Do Christians Pick and Choose Which Laws to Observe?
by Rachel Marron
Skeptics of Christianity frequently charge that Christians pick and choose which laws to follow. We eat bacon and lobster, but frown upon stoning adulterers and disrespectful children. We no longer slaughter sheep, but do not recognize homosexual marriage. So are we just hypocrites or are the assumptions to this charge flawed?
To answer that question, it’s important to understand the purpose of the Old Testament laws. The book that primarily deals with these seemingly obscure Jewish laws is Leviticus, named after the priests, or Levites, who mediated between the people and the Jewish God, Yahweh. But to understand the purpose of Leviticus, you’d actually have to flip to the previous book: Exodus.
Exodus is most known for Moses, plagues, the parting of the Red Sea and most importantly, Charlton Heston. And the Ten Commandments were there too. But, the end of this book closes in a very important way. Yahweh’s presence descends upon the people inside his tabernacle, and he dwelt among them. There was only one problem: Moses couldn’t go in. No one could.
This is confusing to say the least. God raises up a leader, smites the most powerful nation on earth, forgives his people for spiritual schizophrenia and comes down to be with them all so he could be …in the next room. Alone.
Why the hold up? Because, God is holy.
American churches (particularly in the evangelical Protestant genre) have done a great job spreading the news that “God loves you.” Perhaps too well. In a society where everyone is given a trophy, social media reception is measured in “likes,” and where self-esteem can even determine your gender, God loving you seems, well, expected.
But God’s holiness remains a foreign concept…
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