Recently Bill Maher and Bill O’Reilly faced off on religion. You can watch the video here. Be warned it really is a contest of who is more ignorant than the other.
What really surprised me was O’Reilly’s remark: “I respect the Bible, and I take it as an allegorical book. But I’m a Christian, so the New Testament is what I believe in.” Oh really, Mr. O’Reilly?
In fact there was a group of religious people who followed a man named Marcion in the middle of the 2nd century who basically held to the view the Mr. O’Reilly stated, namely that the God of the OT (Old Testament) was wrathful and the God of the NT (New Testament) was all forgiving. Thus Marcion rejected the Hebrew God and also the Old Testament and had a very small Bible: 10 chapters from Luke, and 10 of Paul’s Epistles. Marcion’s dualistic view and rejection of the Old Testament were seen by the Early Church as heretical (not compatible with the Christian faith). Tertullian wrote 5 Books Against Marcion and lays out all of Marcion’s errors.
Truth be told, of the Bills that debated in the video, it is actually Maher that presents a more orthodox view… even though he doesn’t believe it. O’Reilly, on the other hand articulated a non-Christian Gnostic heresy.
Here’s the thing, both the Old and New Testament present the very same God. Both the Old and New Testament give a picture of God’s righteous wrath and His merciful love. As Christians we accept both the Old and New Testament. Our religion isn’t something that just popped out of Judaism 2000 years ago, but is the oldest religion that began when God created the first man and woman. From the very day these two fell into sin, God promised a Savior (Genesis 3:15) and it is for this reason that all of Scripture testifies to Christ (Luke 24:27, Luke 24:44-45).
So if you want to know Jesus Christ, don’t shortchange yourself. Read the Old Testament and be sure to read it through the lens of the Cross.