The idea for this course came one week when I was volunteering as the media guy for worship. The media guy runs the projector that displays words for the songs, notes for the sermon, and whatever else they want it to display. When you’re the media guy, you run the projector for all five services during the weekend, so you get to hear the sermon five times.
One weekend I was the media guy when Barbara Fletcher was preaching. I don’t remember what the whole sermon was about, but I remember that she mentioned some Old Testament references to God’s grace – an aspect of God more commonly associated with the New Testament. I was interested in this, and began to see how many of those references I could find.
In July 2013 the magazine Christianity Today published an issue focusing on this topic, with three excellent articles. They were very helpful to me in preparing this course. So was a book called Old Testament Theology by Bruce Waltke, a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary.
It turns out that God is not all fire and punishment in the Old Testament. There is a lot of war and death, but He actually does a lot of forgiving, too. And we see Him, in a few passages, planning ahead for more grace and the way of salvation that we see in Jesus. So there really is unity between the two testaments. We need to understand more of God’s purposes, and learn more about what He was doing in those Old Testament stories.
The contrast between God in the Old Testament and God in the New Testament is unsettling to many Christians, and off-putting to many non-Christians. So the purpose of this course is to help people understand some of the reasons behind that contrast – to get to know God more deeply so that we can understand what He has done and what He will be doing.
There are two sections of material here. One is the presentation slides, like the other courses have. The other is something new – a selection of essays selected from the notes that I took during my research. I’ve done some editing to make them more readable. At least I hope they’re more readable. Your feedback is most welcome!