Friday, December 03, 2004
James Jordan (see the comments to this post) and others have said this before, but it bears repeating and Leithart puts it well.
For many Protestants, first-century Judaizers are seen mainly as advocates of works-righteousness, late medieval Catholics before their time. Though ideas of meritorious righteousness were circulating in first-century Judaism (see Phil. 3:1-11), the basic thrust of Judaizers lay elsewhere. A Judaizer might be a perfectly sound Lutheran, might believe that Jesus was the eternal Son incarnate, and might believe that salvation was through the cross. What the Judaizer would not admit was that the cross and resurrection marked the beginning of a new world, a world radically different from that died on Golgotha (see Gal. 1:3-4; 5:11-16). Yes, the Judaizer would say, Jesus was the Messiah, crucified for the sins of the world; but still, we must keep Torah, avoid contamination from Gentiles, be careful about who is sitting next to us at meals, and practice circumcision. Judaizers denied the present reality of the new creation. Judaizing denied that the gospel is an eschatological message, that it is a message about an ending and a beginning.