Wednesday, February 23, 2011

OT Law in the New Testament: fair summary?

I've written this summary for a class.  Is it fair?  Have I missed an option?

"Some traditions pay more attention to Old Testament Law than others.  Some American churches formed in nineteenth century dispensationalism have a tendency to see Old Testament Law in more continuity with the New Testament than other Christian traditions do (e.g., Seventh Day Adventists).  High Protestant traditions like Lutherans and the Reformed like to see the Law as completely fulfilled in Christ, to where we are not bound by anything in the Old Testament except the law to love God and love our neighbor.  A more partitioned approach is also possible, asking which Old Testament laws the New Testament retains, which ones the New Testament considers fulfilled, and which ones the New Testament abandons."


Joel.Higginbotham said...

I do not know if it is worth adding, but I have seen another option (I believe in a pastor's blog of Bible Studies, on Leviticus) that says the cultic law of purity, temple worship, sacrifices, etc (roughtly Leviticus 1-17) was fulfilled through Jesus' death and no longer needs to be done. Leviticus 18-27 was about holy and moral living and this part is what we still need to follow today. The URL for where I found this is: . Again, I am unsure if this is worth adding, but it seems to be another option.

Ken Schenck said...

This is what I meant by the third option above, basically dividing up the Law into parts and seeing various parts retained, fulfilled or dissolved in various ways.

Nathaniel said...

If I can be picky, your word choice of "more in continuity" is unfortunate, since all Christian traditions (except for those who follow Marcion) hold the Old Testament as a continuity with the New; it is precisely the mechanisms which explain this continuity that differ between the groups.

JohnM said...


Comparing Dispensationalist vs Reformed view of the relationship between testaments - I thought it was the other way around.

I thought Dispensationalist emphasized being under grace, with the Old Testament law not being as much the believers moral guide under the new covenant, especially for gentile believers. Dispensationalist see a sharply drawn line between the testaments, and between the Old Testament and New Testament Peoples of God - both being extant.

The Reformed on the other hand see the New Testament as a fulfillement of the Old Testament, but also in some ways a continuation, only with a new People of God, new mark of the covenant, etc. For the Reformed, Old Testament moral law is as much an applicable directive as it ever was, and as much so as anything taught in the New Testament.

That's what I thought.

FrGregACCA said...

Do any of these groups say that we are free to ignore the Decalogue?

And what of the relationship between the Ten Commandments, the Commandment to love one's neighbor, and the Sermon on the Mount?