Does the Church of Christ believe in the Old Testament?

Published 8:51 am Friday, May 10, 2019

Sometimes, members of the Church of Christ are accused of not believing in the Old Testament. The charge is made because we teach that one must follow the teachings of the New Testament. However, teaching that one must follow the New Testament does not mean that we do not believe in the Old Testament. The allegation that members of the Church of Christ do not believe in the Old Testament is false.
The writer of the Hebrew letter helps us to understand the Old and New Testaments, or covenants. “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb 10:9-10 KJV). The first, mentioned here is the Old Testament and the second is the New Testament. The New Testament is new because it is the second or more recent testament given to mankind and because it came after the first testament.
The purpose of the Old Testament (sometimes referred to as “the law and the prophets” because it contains the Law of Moses and the words of various Old Testament prophets) was to “bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24). When Christ died on the cross, the Old Testament fulfilled its purpose, and the New Testament was enacted as the will of God. Therefore, the New Testament sets forth God’s conditions for salvation, regulates our worship, and regulates our conduct.
God properly signaled an end of the Old Testament as a law and the beginning of a New Testament at the transfiguration of Christ. When Peter suggested building three tabernacles, one for Moses, one for Elijah, and one for Christ, God spoke from heaven saying of Christ, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him” (Matthew 17:5). Paul said, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross” (Col 2:14 KJV). As it pertains to worshipping God and our Salvation, the New Testament is God’s covenant with mankind. The writer of Hebrews helps us understand this fact in Hebrews 1:1-2, where he wrote, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.
Paul said, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal 3:24 KJV). According to Matthew 5:17, the Old Testament had been fulfilled in Christ. However, we know that the Old Testament is useful. Paul said, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom 15:4 KJV). Throughout the New Testament we find Old Testament examples of how we should live for God see (1 Cor. 10:1-12).
The truth is, members of the Church of Christ believe in the Old Testament. The Old Testament contains the first 39 books of the Bible. We do not deny the existence nor the authenticity of the Old Testament. We believe that it was inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20, 21) and that it is a part of God’s revelation to man. The Old Testament pointed to Christ and the New Testament (John 5:39). We study the Old Testament and learn from it, but it is the words of Christ and the New Testament that will judge us in the last day (John 12:48).
(Tony Hoss is minister at Centerview Church of Christ, Elizabethton.)

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