New Testament Christians.
I didn’t know there was such a thing.
Certainly, there were many Christians from my youth, and many still today, who largely ignore the bulk of what we call the Old Testament—I myself find it a difficult read—but I didn’t realize that some make a point to ‘unhinge’ their Christianity from that treasure of the Christian Bible.
It would be wrong of me to simplify these persons’ beliefs and then cast these arguments aside as naive or misinformed, but I do want to make clear my own position.
First, let me say that the Old Testament has never been the focus of any worthy effort at scholarship in my own studies. I know the books of Genesis, Isaiah, the Psalms, and Jeremiah reasonably well, and I listened over the years to all the Old Testament readings that are included in my Church’s lectionary for Sundays and Holy Days, but that isn’t saying all that much, I know.
If that is an admission of ignorance, so be it. There is quite a lot I do not know.
I hold to the belief, however, that our study of the Old Testament can only help us better understand who is Jesus and why He was sent to us. To turn away from the lessons and wisdom of the Old Testament reminds me—sadly so—of efforts to ‘clean up’ the New Testament. We can’t take it upon ourselves to ridicule, disown, nullify, or shove aside those portion of Scripture that we dislike. Jesus Himself said some hard things, things we may not think are very inclusive or compassionate today or, we might say, even practical in a fallen world, but I don’t think that Christ’s philosophy, His teachings, His example, can be easily excised from His purpose. And that is to save us. He means for none of us to be misdirected or to be lost.
And as He told us—tells us—our lives are made of struggle. That we wrestle with Scripture—turn it over in our minds, question it, make demands of it—is to be expected and I don’t think that ignorance in this is a wise practice.