My friend said that she attends a New Testament church; is this biblically correct to say?
Suggested Daily Reading: Luke 24:36-45
Whether your friend is biblically correct or not depends on what she means. If she simply means that we live in the New Testament time of God’s church, when the church has the rich benefit of God’s full revelation of both Old and New Testaments, she is correct. If she means, however, that her church does not preach or teach from the Old Testament because it believes that the Old Testament is no longer relevant and has been replaced by the New Testament, then she is sadly mistaken.
The Old and New Testaments are two parts of one divine message. The Old Testament points to Jesus and the way of salvation for sinners by way of prophecies, types and examples. While we no longer worship God using the ceremonial practices of animal sacrifices, priesthood rituals and tabernacle or temple practices, the principles and teachings still apply. They all point to the salvation of sinners through the death of the great Sacrifice, Priest, and Temple – the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus taught this very clearly Himself. In Luke 24 we read of two post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. The first is to the two disciples walking to Emmaus. When Jesus opened their understandings to comprehend the Scriptures (which was the Old Testament at that time, as the New Testament was not written yet), what does He do? Does He instruct them that the Old Testament is no longer to be used as it is now or soon to be replaced by the New? No, He does just the opposite. He opens their understanding to see that the entire Old Testament points to Him. “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Lu. 24:27). Moses is the beginning of the Old Testament books and the prophets are the final books. Christ’s meaning here is that we must learn about Him from studying “all the scriptures,” i.e. the entire Old Testament.
The second appearance of Jesus in Luke 24 is to His disciples. And how does He teach them about His resurrection and what is happening? “And he (Jesus) said unto them (His disciples), These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (Lu. 24:44).
So if your friend claims to be a Christian but will only use the New Testament, saying that she only believes in Jesus (as an increasing number of churches state today), you may share with her that Jesus Himself, in the New Testament, instructs us to study the entire Old Testament, from beginning to end, because it teaches us about Him. “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they (i.e. the Old Testament Scriptures) are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).
Jesus also demonstrated this truth in practice, from the beginning of His official ministry to its end. He quoted the Old Testament Scriptures each time He responded to the three temptations of Satan (Mt. 4: 4,7 and 10) until His final words on the cross (Ps 22:1 and Mt. 27:46; Ps. 31:5 and Lu. 23:46). The New Testament writers quoted from and referenced the Old Testament hundreds of times, from the Gospel of Matthew quoting how the ministry of Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy, through Peter’s preaching, Paul’s teaching and the books of Hebrews and Revelation providing instruction for us from Old Testament pictures and types of Christ. One cannot really believe the New Testament without believing the Old, which provides the foundation, principles, prophecy and types referenced, enriched and fulfilled in the New Testament.
What would you miss, if you only believed in the Old Testament or only in the New? Do you value the entire Bible, both Old and New Testaments? Do you believe the Scriptures with your whole heart? How can you know? What are the fruits produced by true faith in the written Word, the Bible, which testifies of the living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ?