Sunday, 16 June 2019
The viewpoint that the New Testament must directly speak about all important issues, even if clearly asserted in the Hebrew Scriptures, is a foolish one. The New Testament does not deal with some of the issues of economic justice, but the Hebrew Bible does when it enjoins the cancellation of debt on Sabbatical and Jubilee years. It does not describe how courts should operate, but this is a crucial issue. Are we to then conclude that just courts are now abandoned because this is not addressed? New Covenant Scriptures do not define what constitutes incest. Leviticus gives us the list of forbidden relationships. Are we to ignore this because it is not repeated in the New Covenant scriptures?
This approach smacks of the very arrogance against which Paul speaks. If the New Testament re-interprets the Old so that Israel is now the Church and the Land is the earth, we have a huge problem. This approach does not allow the texts of the Hebrew Bible to speak on their own terms with the integrity of their straightforward meaning; the result is they can be made to say something other than what the author intended. That is the core problem with the whole concept of re-interpretation. For this reason, Messianic Jews do not like to use the terms Old Testament and New Testament, but instead use non-prejudiced terms like the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Covenant Scriptures.
This becomes very important to how we are to do theology. Wherever possible, we are to take every text in context as it was intended by the author and as it would have been understood. The meaning of each Bible text and each book is to be organized and harmonized with the assertions from other texts and books, but never by doing violence to the text. What do we mean by doing violence to a text? It is to re-interpret a text so as to forgo its intended meaning.
This excerpt was taken from my article.