Dr. Robert A. Morey
One of the perennial areas of discussion and difficulty regarding how we understand our Bibles, is in determining how much continuity and/or discontinuity exists between the Testaments. All sorts of issues find their origin in this controversy, from how we define the Church, to how we apply the Ten Commandments, to what we do with the Sabbath, and more. And Dr. Morey’s slim but potent volume is a wonderful tool for unlocking some of these concerns.
The “root of the problem” as Dr. Morey states in chapter 2 is in maintaining a clear distinction between the “Testaments” and the “Covenants” recorded in the Testaments. “The Testaments are literary documents while the Covenants are legal contracts. Thus we must never confuse the two. They are as different as night and day. Once this truth is grasped we are on our way to a biblical view of their nature and claims.”(1) Instead, he argues (convincingly in my opinion) for what he terms a “progressive dynamic view of revelation”(2) which finds its flow in movement from prophecy to fulfillment. Morey writes: “Lastly, the operational principle in both the Old and the New Testaments is that of progressive revelation. This means that the Testaments are organically related to one another in terms of growth and development.”(3)
In chapter 5, our Author makes another necessary distinction when he asks us to consider seriously the distinction between “Directives” and “Directions.” Failure to understand the difference here finds the New Covenant Believer struggling to fulfill Old Testament “directions” (i.e. detailed behaviors, rites, rituals, etc) instead of carrying out the principial “directives” (which Morey sees as lasting and binding above the directions which are not). ”The only commands in the Old Testament we must obey today are the moral directives. God never intended that Christians should be running around trying to obey all the directions given to the Jews in the Old Testament.”(4) It is from this platform that he will later argue against Sabbath keeping as it is regulated among so many New Covenant Believers still. In fact, nearly 1/3 of the book’s 152 pages is devoted to one of the best treatments of why we DO NOT keep Sunday as “the Sabbath” I’ve ever read. It is worth the price of the book alone.
Morey’s appeal to the necessary application of a both/and dynamic where a clear either/or antithesis is not warranted proves to be very helpful. And his applications of this reality to our forms of public worship breathes refreshingly.
Siding neither fully with Covenant Theology, nor Dispensationalism, Dr. Morey instead demonstrates a winsomeness in letting the Bible speak for itself in creating its own structures, rather than requiring a ridged overlay from any particular school of thought. His writing style is crisp and clear, and his content informed and thoughtful.
I highly recommend picking up a copy. It will be a quick, thought-provoking, freeing and insightful read. Do yourself a favor and grab one. Make it two – and give one away.
1Robert A. Morey, How the Old & New Testaments Relates to Each Other (Las Vegas: Christian Scholar’s Press, 2002), 15.