Popular Culture on the Relationship between the New and Old Testaments

I apologize for linking to the same blog two days in a row, but Dr. Brady has noticed a Neo-Marcionite trend among current comic strips. And, I find this tendency very interesting. Marcionism was a movement related to early Christianity that saw a dichotomy between the Old Testament and New Testament, going so far as to say the deities of the Old Testament and New Testament were not the same. The God of the Old Testament was vicious and terrible, whereas the God of the New Testament was gracious and merciful. Dr. Brady has posted a recent Doonesbury comic and a comic called Watch Your Head that demonstrate the tendency within modern culture to recognize the same dichotomy that Marcion did.

Yet in his post containing the Doonesbury comic, Dr. Brady explains why this dichotomy is a false one. He says “Do a quick search for the phrase “kingdom of heaven” or “kingdom of God” and you will find that Jesus’ vision of the future includes God judging both the wicked and the righteous and their are dire consequences for those who are not accepted into the kingdom.” Instead of a dichotomy he implies that modern culture needs to recover the image of Jesus as “one tough and hornery hombre.”

I agree with Dr. Brady’s assessment to a significant degree, though I think what is most difficult for readers of the Old Testament is the failure of God to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants. Yet the point still stands, the New Testament is not just “Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild.” What do you think? Don’t forget to post comments below.

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