Do conservative Christians want America to follow the Old Testament laws?

In some of the many debates about morality, a few have accused conservatives and Christians of wanting to put America under Old Testament law. The implication is of a fundamentalist movement that wants to enact a Christian version of Sharia law. The angry retort accuses Christians of thinking America should burn witches and stone homosexuals. Is there any truth to this? Do Christians think American law should be like the law of Moses? What should Christians think about the laws of Israel and their application to America today?

Most conservative Christians do not secretly yearn for a day when America is under the law of Moses. The law of Moses was a unique system of laws unfit for use in any other country of the world. The law of Moses was not just a religious law. It described the right ways of worship andd sacrifice. It defined right and wrong, commanding some behaviors and forbidding others. The law of Moses was more than religious law. The law of Moses was also civil law. The laws given to Moses by God described how the nation of Israel would be governed. It assigned punishment for crimes, maintained civil order and directed those who arbitrated God’s law. At that time Israel was a theocracy, a government by God mediated through His prophet Moses. Israel had no elected leadership, no constitution, no king, no ruling body. God was Israel’s supreme ruler and He ruled directly over the affairs of the nation.

Most Christians are not seeking to turn America into a theocracy. Such an effort would be futile and contrary to God’s commands for Christians today. God has never commanded the church or individual Christians to establish a Christian nation ruled directly by God. Christians have been commanded to exert a positive influence on the morals of others. Christians recognize that the moral laws found in the Old and New Testament are God’s unchanging standard of right and wrong. Christians would love to see the nation move to a place of obeying those moral laws, but Christians do not desire to overthrow the existing system of government to enact a pseudo-spiritual political agenda.

The focus of all Christians should be on a goal higher than the passing of new laws or the defense of existing laws. The Christian recognizes that human behavior is the symptom of the evil that exists in every human heart. As a result, the Christian’s goal is the transformation of the heart. The Christian must not be content to be a lobbyist or legislature. The Christian must be anxious to tell the gospel to everyone he meets so the heart of individuals will be changed by the power of God. Only when the heart of a man is changed, turned from sin, cleansed by God and made new, will he be able and wanting to obey God’s laws. The laws of a nation can only order the actions of a people, they can never change hearts.  Christians are not interested in making America a theocracy like Israel, but are anxious to preach the gospel to every creature.

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