A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The words we use

"..these folks read more from the old testement than they do from the new testement.The reason being, the old testement has lot of hate and vengence in it.

A lot of the letters are less forgiving as well. The new testement is all about love and forgiveness and separation of church and state. For Christians the 10 commandments are replaced by 2: love god, love each other."- comments found on a liberal blog.

This comment was refering to the religious right. I'm sure it was well meant but I don't think they know how this sounds to Jewish folks. To discover that their scripture is filled with "hate and vengence" while Christians discovered love and forgiveness must be odd.

But it's not an uncommon view in the mainline church and in liberal circles outside the church. Problem is it assumes the "New Testament" is a higher revelation over, above, and against the "Old Testament" which is to say it presumes the idea of supersessionism.

The idea is that the Christian revelation has superceded that of the Jewish people. It's what got Ann Coulter into trouble and while I doubt the person making the above comment was thinking along these lines, the protrayal of these two scriptures feeds into such a view.

You can find variations on this theme. The use of the word Pharisee to mean legalistic and unloving while Jesus and the early church was loving and filled with compassion is not uncommon but it's a polemic against a religious group that is the source of modern Judaism.

Such views are untenable in terms of dialogue and making for peace among world religions, it doesn't make sense of the internal logic of the Christian faith, in particular how Paul describes the relationship of God and Judaism in the book of Romans.

And it doesn't make sense of the actual material. Paul doesn't speak of hell, the Gospels do. Yes there are conquests stories in the Hebrew scriptures, but there are also stories of love and mercy. The generalizations made fall apart by a cursory reading of these texts.

I suppose this is a call to examine the language we use. Does it deepen our understanding and appreciation of our own and other religious traditions or not? It's an issue we all need to be attentive to as we try to relate to increasing religious diversity and conflict.


At 12:46 PM , Anonymous Michael S said...

I've noticed this too, and never understood it. This rhetoric is so often among liberals who otherwise see themselves as tolerant or compassionate or whatever. Sadly, I think ignorance of scripture is part of it. There's no way you can read the soaring passages from Isaiah and the Psalms, and compare it to certain passages in Paul (Galatians?) and say the OT is wrathful and the NT is loving.

At 9:26 AM , Anonymous Tim said...

I think you can avoid supercessionism if you see the whole Bible as a story of statements of people's understanding of God at the time. This is why it's important to set it against a factually accurate historical background so you know what to treat metaphorically (says me, risking sounding like Borg - and why not?).

Not only does the OT have nice poetic bits, and draw-your-own-conclusion stories, but it also has outright liberal anti-social-oppression prophecy such as Amos.

michael s: did you know there's not a single compliment in Galatians?

At 1:58 PM , Anonymous Eli said...

I believe part of the issue is the concept that Christian Scriptures necessarily must be extracted from the Hebrew Scriptures. Although Christianity grew out of Judaism, the Christian Scriptures sometimes should be treated separately. Again, a different time and a different culture have a different understanding, not less, not greater, just different.

In addition, some of the Scriptures are the written record of a believers thoughts. Why not write them, no matter how violent, as God know the heart.

At 3:42 PM , Blogger jkdjr25 said...

I really dug this. My own opinion has been shaped by reading and seeing the teaching of ministers who've spent years studying both the Old and New Testaments. My understanding, and one of the better explanations I've heard, is the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.

I should say, for full disclosure here, I am one of those people who believes in the entirety of the Bible, and that it is the inerrant and infalible Word of God. :)

I'll be checking this blog from time to time now. seems pretty interesting.

At 3:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The One New Man

I don't know if you already heard about the one new man created in Christ Himself from two. Actually, I heard of it for the first time when I attended a Bible Exposition held in Cebu City by the Church of Christ (Filipino: Iglesia Ni Cristo). I never heard about it during my days in the Roman Catholic Church eventhough I actively performed my duties as the Sacristan Mayor of the Parish of San Agustin, Diocese of Surigao Del Sur. And this teaching is not just a teaching of the Ministers of the Church of Christ but it is the teaching of the Apostles as written on the Holy Bible.

However, in sharing this truth to you, I need to ask the Bible and let the Bible answer our questions because it is the Bible know this truth much.

To begin with, let us ask the Bible: Did the Apostle really teach that Christ created in Himself a one new man? Apostle Paul answer:

15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, (Ephesians 2:15, NKJV)

According to him, a one new man was created in Christ Himself from the two. What is this ONE NEW MAN and what are the two referred to by Apostle Paul which composed the one new man? In Colossians 1:18, Apostle Paul's answer is recorded:

18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:18, ibid)

The answer is: The two which are created into one new man are Christ and His Church and the one new man is Christ as head and the Church as Christ's body.

So, it is already clear that Christ really created a one new man. But what is the purpose of Christ, why he created this? Apostle Paul answered it already on the first verse that we used.

15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, (Ephesians 2:15, NKJV)

According to him, it was done "to abolish the enmity, that is the law of commandment contained in ordinances and thus making peace".

What is the law that Apostle Paul referred to in which when the one new man was created peace does exist? The answer is recorded in Deuteronomy 25:16.

16 Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin. (Deuteronomy 24:16, ibid)

The law states that anyone who committed sin will be put to death for their own sin. Is this the reason why Christ died for the sin of others? Absolutely Yes!

But wait! We already know that Christ died for the others but he never committed any sin, does it mean something contradiction?

21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us,[a] leaving us[b] an example, that you should follow His steps:

22 Who committed no sin,

Nor was deceit found in His mouth;[c] (I Peter 2:21-22, ibid)

It is true that Christ committed no sin, as stated on the verse above and that all of us (men) are sinners.

12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12, ibid)

And that the wages of sin is death.

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23, ibid)

Since, all of us sinned, therefore each of us will be put to death because of our sin. In other words, no one will be saved on the day of judgment.

But God loved us, that is why He gave His Son to us to give us a chance to be saved on His wrath on the day of judgment.

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16, ibid)

And to save us, Christ created the one new man, as He the head and His Church as His body. In front of God, Christ and His Church is already one new man. For this reason Christ was made to be sin.

21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (II Corinthians 5:21, ibid)

And it is now righteous for Christ to die for His Church.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, (Ephesians 5:25, ibid)

Because His Church is already His body and that it is His obligation to be the savior of it.

23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. (Ephesians 5:23, ibid)

If Christ died for all men inside His Church, then who will die for the sins of others who are outside His Church? Christ answered it.

24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. (John 8:24, ibid)

According to Him, they will die for their own sins.

Beside the truth that His Church is His body and He is the savior of it, why is it that Christ has no power to save those men outside His Church? Apostle Paul answered?

13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore "put away from yourselves the evil person." (I Corinthians 5:13, ibid)

According to Apostle Paul, outside God judges. And we already know from the truth revealed above what will be the judgment of God, that is, "each of them will die for their own sins".

Therefore, it is not true that Christ died for the sin of all men on earth because the truth is Christ died for the sin of all men in His Church only. It is also not true that Christ will save men who are not part or members of His Church, because the truth is, Christ will save only His Church.

We should not forget the one new man created by Christ in Himself, and we should strive to become part of that one new man. Take note: Only the ONE NEW MAN is the one who will be saved on the day of judgment


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