Extremes

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by TJAcorn, Dec 4, 2001.

  1. TJAcorn

    TJAcorn
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    (I first posted this in the Baptist Theology section but I believe this section is more appropriate)

    I've noticed that many people on this board and in my IFB church are basically "extreme freaks". Not in the since that they are extremely freaky (although, well, never mind) but that they are obsessed with extremes.
    The typical testimony includes descriptions of horrendous sin before they were saved followed by ridiculously strict convictions that they hold to now that they are saved.

    Why the swinging pendulum?

    My roommate was an Iron Maiden nut who drank tons of coke and read the NIV. Now he has gotten saved and he only listens to Hymns, eats fruits and vegetables, drinks water and fresh juice, and is KJVO.
    Right...

    It seems that these people love extremes. I guess that they think that anything that they did when they where lost must have been 100% evil and wrong (like drinking coke) and they must now live 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

    I'm just wondering if I'm alone in my observation. Shouldn't we search out what we are free to enjoy as Christians as well as what we should sacrifice?

    Trevor
     
  2. free2know

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    I would wager to say that some folks feel convicted to give up certain types of behavior they feel isn't glorifying to God.

    However, I would caution people to avoid decisions based on faulty legalistic thinking, for example...soda isn't pure, therefore, I am contaminating my body which is a temple to the Lord....if you truly came to that conclusion on your own, that's fine, as long as someone "helpful"from your fellowship isn't pumping your brain full of legalistic garble.

    The old church I attended had a myriad of rules and regulations to make you more spiritual and in the end we saw through their extremes, they were merely used as control tactics to keep the flock in tow.

    Use discernment, the Holy Spirit does convict us to do some things that are good for us, such as quitting smoking....just make sure it the Holy Spirit and not some legalistic garblegook spouted by control freaks.
     
  3. Gina B

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    Can someone please give me a good example of this legalism that is so weighing everyone down? [​IMG]
    And please don't give examples of rules you were expected to obey in a school setting or the like.
    What is an example of something you consider legalism and not scriptural, that is being put forth by your church and you're expected to follow, that is putting an unnecessary heavy burden that is too hard to bear on you?
    Just wondering.
    da Gina
     
  4. DocCas

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    Gina, excellent question! My answer, "absolutely nothing!" Separation is not a labor of law, it is a labor of love! [​IMG]
     
  5. Ernie Brazee

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    Well said Bro Cassidy AMEN!
     
  6. free2know

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    Dr. Bob seems to have good grasp of the concept of excessive legalism, perhaps he can define it more clearly than I could and not get himself flamed in the process.

    Excessive legalism is extremely damaging to the spirit and possibly even your mental well being. To those who don't believe it is real, you have not lived my experience of it. Judge not, lest ye be judged.
     
  7. Brother Adam

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    *raises hand in air* oh oh pick me pick me!...oh wait I don't have to raise my hand do i? [​IMG] :D *

    The problem I see with some IFB churches (please note the word some) is that they get so caught up trying to follow every single rule that their ministries begin to hurt and they get a snobbish "i'm better than you are" attitude. And that is damaging and has often made me not even want to associate with some of them.

    UNP
    Adam
     
  8. Mike McK

    Mike McK
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    I agree, Adam.

    When I was younger,and didn't really understand the differences between denominations, I applied to an IFB "college".

    Among the things I had to do was sign a pledge that I would follow a strict dress code (which I didn't really have a problem with), cut my hair, lose the earring (lost it, anyway) quit listening to mainstream music, quit going to the picture shows (and, yes I do still call them that), quit playing cards, quit going to museums (?), promise not to see my girlfriend while I was there and a couple of other things.

    I finally decided that if the length of my hair was more important than the condition of my heart, this obviously wasn't the school for me.

    I went to visit the school to tell them that I had had a change of heart because of the pledges they wanted me to take.

    The representative went berserk and started telling me that I was in rebellion against God and that I needed to get right with God and cut my hair.

    My hair wasn't even that long (just over my collar), it was the principle of the thing that mattered to me.

    What was so funny was that, while he was telling me how I was a terrible person for having long hair, just over his shoulder was a picture of Jesus - with long hair (and a beard, no less)!

    That is legalism.

    By the way, just to illustrate how whacked out these guys were, they once threw the band GLAD off campus for being too rowdy. GLAD - too rowdy???

    http://www.keylife.org
     
  9. TJAcorn

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Gina:
    Can someone please give me a good example of this legalism that is so weighing everyone down? [​IMG]
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Sure - An example would be drinking alcohol. Many of us drank greatly before we were saved and we also drank for the sole purpose of getting drunk. So now we go to the other extreme and preach heavily against "social drinkers" sometimes even against medicines that contain alcohol. Another error we make is assuming that one that does not drink is somehow closer to "walking as Jesus would have walked" simply because he abstains.

    So how does this weigh us down?

    Well, first of all I believe that God wants us to enjoy certain things in life. Sex being one of them for most people, another would be His creation, and another would be good food (but not gluttony). All of these things can be polluted if too much time and attention are given to them - but that does not make abstaining from them a more holy act - instead I think that we are missing out on the blessings of God.

    In the same way I think we are missing out on part of the Christian walk that God wants most of us to partake in when we choose not to drink. Also, since so many believe that it is sin to drink any amount of alcohol at all, if we choose to drink we fall into the "if it makes my brother stumble" argument. So in that way it weighs us down.

    Yet another example would be the idea of "full time Christian service". Many think that a missionary is "more spiritual" than a layman or a pastor than a politician. It's whoever has sacrificed the most in terms of material wealth is closer to God. I disagree, being a Christian puts me into full time Christian service no matter what my vocation is.

    Once again, how does that weigh us down? imagine a man gifted greatly in, say, art who decides to go into the pastorate, not because he has been called by God there, but because he feels that he wants to devote his life to God and that is the only way to do it (that or go to the mission field). In the long run he will probably be discontent and not even be a good pastor because God did not gift him in that area. But it's more spiritual and he will have his rewards in heaven, right?
    I have personally seen this happen with many of my high school friends.
    Obviously this error in theology (legalism or pietism) has caused many people to pursue careers that God has not gifted them in- it weighs them down.

    Here's a good verse from Philippians that I think applies.

    Phil 4:11-12
    "Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need."


    Trevor
     
  10. TJAcorn

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Thomas Cassidy:
    Gina, excellent question! My answer, "absolutely nothing!" Separation is not a labor of law, it is a labor of love! [​IMG]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I am in no way against separation. God has called us to "come out from among them". I just think that we have majored in the minors. Separation should be primarily an internal separation - we know real love now and it should change our actions and how we deal with people. We are also separated in our world view - our logic is fundamentally different so we look at the same things and draw different conclusions.

    Yet, you are right. Separation is not a labor of law but a labor of love. We should live Holy and clean lives out of love not fear. I guess the debate is in the question, "what is Holy and clean?".


    Trevor
     
  11. free2know

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    As far as separation goes.... here goes..... again......

    When you treat people whom you are trying to minister to as second class citizens ie, keep those trailer park kids away from OUR kids...what are you teaching those kids about Christ....is his love exclusionary? Separation needs to be understood in the proper context!!!! I have seen many, many, many abuses of it. If you are separating from the world to show how pious you/we are..there's a problemo!!!! If you do it out of personal conviction with the love of Christ always showing through your actions, NO PROBLEM MON!!!!

    I have seen alot of doctrines taken to the extreme with extreme consequences.... you should want to lead people to Christ with your actions, not make it seem like Heaven is an exclusive country club with lots of dues and bylaws....Jesus paid it all folks!!!!!
     
  12. dfd2

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    Hi, I listen to a program called the White Horse Inn and it might help you out with this issue. Its on OnePlace.com. Anyway, Rod Kiddlebarger calls all these extra rules you are refering to as "house rules" Things you should and shouldnt do to be better christians. It seems like you have ran into a church with a major set of house rules. The problem with these are that they go beyond the Law that is in the Bible. To avoid the legalism trap one needs a good unerstanding of Law and Gospel. WE are called to follow the Law (eg. 10 commandments, other indicative statements in the OT and NT) but we cant acheive righteousness by doing that, though Jesus did that for us (Gospel). By God's grace in the imputation of righteousness by Christ's fulfilling the requirments of perfectly upholding the Law for us, we have freedom from the penatly of the Law. There is were we find our freedom which was bought for us by Christ. So then to have to follow other rules to be "better" christians is a gospel of works and not grace. Ill leave it up to you as to which rules are biblical law or not.
     
  13. Mike McK

    Mike McK
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    dfd,

    I love the White Horse Inn. I listen to it over oneplace.com since they don't carry it in my area.

    For anyone who doesn't know, you can also listen to about 100 other ministries on oneplace.com

    http://www.oneplace.com/ministries

    http://www.keylife.org

    [ December 04, 2001: Message edited by: Smoke_Eater ]
     
  14. dfd2

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    Hey smoke eater,

    this is WAY off topic, but im a firefighter also im Illinois [​IMG]
     
  15. Dr. Bob

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    Legalism to Jews or Jewish Christians in the early church was trying to follow a code of conduct and ethics that would gain them favor with God. Most linked it up to the Torah of Moses. <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, "The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses."<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>But notice the two conclusions that were submitted: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>These life-long Jews realized that they could not keep the Law and attain righteousness. Then <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>"It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood."<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>This was the extent of rules given to 99% of us today (gentile believers).

    ~~~~
    Legalism today is cut from the same cloth but NOT trying to keep Torah. It is keeping some set of "standards" of conduct that will gain them favor with God. Most baptist churches have an unwritten list of "good" and "bad".

    I say, let's keep with the Scriptures. A balanced view is to follow the "put on" and "put off" instructions of the Bible. There are lots of practical admonitions for how a believer should act, especially in the Prison Epistles (the Proverbs of the NT).

    Let's not add man-made rules to this list. THIS is the problem. Man's rules are elevated to the level of Scripture. That, my friends, is the legalism that will cripple a new believer (and several of us "used" believers, too).

    For your time with the Lord over the next few days, let's make a list of what the BIBLE clearly teaches about separation and walking close to God out of love. It will help us all to see the TRUTH (God's Word) contrasted to the RULES (man's standards) that are so often substituted.
     
  16. free2know

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    Thanks to all who offer definitions of legalism and a special thanks to Dr. Bob who can take any topic and give an objective scriptual answer regarding it, you are awesome sir!!!!
     
  17. superdave

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    There is also a brand of legalism with a great deal of "plausible deniability"

    "I didn't SAY you aren't saved if you do thus and so"

    But if you objectively evaluate their statements, it is legalism hidden under the guise of "holy living"

    They string together a group of unrelated premeses

    - I don't think that wearing bow ties is consistent with Holy Living ;)(I shudder at the thought, they are the spawn of Satan)

    - Holiness is the mark of the true believer

    Therefore: Dr. Bob cannot be a true believer

    If you "continue in sin" by not follwing extraBiblical dreamed up rules, they assume you are at best a carnal christian, at worst, a wolf in sheeps clothing.

    This is a Hasty Generalization by the way, so don't bother to call me on the carpet for a broad brush. I am talking about a subset here, the true pharisees of our day. This group of people usually are the second generation. They learned these "great truths" from some well meaning person who felt it their duty to straighten out the new christian, or the "used" one as Dr. Bob calls us :D
     
  18. Jamal5000

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    Hi TJCorn,

    Do you remember how Paul struggled to maintain his recently planted church in Thessalonica. Those jealous folks falsely accused him of defying Caesar and of defending some other king. Why? Because as a Thessalonian Christian, patterning your life after Christ made you conspicously unconvential. That's trouble for you back in those days.
    As a Thessalonian Christian you would constantly live under the microscope of "the conservatives"(Those people who continue to live traditional Roman lives). As a "liberal", how were you expected to live? How would you need to change your previous lifestyle in order to follow a Christian lifestyle? What do you have to give up? What habits do you have to pick up?

    After being forced to leave Thessalonica, Paul wrote a brief, informative message about the extremes of Christian living in his first letter written for them. He knew that they would be pressured to live like extremists or to live a more moderated life. They needed an overlying principle to guide them and unify their individualistic approaches to distinctively living like a Christian. Here is what he wrote:

    1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

    11 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you,

    12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

    These two verses tell us that leading a quiet life should stay in our minds as a iifetime goal. Why? Because a quiet life wins respect of others. Even though traditional Roman citizens of Thessalonica may disagree with your Christian lifestyle, you still need to live a life that people will like. They should still want to associate with you rather than want to ostracize you.

    So, look at your life and decide whether or not onlookers will see your morals, your food/beverage consumption, your ways for having fun, your job, and your friends and say to themselves, "I think he is a good example of the kind of up-standing life that I want my children to consider"


    With today's conceptions, *sipping* one glass of Whiskey/Ginger Ale or having a one glass of wine at family get together is fine.
    Gulping down two or three glass during the get-together and continuing such consumption on a regular basis is NOT okay. Going to the movies to see HARRY POTTER is okay. Most sensible people trust informed Christians who can fairly evaulate the ideas of the secular world. Going to see the lastest porn-flick is obviously not okay because it will draw toward you unpopular attention. When you go into a restaurant, satisfy your appetite but don't eat like a slob. People will find you disgusting and will not want to eat around you.

    On the whole, when I look at my life, I avoid the extremes. I don't think God wants us to live extremes. I gently, caution people who do completely abstain from alcohol or secular movies or from certain "unpure" foods (like coffee) by asking them how affective could they be as minister if they forsake our greatest gift: life and the ability to relize that enjoying it is a gift from God. Even though Paul was out-spoken, he always kept a persona that non-Christians could not help but admire for its genuineness if not for its constitution.

    God Bless you!
     
  19. SaggyWoman

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    Trevor Acorn (that name is about as funny as mine. ...)

    You might consider reading some of John Fischer's work--I am reading a book called Real Christians Don't Dance, and I think Dr. Bob said there is one out about Pharisees. . .Might be interesting reading for you.
     
  20. TJAcorn

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Jamal5000:
    On the whole, when I look at my life, I avoid the extremes. I don't think God wants us to live extremes. I gently, caution people who do completely abstain from alcohol or secular movies or from certain "unpure" foods (like coffee) by asking them how affective could they be as minister if they forsake our greatest gift: life and the ability to relize that enjoying it is a gift from God. Even though Paul was out-spoken, he always kept a persona that non-Christians could not help but admire for its genuineness if not for its constitution.

    God Bless you!
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Excellent post! I really enjoyed reading it. Your remark about Paul is a good point. Last night my BSU group went Caroling and one of the places we went to was the Pike Fraternity on our campus. We have a really good relationship with them. Despite our HUGE differences they still come over to our BSU center just to see what we are up too and ask questions. It's awesome to see that even though they don't believe what we do they have a respect for us and admire our personalities. To them the term "Baptist" doesn't have that repulsive taste to it that it does for so many others.

    My point is that we have not isolated ourselves so much from the modern culture that we cannot befriend modern man. We don't accept the modern philosophy to do this but we simply live out the realness of our Christian world view. It's superior in it's very nature and it brings joy in our lives - which is noticed by others.

    To me the Christian life is so free. I serve God because I enjoy it. I witness because I enjoy it. I drink beer because I enjoy it. I study God's laws because I love them. I honestly love God and I desire to see His name hallowed. It is so freeing to have a purpose in life (which is to love God and enjoy Him forever).

    So Jamal5000 I agree with you. I just hate to see Christians everywhere getting "burned out" simply because at one time they where extreme sinners, then extreme saints, now extreme sinners again and they have never really enjoyed life for any period of time.

    Trevor
     

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