By Randall Terry
Published October 31, 1993
- or –
Was Moses Really All That Bad?
“Is that in the New Testament?”
“When did Jesus Himself do that?”
If I hear these questions one more time, I’m going to scream.
These two questions crop up thousands of times a day in conversations, Bible studies and churches all over America. The theological presuppositions undergirding these questions are error at best and poisonous heresy at worst.
When someone asks the question, “Did Jesus ever do that,” they are simply implying that if Jesus did not do “that,” then we aren’t called to do it either. As I intend to show, this is folly. Jesus never got married and never had any children. Do they intend to forbid us to marry, as Paul warned some would? (see Tim. 4:3).
A Christian who asks, “Is that in the New Testament?” is implying that biblical truth from Genesis to Malachi, especially the Pentateuch (Genesis-Deuteronomy), is not binding on us today. This is serious error. As Gary North poignantly asks: Where in the New Testament is bestiality condemned or prohibited? Certainly the New Testament-only crowd would not say bestiality is now acceptable.
For discussion purposes, I want to break down the questions into two areas: 1) The person of Christ and the nature of God; 2) The Old Testament and the New Testament.
Are You Nicer Than Jesus?
When studying the person of Jesus Christ, we must rightly divide the Word of Truth. Christ’s words were not always nice or kind as we might like. Sometimes they were downright harsh. Frankly, most Christians today are attempting to be nicer than Jesus. If Christ were in many of our churches or communities today and said some of His more seemingly unkind words, we would probably grab Him, take Him aside, and rebuke Him. “Jesus! You can’t talk like that here! We’re Christians!” Friend, give up trying to be nicer than Jesus.
A far greater problem arises with those who believe that Jesus is fully understood and revealed in the Gospels. That is not accurate. Jesus is revealed from Genesis to Revelation, and the entire Bible must be studied to understand Christ. It is generally agreed that Christ appeared in the Old Testament – occurrences commonly called “Theophonies.” And obviously, the Lord is recorded as appearing in the books of Acts and Revelation.
God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One God, three persons. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8). There is no shadow of turning with God the Father (James 1:17).
This means that Christ was present in the Godhead when He made the decision to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and its inhabitants by fire and brimstone (Gen. 19:24). It means that God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – commanded Moses and then Joshua to obliterate the reprobate tribes of Canaan.
Millions of Christians have fallen into the theological trap, or at least the theo-emotional trap, that believes that we had one God in the Old Testament and another new God in the New Testament. They see God in the Old Testament as being severe, bordering on mean and unforgiving. Then Jesus comes and saves the day. He gets God the Father to calm down and stop killing people. Ananias and Sapphira were temporarily relapses (Acts 5:1-11). And Herod being eaten by worms, well … (Acts 12:23).
“Two Gods” is an incorrect, heretical view of God. This dichotomy of thought aids and abets another crippling disease in recent separatist Christianity – theologians call it antinomianism.
We’re not under the Law (Or near it, or in favor of it, or …)
You must have heard the annoying question – perhaps you’ve asked it: Is that in the New Testament?” Perhaps you’ve quoted a scripture in Deuteronomy or the Proverbs that demands justice, or calls God’s people to action, and someone responded with the throwaway line that supposedly ends all debate and relieves us of all responsibility: “That’s in the Old Testament.”
Millions of misled or deceived Christians discard truth and duty out of hand, solely because they are found between Genesis and Malachi, rather than Matthew and Revelation. (This is a tremendously useful theology for the pew potato who really doesn’t want to act anyway.) The majority of scriptures outlining how a culture should order itself are in the Old Testament. The majority of scriptures demanding we pursue and secure “social” justice and righteousness in society are in the Old Testament. In fact, most of the Bible is in the Old Testament.
I am not in anyway teaching that we can earn righteousness or right standing with God by works of the Law, for “by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight” (Rom. 3:20). Righteousness is a gift of God (Rom. 5:17) which comes to us through faith in Christ (Eph.2:8,9). And I am certainly not suggesting that we return to full Mosaic Law, i.e., animal sacrifices, the Aaronic priesthood, the Levites, etc. Jesus’ death was the perfect blood sacrifice able to atone for the sins of the world. Moreover, He has made all believers into a royal priesthood. Christ’s death brought an end to the types and shadows.
However, the phrase “we are not under the Law” (Rom. 6:14-15) has been stretched to the biblical breaking point. Young Christians and unstudied older Christians flippantly dismiss sacred truth with that smug answer, not knowing what it means.
We are not under the Law as a means of obtaining salvation, and as Christians, we are not under the curse even though we are still bound by the moral dictates of the Law, i.e., the Ten Commandments. Jesus said, “Do not think that I come to abolish the Law, or the Prophets: I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17). Paul said, “Do we nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law” (Rom. 3:31).
Those self-assured Christians who throw out the Law and smugly declare that they only “preach grace” are fools. I believe one major reason we have so few real, lasting conversions is because we don’t preach the Law before we preach grace.
People in sin need a Savior. How does someone know he is in sin? “I would not have come to know sin except through the Law” (Rom. 7:7). What brings men to Christ is the Law, the schoolmaster. “Wherefore the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal. 3:24).
“But wait!” you might venture. “Once you are saved, we no longer need the Law. We’re under the New Covenant.” True, we are under a glorious New Covenant sealed in Divine blood. But part of the New Covenant is the promise of God to write the Law on our hearts. “After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer. 31:33). Why would we try and dismiss what God wants to write on our hearts?
If you don’t know the Law, if you are not a student of the Old Testament, you will flounder at best, ever being an out-of-balance Christian without sure moorings. Your doctrine will be poorer, you will be in much need of reproof and correction, and you will not be properly equipped for the Lord’s work. In the great fields of labor that lie before us, you will be at best a second rate worker in the field.
Check Your Pockets
Friend have you been robbed? Have the theological escapists of the New Testament-only crowd robbed you of your “equipment”? The whole Bible is the Sword of the Spirit. We don’t want to go into battle with three-quarters of our sword broken off!
The theological challenge before us is not to throw the baby out with the bath water. Obviously, portions of the Pentateuch are no longer practiced today because Christ has come. Obviously, our justification before God is through faith – although faith without works is dead (James 2:26). Obviously, certain portions of the Law have been superseded by New Testament revelation and teaching. For example, there are New Testament reasons why we don’t stone adulterers and Sabbath-breakers. (I would encourage you to dig them out for yourself.)
We must studiously examine the Scriptures in the fear of the Lord. We must reject the simplistic notion that if it’s in the Old Testament, it’s not for today. We must reject the concept that God changed in nature between the Old and New Testaments. We must study and live the whole Bible, applying the clear meaning of biblical Law when we can – such as calling for the execution of murderers. We must apply the principles of biblical Law when the specific Law no longer has direct application – such as Mosaic codes to protect people on the second floor from falling through the ceiling. Or consider the principle of separating – quarantining – those with a deadly disease (Those with tuberculosis have always been quarantined. Why haven’t we protected innocent people from AIDS carriers in some manner?)
In the light of the whole counsel of God, we will be equipped for service and battle in our culture, and we will be able to provide biblical solutions to all of man’s problems (economic problems, political problems, educational problems, medical problems, judicial problems, restitution problems) because the Bible addresses them all – flawlessly.
Speaking of political problems, we need to look intently into the Word of God concerning the role and limited sphere of civil government in the Bible. The Bible teaches that civil government should have a very limited role. It should not be the ever expanding, messianic provider/healer that the Marxist/Socialists have created in much of Europe, Canada and now America.
I’ll take the standards, warnings and solutions God gave to Moses or King David, King Solomon or the Prophets, over anything that Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy or a pagan Supreme Court could ever offer.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Reconstruction
Your comments are welcome!
Visit The Forerunner's Discussion Forum!
High Quality Paperback — 40 pages of dynamite!
Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification
In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.
By the 21st century, we need a “Puritan Storm” to sweep away the Hegelian notion that the state is “God walking on earth.” We need revival and reformation in full force to vanquish the problems that plague us as a nation — from government controlled healthcare — to abortion on demand — to same sex “marriage.” This booklet gives a primer on our founders’ Christian idea of government and examines how the doctrine of nullification was woven into the Constitution as a safeguard against federal tyranny. It concludes with the history and theology of civil resistance. A Second American Revolution is coming with the Word of God growing mightily and prevailing! (Acts 19:20).
$7.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“… a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?
Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?
These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)