The bold is mine.
Rome did not care whom one worshipped as a personal deity, and there were many mystery cults with different gods one could participate in. Rome wanted Christians to behave in the same way that members of the mystery cults behaved, i.e. worship Christ to your hearts content in your private devotions, but your politics must be the politics of Rome, you must give your political allegiance to Rome. The Christians refused and said no, Jesus is Lord, and claimed to be members of his ecclesia first—ecclesia is a political term not a cultic term. This was a political statement of rebellion against Rome and treason against Rome. Rome, symbolised by Emperor worship, was in the place of God. No higher law or Lord was acknowledged or permitted.
From the time of Constantine onwards this changed. No matter how badly the principle of man’s higher duty to God was practised it was still understood. Today though, for the first time since the age of the pagan Roman emperors the denial of this principle is a reality. Modern States and politicians no longer see themselves as bound by God’s higher law and no longer acknowledge this principle. Even where there is a theoretical and constitutional commitment to it, as in Britain, in practice it is denied and Parliament no longer takes account of it in its law-making. In this respect there are parallels between our political systems and ancient pre-Christian Rome.
But it gets worse. This principle is no longer even believed in the Church on the whole. And the reason that this principle is no longer acknowledged by the State is because the Church herself has abandoned it. The apostasy of the Church has paved the way and lighted the path to the apostasy of the State.
Some years ago I spent some time studying and reading up on the history of the mediaeval period, from late classical times onward, and particularly (though not exclusively) the history of heresy, particularly the dualist heresies, from the Manichees through to the Bogomils and onto the Cathars. One of the things that has stood out about this, and that I see being frequently brought up by most of the authors I have read is this. The orthodox accept the Old Testament, Moses, and the law of God; the heretics reject them. The heretics have a truncated Scripture. Time and again this comes out. The orthodox accept the law of Moses; the heretics reject it. Of course this does not mean that the orthodox have a perfect understanding or completely consistent theology and practice of the law; far from it (none of us have—we all have a long way to go). But there is a principle that is accepted by the orthodox and rejected by the heretics. While in the past, however imperfectly the orthodox practised the faith (and at times it is truly excruciating to read the history of orthodoxy let alone heresy), the law of God, the Old Testament and Moses have in principle been accepted by the orthodox. Those that rejected these were the heretics.
Today, this situation is reversed. The Church as a whole now rejects the Old Testament, Moses and the law of God; those who accept these are considered to have a faulty and “legalistic” theology at best, even if they are not considered heretical (and often they are). The Church of the twentieth century is heretical to the core because of this. “New Testament Christianity” is heretical at heart. There were no New Testament Christians in the New Testament Church. They did not have a New Testament. The Scripture of the New Testament Church was the Old Testament. When did the New Testament replace the Old? Not in the New Testament Church. Not in the sub-apostolic age. Not in mediaeval times. Not at the time of the Reformation. Not until the twentieth century—except among the heretics. Until the twentieth century, the rejection of the Old Testament, Moses and the law of God was a definitive feature of heresy. It still is. This is the age of heresy.
This continues to be a highly relevant and problematic issue. Throughout the 2000 year history of Christianity there have only been two groups of people that have rejected the Old Testament, Moses and the law of God: heretics and modern evangelicals. Or rather, I should perhaps really say, only one group of people: heretics. The modern apostate and heretical Church has led the world to ruin. It is time for the salt that has lost its saltiness to be thrown out and trampled underfoot, time for new wineskins.
One way or another, the old wineskins are going to be busted.