Join John Adams, world renowned Intl Matchmaker, Thurs nights 8:30 EST for Live Webcasts with FREE Prizes!
And check out Five Reasons why you should attend a FREE Live AFA Seminar! See locations and details.


Scam free! Check out Christian Filipina - Meet Asian women with Christian values! Members screened.
Exclusive book offer! 75% off! How to Meet, Date and Marry Your Filipina Wife



View Active Topics       Latest 100 Topics       View Your Posts       FAQ Topics       Switch to Mobile


The Old Testament for Christians

Discuss religion and spirituality topics.

Moderators: jamesbond, fschmidt

The Old Testament for Christians

Postby fschmidt » Sat Oct 04, 2014 8:51 pm

Q. What is the Old Testament?

A. The Old Testament is God's ethics explained in a collection of many types of writing.

Q. Is this ethics required for salvation?

A. No, not in the Christian view. The Christian view is that salvation comes from faith in Christ.

Q. Then what is the point of the Old Testament for Christians?

A. Those with true faith in Christ should want to follow Christ which clearly includes trying to adhere to God's will, and God's will includes the ethics of the Old Testament. Jesus prayed that "Thy will be done" (Thy referring to God). James said "faith without works is dead". Being ethical is referred to in Christianity as "works". Since faith should imply works, works are proof of faith.

Q. Is there any other benefit to following God's ethics?

A. Yes, the Old Testament repeatedly points out that a society that follows God's ethics will prosper but an unethical society will fail, for example in Deuteronomy 28. In an ethical society, people can trust each other and this trust makes the society strong. It also makes life better for moral people.

Q. What about those Christians who claim to have faith without works?

A. Their faith is a lie.

Q. But millions of Protestant claim this.

A. Modern Protestants are the world's biggest liars and their faith is the ultimate lie. These modern Protestants all believe that they are like prophets and have a direct line to God who tells them what to do. Of course this is nonsense and what they interpret as God's word is nothing more than their own emotions telling them what to do. So in fact their faith is in their own emotions, not in Christ or God. Their worship is self-worship. They do this in God's name, violating the third of the Ten Commandments which says not to misuse God's name. How can I be sure of this? Jesus addressed modern Protestantism directly here:

--------------------------------------------------
“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’
--------------------------------------------------
Matthew 7:15-23

What kind of fruit does modern Protestantism produce? Clearly bad fruit, every modern Protestant society today is a moral disgrace.

Q. But wasn't the Reformation all about overthrowing the unjustified works of the Catholic Church?

A. Yes, but these works weren't God's works. The Catholic Church also misused God's name to invent works in the name of God that aren't actually works of God. Martin Luther rejected these Catholic works but offered no substitute. John Calvin fixed this by correctly pointing out that true faith should produce true works as found in the ethics of the Bible. Though Luther and the Eastern Orthodox Church disagree on many theological points, this is one point on which they are in complete agreement.

Q. So then Protestantism was on the right path?

A. Yes, on this issue, early Protestantism was on the right path. This was true of all early Protestant sects influenced by Calvin and was especially true of the Puritans. And what were the fruits of this form of Protestantism? The Enlightenment, the British Empire, and the United States. Not bad, I think. Judged by these fruits, the early Protestants were doing something right.

Q. So where did Protestantism go wrong?

A. In America in the early 1800s in the Christian Second Great Awakening. This was time of public fairs full of snake oil salesmen, and religion was much the same. All kinds of religious claims were being sold to the public, but the one that took hold, the easy remedy for salvation, was that an emotional experience that one took to mean "accepting Christ" was the means for Salvation. In particular, a preacher named Charles Finney promoted this view. This was a clear rejection of John Calvin's views including his view of the relationship between faith and works. So Christian works died for Protestants. From this point on, Protestant societies went into moral decline.

Q. Didn't Christ come to replace the Law with Faith?

A. The whole concept of "the Law" is misunderstood. The Old Testament is not a law book, it is a book of ethics. The Old Testament contains laws that were specific to the Israelite society of that time. These laws are examples of applied ethics, but these laws were never meant to be eternal, not even for Jews. The part of the Old Testament that contains these laws is called the "Torah" in Hebrew, and Torah means "teaching", not "law". Of course some laws are so basic that they are in fact fundamental ethical principles, so they are eternal because ethical principles are eternal. The obvious example of this is the Ten Commandments.

Q. So then what is all this talk about "the Law" about?

A. In fact it is the Pharisees who made Judaism legalistic. They focused on law instead of ethics and then they added their own laws. Jesus particularly objected to the added laws of the Pharisees. Jesus defended the Old Testament in Matthew 5:17-20. In English translations, Jesus seems to be defending "the Law" but in Hebrew versions of Matthew that were found, Jesus says "the Torah", not "the Law", which means that Jesus is defending the teachings of the Old Testament. Paul attacked the Law which is not what the Old Testament is really about and is largely a construct of the Pharisees.

Q. How can one be sure that the Old Testament is really about ethics and not law?

A. Just read it. What do the prophets talk about? What does most of the Old Testament talk about? Is it law or is it ethics? Read it and decide for yourself.

Q. Aren't Jews the ones who follow the Old Testament?

A. Not at all. Most Jews today are Rabbinic Jews and Rabbinic Jews follow the Talmud, not the Old Testament. The Talmud is based on the Old Testament but twists it beyond recognition and explicitly rejects God's authority which is replaced by the authority of the rabbis (Talmud, Bava Metzia 59a-b). The Orthodox rabbis of today are the direct descendants of the Pharisees. It is Orthodox Jewish law that every Orthodox rabbi must be taught by another rabbi which connects in an unbroken chain back to the Pharisees from the time of Jesus.

Q. Should Rabbinic Judaism be hated for twisting God's word?

A. No. Catholicism and modern Protestantism also twist God's word. We should focus on improving ourselves instead of hating others for being misguided.

Q. Is all Judaism so misguided?

A. No, Karaite Judaism follows the Old Testament, but it is a small sect of Judaism.

Q. Who else follows the Old Testament?

A. The Puritans followed the ethical principles of the Old Testament better than Jews ever did. The ethical principles of God are available to anyone who wants to follow them. Unfortunately it seems that few major religions are interested in God's ethics today. That is why the modern world is such a mess.

Q. How should a Christian follow God's ethics today?

A. Read the Bible and follow it.

Q. But many parts of the Old Testament seem archaic. How should these parts be applied?

A. One needs to understand the historical context and use this to find the underlying principles which can be applied today. I admit that this isn't easy. So it is best to do this with the help of an Old Testament Bible study group.

Q. Where can one find a good Old Testament study group?

A. I offer an online Old Testament study group here:

http://www.scripturist.org/

I also plan to offer a local group in El Paso where I live. You can also ask your priest.

Q. Are you, the author, Christian?

A. No, my beliefs are similar to Karaite Judaism.

Q. Why should we listen to you if you aren't Christian?

A. Jesus considered the good Samaritan to be his neighbor. The Samaritans weren't just any group, like most pagans. The Samaritans worshipped the same God as the Jews and had almost the same Torah. So Jesus's point was that people who share the same God and same ethics, and prove this by actually helping each other, are neighbors even if they have different beliefs and different ethnicity. True neighbors should help each other, so I would like to help Christians understand the Old Testament.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
fschmidt
Veteran Poster
 
Posts: 2118
Joined: Sun May 18, 2008 8:16 am
Location: El Paso, TX







Postby MrMan » Sat Oct 04, 2014 9:29 pm

The Old Testament contains a system of national laws for the nation of Israel. All of these laws are of benefit to the church, but not all of them apply to the other nations. The righteousness of God coming through faith is revealed in these books. There are also books of prophecies which convey God's messages to the nation of Israel at that time and that contain lessons for us today and many prophecies applicable to our time.

The Old Testament is important for Christians today.
MrMan
Experienced Poster
 
Posts: 1217
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:52 am

Postby Ghost » Sat Oct 04, 2014 11:04 pm

This is really good. It would be good for handing out in pamphlet form in churches and churchian areas.

These modern Protestants all believe that they are like prophets and have a direct line to God who tells them what to do. Of course this is nonsense and what they interpret as God's word is nothing more than their own emotions telling them what to do.

These modern Protestants all believe that they are like prophets and have a direct line to God who tells them what to do. Of course this is nonsense and what they interpret as God's word is nothing more than their own emotions telling them what to do.


With these two sentences alone, you just explained why protestant societies are so permissive and are so immoral and unethical. I couldn't have said it better myself. This is what churchians need to hear. Or perhaps not. People on the fence need to hear this. Churchians are hopeless.
Ghost
Elite Upper Class Poster
 
Posts: 5749
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 1:23 am

Re:

Postby fschmidt » Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:00 am

Ghost wrote:This is really good. It would be good for handing out in pamphlet form in churches and churchian areas.

I gave this to my Greek Orthodox priest today and scheduled a meeting to discuss it with him on Tuesday. If he doesn't object, I will hand it out to all the men in the church.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
fschmidt
Veteran Poster
 
Posts: 2118
Joined: Sun May 18, 2008 8:16 am
Location: El Paso, TX

Re: Re:

Postby Jester » Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:55 am

fschmidt wrote:
Ghost wrote:This is really good. It would be good for handing out in pamphlet form in churches and churchian areas.

I gave this to my Greek Orthodox priest today and scheduled a meeting to discuss it with him on Tuesday. If he doesn't object, I will hand it out to all the men in the church.


Not clear on what you are aiming for here, Franklin. You can't tell your priest that you are not a Christian. He is simply not in a position to authorize such a pamphlet, and will refer it to the bishop, who will ultimately say no. You are being TOO forthright and direct. An admirable failing, I admit, but still a failing. There is a time to keep your mouth shut, and dwell together in peace.

For your children's sake, be careful.
"Pick a point and go to it."
-- Dr John Hunsucker, speaking about canoeing on Georgia's Lake Lanier, with its irregular shape, and 1000 miles of meandering shoreline
Jester
Elite Upper Class Poster
 
Posts: 7869
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:10 am
Location: Chiang Mai Thailand

Re: The Old Testament for Christians

Postby Jester » Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:33 am

fschmidt wrote:Q. What is the Old Testament?

A. The Old Testament is God's ethics explained in a collection of many types of writing.

Q. Is this ethics required for salvation?

A. No, not in the Christian view. The Christian view is that salvation comes from faith in Christ.

Q. Then what is the point of the Old Testament for Christians?

A. Those with true faith in Christ should want to follow Christ which clearly includes trying to adhere to God's will, and God's will includes the ethics of the Old Testament. Jesus prayed that "Thy will be done" (Thy referring to God). James said "faith without works is dead". Being ethical is referred to in Christianity as "works". Since faith should imply works, works are proof of faith.

Q. Is there any other benefit to following God's ethics?

A. Yes, the Old Testament repeatedly points out that a society that follows God's ethics will prosper but an unethical society will fail, for example in Deuteronomy 28. In an ethical society, people can trust each other and this trust makes the society strong. It also makes life better for moral people.

Q. What about those Christians who claim to have faith without works?

A. Their faith is a lie.

Q. But millions of Protestant claim this.

A. Modern Protestants are the world's biggest liars and their faith is the ultimate lie. These modern Protestants all believe that they are like prophets and have a direct line to God who tells them what to do. Of course this is nonsense and what they interpret as God's word is nothing more than their own emotions telling them what to do. So in fact their faith is in their own emotions, not in Christ or God. Their worship is self-worship. They do this in God's name, violating the third of the Ten Commandments which says not to misuse God's name. How can I be sure of this? Jesus addressed modern Protestantism directly here:

--------------------------------------------------
“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’
--------------------------------------------------
Matthew 7:15-23

What kind of fruit does modern Protestantism produce? Clearly bad fruit, every modern Protestant society today is a moral disgrace.

Q. But wasn't the Reformation all about overthrowing the unjustified works of the Catholic Church?

A. Yes, but these works weren't God's works. The Catholic Church also misused God's name to invent works in the name of God that aren't actually works of God. Martin Luther rejected these Catholic works but offered no substitute. John Calvin fixed this by correctly pointing out that true faith should produce true works as found in the ethics of the Bible. Though Luther and the Eastern Orthodox Church disagree on many theological points, this is one point on which they are in complete agreement.

Q. So then Protestantism was on the right path?

A. Yes, on this issue, early Protestantism was on the right path. This was true of all early Protestant sects influenced by Calvin and was especially true of the Puritans. And what were the fruits of this form of Protestantism? The Enlightenment, the British Empire, and the United States. Not bad, I think. Judged by these fruits, the early Protestants were doing something right.

Q. So where did Protestantism go wrong?

A. In America in the early 1800s in the Christian Second Great Awakening. This was time of public fairs full of snake oil salesmen, and religion was much the same. All kinds of religious claims were being sold to the public, but the one that took hold, the easy remedy for salvation, was that an emotional experience that one took to mean "accepting Christ" was the means for Salvation. In particular, a preacher named Charles Finney promoted this view. This was a clear rejection of John Calvin's views including his view of the relationship between faith and works. So Christian works died for Protestants. From this point on, Protestant societies went into moral decline.

Q. Didn't Christ come to replace the Law with Faith?

A. The whole concept of "the Law" is misunderstood. The Old Testament is not a law book, it is a book of ethics. The Old Testament contains laws that were specific to the Israelite society of that time. These laws are examples of applied ethics, but these laws were never meant to be eternal, not even for Jews. The part of the Old Testament that contains these laws is called the "Torah" in Hebrew, and Torah means "teaching", not "law". Of course some laws are so basic that they are in fact fundamental ethical principles, so they are eternal because ethical principles are eternal. The obvious example of this is the Ten Commandments.

Q. So then what is all this talk about "the Law" about?

A. In fact it is the Pharisees who made Judaism legalistic. They focused on law instead of ethics and then they added their own laws. Jesus particularly objected to the added laws of the Pharisees. Jesus defended the Old Testament in Matthew 5:17-20. In English translations, Jesus seems to be defending "the Law" but in Hebrew versions of Matthew that were found, Jesus says "the Torah", not "the Law", which means that Jesus is defending the teachings of the Old Testament. Paul attacked the Law which is not what the Old Testament is really about and is largely a construct of the Pharisees.

Q. How can one be sure that the Old Testament is really about ethics and not law?

A. Just read it. What do the prophets talk about? What does most of the Old Testament talk about? Is it law or is it ethics? Read it and decide for yourself.

Q. Aren't Jews the ones who follow the Old Testament?

A. Not at all. Most Jews today are Rabbinic Jews and Rabbinic Jews follow the Talmud, not the Old Testament. The Talmud is based on the Old Testament but twists it beyond recognition and explicitly rejects God's authority which is replaced by the authority of the rabbis (Talmud, Bava Metzia 59a-b). The Orthodox rabbis of today are the direct descendants of the Pharisees. It is Orthodox Jewish law that every Orthodox rabbi must be taught by another rabbi which connects in an unbroken chain back to the Pharisees from the time of Jesus.

Q. Should Rabbinic Judaism be hated for twisting God's word?

A. No. Catholicism and modern Protestantism also twist God's word. We should focus on improving ourselves instead of hating others for being misguided.

Q. Is all Judaism so misguided?

A. No, Karaite Judaism follows the Old Testament, but it is a small sect of Judaism.

Q. Who else follows the Old Testament?

A. The Puritans followed the ethical principles of the Old Testament better than Jews ever did. The ethical principles of God are available to anyone who wants to follow them. Unfortunately it seems that few major religions are interested in God's ethics today. That is why the modern world is such a mess.

Q. How should a Christian follow God's ethics today?

A. Read the Bible and follow it.

Q. But many parts of the Old Testament seem archaic. How should these parts be applied?

A. One needs to understand the historical context and use this to find the underlying principles which can be applied today. I admit that this isn't easy. So it is best to do this with the help of an Old Testament Bible study group.

Q. Where can one find a good Old Testament study group?

A. I offer an online Old Testament study group here:

http://www.scripturist.org/

I also plan to offer a local group in El Paso where I live. You can also ask your priest.

Q. Are you, the author, Christian?

A. No, my beliefs are similar to Karaite Judaism.

Q. Why should we listen to you if you aren't Christian?

A. Jesus considered the good Samaritan to be his neighbor. The Samaritans weren't just any group, like most pagans. The Samaritans worshipped the same God as the Jews and had almost the same Torah. So Jesus's point was that people who share the same God and same ethics, and prove this by actually helping each other, are neighbors even if they have different beliefs and different ethnicity. True neighbors should help each other, so I would like to help Christians understand the Old Testament.


I agree with most of this already.

The Medieval Catholic Church didn't hesitate to better society, help the poor, build hospitals and universities, mount crusades, and in general meddle and improve the world.

re Calvinism, it's interesting that you redeem these fanatics and fairly credit them for their accomplishments. I don't agree with their pre-destination stuff, but you are right about their results. Like Mormons I suppose, some odd theology but great results. Facts are facts.

Re the section I highlighted on the Second Great Awakening, that was news to me. I'll assume you're right, but I thought that the decline was really later. Christians (mostly Protestants) used to stamp out wife-burning in India, and introduce hospitals in Africa, and ban the trans-Atlantic slave trade by force of arms, invent cars and planes, and so on, but around 1890 or so they seem to have lost confidence, with men of business becoming secular, and Christians buying into end-times-tribulation nonsense and giving up on bettering the world. Albert Schweitzer, who seems to me to be a personification of the "Old" Christianity, didn't become a missionary till 1905. Also in the early twentieth century, Billy Sunday preached, "If you don't do your part, don't blame God." So attributing the change to the EARLY nineteenth century seems odd.

Anyway, the fault of what modern Christianity has become, is that it neglects the outer, the "tikkun olam" of Judaism. Navel-gazing Christians beat their chests and contrive sins that do not exist. Pastor Bo Sanchez, an evangelical or pentecostal Catholic lay preacher from the Philippines to whom I listen, said that as a teenager he was convinced that his pride in his growing musical ability was a sin. He confessed this to a priest - who laughed. Nevertheless at the time, Bo remained convinced of his own sinfulness.

In so many instances in the Torah, the prescribed "works" stimulate and encourage inner virtue. IMO, works are not only a sign of faith, but a training ground. When someone cuts away Scripture, or tells me that times have changed, well he could be right, but I smell a con.

And I will add Sirach 4:20-22, found in the Bibles of most of the world's Christians, which for me speak to this very issue, the dictatorship of too much inner searching, resulting in being no earthly good:

Take advantage of opportunities, but guard yourself against evil. Don't underrate yourself. Humility deserves honor and respect, but a low opinion of yourself leads to sin. Do not let others have their way at your expense; do not bring on your own ruin by giving up your rights.
"Pick a point and go to it."
-- Dr John Hunsucker, speaking about canoeing on Georgia's Lake Lanier, with its irregular shape, and 1000 miles of meandering shoreline
Jester
Elite Upper Class Poster
 
Posts: 7869
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:10 am
Location: Chiang Mai Thailand

Re: The Old Testament for Christians

Postby fschmidt » Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:25 pm

Jester wrote:Not clear on what you are aiming for here, Franklin. You can't tell your priest that you are not a Christian. He is simply not in a position to authorize such a pamphlet, and will refer it to the bishop, who will ultimately say no. You are being TOO forthright and direct. An admirable failing, I admit, but still a failing. There is a time to keep your mouth shut, and dwell together in peace.

I told the priest that I am not Christian before I even joined the church, so he knows and is fine with it. I talked to him for over an hour yesterday about this writing and he likes most of it. He says that I can't hand it out in church but I can hand it out in the meeting room behind the church where we meet for coffee after service. That is what I planned on anyway. So I will hand it out next Sunday.

Jester wrote:Re the section I highlighted on the Second Great Awakening, that was news to me.

I went into much more detail here:

http://www.scripturist.org/The-Rise-and-Fall-of-Christian-Culture-tp5001012.html
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
fschmidt
Veteran Poster
 
Posts: 2118
Joined: Sun May 18, 2008 8:16 am
Location: El Paso, TX

Re: The Old Testament for Christians

Postby Jester » Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:46 pm

fschmidt wrote:I told the priest that I am not Christian before I even joined the church, so he knows and is fine with it. I talked to him for over an hour yesterday about this writing and he likes most of it. He says that I can't hand it out in church but I can hand it out in the meeting room behind the church where we meet for coffee after service. That is what I planned on anyway. So I will hand it out next Sunday.


+1 to you.

+1 to your priest, too.
"Pick a point and go to it."
-- Dr John Hunsucker, speaking about canoeing on Georgia's Lake Lanier, with its irregular shape, and 1000 miles of meandering shoreline
Jester
Elite Upper Class Poster
 
Posts: 7869
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:10 am
Location: Chiang Mai Thailand

Re: The Old Testament for Christians

Postby OutWest » Sat Nov 01, 2014 4:06 am

fschmidt wrote:
Jester wrote:Not clear on what you are aiming for here, Franklin. You can't tell your priest that you are not a Christian. He is simply not in a position to authorize such a pamphlet, and will refer it to the bishop, who will ultimately say no. You are being TOO forthright and direct. An admirable failing, I admit, but still a failing. There is a time to keep your mouth shut, and dwell together in peace.

I told the priest that I am not Christian before I even joined the church, so he knows and is fine with it. I talked to him for over an hour yesterday about this writing and he likes most of it. He says that I can't hand it out in church but I can hand it out in the meeting room behind the church where we meet for coffee after service. That is what I planned on anyway. So I will hand it out next Sunday.

Jester wrote:Re the section I highlighted on the Second Great Awakening, that was news to me.

I went into much more detail here:

http://www.scripturist.org/The-Rise-and-Fall-of-Christian-Culture-tp5001012.html


While I admit that I just gave your write up a cursory read-over, I enjoy the direction of your work.
While in Oregon I visited a Mennonite church with my wife a few times. This church is set in a farming
valley. While not familiar with Mennonites as such, my wife was captivated by their simplicity, sincerity
and humble attitude as well as their mission outreach of service to the poor. We are likely to continue this
interest both in the US and the Philippines. They seem to live past and transcend trendy American denominational values
OutWest
Veteran Poster
 
Posts: 2058
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:09 am
Location: Asia/USA

Re: The Old Testament for Christians

Postby gsjackson » Sat Nov 01, 2014 6:41 am

Jester wrote:
fschmidt wrote:Q. What is the Old Testament?

A. The Old Testament is God's ethics explained in a collection of many types of writing.

Q. Is this ethics required for salvation?

A. No, not in the Christian view. The Christian view is that salvation comes from faith in Christ.

Q. Then what is the point of the Old Testament for Christians?

A. Those with true faith in Christ should want to follow Christ which clearly includes trying to adhere to God's will, and God's will includes the ethics of the Old Testament. Jesus prayed that "Thy will be done" (Thy referring to God). James said "faith without works is dead". Being ethical is referred to in Christianity as "works". Since faith should imply works, works are proof of faith.

Q. Is there any other benefit to following God's ethics?

A. Yes, the Old Testament repeatedly points out that a society that follows God's ethics will prosper but an unethical society will fail, for example in Deuteronomy 28. In an ethical society, people can trust each other and this trust makes the society strong. It also makes life better for moral people.

Q. What about those Christians who claim to have faith without works?

A. Their faith is a lie.

Q. But millions of Protestant claim this.

A. Modern Protestants are the world's biggest liars and their faith is the ultimate lie. These modern Protestants all believe that they are like prophets and have a direct line to God who tells them what to do. Of course this is nonsense and what they interpret as God's word is nothing more than their own emotions telling them what to do. So in fact their faith is in their own emotions, not in Christ or God. Their worship is self-worship. They do this in God's name, violating the third of the Ten Commandments which says not to misuse God's name. How can I be sure of this? Jesus addressed modern Protestantism directly here:

--------------------------------------------------
“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’
--------------------------------------------------
Matthew 7:15-23

What kind of fruit does modern Protestantism produce? Clearly bad fruit, every modern Protestant society today is a moral disgrace.

Q. But wasn't the Reformation all about overthrowing the unjustified works of the Catholic Church?

A. Yes, but these works weren't God's works. The Catholic Church also misused God's name to invent works in the name of God that aren't actually works of God. Martin Luther rejected these Catholic works but offered no substitute. John Calvin fixed this by correctly pointing out that true faith should produce true works as found in the ethics of the Bible. Though Luther and the Eastern Orthodox Church disagree on many theological points, this is one point on which they are in complete agreement.

Q. So then Protestantism was on the right path?

A. Yes, on this issue, early Protestantism was on the right path. This was true of all early Protestant sects influenced by Calvin and was especially true of the Puritans. And what were the fruits of this form of Protestantism? The Enlightenment, the British Empire, and the United States. Not bad, I think. Judged by these fruits, the early Protestants were doing something right.

Q. So where did Protestantism go wrong?

A. In America in the early 1800s in the Christian Second Great Awakening. This was time of public fairs full of snake oil salesmen, and religion was much the same. All kinds of religious claims were being sold to the public, but the one that took hold, the easy remedy for salvation, was that an emotional experience that one took to mean "accepting Christ" was the means for Salvation. In particular, a preacher named Charles Finney promoted this view. This was a clear rejection of John Calvin's views including his view of the relationship between faith and works. So Christian works died for Protestants. From this point on, Protestant societies went into moral decline.

Q. Didn't Christ come to replace the Law with Faith?

A. The whole concept of "the Law" is misunderstood. The Old Testament is not a law book, it is a book of ethics. The Old Testament contains laws that were specific to the Israelite society of that time. These laws are examples of applied ethics, but these laws were never meant to be eternal, not even for Jews. The part of the Old Testament that contains these laws is called the "Torah" in Hebrew, and Torah means "teaching", not "law". Of course some laws are so basic that they are in fact fundamental ethical principles, so they are eternal because ethical principles are eternal. The obvious example of this is the Ten Commandments.

Q. So then what is all this talk about "the Law" about?

A. In fact it is the Pharisees who made Judaism legalistic. They focused on law instead of ethics and then they added their own laws. Jesus particularly objected to the added laws of the Pharisees. Jesus defended the Old Testament in Matthew 5:17-20. In English translations, Jesus seems to be defending "the Law" but in Hebrew versions of Matthew that were found, Jesus says "the Torah", not "the Law", which means that Jesus is defending the teachings of the Old Testament. Paul attacked the Law which is not what the Old Testament is really about and is largely a construct of the Pharisees.

Q. How can one be sure that the Old Testament is really about ethics and not law?

A. Just read it. What do the prophets talk about? What does most of the Old Testament talk about? Is it law or is it ethics? Read it and decide for yourself.

Q. Aren't Jews the ones who follow the Old Testament?

A. Not at all. Most Jews today are Rabbinic Jews and Rabbinic Jews follow the Talmud, not the Old Testament. The Talmud is based on the Old Testament but twists it beyond recognition and explicitly rejects God's authority which is replaced by the authority of the rabbis (Talmud, Bava Metzia 59a-b). The Orthodox rabbis of today are the direct descendants of the Pharisees. It is Orthodox Jewish law that every Orthodox rabbi must be taught by another rabbi which connects in an unbroken chain back to the Pharisees from the time of Jesus.

Q. Should Rabbinic Judaism be hated for twisting God's word?

A. No. Catholicism and modern Protestantism also twist God's word. We should focus on improving ourselves instead of hating others for being misguided.

Q. Is all Judaism so misguided?

A. No, Karaite Judaism follows the Old Testament, but it is a small sect of Judaism.

Q. Who else follows the Old Testament?

A. The Puritans followed the ethical principles of the Old Testament better than Jews ever did. The ethical principles of God are available to anyone who wants to follow them. Unfortunately it seems that few major religions are interested in God's ethics today. That is why the modern world is such a mess.

Q. How should a Christian follow God's ethics today?

A. Read the Bible and follow it.

Q. But many parts of the Old Testament seem archaic. How should these parts be applied?

A. One needs to understand the historical context and use this to find the underlying principles which can be applied today. I admit that this isn't easy. So it is best to do this with the help of an Old Testament Bible study group.

Q. Where can one find a good Old Testament study group?

A. I offer an online Old Testament study group here:

http://www.scripturist.org/

I also plan to offer a local group in El Paso where I live. You can also ask your priest.

Q. Are you, the author, Christian?

A. No, my beliefs are similar to Karaite Judaism.

Q. Why should we listen to you if you aren't Christian?

A. Jesus considered the good Samaritan to be his neighbor. The Samaritans weren't just any group, like most pagans. The Samaritans worshipped the same God as the Jews and had almost the same Torah. So Jesus's point was that people who share the same God and same ethics, and prove this by actually helping each other, are neighbors even if they have different beliefs and different ethnicity. True neighbors should help each other, so I would like to help Christians understand the Old Testament.


I agree with most of this already.

The Medieval Catholic Church didn't hesitate to better society, help the poor, build hospitals and universities, mount crusades, and in general meddle and improve the world.

re Calvinism, it's interesting that you redeem these fanatics and fairly credit them for their accomplishments. I don't agree with their pre-destination stuff, but you are right about their results. Like Mormons I suppose, some odd theology but great results. Facts are facts.

Re the section I highlighted on the Second Great Awakening, that was news to me. I'll assume you're right, but I thought that the decline was really later. Christians (mostly Protestants) used to stamp out wife-burning in India, and introduce hospitals in Africa, and ban the trans-Atlantic slave trade by force of arms, invent cars and planes, and so on, but around 1890 or so they seem to have lost confidence, with men of business becoming secular, and Christians buying into end-times-tribulation nonsense and giving up on bettering the world. Albert Schweitzer, who seems to me to be a personification of the "Old" Christianity, didn't become a missionary till 1905. Also in the early twentieth century, Billy Sunday preached, "If you don't do your part, don't blame God." So attributing the change to the EARLY nineteenth century seems odd.

Anyway, the fault of what modern Christianity has become, is that it neglects the outer, the "tikkun olam" of Judaism. Navel-gazing Christians beat their chests and contrive sins that do not exist. Pastor Bo Sanchez, an evangelical or pentecostal Catholic lay preacher from the Philippines to whom I listen, said that as a teenager he was convinced that his pride in his growing musical ability was a sin. He confessed this to a priest - who laughed. Nevertheless at the time, Bo remained convinced of his own sinfulness.

In so many instances in the Torah, the prescribed "works" stimulate and encourage inner virtue. IMO, works are not only a sign of faith, but a training ground. When someone cuts away Scripture, or tells me that times have changed, well he could be right, but I smell a con.

And I will add Sirach 4:20-22, found in the Bibles of most of the world's Christians, which for me speak to this very issue, the dictatorship of too much inner searching, resulting in being no earthly good:

Take advantage of opportunities, but guard yourself against evil. Don't underrate yourself. Humility deserves honor and respect, but a low opinion of yourself leads to sin. Do not let others have their way at your expense; do not bring on your own ruin by giving up your rights.


Yes, my understanding of American Protestantism's main wrong turn was the post-Civil war transition from post-millennialism to pre-millennialism, culminating in the Third Great Awakening of the 1890s. And the psychological transition was precisely what you describe, Jester: a turn inward, away from the world and inward toward the individual soul and its salvation. The result was a neglect of the outside world and its challenges. If Jesus could come at any minute, and there's no need to establish a thousand-year reign of truth, justice and Christian values, why then pay any attention to the corrupt and hopeless world outside the small community of the saved?
gsjackson
Experienced Poster
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2010 2:08 pm
Location: New Orleans, LA USA

Re: The Old Testament for Christians

Postby fschmidt » Mon Nov 03, 2014 2:16 am

I handed out 12 copies after church today. I'm looking forward to getting reactions next week.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
fschmidt
Veteran Poster
 
Posts: 2118
Joined: Sun May 18, 2008 8:16 am
Location: El Paso, TX

Christmas Greeting Cards

Postby WILSON » Fri Nov 07, 2014 4:54 am

In the US, Louis Prang produced the first commercial Christmas cards. He was a German immigrant, who in 1856 started a small lithographic business near Boston. He is considered the creator of the industry's greeting card in the United States. More than five million cards were produced in 1881.
Last edited by WILSON on Sat Oct 17, 2015 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
WILSON
Freshman Poster
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2014 4:24 am

Re: The Old Testament for Christians

Postby fschmidt » Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:57 pm

I will post updates to this story here even though I know no one cares. I'll just be a religious troll on this thread.

I am giving my church 3 weeks for someone to show interest in doing Old Testament study. If this doesn't happen, I will swear off Christianity for life as being a hopeless religion. Today was week 1 and they failed. Instead of the usual after church socializing, they had a general assembly meeting. Yes, typically American, the big business meeting that just wastes everyone's time. But it gave women in the church an opportunity to ramble at length about nothing which got these women the attention of the whole church. So they have 2 more weeks which probably means I will just make 2 more posts to this thread.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
fschmidt
Veteran Poster
 
Posts: 2118
Joined: Sun May 18, 2008 8:16 am
Location: El Paso, TX

Re: The Old Testament for Christians

Postby fschmidt » Sun Nov 23, 2014 8:37 pm

Today was the third Sunday. No response. I am done with Christianity and Christians.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
fschmidt
Veteran Poster
 
Posts: 2118
Joined: Sun May 18, 2008 8:16 am
Location: El Paso, TX

Re: The Old Testament for Christians

Postby WILSON » Sat Oct 17, 2015 4:39 pm

The happiest day is coming in the way and it's christmas find your all christmas related data only through christmas picture to save the top quality photos also christmas greeting wishes text to wish your loved persons on this mega event.
User avatar
WILSON
Freshman Poster
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2014 4:24 am

Next

Return to Religion and Spirituality

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest