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Bobby Valentine

I am reading with interest Wade. Not being critical here at all but seeking further dialog, but why when you speak of the Torah you have no interaction with the Hebrew Bible itself? What does the phrase "legal code" mean to an Israelite? Or in the book of Exodus, Deuteronomy, or the Psalms? Does "law" in the Hebrew Bible have some kind of independent existence apart from the hesed and charis of the Lord (cf. Deut 7.9, 12)?

On the analogy between analog and HD it is important that the exact same material is being shown. In this case it is the same God, same grace, same faith, same covenantal response of faith and obedience. I like to imagine the differences more along the lines of a married couple of forty years. They are looking through their photo albums and they see when they were kids, when they were dating, the wedding, kids, etc. The photo album is the "testament" of the life lived, trials weathered, and ever deepening trust, commitment and love. When we look in the photo album we recall those early years, we thank God for those early years but we cannot turn back the clock and "go back." We live "now." We can not do that in any portion of our previous life. But it is the previous life that gives authority, purpose and legitimacy to the couple's present life together. The present life simply could not be possible without those previous "eras" of life and each "era" continues to have enduring validity and claims on our present life because it has literally made us who we are. You can look in that photo album and see the moment when the "I Do" was said in front of God and witnesses. But now 40 years later you look at that pic and think "how young, innocent and naive we were. We had no idea what we were saying." But the "I do" still is meaningful and in fact is filled with MORE meaning now looking back than when the moment was actually being lived. It is "fulfilled" in the present and being fulfilled is the very antithesis to "being done away with." Just a few thoughts stimulated by you.

Anyway always challenged by you. Thank you for your ministry.
Bobby V

Wade Tannehill


I appreciate your comment and your desire for further dialogue. One reason I started this blog was to learn from those who might comment as we engage in sharpening one another. I miss the days when this was more prevalent throughout the blogosphere.

I will save my responses to your first paragraph for my next post, since you've given me much to think about. As for the analogies of analog/HD vs. the married couple of forty years, we will never come up with a perfect analogy, for as one instructor at IBC used to say, "All analogies break down at some point." Two things may be alike in many ways, but never in every way.

I see the point of your marriage analogy, but I wonder if it doesn't stress the continuity between the covenants at the expense of obscuring any discontinuity. And there is discontinuity to be sure--not as the dispensationalists would have it where the law of God gets entirely repealed and replaced. But the Hebrews author did call the New Covenant "better." In the marriage analogy the couple's "I Dos" are certainly filled with more meaning now than before, but they are still living the same covenant (or "agreement") as before and not a new one. Though it is true that they see their relationship from a whole new perspective now that they could not have imagined all those years ago.

I did intend to convey that the picture we see, rather analog or HD, is the same picture. In the case with the covenants, it is the same God--same grace, same mercy. But with the advent of the new covenant the picture of salvation by grace through faith is greatly enhanced.

Bobby Valentine

Hey Wade,

I appreciate your thoughtful response. Not being argumentative here but thinking out loud with you. Since you are saving replies to my first paragraph for your next I will focus on the HD/marriage analogies. You are correct that all analogies break down. They are simply helpful ways of trying to conceive of an idea. And for the record I do not really disagree with anything you say I just might nuance some things slightly different.

For example coming out of our Restoration heritage with dispensationalism grounded into us at the molecular level, I think we tend to see more discontinuity than is actually there. Take Hebrews as our place to look since you quoted it. What does "better" mean? In what way? How? If we look in Hebrews 8, I think the Hebrews Preacher is not stressing discontinuity as we have in the past. The New/Superior covenant is quite explicitly made with the exact same people the "old" one was. It also says that the fault of the covenant was not really the covenant but the faithlessness of the people. "But God found fault with the people" (8.8). It does not say God found fault with the covenant. Then, of course, the Preacher quotes from the "OT" itself and to show that this new covenant is made with the same people and not a different people. " ... I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with THEIR forefathers when I took THEM by the hand to lead them out of Egypt ..."(8.8-9). This stresses serious continuity. Same God. Same people.

Another analogy but sticking with the married couple. What if the new/superior covenant corresponds to a period of engagement and then marriage? Suppose one or the other partners in that 40 year marriage had been unfaithful in the period of engagement. Now that couple is looking in their photo album and the section is before they were married. They pictures that bring back many precious memories. But mingled in those memories, associated with "those particular pictures" there is the knowledge when the relationship nearly collapsed. A parting of ways takes place. But the couple overcame and not only "got back together" but they now made a better/superior covenant by saying "I Do." The marriage is superior and certainly better than the engagement. Just as one or the other did not find fault with the covenant of engagement but with the person so now they have transcended that by taking everything to an entirely new level. The promises of marriage and the benefits of marriage are far superior than engagement. But the marriage is not a repudiation of the engagement. Everything in the period of engagement is actually taken up into the marriage and deepened. It is not a perfect analogy but I think it does stress the continuity while recognizing some things are different. At any rate I am thinking about it. I resist any attempt to make the word "fulfill" through slight of hand mean "abrogate." I do not believe the NT teaches the OT was abrogated. I wrote on Paul and the Authority of the Old Testament on my own blog the day before you wrote. It has some more thoughts I have been thinking.

Wade Tannehill


I agree that the Preacher of Hebrews was stressing more continuity than we have commonly recognized in our fellowship. Yes, the same people. But also, there is discontinuity (if I could think of a better term I would use it). There has been a change in the priesthood, the tabernacle, the sacrifice, etc. But I do believe that our spiritual forefathers are Israel and that having been grafted in we are now a part of Israel. So there is continuity.

As far as the marriage analogy, I think referring to the Old(er) Covenant as the period of engagement is an improvement over your first use of the analogy. It is even better if we think of engagement in terms of the betrothals in other cultures instead of the throwaway promises and disposable engagements of western culture. The betrothal is even more analogous to the relationship with God shared by our forefathers.

And I agree that the fault was with the people and not the law. For the law is holy, righteous, and good (Rom. 7:12) and the only problem with the older covenant was the weakness of human flesh (Rom. 8:3).

No, "fulfill" does not mean "abrogate." We agree on that.

I am very interested to hear your thoughts on how you might nuance things differently, but I would imagine that most of those comments will relate to the post in which I address the first paragraph of your first comment. I am always looking for better ways to articulate what I'm trying to say and appreciate your input.

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