The Hebrew Roots movement has blessed me beyond measure. Yes, Abraham is the father of all the faithful, and he’s a Hebrew, not a Greek; yes, my spirit cries, yes.
But what about the stream of thinking that says that Hebrew is an especially powerful language with God?
That’s not a stream of living water. If you’re paddling around in there, please prayerfully consider a few points:
1. God confused the languages. Some say that certain sound combinations are evil because they come to us through words that meant other things in other times. But that very plasticity of language comes from God himself. He confused language (Gen. 11:9), and he will purify language (Zeph. 3:9). Let’s not speak evil of what God has done (given languages the ability to change) or take from God what he will do (give us pure speech to call upon him).
2. Modern Hebrew is a scholarly construct, like ancient Hebrew and any other kind of Hebrew. If you’re speaking Hebrew either from a Hebrew text or a transliterated text, you are making sounds that were agreed upon by mortal men fairly recently–within the last century. If your salvation depends upon combining the right consonants and vowels, you are at the mercy of a bunch of scholars, which is to say you are no longer at the mercy of Christ.
3. Jesus Christ spoke Aramaic. If Hebrew were the only true language of full blessing, meaning, and power, the son of God would have made it a teaching point. In fact, if we follow him, we’ll speak the vernacular. I’m not saying he didn’t speak Hebrew, read Hebrew, and understand Hebrew, but he cries out to God in Aramaic in Matthew 27:46, and in that moment, he happened to be praying, so his prayer language was, at least in that instance, the vernacular.
4. God is not a respecter of persons. Do you know Hebrew? Great. You are no better or worse than the one who doesn’t. Guess what? It’s not about you: it’s about Him.
Dear reader, if you have been diminished by well meaning but misguided Hebrew Roots folks for speaking English, French, German, Japanese, or any other language, for using those languages to pray and speak of the Living God, then please be encouraged: you are beloved of the Father right where you are, right in your own language.