Does the Jesus of loving grace reveal a different ‘god’ than the Old Testament? I get some variation of that question in Bible studies regularly. Think about the Flood, the slaughter of the first-born in Egypt, the conquest of Canaan, God’s general approval of the mob-boss-like ruler David, the exile and then subsequent disapproval of those left behind… For the suspicious, it’s hard not to think that the Bible is just a bunch of people using God to justify what happened to them through the ages.
Marcion was a 1st-2nd century Christian-deemed-heretic who taught that Jesus revealed a new God. He taught that the Jewish God of the Old Testament was a lesser god, a wrathful dictator, perhaps even evil. He only accepted Paul’s letters and parts of the Gospel of Luke as scripture, basically whatever fit his view of God.
Several early church fathers harshly challenged Marcion. In a way, his destruction of the canon to suit his teaching is what led to the formation of the Christian bible we have today. Tertullian was one of these guys who emphasized the one-ness of God and the solidarity between the OT and NT through the person of Christ. Keeping the whole story together, you have to wrestle with the parts that you don’t get. Believing that Jesus and the Father are one from the very beginning, you have to start seeing the hard parts of the OT as somehow connecting to the cross. Grace wasn’t invented with the New Testament, but was there from the very beginning. And judgment didn’t disappear with Jesus Christ, but was fulfilled in his cross.
PS. I’ve been waiting to do a TMNT comic for months, ever since my 3-year-old started watching the 1987 cartoon that I grew up on, and I started re-reading all the comics this past summer. Bodacious notion.