„The God of the Old Testament is so different from the Jesus of the New Testament.“
If you have ever talked to anyone about the Bible, Christianity, or the relationship between Judaism and Christianity, you´ve probably heard this assertion at least once in your life. In my own experience, the statement has been used to either a) argue, from the viewpoint of philosopical naturalism that the God of Judaism was more vengeful, therefore more primitive than the God of Christianity, therefore religions evolved from human thought (by implication) or b) from a triumphalist Christian viewpoint, that Christianity is a new revelation that supercedes the revelation of God seen in the Tanakh/Old Testament. There seems also to be a hint of an underlying attack on the doctrine of the Trinity in this attempt to drive a wedge between the Father and the Son, though that is harder to read. What these two ideas have in common is that they both depend on a facile reading of the texts of Jewish scriptures pre-Jesus. You see, not to go into the pre-incarnation appearances of Jesus in the Tanakh, but there are multiple instances in the Jewish scriptures that point quite directly to the continuity of character betrween the God the Father and God the Son.
In the last episode of The Chosen from its most recent season, the writers did a terrific job of showing this consonance in the echo of Psalm 77 that is inherent in the Matthew 14: 22-33 account of Jesus and Peter walking on the water. The episode is avaialble at angelstudios.com and if you have not watched it, you should. The sung version of the Psalm and the dramatization of Peter´s interaction with Jesus on the sea are both masterfully done.
Another parallel between the Father and Son, between „OT God“ and „NT God“ that has gotten my attention lately is the parallel between the LORD´s self-description in Ezekiel 34 and Jesus´s self-description in John 10. In the Ezekiel passages, God the Father rebukes the corrupt shepherds and promises that he himself will become the Shepherd of Israel, bind up the weak, sick and injured and will seek those who have strayed. And both passages are stark in their condemnation of the mortal shepherds who have failed in their God-given charge. In the John passage, Jesus rebukes the hirelings who flee when the sheep are attacked, pledging to lay down his life to save them unto eternal life, and to bring those outside of his sheep pens into the fold. Like Father, Like Son. The passages bear further study and analysis, which I encourage you to undertake and pray the Holy Spirit will guide.
Prayer for Israel in May
This year, two ministries we work with are joining in a call for one million or more intercessors to pray for Israel between the 7th and 28th of May. International Prayer Connect (IPC for short) is praying both for the state of Israel, the Jewish people, and for peace, reconciliation, and salvation among the peoples and nations in the Middle East in that period. Toward Jerusalem Council II (TJCII for short) has joined with International House of Prayer in Kansas City in the Isaiah 62 call to fasting and prayer for the fulfilment of God´s promises to Israel and for protection of the Jewish people in the increasingly tense and hostile political environment in the Middle East. We will participate as will many with TJCII-Germany and the Gebetshaus in Augsburg. Please join us. There are prayer guides available on the linked sites for IPC and the Isaiah 62 fast.
Our Ongoing Ministry Here
Susan and I continue to be in the morning shift at the Gebetshaus Mondays through Thursdays and in the Israel Prayer on Friday afternoons. Felicia is a worship leader in Generation4Christ, and we are all involved in various activities with the Kononia Community. Recently Koinonia began a scouting group that also functions as child evangelism. We participate in it and are praying to see it grow.
The translations I wrote for the apologetics ministry Reasons to Believe, which were used to create RTB´s German website (sieht man hier), are done and my work for them is at a pause of sorts while they determine how to proceed further. Please pray for the impact of RTB´s international ministry here in German-speaking Europe but also in the Arab-speaking world, India, Russia, the U.S.A. and Canada.
I would also ask for your prayer for our financial situation, which is, frankly, awful. When we came to Augsburg in 2015, the plan was only to stay for two years to support the Wittenberg 2017 initiative and then return to Texas. We came here operating on the tent-maker model of missions, which meant my work as a translator funding all of our activities. After that time had passed, though, we sensed and had affirmed by the Holy Spirit in prayer that we were to stay. So we did. For the next two years after that, things went well, materially. The demand for my brand of „tents“ stayed high enough for us to make a living. Then the idiotic overreactions of world governments and their agencies to the COVID-19 wave wreaked an appalling amount of economic havoc…and I am not going to re-hash those events blow-by-blow, but the end result in 2023 is that some sectors have not yet recovered, and translation is one of them. It is now also being hit by AI, with DeepL and ChatGPT causing demand to remain depressed, at least if you translate one of the most-frequently translated languages, like, say…German.
So, we are looking for additional sources of work and would also appreciate, and need, to be honest, support through this site. If you have any referrals for translating, copy editing, copywriting, research or other tasks for a couple of academics and writers, we´d appreciate it if you could send them. In the mean time, please keep this need in your prayers.
Thank you for your support of our ministry in Germany.
Helping us out financially keeps the lights on and the bills paid, and right now, the need is, frankly, acute.