04 May, 2006

The Dangers of New Testament "Christianity"

The definition of Christianity as found in the encyclopedia: "Christianity is a monotheistic religion centered on Jesus of Nazareth, whom Christians call Jesus Christ, and New Testament accounts of his life and teachings. With an estimated 2.1 billion adherents in 2006, Christianity is the world's largest religion. Christianity began as a Jewish sect. Christians call the Hebrew Bible the Old Testament. Like Judaism and Islam, Christianity is an Abrahamic religion."

Considering the roots of Christianity, I wonder at what point in history Christianity turned into strictly a New Testament religion and why?

Jesus is certainly the focus of Christianity but there's SO much more to things than simply reading accounts of his life in only half of the Bible. Scripture is literally filled to the brim with hundreds and hundreds of wonderful prophecies of his life (Isaiah has over 100!!) and indeed the book of Psalms, for example (which has over 80 Messianic prophecies alone), gives us amazing prophetical insight into the emotions Christ felt at various times in his life. This kind of information isn't presented the same way in the New Testament. While we're still apt to treat Jesus with the respect he deserves, ignoring the Old Testament by viewing it as an inferior and irrelevant brother to the New Testament, we miss out on the understanding and emotion that helps us grasp his emotional and mental state when experiencing the things he did.

Reading the Bible as a whole makes us realize what an incredible book it really is. That Christ, the focus of our beliefs, can be found in prophecies and foreshadowing from Genesis 1 right through to Zechariah is nothing short of incredible. It gives even more weight to the importance of God's Son when we realize that He set up everything since the beginning of time to point forward to Christ.

Christianity should be centered on the whole Bible, not just limiting itself to half of God's Word. Not only do we recognize the significance of Christ more fully, but we come to a deeper, more intimate understanding of God when we read the OT with the same fascination as the NT. We read about the things He did with the children of Israel, the signs He showed, the miracles He did, His love, His mercy and His anger and it's humbling in the most extreme sense to think that the same God we read of in infinite detail in the Old Testament is exactly the same God who hears our prayers and actively works in our lives today.

Rom 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.


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