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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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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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Conflict Transformation and the Jacob Saga

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Chapter2:Layout 15/21/101:07 PMPage 33Conflict Transformation and the Jacob SagaE u g e n e F. R o o pGenesis 12–50 features some of the best-known and well-loved narratives in the Old Testament. These stories do not portray the lives of our biblical ancestors as pious and peaceful. Quite the opposite, these ancestral sagas tell us about lives painfully punctuated by crisis and conflict. To be sure, their parched and rocky land often provided a match that ignited disputes between and within families. Along with the environment, cultural patterns and family structures also served as catalysts generating episodes of conflict.The cultural importance of offspring intensified Abraham andSarah’s struggle with infertility. This provided a catalyst for conflict between husband and wife, and with others in their community.The leadership role of the firstborn inflamed conflict between the twins, Esau and Jacob. According to the narrative, their battle began in the womb and gained steam as the years went by. Each twin sought to be recognized as the most important man in the family. The arrogant-sounding words directed by the younger

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Brethren Ordinances and Old Testament Practices

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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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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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