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Old 08-21-2001, 06:38 PM   #11
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I consider the Old Testament a very valuable part of the Bible.
Although most liberals probably wish large parts of the Old Testament didn't exist and there are admittedly many parts of it which are extremely challenging to a more moderate Christian like me, I think that the Old Testament gives us many things which are necessary to fully understand Christianity.
Personally, I try to make it a point to read at least one Old Testament book straight through for every couple I read in the New Testament.

It is clear that the Old Testament highlights many aspects of God's character which are not shown to the same degree in the New Testament. -Especially with regard to His righteousness, holiness and His hatred of sin. Without a sound understanding of these things, Jesus' death on the Cross and the doctrine of Atonement become virtually meaningless.

I think also that the New Testament cannot be fully understood apart from the Old. The writers of the New Testament were Jews or had been heavily influenced by the Jewish faith. Thus their knowledge of God other than that revealed by Jesus and the Spirit was the words of their Scriptures which consisted of the Old Testament (and the Apocrypha). I think that if we want to fully understand the viewpoints of the writers in the New Testament, we must first understand their beliefs - as recorded in the Old Testament. In short, the New Testament writers clearly did not consider that they were creating a new belief entirely divorced from their Judaistic heritage. Rather they clearly considered their Christian beliefs to be extensions upon a Jewish Scriptural base: and so must we.

This is not to say that we must accept and fully believe every word written in the old testament (I am neither an inerrantist nor ultra-conservative) nor is it to say that the Old Testament is one absolutely equal footing with the New as the commandments of the Old are often superseeded in the New (eg "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But now I tell you..." Matthew 5:27 and also things like Circumcision and the Law etc). The New Testament gives us further revelation which builds on the Old Testament: It gives us a new understanding of God's means of dealing with sin, in doing so it reveals the greatness of both God's Love and His Grace ("God is love" 1 John 4:8,16), it gives new commandments ("A new commandment I give unto you..." John 13:34), and new blessings (the Holy Spirit).
But it is the New Testament, and "new" requires an "old". It was not in a vacuum in which John declared that God was love, John is presupposing the entire Old Testament in addition to the revealation given by the Incarnation.

I am well aware that many of the more liberal Christians would like to throw out the Old Testament as presenting a primative, barbaric, misguided and unformed view of God and His workings. And while I am willing to agree with them on these points to some extent (a comparatively small one), I also utterly reject any attempt to divorce the "enlightened Christian" New Testament from its foundation of the "primative misguided Jewish" Old Testament. For me the Old Testament is an integral foundation of Christianity and of my personal faith.


[ August 22, 2001: Message edited by: Tercel ]
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Old 08-21-2001, 08:59 PM   #12
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Are you kidding?!? The OT is very useful to Christian Theology! Why, in the Pentateuch alone there are at least 5 verses which they use all the time:

Leviticus 18:22
Exodus 20:13
Exodus 20:14
Leviticus 19:28
Deuteronomy 18:10,11

Also, one musn't forget the story of Sodom and Gommorah as a terrific proof text against homosexuality. Nevermind that Ezekiel 16:49 says that Sodom's real sin was inhospitality toward foreigners; we can still call homosexuality "sodomy".


P.S. - Did anyone see the episode of "The West Wing" a few weeks ago in which the president beat up on Dr. Laura? That was great!
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Old 08-22-2001, 08:55 AM   #13
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My thanks to the new posters. The additional insight is appreciated.

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