A great number of things come to mind when someone mentions the word family. Those with a difficult family background may remember elements of despair, brokenness, and neglect. Others who experienced a less difficult upbringing likely cherish thoughts of togetherness, bonding, and the beauty of relationship. The symbolism of family is used quite often in Scripture. God is our heavenly Father. The people of God are called members of His family. What is this family? Do we really grasp what that is all about, in particular the statements made in Scripture about being grafted in to a family? What is that all about and what are the ramifications for our understanding of Scripture?
Don Finto, in his excellent book titled, Your People Shall Be My People, explores this family dynamic. For too long, the church has misunderstood, neglected, and on numerous occasions outright rejected her family roots. In many regards, there has been an attempt over the centuries, to ungraft ourselves if you will from the root which God grafted us into. We see ourselves as a separate entity, a distinct family unit seemingly unrelated. The reality of our family tree has been pushed to the side.
While it can be argued that certain theological systems have not helped matters, laying blame solely at the feet of a theological train of thought is too easy. As Finto saliently points out in this book, the family separation of Jew and Gentile took place long before those aforementioned theological systems came into vogue amongst scholars and pastors. The family split happened in the early centuries of the church during a time when a connection to anything marked as Jewish was severed.
Finto aptly notes that in the book of Acts, we find the early believers (Jewish believers might I add) coming together with one mind and purpose. Contrast that to today with the plethora of denominations and disparate manner by which Scripture is approached, taught, and applied. Why the various divisions? Finto suggests it is in part to our lack of understanding of our heritage and family tree; an alarming lack of grasping what it means to be grafted in to a particular family unit. I have to agree with his assessment.
Many in the church wonder why the Jewish people have such a hard time seeing Jesus as the promised Messiah. Have we pondered that perhaps our own actions against the very people that are our spiritual ancestors is part of the issue? Finto walks the reader through some of these dark and horrific periods of church and secular history, times when the church engaged in or turned a blind eye to the persecution of the Jewish people. Instead of understanding our family roots, we picked up the axe and attempted t chop our way from the roots of our faith. A sad commentary but a necessary one to provide to the reader.
So what do we do? Is it too late to make amends both personally and spiritually? Absolutely not and in fact, there is no time like the present to embark on gaining a solid understanding of what it means to get back to the roots of the faith. Finto correctly states that when it comes to being an adopted child of God, we need to recognize passages such as Galatians 3:29 where Paul declares, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” What promise or promises? Those made by God to the seed of Abraham. We are members of the household of faith and thus we should not reject the household to which we belong nor the promises made to that people.
If I had one suggestion for this book it would be for the author to be not so quick to relegate things such as the Feasts of the Lord and the Sabbath as unimportant to those who have been grafted in. If we are part of this household of faith, I firmly believe these are provided by God as His appointed times throughout the year and each week for His people to participate in as members of the household of faith which yes does include us as adopted children of God. After all, they point us straight to the Messiah while providing a means to grab hold of the roots of the faith, roots that have long been neglected.
This is a timely and excellent book, full of reminders of who we are as the people of God. I highly recommend this book. Having read the first edition, I was also pleased with this new updated and expanded edition. Finto outlines a number of key issues we need to address, walks the reader through some troubling periods of our history, reminds us of our family roots, all in an effort to bring this family unit together for the glory of God.
This book is available for purchase from Chosen Books by clicking here.
I received this book for free from Chosen Books and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”