The Bible and Politics–What About The Old Testament Law?

Posted: October 13, 2010 in Uncategorized

Should Christians attempt to implement the Old Testament law? A few fringe Christians believe so and a handful of secular writers like to quote them in order to ridicule the Christian Right as attempting to establish a theocracy.  Yet, as Wayne Grudem points out in his new book the Old Testament laws were written to the people of God to be the people of God in a particular time and place. 

The Israelites were redeemed from Egypt in order to be a nation of priests that would witness to the whole world about the one true God.  A particular piece of land was chosen, probably for its locale, which stood at the intersection of the western world, to be an effective witness for travelers from Greece to Persia would have to journey through it and come to know its people and their strange ways such as caring for the widow & orphan, setting all debtors free after seven years and refusing to practice abominations such as infanticide. The laws were to set Israel apart from their pagan neighbors in stark fashion. Yet, when they failed to complete their mission and the ways of their neighbors changed, the letter of the law could no longer aid the cause of bringing the world to know and worship the one true God of creation.

Thus, while there are some principles that are eternal, the law itself is largely inapplicable to the modern world.  Therefore, while Christians should seek to influence the political system because the teachings of God are beneficial for all people who He loves, we should not derive our public policy stances from a strict, ahistorical reading of the Old Testament but from a balanced, historical reading of all of Scripture.

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