Photo courtesy of Flickr All rights reserved by Twelve Bar It’s All Love
I find it frustrating when I read or hear columnists, pundits, or journalists dismiss Christians as inconsistent because “they pick and choose which of the rules in the Bible to obey.” What I hear most often is “Christians ignore lots of Old Testament texts—about not eating raw meat or pork or shellfish, not executing people for breaking the Sabbath, not wearing garments woven with two kinds of material and so on. Then they condemn homosexuality. Aren’t you just picking and choosing what they want to believe from the Bible?”
The short answer is no.
And honestly if I did, I could think of much meatier things to selectively not follow than those. For example, I mean let us be real here. Wouldn’t it be easier to get rid of the scriptures that deal with covetousness and fornication and adultery? Let’s just throw out the scriptures on sex. Wouldn’t that be more realistic and pleasurable? I think you would agree that there are many more scriptures we would love to selectively follow then weather I can wear a cotton shirt or grow a beard a certain length. Then I’d be free to just enjoy my lustful cravings and conspicuous consumption at will, and still be a Christian!
But the reality is that such objections are red herrings to distract from the moral questions often raised by Christians or to ridicule a Christian’s faith. The objection also fails to understand or perhaps chooses not too understand the difference between the moral laws of God versus those societal laws given to Israel.
The truth of the matter is that the Bible makes it clear that the Christian is no longer bound by those Old testament standards. We are under a “new covenant”. A new set of standards that supersede and are higher than those given in the Old Testament. We are instead bound by a higher code. The love of Christ.
The fact of the matter is that the Old Testament law with all its sacrifices and ceremony was never designed to be permanent in the first place.
Lk 16:16, The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
Rom 10:4. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
In Christ, we find the ultimate fulfillment of the law. Hebrews 10:1-18 does an excellent job of explaining the Law and its intent to make us aware of our moral/spiritual inadequacy and its design to lead us to Christ. The law is designed to simply make us aware of our sin, but was never intended to solve the sin issue.
And let’s face it. It’s the issue of sin that gets everyone up into a tizzy. The idea that something is in error with my behavior, thoughts, etc.; is not exactly the most politically acceptable message to communicate in this day and age. Do not get me wrong. I am not saying that Christians are perfect.
But a recovering alcoholic can recognize another alcoholic. The recovering individual is not condemning the person who has a current problem. He is trying to help the person out to see that his behavior is destructive. And despite his desire to want another drink, and even his freedom to do so, his behavior has destructive consequences on his relationships, and society at large. The Christian merely says the same thing, weather the topic is abortion, marriage, etc. The issue is our perspective. How many times have you attempted to “intervene” with someone who needed help? Did they always appreciate it? Did they project that you are better than they were? Often Christians are accused of judging others.
The Christian is someone who knows that if it were not for the transformative power of Christ they too would be hitting the bottle, and commit to acts of self-destruction or hurt to others.
What shall we then say to these things? If you disagree with an idea, instead of attacking the person, instead of the argument…instead of responding to objections by straying into subject matters that are not related to the topic at hand; why don’t we simply reason together?
It is amazing what you might learn from a Christian who wears cotton shirts.