Law and Gospel. Are they two separate things, or do they work together?
That is the question that Lester Stephenson aims to answer in his book, A Biblicist View of Law and Gospel. He uses Matthew 5:17-18 as the basis:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” (KJV)
Stephenson points to examples in the Old Testament that link to the New Testament. But this book wasn’t quite what I was expecting.
There is a growing movement of Christians who would describe themselves as “Torah-observant” or who are learning about and putting a growing emphasis on the Old Testament. An online search can show examples of this – women who are covering their heads, men who won’t cut their beards, both genders who are Christians but who are celebrating the Jewish holidays and eating kosher only. And they are Christians. All this because they’ve searched the Bible and believe this is Biblical.
The answer to which traditions we should uphold and which the gospel frees us from… those are things I hoped this book would answer, but it doesn’t. I don’t think the author had those questions in mind. Over and over “the law” is mentioned, but he never really stops to say “This is what the law is”. There is a chapter that explains the 10 Commandments, and he also mentions “The Mosaic Law”, so I think it would strengthen the book if some explanation of what “The Law” is would have been placed in the front of the book, rather than leaving the Commandments towards the end.
FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Ambassador International, in exchange for my honest review.