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Christians Reading the Old Testament

Various Brethren Press PDF

Beg+Chapter 1:Layout 15/21/101:06 PMPage 15Christians Reading the Old TestamentRobert C. BowmanThe ProblemChristians who consider themselves New Testament people often have great difficulties with the Old Testament. What is one to do with that book—or, rather, with that part of the Book?Many elements combine to make the Old Testament difficult.In the first place, parts of it are simply boring. Richard Friedman, author of Who Wrote the Bible? once said that if he ever got to the point where he could read the detailed instructions for building the tabernacle in Exodus without being incredibly bored, he would know that he had finally become a biblical scholar (176).If not boring, at least great chunks of the Old Testament seem irrelevant to Christians. It seems to belong to a world that makes no sense to us. Deuteronomy 22:10 warns, “You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together.” Frankly, most of us cannot remember ever being tempted to disobey this commandment.It does, perhaps, give one a sense of relief to know that there are at least some of God’s commandments that we have not broken.

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Jonah the Christian

Various Brethren Press PDF

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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Prophetic Rhetoric and Preaching

Various Brethren Press PDF

Chapter 7:Layout 15/21/101:18 PMPage 151Prophetic Rhetoric and PreachingChristopher D. Bowman“Who in their right mind would presume to speak theWord of God week in and week out?”—Waltersdorff 12Displayed in the Juniata College library is a striking sculpture of the prophet Jeremiah. The pockmarks of decay and damage found throughout the piece are not there by accident nor have they been artificially created. They are there because the sculptor purposefully chose a damaged cherry tree, aged and filled with buckshot, from which to hew the aged and wounded prophet Jeremiah. Describing his work, sculptor Dean Egge emphasized the importance of paying attention to both his audience and the prophet. Once he understood the old subject and the new recipient, the sculptor says,“The search then began for the right log.”1In preaching today, this combination of listening to the original message and knowing the new recipient is essential to finding the right log. This essay pays attention to the rhetoric of the Hebrew

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Daniel: Piety, Politics and Perseverance

Various Brethren Press PDF

Chapter 11:Layout 15/21/101:25 PMPage 239Daniel: Piety, Politics, and PerseveranceD a v i d M . Va l e t aThe book of Daniel presents readers with many interesting conundrums. It is one of the most popular books in the Hebrew Bible, containing stories and images that vividly connect with the human imagination.1 At the same time, the book has spawned countless debates over interpretive issues. The book of Daniel illustrates themes of personal piety in relationship to public witness that Brethren and other Anabaptists wrestle with continually in their attempt to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.2 This essay is a small contribution to the ongoing conversation between this biblical text and the calling of the church to live faithfully in every age.PietyDaniel is one of those biblical figures that you want your childrenChristians generally use the designation Old Testament. The use of the term HebrewBible recognizes that Jewish and Christian communities both value these writings, and my use of this term recognizes the ecumenical and interfaith commitments of Robert W.

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Brethren Ordinances and Old Testament Practices

Various Brethren Press PDF

Chapter 13:Layout 15/21/101:32 PMPage 289Brethren Ordinances andOld Testament PracticesDenise D. KetteringShould Brethren eat roasted lamb or beef at love feast? Should congregations use leavened or unleavened bread at communion?Should only elders practice anointing? These questions have plagued Brethren at various points throughout their history. At first glance such questions may appear trivial, and yet they arose again and again at Annual Meeting1 as Brethren congregations tried to develop a unified approach to their church ordinances.Part of the dilemma for Brethren was how to treat the relationship between their ordinances and the Old Testament and its practices. Historically, the Brethren tradition has ordinances, such as baptism and the love feast, that are firmly rooted in the teachings of Jesus; however, these practices also reflect ancient Israelite customs and rituals found in the Old Testament. In the Church of the Brethren, it has not always been popular to stress these connections to the Old Testament. As Robert W. Neff stated, “To be an Old Testament-toting Church of the Brethren person was not easy, but I felt I had a calling to make the Old Testament live in the

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