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Should Christians Follow Old Testament Law?
This week on the Straight Truth Podcast, we ask the question: Should Christians Follow Old Testament Law?
Is the Old Testament even relevant or valuable for the New Testament Christian? Is the Law of Moses binding on believers of Christ? Doesn’t the book of Hebrews teach us that the Old Covenant/Mosaic Covenant is obsolete?
This season on the Straight Truth Podcast, Dr. Richard Caldwell and host Dr. Josh Philpot have three special guests joining them: Pastor Mike Fabarez of Compass Bible Church in Orange County, CA; Dr. Tom Schreiner, the James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation at SBTS in Louisville, KY; and Dr. Bruce Ware, the T. Rupert and Lucille Coleman Professor of Christian Theology at SBTS in Louisville, KY.
Throughout the history of Christianity there have always been those who have argued that “we are not under law, but under grace”, taking the Apostle Paul’s words to extremes by rejecting the moral law found in the Old Testament, particularly in the Ten Commandments. Those who reject and deny that these are applicable to believers in Christ are often called “antinomians” - meaning no law or against law. Something new we are hearing today (yet, not entirely new, since it has similarities) is Christians being called to consider “unhitching” themselves from the Old Testament and any obligations we might think we have to it. Is this biblical? Should Christian’s abandon the Old Testament and neglect it as unimportant? Did Jesus do this? What about the Apostles after Jesus’s ascension? How about the Apostle Paul who wrote so much of the New Testament?
The Relevance and Value of the Old Testament
This week our panel tackles these questions and more that Christians have regarding the relevance and value of the Old Testament, and the Old or Mosaic Covenant for our lives today. They confirm that New Testament believers are not under the old covenant, but under the new covenant that was inaugurated in Jesus’s death and resurrection (Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:26-27; Rom. 6:14-15; 7:4-6; Heb. 8:1-10, 13). But, in saying that the believer is not under the old covenant and that it is “obsolete”(Heb. 8:13), does not make the Old Testament scriptures themselves obsolete. This is just not what we find in the New Testament; it is saturated with Old Testament scriptures used by the inspired writers of the New Testament. The Apostle Paul himself, as he is writing letters that become part of the cannon of New Testament scripture, writes this in 2 Timothy 3: 16 & 17, “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
We Interpret the Old Testament in Light of the New Testament
The Old Testament anticipates and predicts the new, and the New Testament is predicated on and explains the old; the New Testament then becomes our hermeneutical guide in how we are to understand and appropriate Old Testament texts. So, as we interpret the Old Testament in light of the New, we do find fulfillment (Matt. 5:17-20) and abolishment (Heb. 8:13), suggesting continuity and discontinuity. Yet, the God who gave us the words of the Old Testament is the same God who gave us the words of the New Testament and He does not change (Mal. 3:6, James 1:17); both the Old and the New Testament scriptures are the inspired, inerrant infallible, authoritative Words of God. A careful reading of the entire cannon will show us that there are many commandments from the Old Testament including ones from the Old/Mosaic Covenant that are repeated and even expanded on in the New Testament. We are commanded to be Holy in both the Old and the New Testaments because that is the very character of God and this is further expressed and represented in the many commands and laws we find throughout the entire Bible. Therefore, it doesn’t follow that there aren’t moral norms to be found for the people of God for all of life at all times in the entirety of His special revelation.
The Old Testament has Unending Relevance
Our panel walks us through some of these difficult texts and helps us think about the principles that come out of them and helps us comprehend how the Old Testament has unending relevance and value for the believer who is in Christ. We cannot just “unhitch” ourselves from either testament of the Bible, doing so destroys the whole counsel of God that He intends for His people to know and live by (Deut. 4:2, Deut. 12:32, Prov. 30:5-6, Rom.15:4, 1Cor 10:6, 2 Timothy 3:16 &17, Rev. 22:18-19).
If you are interested in learning more about the importance of the Old Testament, the Law given through Moses, and how these apply to us as New Testament believers in Christ, you can listen to the following sermons by Pastor Richard Caldwell:
The Love of God & The Law
Why the Law?
The Gospel and Law of God
Under Law or Under Grace
About The Straight Truth Podcast
The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net
The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo. The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.
The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.
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