Does the Old Testament apply?

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This post is very heady, very theological. Christians today often cite the Old Testament when they want to judge same gender relationships. This shouldn’t be a shock as it’s the most common thing christians do. I was raised in the church system of the Assemblies of God, my father a minister of it. Today it’s almost all we hear about… how some sin is an “abomination,” yet Jesus never says a word about it.

Christians will say, “well Jesus may not have said anything against gay people, but god has always been against it… read about it in this Old Testament passage on Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Once that door to Old Testament law is opened, it isn’t easily shut. What about all those other Old Testament “sins” like “working on the sabbath?” To work on the sabbath is punishable by death, just like being gay. So we could say that both “sins” were the same, as they supposedly deserved the same punishment.

One of my critics recently raised the issue that the Old Testament law was only for the Hebrews. It just doesn’t add up. In fact we went back and forth on it today, until he acknowledged he simply couldn’t answer the issue. This was a win for my book… Let’s follow the discussion to see the point where the bible breaks:

He stated early on that he observes some aspects of the Old Testament, but mostly he observes Jesus. Basically he observes the 10 commandments and the teachings of Jesus. He seemed to think most christians think similarly – which I hotly contest.

First, Jesus never spoke about same gender relationships, nor did the 10 commandments. To get momentum on this issue, a christian has to source their anti-gay sentiment from the Old Testament, or from Paul (who references the Old Testament law).

Second, and perhaps more importantly, Paul sources the Old Testament law often. I brought this up to my critic, who sidetracked it by quoting more around the passage and trying to explain it, but not addressing the issue of why did Paul cite the Old law?

My critic suggested that the old law was cited by Paul as he was talking to both gentiles and jewish people… hence, he only cited the law as he wrote Jewish people, whom the law applies to.

My Response

If the law doesn’t apply, then why invoke it? Why call out people who are gay? After all, no pastor is screaming about people who work on weekends, why are they so obsessed with sexualty?

The fact of the matter is, Christians have invoked the old law as a matter of convenience, since Paul the apostle. In 1st Corinthians 14:34-35, Paul (writing Christians in Corinth) speaking on women, writes, “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.” The key being “the law also says.”

Paul is invoking the law, when speaking to Christians. This has opened the door for any and every Christian thereafter to equally quote the law to apply it to others.

My critic argued that Paul was perhaps writing Jewish people (who he claimed are under “the law”). But I reminded him, from Christian theology, regardless if someone is borth Jewish or Gentile, if they become a Christian, the religion states they are no longer under the law. We know Paul was writing Christians. So what gives?

Initially my opposition distracted with some more data (the rest of the verse), but when I brought his attention back to the words, “as the law also says,” he had a delima. To which he finally gave in saying, “We don’t know whom Paul is talking to here…” and gives up the fight.

Clearly we have one fact: Paul invoked the old law on christians, to teach women how to be submissive to men. Today, Christians invoke the old law when convenient, in order to attack many people. Women were burned alive because christians who invoked the old law, “suffer not a witch to live.” Today the law is invoked to judge people left and right.

However, once a person turns the law back on the judgemental christian, the run to shelter. “We’re not under the old law…” Then why do you cite it? “Well this is how god feels about those things…” Sure, and the old law of god also said working on the sabbath was worthy of death… but didn’t you work last weekend? “But I’m under the blood of Jesus.”

It’s psychotic. You can’t cut this two different ways. Either the old testament law applies to all, or it applies to none.

The Critic

In the case of my critic, it turns out he’s a believer in the 10 commandments and the teachings of Jesus. He more or less doesn’t appear to judge others, but to focus on his own life instead. Got it, he’s a rare christian.

The danger of the bible though, is that gives the fuel for a racist christian to step forward, or an anti-gay christian to shout at people. This is the danger of the bible, it becomes something for everyone as it lacks any central thread of consistency.

The upshot was this response:

A complete backtrack… rather than addressing the general christian faith, the critic backtracked to their own personal belief… that they only follow the teachings of Jesus, and then suggesting 90% of christians likewise are the same.

If 90% of christians were like this, I wouldn’t have this blog, Donald Trump wouldn’t have been voted in as president, prayer wouldn’t be a political demand for public school and no one would be fighting gay marriage rights. Of course christians aren’t like this.

He took the bible and made something good of it, applying it to himself. Fine. There’s many more people who took the bible and made something vile with it, judging and blaming others. People have killed with the bible in their hands. People have burned women alive, for their “sins” and christians have paved history with a road of bloodshed.

This is the problem of the bible, like wet clay it can be shaped however you want. It can be a doctrine of love, or a dogma of murder.

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