old covenant vs. new covenant

weirdochris
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old covenant vs. new covenant

When discussing the bible with my Christian friends I’ve started to find the discussions always ending the same way.  I’ll talk about how the bible talks about stoning your neighbor if he works on Saturday, or how its ok to beat the shit out of your slaves because they belong to you, and then they break out the old covenant new covenant crap.

Supposedly Jesus dying on the cross means there is a new set of rules. Although none of my friends can tell me where this is in the bible.

  My question to theist (mainly Christian theist, but anyone can chime in) is where did the idea of the old vs. new covenant come from in the bible.  If the Old Testament doesn’t apply anymore, then why bother having it at all?  Didn’t Jesus say that he was there to fulfill the law, not to do away with it?


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There are actually three

There are actually three official covenants on record. If you have an extra hour or two, you can trace the complicated series of scattered bible verses that were assembled into the argument for what's called covenant theology:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covenant_Theology

Your Christian friends can't tell you where it is in the Bible because it's not in the Bible. Or at least not directly because it is one of those "theologically implicit" arguments built out of various isolated references. Even as a true-believing Baptist teenager, this miasma of an argument clearly presented itself to me as what it is: quote mining from the bible to get to a conclusion you want.

The parts of the argument that come from the late epistles are especially suspect, since they may not have even been written by Paul, but may have been written by one of his later generation followers (who had to invent a working technology of salvation since the world failed to end as expected).

Most Christians won't be familiar with the term "Covenant Theology" or its stepchild "Dispensationalism" because they don't teach it that way. Instead, mainstream Christians learn a dumbed-down principle that they can always appeal to the authority of the old testament to support an argument (e.g. Gay is bad) but are not held accountable for the rules in the old testament (e.g. no wearing polycotton blends).

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


jread
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My personal beliefs aren't


My personal beliefs aren't that the old covenant doesn't need to be followed any longer; It's more that following the old covenant won't bring about salvation. Once Jesus came and died for us, he became the only way to salvation (in the Christian schema). Therefore, it is not  following the old covenant that brings about a person's salvation, but Jesus that saves you. And then I suppose, all the teachings which Jesus gave that were contrary to the old covenant, would be followed from then on rather than the contrary old covenant laws. That's the jist of how I work it all out...;P  Although I will admit it is not a very concrete way to interpret the Bible. I got most of this through personal reflection, reading, and discussion. I also would consider this answer a work in progress and open to change in the future as I learn more.

 

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Sorry to tell you this,

Sorry to tell you this, jread, but the version of the new covenant that you remember having picked up "through personal reflection, reading, and discussion" conforms exactly to the dogma in which most mainstream Christians are indoctrinated.

The fact that you can't point to exactly where it came from (even in the Bible) and the way that you apparently learned it apart from any history of the idea as a theological doctrine with its own history are both characteristic of what I personally feel is the most insidious part of the way this information is delivered.  People learn to accept it as true without questioning the validity or examining the origins of the idea.  It's just way too much like brainwashing.

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


jread
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Textom wrote: Sorry to

Textom wrote:

Sorry to tell you this, jread, but the version of the new covenant that you remember having picked up "through personal reflection, reading, and discussion" conforms exactly to the dogma in which most mainstream Christians are indoctrinated.

The fact that you can't point to exactly where it came from (even in the Bible) and the way that you apparently learned it apart from any history of the idea as a theological doctrine with its own history are both characteristic of what I personally feel is the most insidious part of the way this information is delivered. People learn to accept it as true without questioning the validity or examining the origins of the idea. It's just way too much like brainwashing.

 

I meant to acknowledge that my beliefs are quite mainstream...I didn't mean to make it sound like I came up with it on my own. Except the brainwashing part, I can assure you I haven't been brain washed. I still, honestly, think it's a little odd when people raise their hands in the air at worship...I think if I was brainwashed I may overlook this action as normal.

 

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


Eloise
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weirdochris wrote:

weirdochris wrote:

When discussing the bible with my Christian friends I’ve started to find the discussions always ending the same way. I’ll talk about how the bible talks about stoning your neighbor if he works on Saturday, or how its ok to beat the shit out of your slaves because they belong to you, and then they break out the old covenant new covenant crap.

Supposedly Jesus dying on the cross means there is a new set of rules. Although none of my friends can tell me where this is in the bible.

My question to theist (mainly Christian theist, but anyone can chime in) is where did the idea of the old vs. new covenant come from in the bible. If the Old Testament doesn’t apply anymore, then why bother having it at all? Didn’t Jesus say that he was there to fulfill the law, not to do away with it?

There's a bit of a difference between laws and convenants in the bible text. Covenants are foremostly promises rather than having much to do with laws they are more like direct deals negotiated with God through representatives. According to Luke 22:20 and Mark 14:24 Jesus explicated directly a covenant in terms of his own blood. Whether this is related to the story of fulfilling the law is interpretative, though most of Christianity would hold that the two are related. In any case the statement of promise is a kingdom of heaven on earth and the deal is that everyone shares with each other in remembrance of the body and blood of christ. A fair bit nicer than bleeding lambs and circumcision and such which went before with the promise of lands, title and spiritual gifts attached to them, in any case.

I tend to think of covenants in the bible stories as the idea du jour of each prophet/god representative for the betterment of humanity. Abrahams people were perhaps seen to be greedy so it was thought good for them to practice giving up the best stock they had into nothingness maybe for the sake of appreciating everything a little more, David just thought the world would be better if he ruled it, and Jesus thought if the world shares more and thinks of something , seemingly, insignificant as bread as holy, it could only be better for them than moses's idea of mutilating themselves.. so he went with that and promised it would bring a good world. Or something like that...

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Thinking back to my

Thinking back to my evangelical days, this was one of the things that always bothered me the most.  Whether Christians are supposed to follow the old testament laws or not, the fact that I was worshiping a God that would have ever commanded genocide, slavery, death for ridiculous things caused me much frustration.

Obviously it was easier to simply not think about it too deeply and just say "Jesus made it all better!"  But then Evangelicals believe God is the same "yesterday, today, and forever!"  So that same God that commanded Genocide is the same Holy Spirit that is talking to me in my heart?

Lots of really troubling things, so it was always much easier just stick my head in the sand.

Getting rid of my faith provided me so much intelectual freedom. 


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weirdochris

weirdochris wrote:

Supposedly Jesus dying on the cross means there is a new set of rules. Although none of my friends can tell me where this is in the bible.



Support for the "new set of rules" generally comes from the works of Paul and the pseudo-Paul's, and specifically their dissertations on "the Law".  I wouldn't stake my life on it, but I'm more or less certain that the bulk of this comes from the book of Romans.

Quote:

If the Old Testament doesn’t apply anymore, then why bother having it at all? Didn’t Jesus say that he was there to fulfill the law, not to do away with it?


The answer you get to such questions will vary widely.  Traditional Lutheranism posited the idea that the Law was meant to exhaust Christians, to ensure that they could not live life apart from God; it continues to have a place in the Bible, if only to show contemporaries just how good they've got it with their current salvation mechanism.  Calvinism put out the idea that the Law detailed the exact expectations of God, and that perfect life by the Law would be perfect obedience; Jesus was something of a contingency plan.

As for Jesus' fulfillment of the Law... "fulfill" has been read synonymously with "consummate" since at least the time of Augustine.  It's part of the territory of Christianity now, and has been since the Hellenization of Christian thought.  This likely was not the intention of the author of the statement, but... the intentions of the author are largely irrelevant.


Brian37
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weirdochris wrote: When

weirdochris wrote:

When discussing the bible with my Christian friends I’ve started to find the discussions always ending the same way. I’ll talk about how the bible talks about stoning your neighbor if he works on Saturday, or how its ok to beat the shit out of your slaves because they belong to you, and then they break out the old covenant new covenant crap.

Supposedly Jesus dying on the cross means there is a new set of rules. Although none of my friends can tell me where this is in the bible.

My question to theist (mainly Christian theist, but anyone can chime in) is where did the idea of the old vs. new covenant come from in the bible. If the Old Testament doesn’t apply anymore, then why bother having it at all? Didn’t Jesus say that he was there to fulfill the law, not to do away with it?

No no no no, you dont get it. When you are a Christian you have your cake and eat it too.

You see Jesus is there to uphold the OT Ten Commandments but nothing else. Especialy when you read further as to what the punishments are for breaking those.

We cant have Daddy put in a bad light can we? Thats why it is better to spounge up the warm fuzzy stuff and ignor the white tank top, beer belly, "Cops" clip deity who beats the crap out of you "just because" you didnt cook his dinner on time.

Even "if" I baught that line of steamy poney loaf about "New" law, that begs the question? If god got it right in the first place, why the change?

So here are the choices. 

1. God is not all loving and we are just guinie pigs he is experimenting with. "Because he wanted to."(doesnt explain a thing)

2. Jews got tired of waiting for their savior so invented a new splinter sect and invented the Jesus Character. (People make up fiction and believe it as fact).

 

 

 

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Textom
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Right, Brian brings up a

Right, Brian brings up a good point that I forgot with regard to Covenant Theology.

When you read the mainstream gospels (Mark, Matthew, Luke) with the idea in mind that Jesus was a Jewish religious reformer, it makes a lot more sense.  His goal was to fix the problems at that time with the practice of the Jewish religion (especially priestly exploitation and corruption), not to found a new religion.  It's really only the epistles (Romans, but also esp. Hebrews and 1 Tim) that provide the necessary materials for building a new, non-Jewish religion.

That sense of the gospels not really saying what the church claims they say that Andyy mentioned only comes up, I think, when you try to cram Jesus's life and sayings into the mold of Christianity--a religion that would not exist until centuries after his death. 

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


Brian37
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Textom wrote:

Textom wrote:

Right, Brian brings up a good point that I forgot with regard to Covenant Theology.

When you read the mainstream gospels (Mark, Matthew, Luke) with the idea in mind that Jesus was a Jewish religious reformer, it makes a lot more sense. His goal was to fix the problems at that time with the practice of the Jewish religion (especially priestly exploitation and corruption), not to found a new religion. It's really only the epistles (Romans, but also esp. Hebrews and 1 Tim) that provide the necessary materials for building a new, non-Jewish religion.

That sense of the gospels not really saying what the church claims they say that Andyy mentioned only comes up, I think, when you try to cram Jesus's life and sayings into the mold of Christianity--a religion that would not exist until centuries after his death.

My point is that if the "goal" was to fix the problem, what does that say about the boss? If the boss is perfect then a "problem" never should have came up. Unless you want to look at humans as an experiment. Which would mean that "god/God" is in a learning process itself. But if that is the case, why call it god?

The point is that the reason these holy books of these Abrahamic religions exist, is not because of fictional characters named Allah/Yahwey/Jesus actually exist. They exist because of humans who invented Superman heros and wanted them to be real so desperately that they actually believed the crap they sold.

Superman doesn't "Poof" magically happen. The idea comes from prior concepts. To say that God/god/deity/ouiji boards/ are all different, is to quibble over weither white chocolate or dark chocolate is chocolate. A duck is a duck, and theists dont want to admit that they quack like any other.

Fiction is fiction.

Thor/Allah/Jesus might as well be Spiderman/Darth Vadar/Luke Skywaker. A duck is a duck. And these all quack the same note.

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37