Our Love Affair With The Ten Commandments

We have an ongoing affection and preoccupation with the Ten Commandments. Some cheer and applaud statements like that. This is particularly true of Reformed groups and those tending toward legalism and a legalistic view of the Christian life. Many times, those are the same groups.  But I have a different opinion. I think our preoccupation with the Ten Commandments is not only unhealthy, but has no place reigning in the conscience of a believer today.

Let’s interact for the next few minutes with an on-line devotional hosted by Ligonier Ministries entitled, Teaching the Law. The article begins with a quote from the Old Testament book of Nehemiah:

They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. (Nehemiah 8:8)

The devotional goes on to state the following claim:

God, in fact, wants the Ten Commandments “preached pointedly,” as question 115 of the Heidelberg Catechism explains. The answer to this question tells us why our Creator desires for His people to understand His statutes.

One thing I’ve come to realize about those who adhere to Covenant or Reformed Theology is their tendency to cite their creeds and catechisms as authoritative as though they were on par with Scripture. They would never admit to that or say it that way, but that’s been my observation. This is one example.  The first piece of evidence provided to us is that God wants the Ten Commandments “preached pointedly” because the Heidelberg Catechism says so. To Ligonier’s credit, they do turn to Scripture after citing the catechism:

First, let us consider the biblical evidence that God wants church leaders to preach and teach His commandments. Today’s passage, for example, records Ezra’s reading of the Mosaic law to the Israelites after they returned from exile. The author clearly approves of this act, as well as the Levites’ explanation of God’s rules to Israel (Neh. 8:1–12). In reading the commandments, Ezra and the Levites fulfilled the command to preach and teach regularly the Mosaic law (Deut. 31:9–13).

I believe this statement is misleading because Nehemiah 8 makes no mention of the Ten Commandments. In fact, the entire Continue reading “Our Love Affair With The Ten Commandments”

A Greater Than Moses

In this post I want to share a podcast episode from my old Ekklesia podcast. Ekklesia is a transliteration of the New Testament Greek word most often translated “church” in our Bibles. It’s a podcast I used to do in order to think out loud about some of the differences I see between many of our institutional churches and the church Jesus is planting. In this episode, I talk about the church’s preoccupation with Moses, the Ten Commandments, and the Old Covenant. We bring elements of Moses and the Old Covenant into the New Covenant and make them binding truths on believers today.

IMPORTANT:  My views on the Law of Moses being abolished have changed since recording this episode. I no longer believe that. I believe that as believers, we have died to the Law, the Law has not died. We are not under the Law, and Christ is the end of the Law for all who believe. I decided to post the episode here anyway because of the other topics I discussed.

Push ‘play’ and join me as we talk about Jesus’ superiority over Moses and the priority of the New Covenant over the Old.

Enjoy!

How to Have a Jesus-Lite Theology of the New Covenant

A New Covenant without Jesus? It happens. I’m living proof. “Without” may be the wrong word. A “Jesus-lite” theology of the New Covenant is a more accurate description of what I want to talk about. Twice in the Old Testament book of Isaiah (Isaiah 42:6 and Isaiah 49:8), the coming Messiah himself is called the promised New Covenant. He is the covenant. The New Covenant isn’t something outside of Jesus that he brought with him, he himself is the New Covenant. His shed blood is the blood of the covenant (Matthew 26:28). He is both the covenant-maker and the mediator of the covenant (Hebrews 6:13-20).

But when our pursuit of the New Covenant becomes more about gathering information than it is about knowing the Person who is the covenant, things get ugly. When our study of the New Covenant becomes more about data mining the Continue reading “How to Have a Jesus-Lite Theology of the New Covenant”

One Of These Covenants Is Not Like The Other

This post serves as an introduction to this web site. The things I say here are introductory and foundational to what’s ahead and I’ll be building on them in future posts. The Bible’s narrative is centered around two major covenants. Most of the events and stories in the Bible’s historic narrative took place during one or the other of these two covenants. These aren’t the only covenants mentioned in Scripture but they occupy the majority of its historic real estate. The first of the two is the covenant God made with the ancient nation of Israel (Exodus 19:5). The New Testament calls this covenant the Old Covenant.

The second is the covenant that began with the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. The New Testament calls this covenant the New Covenant. The Old Covenant ended when the New Covenant began (Hebrews 8:13). There is no point in time where these two covenants ran simultaneously side-by-side. They are incompatible with one another and served different purposes or as Mike Kapler puts it, they are out of sync with each other. These differences in purpose are what we will be Continue reading “One Of These Covenants Is Not Like The Other”