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GodsPeace
Member



Joined: 2005/9/8
Posts: 60


 Application vs. Over-application of OT to Christians

Hi,

Any good resources out there discussing the issue mentioned in the Subject field? I'm reluctant to push things too far at times, but there are undeniable times of relevance. There are other times I want to 'push the envelope', maybe too far. I know this subject has been discussed, probably, ad infinitum, ad nauseam, but I haven't run into anything much. I'd appreciate anything you can come up with.

Thanks,

Jeffrey


_________________
J. Buzza

 2007/12/23 12:46Profile









 Re: Application vs. Over-application of OT to Christians

Hi

I don't know any specific resources, but it seems plain that there are two equal and opposite errors that one can fall into on the subject.

On the one hand we can live by a sort of "Christianised", OT Law, and fail to understand or appropriate the finished work of Christ; or live in the light of the freedom from the curse of the Law that He has won. Those who retain OT-type legalism in its extreme only differ essentially from Judaism in disagreeing on the identity of the Messiah.

Seventh-Day Adventistm is a classic, and fairly extreme, example of this kind of error.

On the other hand some go to such an extreme of "spiritualising" the Old Testament that one would think that this part of the Bible was obsolete except for the spiritual interpretation and illustrations drawn from it.

The truth, I believe, is that both Old and New Testaments are essential to our faith. The New is built on the solid foundation of the Old.

But no-one builds good strong foundations and digs a little home within them, instead of living in the house itself!

And you know what happens to a building without any proper foundations at all!

in Him

Jeannette

 2007/12/23 14:13









 Re: Application vs. Over-application of OT to Christians

isn't anyone else going to comment here?

Maybe its becaue there have been several threads more or less on this subject.

But I haven't come across anyone asking this particular question as such, only folks arguing about interpreting the Old Testament - usually coming down on one or other of the two errors I mentioned.

Jeannette

 2007/12/25 7:06
davyman
Member



Joined: 2007/12/21
Posts: 83


 Re:

Jeanette,

I guess I am a little stymied by your original question. I asked myself can we ever over apply scripture?

I suppose I could go to extreme lengths, for example when Isaiah says "get thee up into a high mountain." Paul makes it clear "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2Tim. 3:16). It's important to note that Paul is speaking of the OT, the NT had not yet come into being.

I think its important to note that Paul speaks of doctrine, not dogma. He does not say that it is profitable for ceremonial works, but doctrine. The doctrine of grace is the same in the old as the new. Paul takes great pains in his other epistles to prove this point. Hence, the doctrines of the the OT are profitable for reproof,for correction and for training in righteousness.

It is apparent by reading the epistles that Paul neither nullifies the OT system for the Jew nor does he impose it on the Gentile. It seems to me Christians should read the OT in this way. We should look for doctrinal implications of ceremonial Judaism and be amazed that Christ has accomplished all of it for us.


SDG,

Dave

 2007/12/25 9:28Profile
GodsPeace
Member



Joined: 2005/9/8
Posts: 60


 Re:

I could have made myself clearer: 2 Chronicles 7:14, is a favorite verse of mine and holds a great truth that I feel free to apply today, even though "If my people" in the ears of the hearers of the time meant the Hebrew nation.

I live in Thailand, and see very little of people who would be considered, "My people" by the above passage. Thus, in a land where some say 25% of the GNP of this land is from the sex trade, where they steal babies and maim them so that they can be beggars - thus a source of income - for their kidnappers for life. Who have no concept of God, and a vastly redefined idea of heaven. This country, that is about 95% Buddhist with about 1% (mostly) nominal Christians suddenly repents from their sins (even though they don't have much in the way of a concept of sin, and consider it bad manners to talk about such things). OK. So that is clearly - at least to me - a place where it's a stretch for me to haphazardly apply OT scriptures.

So, I don't know if you can apply 2 Chr. 7:14 without stretching it - maybe a little too much. In Thailand. However... there are an abundance of more 'hopeful' verses concerning "all nations, etc" as well as many other verses that do apply, and I see Him doing things here that I don't think I'd be witnessing if I was still in comfortable ol' America.

So, "If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sins and heal their land." Does that apply? Or do I just want it to?

So, I constantly apply it to myself, and to those I teach, and I just never want to go overboard. Teaching in the name of the Lord is the most awesome of responsibilities, and I am always before the Lord requesting His guidance. But I just ran into some 'ammunition' about the going overboard part that deeply matched what the Spirit and the Word have been teaching me lately.

The thing that made me start this thread was something I thought I read on a website about how Jesus is all through the Old Testament - to a much, much greater extent than I have heard others preach and teach about in the past. I spent a couple hours laboriously going through my browser's histories to get that back. Then I realized I downloaded it as a PDF file when I first found it. It turned out to be another great offering by the (especially recently) much maligned Frank Viola. It's called "Beyond Bible Study" and, I found it on his website,(if memory serves).

Forgive me, but I just found this some minutes ago, and had to do a couple things, but I'm about half way through its 17 pages, so I can't recommend it whole heartedly because I haven't read it all yet.

In fact, I recommend none of Frank Viola's books. If people are happy with today's syncretistic church - more pagan in its practices than Christian, he's a good person to avoid. I've held most of his ideas since only a few years old in the Lord - or for about 25 years. All I know is that since I stumbled into a church in Ko Samui and found a pastor that was of nearly like mind about we, as Christians, truly seeking to take our part as members of His body, all kinds of amazing things have occurred. A few have left - to be sure - but many are coming to a point of wanting to devote themselves to Him more seriously than they have even thought - and some of these after walking with Him for 20 + years. Thai's are coming to the Lord. Heresies like the prosperity gospel are being dealt with, and the promoters of this are being won over, not by confrontation, but by the words of Jesus (in context) and by love.

Reading through this, I've probably made it clear as mud. Personally, I'm coming away from this with a greater desire to see Christ in the OT, and apply OT truths more universally - often very stern (putting it mildly), but often full of hope to today's lukewarm, backslidden church - hence with a greater sense of freedom. Not license. I'll still look at the historical context, and the original recipients of the words, but I think that because of what the Lord has been teaching me just recently about how his Word and His Spirit are one, and how he uses them to interact in our hearts daily - to be more open when something wasn't written specifically to Christians, but maybe to someone in the OT.

BTW - about this interaction. God has led me to draw some others around me to read in the same scriptures, and do daily devotions from "My Utmost for His Highest" with others (available online). I recently found a bunch of copies in Thai, and have given some of them out, and it's wonderful to see, how what we - in spite of language and cultural barriers- are going through as a body can be seen in the common ground of what His Spirit is doing, what His word is doing, and what is happening in our common devotions. Just some serendipitous events that could only come from Him.

Whew! A long response! Gotta go!

Jeffrey


_________________
J. Buzza

 2007/12/25 16:14Profile
ginnyrose
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7494
Mississippi

 Re:

Jeffery,

Have you studied the book of Hebrews in light of your question? The writer talks a lot about religious OT law, and the moral law and how it relates to the Believer. Perhaps if you make this a matter of prayer, asking God to reveal His answer to your questions, He will show in the proper time.(James 1:5). Just ask Him to teach you to recognize his voice when he speaks so you can learn. Gets downright interesting, brother.

Blessings,
ginnyrose


_________________
Sandra Miller

 2007/12/25 22:50Profile
GodsPeace
Member



Joined: 2005/9/8
Posts: 60


 Re:

Quote:

Have you studied the book of Hebrews in light of your question? The writer talks a lot about religious OT law, and the moral law and how it relates to the Believer. Perhaps if you make this a matter of prayer, asking God to reveal His answer to your questions, He will show in the proper time.(James 1:5). Just ask Him to teach you to recognize his voice when he speaks so you can learn. Gets downright interesting, brother.

Blessings,
ginnyrose



Hi,

Well, Ginnyrose's question that has come to the fore in my heart many times. Seeing that Hebrews is arguably the second most important book in addressing the idea as Christ as Messiah, only after Matthew, and is the most important regarding how Jesus is the fulfillment of all of the Old Testament religious practice, then I'd answer your question, yes. With the possible exception of how much we already see Him in the Old Testament to begin with. After all, what source materials were Matthew and Hebrews dealing with? I would say that I need to study it deeper, then, again, I can say that about anything. I just spent 5 days on the study of one word REPENT, and consider that I've only scratched the surface - and that -mostly in intellectual - not heart understanding. Thomas Akempis, in the beginning of “The Imitation of Christ”, said, “I’d rather feel contrition than know how to define it.”

I'm preparing an extremely involved post on another old thread that deals with Frank Viola, and am finding myself bogged down on a couple words there too.

Gets downright interesting, sister! The next part deals with "how" He is teaching me.

The Holy Spirit has been teaching me in ways I haven’t experienced in many decades. It's the same message in many facets. There’s no question in my spirit where it is coming from, because of all the impossible ways that it keeps getting repeated to me through many disparate sources. The Bible, Friends, answers to prayer, study tools I use, my daily devotions from "My Utmost For His Highest", etc., all speaking the same things daily, but adding a little more each time.

This is all about the interconnectedness we experience with Him when we decide to start acting as members of His body, and stop just being people who attend church. After being led recently into this particular church - the only English speaking one in this area of Thailand - I saw that about 10% of the members seem desirous of seeking the Lord together, and, having my heart pre-prepared for this idea after 30 years of rejection at the hands of the churched. I think that the Lord has prepared a field where the fallow ground is ready to be broken in all our lives.

So just last night I read a short article available from Frank Viola's site that, again, added - or more correctly, multiplied, or, even better, made a quantum leap - to what the Spirit is teaching me. Things I felt the Lord maybe wanted to use me to begin instituting in this new church as early as the first week after I first walked in the door are now being brought forth, and reinforced in this article, shedding light on long-held questions in my mind, confirming His working, and answering questions about the interlacing of the OT and NT, that have been on my mind long before I started this post (years before, in fact), but now are being answered 'accidentally" over the course of the last few days.

"Accidentally"... Right!

Anyhow, here's a link to something I think could turn many ideas of how we look at Christ in the OT on their heads, but Frank goes much further into them... well, you're going to have to read all 17 pages to find the answer. He says it much better than I can. It could change your life, or not. Give it a read. Or not, it's up to you. After all 17 pages is an awful sacrifice.

Ginnyrose - Rereading this I want you to know I'm not directing this at you at all. I don't know much about where you stand. I started at the top answering your Hebrews question a little, but got into a broader tangent about what the Lord's been teaching me, and then I get into talking about Frank Viola who people are ignoring because he's apparently said that one man has said some things that he agrees with, and other's on this site think that's enough to dismiss Viola's teachings completely. Make no mistake. I think Viola's teachings constitute a true threat to the established church. I think the Body of Christ always has.

I know nothing of the Emerging Church. Apparently others here believe a man named McLaren, to be something like the “Emerging Church Movement Pope”. I haven't the foggiest, other than hearing there is no one monolithic, “Emerging Church Movement” and, frankly, today it’s not my main concern. I may study it later. My problem is the Submerging Church, and the way that we have placed our traditions above the Word of God, and shipwrecked and sunk many before they could learn to express as best as they could their proper function as part of His body in the Local church. My zeal for Jesus includes zeal for His body, In light of that I thought Viola's opening paragraph (in the PDF link I provided below) is apropos.

“In my personal judgment many segments of the Christian world today - including much of the emerging church conversation and the house church movement have lost the centrality of Jesus Christ,
In addition, for many Christians, the Old Testament has fallen out of functional use. Scores of present-day believers do not find anything of spiritual value in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, or Deuteronomy.”

From "Beyond Bible Study : Finding Jesus Christ in Scripture" by Frank Viola (this is a 17 page pdf. download)

[url=http://www.ptmin.org/beyond.pdf]Beyond Bible Study[/url]

Thanks,

Jeffrey


[url=http://www.ptmin.org/]Frank Viola's Website[/url]

Caution: When you go to Viola's home page (link above) you'll get confronted with an offer to buy his book. Pagan Christianity which is on sale.
Thought I'm thinking of buying a bunch of them to give away, I'd suggest you read this cautionary excerpt of what Viola says about his book first.

"Each chapter will trace an accepted traditional church practice. It will then tell the story of where this practice came from. But, more importantly, it will explain how this practice stifles the functional Headship of Jesus Christ and hampers the functioning of His Body.
If you are unwilling to have your Christianity seriously examined, do not read beyond this page. Give this book to Goodwill immediately! Spare yourself the trouble of having your Christian life turned upside down." (pg.28, 2002 printing)

Earlier, (pg. 26) a different caution:

"As Christians, we are taught by our leaders to believe certain ideas and to behave certain ways, We have a Bible, yes. But we are conditioned to read it with the lens handed to us by the Christian tradition to which we belong. We are taught to obey one denomination (or movement) and never to challenge what it teaches,
(At this moment all the rebellious hearts are applauding and are plotting to wield the above paragraphs to wreak havoc in their churches: If that is you, dear rebellious heart, you have missed my point by a considerable distance. I do not stand with you. My advice; Either leave your church quietly, refusing to cause division, or be at peace with it. There is a vast gulf between rebellion and taking a stand for what is true.)"


_________________
J. Buzza

 2008/1/1 9:25Profile









 Re:

Quote:

davyman wrote:
Jeanette,

I guess I am a little stymied by your original question. I asked myself can we ever over apply scripture?

I suppose I could go to extreme lengths, for example when Isaiah says "get thee up into a high mountain." Paul makes it clear "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2Tim. 3:16). It's important to note that Paul is speaking of the OT, the NT had not yet come into being.

I think its important to note that Paul speaks of doctrine, not dogma. He does not say that it is profitable for ceremonial works, but doctrine. The doctrine of grace is the same in the old as the new. Paul takes great pains in his other epistles to prove this point. Hence, the doctrines of the the OT are profitable for reproof,for correction and for training in righteousness.

It is apparent by reading the epistles that Paul neither nullifies the OT system for the Jew nor does he impose it on the Gentile. It seems to me Christians should read the OT in this way. We should look for doctrinal implications of ceremonial Judaism and be amazed that Christ has accomplished all of it for us.


SDG,

Dave

Hi Dave

I didn't ask the original question. Maybe "over-application" should have been put in quotes?

I agree with the points you put here...

Blessings

Jeannette

 2008/1/1 10:06
davyman
Member



Joined: 2007/12/21
Posts: 83


 Re:

Jeffrey,

You said "So, I don't know if you can apply 2 Chr. 7:14 without stretching it - maybe a little too much." This particular verse has caused me to do some mental flips as well.

Since this verse is never quoted in the NT, nor are the conditions spoken of (if . . .then), I would say that the verse must be looked at in the context of the dedication of the temple. Solomon's plea is to an Israel that would soon apostate. God's response is that the nation would be sent into exile. But, that nation, the nation that is called by His name, if it repents would return to the land. God would remove all the curses fropm the land and bless His people.

I've heard televangelists and politicians quote this verse in the context of the US. Its like an insurance policy to them. "We need to do this national prayer thing so God will bless us." 2Chr. 7:14 becomes some kind of magic formula to cause the sovereign God to act on behalf of the most materialistic nation the world has ever seen. I believe this is a stench in His nostrils.

Instead, we should see the importance of repentance in this passage. God knows of Israel's immanent apostacy, and He commands repentance. God continues to command repentance, but it is couple with trusting His Son- the true Israel of God. We are brought into His body and our land is not of this earth, but of Heaven.

Christ has accomplished this "land-healing" for us. We pray, we repent, but the land has been healed.

SDG,

Dave

 2008/1/1 10:44Profile
GodsPeace
Member



Joined: 2005/9/8
Posts: 60


 Re:

To all concerned who read this post, please read the link "Beyond Bible Study" in my post below.

That brings together everything.

I'm just trying to find Jesus in the Old Testament as much as possible. And with great love and respect for the Old Testament, want to see it applied as broadly as possible, without actually being stupid about the subject. Since my original post I read the link below from Frank Viola, which, in 17 pages (15 if you knock out the credits) does a great job of answering that - to which you are still asking questions. Like, whether things should be in quotes or not?

Please get off that and spend an hour or less reading the link.

In short; Of course scripture can be over applied! Satan does that! It can me misapplied, warped, twisted and hammered into unrecognizable shapes, and has been through the millennia.

But finding Jesus, in every passage, in the book of Leviticus (as Viola explains in the article you haven't read). Now that's like a pearl of great price. Sorry for over-applying the parable.

Dave - I think you hit the nail on the head with regard to 2 Chronicles 7:14. But I think that though it came specifically to Israel, through Solomon, as a special message from the Lord, and contains some very scary warnings that would come to pass and to Israel. I agree that for every TV preacher to apply it to the US today is ludicrous.

But I am always thinking "Body of Christ" - Locally assembled saints. I think, as such we are not His people Israel, but if we, as a body, "truly" humble ourselves, "truly" pray, and "truly" seek His face, and "truly" repent and turn from our wicked ways, wherever we were he would restore our relationship with Him. But probably not with the exact promise He gave Solomon. I'm in Thailand, and these are not His people, and this is not His people's land, and they aren't about to repent... yet.

Without 2 Chr, 7:14 the word has ample promises to Israel, but also to others, both corporately and individually that contains the promise of His being there for those who seek Him. So, if the small fellowship of believers I'm with took 7:14 seriously, i.e. took Him at His word, then I believe we would certainly, "Hear from heaven" and many things would change in our walk with Him.

Also - and you'd have to be as sold on the idea of the body of Christ - as opposed to the traditional 'church' - as I am. You'd realize I'm talking about a corporate (local body) movement in this direction. History is full of "great men" of God. These I will not denigrate, but I think God wants for Himself, "a great people".

Our hope is in Christ. I think our time for being cowboys in the faith - rugged individuals! Is best left in the dust heap. It doesn't take great numbers to be the local representation of the body of Christ. I think great numbers might be counter-productive, but find a hard time explaining that in the context of Acts 2.

I didn't want to give this away, because it spoke to my heart so wonderfully when I read it, I wanted it to be a surprise to you, too, but at the end of the "Beyond Bible Study" Viola makes quite a case for the balance that can occur when we study the Bible together. Now, I don't take this for a minute to be the, "What's this scripture mean to you?" error. But, rather, I have seen this work where I might be the main teacher and someone will bring up something that was definitely meant to be brought out, and was a blessing to all, that wasn't part of my plan. How much better, if we're all searching the scriptures Berean-style, and open to each other, and even more to the Holy Spirit within them.

In conclusion, I think we can find Jesus Christ more widely in the OT than I think most of us realize. I still would like to be led to more info regarding this subject. But I think if we agree to assemble with brethren of like mind who want to apply a Cristological and Ecclesial Hermenutic to the interpretation of scriptures we can learn and grow corporately in ways far beyond our individual abilities, Because wherever two or more are gathered... Guess what? He doesn't add to our abilities, He doesn't magnify or multiply our abilities. He is infinite! He takes our measly number and raises it to the power of infinity! Hallelujah!

Thanks

Jeffrey


_________________
J. Buzza

 2008/1/1 12:21Profile





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