I doubt you know who I am. And that’s totally cool. Unlike the folks you roll with, I’m a nobody. But I know who you are. I saw your interview from the film “Hellbound?” And although I don’t agree with you on most theological matters, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to talk to Kevin Miller. Given that you guys vehemently disagree, it probably took some guts to do that.
Anyway, the other day, I came across your article “Unhitched from the Old Testament,” which, by the way, I just discovered is nothing but a rehashing of something you wrote many years ago. To be completely honest, I didn’t really like either pieces, although I understand where you are coming from. I understand that when folks like Andy Stanley tell others to “unhitch” from the Old Testament, it smacks of the ancient heresy known as Marcionism. Now, I don’t know if Stanley is a Marcionite or not—I highly doubt he is—but I really don’t care. He is not someone I follow, nor is it my view that Christians should “unhitch” from the Hebrew Scriptures. What I do know, however, is that many of us who are emphatically not Marcionites are getting rather fed up by this accusation. It’s been levied against us far too many times and it needs to stop.
Simply put, this charge is a blatant strawman. It’s a distraction, a tactic that has no grounding in reality.
As you know, Marcion was deemed a heretic, not because he had trouble reconciling the violent depictions of God that are littered all throughout the Old Testament with who Jesus was—a lot of early Church fathers had this problem—but because his questions eventually led to him chucking out all of the Hebrew Scriptures. Thus, he concluded that the deity of the Old Testament was a different god than the God of Jesus, a mere demiurge that was not worthy of worship.
This is not what I believe. Nor is it what anyone I know and follow believes. For instance, it’s not what Peter Enns believes. It’s not what Greg Boyd believes. It is not what René Girard believed. Oh, you get the point.
Now, people such as yourself are perfectly entitled to disagree with the biblical approach I and those listed above take. Y’all are within your rights as Christians to disagree with our methods of exegesis (heck, Boyd and I disagree on things). But please, give us a little credit, put the labels away for a second, and argue the issues. Refute Enns’ Christotelic hermeneutic, for instance, rather than brandishing the heresy card simply because something initially sounds like heresy. Refute the argument rather than the easy-to-defeat strawman. For, as President and Founder of “The School of Thought,” Jesse Richardson says, “thou shalt not commit logical fallacies.” Amen, right?
Well, thanks for taking the time to read my incredibly short letter. If you find yourself just dying to get in touch with me, my information can be found down below. If not, then that’s cool, too. I don’t expect you to. Just keep in mind that when you write off people just because what they believe sounds like heresy, you may, at the end of the day, be wrong. I mean, it’s possible, right? I know I’ve been wrong about folks before.
Matthew “Not a Marcionite” Distefano