Daniel Lancaster on Galatians

Say you want a book to share with a Christian to explain your love for Torah and Jewish Roots. Or say you want a book to explain your passion to see Jewish faith in Yeshua. Or say you want a book that explains how Jews and Gentiles have a different relationship to Torah.

You don’t want the book to be too academic or too simplistic. You wan’t the book to be inspiring as well as informative. You want it to be a fairly easy read with enough depth to really make people think.

You want Daniel Lancaster’s new volume, The Holy Epistle to the Galatians. You can get it here.

If you really want to help someone understand quickly the ways Christianity messed up the Jewish question and mislabeled the Torah as obsolete, get right to chapter 19, where you’ll find helpful comments like this one:

We can call this “One New Man Theology.” The one who espouses One New Man Theology actually implies that there are no Jews in Messiah whatsoever. Jewishness is erased by Christ. The Messiah obliterates the identity of the distinctive people of Israel, the heirs of the forefathers, the people of the covenant.

For most of the last two thousand years, this is what happened to every Jewish person who became a believer. . . . This is ironic because Christianity always bemoans the fact that the Jewish people are so hard to reach with the gospel. Christians wonder why there are so few Jewish believers. . . . Hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, and hundreds of thousands of Jewish people have come to faith in Messiah and become Christians over the last century and half, but they are almost all gone — vanished.

Wow. He goes on to explain that “neither Jew nor Gentile” doesn’t mean no Jews and that “one new man” doesn’t mean everyone becomes a Christian (with Jews giving up Jewish identity).

He then addresses the other side of One New Man which is One Law. It says that the One New Man is Gentiles becoming Jews (in essence). Being grafted in, all believers in Jesus start living like Jews.

Lancaster shows clearly and patiently this isn’t what Paul is advising at all, in Galatians or in his other letters:

Sociologically speaking, One Law is the end of Jewish identity for Jewish believers. In its place comes a new pseudo-Jewish/Gentile identity in which differentiation between the two vanishes.

Lancaster shows that Christianity has sin on its hands, historically speaking, for distorting the gospel in a way to keep Jewish people from faith in Jesus. This point is one recognized by many Christian and Jewish theologians and Lancaster is not out on a limb by himself calling for an end to supersessionism (replacement theology).

I just got an advance copy of The Holy Epistle to the Galatians yesterday and have read only chapter 19 and a little in a few other chapters. There are many topics and explanations of immense value in the book.

In my opinion, the book isn’t perfect. Lancaster thinks the influencers (often called Judaizers) referred to in Galatians were believers in Jesus. I don’t think so and have represented the view (as per Mark Nanos, Irony of Galatians) that they were synagogue proselytizers in my book Paul Didn’t Eat Pork (get it here on amazon).

But a minor disagreement here or there won’t keep me from using Lancaster’s book, recommending it to people in my congregation and those who inquire through the blog and my various websites. It is a rare thing: a popular level explanation of Galatians that gets it right. And it is the right book for people who don’t have time or the inclination to read academic books which spend much time on comparing the views of all other scholars and considering all possible interpretations.

The Holy Epistle to the Galatians is an inspiring read that will motivate readers to see and live the bigger picture of God’s way, to be led by the Spirit, to long for the faith of Israel to be in Messiah, to better understand the good news for the nations, and to understand the grace of God as revealed in Yeshua.

This entry was posted in FFOZ, Gentiles, One Law, Replacement Theology, Supersessionism. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Daniel Lancaster on Galatians

  1. Boaz Michael says:

    Good morning, Derek,

    Thank you for your early review of this important book. I think that this is the most defining and important book that FFOZ has had the honor to publish.

    Daniel does acknowledge M. Nanos’s view of the “influencers” in the book—certainly Nanos’s view cannot be easily dismissed. However, I do think that Daniel makes a very strong case that the influencers were believing proselytes (that aligned with the circumcision party). I think that the proselyte’s (the formal convert’s) identity was most threatened by Paul’s message of the believing God-Fearer’s placement within their community. I look forward to discussing and learning from you as you work through this book.

    Grace and peace, Boaz

  2. James says:

    Darn. You beat me to it Derek, mainly because I like reading the entire book before writing the review (except where I do several “mini-reviews” as I’m reading along). ;-)

    I got the book yesterday and read the first two chapters before I went to bed last night. I’ll work through it in the next several days and post a review as well.

  3. K.Sanford says:

    So my reservations are in the following comment:

    “He then addresses the other side of One New Man which is One Law. It says that the One New Man is Gentiles becoming Jews (in essence). Being grafted in, all believers in Jesus start living like Jews. ”

    I guess I should just buy the book and read for myself if it comes highly recommended. However, my opinion is when Gentiles begin to live out a Torah lifestyle they will look Jewish to some degree because it’s really God-ish. They don’t have to embrace all the extra-Biblical tradition with it. I don’t want to jump into the One Law vs Divine Invitation fray. I just don’t like getting angry when I waste my time and money on books that boil down to telling Gentiles they don’t have to do anything because the Torah isn’t incumbant on them. I very much rely on reviews like this and really appreciate it. I totally enjoy D. Thomas Lancaster in other books and such, but I do appreciate a head’s up.

    • Derek Leman says:

      K.Sanford, I appreciate you not wanting to get into a lengthy discussion of Torah and non-Jews. Daniel does not turn the book into a lengthy refutation of One Law. I’ve looked through the outline and chapters of the book and the topics discussed always flow out of the text of Galatians. So, in commenting on “neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female,” Daniel appropriately suggested a balance between the Torah-is-obsolete view and the Gentiles-become-de-facto-Jews view. He then, in discussing texts from the last half of Galatians, explains what “led by the Spirit” means and “Torah of Messiah” and keeping Torah as non-Jews. In other words, the book is not a treatise on controversial subjects but a running interpretation and application of the text of Galatians for Messianic Jews and Christians.

      Derek Leman

  4. Boaz Michael says:

    K.Sanford. Thank you for your kind note and concerns. I understand your reservations. I think you will be very encouraged with the book–I also think it will help you get some background on the whole One Law / Divine Invitation debate (while the book itself really does not deal with that too much). I sincerely pray you will feel affirmed as a Gentile embracing your place within the people of Israel–at least I know that is part of our intent with this book and I hope we communicate it well.

  5. James says:

    OK, I wrote a “mini-review” of Chapter 8 (sermon 8) of Lancaster’s book last night. Full review still forthcoming.

  6. K.Sanford says:

    Thank you so much for the input. I am awaiting my copy at present. My husband and I are Christians who love Torah. We decided to stay in our church because we didn’t want to swap one set of man-made traditions for another. We are trying to reach as many of our Christian friends as possible with the Torah truth. It’s a very (v-e-r-y) slow process and we don’t receive very much validation, so I hope this book has the ‘it’ factor. Again, Thanks!

  7. James C. Marshall says:

    K. Sanford has it exactly right…one set of man-made traditions for another. As long as true believers continue to identify and divide themselves with words like Pentecostal, Baptist, Messianic or Non-denominational we “walk as men.” I Cor. 3:3 The One and only central theme of the Scriptures from Genesis [B'Resheet] to Revelation is The Son, Yeshua, Jesus, the Christ….not Torah. But I will not argue this Truth with anyone.
    My wife and I enjoy a reasonably healthy diet of Messianic [TV] programming, $upport Jewish/Christian/Messianic ministries in the U.S. and Israel and have read and played/sang in the Messianic congregation of some long-time friends of ours who as Jewish believers returned to their own “Roots” in the Messianic movement some 10 years ago. When my friend mentioned the Lancaster book and the FFOZ web-site in an e-mail a week or so ago…the first thing I did that night was read Galatians. I also read some of the book reviews as well as visit the FFOZ site. I will not be purchasing or reading Lancaster’s book but I AM sure I will be discussing with my friend the next time we are with them…maybe for Shabaat or Havdalah!! I end with a Pauline quote:
    “So welcome each other, just as the Messiah has welcomed you into God’s glory. For I say unto you that the Messiah became a servant of the Jewish people in order to show God’s truthfulness by making good his promise to the Patriarchs, and in order to show his mercy by causing the Gentiles to glorify God…. Rom. 15:7-10

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