WRITTEN UPON THE HEART: The Ten Commandments for Christian Reader
Anthony J. Tomasino
Kregel, 208 pages, $11.99

For evangelicals there are generally two equal and opposite errors made regarding God's Big Ten: We either emphasize them with fundamentalist zeal to the exclusion of grace, or we use Jesus' New Covenant as an escape clause for not having to deal with them at all. Neither approach is a good idea.

But what role should the Commandments play in the Christian life? Tomasino's Written upon the Heart is a breezy but careful study that seeks to help contemporary readers grasp the ongoing relevance of God's Law. A pastor and scholar of ancient Israel, the author has a firm grasp of both the historical and theological context of the Ten Commandments.

He wants us to see that we are to live not by the letter of the Law but according to the principles behind it.

"Each commandment epitomizes some principle designed to help us live out our covenant obligations to God," he writes.

In making his point, Tomasino manages to touch on a variety of tricky subjects—from religious pluralism to the Holy Spirit's role in our sanctification—with satisfying precision.

Along the way, he also explores how particular commandments might inform hazy ethical issues like birth control, gossip, workaholism.

For too many people—Christians included—the Ten Commandments have become the religious equivalent of a speed-limit sign: the strictly enforced commands (i.e., murder, theft) retain our attention, but the others are often ignored. Tomasino challenges our indifference.

Edward Gilbreath is an associate editor of Christianity Today.

Related Elsewhere:

Written Upon the Heart.can be ordered through Christianbook.com and other book retailers.

Kregel Publishers offers a bit of information about the book.

ReligiousTolerance.com provides a detailed inquiry into the Commandments's original meaning, including how they fit with current social beliefs.

CT's sister publication Christian Reader published an interview with Judge Roy Moore entitled Are the Ten Commandments Unconstitutional?

A proposal in Michigan could allow the Ten Commandments in public schools, The Detroit News reports.

Beliefnet.com analyzes the public display of the Commandments from two angles—that not displaying them disgraces the forefathers and that only six need be displayed.

Other Christianity Today articles relating to the Ten Commandments include:

Ten Commandments Case Turned Down | Denial means Indiana town's Decalogue display is unconstitutional. (June 13, 2001)

The Ten Commandments Become Flesh | A Polish director prods European and American audiences to consider God's timeless standards. (Feb. 5, 2001)

Ten-Commandments Judge Aims for High Post | After taking on the ACLU, Moore is now a nominee for the Alabama Supreme Court. (July 31, 2000)

Hang Ten? | Thou shalt avoid Ten Commandments tokenism. (March 6, 2000)

Take Ten Commandments and Call Me in the Morning | How religion makes us healthy. (Nov. 15, 1999)

House Upholds Display of Ten Commandments | (Aug. 9, 1999)

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