The Old Testament

Semester Michelle HolcombOf all the professors, Ken Turner has probably been the most crass, blunt, and inflammatory…

And as a result, he is also been the most inexpressibly helpful in the topics most Christians tiptoe around by being personable, honest and open. His demeanor gave a distinct implication that he was frank and truthful in his teaching, and that he answered every question to his best knowledge — even when that meant withholding an answer (or even an opinion on occasion) for lack of knowledge. He didn’t pretend to know everything and readily admitted his uncertainty as needed — but on the topics he had studied, he held nothing back, providing all views of the topic. Through this format, new and often controversial questions would be brought up, and several possible answers would be proposed. It was often left to us to sort through everything and find the answer that lined up with orthodox theology and reality. I never realized how many discrepancies individual Christians have, all within faithfulness, but Dr. Turner introduced many of these new thoughts that gave us a chance to practice the critical thinking we’ve been learning here at Summit.

Specifically, Dr. Turner elaborated on Joshua, providing insight on the historical and literary context of it, introducing troublesome aspects, but then clarifying the contrast in the portrayal of God between the Old and New Testaments, which most Christians either misinterpret or brush under the rug. The puzzle pieces of these lectures, combined with the reading we’ve done, came together to form a cohesive and true perception of who God is and what His purpose was and is for humanity: All of history tries to restore the interactive relationship with God that Adam and Eve had in the Garden of Eden, from the Ark of the Covenant to the tabernacle to Christ, to revelation. I grasped an understanding of the term “metanarrative” that can’t come from a formal definition, but one that is worked for by having your mind and heart in the Word and in the other resources (like the professors) available to us.

Dr. Turner also spoke of the propensity people also have to elevate Christ to the extent of devaluing the Old Testament. That’s not to say that a relationship with Christ isn’t vital, but that God’s character and actions in the Old Testament also need to be understood in order to grasp a fuller weight of what Christ did by dying on the cross. Though this explanation, I discovered that contrary to superficial understanding, the Old and New Testament don’t contradict, but in fact compliment and complete each other.

The fundamental clarification for these two misconceptions was found in this statement from one of Dr. Turner’s lectures: “Answers to personalized questions tend to become intuitively obvious when you strive to understand the general word of God.” With this as our objective, we Christians gain a well-rounded understanding of all of scripture, and cease our habit of ‘cherry picking’ verses out of context once we’ve hit one of the potholes on the road of life, or in our journey to learn more about God. This mindset is especially helpful when the potholes feel like canyons, or the road is blocked completely.

I think what I appreciated about Dr. Turner most was that he didn’t have a teaching face- no mask behind which he hid his true feelings. Through this vulnerability, the students felt free to ask questions as honestly as they needed to, and this, I think, is what the educational side of Summit is all about.

Michelle Holcomb comes to the hills of Snow Wolf Lodge from the Lone Star State. Dynamically gifted in the arts, Michelle has practiced her gifts not only for her own enjoyment, but also for the pleasure of others. She particularly enjoys painting, and has taken part in painting Bible murals on the walls of her church. In addition to painting, Michelle enjoys crocheting, knitting, drawing, and playing the ukulele, as well as a bit of piano. Michelle is pursuing a degree path towards teaching English and Art. She is excited to spend time in Colorado outdoors doing physical activity, and hopes to grow in community with her fellow students at Summit Semester.