The Mosaic Law, Foreigners, and the Church

A few days ago I posted Deuteronomy 10:17-19 on Facebook in reference to how Christians should respond to immigrants and refugees who come to America. It reads:

For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.

A representative of the New York Bible Society distributing bibles and religious literature to the emigrants at Ellis Island
A representative of the New York Bible Society distributing Bibles and religious literature to the emigrants at Ellis Island

Predictably, my post was met with comments informing me that I was wrong to apply this passage to the current situation because it’s part of the Mosaic Law, and therefore, applicable only to Israel, not to the Church. Every major Evangelical commentary, however, disagrees with that sentiment.

In Be Equipped, for example, Warren Wiersbe writes that “God has a special concern for the helpless, especially the widows, the orphans, and the homeless aliens” and that “God’s dispensations change but His principles never change,” while the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary says, “Clearly the Christian is no different from Israel in this respect and the emphasis of this verse on social concern is equally applicable.” The Word Biblical Commentary says, “What Moses emphasized was simply a vital relationship with God that is worked out in terms of specific responsibilities toward our neighbors,” and the New American Commentary emphasizes that loving the foreigner is part of loving one’s neighbor. Continue reading The Mosaic Law, Foreigners, and the Church

Book Review: Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament

Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament CoverIn his book Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament, Christopher J. H. Wright, director of international ministries for the Langham Partnership International, attempts to correct a deficiency he has noticed within the Church: the tendency to “cut [Jesus] off from the historical Jewish context of his own day, and from his deep roots in the Hebrew scriptures.”[1] Believing that the Old Testament is vital to understanding Jesus, Wright has penned a book that examines how Jesus read, understood, and applied them. Although it is not a perfect book, containing several concerning weaknesses, Wright provides an interesting examination of how Jesus viewed himself, his mission, and the Old Testament and a compelling reason for Christians to embrace the Old Testament as part of their own Scriptural heritage.

Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament, as a title, is something of a misnomer. The book does not deal with finding Jesus in the pages of the Old Testament so much as how Jesus interpreted the Old Testament, and how he interpreted his own ministry in light of it. Wright desires Christians to see the New Testament as the continuation of the Old Testament rather than the replacement of it, and each of his five chapters uses a different topic to demonstrate that Jesus was in agreement with this thesis. Continue reading Book Review: Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament