Christian Sharia: In Future We Will Have Less Laws

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There are two main causes of untold human suffering: lawlessness and love of law. Lawlessness is the kind of act we see in the Boston bombing or rape of a 5 year old girl in India. Love of law is the creation of arbitrary laws that achieve control over others. Which is worst? After 2000 years of Christianity, most Christians still have a hard time understanding the role and limitations of law, or our proper relationship to it. From my understanding of the Bible and study of world history, it seems that “love of law” is far more prevalent in human experience than lawlessness.

 

Societies that descend into anarchy (lawlessness) are virtually non-existent. On the other hand, societies that descend into martial law, police state, and strict control are too many to count!

 

Humans just can’t seem to get enough of laws. Every time modern politicians meet, the only thing they seem to do is propose or pass new laws. Most of these laws have unintended consequences that do great damage. The United States passed a Prohibition Law which banned alcohol from 1919 to 1933. Most Christians at the time would have viewed it as a win for Christianity, but I do not believe God did. The law produced a crime wave for 24 years, pushed up the price of alcoholic beverages, created a black market in which violence ruled and established the Mafia which had not really existed in America before. Alcohol had been legal and cheap for thousands of years, and whether you care to drink or not was your own choice, not someone else’s. But when special interest groups and politicians stepped in to regulate other’s behavior using law and force, it did not solve the problem. It exacerbated the problem, made more alcoholics, and cost money and lives.

 

One would think that Bible-believing Christians would be the most averse to the increase of law-making, but it is quite the opposite. Christians in general are enamored with laws and even lobby for more laws to be passed. What does the Bible say? Galatians 4:21, “Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?” Paul then explained how the law produces bondage and slavery, and how we are called to be free. Galatians 5:18, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Christians are not under law, but Christians seem to love to put others under it!

 

Some people gasp at the thought of less human laws, “What would happen if we didn’t have so many laws?” Washington DC used to be the crime capital of America until in 2007, the city’s “gun ban law” was struck down by the Supreme Court. Violent crime dropped 47% and property crime dropped 48% in that year! It had nothing to do with the government spending more money or the police doing a better job fighting crime. It had to do with freedom to protect oneself. In Australia, where it’s assumed that gun-ownership is wrong and the police should protect us, violent crime is increasing. We trust the government so much it goes without question that more laws will help us. I would estimate a third of my church members have experienced property theft or burglary in Melbourne, and the police do absolutely nothing about it.

 

Fighting sin with laws is exactly what the Pharisees did. It is also what every religion in the world does. Islam is the very opposite of Christianity because it demands sharia law be enshrined in a government where Muslims are majority. Christians have been proponents of freedom, including for non-Christians in our countries. If we impose our values on others by law and force, are we not instituting Christian sharia, or atheist sharia, or secular sharia?

Every religion, except Christianity, teaches that the way to be saved is to follow more rules. Christ came to set us free from law. If being set free from law saves us and makes us better personally, why do we not apply this to save our society and make it a better place?

 

How many laws are really needed? Moses summarized all the duty of man in 10 simple bullet points. Jesus summarized them further into 2 laws: love God and love people as you love yourself. The entire United States Constitution can fit inside a man’s shirt pocket, but these days one law passed by Congress, such as the Obamacare Health Act, is printed on a book so thick it must be pulled along on a trolley. Libertarians have an elegant model for good secular government, have only 2 laws: do all you say you will and do not aggress on other people or their property.

 

The goal of any wise person in power should be to simplify the law, reduce the number of rules and increase the freedom, especially the freedom to preach the Good News, which was the main freedom the first-century disciples fought and died for!

 

Christians need to challenge their own thinking by the Bible. Excessive law-making has not solved human suffering, is condemned in the Bible as Pharisaical, and causes untold suffering, control, and hysteria. Why do some people love laws? Because when they don’t genuinely have a relationship with Christ, the only true Protector and Caregiver, they must find comfort and security in an alternative: laws. The great danger in our age is not so much lawlessness, but the increase in love of laws.

 

Another example of the love of law is the state abduction of children under the pretense of “children rights” and “state protection”. In countries like Norway and the UK, children are snatched without warning from their parents on no better basis than a state worker’s opinion that the child may be “at risk of emotional abuse,” a term that is so vague parents are at the mercy of the state to get their children back. The state worker then uses a psychological “expert” to justify their abduction. What could be wrong about protecting children from emotional abuse? There are certainly children born in unfortunate circumstances to alcoholic or drug-addicted parents, but what is the Christian solution? It’s not using human law and force.

Currently 90,000 children are under Britain’s “state care”. Can the state be the parental guardian of these children and raise them better than their own family can? 50% of British prostitutes and 80% of British poor who sell “Big Issue” magazines on the streets were raised in “state protection”.

Australia actually has an entire “Stolen Generation” which was abducted by the state from 1909 to 1969. State workers were authorized by law to forcibly remove Aboriginal and Torres Straits children from their black parents, under the guise of “children’s rights”. These ridiculous regulations devastated entire communities, to whom Prime Minister Kevin Rudd finally apologized in 2008. But a political apology is not what is needed; less laws by politicians is the solution. The state is able to commit such acts which would otherwise be considered a crime if done by an individual, merely because it passed another law. Untold misery results from this legal baby snatching by state workers. The fight for rights is a symptom of the love of law. Rights are not the way to total peace and freedom. (I explore human rights in greater detail in this blog: “When Rights Are Wrong”.)

 

I come to the most controversial example of our Pharisaical love for laws. We rarely like to think of ourselves as Pharisees, but there is a Pharisee in all of us. When we show approbation to others, when we reject others, when we show disapproval of others, we should really pause and ask ourselves why? What law do I love more than that person? Why do I want to impose my standard or rule on them? Why am I so unhappy when they won’t follow my rule?

 

The most controversial example I am thinking of right now is the Christian fight against gay marriage. I do not believe that gay marriage is Biblical or good for society, but on the other hand, I do not believe the state has any role in defining what marriage is. (People who believe the state should make laws to control everything are called ‘statists’.) It is inconsequential whether the state approves of Christianity or disapproves of homosexuality. When a state passes a homosexual marriage law, it is a symptom of a problem, not the problem itself. The Church’s responsibility is to preach the Gospel and teach the truth until people’s conscience is awakened and revival burns in their hearts. Passing laws to control people’s behavior will do absolutely nothing for them in eternity.

 

Why not put it in Biblical perspective? Lot’s call in Sodom was not to pass a law prohibiting homosexuality. His job was to share the Gospel and get people saved from their own doom. The apostles’ job was not to lobby the Roman empire to approve Christianity or to ban alcohol, swords or homosexuality. Think about it. The Lord Jesus never called Christians to do it, and there would have be an empty victory had they succeeded in passing such laws. The Western Roman Empire collapsed under its own law-making (which produced corruption) and Christianity thrived without political approval.

When Christianity was officially approved in Europe by Constantine’s “Edict of Toleration” (313), the Church did not win. Instead she descended into the darkest chapter of her history, one filled with crusades, inquisitions and persecutions. We seem to learn nothing from history. We have too much faith in the state’s power, when God calls us to have faith in Christ’s power. Our love of law continues to work against God’s Plan for us, and our societies are rarely better for our victories in court, Parliament or Congress. Revivals often ignite in the very places where human laws are against Christianity, and Christians do not or cannot fight legal battles and win. It’s an irony that will take eternity for Christians to look upon and weep over.

 

Christians are not called to make laws, but to set people free from unnecessary burdens. One of the most dangerous threats facing our time is not one of lawlessness, but one of overbearing, oppressive and intrusive laws by other humans. It would be a nice experiment if we could live in a society whose constitution had only three laws: 1) honor God, parents, and leaders; 2) do all you say you will; and 3) do not aggress on other people or their property. In other words, be honest, stay out of other people’s business, and honor God by respecting His order! This constitution is, of course, already written. It’s the Bible, which prescribes both good codes (statutory law) and perfect examples of application (common law). Perhaps in the Millennium, we will experience such a simple and righteous rule through Jesus Christ.

 

Roman senator and historian Publius Tacitus put it this way, “The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.” The Bible puts it this way, in Romans 7:20, “The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase.” Laws do not solve sin, but increase it! One goal of Christianity is to bring people to a place of freedom from false human standards. We are called to be free from laws (and govern ourselves by our submissive relationship with God), not make more laws for others. Galatians 5:18, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Freedom is possible where laws are simple, clear and few. Our freedom depends on it!

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Your comments on Christian confusion over law and freedom are welcome. I’d love to hear your examples.

What do you think are the essential and pointless laws we live by?

For those of you interested in our best-selling DVD “When Rights Are Wrong” or other teachings on “grace,” visit Discover Resources. My books are available there and also at: From Buddha to Jesus and Amazon.

  • In Christ Alone

    one example of useless law in our society here in australia is the enforcement of speed limit on the road. I do not believe that this rule is truly helping our community to drive safer as well as to reduce the number of car crash or accidents in a year. Almost every time I hear the news on television or radio, there is always a report about car crash happening somewhere across melbourne itself.

    As a matter of fact, I can even witness with my own eyes that even though this speed limit law exists yet there are still so many people run their motorcycles or driving their cars way beyond the regulated speed limit in the particular area. back in my home country, we don’t have such thing as speed limit yet the amount of accidents that we face over there are pretty much the same as what we probably have here in ratio.

    I welcome any thoughts and opinions if what I suggest here as a useless law in australia is or is not true.

  • art rico

    Dear Khun Steve,Totally agree with your assessment on excessive human laws which create more lawlessness in our earthly society. Just have to wait until the sky opens…soon!!

    Pls. pray for my wife Donna, recently had some erratic heart problem. Totally trusting in Jesus for complete healing, some heavy trial for our family right now. Aloha , art

  • Andrew Shreeve

    Law was added in the Old Testament because of the sinfulness of Israel. The Christian faith came out of Israel, but the Christian faith is not a political nation (as Israel was). Christians are free from those Old Testament laws, as Christians are new creations in Christ, and do not necessarily belong to the political nation of israel. Non-Christians, however, are not new creations and are still under the power of Satan. The New Testament describes the role of secular government (law) in Romans 13:1-7. The simple emphasis is to punish those who do evil and reward those who do good. Our modern secular governments are socialists (both Liberal and Labour, Republican and Democrat, Tory and Labour) and subsequently are over involved in our lives. There does need to be law to protect people from the evil behaviour of others, but socialism will inevitably bring slavery to all. Christians should be involved in every aspect of life, including politics and law, as we are to be the salt of the earth. The bible reveals what is good and evil, and Christians (those who are called by God) who are involved in secular law making should work as unto the Lord to bring secular laws which punish those who do evil and reward those who do good.

  • Mark Sunwall

    Dear Rev. Ciocollanti,
    It is great to see a Christian leader who really “gets it” when it comes to the distinction between obediance to authority and compliance with (even demand for) tyranny. Much confusion is generated from the fact that in writing his letter to the Roman church Paul (esp. in ch. 13) was assuming that his recipients were familair with the classical distinction between just civil government and tyranny. But this one sided reading is easily cured by a comparason with the letter to the Galatians. Thats exactly what you have pointed out. Actually Roman law, for all of its imperfections, was rather restrained in comparason to the ever accumulating mountains of administrative law by which modern states burden their citizens. Regarding the theology of many so-called conservative Christians I must say that as brilliant and insightful as many of the “theonomists” works are, I am afraid that many a Reformed tare will have to be weeded out from Christ’s wheatfield of liberty, if only to bode forth that pure doctrine “by which we are made free.” To that end you have labored and grace has clearly favored you…thank you pastor Steve.

  • Nick Gravano

    Paster Ciocollanti,

    I couldn’t agree with you more on everything that you said. Being from the United States, The law of prohibition 1919 acctually had nothing to do with the morality of drinking. Most people aren’t aware that the first hybrid cars were not invented recently. Most of the cars that were made were hybrids. It was the big oil tycoons who paid of members of congress to outlaw it so they could have a monopoly. It wasn’t until Al Capones St. Valentine’s Day massacre did the elected officials say “okay enough is enough”. So coincidentally when prohibition got repealed, all cars at that time ran on gasoline. As a matter of fact most of the laws created in America centered around drugs, was not because of health concerns but racial concerns. An axample of this would be that they outlawed opium because it was an attack on Asian culture here in America.

    As far as the Catholic Church is concerned they have elected to ignore God’s word and make rules up as they go. I believe this is the last Pope that the Catholic church will have. I believe in Revelation Ch:3, Jesus is clearly referring to the Catholic church. As a matter of fact, praying to Mary, a statue of Mary and neeling to her clearly go against what Jesus says we are to do in the Bible.Catholics in the 12th century made a law that their priest should not marry. Since almost all of the Apostiles were married why cant priest. The primary reason is because all of their esate would be left to the church instead of women or children.

  • Trent Bryson-Dean

    Absolutey on the money. It is sad to see Christians jump upon any of the “high horses” – abortion, gay marriage, etc, because it simply teaches people that to know God they must “be good” and not sin. And let’s get real here, but that god sux. Only believe is Christ’s message. And at the end of the age, it will be for not believing in Him that people will be condemned. As Christians, sin should not intimidate us at all because sin is no big deal to God any longer – Jesus has actually done something tremendously “blasphemous” and destroyed it at the cross.