Legalism

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Berean, Jan 16, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Berean

    Berean
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Messages:
    817
    Likes Received:
    1
    Would some one explain what is meant by the term legalist or Legalism. I hear this term thrown around a lot. I have a vague idea and correct me if I'm wrong. Obedience because you are commanded to do so= legalism; Obedience out of love= not legalism. Please try and give an objective definition.
     
  2. annsni

    annsni
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2006
    Messages:
    20,171
    Likes Received:
    369
    I think legalism is coming up with man-made laws to hold over people to be able to judge the state of their souls.

    Here's something from Reformation Theology that I thought was good:

    http://www.reformationtheology.com/2006/06/what_is_legalism.php
     
  3. kyredneck

    kyredneck
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2009
    Messages:
    10,555
    Likes Received:
    273
    IMO, you've a pretty good handle on it.

    Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: love therefore is the fulfilment of the law. Ro 13:10
     
  4. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O.
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2002
    Messages:
    9,833
    Likes Received:
    114
    Here's a very good explanation from gotquestions.org

     
    #4 Scarlett O., Jan 16, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
  5. donnA

    donnA
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Messages:
    23,354
    Likes Received:
    0
    we've had people on here before who told us we had to earn God's grace by following rules, their false interpetation of scripture, and if we didn't it was questionable if we were saved. if you have do things to earn anything(salvation, grace, love) from God, it's legalism.
     
  6. Berean

    Berean
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Messages:
    817
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks to each of you for your response. May God bless you.
     
  7. SolaSaint

    SolaSaint
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Messages:
    2,824
    Likes Received:
    25
    I thought this statement "Legalism could be definied as any attempt to rely on self-effort to either attain or maintain our justification before God." by annsni was best. I like to think of legalism as "anti-grace".
     
  8. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't know how other churches saw it, but the one I serve went through a period in the 1970s where it had a certain set of rules to measure your spirituality (if not your salvation.)

    It was the usual stuff: Hair length, skirt length, soul-winning, number of services you attended during the week. For some reason, card-playing, movies and TV were not on our list.

    At one point, if you weren't pre-trib you were in trouble because you didn't believe the Bible.

    As time went by, our church folks soon moved beyond such legalism. We're still pretty conservative and fundamental but don't call ourselves fundamentalist.
     
  9. Gina B

    Gina B
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2000
    Messages:
    16,944
    Likes Received:
    1
    Examples of legalism as applied to ordinary people in their everyday lives:

    "If you are female and wear jeans, you're a weak Christian."

    "If you buy from a store that sells a certain cola product, which is manufactured by a company that hires gays, you need to repent."


    Obedience because you are commanded to is not legalism. It is simply a sign of immaturity, which is a normal stage.

    Obedience out of love is amazing. In some matters, it takes time. Individuals have their pet likes and dislikes. This means that some of us obey simply because we have to, but grow into doing it out of love later on.
    And sometimes there are things you just always do out of obedience rather than love, even if you know the stupidity of your own desires.
    I'd love to smoke after a stressful day of working. I don't because it's wrong. I harbor some resentment over not being able to, although I know it's FOR MY OWN BENEFIT that God told us not to do things that are harmful to our bodies. That's my weakness. It will probably always be an obedience thing with me rather than a love thing.

    But if someone reads this and says I'm not a Christian because of this, that would be legalism. If they tell me smoking is wrong and that I could be a better Christian if I didn't feel a temptation to smoke when I'm stressed, that would correct and I'd totally agree.

    That's how it works for the majority of us. There's the bigger deeper meaning, but that could go in the theology forum and doesn't really affect us as much emotionally as the more literal application of it does, and the majority of unsaved turned away when they view this more physical side of it so that's the one we usually talk about.
     
  10. dcorbett

    dcorbett
    Expand Collapse
    Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2003
    Messages:
    3,411
    Likes Received:
    1
    Those of us that are fundamentalists are quite often accused of legalism by those who haven't been convicted in certain areas. Being saved by grace doesn't give a person license to sin, remember that.

    For instance, I have long been convicted by I Corinthians 8:8-9 as it deals with how you should behave in front of your peers.....if someone who is not a Christian sees you doing something that they don't think is Christian behavior, it becomes a stumbling block for them. You might not find it wrong, but by doing it, you are harming your testimony, so you shouldn't do it! Some would say I am legalistic because I believe that, as Christians, we should walk seperately from the world.

    I think that sometimes there is a hint of jealousy there, don't you?
     
  11. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O.
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2002
    Messages:
    9,833
    Likes Received:
    114
    Thanks for the reminder. I don't think that anyone here who has contributed to the thread believes in a license to sin.

    I am convicted about that, too. That's why I don't drink.

    But I do wear pants in front of women who only wear dresses. There are some Pentecostal women who teach at my school (one of them has my class right now at the computer lab). I'm not going to stop wearing dress pants and jackets to work simply because they don't. My pants are not going to make them stumble.

    I don't think that the thread here is talking about doing things that would make others stumble.

    Of course we should be separate from the world! :thumbsup:

    However, if a woman finds my testimony for Christ damaged because I wear pants and shop at Wal-Mart and it damages her walk with Christ, then that is her problem. I cannot go around dresses only, abstaining from shopping at Wal-Mart, and living HER lifestyle merely to appease HER.

    I am to appease Christ.

    Now, certainly, I understand about drinking. I think that drinking wine is permissible. However, I absolutely abstain. I don't won't anyone to see me and believe that all liquor and even drunkeness is acceptable simply because they see me drink a glass of wine. Here, I yield to the weaker brother.

    I'm not understanding who is supposed to be jealous of whom here.
     
  12. donnA

    donnA
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Messages:
    23,354
    Likes Received:
    0
    we aren't supose to live someone else's convictions, if we do we ignore our own convictions. Many try to teach their personal convictions as if they were scripture, even to the point of twisting scripture to try and make people do what they say.
     
  13. donnA

    donnA
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Messages:
    23,354
    Likes Received:
    0
    Since no one has siad it sis, I don't understand your comment.

    Your personal convictions are no everyone's personal convictions. God knows where we are and what we need to be brought more into the image of Christ, He convicts based on His knowledge os uf, then we try to push it off on someone else, trying to do god's job of convicting, shouldn't we just leave it up to God, it is His job after all.

    see heres the problem,, we let others dictate to us whats christian whats not, and that not based on scripture, but thier preception of it, assigning their convictions to others, instead of letting God guide us through scripture and Him convicting us. Again [people trying to do God's job for Him, as if He needs help and can't do it on His own.

    if they are judging based on personal preference of what 'looks' christian, then it should be a stumbling block, they've added to or changed scripture to suit themselves instead of listening to God.

    again, scripture. what does scripture say about it, don't let others lead your relatioship with God, only you can do that.


    who is jealous of what?
     
  14. Trotter

    Trotter
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/6412.jpg>

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2003
    Messages:
    4,815
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have lived under legalism, but that was then. I have freedom in Christ and am answerable to Him alone. That doesn't mean that I can do as I please, but it does mean I only have His prohibitions in my life and not someone else's.

    There are some things that I do that would be considered legalism if I told someone else they had to do it. For instance, my wife and I do not go to restaurants that serve any form of alcohol. It is a personal conviction for us that we came to quite a while ago. It irks some who want to go out to eat with us, but they are free to go elsewhere; we do not force them to not go where ever they want to go.

    I will not write in my bible. This is a personal conviction of mine, as I see it defacing God's word. I have no problem with anyone else writing in their bible and would not think of trying to tell them they are a weak Christian or unsaved because of it.

    I have been told that I must use a specific bible translation, that I must wear specific clothes to church, that I must have my hair this short and be clean-shaven. I have been scolded for raising my hands in worship, for praying aloud, for praying silently (both int he same church). I have been called down for questioning the preacher about something preached from the pulpit that, from what I could tell, did not line up with the bible (not during the sermon, mind you). Sorry, but no thanks. I have no use for man-made requirements.
     
  15. Robert Snow

    Robert Snow
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Messages:
    4,466
    Likes Received:
    0
    More often a feeling of pity more than jealousy.
     
  16. stilllearning

    stilllearning
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Messages:
    1,814
    Likes Received:
    2
    I once had a missionary tell me...........
    “A legalist is someone who has more standards than I do.”

    He was half right.

    Standards are good, if they are Bible standards.
    --------------------------------------------------
    When you are following man’s instructions: This is legalism.
    When you are following the Lord’s instructions: This is sanctification!
     
  17. Peggy

    Peggy
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2009
    Messages:
    285
    Likes Received:
    0
    A couple of examples of legalism that really irk me are "women should not cut their hair" and "women should not wear pants". These seem to be common convictions in some areas of fundamentalism.

    From what I have figured out, somehow a woman wearing pants incites lust in the hearts of men who see her. I say if a man can't control himself it is his problem, not hers.
     
  18. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think I can pinpoint when opposition ceased in our church to women wearing pants.

    When mini-skirts came in. We were ecstatic when they started wearing slacks instead of the mini-skirts.
     
  19. dcorbett

    dcorbett
    Expand Collapse
    Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2003
    Messages:
    3,411
    Likes Received:
    1
    I don't want or need your pity. I am happy in my walk, I grow daily in Christ. I don't need your sarcasm or your judgemental remarks as a result.
     
  20. dcorbett

    dcorbett
    Expand Collapse
    Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2003
    Messages:
    3,411
    Likes Received:
    1
    Sisters Scarlett and Donna, my sisters in Christ,

    I never mentioned pants - I only mentioned what the Bible says about stumbling blocks. THAT is where liberals fall away from fundamentalists...we see those stumbling blocks as big issues for potential and fledgling Christians who haven't yet learned that all your righteousness is as filthy rags. So we tend to try and present good examples, aspiring to achieve Christ-like behavior so that others who don't yet understand GRACE will node and say 'They behave like Christians" - yes, we ask, what does a Christian behave like??? I shook hands with
    a visitor at church Sunday night, introduced myself, and she said "Oh, you are that nice lady on Natalie's facebook page!" and I prayed a silent prayer of relief that I had behaved like a Christian when I didn't know who was watching!

    I don't wear pants to church. I have always said that I want to elevate myself to a level of reverence, and pants make me feel casual - I don't want church worship to EVER be casual, I want to hold Almighty God in complete respect and reverence. If you want to wear pants to church, git on wif yur bad self!!! But its not for me. I am a jeans and tee shirt gal everywhere else BUT church.

    And the topic of football broadcasted at church!!! I think that shows a total lack of respect for God's house. (That comes in from another thread where I had sarcastic remarks posted about me being a legalist)

    Where does one draw the line on what behavior is acceptable? I use the Bible as a guide. If my study shows me that it is wrong to bring the world into the church, then it is NOT legalism, it is Bible conviction.

    My comment about jealousy? If the shoes fits, but I don't believe it does in either of your cases, so don't fret it.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

Loading...