Not only did Jesus re-interpret many Old Testament passages (see Interpreting the Old Testament), but he sometimes undermined the authority of the Old Testament. This has some interesting implications.
A long time ago I noticed that when Jesus and the New Testament writers quoted the Old Testament, they did not always do it literally or accurately, but often used translations and interpretations that did not seem to be present in the original.
I felt this was an important fact, so I researched the matter (the way to learn new truths is to examine difficult facts).
Christians want others to believe in Jesus, because we believe he is “the way, the truth and the life”. But why should they? Do we offer good reasons why we believe and why we think they should also?
Earlier today, in God without religion?, I referenced a book which warns us that religion can lead to us getting “caught up in obeying Old Testament laws instead of experiencing New Testament freedom.”
In a comment, Julie suggested otherwise:
“The biggest problem with religion is that Christians can get caught up in experiencing New Testament freedom and fall into the heresy of antinomianism and ethical permissiveness.”
It’s a valid concern. But is she right?
Hell is being discussed lately, as a result of Rob Bell’s book Love Wins. Some of the questions people are asking are “Should believers fear Hell – and God?” and “Without the threat of hell, would people be good?”
It is good these questions are being asked, but I think they miss the point for two reasons.
Sometimes I think we forget.
We make pronouncements about God. Philosophical ones like whether God lives in time, or whether something is wrong because God says so, or he says so because he knows it is wrong. Theological ones like whether God chooses who will be saved and who will not. Ethical ones like whether God cares about the environment or not, and whether we should eat meat.
Lately I have been pondering two facts:
- The majority of world climate scientists believe the evidence shows that our climate is changing because of human activity, and, if allowed to continue unchecked, this will have disastrous consequences for hundreds of millions of people.
- Christians are well represented among those who are unwilling to accept these conclusions.
Why is it so?