The Old Testament

I read an article this morning that reminded me of this quote from God’s Holy Fire that I found particularly insightful. Every time I read this, I want to go out on the front porch and shout “Amen!”

Too often, we in the Churches of Christ have made a mistake in removing the Old Testament, for practical purposes, from our canon. The hole in Scripture has produced a hole in the practice of our faith. Without the prophets’ concern for the poor, we focus on the desires of the upwardly mobile. Without the Psalms’ laments, we fall victim to a theology of blessing that gives us no way to speak honestly of death, sickness, and failure. Without the stories of God’s redemption of Israel, we forget that our story is no the same as the consumerist, acquisitive story of our culture.

Despite pure motives and a well-placed concern that non-Christian practices no creep into the church, we have too often dismissed from our consideration powerful texts that illuminate the nature of God and human relationships to God. In seeking to escape the tyranny of Law, we have run headlong into a legalism more galling than any the Pharisees could ever invent, precisely because we have failed to understand what Torah entails in Israel. We have robbed ourselves of the riches of praise and lament in the Psalms, of the ethical and social concerns of the prophets, and of the cool-headedness of the wise men and women of the ages. And we have thereby failed in our deepest passion, to model ourselves after the earliest Christian communities. So here we plead for a renewed attention to the whole canon of Scripture.

(p. 66-67, God’s Holy Fire, Cukrowski, Hamilton & Thompson, (c) 2002)

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2 Responses to The Old Testament

  1. pfcpeters says:

    Hmm good quote, but I think a humble approach to the new testament would find most of thoses ideals present as well. I’m not saying the Old Testament isn’t the Holy WORD I’m just saying I think the struggle with legalism etc has more to do with the heart of men than the emphasis on the the new testament

  2. James says:

    I’d agree with you. I think that the approach (or lack thereof) to the OT that the writers address is more a fruit of a legalistic heart than the root.

    Unfortunately, there are also many (I’d think more) who are not legalistic, but have nonetheless missed out on the challenge, edification, and narative of the OT.

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