In the past year I have been questioned about the subject of Noahide conversion. My personal stance on the subject has been that there is no conversion necessary, because when one is born into this world the Laws of the Creator were already in place, thus they, the Laws of G-d are our birthright, a heritage that is already in place for us receive.
That stance is not altogether incorrect but it is incomplete.
As I learn and grow in my knowledge and understanding, I am one who tries to show that I am willing to change when it is time to. I do not change for the sake of change but when it is time to grow, I am willing take steps in that direction, thus the need for this blog.
I was inspired to take a closer examination of my way of thinking after watching a teaching video by Rod Bryant of Netiv on the subject of the covenant of the righteous (of the nations). I will post a link to the video at the bottom of this blog.
So, I researched what the word ‘convert’ really means; I think we tend to have skewed, negative mind-set when we here the word convert or conversion. In a religious sense, it seems that when one person converts from one religion to another the former associates in the old religion becomes offended or even threatened by the leaving party; thus creating the negative tone attached to the terms convert or conversion.
First I am going to look at the definition of the word convert and give a list of synonyms from the Webster’s Universal English Thesaurus. And then I want to look at a statement that Rod Bryant made in his teaching to tie it all together.
From Dictionary.com we learn that the word convert is from 1250-1300; middle English ‘converten’, Latin, ‘convertere’ – to change completely, to turn around.
Some synonyms for the word convert are: adapt, apply, appropriate, change, metamorphose, modify, reform, regenerate, remodel, revise, transform, transpose, and turn.
This leads me to the title of this blog.
Bnei Noach Baal Teshuva
For those not familiar with these terms let me explain: Bnei Noach is Hebrew for ‘children of Noah’ all humans this side of the great Flood are decedents from the sons of Noah. In modern times the term Bnei Noach or Noahide is used by some Torah scholars and teachers of Israel, to refer to those of the gentile nations who have taken on the 7 Laws of Noah; the 7 commandments that began with Adam and was completed with Noah.
Baal Teshuva, is a term in the Jewish world for some one who was born Jewish but was not raised in their heritage or religion. He/she is known as a returning Jew. Hence the word teshuva, which means to return, turn around, or as we have learned, convert/turn.
So when we apply the same terms to those born into the gentile nations, a Bnei Noach Baal Teshuva is one who was born into this world but was not taught or raised in the ways of the Creator but raised in the secular ways or religions of this world.
“Every person of the nations has to convert, we are not talking about conversion to Judaism, we are talking about conversion to the way of G-d – its about converting your heart to the way of G-d.” Rod Bryant of Netiv.net
we are talking about conversion to the way of G-d
A Bnei Noach baal teshuva is one who turns their heart and life toward the Creator of the universe and His Torah i.e. instructions and says, “That which you have commanded of me, I will do” and then sets out to learn the commandments of the Creator that He has put in place for the gentile nations to do and to do their best to live a life of obedience to the commandments/ways of the Creator.
We then can conclude, that yes, there is a form of conversion for one to become a Noahide, a righteous one among the nations.
Here is the link to Rod’s teaching.
Terry W. Hayes
2 thoughts on “Bnei Noach Baal Teshuva”
I appreciate the spirit of this article. But I think within the context of Torah Law conversion refers only to accepting the 613 Jewish Commandments. I oppose doing so. Following 613 commandments is unbelievably hard. And one cannot undo an Orthodox conversion. Once a person is Jewish in body and soul by being converted, he or she is a permanent member of the eternal Sinai covenant. If you see that 613 commandments are too hard, you have no way of going back.
I completely agree with your comment wholeheartedly, but this post has nothing to do with a religious ritual conversion as we commonly know, not even the Torah conversion a ger goes through.
If you haven’t checked out Rod’s teaching on his Netiv site, I really recommend it. I quoted him in this blog “we are not talking about conversion to Judaism.” It was the inspiration for this blog.
The conversion that I am now seeing that we Noahides go through, is more in line with the a personal change, a transformation brought on by attaching oneself to the Creator through the Sheva Mitzvos.
From a personal example, I was in the Orthodox conversion process for 7 years but when I finally took the time to actually stop, investigate and study the 7 the laws, my heart and life was changed i.e. my heart was converted to the ways of God that He has provided for me as non-Jew. Taking on the observance of what is required for us changed/converted me. I am not the same person I was a year ago. One of the basic secular definitions of the word convert in the dictionary is ‘change’ to transform. This is what the article is about.
In fact when a non-Jew takes on the 7 laws and attaches themselves to the Creator through them, they do go through somewhat of a personal conversion, they change their heart and life to consciously obey the Creator.