Our old pal, Rev. Andrew Sandlin, is participating in a debate with David VanDrunen on “the role of God’s law in society”. His opening statement can be found here, and it sums up perfectly how he and his fellow Christian Reconstructionists think. Some people find it incredible that there are people who actually want to pass laws that stone adulterers, witches and homosexuals; but these people do. First, he explains which portions of the Mosaic Law still apply today in his theological system:
In addressing social and civil ethics, we do tend to focus on the Mosaic legislation because it contains more extensive (or at least more concentrated) data on these topics. But is it applicable today? Hasn’t the Mosaic covenant and economy been rescinded? Indeed it has. It has been superseded by the “new covenant” (Heb. 8, 10). However, this doesn’t mean that all the ethical stipulations of the Mosaic economy have been rescinded. The sacrificial system (with its ceremonial expression) has been fulfilled and abolished in Jesus Christ (Heb. 9:1-14) – this, by the way, is why attempts to reframe liturgies with an eye toward the Aaronic priesthood are fundamentally misguided. The classification of laws designed to erect a barrier between Jew and Gentile has been erased in the death of Jesus (Col. 2:11-14). And those laws peculiar to Israel as a nation (e. g., circumcision and feasts and festivals) and in her land (e. g., Jubilee and slavery laws) have been abolished in that Israel has been superseded by the multiethnic, multinational church.
Okay, so far so good. We don’t have to sacrifice lambs anymore, though ol’ Jehovah is quite fond of the smell of burning goat flesh. And we don’t have to be circumcized anymore, or have a year of jubilee when we free our slaves (I’m sure the slaves will be disappointed). So what part of the Mosaic law does still apply? He’s got the answer for us:
Nonetheless, the underlying principles of many of those stipulations, and those sometimes termed the “moral law,” reflect God’s unchanging character; and, because they constitute His justice, those laws relevant to the civil aspect of the social realm should be incorporated into human systems of civil law irrespective of the spiritual status of the nation. Why? Because they reflect God’s standard of justice; and apart from God’s standard of justice, there is no justice. Examples: laws forbidding and punishing murder, theft, witchcraft, kidnapping, and perjury. Of course, the NT does adjust even some OT “moral” legislation (the Sabbath), so we must be sensitive to discontinuities. Further, most sins defined in Scripture are not crimes and therefore are beyond the purview of civil law (e. g., deceit, covetousness, lust, and lovelessness). So, in speaking of law, we often are not speaking of civil law.
But this revelatory law’s relevance is not restricted to His people. In the OT God judges the pagan nations surrounding Israel for their violation of His justice, His law (Is. 19; Nineveh in Jonah’s time and so on). Paul gives us the same picture in Romans 1 and 2, where the “work of the law” (that is, the content of the revelatory law of the OT) is written on the hearts even of pagan Gentiles. Thus, there is in God’s Word the expectation that societies will be just societies and conform to His law. The fact that the Bible is designed specially for the covenant body does not warrant us to conclude that it is not in any sense binding on the rest of the world. The moral law is universal.
While a leading objective of the OT is to articulate the Gospel and God’s plan of redemption for Israel in the coming Messiah, it also included stipulations that do not contribute to that soteric purpose: e. g., “You shall not steal,” “You shall not pervert the judgment of your poor in his dispute.” They reflect God’s justice, but not in any obvious soteric sense. These stipulations are relevant to and in fact bind unbelievers, who stand judged as law-breakers (Rom. 3:19). So, the Bible (not just the OT) discloses God’s standards of justice that inhere in His character. And those standards should be reflected in human legal systems.
So when the bible says “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” – yep, that’s what it means. When it says that women who are not virgins on their wedding day are to be stoned to death – you guessed it. When it says that homosexuals “shall surely be put to death” – they mean it. Just in case you were wondering what it would be like to live under an American Taliban.