Roots of Our Faith
As Christians, why do we need the Old Testament when we have the New Testament? This is a
question often asked in modern day Christianity. This is also the question which seems to provoke the
writing of The Old Testament Roots of Our Faith, by Paul and Elizabeth Achtemeier. The Achtemeiers
point out in their book that in modern day thinking we view God as a loving father (pg. 1-2), rather than the
God of the Old Testament who seems to act in jealousy over his own power with the destruction of
everything. So why then do we read the Old Testament? The final reason is "We can?t understand the
nature of Christians unless we understand Israel."(pg.5) according to the Achtemeiers, and Israel as pointed
out throughout the book is the root of all Christianity today. The main purpose behind this book is to
provide us with a rope which connects us and our New Testament thinking to the Old Testament. The
single main theme that conveys this thinking is that throughout all God has k!
ept his word with mercy and love.
Achtemeier shows us this link by basically giving us an entire overview of the Old Testament in a
form which ties to the coming of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. We can believe God?s link to Jesus Christ
and the world today, by the point, through everything God has gone through he has remained true to his
word or covenants. God?s greatest creation, man, rebelling against his own authority has been the cause for
most of the problems in the Old Testament. In started with Adam and Eve wanting to be like God
themselves which led them to sin and continued on to Israel where sin was evident everywhere. In Israel,
David, although chosen as the anointed one or messiah, committed adultery and murder, yet God?s mercy
and forgiveness stepped in. Israel as a whole was given the ten commandments to abide by, yet they
couldn?t. Despite many prophet writings that the end of Israel would come, God instead gave salvation to
them through a new spirit and heart in the form of Jesus Chri!
st according to the Achtemeiers.
The book is organized primarily as the bible is organized with certain points, when needed, taken from
other passages in both the New and Old Testament. The way it is ordered makes the book almost read like
a story on a timeline through each book of the bible, in telling us what God has gone through for us to
believe in his faith. Certain times in the book the Achtemeiers put in what seem like their own beliefs
about particular parts which throw the reader off a bit. For example when they arrive at the time of David
being the King in Israel, they seem to believe that David wasn?t the right choice to be the Messiah or
wasn?t the chosen one at all. They back this point up by saying, "Yahweh seems often curiously absent
from the history of Israel?s greatest king." (pg. 77) The Achtemeiers are clear throughout the book proving
that God has always been true to his word and that is why we were given Jesus. An example is when the
judging of Israel comes, they show us that God ra!
ther than destroying Israel for being full of corruption, gives them a new heart and spirit, which falls in line
with his covenant with Israel.
I completely agree with the Achtemeiers feelings, after reading this book, that Jesus "is the
fulfillment of the Old Testament Story." This book has been extremely helpful to me since in the past I?ve
studied the Old Testament as all separate pieces with no real logical answer to any question. Before
reading this I too felt that the Old Testament seemed to be more so a collection of stories that give us a
basic moral understanding of how God thinks we should all act. While I don?t feel that I understand the
New Testament better, I do feel that I understand the roots of it better, like where and why it came about.
By knowing the roots of it better, I feel in the future while studying the New Testament I will have more of
a grasp of what Paul, Peter, or Luke says means in the whole big scheme of things, but not necessarily in
their individual