A Prominent Pastor Advises Leaving The Old Testament Behind

Pastor Andy Stanley makes the case the Old Testament is so bizarre it frightens people away from the faith. He says, churches should stop referring to it.

Then he then claims the Old Testament is “divinely inspired.” I guess he is saying that when God drowned all the people on earth except Noah and his family it was horrific and cruel, but, “divinely inspired.”

It is said the Old Testament has prophesies and the predicted events came about. Some people rely of this proposition so much it becomes their own “proof” of God. A campus minister in my college days was such a believer.

The OT throws curves into the NT that are perplexing to some. For example, in the Book of Acts, allegedly written by Paul, it says Jesus arose on the third day. No where in the scriptures written later does any writer say it was on the third day.

In Paul’s Acts, the assertion it was on the third day is followed by the sentence, “In accordance with the scriptures.” Since the NT was no yet written, the “scriptures” referred to here would have been the Old Testament. This suggests to skeptics the resurrection story was concocted to conform to the Old Testament prophesies and not something observed by anyone. Three days was popular to Old Testament writers, Jonah was in the belly of a whale for three days.

The OT god was more cranky than the one in the NT. But the faith is stuck with him.



19 Responses

  1. Catcher

    Not Paul. Tradition, based on style and content has a person named Luke as the author.
    Google ; Who wrote the book of Acts in he Bible.

  2. Randall Wehler

    I recall reading, last year, Bishop John Shelby Spong’s earlier book entitled “Born Of A Woman.” It helped me to finally wrap my head around the Hebrew writing practice, technique, or style known as midrash — using OT stories as a way of communicating the events and experiences of NT times, knowing the Jewish reader’s familiarity with the Hebrew Bible, the OT stories used to paint a portrait of the power of the Jesus experience. Midrash is hard to define but it becomes graspable in Spong’s book. I apologize for my labored definition.

    1. Randall 12:04 I recall reading..Bishop John Shelby Spong’s book entitled “Born of a Woman.” It helped me wrap my head around the Hebrew writing practice technique or style know as midrash…

      Spong began to preach and write before Bart Ehrman and is a preacher not a professor. But he noticed the same things about the Bible as Ehrman and helps us understand it. Both say you cannot really understand the Bible without immersing yourself in the culture of the times and location where it was written. It is useless to become absorbed in what was said in the Bible. It is useful to understand why it fit the culture of that time.

      As an aside, one of the reviews of Spong’s book quoted Voltaire (1694-1778), “If religion can make you believe absurdities it can make you commit atrocities.” Love that guy.

  3. Jinx II

    Both say you cannot really understand the Bible without immersing yourself in the culture of the times and location where it was written. Jon at 9:17

    Well said Jon.

    Reminds me of when I was about 12 years old and my depressed and struggling mother was reading Revelations to us kids (ages 12 to 2) the description of what will happen. I got very angry with her and told her it was crap written over 2,000 years ago and didn’t apply to today. I asked her to stop reading it because she was scaring the hell out of the younger kids. I don’t recall her ever doing that again…..BTW Dad wasn’t home.

    Much later I learned the first century was filled with apocalyptic believers and all were expecting the world to end. It was the belief and culture at that time.

  4. Mike

    I know you mean well, Randall, but I would summarize this entire discussion using one of Jinx’s lines: “it was crap”. This has been another of Jon’s endless attempts to belittle the validity of Christianity using various degrees of truth.

    Your reference to Midrash, however, and your discussion of how to interpret the OT peaked my interest. Biblical hermeneutics is the science of properly interpreting the various types of literature found in the Bible. Of course, this would be of little interest to the unbeliever like Jon/Jinx, because its underlying starting point is that the Bible is meant to be taken literally.

    If you are a Bible-believing person, Randall, you might want to do some more research into this science of Biblical interpretation. I think you will find it helpful.

    1. Mike 5:12 Biblical hermeneutics is the science of properly interpreting the various types of literature found in the Bible.

      I’d suggest you review your definition of hermeneutics. I looked at Wikipedia. There was a long explanation of what it means and the word “science” is never used.

      As I read it, the term also applies to application of cultural influences on the ancient writing which is what Ehrman and Spong do.

  5. Mike

    Jon, as you know, Wikipedia relies on the knowledge of its contributors. If you do a google of Biblical hermeneutics, you will see many articles on this topic. You should review all of them and you will eventually find a few that use the term: science.

    We should give you the nickname, “the king of half-truths”, because once again you selectively choose information in a rather narrow manner to prove your debating points.

    1. Mike 6:11 You should review all of them and you will eventually find a few that use the term science

      I’m sure you will provide a link to one of these places that uses the term science for interpreting the Bible. Usually here when someone makes a claim like that one the source they provide will be one of religious propaganda. I would hope you will give us a better source.

    2. Mike 6:11 P.S. While you are looking for the non propaganda sources that call Bible interpretation “science” you might come across other interesting places that use the word science. For example, there is a group Flat Earth Science association. It has all kinds of science to prove the earth is actually flat.


  6. Mike

    I see. Too lazy to look it up. Well, I am not going to kow tow to your demands. Providing links never seems to have any impact, anyway. Perhaps it is like Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men”, who famously stated: You can’t handle the truth”.

    In your case, I suppose, you are afraid to learn the truth because this truth might shine bright enough to break through your atheists sunglasses you wear 24/7. For the curious who are seeking the truth, they will find it…without me providing the specific link you had demanded.

  7. Randall Wehler


    I’m returning late to the discussion but wanted to thank you for the suggestion to further explore the various ways to interpret the Bible. It could be a long endeavor. One good source for me is the web site for the Ontario Center For Religious Tolerance. I am no theologian, only a person wanting to explore human perceptions of Christian scripture to lend meaning to a set of books that have shaped human beliefs and convictions. An explorer I shall remain.

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