Are the Old Testament writings Christian, pre-Christian, sub-Christian, or un-Christian? If we may judge from the letters on the subject which recently appeared in the correspondence columns of the London Times, a state of considerable confusion exists within the Church on this issue. The correspondence was sparked off by a letter from the president of St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge, who raised the question of the place of the Old Testament within the context of public worship, in which lessons from both the Testaments are customarily read. Complaining of having to listen to “extracts containing genealogies, fragments of Jewish history, military operations, and anecdotes or exhortations which are not always edifying,” and that as isolated readings they mean little to the average congregation, he asked whether it would not be possible to have a selection of passages for divine reading “chosen from among the great devotional books of English prose” for occasional use at the minister’s discretion—mentioning by way of example the writings of Donne, Browne, Jeremy Taylor, Traherne, and Dr. Johnson.
A dignitary from Bedford suggested that the following passage from Jeremy Taylor, one of the authors recommended by the president of St. Catharine’s, might be a good one to start with: “That the Scripture is a full and sufficient rule to Christians in faith and manners, a full and perfect declaration of the will of God, is therefore certain, because we have no other. For if we consider the grounds upon which all Christians believe the Scriptures to be the Word of God, the same grounds prove that nothing else is.…”
Dr. Leslie Weatherhead, Minister Emeritus of London’s City Temple, spoke up for the extremist opposition to the Old Testament. ...1
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