Sunday, August 14, 2011

On "The New Covenant: Does It Abolish God's Law?" ***

This free book explores in great detail an subject that over a decade ago tore the church organization I used to attend with apart. No Christian or Jew really doubts that God has a law. That is clearly established in the Bible. The question is what that law consists in. Many Christians probably don't give much thought to it. They do whatever their church does. If the church says it's wrong to dance or drink, they don't dance or drink. Wrong to watch movies, they don't watch movies. Okay to smoke, then they might well smoke. In other words, they do whatever anyone else of their faith does.

But there are Christians out there who debate what the scriptures actually say with regard to what the law is, who don't just follow the traditions of those around them or the authority of the pope or some other religious guru. These Christians either believe that the law consists of the things commanded in the Old Testament and renewed in the new or they believe that those Old Testament laws were done away with and replaced by a new law, the law of Christ. In such a case, the new law usually consists in loving each other as defined by the ten commandments minus the fourth one. The new law does not include things like clean and unclean meats. And given the right context (depending on how conservative one is as a Christian), it might not include sex outside of marriage or going to war.

This book attempts to show how the first position--that the law consists of the things in the Old Testament and that it is still binding on Christians today, only magnified in Christ. This book does not claim that animal sacrifice and other priestly laws are still in order; rather, those have been fulfilled in Christ, but the rest of the law, pertaining to one's personal morality, still is in place for Christians. The book goes into extensive discussions of how this could be, and then it discusses the views of the New Testament personages themselves--Paul, the apostles, and Jesus Christ.

I found the text to be well written and well researched but fairly technical. It was not what I would term easy reading. If I would like an answer to a particular point of view or scripture, it would be a good book to turn to; if I want a thorough discussion of this topic, again, it would be a great place to go. If I want a fun, breezy, or exciting read, well, that it's probably not. The text is available here.

No comments: