Fundamentalism or legalism?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Helen, Mar 25, 2003.

  1. Helen

    Helen
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    Reading some of these threads, I occasionally get the feeling that fundamentalism is being either combined with or confused with legalism. I consider myself a fundamentalist but not a legalist. I was told by a Calvinist that because I did not agree with him I was not a fundamentalist and should not post here!

    So OK:
    fundamentalism
    legalism
    Calvinism

    I see very distinct differences.

    Comments?
     
  2. donnA

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    I think fundamentalism is a good thing. I was always told it means those who stand for/believe in the fundametals of scripture(seems thought there is some argument over just what that is). I see a lot of people who in wanting to be sure they keep scripture have strayed into legalism. Legalism is never good. When someone feels they can tell you you aren't good enough in some way because you don't do or aren't what they think you should be, then it's legalism.
    Legalism is a dangerous disease in christianity.
     
  3. KeeperOfMyHome

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    Ok, I'll bite the bait! [​IMG] Not that you're baiting anyone, just an expression.

    Anyway, I attend and consider myself an Independent, Fundamental Baptist. Independent as in belonging to a self-governing body of believers, fundamental as in relying upon the plain truth of the scriptures. Some may express this better than I, but I tend to keep things as simple as possible.

    Now, as for legalist, I have been called this quite a few times simply because of some of my beliefs. It really doesn't hurt my feelings, but I do get a bit upset because I feel that folks who accuse me of being legalistic are bearing false witness. Why? Well, for the simple reason that legalists believe what we do outwardly gains us salvation or acceptance by God. I know this is not true, and I know that I am accepted in the beloved because of Christ.

    All that I am, I owe to Christ. I am dead, my life being hid with Christ in God. All access I have to the Father is only because of Christ.

    I grew up in a church that taught baptismal regeneration and that you could not know for sure if you are going to heaven because you can loose your salvation. Once I became truly saved, I struggled for several years with trying to please God with my life so that He would not reject me at the judgement throne! I just did not have a clue! All that old doctrine I had been taught before held on for some time. Praise God for allowing me to meet and form a deep friendship with a missionary and his wife. They had a deep impact on how I viewed God's acceptance of me.

    So, in essence, though I consider myself a fundamental baptist, I know I am not a legalist for the simple fact that I know, believe, and practice that it is all Christ and none of myself.

    Julia
     
  4. Daniel David

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    Fundamentalism has been known for two things: literal understanding of basic Christian doctrine and separation.

    Legalism can be found within fundamentalism, but only the uninformed actually equate the two.

    [ March 25, 2003, 10:59 PM: Message edited by: Preach the Word ]
     
  5. Helen

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    I think you both (edit: Julia and Kate -- they were the only posts up when I started this response!) have brought up some very good points.

    Julia, you are not a legalist -- at least as I understand it -- unless you declare that your way is necessary for everyone who is 'really Christian.' I, for one, have seen you upset with others, but I have never seen you make that sort of statement!

    I think, perhaps, some people are afraid of the freedom they have in Christ -- freedom to follow Christ rather than people. And so they add rules about what should or should not be done or said. And no, I am not making backdoor remarks about the clothing threads. My mind is far away from them, actually. They could be used as an example in some ways, but what really concerns me is the attitude in so many Christians and churches that "if you don't live as I do and follow the rules I follow, then you probably aren't saved."

    What is freedom in Christ, really, if it is not freedom not only from the domination of our own sins, but from the domination of man-made rules as well? We are so limited! I don't even know what's good for me, let alone what's good for someone else! And that makes me SO grateful that God knows both and operates, in love, on that knowledge.

    Which brings up a question that literally just popped into my mind: is legalism the opposite of respecting other people and their relationship with Christ?
     
  6. KeeperOfMyHome

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    A hearty AMEN to that!
     
  7. KeeperOfMyHome

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    I realize that you were not saying any one person here was, and I hope my post did not imply that, but I was just trying to point out that though I may never come out and say somebody isn't really saved because they don't believe like me, folks have a way of putting words in my mouth! As PreachtheWord pointed out, many folks associate being a fundamental with being a legalist, or, as in my experience, they associate certain beliefs with being a legalist.

    I think a legalist is the opposite of a liberal! :D ;)
     
  8. Helen

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    I think a legalist is the opposite of a liberal!

    Actually, I think they are both making up their own rules about how things should be. But your post made me think of a triangle: The peak is going up, the direction we take when we simply follow Christ. The two bottom angles are both headed in other directions -- one liberal and the other legalistic! So yeah, they may be opposites in that sense, but they are together in opposing the direction Christ would be taking us -- at least to my absolutely perfect way of thinking! :rolleyes:
     
  9. Daniel David

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    There are two kinds of slaves:

    one person is a slave to passion

    one person is a slave to duty

    both need to be set free by Christ.
     
  10. Helen

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    I understand what you are saying, but I would want to mention that the Bible mentions only two kinds of slaves (not counting the human kind): slaves to sin and slaves to righteousness... [​IMG]
     
  11. timothy 1769

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    one person is a slave to duty
    both need to be set free by Christ


    i feel i have a duty both to obey god where his commands are clear and to please him as best i can figure out in everything else.
     
  12. Molly

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    Legalism is making man made rules to be above God's rules. Being biblical is not legalism. But,if I made our home rules equal to or more importnant than God's word and the law He has revelealed to us,then I would be instilling a legalistic attitude to my children..(Like bedtime is 8 pm(our law)...making this the emphasis,instead of loving your neighbor as your self(God's laws) It is the same way in religious circles....God's laws are to be kept and upheld. This is not legalism. There can be man made rules....but,they should not be over God's laws or more important. For example,no chewing gum in the sanctuary can be a rule in a church and that is fine and should be kept,but it is not a biblical issue,just a rule.

    Oh,and to add,obeying God's laws are not optional for a believer. They should be obeyed and taught. This is not legalism,as some would think.
     
  13. Headcoveredlady

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    Interestingly, none of these terms are found in the Bible. But, in Hebrews chapter five we can find what one does when they are mature in Christ. They can discern evil from good. The immature cannot do that.
     
  14. Daniel David

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    Slaves of passion and slaves of duty are both under the umbrella of slaves of sin. That is all I meant.
     
  15. Helen

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    Thanks, Timothy. I know in my own life that prayer often clarifies things in terms of what He would have me be doing... [​IMG]

    Molly, I agreed with your post completely but saw something in the last sentence which I wanted to talk about. You wrote, "Oh,and to add,obeying God's laws are not optional for a believer. They should be obeyed and taught. This is not legalism,as some would think. "

    I have to admit I am not sure what you mean by "God's laws." Jesus stated that all hung on two: loving God and loving one's neighbor. From what I have seen and experienced, being born again means that one no longer has the natural tendency towards evil/rebellion (Gen. 9:21), but rather has a new heart -- one that WANTS to please God. Given this, I think the Holy Spirit leads each of us from where we started out to where He wants us to be (Romans 8:28-30; Philippians 1:6). In this sense, we may be shown different aspects of what it means to be obedient to God (the incoming legalist may be led to walk toward more freedom and the incoming 'love child' or 'hippie' type to more self-control).

    In the meantime, it is perhaps important to remind those reading who do not post that the Ten Commandments are universal: they may be kept by the individual person without any societal sanctions or support. However the rules that follow were specifically for the old theocracy of Israel and were also pictures of what we would need to understand in terms of being called out in Christ, spiritually.

    But all the laws and commandments are wrapped up in Christ, so in following and loving Him, we are led by the Holy Spirit, step by step, to understand true obedience to Him in spirit and in action.

    So I was a little nervous about your ending regarding following God's laws, but perhaps I needn't have been?
     
  16. KeeperOfMyHome

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    I can agree with that, Timothy. I believe we are to obey God, in fact, the Bible says that if we say we love Him, we will obey Him. And I also believe wholeheartedly that the way we live can be pleasing or displeasing to Him. God only wants the best for us, knows that sin can only hinder us, thus His chastening.

    Julia
     
  17. Helen

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    Slaves of passion and slaves of duty are both under the umbrella of slaves of sin. That is all I meant.

    Are they, Preach? There are many true Christians, born again in the Lord, who still do not understand the concept of freedom in Christ and who attempt to please Him through sets of rules they force themselves to obey. I think the Holy Spirit will graciously guide each of them away from that to more freedom without us calling any of them a slave to sin!

    And passion? "It is written, 'Zeal for your house will consume me.'"

    That kind of passion?
     
  18. KeeperOfMyHome

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    Maybe Molly was referring more to obeying God's commandments as prescribed in 1 John?

    And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. (1 John 3:22)

    And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. (1 John 3:23)

    And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. (1 John 3:24)

    In addition:

    Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. (1 Thessalonians 4:1)

    For ye know what [/B]commandments we gave[/B] you [/B]by the Lord Jesus[/B]. (1 Thessalonians 4:2)
     
  19. Daniel David

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    To illustrate my point, take the prodigal son.

    He was a slave of passion. He sought to fulfill everything desired (sinner).

    The older brother was a slave of duty. He thought pleasing the father was a set of rules (Pharisee).

    Both were already loved by the Father. Both needed to be set free.
     
  20. Molly

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    Helen,

    I understand your question. But,I do not believe scripture teaches different laws or commandments for different people. He is very consistent on what we,as believers, should be like. Obedience is not an option. We read His Word and we choose to obey or disobey it. We live according to His word or we sin. So,God's laws are His commandments and instructions taught throughout scripture. He gives lots of them. They are for all of us to learn and grow by.

    Molly [​IMG]
     

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