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GARBC Resolution on Preaching Christ from the Old Testament

November 4, 2016

PROCLAIMING CHRIST FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT

The messengers of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, meeting together in regular conference June 28—July 1, 2016, at Harvest New Beginnings in Oswego, Illinois,

Believing that the Old Testament Scriptures are rich in teaching concerning Christ (Luke 24:27; John 5:39), regarding such topics as His incarnation, death, resurrection, glory, Messiahship, kingship, and much more,

Rejoicing in the privilege of preaching, teaching, and proclaiming the Old Testament in the light of Christ and New Testament revelation,

Understanding that the meaning of the Old Testament does not change, yet recognizing that further New Testament revelation about Christ’s life, death, glorification, and future rule clarifies the divinely intended meaning of various teachings of the Old Testament, including the reality of an intricate and complicated law system (Col. 2:16, 17; Heb. 10:1),

Declaring that, while desiring to move the listener from the Old Testament context toward Christ, one must not force the text to convey New Testament teaching or to reveal Christ; being assured that there are times when one can preach an Old Testament text, understanding the writer’s intended meaning for his original hearers and then pointing the contemporary audience to rightly respond to the teaching point of the text,

Admitting that some have been guilty of preaching the Old Testament merely moralistically, at times missing the opportunity to draw the listener toward Christ, grace, and the gospel, and that some have overused typology in the Old Testament Scriptures or made connections to Christ that are suspect,

Noting also that some have wrongly used allegory and that others advocate a Christ-centered methodology built on a faulty redemptive-historical approach to interpretation, a tactic that makes the advance of God’s redemptive plan the delineating factor in the historical context of any Bible passage, an approach often arising out of hermeneutical systems that confuse Israel and the church,

Recognizing that while a redemptive purpose of God in the world is fleshed out in the Old and New Testaments, a more comprehensive theme for the underlying purpose of God in the world, taught in Scripture, is His glory, with redemption as a means to that end (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14), we

Urge all students of the Word to rightly divide the Old Testament, making use of a grammatical-historical approach to interpretation, allowing the central truth intended by the writer to emerge from the text or texts;

Encourage students with a clear grasp of the writer’s intended meaning of the text in its historical context to then give strategic scrutiny to the text, aware of the progressive nature of Scripture and God’s plan, the promise-fulfillment of Scripture in Christ, direct prophecies, legitimate types and foreshadowing, the longitudinal themes of the Bible, and other proven and balanced approaches to understand the text in light of its possible fulfillment in Christ; and

Exhort all preachers, teachers, and students of God’s Word not to neglect the Old Testament, but to proclaim it faithfully, revealing to listeners the unity and richness of God’s revealed Word, and in a richer, fuller way proclaiming Christ and redemption to the glory of God, “warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col. 1:28).

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