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The Consequences of Undervaluing the Older Testament


1]  Jesus becomes a wax figure whom we can mould as we wish.  Invariably we end up fashioning him after our image.  Consider the assorted “Jesus’s” that have appeared in the 20th century: the Idealist philosopher, the businessman, the existentialist, the liberal humanitarian, the social conservative, the supporter of Nazi ideology.


It is most significant that the only physical description the apostles give us of Jesus is that he was circumcized.  I.e., it matters not to our faith what he looked like, but it matters supremely that he is a son of Israel .



2]  The gospel becomes ideation, an abstract amateurish philosophy, rather than the power of God unto salvation. ( Rom. 1:16)  “The power of God unto salvation” is God himself acting to effect our salvation.  The gospel, then, isn’t “news” or a report primarily but rather God himself acting; the gospel as “good news” is news of the event that it is inherently.



3]  We become antisemites.  The history of the church’s interface with the synagogue is the sorriest chapter in the church’s entire history.



4]  We undervalue the people of God and fail to understand the church as the people of God.  In the wake of this failure the church is understood principally in terms of the clergy or in terms of an institution.



5]  We undervalue history as the theatre of God’s revelation and as the theatre of our discipleship.



6]  We undervalue the Fall.  The story of the Fall occurs only in the OT.  It is a presupposition of everything that follows it in scripture.  Insofar as we neglect it we adopt a roseate view of human nature, ourselves, and the world in which the Christian mission unfolds.



7]  We substitute the category of religious evolution for the biblical category of God’s promise and its subsequent fulfillment.  As a result we adopt North America ‘s myth of progress concerning world-occurrence instead of underlining the patience, faithfulness and undeflectability of God.


In the light of the above-mentioned error we undervalue the need for faithfulness, constancy and consistency in our own discipleship and instead assume that developments in western civilization are co-terminous with the kingdom of God .


8]  We lose the Hebrew affirmation of the material, the earthly, the earthy, the sexual, bodily delight, the pleasures of food, drink, physicality, and appropriate the contradiction of all of this in the philosophy of Plato.


9]  We fail to grasp the central scriptural motif of holiness, both God’s and ours.  (Scripture attests God’s reaffirmation of holiness in the wake of our denial of his and our contradiction of our own.)