“If I believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior but reject the Old Testament in its entirety, am I still a Christian?”
That question really got my attention. I don’t think we can separate the Old Testament from the New. You have probably heard the saying attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo, “The New [Testament] is in the Old [Testament] concealed; the Old is in the New revealed.” But the thought comes from the Bible in Luke 24:44. After Jesus rose from the dead, He told the disciples, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.
I can’t judge whether or not the person was/is a Christian; I don’t know the person, and only God knows the heart and mind of the person. Only God is the judge.
However, the person was confused and needed guidance, so I responded as gently as I could.
“Accepting Jesus as God and Savior is a prerequisite for being a Christian, and many Old Testament prophecies provide the credibility for Jesus’ claim to be God. Therefore, because of all the O.T. prophecies about the coming Messiah, rejecting the entire O.T. is inconsistent with accepting Jesus as the Son of God.
“Also, rejecting the bulk of Holy Scripture reveals a lack of understanding of Who God is, and what He desires for us.
“One more thought: Jesus quoted the Old Testament many times. If you reject the O.T., you reject much of His teaching; therefore, are inadvertently saying Jesus is wrong. And that, my friend, would be denying Jesus of His divinity. And if He wasn’t God, He wouldn’t be the Savior.”
You may have noticed that I didn’t try to answer the question, “Am I still a Christian?” I don’t know. But I gave the person something to think about because there is a great misunderstanding in the realm of religion.
My father was a U.S. Navy Chaplain. The Navy sent him to attend Harvard in 1962 for further studies in religion and psychology. That was a great duty assignment, and we enjoyed living near Boston for a year.
In the class Religions of the World, much discussion was the order of the day, and a Hindu priest from India told dad, “Stan, you believe in God. Therefore, you are a Hindu.”
Dad replied, “No, sir. Hindus do not accept Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God, and I do. Therefore, I am not a Hindu. I believe in Almighty God, and I am a Christian. But I am also your friend.”
Some years ago, I attended the funeral of a person who despised God, strongly defamed Christianity and was buried in a wizard’s robe. But during the funeral, the family verbally ushered him into heaven and into the arms of a loving God. They thought everyone goes to heaven. Sounds like the movie, “All Dogs Go To Heaven.” But according to Jesus’ own words, not everyone goes to heaven.
As I said, there is a great misunderstanding in the realm of religion.
Returning to the question, “Am I still a Christian?”
No one on earth understands God, Jesus and the Bible perfectly. We all have error in our thoughts and beliefs to some degree. Therefore, we know that we don’t have to be perfect to be a Christian, and emotionally arguing about our point of view provides no benefit.
A Bible scholar and professor whom I highly admire, Dr. Andy Bowling, once told me, “We don’t know exactly where the dividing line between Christian and non-Christian is, and we don’t know exactly how wide or narrow that line is. Therefore, we present Christ, let the Holy Spirit do the work and leave the judging up to God.” I add a hearty, Amen!
Is the person who rejects the Old Testament a Christian? Thankfully, I don’t have to make that determination. But I will repeat my last words to the person.
“Jesus quoted the Old Testament many times. If you reject the O.T., you reject much of His teaching; therefore, are inadvertently saying Jesus is wrong. And that, my friend, would be denying Jesus of His divinity. And if He wasn’t God, He wouldn’t be the Savior.”
Dear reader, do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?
— S. Eugene Linzey is the author of ‘Charter of the Christian Faith.’ Send comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his website at www.genelinzey.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.