“But, but – the Old Testament doesn’t matter any more – it was an ancient book! Jesus changed everything – you need to study His words!” – Common Christian Rebuttal
Oh, really? In this illustration (from our first book) we see Jesus’ words as he appears to be speaking pretty clearly about the ongoing authority found in the “Law of the Prophets” (later to be referred to as The Old Testament).
It really wasn’t until recent history that theologians have scrambled to distance Christianity from other barbaric religious practices that this notion of the Old Testament being “irrelevant” began to spring up. Some theologians will even stretch to say that Jesus was speaking in some sort of cryptic code, claiming that what He was really saying was that the Law only mattered until his death and resurrection. Well, then what? The Law doesn’t matter anymore? It’s now okay to rape, kill, lie, cheat, steal, worship other gods, eat shrimp, wear clothes of mixed fabrics? God, His father/self, the omnipotent creator of the original law was just… kidding?
I’m sorry, but that is a far too convenient case of a revisionist history in a blatant attempt to blur the lines over the Bible’s negative influences in modern culture – slavery, homophobia, gender inequality, child abuse, and on and on… You can’t say that the Old Testament doesn’t matter one moment, then use it to justify bigoted positions against women’s voting, freeing slaves, and marriage equality while demanding the Ten Commandments be displayed on every courthouse lawn.
“But, Jesus specifically said, ‘Cast thy first stone’ when people were going to kill the woman caught in adultery. That settles it!” – Common Christian Argument
Oh, really? Is that what the Bible actually says? (You might want to look into that all-too-conveniently-added little parable.)
“But, but – you are interpreting the Bible completely wrong!” – Common Christian Rebuttal
“Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy or scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God.” – (2 Peter 20-21)
THINK ABOUT IT! Without the Old Testament, there would be no creation, no original sin, no institution of marriage, no Noah’s ark, no promise of The Redeemer, no Ten Commandments, no crossing of the Red Sea, no Passover – and, most importantly – there would be no prophecy of a coming Messiah to later be filled by Jesus. Without the Old Testament, there would be no basis for the New Testament!
Would you like another Awkward Moment straight from the mouth of Jesus where he reminds his followers of the importance of the Law? For “context”, this passage appears just a few short verses earlier.
“For God said, ‘Respect your father and your mother,’ and ‘If you curse your father or your mother, you are to be put to death.’ 5 But some of you reject this Law. You now say that if people have something they could use to help their father or mother, but say, ‘This belongs to God,’ they do not need to honor their father. In this way you disregard God’s command, in order to follow your own teaching. You hypocrites!” – Matthew 15:4-7
That’s right, folks – Jesus was pretty clear. Aside from the insinuation that childhood disobedience is punishable by death, the real point is that if you ignore God’s Law in favor of man’s easier law, Jesus considers you a hypocrite! (And, we all know what happens to hypocrites…)
“But, but – what about what PAUL says about specific laws in Acts and Hebrews?” – Common Christian Rebuttal
The last time I checked – Paul was not a member of the Holy Trinity with divine authority to add and subtract anything from God’s laws whenever he wanted. But really, I guess my simple question related to Paul’s changes to law in Acts and Hebrews would simply be… What possible motivation would Paul (the original pitch man, Mr. “What Jesus Really MEANT To Say” himself) have to mold and massage the reported words of Jesus after the fact into a more palatable, more salable religion for him to sell to the masses? Oh, wait… much like how each modern pope has conveniently adopted more “progessive” policies to remain palatable to the evolving masses, the apostle Paul also had to fine-tune his own sales pitch.
Ohhh… right. So, by that logic, suddenly murder, adultery, and worshiping other gods are all just fine now (since those laws were from the Old Testament)? Come on… The day that Christians stop quoting *certain* scripture to as “God’s Word” while blatantly ignoring others laws given in the same context will be the day that… well, it will never happen, so it’s a moot point.
THE POINT: In short, there seems to be a slippery slope of “cafeteria Christianity” – a little of Genesis we like, a little prophecy from Isaiah, a little Exodus – but not too much to make the church look out of touch, archaic, cult-like, or dangerous. So, who gets to choose what stays and what goes? Jesus? Paul? Marcion? Martin Luther? Pat Robertson? Franklin Graham? Or… just like each of them – you?
If you want to believe the Bible is the Word of God and follow it word for word, go for it. But, as a Christian, you don’t get to choose – you must believe the WHOLE BIBLE – not just the parts that you like and “fit” into modern conventions. If this idea is challenging to you, your discomfort is likely not with me, but with the Bible itself and that little voice in your head.
Be careful what you wish for… (and please, don’t actually stone your children to please Jesus).
“Raped In The City” (Deut 22-27)
“Worked on Sabbath” (Exodus 31:14)
“Yelled At Mommy” (Exodus 21:17)
“Made A Potion” (Exodus 22:18)
“Raped By Farmer” (Lev 20:16)
“Lied About Virginity” (Deut 22:20-12)
“Told Joke About God” (Lev 24:14-16, 23)