“We need to stop mixing the old with the new,” Andy Stanley said in a recent op-ed at Relevant Magazine, “the church has a terrible habit of selectively rebranding aspects of the old covenant and smuggling them into the new.”
Stanley, son of former Southern Baptist President, Charles Stanley and pastor of Northpoint megachurch in Atlanta, GA, has been under fire recently for his sermon avouching that “we need to unhitch from the Old Testament,” drawing widespread criticism from evangelical leaders and Christian journalists around the globe.
Doubling down on his assertion, Stanley recently declared that we need to quit erecting Ten Commandments displays and should instead consider making monuments dedicated to the Sermon on the Mount.
Stanley’s hostility to the Scriptures is nothing new. He’s asserted that the Scriptures are indefensible and that expository preaching is “easy” and “cheating,” even going as far as saying that it doesn’t matter if the Scriptures are true regarding the virgin birth of Christ.
According to Stanley, when Jesus came, he came to replace the moral law of God.
The Ten Commandments are from the old covenant.
The Ten Commandments played a significant role in God’s creation of the nation of Israel. It gave them moral guidelines and helped separate this new nation from their neighbors. This was part of the formal agreement (or covenant) God created with his people, but Jesus’ death and resurrection signaled the end of that covenant and all the rules and regulations associated with it.
Jesus didn’t issue his new command as an additional commandment to the existing list of commands.
He didn’t say, “Here’s the 614th law.”
Jesus issued his new commandment as a replacement for everything in the existing list. Including the big ten. Just as his new covenant replaced the old covenant, Jesus’ new commandment replaced all the old commandments.
Jesus, however, actually taught the exact opposite.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 5:17-19
While Jesus fulfilled the law perfectly, God’s moral law is a reflection of his nature and Christians, while no longer slaves to the law, are still expected to obey God’s moral commands. Christians are not under the covenant of works, however, in the Christian life, good works, as reflected in God’s righteous nature in the ten commandments, are the outpouring of a regenerate heart, and should not only be obeyed by Christians but held in very high honor.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV)