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.
When contending for the faith, it is important to understand that there are various ways people interpret Scripture. The correct method, called the grammatical-historical approach, seeks to use the grammar of the text to indicate what the original author intended for us to know. In other words, the author used actual words with meaning to indicate a message to us. The authors didn’t write the words of Scripture simply to put ideas on paper, but they were trying to tell us about God.
In other words, on interpreting Scripture:
Is it proper/appropriate to interpret according to our own wishes or standards? No, arbitrary interpretation does not generally extract the meaning of a passage, it merely reflects the reader’s biases, not the author’s intentions. The notion that we are free to interpret a text by our arbitrary wishes is self-contradictory; anyone espousing such a view would have to assume that his statement would itself not be subject to arbitrary interpretation. The “correct interpretation” is defined to be the one that matches the meaning of a passage — the author’s intentions. The one-meaning principle is the fact that a given proposition generally has exactly one primary meaning, and thus exactly one correct interpretation.
Dr. Jason Lisle Understanding Genesis: How to Analyze, Interpret and Defend Scripture.
Quite frankly, I have ignored the subject of baptism for a long time, only dipping my toes into the topic now and then. If you read some of the comments in my posts recently on baptism, you will see why. It is frustrating to see dear sisters and brothers railing against something, in such a way that if they applied the same hermeneutics (a method or principle of interpretation), to any other doctrine of the faith, we would become doctrineless.
For instance, many who oppose paedobaptism do so because the Bible never says “baptize your children.” What is so sad is that so many erroneously think because the Bible doesn’t say things in an express way that is pleasing to their minds, that the Bible doesn’t speak to the subject at all.
I don’t, and guess what? I’m still a Christian. I know many of my brothers from Dallas Theological Seminary are taught that if we do not take the Bible literally, then we are not true Christians. The problem is: what does “literal” actually mean? According to Charles Ryrie, it means the normal usage of the word in the text. The problem with this is: who gets to determine what “normal” means?
The True Church has always let Christ and the Apostles define the terms since that puts Christ and the text of Scripture at the center of defining terms as opposed to men being at the center of those definitions. What Ryrie, and the rest at DTS, fail to see, is that they have set themselves up as the final authority’s on what the Bible means. This is a man-centered hermeneutic instead of a Christ-centered hermeneutic. In other words, this type of Bible interpretation is Solo Scriptura instead of Sola Scriptura. It is man-centered instead of Word centered.
For more on this, watch the video below from Jerry Johnson and Against the World.