Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Me? A Moderate?

Since entering cyberspace, I have debated Orthodox Messianic Jews and one particular, h-hm, left-leaning Christian. In both debates, the Torah, or Law was largely the issue. How relevant is it today? The believer Jews were set on obedience to the Torah. Period. I questioned the rigidity of such thinking, perhaps legalistic approach to our faith. It brought visions of Jesus, Peter and Paul wrestling with the exact same doctrinal heresies, against each other, the Pharisees, the whole tradition of Judaism. Do they really think we need to reinstitute sacrificial atonement on an altar somewhere? Is the kosher diet a matter of salvation? The answer was, "Jesus is our salvation" but they didn't let go of the strict obedience thing either. Obedience is right and good, so I wrote to Moishe Rosen of Jews for Jesus. He was, thankfully, a moderate, like me!

Now, as I attempt to recreate how U.S. leadership was established on the foundations of the Law, I find myself on the exact opposite end of the argument. The Law is still relevant and always will be. I actually could argue its very presence in Heaven, because God is the Law. The change will be in us...we will be perfectly obedient, with all our hearts, minds, and strength. The Law of the Lord is perfect..." (Psalm 19:7a) My brother in Christ, John, doesn't see how the Old Testament can be utilized in a modern day government. It is New Testament all the way for him. My resolve is that the New Testament offered us a way to self-govern. Jesus offered us a way for our conscience to bow before God. It is a teaching of relationship between God and man. As we relate to our fellow man, we are answering to God.

The Old Testament, on the other hand, is where we are taught to answer to each other, to govern outside ourselves. The person who has no belief in God is accountable, because whether he believes it or not, God is his Creator Who provides Laws for civility. The bottom line and question I offer to you is, "How did the Founding Fathers decide which of the commandments to write as law, and which to allow freedom of conscience?" Part of the answer is in the fact, as Dr. Kennedy pointed out in an interview, ninety-nine percent plus citizens considered themselves Christians at the founding of this nation. If that seems high, you have my permission to lower it a bit. I will still argue with you, the numbers were significant enough that blasphemy laws, well established in Blackstone's common law, were not continued for long. It just wasn't an issue. We have come a long way, baby, and that's not a good thing.

So where does the moderation come in? I am not endorsing a full-fledged literal enforcement of the Torah. There is plenty to glean from, though. Sorry to be so cliche, but could we not throw the baby out with the bath water? Truly, I am ready for some detail. Which laws are relevant, how are they to be applied in a free society, and who will decide? The people? Which ones? Majority should not always win! C'mon, let's dig.

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