Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love


the old testament's place in the scheme of god


Many American Christians have a lingering attachment to the Law of Moses, which governed ancient Israel in the Old Testament. This is demonstrated by their unrelenting emphasis on the Ten Commandments as the rightful basis for our civil laws and by their insistence on a continued special status for the Jews, who were the sole recipients of the OT law system.  


Never in my experience has a Christian leader suggested that the basis for our civil laws should be the Golden Rule as taught by Jesus or the fruits of the spirit as expounded by Paul. Naturally enough a civil government based on the rule of law, as we so proudly proclaim, cannot exist on the basis of these New Testament teachings. In that regard all Christians need to recognize a fundamental disconnect between what we promote in the civil realm and what we ostensibly promote in the religious.


For me the evident lesson of the Old Testament was not that its rules were the proper basis for pleasing God and establishing a well ordered society, as many in the many in the church would have us believe. Instead I see the conclusion that all those attempts at righteousness by obedience to laws was a frustrating failure. It never produced the desired results for any extended period. It definitely did produce exactly what we have come to hate about our own law based civil system- untold confusion, mind boggling complexity, and stifling intrusion into daily life by legal authorities. The Law was a lesson in what does not work.


Brandishing a copy of the Ten Commandments and insisting that they be honored as the proper underpinning for our civil governance presupposes that under the New Testament or Covenant mankind is still under law. Jesus pointedly distilled all of the old law into the Golden Rule, so whatever we might attempt to enforce as the law today must meet this standard. The problem with that principle as our guidance is the evident fact that malfeasance under the Golden Rule can never result in retribution, only restoration. No human law based government I have ever witnessed operates that way.