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An image is burned into my memory: an incandescent lamp on my mother's night stand illuminating the open pages of her well-worn Bible. Though teetering toward the sentimentality of a Thomas Kinkade painting, this image reaches as far back as my childhood ...

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Displaying 1–19 of 19 comments.

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David Thurman

February 26, 2014  6:09am

When I try to get folks to see the Marcion heresy I point to Ananias and Sapphira and the Heb. 10:29, Rom. 11:22. Most people get the point that grace is not to be understood as an easier or worse an antinomian path to salvation unless they have already been too deeply steeped in false teaching that causes the OT and NT to be viewed in opposition. Dr. Dan Fuller has written two fine books on the subject, "Gospel and Law: Contrast or Continuum?" and "The Unity of the Bible" Also, it is important to show that God's grace is very evident right from the first when Adam and Eve are not immediately executed.

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February 22, 2014  1:00am

If we consider the sin of God's people, the disobedience of Adam and Eve, the golden calf at Sinai, the sins throughout the OT, the intransigence of the Jewish leaders in the Gospels and Acts, we should understand the anger of God. Jesus showed the love of God in his teachings and sacrifice, but also warned of the penalty of disobedience. The Anger and the Love of God are in both testaments.

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Ian McKerracher

February 21, 2014  10:50am

I'm not sure that this Marcion was the "first known Church father to take the OT seriously". The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews may have something to say about that.

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Kevin McCarthy

February 19, 2014  8:20pm

When we are discussing this I Presume we are using the Catholics version of OT because that was version from 70AD to the present day,that was OT in Effect at Time of the Heretic. The NEW testament was the New Covenant The Only COVENANT of the NEW testament was THE EUCHARIST.. Every Book Chosen after Centuries of Discussion & Debate with Guidance from the Holy SPIRIT were Books That Contributed to the LITURGY of the EUCHARIST. The EUCHARIST was the Body Blood Soul & Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ!True God and True man. The new Testament is the Fulfillment of the OLD Testament. The Early Church Fathers writings would only be approved if they Did not Conflict with the Apostles writings.That is the basis of the Church TRADITION> In The Gospel of John Jesus was not like the Meek and Humble. He was very Frank and Dismissive of Unbelievers in the Entire basis of the NEW Testament. THE EUCHARIST.. John 6 53-67 was Jesus Laying Down The LAW Eat My Body and Drink my Blood...or LEAVE!

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Howard Green

February 17, 2014  7:51pm

The amazing thing about our God in the OT, he is the same loving, kind, God in the NT we see reflected in his son Jesus. Equally amazing, our kind, loving Jesus has his identity all over the OT as well. God said, "Let (us) make man in our own image and he was the 4th person in the fiery furnace. I'm so glad the OT & NT aren't mutually exclusive, because I see the Father & Son's loving mercy in both. My blog:

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Jim Ricker

February 17, 2014  8:23am

Before we curse everything Marcion did, we should thank him for being the first known church father to take the OT seriously and seek to fit it together with the NT and not just allegorize much of the OT in the process. Marcion was a heretic yes and deserved the left foot of fellowship but truly we're indebted to Marcion's hermeneutical desire to take the OT seriously in a more normal (or literal) sense. He got it wrong but he began the movement to use a more normal (literal) approach to the OT in the church.

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February 16, 2014  5:13pm

Recently reading Jesus' comment that no one has ever seen the Father opened my eyes to the fact that the only Person purporting to be "The Lord" or God in the Old Testament must have been God the Son, AKA Jesus, Emmanuel, I Am etc. I don't know if anyone has ever seen the Holy Spirit either though we've certainly sensed His Presence. I see no conflict between the Old Testament and the New Testament when you accept ALL of each of them. The Lord telling the Angels to destroy Sodom and The Lord in the parable of the King who returned and commanded those who didn't want Him to be King over them to be brought before Him and "torn apart" are the same Person. As is the One who accepted a totally unjust death to condemn Satan and set us free and then commanded us to follow in His steps. He also causes supernovas and keeps track of the sparrows that fall (die). Our problem is trying to put Him into our little boxes!

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Steve Bridgers

February 16, 2014  3:38pm

I think this is an outstanding article. I found it while reviewing posts on Yahoo about camels. For me, the Old and New Testaments came wholly together, when, after a challenge from my grandfather, I took up The KJV Bible in our house and read it cover to cover; as the old man said I was 'partly smart', but obviously had not searched through scripture three (3)times 'looking for loopholes' as 'Pop' had done - Anyway, I took Pop up & started on page one. I picked up a few of the 'hints' of Jesus in Genesis and throughout the Old Testament; But wasn't sure. After about nine months [gestation?] - I came to St. Stephen and his speech in The Book of Acts - and the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. Then, and since I am convicted, as well as convinced, that Jesus the Christ , as it was in the beginning, is now and forever- Lord of ALL- in light of Stephen's speech to the Scribes, in light of all the Old Testament and the words of Christ himself I'd just read. Thanks for the article. A good one.

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James Cowles

February 16, 2014  7:31am

@ Charles Cosimano ... "But what if Marcion was right?" Charles, that is a VERY real possibility that should not be dismissed out of hand. In fact, I'd propose that the supposed difference between the OT God & the "kinder, gentler" God of the NT is mostly the result of a very selective reading of the latter, biased by a Christology of "gentle Jesus, meek & mild". The "gentle" God reading of the NT ignores things like: Jesus' statement that towns & villages that reject the Gospel will be destroyed more thoroughly than Sodom & Gomorrah, the elements melting "with fervent heat" (KJV) in the end-time, and Jesus as the White Horse Rider of Revelation leading the armies of heaven on a Christian jihad to carry out God's fatwa against unbelievers. The "blood 'n' guts" God of the Old Testament is VERY much alive & well in the New!

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Kenton SELF

February 13, 2014  5:01pm

"his rejecting the Old Testament was a by-product of a greater problem: his desire to theorize God and his unwillingness to allow the entire canon—Old and New Testaments—to shape his concept of God and thus challenge the deity of his own making." But that's exactly what you're doing. You have a desire to theorize God, and you are unwilling to allow the entire canon to shape your concept. Consider: John 1:14 "The Word became flesh and blood" (not ink and paper), 2 Cor 5:17 "The old has passed away, the new has come", Matt 5:38 "You have heard "eye for an eye, but I say turn the other cheek", Luke 4 where Jesus removes all of the "good stuff" about foreigners ploughing fields and the day of God's vengeance... Marcion shouldn't have thrown out the Hebrew scriptures to solve his problem, he just should have read them the way Jesus did. Michael Hardin wrote extensively about this in his book "The Jesus Driven Life." Very worthwhile read.

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Stefan Stackhouse

February 13, 2014  1:49pm

The OT has to be read in light of and through the lens of the NT. That is the only way to make proper sense of it. The entire OT story from beginning to end is all about preparing the way for the coming Messiah who will complete God's redemption of a people for Himself. This is the main thing, the central meaning of history, the one thing that matters to God above all else. He is indeed severe with anything that is secondary, and especially anything that gets in the way of His supreme priority. Once you finally get that, then you start to get it that any problem we have with God's actions in the OT is all about OUR failure to make HIS priorities and values our own.

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Dane Gressett

February 13, 2014  8:27am

Thanks. Great article. Yes, Marcion's ghost haunts the church. Nowhere more than in the charismatic movement. It's no longer simply an offense people take toward God's severity, but a Marcion-like dogma that says that the Jesus of the Gospels trumps all other inferior views of the deity. Did Jesus ever take a life? No. Okay, then God never takes life. Did Jesus ever refuse to heal someone? Okay, then God never refuses to heal someone. Did Jesus ever use sickness or tragedy to teach someone a spiritual lesson? Okay, then God never uses affliction to develop people in their faith. It becomes a narrow hermeneutical filter for the entire Bible, largely motivated by the presupposition that healing is a covenant right. Using the Jesus-only hermeneutic, we have infallible "proof" God always heals now. I wrote a position paper for our church re: these things. Someone got offended at my quote of Lewis's beaver: "Of course He's not safe. But He's good." My detractors found this heretical.

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Charles Cosimano

February 12, 2014  11:40pm

But what if Marcion was right?

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Chuck Sweet

February 12, 2014  3:51pm

I'm distrustful of any and all talk of "heresy." Jesus was constantly reprimanding and correcting His disciples for their beliefs and attitudes, and they were actually able to sit across from Him and have a conversation. It then seems awfully arrogant of us to go around talking about "heretics" and "heresy," as if all of Christian belief was well-settled without any room for disagreement or human-error. We should always remember that one of the greatest heretics in history was Martin Luther. God will not be constrained and defined by rigid dogma, and our understanding of Him is ever-developing.

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Clayton Thompson

February 12, 2014  3:24pm

I've always had trouble coming to terms with Yahweh. I don't have a problem with His severity. I don't even have a problem that he takes life, even of whole people groups. I struggle with the idea of Him commanding the Israelites to kill women and children. Why did the Israelites have to kill? Why couldn't he have taken their lives himself. I can't even begin to imagine the trauma that this must have caused to the people who had to kill babies.

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Douglas Wallace

February 12, 2014  2:18pm

Thank you - very helpful article. There is likely a bit of Marcion in all of us as we are all, by our ubiquitously inherited / imputed Adamic nature, heretics of varying sorts and degrees; most of our heresies are really hard to unlearn. I believe God prepared the Apostle Paul to be an authoritative, apostolic pastor of the church and interpreter of OT in light of Christ by divinely providential (is there any other kind?) training in the most rigorous, though secular, theological education of his day (outside of the direct, divine tutelage of Jesus of Nazareth which to which the other apostles had access). God's revelation of himself in the canonical Old Testament, fleshed out, explicated, and fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth providentially led to the fully inspired, solely authoritative teachings of the apostles as recorded in the new. We must become like Paul, students of the foundational, preparatory, progressivly unfolding revelation of redemption revealed in the OT as well.

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Dan Roth

February 12, 2014  1:17pm

Great article. Quick correction. It's Pinakothek, not Pinkathotek.

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PETER K Johnson

February 12, 2014  1:14pm

I love the God of the Old Testament who is awesome, just, wise, all powerful, all knowing and merciful. The Old Testament points to Jesus through many prophecies as well. In some ways brother Gignilliat confuses the issue with his, in my opinion, theologian-speak, a not untypical habit of the academic community. Simplicity always wins.

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Jason Whittington

February 12, 2014  10:54am

God is God. He never changed. "For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off." ~ Romans 11:21-22, ESV

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