Php wordpress redirecting problem

hi everyone. i’m working on converting our church’s website to a wordpress blog. in the meantime, i need to keep the old site live, but still need to be able to see what i’m doing. i installed wp at the root level. i added a .htaccess file with a directory index to favor .html over .php., and of course added an index.html file with a simple redirect to our old site’s home. Here’s the problem. i can access the admin part of the wordpress blog and even create posts, but it will not let me view them at all. even if i type in www.website.com/index.php it still redirects me. if try to view a post via it’s permalink it still redirects me. i’m pretty new to lots of this stuff, and i’m sure that wordpress must need to go back to that root directory to get information and gets sidetracked before it can because of my new index file, but i have no idea how to stop it.

long story short, here’s what i want to do. redirect my server to the old site when typing in the address, but still be able to see what i’m doing with my wp site as a develop. what’s the best way to do this?