Why the OT?

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Why the OT?

Postby Brian Jordan » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:10 am

Marc Surtees suggested that more of our discussions should be here. So rather than split the ECC School thread, here's a question that arose when I followed Ashley's link to an article about Steve Chalke.
Arguments for and against Steve Chalke seem to centre around interpretations of the Old Testament. Which made me wonder (not for the first time): when and why did the early Christians decide to include the OT in their canon? Just think - if they'd left it out, there wouldn't be a Christian YEC on the planet!
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Re: Why the OT?

Postby a_haworthroberts » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:27 am

One reason is that Jesus and many of the 'NT' writers quoted from the OT from time to time (possibly also from the Apocrypha - or perhaps not as it didn't make the canon).
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Re: Why the OT?

Postby Michael » Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:09 am

Jesus was a Jew and brought up as such, so were the disciples, so the whole Christian faith grew out a Jewish environment with the OT as the core text. So as Gentiles were included and then Christians excluded from synagogues the OT was teained along with New books , what was settled in the 4th century as the NT.

From the beginning i.e after the Resurection the starting point was recognising the Risen Jesus was the Messaih and therefore a new thing on top of OT teaching, so that dominating early Christian teaching, which did not , by definition, give the OT the same position as Jews did.

Hence the Chriwtian church has usually interpreted the OT in the light of Jesus and the NT, so the OT may be foundational but not formative. This comes out in the Reformers as well including Calvin.

However some fundies try to see the whole of the Bible as equal and delightfully mocked in Frankie Schaeffer's book Zermatt. Schaeffer is the son of Francis Schaeffer one of the founders of the Religious right

PS it is interesting to also read the early Apostolic Fathers (available in Penguin) along wityh the NT

I hope this explains briefly where a fairly conservative Christian like me stands and is quite common
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Re: Why the OT?

Postby Dagsannr » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:56 pm

I think it was less a case of why is the OT included as more like that they'd never have dared leave it out. The process by which the books that were decided to be included in the christian bible was a highly political proceess. Some, much more sensible, but gnostic in nature books were eliminated totally as the gnostic tradition was out of favour at the time. Similary, I suspect a lot of books were left out as they featured women prominently (or had female authorship) and the highly patriarchial nature of the church and state made such a think unthinkable. The OT was 'safe', in that it was an established collection and provided legimacy to the books that eventually formed the NT. However, there's still debate, as there's a bunch of books the Catholics like, but the Protestants and Orthodox don't.

Now, if you're a christian, you take on faith that the process, political or not, was guided by god and therefore the books included were the books that god meant to be included, that no human influence would've made a difference. If you're not a christian, or you're a more liberal christian prepared to accept god isn't as interdictory as some like to think, then the whole canon is suspect and someone's faith should be based on a personal decision, not by the dogmatic adherance to what a bunch of old rich men decided on 1600 years ago.

Add into this that the authorship of all biblical texts is highly suspect, it renders most of the bible, let alone the OT, as a document of dubious authenticity.

If we're going to split hairs about why the OT, then I think we also need to examine why not the apocrypha, or why not the Q gospel, or why not the gospel of Thomas. They're questions of equal importance that have equally important implications about the nature of christianity and how literal it should hold the bible.
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Re: Why the OT?

Postby Krijimbesuesi » Mon Sep 03, 2012 9:16 pm

Brian Jordan wrote:Just think - if they'd left it out, there wouldn't be a Christian YEC on the planet!


The NT contains three classes of texts which

(1) imply that the earth and mankind are about the same age,

(2) imply a universal flood, or

(3) imply that the Fall of Adam affected more than the human kingdom.

Any of these is enough to establish YEC; and a threefold cord isn't easily broken.
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Re: Why the OT?

Postby a_haworthroberts » Mon Sep 03, 2012 9:35 pm

Krijimbesuesi wrote:
Brian Jordan wrote:Just think - if they'd left it out, there wouldn't be a Christian YEC on the planet!


The NT contains three classes of texts which

(1) imply that the earth and mankind are about the same age,

(2) imply a universal flood, or

(3) imply that the Fall of Adam affected more than the human kingdom.

Any of these is enough to establish YEC; and a threefold cord isn't easily broken.



Do you really mean NT (quoting the OT) - or OT?

Either way, I note that the YEC viewpoint is NOT established by any kind of evidence-based science but by claimed divine revelation.
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Re: Why the OT?

Postby Brian Jordan » Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:51 pm

Krijimbesuesi wrote:
Brian Jordan wrote:Just think - if they'd left it out, there wouldn't be a Christian YEC on the planet!


The NT contains three classes of texts which

(1) imply that the earth and mankind are about the same age,

(2) imply a universal flood, or

(3) imply that the Fall of Adam affected more than the human kingdom.

Any of these is enough to establish YEC; and a threefold cord isn't easily broken.
I'm not very well up on the Bible. Can you point to some examples (or the whole bits, if not too extensive) please?
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