In the last part of our series about the Hebrew Roots Movement (HRM), we began a section looking at what HRM members believe.

We started with their beliefs about God (Yaweh), Jesus (Jeshua) and the Holy Spirit (Ruach). If you haven’t read that article yet, please click here.

We now move to what some Christian critics say about these specific HRM beliefs.

[*We do not necessarily endorse the critics listed below or their ministries or websites. Our purpose is to share some of the oppositional viewpoints to beliefs in the Hebrew Roots Movement. I will share my observations in the second section of this series.]

God (Yaweh)

“The Sacred Name Movement’s focus on the Hebrew words and names for God and Jesus is also unbiblical. The Bible uses Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic spellings, descriptions, and words for each. It is not erring to refer to God’s Son as Jesus (the English translation of a Hebrew name) or for Spanish people to refer to Him as Jesus. It would not be wrong for the Chinese, Russian, or Xhosa to speak of God’s Son by His translated name into their language either. Even within the Sacred Name Movement there is disagreement on which of the sacred names should be used—Yahowah, Yahweh, Yahshua, Yahvah, Yahwah, Yahowah, and others are all in contention.” Compelling Truth

“The Sacred Name Only movement, while raising the awareness of the proper name of our Creator, tends to purposefully interject a great deal of confusion into the Body of Messiah. A Sacred Name Only ideology is not at all concerned with how avid verbalization of the Divine Name YHWH in the public assembly can wreak unspeakable damage to Jewish evangelism, greatly offending Jewish non-Believers—and confuse many evangelical Protestants interested in Messianic things for that same matter. A Sacred Name Only ideology broadly promotes the idea that if you do not use the Divine Name YHWH in your regular speech, then our Creator will not be capable of hearing your prayers. Those who adhere to a Sacred Name Only ideology tend to be very contentious, and will not hesitate to bring confusion and derision into a Messianic congregation where Hebrew titles such as Adonai or HaShem are used. Yet, it is quite ironic that Sacred Name Only proponents tend to be internally divided among themselves, as they do not often agree on how the Divine Name YHWH/YHVH is to be pronounced. Standard forms proposed by scholars, such as Yahweh or Yahveh, now have to compete with other renderings, such as Yehovah or Yahuah.

While it is important for us to be aware of how our Creator has a proper name, appearing in the Hebrew Scriptures, a Sacred Name Only ideology is most probably going to bring great damage to your Messianic congregation or fellowship.” Messianic Apologetics

“A subtle, though sometimes outright denial of the Trinity. There are great ponderings among Law Keepers about how paganism has permeated Christianity throughout history. Some of it is true – some pagan customs have influenced Christian traditions. That topic will be addressed in a future post. In the realm of the existence/non-existence of the Trinity, however, Law Keepers take it a bit far.

Pagan sun worship apparently has its gods in sets of three, and Law Keepers extrapolate from there that the Catholic church applied that pagan concept of God to their doctrine and came up with the Trinity. From the Law Keeper’s view, over the centuries “church tradition” has perpetuated the concept of the Trinity. But thanks to the “new information” uncovered by those in the Hebrew Roots Movement, we can now be aware of our error. How this very serious error has escaped the Church (Body of Christ) for nearly 2000 years is truly amazing!

Actually, Scripture, not the Catholic church, clearly confirms the concept of a Triune God. For example, the doctrine of a Triune God – one God in Three Persons, is a clear concept in the Word. (Matthew 3:15-17 -Triune God present at the baptism of Jesus; Acts 2:32-33 – all 3 persons of God simultaneously present, then the Holy Spirit poured out on the believers at Pentecost; Genesis 1:26-27, Genesis 3:22 -not explicitly triune references, as in the NT, but clearly plural descriptions of the one true God, to give a few examples.)

And if you are willing to throw out the concept of the Trinity, Who loses their deity? God the Father? Jesus the Son? The Holy Spirit? Let’s think about that for a minute:

-If it is Christ who loses His Deity, then the work of the Cross cannot be, as the blood shed there had to be sinless, and if Jesus was not God, then He could not be without sin, and the cross counts for nothing. It would also mean that if Jesus was not without sin, He could not “do” the Law, making His claim to be God, His example to us, AND His commandments to us a big fat lie.

-If it is the Holy Spirit who loses His Deity, then the believer cannot obey the whole Law, as it is the Holy Spirit Who enables the believer to carry out the edicts of the Law (according to HRM doctrine).

-If it is God Who loses His Deity, then everything for everybody falls apart and nothing matters anyway!

This presents quite a dilemma for those adhering to any “Law for Christians” doctrine who also deny the Trinity. In a discussion with a Torah observant Christian, I asked if it had ever occurred to them that “if, in Babylonian sun worship, gods always come in sets of three, that it may mean that the sun worshippers were counterfeiting the three Persons of God and not that the Church was copying the pagans? That’s what the Enemy does – he takes that which IS and perverts it!” Lighting The Way Worldwide

“Some in the HRM are way over the edge in their denial of the Trinity and seem to know Jesus only in the flesh. As we will see, this movement is an idea, a view, an attitude, or a philosophy; a shared concept that Jewish traditions and Judaism are far superior for the church, a sure fire way to a deeper sanctification and with some, possibly even salvation.” The Berean Call

Jesus (Yeshua)

“The most concerning evolution that HRM has experienced, is a bolder and more brazen proclamation that Jesus Christ is not divine, and is not God. This position has been suspected of by HRM watchdogs and skeptics, but has traditionally been carefully avoided and answered in ambiguous ways, as not to indict the HRM respondent. However, lately it seems that it is no longer necessary to be vague when addressing this issue, and HRM purity can be preserved while denying the divinity of Christ.” IDBHD

“Using “Yeshua” rather than “Jesus” is not inherently wrong. Within traditional Christianity it would be viewed as wrong when it is a matter of pride or becomes an obligation, and not doing so is deemed sinful. It is true that the meaning of Hebrew names usually is not conveyed in English. A good example is Zachariah, which means “Yahweh remembered.” However, the need to explain the meaning of Hebrew names is not alleviated by transliterating into English letters (e.g., Zachariyah). In an English context, whether the Hebrew birth names appear in transliteration or in English form, the original meaning has to be explained. Thus, using the Hebrew form does not accomplish its stated purpose.

The attempt to connect the English word Jesus to Zeus seems to be dependent on the work of Traina, a pioneer in the Sacred Name Movement. Among the other conspiracies in his The Origin of Christianity, he says, “They had worshipped Zeus, or Jupiter, as the supreme deity, so now they were told the new name was Theos, or Dios, or God. There [sic] savior was Zeus, so now they were to accept Jesus (Iesous).” Thus, the suggestion that “the meaning of Jesus is Yah=Zeus.” However; Traina’s assertion offers: no historical evidence; and an examination of the Septuagint (c. 2nd Century BC), the earliest translation of the OT into Greek, demonstrates that Jesus is an acceptable translation. Since Yeshua is the shortened form of Joshua, one only needs to see what the translators used for Joshua. They used Ἰησοῦς (Iesous) to translate the Hebrew name Joshua into Greek 19 from which came the Latin and subsequently the English form “Jesus.” There is no indication the translators intended to connect Joshua to Zeus or to draw pagan Greeks to follow Joshua by using Ἰησοῦς (Iesous).” Watchman Fellowship

“Some in the HRM are way over the edge in their denial of the Trinity and seem to know Jesus only in the flesh. As we will see, this movement is an idea, a view, an attitude, or a philosophy; a shared concept that Jewish traditions and Judaism are far superior for the church, a sure fire way to a deeper sanctification and with some, possibly even salvation.” The Berean Call

“Some Law Keepers deny the deity of Jesus. Some are quite forthcoming with that belief. While others say they believe in the deity of Christ (Yahshua), when you read through their teachings, you find that their writings do not support that belief. There are still others in the Law keeping movement who do believe that Jesus is God, yet when you take their doctrine to its eventual end, they remove the power of God from the Messiah. In their belief system what Jesus did is not enough – it is not complete. They in effect remove the Godly characteristic of omnipotence from Messiah, since their belief system is a “Jesus + Law” equation.” Lighting The Way Worldwide

The Holy Spirit (Ruach)

“Denying the biblical doctrine of the trinity is a fatal flaw. As I wrote in yesterday’s article, to deny the Triune God is to create a false god who has no power to save. Yet this is exactly what cults like Yahweh’s Restoration Ministries do. Specifically these cults attack the deity of Christ making him out to be a created being. They also deny the personhood of the Holy Spirit.” The Sword and Trowel

Next Time

In the next part of our special series, The ‘Hebrew Roots’ Movement, we’ll look at what members of the HRM believe about restoring Christianity to its Hebrew (Jewish) roots, viewing the Torah as the primary document for living the life God intends for followers of Jesus (Yeshua), and helping believers express their faith in Yeshua as Messiah by returning to and keeping the Torah of Yeshua (becoming Torah-Observant).

© Faith and Self Defense, 2023