At first, Christianity was just another form of Judaism. The first non-Jews who joined the movement were a minority in a Jewish community--considered "resident aliens" among the people of Israel. The expectations in the Scriptures for Gentiles among the people were the basis for welcoming Gentiles into the early church. When the majority of people in the church no longer shared Jewish law and customs, the memory of what it meant to be non-Jewish in a Jewish community, to be righteous before God as a Gentile, was lost.
Recovering the Lost Legacy shows how to tell which biblical commandments are intended for non-Jewish Christians and how to identify the moral commandments in scripture. It separates commands to be followed from examples to learn from, letting us see biblical figures like King David as both good and bad examples. It explains what Jesus and Paul actually said about righteousness, law, and behavior. It clarifies what life changes new non-Jewish Christians were expected to make to become followers of Jesus. It shows how to use moral guidance in our own spiritual growth without creating an obstacle to the gospel message of love and forgiveness.
Recovering the Lost Legacy provides a solid biblical foundation for understanding moral issues. Readers will learn what kind of behavior Jesus and the apostles expected of their followers, and they will be able to use biblical reasoning in their own conflicts over which behaviors are and are not acceptable for those who want to live by the scripture.
Jean Risley's Recovering the Lost Legacy speaks directly and forthrightly into a vital need in today's churches: the need for concrete moral guidance for Christian living and mission, informed by the revealed moral laws of the Old and New Testaments. Risley pinpoints many of the confusions and misunderstandings of the nature of biblical law and its purposes, and provides practical suggestions for connecting these principles in the life of the church. I commend it warmly to all pastors and church leaders who seek a more comprehensive theological basis for Christian discipleship today.
--John Jefferson Davis, Professor of Systematic Theology & Christian Ethics, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary