Tuesday, March 25, 2008

All Scripture Is God- Breathed - The Old Testament

The New Testament boldly proclaims that "all Scripture is God-breathed" - the Old Testament is inspired God - and then continues - and is useful for "teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness." Any believer should gladly affirm that. The problem arises when we begin to look at practice. Few believers spend much time in the Old Testament - and if they do, there are a few key books that are enjoyed (Genesis, Psalms, Proverbs), but so many are unused. There is a very well respected E. Free Pastor that I know in Iowa who in over 25 years of preaching has rarely preached from the Old Testament. I think most Christians agree in practice - negating 2 Timothy 3:16.

In my humble estimation, the reason for this is our lack of a hermeneutic for the Old Testament. What do we do with so many crazy stories? Here is a simplistic and probably unfair summary of two very popular approaches. The Dispensationlist moralizes the OT stories - so that the story of David and Goliath is about being a man who loves God like David - and knowing that God deals with evil men (or something in that vain). The Covenantalist allegorizes the text - so that the story of David and Goliath is about the "Giants in our lives" and how we need the 5 stones of faith, love, God's Word, the Church, and (pick your "stone") - reducing the Bible to Aesop's Fables. Don't laugh - I've heard one of those and read the other. I won't name the author, but a godly, wise, Covenant Pastor (he's dead now) has some great New Testament stuff, but his Old Testament stuff is all allegory (I guess this allows them to think the Church is the New Israel - probably an unfair shot - but it plays a part). I should say that both camps may use the other camp's methods, but in general, I believe the above is true.

So how do we approach the Old Testament? How do we avoid lives that proclaim God to be a liar in 2 Timothy 3:16? (I do think I have some good answers. I didn't make them up - I'm not that smart).

In my view, my biggest hermeneutical challenge is the Gospels. Even John 3:16 is brutally hard to understand (and don't get me started on the Beattitudes).

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At 3:31 PM, Blogger Pastor Mark said...

I'd like to talk shop with you on this issue sometime . . . I'd like to hear your ideas on OT hermeneutic.


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