What we might call a fast and loose use of the Old Testament was for Paul and his contemporaries a normal and expected approach to biblical interpretation—creatively connecting the past with the present.
Paul appeals to the Old Testament in order to support what is hardly an obvious notion to Jews at the time: that Jesus, a crucified and risen son of a working-class family, is the long-hoped for Jewish messiah and that Gentiles as Gentiles are full and equal partners along with Jews in this messianic age.
And that is where we find “resurrection” in the Old Testament: returning to the land, where God and his temple are, where there is peace and security, the land promised to Abraham, the land “flowing with mik and honey.”
They have lost interest in what amounts to a shallow, quasi-biblical expression of Christian faith, one that focuses far too much on the not yet. Ironically, in their critique they are putting their finger on something central to the Good News.
I knew back then, as I do now, that the model of biblical interpretation I had been taught was not going to cut it if I was going to try to explain how my Bible works rather than defend a Bible that doesn’t exist.
Now, I know you believe, as we all do, that the Bible, being God’s word, is perfectly consistent all the way through, meaning it doesn’t mean one thing in the Old Testament and another thing when you quote it. It goes without saying that you respect the intention of the original author more than anyone, and you’d never mistreat the Bible like that.