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Prefiguring Fulfillment Brethern Approaches to the Old Testament

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Chapter 12:Layout 15/21/101:31 PMPage 263Prefiguring FulfillmentBrethren Approaches to the Old TestamentJeffrey A. BachThe Schwarzenau Brethren, who began with the baptism of eight adults in late summer 1708, treasured the Scriptures from their origins. The Old Testament was vitally important to the Brethren, although Brethren have typically read the Old Testament as pointing toward and being fulfilled by the New Testament. This in no way meant that Brethren, who often call themselves a “New Testament church,” commit the Marcionite heresy of discarding theOld Testament.1The following essay explores how Brethren have made important use of the Old Testament through their history up to the early twentieth century. This examination of a sample of Brethren writers will show that Brethren generally valued the Old Testament as inspired Scripture and tended to interpret it typologically, absorbing influences from interpretive trends around them (such as dispensationalism in the nineteenth century). Typological interpretation of the Bible goes back to ancient times and sees commandments and teachings and events in the Old Testament as

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Is There Peace in the Old Testament?

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Chapter 6:Layout 15/21/101:15 PMPage 125Is There Peace in the Old Testament?David A. LeiterDuring the last decade or so, I have engaged numerous people in conversation regarding the topic of peace in the Old Testament.Although many people of faith acknowledge the connection between peace and the Bible, there is a strong tendency by such persons to see this connection as one that relates primarily to the NewTestament, thus leaving the Old Testament out of the discussion.In personal conversations and in teaching and seminar events,I have received three common responses when talking about peace and the Old Testament. The first response is simply a blank stare.Some people cannot see even the slightest connection between peace and the Old Testament. Using the two in the same sentence does not register to them. Either they have not read the Old Testament carefully or they have been taught and indoctrinated to believe that peace in the Old Testament does not exist. As a result, there is an inability to have even a surface conversation about the notion of peace in the Old Testament.

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Love and Desire in the Song of Songs

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Chapter 10:Layout 15/21/101:23 PMPage 213Love and Desire in the Song of SongsChristina BucherPeople often ask me why I chose to study the Old Testament, rather than the New, when I did my doctoral work. Perhaps viewing “new” as better than “old,” some cannot understand why anyone would want to study the Old Testament. Others will ask why a member of the Church of the Brethren would opt to study the Old Testament.(An oft-repeated claim among Brethren is that “we have no creed but the New Testament.”) I reply that the Christian canon includes two testaments, not one; Jesus’ Scripture was something close to what Christians today call the “Old Testament”; and the New Testament writers presuppose the writings of the Old Testament. In order to really understand Jesus, the New Testament, and Christian history and tradition, one needs a deep understanding of theOld Testament, the collection of books that I prefer to call “FirstTestament,” “Hebrew Scriptures,” or “Tanakh.”I clearly remember what first attracted me to the Hebrew

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Real Stuff: The Brethren Bible Part Too and the Heart of the Holiness Code

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Chapter3:Layout 15/21/101:05 PMPage 51Real StuffThe Brethren Bible Part Too and the Heart of the Holiness CodeFrank RamirezAs I prepared for my first day in first grade I wondered how long it would take for us to get past the baby work and start doing the“Real Stuff.” Thanks to a private kindergarten run by a stern headmistress, I was sure that I was way ahead of the learning curve when it came to school.I knew I was ready for the Real Stuff. Still, imagine my surprise when the very first morning the nuns at Holy Trinity School announced we were actually going to the laboratory! Hooray, I cheered within my heart—the Real Stuff! Not out loud, of course.No one wanted a knuckle rap on the very first day. But it was all I could do to contain my excitement. Chemistry! Beakers and bubbling solutions, measuring and pouring, wearing white gowns over our clothes. Real experiments! Spotless white porcelain everywhere.Because we were all so young I knew everything would be oversized, but we would manage. This is what school was supposed to be all about! I would show those nuns just how well prepared I was, thanks to Merri-Moments Kindergarten School and Mrs. Orsini.

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Jonah the Christian

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Chapter 8:Layout 15/21/101:19 PMPage 173Jonah the ChristianG r a y d o n F. S n y d e rIf you attend a worship service at any Christian church anywhere in the world, there’s a good chance you’ll see a cross displayed somewhere in a prominent place. Many probably assume the same was true for the first Christians. They might be surprised to discover, however, that the cross does not appear in Christian artwork for around four hundred years. And, they might be surprised to find out that the Jonah story appears far more frequently in earlyChristian art than the cross.So, why was the story of Jonah so important? In early Christian catacomb art no other picture appears as often as that of Jonah.Since no writing reflects what early Christians believed, we accept the art as an indication of what the average believer saw in the story of Jonah. We speak of this as the understanding of local people. For the most part it showed the Christian Jonah absorbed by a pagan society, but then regurgitated into a redeemed Christian existence.

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