Old Testament Christians

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Old Testament Christians

Sunday, October 2nd, 2005

 Author: H. Franklin

There is a growing and disturbing phenomena in our country today. We have seen it quite frequently the past few weeks following some tragic natural events that have recently occurred. I’m talking about those that are saying and writing that God is punishing the United States for their wickedness and sins with these hurricanes, earthquakes, and tidal waves. One writer even suggested that some of the punishment was for the amount of attention we are giving to taking care of the poor. To limit God to the capricious and indiscriminate destruction in anger of his creatures (man), certainly doesn't give credit to His magnificence and glory.

The Old Testament is full of stories of a vengeful and wrathful God. Oh, there are stories of His love and compassion, but they are mostly ignored. We want to hear about a God that strikes us down for disobeying him, and of course he visits all kinds of illnesses on us as punishment for our sins.

We have fashioned our own wrathful and vengeance driven god that we can hold over the heads of others to frighten and intimidate into accepting and embracing our beliefs. How many of us have heard about the fire and brimstone preacher that “saved” people by scaring the hell out of them?

We have a cult of what I call Old Testament Christians. These are the ones that preface their remarks with, “did you know it’s a sin . . .”? Most of their assumed authority comes from snippets of scripture, taken out of context, from the Old Testament, which is Jewish History, and when read and seen in the context in which it was written, has no relevance to the point they are trying to make.

Now what happens when we get to the New Testament? Here we have God’s Son speaking of love and forgiveness, but do we listen? Not very much, I’m afraid. We are uncomfortable with Jesus’ ideas of loving our enemies and doing good to those that hate us. He even told us we should take care of the poor, and did not point a finger or blame them for being poor.

That was really radical when He told us to love our enemies and do good to those that hate us. That seems to be a real conflict for those that call themselves Christian, followers of Christ.
Haven’t we been taught all our lives that if you are poor, it’s because you are lazy and shiftless? And that was the final insult when he said to sell what we have and give it to the poor! All our accumulation of everything we have worked so hard all our lives to amass? No way!

Jesus posed something new and radical that the people in His day could not accept. They executed him for his beliefs. I heard George Carlin say the other night on TV that if Christ were to preach the same message today, we probably wouldn’t crucify Him, but would execute Him by lethal injection.