J.J.M. Roberts has a terrific new article in the latest edition of Christian Studies, entitled, "The Importance of the Old Testament for the Church." Roberts is certainly one of the best (if not the best) OT scholar the Churches of Christ have ever produced. He’s taught at Johns Hopkins, Princeton Seminary, etc., and written a number of influential articles and books.

He writes:

"The emphasis in the Restoration tradition on ‘rightly dividing the Word,’ on recognizing the different dispensations reflected in scripture, on seeing a clear distinction between the old and new covenant was a correct and important insight, but even correct insights drag in their wake unintended, incorrect, and harmful consequences. In the Restoration tradition the emphasis on being under the new covenant has led to a serious neglect and even disparagement of the Old Testament as of no relevance for modern believers. Patently false dichotomies between Law in the Old Testament versus Grace in the New, a God of Wrath in the Old Testament versus a God of Love inthe New Testament, harsh punishment in the Old Testament versus forgiveness in the New, etc. have been widely passed off as true largely becuase the Old Testament has been little read and seldom seriously studied in our tradition. One does not need to listen long in a typical Bible class to hear such negative, uninformed stereotypes about the Old Testament scriptures, and it is not unusual to hear the complaint that classes on an Old Testament book or sermons on an Old Testament text are a waste of time. After all, as New Testament Christians, of what relevance is the Old Testament to our lives?"

Roberts notes that Churches of Christ are by no means the only ones with this problem. Adding that he believes there are other more serious cases of such, (Marcion, Adolf von Harnack, etc.)

My question is… why does this way of thinking continue?