I know this is old news, but Andy Stanley, the mega-church pastor in Atlanta, GA., came out last year and said that Christians needed to unhitch themselves from the Old Testament. From what I understand, his reasoning is that the Old Testament is too much of a stumbling block for many people to come to know Christ. His logic is faulty because in the end, their stumbling block is not the Old Testament, but the Christ who gave us the Old Testament.
Michael Kruger gives a solid analysis of Stanley’s book that makes the case for unhitching ourselves from the Old Testament. You can read Kruger’s article here.
The point I’m trying to make is that Stanley is doing nothing more than coming to the logical conclusion of classical dispensationalism, which is what he was trained in while at Dallas Theological Seminary. The basic understanding of the Old Testament, for Dispensationalists, is that it was written for the Jews, and not for us Christians. They also have the belief that the Old Testament is to be used to interpret the New Testament, not the other way around.
Sadly, this actually goes against the teachings of Paul. In 2 Corinthians, Paul is arguing that the glory Moses had on the mountain, was only temporary because it was not representing the new covenant and the greater glory in Christ. Yes, the glory on Moses was glorious, but the glory found in Christ is even more glorious.
The Jews of that day failed to understand this and Paul writes:
But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).
When the Jews read the Old Testament today, they fail to see that it points to Christ because they have a veil on their hearts. But it’s more profound that than. Paul is showing us that to truly understand the Old Testament, we need Christ. We cannot fully understand the point of all the signs, miracles, wonders, and actions of God in the Old Testament apart from Christ.
Yet, this is exactly what Dispensationalists are taught to do when it comes to the Old Testament. Their hermeneutical principle is that the Old Testament interprets the New Testament and that you cannot read the New into the Old. But those of us in the Reformation, this is completely backwards. We certainly do read Christ into the Old Testament, as Paul indicates that we should.
Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God (Hebrews 1:1-4). There is no greater revelation than the Son and we are to understand the entire scope of Scripture with a view to Christ. To return to the Old Testament without an understanding of Christ, is to place a veil back on our understanding of Scripture. This is exactly what Andy Stanley, and others from DTS, have done. In their understanding, they believe that the only way to fully understand a passage in the Old Testament is to read it in light of what it meant to those in that day and hour that it was given, and no more.
But this was never the way to understand it. Even Peter shows this to be true. In his first epistle he writes that the prophets searched what manner of grace would come in the Messiah. Peter declares that they were not writing for themselves, but for us.
To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.
In the Old Testament, when God moved or spoke, He was never just doing so for the benefit of those in the story. The entirety of Scripture was moving from the fall, to the One who would redeem mankind and creation. It is all one unit, one story moving along for His glory, pointing to Christ and culminating in Christ.
Those who seek to go to the Old Testament without the lens of Christ will never see this. In doing so, they have already unhitched themselves from the Old Testament and given themselves a veil in that interpretation.
But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:18).