THE TEN COMMANDMENTS CONTROVERSY
By Paul Proctor
August 25, 2003
The Ten Commandments controversy is all over the news these days. Chief Justice Roy Moore recently lost his last-minute appeal to the US Supreme Court to keep the Ten Commandments monument in the rotunda of a state judicial building in Alabama. I watched television news footage that fateful morning as protesters were arrested, handcuffed and hauled away, knowing it would probably get worse before it got any better. My suspicions were validated upon learning Friday that Judge Moore was suspended by a state ethics panel for refusing to obey a federal court order directing him to remove the two-ton monument from its public resting place.
In light of all that has transpired over the last forty years, like the banning of public prayer, scripture recitation, the name of Jesus Christ and open Bibles in and on government property, I really don’t think many were all that shocked at the ruling against Judge Moore. It occurs to me though, that the church, in all its indignation, may be largely responsible for this unfortunate turn of events. The irony here is remarkable, leading me to believe there may actually be a divine message in all that we are witnessing here today. I know that the words “punishment” and “chastisement” are no longer in the Christian vocabulary, thanks to the “New Gospel” of affirmation, gratification and inclusion, but could the Lord be nevertheless, sending us another warning for our consideration?
Think about it; when was the last time you actually heard a sermon preached at your local church on idolatry, keeping the Sabbath day holy, using the Lord’s name in vain, honoring your parents, murder, lying, stealing, adultery or covetousness? Furthermore, why would one expect to hear anything scripturally on the ills of fornication, sodomy, abortion, drunkenness, violence, pornography, gambling or anything else the bible calls sin, when a majority of pastors and preachers won’t even acknowledge the Ten Commandments from the pulpit? Are they posted anywhere in your church or do you even know?
The fact that these sins and more are increasingly lauded as cultural norms illustrates quite clearly, I think, the gross neglect of the church today and its pragmatic pursuits. Perhaps if we spent more time in the Word of God to learn what He has to say about such things and faced the error of our ways rather than trying to feverishly grow the church through gratuitous schemes, society might have a little more regard and respect for those timeless commands given us by the Almighty.
Oh, we hear endless dissertations on God’s immeasurable love, grace and forgiveness but almost nothing about what He actually requires of us specifically, day in and day out. From what I can ascertain, most of today’s sermons seem to revolve around an effeminate form of “love” defined by human feelings and “relationships” while watering-down or avoiding altogether the sheer ugliness and evil of sin and our own desperate need to repent, confess and obey.
Our “spirituality” has become almost completely horizontal and preoccupied with “felt needs”, “seeker sensitivities”, pompous-driven strategies, pop psychology, high-tech gadgetry, mass marketeering, Vegas-styled entertainment and ecclesiastical eye candy designed to lure and delight the flesh “in the name of Jesus”. Apparently, as long as we feel good about ourselves and everybody loves us, all is well. How is that philosophy any different from the worlds'? In all our ignorance and apathy, we seem to have developed an acute aversion to addressing the more unflattering aspects of human behavior that demand correction.
Frankly, I doubt many Christians today could even name more than maybe half the Ten Commandments, much less communicate their relevance or significance to a godless culture. Why then would any lost person being witnessed to, EVEN CARE about Jesus Christ, the cross He endured or God’s glorious grace when he doesn’t even know what sin is? In all our postmodern positivism (Thank you Robert Schuller) we’ve turned God’s grace into empty emotionalism and exchanged humility and personal sacrifice for a higher self-esteem and a get-along gospel.
This being the case, is it any wonder then that secular society and its court system would find Judge Moore’s stone display in Alabama illegal, irrelevant and offensive? The church, by its own failure to proclaim and obey the WHOLE council of God has essentially been exercising the same set of values. The only difference is, we’re hypocrites because we CLAIM the Commandments but don’t preach them OR practice them. We just mourn over sacred monuments that are taken away from us like Israel’s Temple and homeland were taken from them because of stubborn neglect and disobedience. If we have any discernment at all, the implications here ought to be both disturbing and convicting.
You see – if the CHURCH doesn’t really care what God demands, why should anyone else? And if His commandments aren’t written on our hearts, why bother having them chiseled in stone?
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” – John 14:15
© 2003 Paul Proctor - All Rights Reserved
Paul Proctor, a rural resident of the Volunteer state and seasoned veteran of the country music industry, retired from showbiz in the late 1990's to dedicate himself to addressing important social issues from a distinctly biblical perspective. As a freelance writer and regular columnist for NewsWithViews.com, he extols the wisdom and truths of scripture through commentary and insight on cultural trends and current events. His articles appear regularly on a variety of news and opinion sites across the internet and in print. Paul may be reached at email@example.com
"In light of all that has transpired over the last forty years, like the banning of public prayer, scripture recitation, the name of Jesus Christ and open Bibles in and on government property, I really don’t think many were all that shocked at the ruling against Judge Moore."