Why do you quote from the Old Law?


I read Why We Don't Follow the Old Testament and saw your point of view on the matter, but you do quote laws from Leviticus to justify positions. Aren't all those laws thrown out, along with all other laws from the Old Testament? I'm not debating homosexuality here, but you do quote:

Leviticus 18:22 "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination."

Leviticus 20:13 "If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them."

and yet you say:

"Therefore, we see that we can learn from the examples found in the Old Testament, but when we must determine what God would have us to do today, we must turn to his current will -- the New Testament."

My point being that you say that to seek to learn what God wants you to do today, you have to toss out the Old Testament -- which means it cannot be used to determine God's current will. So why bring it up?


When you first wrote, I wondered why you pick the book of Leviticus from all the books found in the Old Testament. I believe I now understand what you are attempting to justify to yourself.

While we don't live under the Old Testament, Christians understand that the Old Testament was written by the same God who wrote the New Testament. Sin doesn't change. It existed in the world before Moses came down from Mount Sinai, and it continues to exist. "For until the law, sin was in the world; but sin is not charged when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those whose sins weren't like Adam's disobedience, who is a foreshadowing of him who was to come" (Romans 5:13-14). Terms in the two covenants have changed, but basic concepts of right and wrong remain.

The New Testament heavily quotes the Old Testament to prove the points being made. For example, to prove that preachers of the Gospel ought to be paid, Paul stated, "My defense to those who examine me is this. Have we no right to eat and to drink? Have we no right to take along a wife who is a believer, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? Or have only Barnabas and I no right to not work? What soldier ever serves at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard, and doesn't eat of its fruit? Or who feeds a flock, and doesn't drink from the flock's milk? Do I speak these things according to the ways of men? Or doesn't the law also say the same thing? For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain." Is it for the oxen that God cares, or does he say it assuredly for our sake? Yes, it was written for our sake, because he who plows ought to plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should partake of his hope. If we sowed to you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we reap your fleshly things? If others partake of this right over you, don't we yet more? Nevertheless we did not use this right, but we bear all things, that we may cause no hindrance to the Good News of Christ. Don't you know that those who serve around sacred things eat from the things of the temple, and those who wait on the altar have their portion with the altar? Even so the Lord ordained that those who proclaim the Good News should live from the Good News" (I Corinthians 9:3-14). What Paul does is pull from the Old Testament ideas to illustrate the points he is making. The concept isn't applied to Christians because they are in the Old Testament. There are concepts which need to be followed, and the Old Testament, having the same concepts, provides illustration so we can better understand the ideas.

The New Testament even tells Christians to use the Old Testament in this manner. After quoting an Old Testament prophecy about Christ, Paul stated, "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that through patience and through encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." (Romans 15:4). The Old Testament can teach us things. The New Testament was written with the assumption that Christians would have access to the Old Testament to clarify points. For example, Jesus gives instructions concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the need to flee the city when certain signs are seen. He then states, "Remember Lot's wife!" (Luke 17:32). Without knowledge of the book of Genesis, that statement would be worthless.

We are also told to examine the Old Testament to gain an understanding of sin. "Now I would not have you ignorant, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. However with most of them, God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." Neither let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them committed, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell. Neither let us test the Lord, as some of them tested, and perished by the serpents. Neither grumble, as some of them also grumbled, and perished by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them by way of example, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands be careful that he doesn't fall" (1 Corinthians 10:1-12). Because of this, the New Testament can state that lying is wrong, but I can go to the Old Testament and find illustrations of the many ways people lie, such as by using false weights when selling merchandise. These illustrations do not need to be repeated in the New Testament because the Old Testament exists. But notice once again that the rule is set by the New Testament and the Old Testament helps to clarify the concept.

Thus, getting to your particular example, the New Testament states, "Or don't you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor extortioners, will inherit the Kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10). And in another passage, "For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions. For their women changed the natural function into that which is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural function of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another, men doing what is inappropriate with men, and receiving in themselves the due penalty of their error" (Romans 1:26-27). Thus, I can turn to Old Testament passages, such as Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 to illustrate exactly what is meant by homosexual acts and prove that it is a sin God has always considered to be wrong. But notice that I don't use those passages to state that the death penalty must be applied to homosexual acts. Such is not mentioned in the New Testament. Instead, the New Testament states that it is human governments who are given the responsibility of determining and carrying out the earthly punishments for sins (Romans 13:1-7).

The New Testament states, "Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them, having, in the same way as these, given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire" (Jude 1:7). Therefore, I go back to the story in Genesis regarding Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 to illustrate why the New Testament condemns homosexuality. I can then go to other examples mentioned in the Old Testament where homosexuality continued to be practiced to further illustrate why God condemns it.

Throughout it all, we start with what the New Testament teaches and then use the Old Testament to back it up and illustrate it -- but not the other way around.

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