Irresistible Book Discussion: Chapter 9 - The Old Covenant is Obsolete. Period


(Carson Weitnauer) #21

Hi @SeanO, @tabby68, that’s a tough one. You can pray for it to happen. :slight_smile:

(SeanO) #22

@CarsonWeitnauer I figured it wouldn’t be easy. May the Lord’s will be done.

(Tabitha Gallman) #23

@CarsonWeitnauer, I will definitely be praying for it to happen :grinning:

(Jimmy Sellers) #24

The only point that I was trying make is that history would disagree with that statement. The narrative from a Jewish POV lived on for at least another 100+ years. Bar-Kochba minted coins with the image of a new Temple which was one of his stated goals along with assuming the role of Messiah.
According to Wright it was after this that Judaism abandon the hope of the grand story of Israel and its God, a God who would restore the world to its intended purpose. The olam ha-ba was losing steam and was becoming harder and harder to square with history.

For the record I don’t think that temporary has a ring of authority to it, rather it sounds wishy-washy to me. I am incline to go along with the idea that the old covenant was always about grace and always about the real sons of Abraham it just needed to be executed and signed. Jesus did both. He lived it and signed it in his precious blood and by doing so threw open the Kingdom to all who would believe and by their declaration become true sons of Abraham.

(SeanO) #25

@Jimmy_Sellers I actually do think Stanley is 100% correct on this point. Hebrews makes it clear that the Old Covenant has become obsolete.

Hebrews 8:13 - By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

And I think we need to distinguish between historical Judaism and the actual, active covenant that God had with the nation of Israel.

(Jimmy Sellers) #26

I don’t disagree. Hebrews 8:13 is clear even if you what to word study it to death but let’s not forget that the rest of that chapter(s) does go into a fair amount of detail comparing the old with new.
I think for me its the story and the story never stopped for the Jews until much later in history. I like what NT Wright says about the story first from a Pharisee POV:

And one of the central features of the implicit story in the mind and heart of a first-century Pharisee, sectarian or revolutionary was the weight of that continuing narrative, the responsibility to take it forward, the possibility that all its threads might now come together, that the rich tapestry of Israel’s history would disclose its full pattern at last, that the faithfulness of the one true God would be revealed to them but also through them.
Wright, N. T. (2013). Paul and the Faithfulness of God (Vol. 4, p. 116). Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

I would like to throw in the fact that this what turned Saul into Paul.
And now from the POV of a modern day Christian.

It has been characteristic of western Protestantism precisely that one does not think in terms of a continuous historical narrative with individuals finding their identity within it. That idea of a continuous narrative is what western Protestantism thought it had left behind at the Reformation,
Wright, N. T. (2013). Paul and the Faithfulness of God (Vol. 4, p. 115). Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

I hope this make sense.

(SeanO) #27

@Jimmy_Sellers From the Jews own perspective I can indeed see how the narrative did continue. And I also see how Christianity is a continuous narrative, but Protestants tend to start that narrative with Luther rather than trying to fit within the whole flow of it, if that is what that quote is saying.

(Godfrey Okello) #28

Well stated. I couldn’t agree more.

(Jimmy Sellers) #29

Here is another quote that comes a little closer to what concerns me about the idea of distilling the narrative. This reminds me of something some one else said, “the problem with distilling is not what you are left with but what was evaporated”.

Christ is the end of history as he is the end of the law. The idea of a continuous narrative—albeit one whose climax is the shattering event of a crucified Messiah!—constitutes the main problem to which the answer is the clean break, the fresh start, the ‘apocalyptic intervention’ of a God who says a loud (Barthian?) ‘No!’ to all that has gone before, blinding Saul of Tarsus with a new light and reducing the idea of continuity to the status of an idol made with hands. The solution then is a non-narratival world, or rather a narratival world where the only ‘story’ is ‘my story with God’ on the one hand, or a narratival world where the main ‘story’ is God’s invasion of the cosmos, without reference to the covenant, on the other.

Wright, N. T. (2013). Paul and the Faithfulness of God (Vol. 4, p. 141). Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

(SeanO) #30

@Jimmy_Sellers Hmmm, I suppose on the one hand Stanley is advocating only focusing on the latter half of the Biblical narrative when reaching out to unbelievers, but on the other hand I’m not sure he is advocating throwing away the first half of the narrative entirely. Only setting it aside until people mature in their faith a bit. But I agree, taking Jesus out of the salvation history narrative would make His appearance / life less comprehensible / meaningful, which is one reason Stanley spent the first 4-5 chapters of the book retelling that narrative :slight_smile:

I wonder if Stanley really means to clip the first half of the narrative when evangelizing or just to emphasize it less?

(Stephen Wuest) #31

I’m not interested in getting into the details of the comments above.

I would say very simply, that "New Testament’ means “new covenant.” Christians all live under a new covenant (a new “law”). The book of Hebrews is careful to point out the similarities and differences between the covenant with Moses, and the new covenant. A lot of Christians are not understanding what remains the same, between these 2 covenants, and what changes.

The unique benefits of the new covenant are laid out by Paul in Galatians. (Forgiveness of our sins, was always available in both covenants.) He is addressing all who are born “under law,” even the Romans and Greeks who lived under a civil law. I think that some Christians miss that Paul’s phrase “under law” is broader than just referring to just the law of Moses.

I think that a lot of the discussion of the law of Moses, by Christians, is not taking in what the New Testament states as remaining the same, between these covenants. And a lot of the concepts from the law of Moses, that the New Testament writers “quote,” are not recognized by modern Christians as coming from the law of Moses (such as in James 2, not showing partiality/favoritism, being a concept quoted from Exodus).

Paul emphasizes the continuity of God’s people, from Old Testament times, through the New Testament Church. He emphasized the faithfulness of God, in showing his kind providence, to his people, through time. I see very little of this biblical emphasis, in the popular “slogans” of different Christian denominations.

(SeanO) #32

@Stephen_Wuest People often point to the three fold division of the OT law in order to explain the continuity / discontinuity.

How many denominations slogans have you studied? What do you find lacking? I feel we ought to be gracious towards those seeking to expand God’s Kingdom. They don’t get everything perfect, but then neither do we.

“There exists a three-fold division of the law — ceremonial, judicial/civil and moral. The civil and ceremonial law are no longer applicable to us today, while the moral law — which is not culturally contingent — is indeed universally binding.”