James Jacob Prasch

Regarding Scott Johnson

The Extreme Axis of the Messianic and Hebrew Roots Movements

By Jacob Prasch

First of all, I and Moriel and others such as Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum have warned multiple times about the extreme axis of the Messianic and Hebrew Roots Movements, which in fact is not a movement but a series of strains "” some biblical, some unbiblical. For instance, I and Moriel were among the very first to warn against Peter Michas as being utterly heretical. But not all are, by any measure, alike. Anyone like Scott Johnson stereotyping them all into the same category tells me automatically that he himself does not understand what he is criticizing. It would be like calling all Southern Baptists racial segregationists (which is simply untrue).

Secondly, Romans 11 uses the term "reza" -- "root" (singular), not "roots" (plural). Christians should understand the Sitz im Leben of the text. One cannot understand the Gospels or Old Testament in depth beyond a certain point if one does not grasp the cultural milieu. One cannot understand why the New Testament handles the Old Testament as it does (especially not with Western Hellenistic grammatical-historical exegesis alone), unless one understands it as 1st Century Jewish literature. (The New Testament quotes the Old the same way as The Dead Sea Scrolls do.) We need no rabbinic commentary anymore than we need papal encyclicals, patristic literature, or the writing of the Reformers to understand Scripture doctrinally.

But as with Josephus, certain apocryphal writings, Qumran documentation, etc. there are extra-biblical sources of scholarly value in grasping the literary and historical character of the text that is constructive for exegesis. We read Greek classics not to learn Greek philosophy but to more accurately comprehend the precise meaning of Greek terminology, syntax, and vocabulary in the New Testament manuscripts. The same is true for Hebraic literature. This is called scholarship, or academic theology ‚  "” a sphere of biblical study where Scott Johnson misrepresents himself as having an expertise, but in fact really knows nothing, and his rambling proves it. Scott Johnson and Peter Michas are in many respects two of a kind. They are both veneers capable of sucking in only the untaught, undiscerning, the naive and the gullible.

For sure, Caballah is occult and Talmud is mostly rubbish with elements of truth in it (much the same as Calvin's Institutes or a Roman Catholic Catechism). But to dismiss all messianic scholarship that approaches the biblical texts within the theological context they were written, which is Hebraic, reflects the very brand of ignorance and arrogance towards the natural branches that Romans 11 warns against. From an acdemic perspective moreover it dismisses Scott Johnson as a pseudo-scholar.

Additionally, Replacement Theology is unbiblical and a false doctrine. If you have an olive tree independent of its root, your tree is dead.

It is absolutely true that Sabbatarian legalism and bondage to Mosaic law are unscriptural and that rabbinic Judaism is a corruption of the Old Testament. But Scott Johnson is as steeped in error on one extreme as the proponents of these errors are on the other. Visiting his material on the Internet, he is essentially a chartlatan and a conspiracy threorist. He seems to have an affinity for that ridiculous scaremongering Y2K proponent R. C. Sproul. He also makes fanciful predictions of national I.D. cards that were seemingly compulsory in May 2008 but did not materialize. If he was wrong then, why should anyone take him seriouslly now? He is plainly a man who plays the sad clown. Like so many he was burned by hyper-Pentecostalism and it seems to be that basis which drives him, and not the Holy Spirit.

Mr. Scott Johnson does not seem to be aware of the distinction between Midrash as a rabbinic body of literatue (such as the Midrash Rabba and Midrash Bereshith), and Midrash as a hermeneutic plainly used by St. Paul and Jesus, twice mentioned in the original Hebrew text of Chronicles and Kings. (It says "midrash" but the KJV mistranslates the Masoretic as "treatise"). But Scott Johnson does not, of course, know that. Like most of those he opposes, Scott Johnson generally does not provide any level of comfort that he knows what he is talking about.

His citation of Colossians against Hebrew Roots is another case in point displaying his prima face ignorance and inability to handle exegesis of a text in an inductive context. Is his doctorate real? I doubt he knows Greek or Hebrew well and there are even mistakes in his English grammar. That doesn't bother me but it raises questions about the authenticity of his doctorate as originating from an accredited institution. Like hyper-Pentecostals, ultra-Calvinists like James White and others, there seems to be no end to those who are good at producing phony doctorates.