lot of things, just not the Christian Bible.

Good post, as always.

Oh, and belated congrats to your belated announcement.

PeterS said...

Hello all,

I am a little behind in responding as I would like. Though I have not been especially busy with outside obligations, there as been a lot going on. Sara is in Egypt right now, so you would think that I would have a lot more time to use her computer. That is true, but I am working against some deadlines related to legal and academic matters.

I hope to reply tonight.

Williams_Melody said...

Dear Tandi,
You refuse to listen.

Tandi said...

Hello Melody,

I do not understand your comment. Please clarify.

Are you MelRose?

If so, maybe I can connect the dots.



PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,

The Mel who posts here is different from MelRose. The Mel who posts here is Melody and the Mel on MelRose is Melissa. Both are friends of Sara (and eachother).

I share a rent with Mel (Melody) and a few others. It is probably not the best option to answer on behalf of Mel, but I thought she would not mind if I were to answer this question. On my way to the office, I dropped of Mel and Sara downtown. We all work downtown. So, there are some details for you to connect :-)

Tandi said...

Thank you, Peter....well, the Mel plot thickens...not that I’m trying to be melodramatic, but how am I going to connect the dots when there are two Mels. I do not mean to be malicious. I hope Mel is not feeling malevolent towards me. My first boyfriend’s name was Mal (Malcolm)...and a guy named Mel once stayed at my house. He was a missionary (Mel the Messianic Missionary). So we have more in common than Mel might think. I hope, in spite of our differences, we can be mellow in fellowship one with another here on this blog. : )

PeterS said...

Hello Mel,

You said that so well. Not "born again" with a southern drawl, but your words about human nature and the rebirth as a metaphor for maturity. While you sup with my steady, I have some time to reply.

Exegetically, the "new birth" in John 3 does not refer to conversion. Evangelicals use the term "born again" in reference to the experience of letting Jesus into one's heart or to the moment of conversion (however described). However, as already stated, the use of "born again" or "born from above" placed on Jesus' lips in his discreet discourse with Nicodemus is not a description of conversion. Reading John 3 from a platform of us-them dichotomy in which "the Jews" are the unregenerate and the Christian is the regenerate, many have read the idea of conversion into John 3. The metaphor for the new birth, though, in John 3 relates to the resurrection. As Jesus is indicated to have taught, one is born first from water (from her mother through the breaking of the amniotic sac [yes we are amniotes :-)]) later to be born of the spirit/wind of God. Spirit/wind birth is the resurrection.

Though Evangelicals teach that the new birth as conversion is an altering of human nature from sinful to one infused with a new nature at odds with an existing sin nature, this idea is not a direct gleaning from the New Testament.

This all said, I was not attempting to use exegetical precision in my post. I was more interested in using vogue verbalisms to ventilate my vexation with being esteemed an unregenerate.

Human nature? We agree that we need to source human morality in a gaze down, not up. Human nature is the result of evolution and natural selection through millions of years of social mammalian development. I do not believe that humans are inherently sinful. I do believe that one's ability to be selfless is human nature as much as the ability to be selfish is. Humans do not jettison inherent nature in order to be benevolent. We are benevolent creatures.

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

You make it difficult for your readers to understand you when you use terminology that means one thing, then claim to mean something else by it.

If you are going to use “vogue verbalisms to ventilate vexation,” I am not going to be able to catch your drift. I am operating on the premise that words mean something—that they have agreed upon definitions and connotations.

Speaking of word meanings, you labeled yourself a goon. I don’t know whether that means hooligan, fiend, ruffian, idiot, geek, goofy nerd, or something entirely different.. I don’t know if your picture with Sara represents Goth, or some other subculture, or what it represents. Help me connect the dots, Is there a cryptic message here? : )

I interpreted your “born again agnostic” post as saying that deep down inside you still have a loyalty to God, ethical standards, and benevolence due to your regenerate nature, in spite of your swirling doubts. Yet you operate with a veneer of agnosticism while you sort things out.

Maybe you are a chameleon...putting on different personas for different situations or different people?

I catch a glimpse of your inner essence, your core of belief, from time to time that keeps my hopes up for your eventual restoration.

Re: human nature....

Without a Bible (Torah) to define sin, sin is nebulous. In your current world view, humans cannot be considered sinful, because there is no clear standard of righteous behavior. Morality is as fluid as the times.

Here is the classic understanding of Regeneration from Easton’s Bible Dictionary:

Only found in Mat 19:28 and Tts 3:5. This word literally means a "new birth." The Greek word so rendered ( palingenesia) is used by classical writers with reference to the changes produced by the return of spring. In Mat 19:28 the word is equivalent to the "restitution of all things" ( Act 3:21). In Tts 3:5 it denotes that change of heart elsewhere spoken of as a passing from death to life ( 1Jo 3:14); becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus ( 2Cr 5:17); being born again ( Jhn 3:5); a renewal of the mind ( Rom 12:2); a resurrection from the dead ( Eph 2:6); a being quickened ( 2:1,5).

This change is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. It originates not with man but with God ( Jhn 1:12,13; 1Jo 2:29; 5:1,4).

As to the nature of the change, it consists in the implanting of a new principle or disposition in the soul; the impartation of spiritual life to those who are by nature "dead in trespasses and sins."

Mel tells me I refuse to listen. I wish I knew what it is that all of you are saying that I fail to hear. Are you trying to tell me to give up on pleading with the prodigal and accept the perdition of Peter? Perish the thought! Peter will yet proclaim the pure Gospel with poetic perspicuity. By faith, I believe it.

Williams_Melody said...

As far as double-meanings, in response to Tandi, I would have to say that words do in fact have double meanings, and words change meaning all the time. Language is not a constant - it is fluid. If it were not, there would be no such thing as metaphor. For example, no Shakespeare. He was a success because of the fact that words can mean more than one thing. In fact, it is the reason why there are so many versions of Scripture. Now I know that some people will tell you that only one of these versions is the "true" version, but that is not the point here. The point is that the meanings continue to change, and scholars continue to rehash language, and therefore come up with new versions of Scripture. If you think about it, it's similar to Webster's Dictionary, which has to constantly be updated as words are added to, disappear from and nuances change in English language and culture.
Having said that, I would like to go a step further and say that Peter is using this double meaning in a way that is similar to Shakespeare. Now, and no offense Peter, he is not Shakespeare, but here you will see that the words "born again" when we look closer, can and do in fact mean different things to different people. It's not a matter of opinion, it is a fact that has been documented and debated by theologians for centuries. It is not a sound argument to disagree with hundreds of years of study of the Scriptures. These hundreds of years show us two things, that words do have "agreed upon definitions and connotations", and that those definitions and connotations change.
I think "born again" as a phrase will continue to change. After all, it was only possible in a spiritual sense according to some, or an immortality sense according to others, or a metaphorical sense to many Christians, or in this case a metaphorical and a practical sense.
But now - it could be an actual sense. Newcastle University was actually able to prove that they had cloned a human embryo this month, and they are ready to begin attempts at cloning stem cells. That may be controversial, but I want to stick to the theme here for a moment: it is quite possible that "born again" will take on new meaning and significance as a biological possibility.

Thanks all, chat more soon.

PeterS said...


My word usage reflects current meanings. When Mel raised the legitimate observation that human nature is equally capable of benevolence and selfishness, I wanted to affirm my agreement. My answer, though, led to the points that I make about the meaning of the term “born again” in John 3—the popular-level biblical source for ideas about the new birth. In this passage the new birth refers to resurrection not conversion. I wanted to clarify that. I also wanted to clarify that, despite popular ideas to the contrary, the New Testament does not teach that the new birth is characterized by the reception of a new, other than mundane or human, nature.

As Mel stated, language is fluid—responding to the communication needs and underpinnings of culture and society. “Born again” is likely to take on new meanings as it already is a term loaded with meaning that exceeds that granted in the New Testament.

My self-descriptive germ “goon” is not a reference to any sort of sub-culture. I am not gothic. The best way to define this term in this particular use is “goofy nerd.”

Ironically, this term (goon) exemplifies Mel’s point about language. Language is fluid. This is why translations from one language to another never fully capture the range of meanings initially communicated in the first-dialect language of meanings connoted through word and grammar use. Add to this mix the interaction the individual brings to a text based on her propriospect—one’s net sum of experiences and assumptions. Hence, the same word can mean different things to different individuals.

As exegetes, we are always safest to practice parsimony. Parsimony in this use connotes a frugal economy of assumptions. Hence, we make as few assumptions as possible, and, the assumptions made and tallied up weigh against the conclusions. This segues well into Dan’s “nomos.” “Nomos” can be loaded with any meaning one wants. I could argue that “nomos” means “cell phone.” Hence, ergou nomos (“works of law”) would means “cell phone works” which might relate to the idea of the activities and actions that one might customarily conduct on a cell phone. Yet, the assumptions that I make in this meaning surely exceed the quota—there are many more parsimonious assumptions.

There are no examples of Jewish writings in Greek that demonstrate a non-legal use of “nomos.” All uses of “nomos” in Greek Jewish writings relate to “Torah.” Paul was a Jew. It is safe to posit that his use of “nomos” relates singularly to the Torah. No assumptions needed. Boom. Bang, Thank you mam, this wins over the cell phone hypothesis.

The gnostics among you (those in the know) will understand these last points about “nomos.” The agnostics will struggle with this. I did not use these words in the normative (according to “nomos”) sense. 

Daniel said...


You said:

"There are no examples of Jewish writings in Greek that demonstrate a non-legal use of “nomos.”"

KJV Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

RSV Romans 7:25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I of myself serve
the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Please explain how the phrase, "law of sin" is a legal use of 'nomos';

Paul merely means that which is the 'norm of sin' using defintion 1, BDAG, 3rd edition. BDAG also lists "ethos" as a synonym of "nomos" -- meaning that "which is habitual or customary";

It would only be honest to use the primary definiton of 'nomos' where it fits in the context. It would only be honest to respect the scholars who put the premier Lexicon together by following their advice, "A special semantic problem for modern readers encountering the term nomos is the general tendency to confine the usage of the term 'law' to codified statutes. Such limitation has led to much fruitless debate in the history of NT interpretation" (pg. 677).

And then you should read Martin Ostwald, "Nomos and the Beginnings of the Athenian Democracy '69" who explains 'nomos' flexible and wide range of applications -- also reference at the beginning of the entry for 'nomos' in BDAG. I discovered Ostwald in the University of California Library long before He made it into the BDAG Lexicon (3rd edition).

Furthermore, your logic is faulty because Paul often uses 'nomos' as the norm in the vast majority of cases with a legal connection to Torah. He means the legal norm of Torah --- the norm for justice vs. the exception for justice the forgiveness of sin through repentance and sacrifice.
Therefore, to say that nomos cannot mean 'norm' because Paul always uses it with a legal connection is based on the assumption that nomos as 'norm' does not have a legal connection. Clearly it does, so your conclusion is wrong.

Comment: I only came here because Tandi directed me here. I did a search on 'nomos' and picked just the one faulty statement you made. I have not read any of the other comments or surrounding contexts. Nor need I. A false statement is a false statement with or without the padding around it. And that is what you made. A false statement.

PeterS said...

Hello Dan,

It is difficult to reply to your statements not because they are correct or compelling but because they represent such a deeply entrenched perspective. The respect proposed for the scholars who composed and the edited the premier lexicons is partial. Narrow acceptance of lexical entries is to peer-review what necrophilia is to marriage. Taken from another angle, the same scholarship revered in rigid lexical enshrinement would reject your expansion of “nomos” in the Pauline corpus in real-life dialogue.

Paul’s primary use of “nomos” is nearly identical to that of the LXX. As was the practice of 2nd Temple Greek-speaking Jews, Paul refers to the Torah by the Greek term “nomos.” I know what lexical authorities divulge about “nomos” in Paul. I know what they read. I have read Otswald and his treatment of “nomos” in select Hellenistic literature. None would posit that Paul meant other than “Torah” as his primary referent under the term “nomos.” “works of the law” means “works of torah” and is likely a synecdoche for Jewish identity rubrics.

Paul taught that the Torah was undone for the one who participates in the death and resurrection of Jesus. That is, by having died to the Torah, the legal requirements of the Torah became null for the believer.

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

For what it is worth, I did some online research on “nomos.” I don’t know what would convince you, though, since you seem determined not to be convinced.

There seems to be a wide acceptance of the use of the term “norm” for nomos. You even used the term yourself three times in your “Fear” posting:

Norms of right and wrong
Transgressing a norm
Transgressing accepted norms

Here are some other scholarly uses of the terminology Dan used.

In his landmark essay Nomos and Narrative Robert Cover argues that law should not be conceived as a system of rules and interpretations or a set of institutions. Rather, law is better conceived as a normative world, or nomos, in which legal rules and institutions interact with other cultural forces in the production of legal meaning. This paper utilizes Cover’s reconceptualization of the law in treating a genre of talmudic legal writing, the legal narrative.

Love and Law: The Dialogical Nature of Talmudic Legal Narrative


Nomos, traditionally translated either as ‘law’ or ‘convention’ or ‘custom’ according to what seems best to fit the context, is perhaps a rather more subtle term than these translations would suggest. Both the meaning and the history of the word have been much discussed, often without pointing to any very clear conclusions. But I believe that the matter can be stated simply. The term nomos and the whole range of terms that are cognate with it in Greek are always prescriptive and normative and never merely descriptive—they give some kind of direction or command affecting the behaviour and
activities of persons and things. The nearest modern term for nomos is ‘norm’ – the establishment or promulgation of nomoi is the setting up of norms of behaviour. So nomos as law is legally prescribed norm, and nomos as convention is norm prescribed by convention;....

excerpt from The Sophistic Movement by G. B. Kerferd
The Nomos-Physis Controversy, p. 120
Google Book Search

Anomie, a term coined by the French Sociologist Emile Durkheim (1951), means “no norms.” It is derived from the Greek word nomos, or norm. Anomic individuals and groups do not subscribe, generally speaking, to the norms, law, or rules of society at large...

Cultural Criticism: A Primer of Key Concepts by Arthur Asa Berger
Google Book Search


In sociology, a nomos is a socially constructed ordering of experience. The term derives from the Greek νόμος, and it refers, not only to explicit laws, but to all of the normal rules and forms which people take for granted in their day to day activities. In this sense it is closer to the use of the term in Plato than in the more specific sense of the word "law" as a codified set of external rules....

Peter L. Berger writes of human beings fashioning a world by their own activity (1967:5). Berger sees this taking place through a continual threefold cycle between individuals and society: externalisation, objectivation and internalization. The world thus fashioned has an order — a set of principles — which comes to be read onto society by individuals through externalisation and objectivation, and also internalised in each individual. This order thus comes to be assumed, spoken of, and placed into social discourse to be treated as common sense. This ordering of the world and experience, which is a corporate and social process as well as an individual one, is a nomos.

Berger writes of ‘The socially established nomos’ being understood ‘as a shield against terror. Put differently, the most important function of society is nomization.’ (1967:22). We all need that structuring nomos; it provides us with stability, predictability, a frame of reference in which to live. The alternative is the chaos and terror of what Berger calls anomy....

Berger, Peter L. The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociology of Religion. New York: Anchor Books; 1967.

Wikipedia entry for nomos (sociology) British edition.

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,

What you share has little to no bearing on Paul's use of nomos in the New Testament. Yes, the lexical meanings of nomos extend beyond the meaning of law as Torah, but this does not give one the liberty of decontextualizing "nomos" in Paul for the simple motive of suiting one's fancy.


PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,
You state, “I don’t know what would convince you, though, since you seem determined not to be convinced.” To this I would like to offer the following reflections.
Dan’s positions are hypotheses. They have yet to receive a fair review from scholarship in the Messianic community let alone from other more heterogeneously-directed scholars. Some of his workings with Paul’s Greek result in positions that might be defended. For example, Dan’s approach to “justification” is within the pale of Protestant readings of “justify” though amiss vis-à-vis the New Perspective (e.g., Nanos, Dunn). This is not to assert that Dan’s approach is correct, just defendable in some contexts.
However, “nomos” in Paul is an area that I simply cannot be convinced by the tossing out of lexical entries. In order for Dan to work with “nomos” in Paul, he has to load the term with theological import while changing the nuances and connotations of its meaning often mid-thought. Dan knows this….the mere fact that a word can have a meaning does not make that meaning dominant indiscriminant of context. Dan must show that the context demands a meaning. The only demand for such ambiguity in Paul’s “nomos” is Dan’s desire to harmonize Paul with his reading of Torah. Let Paul speak for himself—even if that means Paul negates practical Moses.

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

Why would Paul want to negate Moses? As you point out, Paul was a Jew. Why would he, as a self-proclaimed servant of Yeshua, having met Him on the Damascus Road, want to abolish Torah...when Yeshua Himself said He did not come to abolish Torah??

With your extensive and colorful vocabulary, Peter, maybe you can come up with a better solution. Write a paraphrase of the problem texts in Romans that agrees with Jewish thought and appreciation for the beauty and wisdom of Torah AND explains what Paul is trying to convey. Paul’s words are hard to understand, according to the Apostle Peter, and according to most of us. See what you can come up with in the form of synonyms, analogies, or paraphrase.

Join the discussion at torahtimes.blogspot.com where we are trying to work out the solution in the best language possible to convey the true Gospel.

Tandi said...

Excerpt from Dan’s blog discussion.....

....in Romans 10:4, "Messiah is the end of the norm for justice to everyone faithfully trusting"; You can paraphrase, "Messiah is the end of the normal application of justice for everyone faithfully trusting" and you have the same meaning.

The problem with most scholars is that they still view 'nomos' as referring to codified statues (see BDAG, lead def. and warning about this). This causes them to think that Messiah is ending some codified statute. Not at all. What is ended is the dynamic application of one codified statute to the situation (the norm) to be replaced by another codified statute (the exception) to the situation.

In other words, our judgment falls under the laws for sacrifice and atonement and not [the judgment] for the unrepentant and rebellious.

PeterS said...

Why would Paul want to negate Moses?
This statement begs the question in that it assumes that Paul would not want to negate Moses. Paul taught against obligatory observance of the Sabbath and Holy Days (Col 2:16, Romans 14). He taught that the precepts which engender distinction between Jew and Gentile are abolished (Eph 2:14,15). He taught that “works of the Torah” were detrimental to gentile spirituality (Galatians).

I realize that there are arguments from various sectors of the Messianic community which trivialize the import of these passages, but I am unconvinced. Paul’s message of justification related to the inclusion of gentiles into the sociological ethos of the righteous apart from proselyte conversion to Judaism (“works of the Torah”). The legal function of Messiah was to die accursed of the Torah—outside of the community of those under the “works of the Torah”—in order that he might redeem those who were outside of the ethos of the righteous, redeeming them outside of the “works of the Torah.” In other words, Paul’s Jesus died outside of the Torah to provide inclusion for those outside of the Torah. For Paul this meant redemptive inclusion was offered to those outside of the “works of the Torah”—the gentiles.

Yeshua may not have taught against the Torah. There are differing portraits of Yeshua in the Gospels. The non-washing Yeshua of Mark 7 appears to be influenced by the Pauline gospel of abrogated ceremonial statutes as he likewise teaches the nullification of the laws of clean and unclean. In contrast, the non-washing Yeshua of Matthew 15 appears to side with written Torah while merely taking issue with the “tradition of the elders.” In all likelihood, Yeshua did not teach against observance of written Torah. He may have emphasized disparate ethical priorities such as the merit of compassion over ceremonial punctiliousness. However, the Gospel writers give mixed messages related Yeshua’s allegiance to Torah. Don’t forget that Paul finished writing all of his works before the first canonical Gospel was written. As such, Paul’s writings quite likely influenced the teachings of Yeshua as recorded in the Gospels.

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

I just finished re-reading the Imputed Righteousness thread at TR.

I noted how much love and respect you garnered in October/November 2006...and the hearing Dan was getting upon your recommendation. You were sharing wisdom....and others recognized it. You were impressive. It brought tears to my eyes.

If only you had not become so over-stressed. If only....so many "if only’s"....

I liked your use of the phrase "ceremonial punctiliousness" in your latest comments.

We need you on our side!

Still praying for your return. There can be another paradigm shift upon teshuvah.


[Kol tuv]

May you comprehend the code of brackets (b'racha)

Andrew T. said...

Hello Tandi,

I'm afraid I mostly agree with Peter in this particular matter.

Although when one reconstructs the texts from only the earliest source manuscripts as the Paqid of the Netzarim has done, one finds that Paul was significantly less of a hellenist than modern Christianity would prefer for him to be, the underpinnings of Paul's writings were clearly of an antinomian persuasion.

Paul (or Sha'ul before his excision) certainly taught that conversion of gentiles to Judaism is untenable, that there was no incumbency on gentiles to observe any commandment dealing with the "works of the flesh" (right down to opposing the ancient Beit Din ha-Netzarim's enactment of a paleolithic ancestor of the Noakhide Laws), that Jewish and gentile identity would and should ultimately be intermingled, and that, at any rate, whatever the Torah has offered would be made inferior by the new religious movement he hoped to spearhead. All of this, of course, is very clearly against Torah. To say that he did not teach such premises requires a reading that is very biased against context and very, very strained.

Tandi said...

Hello Andrew,

How are you? I see that you are dealing with some "anti-missionaries" at your blog site. If they should succeed in their quest to disillusion you, there is another option besides becoming a Noachide or Orthodox Jew or whatever they want you to become. And it does not involve Antinomianism....just the opposite. Dan's research is crystallizing the criteria for discipleship and clarifying the true Gospel message Paul taught. Paul was a genius in his use of nuance and word play. No wonder it is difficult to understand him in our degenerated, dumbed-down society 2000 years later.

In the End of Days, true believers will be those who have the faith of Yeshua AND keep the commandments of God (Rev. 14:12). We will be a despised, mocked, persecuted remnant. If that appeals to you, join the conversation at


Tandi said...

Just curious. Does the Paqid accept the writings of James, John, Jude, and Peter? Is Paul excised from the Scriptures altogether? And just what is the Gospel according to your understanding? (short version).
How is Yeshua our Atonement and what does that mean in your view?

Andrew T. said...

Hello Tandi,

I don't think it is wise for me to answer your questions this time. Please go to the netzarim.co.il website, and most of your basic questions will be very well satisfied, then enter the Khavruta (which is open to everyone and requires no costs other than the actual books) if you are interested. I've mentioned the Netzarim so many times already that I sort of expected that you'd have already visited the website and learned something, if only out of wary curiosity. At least be acquainted with what you have rejected, Tandi.

Tandi said...

I experience a fluttering in my inner being that warns me away from the site whenever I’ve gone there to look around, Andrew. I have learned to heed that kind of warning in my spirit. Same thing happens regarding the Quran, Islam, Calvinism, Evolution, Emergent Church, etc. etc.. I could ignore that feeling and forge ahead....as Balaam did....as Nate did....as Peter maybe did.....but “curiosity killed the cat” and Adam and Eve.....so I choose the narrow path. The green pastures and still waters still satisfy. I have no desire to jump out of my safe meadow. There is still lots of good grazing here.

Andrew T. said...


"Inner fluttering"? Give me a break. It is a fool that mistakes the fickle, subjective stirrings to-and-fro in his or her own body for genuine revelation and proper ethical maxims.

I hope you'll get on board when your mind is less trifled by quirky silliness.

Kol Tuv

Tandi said...

Hello Andrew,

Quirky silliness? Good phrase, good post...I enjoyed it. I have missed your form of expressiveness.

Unless you have become robotized, zomby-ized, of macrocosmic materiality perhaps...you have probably experienced this phenomena yourself. It is the twinge of conscience. It is an enhanced feature of the regenerate....unless they squelch it. Otherwise known as discernment radar. Maybe there is a Hebrew term for it that I am unaware of.

It also manifests as a Scripture coming to mind.....as when a young man follows an adulterous woman up the stairs to her apartment, innocently assisting her with a heavy piece of furniture, when "as the ox goeth to slaughter" comes to mind (Pro. 7:22). The godly, naive young man who has been taught to avoid being alone with a woman, proceeds anyway....and sure enough, his car keys are taken from him and the door is barricaded. The seduction proceeds. The rest is a series of unfortunate events with repercussions echoing many years later.

Yes, Andrew, always remember to heed the "strings." And read Proverbs daily. The Spirit can be quenched, (1 Thess. 5:19). Oh, sorry....that's Paul that said that. Probably not in your Bible.

PeterS said...

Inward flutters are part of the “fear” that I denounce in my post entitled “Fear.” Humans evolved this trait to keep us from perceived threat thus increasing the chances of the individual to survive and reproduce. This trait is not unique to humans as most mammals display similar fear to new stimuli.

A cat has never encountered a living guinea pig before. She approaches the guinea only to run beneath the sofa when the guinea moves. She spends hours hiding from the guinea. Eventually, she garners enough resolve to leave her sofa seclusion to find food, but she circumnutates the guinea to avoid detection. Days go by, and she eventually learns to tolerate the presence of the guinea, but she still fears contact. Ironically, she could eat the guinea for breakfast.

So, inward flutters of fear are examples of evolutionary psychology common to mammals. I am not impressed….no Spirit, just silliness.