Why the Church Must Not Unhitch From the Old Testament
"[First century] Church leaders unhitched the church from the worldview, value system, and regulations of the Jewish scriptures...Peter, James, Paul elected to unhitch the Christian faith from their Jewish scriptures, and my friends, we must as well."
This is a quote from Andy Stanley's third message in his Aftermath series.
But is it true?
Do we need our faith unhitched from the Old Testament?
After the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, He met two of the disciples that were traveling from Jerusalem to the community of Emmaus.
The two men were talking among themselves about the events of the last three days, when Jesus joined them on the road.
He inquired about their conversation and asked what events they were discussing.
They tried explaining, at the same time marveling that He seemed to be unaware of these things that had so greatly impacted the city.
Jesus responded to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:25-26 NKJV).
He continued to instruct them, “Beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27 NKJV).
This was a familiar way Jesus taught.
In the Sermon on the Mount, He affirmed His total reliance upon the Holy Scriptures. They were the Old Testament at that time.
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-19 NKJV).
He refers six times in Matthew 5 to the Holy Scriptures (5:21, 5:27, 5:31, 5:33, 5:38, 5:43).
The huge crowds that followed Him were astonished at His teaching because He taught with an authority unlike anything they had heard.
It was not just with the religious people He used the Holy Scripture.
Speaking to the crowd about the faith of the Centurion He referred to Genesis chapter 12 and Isaiah chapter 2. When the disciples asked about the last days Jesus referred to Daniel chapter 9.
He freely used the Word of God, as well as parables, and daily life experiences when teaching a Pharisee, speaking to His close disciples, addressing the crowds of sinners, or a Roman officer.
The Apostles used the same technique in their teaching and writing.
The Apostle Peter quoted from Joel 2 when addressing the thousands of people gathered on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2.
Stephen quoted from the life of Abraham and to Joseph in the Book of Genesis when addressing the High Priest and the Sanhedrin. He also referred to Moses and the Book of Exodus.
The Apostle Peter taught about the life of Jesus making reference to the Old Testament prophets when he preached to the Gentiles at the home of the Roman soldier Cornelius.
The Apostle Paul spoke with the leading philosophers in Athens quoting from their classical writers and making reference to Genesis, Deuteronomy, Psalms and Isaiah.
The Apostolic leaders had no reservation in making reference to the Holy Scriptures or even declaring “God said.” Yet in the 21st century church there has come a reticence to quote the Scripture in preaching and teaching or to boldly declare, “The Lord has said…”Why Christians Should Not Unhitch From the Old Testament
Andy Stanley, in his sermon series “Aftermath”, has expressed that he urges his congregation and pastors who follow him to not point to Holy Scriptures as the foundation for their faith.
“About ten years ago I saw something we should start resisting. It has everything to do with how we talk about the Bible; more specifically what we point to as the foundation of our faith, which for most Christians, unfortunately, is the Bible.”Read my article: An Open Letter to Andy Stanley
Yet, he has no concern about sharing a plethora of quotes from atheists like Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins to validate a point.
This has become a pattern in this generation. Quotes from movies, web sites, psychologists, counselors, and other authors are common place.
Quotes and references to the Holy Scriptures are few and weak at best.
Reasons given for this new trend are related to the post-modern and post-Christian culture that is rapidly becoming anti-Christian.
I ask you to take a careful look at Corinth, Ephesus, Athens, and the other cities where the Apostolic church took the Gospel and to whom they wrote their epistles. They were pagan and anti-Christian.
The church is drinking the enemy’s Kool-aid. They believe his lie.
God has not changed His mind. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).
God has still chosen by the “foolishness of preaching” His Word men and women will hear and will be saved and delivered.
Yes, it will seem like foolishness to the humanistic, rationalistic, pragmatic mind. It will be offensive to the post-modern who denies absolute right and wrong.
The weak-willed embracing tolerance and diversity will struggle with the exclusivity of God’s Holy Word.
It seems we have forgotten that it is still absolutely true, “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in Heaven” (Psalm 119:89).
This steady call for divesting our faith from the Old Testament, because it is no longer relevant and applicable, is rooted in a severe distortion.
The pastors and evangelists who declare physical healing and prosperous living is for the believer today and point to Old Testament Scriptures are criticized.
The criticism rests upon the belief that the Old Testament blessings and promises were only for the Patriarchs and children of Israel living at that time.
When God declared, “I am Jehovah Rapa” in Exodus 15:26 and prophesied by Isaiah “He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquity; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
Then the Apostle Peter quoted from this same passage in his first epistle writing “by whose stripes you were healed” (1Peter 2:24) making it a completed work.
God is immutable.
He does not change.
The Apostle Paul declared that Jesus Christ was made a curse for us when He hung upon the cross. He removed the curse that came upon our life through sin. The removal of the curse brought the blessings of Abraham upon the Gentiles (Galatians 3:13-14).
That makes the promises and the blessings of the Old Testament applicable in our life.
Have they forgotten the very words of our Lord Jesus Christ? “For assuredly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-19 NKJV) [Author’s emphasis]
I know the contemporary preacher/teacher will declare, but the Old Testament was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
The full truth; the full truth is not all has been fulfilled. Hundreds of prophecies have not yet been fulfilled, like the promise of Jesus second coming; the coming of the “little horn” or the “Assyrian”; the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, and more.
No dear ones, Jesus assured us the Old Testament is relevant and applicable to the church age, right now.
The Apostle Paul affirmed this in his first epistle to the believers in Corinth. He shared from the life of Moses and experiences of the children of Israel in the wilderness. Then he wrote, “Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted” (1 Corinthians 10:1-11 NKJV).
The 21st century preacher and teacher will say, “What wait a minute, Paul, that is Old Testament. Did not you and the apostolic leaders tell the church to “unhinge” from the Old Testament because it was not applicable to the church age?”
The answer is: No they did not. That is revisionism.
That sort of thinking arises from the heart and mind that has forgotten or ignored that God clearly told Moses, “I am the God of your father – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.”
He is a living God; the same God who commanded Moses to write the first five books of the Old Testament; the same God who spoke to Isaiah, Jeremiah, and inspired David and the others to write the Psalms.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV).
God is still alive and He is still speaking through His Word, Old and New Testament.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12)
May be the reason the preachers and teachers are so reluctant to point to the Holy Bible as the reference point of their faith in this hedonistic, transgender culture is because they do not possess what the Apostolic preachers possessed.
“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God… And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1Corinthians 2:1, 4-5 NKJV).
When there is this kind of preaching and teaching, even the humanistic, rationalistic, post-modern, post-Christian heart and mind will be persuaded to become a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Let’s have a little less quoting of human authors and more direct reference and quoting of the author of the words of life!!
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