New and improved?

Ray Vander Laan recently reminded me, via a recording of a teaching session, that it would not be very wise to call the Old Testament by that name in conversation with a person of the Jewish faith. For the Jew, our “Old Testament” is the Tanakh.  Using the term “Old Testament” would be tantamount to asserting that the New Testament is the new and improved one, which of course we essentially believe — but in the assertion we would lose our credibility in the Jewish ear.

I related Vander Laan’s well-placed reminder to my aversion to the term “Reformed.”  I prefer “Calvinist,” for the latter label ascribes the doctrines to one of the key thinkers and founders of so-called Reformed theology.  Using the term “Reformed” is tantamount to asserting that non-Reformed theology is obsolete and in need of reformation–in the ways in which the Arminian and Calvinist systems differ, anyway. I reject that assertion, and someone who speaks glowingly and glibly of Reformed theology is likely to lose his credibility in my ear.

“Reformed” may be relatively new, but it is not tantamount to an overall improvement, to my way of thinking.  The pure New Covenant is just that–new and improved.  It seems to me that God communicated that pretty clearly through the One and Only Son (e.g., in the “Sermon on the Mount” and in the letter to the Hebrews).


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