5 Mar 2008

Marcionism & Churches of Christ: What Value, REALLY, is the "Old Testament?" #5: The Loss of the Hebrew Bible

Author: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: Exegesis, Hebrew Bible, Hermeneutics, Preaching, Restoration History

In previous essays under the working title “Marcionism & Churches of Christ” we have asked basically why are we here. Now I want to explore what happens when we actually “loose” the Hebrew Bible as a shaping/grounding source for “sound doctrine” (a phrase btw that cannot be reduced to the “marks of the church” as is so frequently done).

A word on the word “loss.” By “loss” I do not mean to say a preacher never does a character study of a person which is one of the more frequent uses of the Hebrew Bible or quotes from it from time to time.

By “loss” I mean the doctrine/theology of the Hebrew Bible that formed and shaped Israel, Jesus and the early church are no longer the primary “glasses” that we view all doctrine and life through.  Are we shaped by the worldview that the “bible of Jesus” creates with its distinctive story of God?

Misread the “New Testament” Itself

First, a failure to take the Hebrew Bible seriously causes us to fundamentally misread the New Testament itself. This is exhibited in a number of ways. The authors of Pagan Christianity, which is often a fine book, speak disparaging of how some “Christian” practices or ideas “reflect the thinking of other religions–primarily Judaism and paganism” (p. 10). I will be the first to admit that Christianity has often been a Chameleon. Yet the issue that bothers me most is the authors fail to realize that Christianity is in fact “Jewish.” The “New Testament” is literally written on the soil, in the atmosphere, and with the “blood” of the “Old Testament.” This anti-Jewish vein of thought that has a long pedigree in Christian anti-semiticism. This is simply the “Ghost of Marcion” that I have already blogged about. This goes so far in some folks that they have actually denied the Jewishness of Jesus himself. But Jesus cannot be understood apart from the Hebrew Bible, a point to which we will return.

Bulwark Against Paganism

Second, if it is true that the “NT” was birthed with the blood of the Hebrew Bible flowing through its veins then that should move us to step back and see what this means. One scholar who has helped me think some of these issues through is G. Ernest Wright. In the middle of the 20th century Wright published a book entitled God Who Acts: Biblical Theology as Recital (1952). The first chapter of that book (The Church’s Need of the Old Testament) should be required reading for every potential theologian in the church … and every preacher is a theologian (the only question is whether one is a good one or not). One of the most astonishing claims made by Wright is that the Hebrew Bible is a “bulwark against paganism” for the church (p. 19). And it was an “enlightened” paganism that made such a profound resurgence in Modernism and has been embraced in the trappings of Christianity today.

How does the “OT” function in this regard? First through its doctrine of Creator and creation (the Bible has no theology of nature but only of creation). God is not part of creation though he is intimately involved with it, and creation has a purpose and goal. This may sound esoteric but it is not … indeed it is of fundamental importance. The modern Christian cut loose from the Hebraic roots of faith reads the NT through a vaguely defined “spiritual” worldview understood as some interior reality. The knowledge of God is reduced to a feeling or an “experience.” This spiritual experience is defined in radically individual terms (almost) completely separated from communal life and the program of God revealed in the narrative of Scripture. This “spirituality” instead emphasizes prayer (which is not bad btw) and the immortality of the soul.  But “spiritual” in the Bible is not private piety but publicly incorporates the individual into the corporate people of God in the very real physical world. Wright states plainly, and correctly, “this represents the paganizing of the Gospel … This Gospel is no scandal nor stumbling block” (p. 23). It is a reversion to “pagan normalcy.”

The more carefully we study the Hebrew Bible the more clearly a distinctive view of God as Creator and Redeemer emerges and his relationship to his creation and humanity. This worldview is absolutely essential to biblical faith and is totally absorbed into the New Testament. The results of this loss are, in my view, the hyper individualism we see today and a neo-Platonic spirituality that is alien to the entire Bible. The loss of the “bible” of Jesus births a Reader’s Digest religion.

More to come.

Seeking Shalom,
Bobby Valentine

58 Responses to “Marcionism & Churches of Christ: What Value, REALLY, is the "Old Testament?" #5: The Loss of the Hebrew Bible”

  1. Falantedios Says:

    I, too, get incredibly frustrated with the idea that Christian practice should not reflect its Hebrew origins.

    Keep challenging us to honor our true roots and to live them out in practice.

    in HIS love,
    Nick

  2. Tim Archer Says:

    All right, let me start out by being that annoying grammar person. You’re not talking about “loosing” the Old Testament; you’d probably like to see more churches set it free in their midst. I think the problem you see is that we are LOSING the Old Testament.

    Other than that, I very much agree. I posted on my blog a while back the astounding comment I heard in a men’s meeting, when a young man started a comment by saying “In the book of Psalms…” and a man who has been preaching for 30 years cut him off by saying “My Bible says Psalms has been nailed to the cross.” No wonder we come up with some crazy stuff.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim

  3. Danny Says:

    Cool pic Bob!

    Cool post too.

    But don’t you think our attitude toward the OT is just another legacy from the influence of Alexander Campbell?

  4. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Tim it was late …

    Bobby V

  5. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Danny if you go back and read the first three and especially the third essay in this series you will see that very thing. Campbell’s sermon on the law is a giant shadow.

    Seeking Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

  6. Joshua L. Pappas Says:

    Where can I read Campbell’s sermon on the Law? —JLP

  7. Gardner Hall Says:

    Thanks again Bobby,
    Wright’s comments were a bit jarring to me at first, but after thinking about them, maybe they’re not too far off base. I think his point was that a focus of concepts emphasized in the O.T. can counteract some unhealthy misconceptions.

    Perhaps Campbell and others reacted to one extreme (seen in modern days among groups such as Seventh Day Adventists) by going to the other. I’ve not read Campbell’s sermon on the law. (He can be ponderous!) Gotta do it some day.

  8. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Joshua there is a link to AC’s sermon in the third essay in this series. Just scroll down on the main page and you will see it.

    Seeking Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

  9. Wade Tannehill Says:

    I’m finding this hyper-individualism to be one of the greatest enemies of the church.

    I suppose the earring must be in the other ear.

  10. cwinwc Says:

    Agreed, agreed, and agree. When Paul refers to “all Scripture” he must for the most part be referring to his familiar Hebrew Bible, yes?

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Why do you constantly put “Old Testament” in quotes as if to suggest that the terminology is man-made? Have you cut 2 Cor 3:14 out of your Bible yet? Now clearly the OT is of great importance to Christianity and understanding the character of God, Messianic prophecy, morality, etc. but clearly the New Testament supercedes its doctrine om any and all particular points and/or practice.

  12. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Dear Anonymous,

    I read 2 Cor 3.14 in several English translations and then got out my Greek text just to make sure but I did not see the phrase “Old Testament” in any of them. The phrase is not a biblical phrase.

    I suggest, and have through the previous four essays on this matter, that the “OT” is more important than we realize. It is of fundamental importance. The “NT” (also a non-biblical phrase) is meaningless without the Hebrew Bible … including its doctrine and its “practice” is fundamentally Jewish in nature.

    Seeking Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

  13. Anonymous Says:

    BTW, at the church of Christ where I attend I hear a whole slew, a whole plethora and a half of sermons on the OT. The liberal “churches of Christ” Baptists (although they initially disfellowshipped him for it) were more influenced by Campbell’s sermon on the Law than conservative churches of Christ. Of course only liberal “churches of Christ” and not conservative churches of Christ have any association with Campbell.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    I wonder how you would recognize Jesus as the Messiah without the “OT”.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    If you didn’t see the phrase Old Testament in 2 Cor 3.14 then you didn’t read 2 Cor 3.14. Be a man and Christian terminology. You know that you are using the Jewish designation “Hebrew Bible” as opposed to the Christians designation Old Testament or Old Covenant because you want to be politically correct and play kissyface with the militant Jews of today who scream and yell that Old Testament isn’t a sensitive phrase.

    And please, don’t go saying that Testament and Covenant are different. The KJV uses them interchangeably both to translate the Greek word Diatheke. Modern translations make no distinction between them, but actually just get rid of the term Testament and use Covenant consistently. In the NIV there is no mention of New Testament but only New Covenant, and so also Old Covenant rather than Old Testament, but we all know it means the same thing. And if you want to say “no it don’t, because one is a book and the other an abstract idea” nothing could be further from the truth! 2 Cor 3:14 in the KJV refers to “the reading of the old testament” and in your NIV “when the old covenant is read.” Whether it says Covenant or Testament, you must admit that he calls it OLD. Hebrews 8:13 is plain on that point also “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old.” The NIV actually says “By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete;”–obsolete?

    Yes, the Old Covenant is still useful for knowledge of God’s character etc., but you can’t go back and dig up its old practices like animal sacrifices, Sabbaths, new moons, incense, instrumental music, holy water, burning fornicating daughters at the stake, stoning disobedient children and the like from the OT and practice it today! As Heb 8:13 says in the NIV “By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete;”–just face it already.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    “I wonder how you would recognize Jesus as the Messiah without the ‘OT’.”

    When’s the last time you hear someone say “don’t read the OT” or “the OT is completely worthless”? You’re arguing against a strawman who died about 1000 years ago! Marcion is dead. Saying that you can’t offer the blood of a goat to God is not the same as saying that the OT has no instruction to offer.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Sorry, Bobby. Can’t make sense of your blog with that distractingly cool photo of the motorcycle guy right up there by the title. I am assuming, of course, that it was taken right before he put on his helmet.
    Jeanne H.

  18. Alan Says:

    We don’t know the OT nearly as well as the first century Jewish Christians did. When they heard Jesus say “I am the good shepherd” in John 10 they would have immediately made the connection to Ezekiel 34. To them, this was a clear claim that Jesus was the Messiah. Most modern readers miss that connection… and many more just like it.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    For those who have expressed an interest in reading it, I am providing a link to Alexander Campbell’s Sermon on the Law. I beleive that when you read it you will find that Campbell was no Marcionite nor was he asserting the Old Testament to have no value for the Christian. Rather, you will find that he was asserting that the practices of the Law do not apply in New Testament times unless specifically enjoined by Christ, and that the Baptist practice (of that day and time) of scaring someone with the Law till they soil their britches and then preaching the gospel to them is not necessary nor scriptural.

    You will further find that you are being lied to by those who desire to Judaize you and who are using your dislike of Campbell to bait you into the trap of Judaization that they might spy out your liberty in Christ. Or moreso, I might say, they are trying to resurrect the practices of the dead law to justify instrumental music and that alone–this is the narrowmindedness of some that to justify bringing a lyre into the church they will plunge us all back into Sabbath-keeping and circumcision!

  20. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Wow, Anonymous, those are some bold words for someone who refuses to sign his name.

    “Kissyface” that is an creative word too. But I use the phrase “Hebrew Bible” because that is what it is. 2 Timothy 3 makes is quite clear that this “OT” is quite good for DOCTRINE.

    Perhaps some time in study on just what a “Judiazer” was in the first century would be a good thing, It had nothing to do with some of things you want to claim. Was a Paul a Judiazer in Acts 21?? He did after all freely go to the Jewish Temple, and took a Jewish vow, paid for four other Jewish brothers to take a vow, then he offered a sacrifice on the altar … all to the fine tune of some sacred trumpets … one wonders.

    To claim that “conservative” Churches of Christ have not been influenced by Alexander Campbell borders on absurd … If I may speak plainly.

    Seeking Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

  21. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Jeanne,

    I do have a helmet and I do where it but it would not be cool for the picture. You can’t have a Stoned-Campbell Disciple in a helmet 😉

    Seeking Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

  22. Anonymous Says:

    The phrase “”Hebrew Bible”” also seems to imply that you are reading it in Hebrew, which I doubt. So, do you place air quotes on Old Covenant too or just Old Testament? And you can prefer “””Hebrew Bible””” all you like, but in the New Testament the “”””Hebrew”””” is called the Old Covenant. I’d love to add my name, but as all the anonymous posts weren’t me, I wouldn’t want to take credit where it isn’t due. As far as Paul vowing a Jewish vow and offering sacrifices in Acts 21, I see it as totally on a par (if not worse than) Peter refusing to eat with Gentiles in Galatians. After all, it doesn’t seem so coincidental to me that Paul happened to be arrested while making his unlawful offerings in the temple, and you can interpret that as you will. He was clearly set up, and at the same time you might could consider his being bound from then on as chastisement for not recognizing the death of the law.

  23. kingdomseeking Says:

    Some very interesting comments being posted here…

    The rugged individualism also gives ground for all sorts of moral/ethical problems.

  24. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Dear Anonymous,

    On what grounds do you think that I do not read the Hebrew Bible in Hebrew? All I can say or will say at this point is that you assume a great deal that you apparently have no insight to at all. To say more would be unproductive.

    Brother you don’t have to take credit for anything but your own words. Don’t be ashamed of them if you believe them.

    Your reading of Acts 21 is, as they say, typical of those who force the biblical text into a straight jacket. There is not a SHRED of support for your opinion in the text.

    The text indicates what the Jerusalem church thought was NORMAL. James an inspired man suggests that Paul do what they thought was normal. Paul an inspired man … and one not to easily intimidated … never registered a protest. And Luke an inspired author never indicates even in the slightest that what Paul, James, and the Jerusalem church did was in any way either out of the ordinary or wrong.

    Three inspired men vs anonymous … I will go with the inspired men.

    Let the Bible set its own agenda, don’t set it for God.

    Seeking Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

  25. Anonymous Says:

    I think I’ll stick with the inspired men too. Don’t be too hard on “Anonymous” – 😉

    All I can say is if you don’t know the OT (the 22 books, the same number as the total letters of their alphabet {alef bet} – trivial I know), then you will have a hard time understanding some, if not a majority, of the NT.

    On a lighter note, your Brew-Crew demolished my Rangers on Wed. Ready for the meaningless rematch today?? I’ve already found a bond with many on this site since it appears they enjoy baseball as much as I do.

    Russ – Texas

  26. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    I saw the Brewer’s play the Rockies last week here in Tucson … they lost.

    Seeking Shalom,
    Bobby V

  27. Cheryl Russell Says:

    I have enjoyed these posts. I really enjoyed the OT classes (yes, I’m saying OT, but I mean in it in “it’s still important kind of way) that we took as part of our education. I had never had any in depth study of the OT before. I can honestly say that they enriched my faith, understanding, and relationship with Christ. Of course, our Hebrew roots feed our Christian blooms. I think your points about Paul are right on. We are just too quick to dismiss anything that demonstrates the fact that Christian faith did not demolish all Jewish practice! Thankfully, for you gents, there was one area it did, but that’s for another post!

    Anonymous……ah man, my name is already on here!

    😉

  28. preacherman Says:

    Bobby,
    I think we most get frustrated, you are not alone in feeling this way. Keep up the great writting and keep challenging us to think with an open mind.
    God bless you brother.
    In Him,
    Kinney Mabry

  29. Falantedios Says:

    I never have asked, bobby…

    Are you still pulling for the Brew Crew or will you shift to the Snakes?

    I don’t mind either way, because my Yankees are gonna put it all together this year, and ol’ Joe’s gonna help my Dodgers work things out too.

    Nick

  30. kingdomseeking Says:

    Bobby,

    Just in case you still pull for the Brew-Crew… Let me be the first to tell you that this is the year of the Cubs (the Brewers will wish they were still in the AL Central Div.).

    Go Cubs!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Rex

  31. Gardner Hall Says:

    I thought highly of Nick until that last comment about the Yankees. I have to leave up here with all the blather about them.

    Anonymous livened up the blog, but could have done so without the sarcasm.

  32. Gardner Hall Says:

    That’s “live up here” with the blather. I’m not ready to leave yet.

  33. panchovia Says:

    Anonymous is probably not able to relate to the ignorance of the OT that everyone here is confessing, since he asserts that he hears “a whole slew, a whole plethora and a half of sermons on the OT” whereas many of you confess total ignorance of the OT until taking a “class” on the OT. Indeed this may be somewhat of an issue brought about by the difference between churches with classes and those without them…that being that those with them forget about the OT because everything is generally dumbed down and if you want some meat we’ll leave it for the classroom and keep it out of the pulpit, but then the classroom teacher also doesn’t want to deal with it so he leaves it for home for you to study on your own….

  34. Anonymous Says:

    Where do the Scriptures speak of inspired men? 2 Tim 3:16 says that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God,” and 2 Peter 1:21 says “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” And again, 1 Cor 4:6 urges us “not to think of men above that which is written.” The Scriptures clearly present that inspiration is limited to writing and speaking, not acting. That James or Paul could write under inspiration, and yet mess up big time in practice, as Peter and Barnabbas both obviously did in Galatians 2, is not a ludicrous assertion. After all, James is involved indirectly in the Galatians 2 incident, “For before that certain came from James, [Peter] did eat with the Gentiles…” and here it is again James that convinces Paul to go offer Old Testament sacrifices unlawfully during the New Testament era. Although Paul came through the Galatians episode unscathed, withstanding Peter to the face, he fell for the same trap here in Acts 21 of Judaizing.

  35. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    For sake of the argument lets say you are correct that “inspiration” is limited to writing and not speaking (a proposition I do not think can be sustained … Was Stephen “inspired”? Was Jeremiah oracles only inspired AFTER they were written down??) …

    Luke WROTE about Paul and James’ action along with the Jerusalem church. Since only Luke was inspired in this instance (Acts 21) why did he not set the record straight?

    Seeking Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

  36. Anonymous Says:

    First, you misread what I wrote. I wrote “The Scriptures clearly present that inspiration is limited to writing and speaking, not acting” and not “is limited to writing and not speaking.” Secondly, I think the record is quite clear to anyone reading the book of Acts in the light of the entire New Testament and not reading it as a Judaizer. The only way I can see to avoid the notion that Paul committed a grievous offense in this is to say that the fact of the Law’s death was not yet revealed to him, and that such teachings on this matter as we find in his epistles were not revealed to men yet, but I have a hard time thinking that to be the case. Coffman expresses a similar view to mine:

    begin_quote—What is indicated here is that James and the Jerusalem elders were proposing that part of the Gentile bounty raised for the “poor saints” would be diverted to the greedy priests in the “den of thieves and robbers,” so vehemently condemned by the Christ himself. It appears that the absorption into the Jerusalem church of so many Pharisees (6:7; 15:5) had created a situation in which a Pharisaical party in the church itself was as busy as beavers grafting as much as possible of the law of Moses onto Christianity; and, although they had not yet gone so far as to insist on Gentiles keeping such things (the apostolic edict still stood against it, as in next verse), nevertheless, it is all too evident that they would soon have gotten around to that, or else have made Gentile Christianity an inferior brand of faith.
    As Adam Clarke appropriately said:
    “However we may consider this subject, it is exceedingly difficult to account for the conduct of James and the elders, and of Paul on this occasion. There seems to be something in this transaction which we do not fully understand.” F29
    The exact nature of the Nazarite vow, involved in this business, can be of very little interest to Christians. It is enough to know that certain sacrifices to be offered in the temple had to be provided and paid for; and that Paul consented to be “the fall guy.” Some things had to be done by God himself before men could be righteous; and the denial of Peter the night the Lord was betrayed was due not so much to any unusual weakness in Peter, as to the fact that the enabling death of Christ had not then taken place. We view the unhappy situation here as beyond the control, either of James and the elders, or of Paul. The mighty undertow against true spirituality in Christ which was provided by the extravagantly beautiful, impressive, and even glorious temple was simply too much for the Jerusalem church, the entire epistle to the Hebrews giving evidence of the same fact; and, as the hour God had appointed for its destruction was yet future, the status of the church in Jerusalem continued to be far short of the ideal. Paul, without any sacrifice of principle, found his very liberty of thought used against him here in a manner that he found no means of avoiding. Even kings were “sucked in” by the pressures exerted by that temple crowd in Jerusalem.
    Conybeare relates that not long before this, “Agrippa I had given the same public expression of his sympathy with the Jews, on his arrival from Rome to take possession of his throne.” F30 No doubt James and the elders felt that what the king had done for popularity, Paul might do for the sake of peace and harmony; but in such a misunderstanding (on someone’s part) there was a gross misreading of the relationship between the Jewish temple and the spiritual body of the Lord, which alone is the true temple. The entire ill-conceived venture was destined for a disastrous failure.
    —end_quote

    The notion Coffman is setting forth appears to be an interpretation of Daniel 9:27, “for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate,” that is because Christians were so tempted to keep offering the sacrifices of the Law after they were obsoleted by the sacrifice of Christ and turned into abominations, therefore God had to destroy the temple, and that until this was done in 70 AD Christians, even the best of them, would fall prey to the sparkle of the temple and offer these abominable sacrifices.

  37. Anonymous Says:

    McGarvey also holds a similar view, saying: “Thus far we have omitted special mention of one custom, because its importance demands for it a separate consideration. We refer to sacrifices. It is evident, from the transaction before us, as observed above, that James and the brethren in Jerusalem regarded the offering of sacrifices as at least innocent; for they approved the course of the four Nazarites, and urged Paul to join with them in the service, though it required them to offer sacrifices, and even sin-offerings. They could not, indeed, very well avoid this opinion, since they admitted the continued authority of the Mosaic law. Though disagreeing with them as to the ground of their opinion, as in reference to the other customs, Paul evidently admitted the opinion itself, for he adopted their advice, and paid the expense of the sacrifices which the four Nazarites offered. Third. The commentators uniformly agree that Paul was right, and that the rites observed on this occasion are to be referred to that class which are indifferent, and in reference to which Paul acted upon the principle of being a Jew to the Jew, that he might win the Jew. [Bloomfield, Olshausen, Neander, Hackett, Howson, etc.] This would not be objectionable, if the proceeding had reference merely to meats and drinks, holy days, etc., to which it appears to be confined in their view; for all these were indifferent then, and are not less so at the present day. Who would say that it would now be sinful to abstain from certain meats, and observe certain days as holy? But it is far different with bloody sacrifices. If disciples, either Jewish or Gentile, should now assemble in Jerusalem, construct an altar, appoint a priesthood, and offer sin-offerings, they could but be regarded as apostates from Christ. But why should it be regarded as a crime now, if it was innocent then? The truth is, that, up to this time, Paul had written nothing which directly conflicted with the service of the altar, and he did not yet understand the subject correctly. His mind, and those of all the brethren, were as yet in much the same condition on this subject that they were before the conversion of Cornelius, in reference to the reception of the uncircumcised into the Church.”

  38. kingdomseeking Says:

    Anonymous…

    I appreciate the work of Coffman and McGarvey but may I suggest that you expand your reading horizons a bit.

    Rex

  39. Anonymous Says:

    “I appreciate the work of Coffman and McGarvey but may I suggest that you expand your reading horizons a bit.”

    I didn’t read them till after my initial post actually, and may I say that whose commentary you read doesn’t matter at all if you care about understanding the Scriptures because you will weed out the bad ones of necessity.

  40. Anonymous Says:

    To broaden my reading horizons, Rex, I will quote Calvin on this passage: “It had not been so lawful for him to go unto the solemn sacrifice of satisfaction (or expiation). But as for this part of the worship of God, which consisted in a vow, he might do it indifferently, so it were not done for religion’s sake, but only to support the weak.” He says, in other words, that sense this was merely a Nazarite vow and not a sin-offering, Paul could do it, but if it were a sin-offering then it would have been unlawful for Paul to do. The only problem with what he says is that he apparently forgot that a sin-offering is involved in the Nazarite vow per Num 6:10-11. Calvin, of course, had many diseases and was probably loopy from pain medication of some sort, however.

  41. kingdomseeking Says:

    What???

    Rex

  42. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    One wonders if a Nazarite vow was still considered an “act of worship?”

    But this discussion is off thread.

    Seeking Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

  43. Soren Says:

    What? There’s more out there than Coffman and McGarvey? Who knew? Actually Coffman got me through my first few years of ministry. It was a hand-me-down commentary set, but it was the only one I had.

    Love the new pic by the way! I don’t know how I ever had the idea that you were some old dude.

  44. Jeremy Folding Says:

    Hey Bobby,

    I have enjoyed the Marcion posts. Keep it up. Understanding the background of the Hebrew mind is essential to gaining deeper insight to the New Testament as well as understanding why Jesus said what He said in certain situations. (I’m thinking of John 7:37-39)

    I hope your time in Mil. is a blessed time. We’ll miss you.

  45. beowulf2k8 Says:

    And the book of Hebrews which Bobby opposes reading the Old Testament in the light of is of the greatest help to the Christian in doing that. If we just go roughshod into reading the Old Testament, throwing off the light of the New Testament while doing so, we end up reading the Old Testament with the veil on our hearts as the Jews, of whom Paul says that “even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.” (2 Cor 3:15)

  46. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    I am not opposed to reading the “OT” in light of Jesus Christ. Not at all. Or to let the “NT” shed light on certain readings.

    But the “Jews” did not read the “OT” with a veil simply because they read from the “OT” first but because they were offended by the cross.

    Seeking Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

  47. Matthew Says:

    Bobby, shocking that this post has created to level of interaction, not really wanting to engage in all that, but I do appreciation the desire for study and challenge, just wish it was maybe a little more brotherly, but I could be misinterpreting this. It is just hard for me to respect the opinions of a unnamed member of the community. But I am sure, this members heart is right, I am just unaware of his reasons for not mentioning his name. On another note, I am preaching a series of lessons connecting the story of God together. They are on the podcast on my site. The missing lesson is the first and second Adam. These have been some of the most rewarding lessons that I have developed.

  48. beowulf2k8 Says:

    So now its the “Jews,” the “OT,” and the “NT.” Pretty soon it will be “Jesus,” “God,” “salvation” and “heaven.”

  49. beowulf2k8 Says:

    interesting. it was acting like it wouldn’t let me login but apparently it posted my comments anyway each time.

  50. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Matthew it is interesting isn’t it. But the fact of the matter is the so called New Testament assumes and and even explicitly declares the continuing AUTHORITY of the so called Old Testament. That some get hung up on offering a sacrifice seems to me to completely miss the point.

    Beowulf … don’t know if you are our anonymous commenter but we are glad you are hear. I put “Jews” in quotes because not all the Jews read the Scriptures with a veil no more than all Gentiles read them through the eyes of Plato. Some “Jews” did and some did not.

    And I do advocate reading, not only the Torah, but the ENTIRE canon through the pinnacle of God’s revelation … Jesus Christ. He is the Living Word and he is God’s exegete. Thus Christ is the GOAL (telos) of the Torah just as Paul said he is.

    Seeking Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

  51. beowulf2k8 Says:

    I’m glad to hear you advocate reading the entire Bible as I also do. Of course I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t, other than Jews. The notion of any Christians or pseudo-Christian discouraging people from reading the Old Testament seems farfetched to me.

  52. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Beowulf me thinks you sort of missed the argument some where along the line. Go back and read all four previous posts under the heading “Marcionism & Churches of Christ” and put this one in context. It might help.

    Seeking Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

  53. beowulf2k8 Says:

    I don’t know any church of Christ that says not to read the Old Testament. They point out properly that the Old Testament is not the rule of life or worship for the Christian. But they maintain the necessity of the Old Testament for understanding God and for Messianic prophecy, and for examples. So, what’s the point I’m missing? That you are a member of church of Christ that literally blacklists the Old Testament? I find it hard to swallow.

  54. JeremyNSunny Says:

    As I have continued speaking with members of the church of Christ throughout the country and the world, via the Internet, I have been enlightened to the fact that, indeed, there are those who really do not want the Old Testament taught out of or read in assemblies or even in Bible studies and classes. “Blacklisting” would be too drastic a term, as I have yet to hear anyone officially ‘blacklisting’ the OT/Hebrew Bible, they just don’t want to hear from it except where the “New Testament” quotes it … because “we don’t live under it,” and “nothing matters that happened before the cross.” (Yes, I *have* heard people say that.)

    And then (blink, blink) it turns out that this congregation with which my husband and I are currently working (He is the evangelist.) has a few influential members who subscribe to this very belief!! Thankfully, it does seem to be a ‘minority’ who think this way in most locations, but Bobby, you are absolutely justified in your level of concern; Jeremy and I definitely share it!

    Learning of the existence of this belief has convicted me of a whole new level of appreciation that, like Timothy, from my first moments of comprehension I “have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Of course, the only ‘sacred writings available to give the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ’ that would have been available to Timothy’s family of origin would have been the Hebrew Bible. Praise God that “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” Why would we want to hold as less valuable any part of what God has given us by which we can know Him?

    God bless you all,

    Sunny Folding

  55. Joshua L. Pappas Says:

    Hello,

    A couple of comments here… first, to Anonymous: “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.” To say that Paul sinned in his temple activity in Acts 21 is to “think of a man beyond what is written.” The Bible is silent in regard to Paul sinning in this incident. To judge him a sinner is to judge without proper Scriptural warrant. Feel free to not understand the passage, but if you want to say Paul sinned, you’ll have to do so without Bible backing. Wayne Jackson’s comments are better than either McGarvey or Coffman in my opinion. When Acts 21 happened, Paul had written well enough to know better than what he did if it was wrong (he’d already penned Romans, & 1, 2 Corinthians for certain, and probably Galatians too). If what he did was as wrong as McGarvey, Coffman & Clarke make out (i.e. an act of apostasy) then the silence of God on this matter is inexplicable.

    On another note, to Bobby, et al, I read Campbell’s Sermon on the Law and don’t have many problems with it. I don’t see a problem between preaching the cessation of the preceptual authority of the Law while affirming its principle authority and essentiality to the Biblical story. I’ve said before that the church that rejects the authority of the OT outright is something I’ve never encountered before (and I was raised in and am delighted to be a member of the church of Christ and Church of Christ, however you spell it). So, to sum this up, Bobby, I may be missing something, but I’m not entirely sure where you’re going, or where you see yourself as disagreeing in practice with the “traditional” position. I skimmed through the “Marcionism” posts just to be sure I haven’t missed anything major. I think you make some good points, but overall, I guess we disagree. I’m just not sure where you’re trying to land with all this. I’m often a “bottom line” kind of guy.

    p.s. I hate the “Marcionism” part of the title, but since I know you get a bit flowery with titles ;-), I’m overlooking it. BTW, I’m praying for you and your family and hope for the best.

  56. Joshua L. Pappas Says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  57. Joshua L. Pappas Says:

    Pardon me, “preceptual” should be “preceptive.”

  58. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Well I stated my issues in my analysis of AC’s sermon. I pointed to the strengths and the weaknesses. And I pointed out that AC’s views have been passed down in a more radical form than in himself.

    Our attitude toward the “OT” has been historically wanting at best. To make an appeal to the “OT” for much of anything other than character studies/moral stories has been resisted in my personal experience. I know in the churches that I have preached (from New Orleans to MS to Milwaukee to Tucson) have had similar experiences regarding the so called “OT.” I have appealed to the Hebrew Bible in conversations with a number of preachers before and the response was simply “That was the Old Testament. We are not under that.” That was the end of the matter to them. I suspect it is a little more complicated than that.

    The “bottom line” is often not the only thing that matters. Often what matters is how you got to where you are going and why you ended up there. Glad to have you along for the ride to converse with. I am and will be better for it.

    Seeking Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

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