Popular megachurch pastor Andy Stanley of North Point Ministries (NPM) says Christians need to stop erecting monuments to the Ten Commandments because they apparently no longer apply to Christians, which is completely false.
In a piece posted to Relevant Magazine on Monday, Pastor Stanley said that since the Ten Commandments come from the old covenant, Christians should stop erecting monuments dedicated to them. He completely misses the point that Christianity (particularly Catholicism) has commonly taught that the coming of Jesus Christ fulfills the old covenant, not replaces it. It also teaches that while the new covenant implemented by Jesus Christ does away with ceremonial laws, the moral laws remain forever. That means the 10 Commandments apply to Christians every bit as much today as they did during the time of Moses.
“[I]f we’re going to create a monument to stand as a testament to our faith, shouldn’t it at least be a monument of something that actually applies to us?” Stanley openly pontificated. “Participants in the new covenant (that’s Christians) are not required to obey any of the commandments found in the first part of their Bibles. Participants in the new covenant are expected to obey the single command Jesus issued as part of his new covenant: as I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
He continued, “But how many times have you seen Christians trying to post the text of the sermon on the mount in a public place? Or the all-encompassing commandment Jesus gave us?”
Stanley goes on to say that this commandment from Christ is “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,” Stanley contended.
Stanley also bemoaned the fact that too many congregations place too much emphasis on the old covenant.
“Jesus was foreshadowed in the old covenant, he did not come to extend it,” he said. “Dear Christian reader: Why? Why? Why would we even be tempted to reach back beyond the cross to borrow from a covenant that was temporary and inferior to the covenant established for us at Calvary?”
On the complementarity between the Old and New Testaments, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that neither cancels the other out. Varying Christian denominations, from Episcopalian to Baptists, have held this view:
The Old Testament is an indispensable part of Sacred Scripture. Its books are divinely inspired and retain a permanent value,’ for the Old Covenant has never been revoked.
Indeed, “the economy of the Old Testament was deliberately so oriented that it should prepare for and declare in prophecy the coming of Christ, redeemer of all men.” “Even though they contain matters imperfect and provisional,” the books of the Old Testament bear witness to the whole divine pedagogy of God’s saving love: these writings “are a storehouse of sublime teaching on God and of sound wisdom on human life, as well as a wonderful treasury of prayers; in them, too, the mystery of our salvation is present in a hidden way.
“Christians venerate the Old Testament as true Word of God. The Church has always vigorously opposed the idea of rejecting the Old Testament under the pretext that the New has rendered it void.”
The concept that the Old Testament no longer applies to Christians is actually a heresy known as Marcionism going all the way back to the 2nd Century. Here’s how Catholic Answers described it:
Expounding on Paul’s characterization of the Mosaic Law as the cause of sin, Marcion desired a Christianity untainted by any elements of Judaism. He saw the God of the Old Testament as cruel and vengeful, an embarrassment and a stumbling block in the evangelization of the Gentiles.
How could the God who commanded adulterers to be stoned be reconciled with the God who let them go free? This was overcome by postulating the existence of two gods. Marcion concluded that the tyrannical Creator-God of the Old Testament, Yahweh, was in opposition to the merciful and loving God of the New Testament.
He began to amass a following in Rome, and in July of 144 he was called before the presbytery to explain his teachings. He steadfastly maintained his dualistic beliefs and was promptly excommunicated. He charged that the Church had erred in clinging to the Old Testament, that the gospel had completely superseded the Torah, and that the apostles, except Paul, had allowed their Jewish notions to corrupt the message of the loving God.