Legalism

Discussion in 'Fundamental Baptist Forum' started by SolaSaint, Jul 5, 2014.

  1. SolaSaint

    SolaSaint
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    I'm doing a study in my Sunday School class on Grace. Our literature is a book by Chuck Swindoll called Grace Awakening. This weeks chapter is on legalism. I have read over the chapter and am having a problem. I think I am a legalist after reading it. Swindoll says anything added to grace is legalism kinda. He goes through a bunch of do's and don'ts that many Christians add to grace. Now I don't for a minute believe we need to add anything to grace for salvation, but I do feel as Christians we need to lead righteous lives, which would mean lot's of do's and dont's, RIGHT? I'm not going to go see an X-rated movie or maybe even certain R-rated ones. I'm not going to drink alcohol to get drunk. I'm not going to cheat on my wife, etc. SO my question is, when is it legalism and when is it being righteous out of gratitude for my salvation? Or am I missing it?

    Is it considered legalism when works are done to gain salvation. What about churches where in their by-laws it says their members cannot drink alcohol? Is that legalism? If so I'll bet most all SBC churches are in this boat. Please give me some good advice for my study so I can teach well. Thanks
     
  2. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Have you read the sermon on the mount? Martyn Lloyd Jones book is excellent....thereis your Do's and don't list.
     
  3. Revmitchell

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    Actual legalism is only tied to extra actions imposed on people to be saved. In other words it is insisting people follow the law instead of faith alone. The term leagalism cannot be rightly used in any other context. A good example of this would be:

    Col 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
    Col 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

    Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
    Gal 5:2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
    Gal 5:3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
    Gal 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.




    There is another use of the term called legalistic. This term is often used to communicate that a certain standard is imposed on others contrary to the freedom of liberty we have but has nothing to do with questioning ones salvation. This is often based on personal preferences. I can find no biblical example of it.
     
  4. SolaSaint

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    Rev,

    Swindoll uses the verses your referenced in Galatians. I think I'm confusing legalism with legalistic as you say. Would you say a Church that has in it's by-laws or constitution, you cannot use alcohol as a member of this church as being legalistic or is that OK?
     
  5. SolaSaint

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    I think I have this in audio format. I'll check and listen to it, Thanks.
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    There are some who would. As I said what is considered legalistic is based on preferences.


    I do not but I do not care to throw that phrase around much.

    Also it is not just SBC churches. The average Baptist church SBC or other wise has the same thing although I have never seen a church that actually pays attention to it.


    On a side note, if you do not like Warren's preaching you will not like Swindol.
     
    #6 Revmitchell, Jul 5, 2014
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  7. SolaSaint

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    I think I'm finding that about Swindoll. Thanks for the hint.
     
  8. John of Japan

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    IMO Swindoll's book is a modern example of antinomianism, the view that all rules are bad. This is contrary to Scripture. Note the rules the apostles set: Acts 21:25--"As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication."

    In fundamentalism we do have a danger in our lists of standards (which I am for) in that immature Christians might think that keeping the standards makes one holy, when really the standards are to help us keep from temptation. For example, I have a standard to avoid R rated movies in order to keep from the temptation to lust, and in order to keep from hearing filthy language (which might dwell in my mind), etc. But not watching R rated movies is not what makes me righteous.

    Standards are for the purpose of helping us draw nigh to God. We are separate from the world not to make ourselves righteous, but we are separate unto God.
    Exactly. Swindoll uses the term wrongly.

    “Legalism is a slavish following of the laws in the belief that one thereby earns merit; it also entails a refusal to go beyond the formal or literal requirements of the law” (Christian Theology, 2nd ed., by SBC theologian Millard Erickson, p. 990).
    Good point. If Swindoll is right, than all Baptist churches are wrong, since they all have constitutions, which are really lists of rules. And the old time church covenants would be wrong, and church by-laws would be wrong, and rules for the church gym ("No drinks on the gym floor") would be wrong, etc.
     
  9. Van

    Van
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    An excellent question. Beware of folks who toss around undefined words.


    Antinomianism

    'Antinomian' literally means 'against [the rule of] law';
    The word comes from the Greek anti (against) and nomos (law), and refers to the doctrine that it is not necessary for Christians to preach and or obey the moral law of the OT. There have been several different justifications for this view down through the centuries.

    For example, once the chosen are justified by faith in Christ, they no longer have any obligation toward the moral law because Jesus has freed them from it, reflects the basic view. A variant of this position is that since believers in Christ are cannot lose their salvation, then they need to be obedient only to the individual internal guidance of the Holy Spirit, who will keep them from sin.

    Just as Christ was crucified between two thieves, Christ’s pure gospel hangs between two usurpers, Legalism on one side and Lawlessness (Antinomianism) on the other.
    What is the biblical view of this difficult subject? I believe our post-conversion faith, our love of Jesus, is born of an incorruptible seed, and therefore we (born anew believers in Christ) will feel compelled to strive to keep all that Christ has commanded. Further, I believe that the Helper (the indwelt Holy Spirit of Christ) will draw our attention during prayerful study of the Word and meditation to our violations of the moral Law as taught in Scripture such that our un-Christ like attitudes and actions will result in feelings of guilt and shame. Hence, our efforts to pick up our cross, to put to death our fleshly desires, and to follow Christ, to be conformed to the image of Christ, provide assurance of salvation.

    In summary, those who are against striving to obey all that Christ commanded, who say why not do evil so grace can abound even more, are demonstrating that they were never saved, Matthew 7:18-21.

    Paul taught that once we are born anew, we earn rewards by building of the foundation of Christ, such that we enter heaven abundantly. Let no one lead you astray, as faithful servants, we are to strive to serve Christ and be as Christ-like as possible.

    May God bless.
     
  10. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    I think Swindoll is being badly misunderstood here. He's not saying there shouldn't be an expectation of righteousness, both by ourselves in our own lives and in the live of those who profess to be Christians.

    Swindoll labels it "legalistic" when it becomes a matter of pride. "I do this and I don't do that, so therefore I am pleasing to God." A legalist, Swindoll has said,
    Nothing wrong with that teaching at all. It perfectly defines a "legalist."
     
  11. Van

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    A legalist might say if you believe the TULIP, you are not saved, or if you do not believe the TULIP, you are not saved. However, scripture teaches if God credits your faith in Christ as righteousness, He puts you spiritually in Christ, your individual election to salvation. Scripture does not teach a person must believe all the right doctrines, but only we must put our wholehearted trust in Christ as both God and Savior.
     
  12. John of Japan

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    I'd give you quotes from my copy of the book, but it's either shipped to America or I threw it away, I disremember which. But my memory says that someplace in the book Swindoll opposed any kind of Christian rules.

    Regardless, I don't have much respect for the man. He's living in a mansion from his royalties while missionaries all over the world struggle to survive. My grandfather wrote over 200 books, including several best sellers of 100-500,000 copes. But he used every penny of the profits for God's work, and lived in a modest 3 bedroom house. He gave away 1000s of books to college students, gave away 100s of 1000s of dollars to missions (once gave $1000 to my work), had millions of his tracts printed in many languages at his own expense.
     
  13. SolaSaint

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    In his chapter (4) on legalism he really does not give any credence to works of any kind. He really bashes works seems like for any reason. He never speaks of James 2, where James asks if real faith results in works of righteousness.

    John you bring up a good point, we are not to be of this work and are to separate from it in a sense so I can see your reference to not going to a R-rated movie to prevent temptation. This isn't works to earn anything from God but Swindoll never gets to this biblical principal in his book. It almost does smell of Antinomianism.
     
  14. kyredneck

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    Excellent articulation, and spot on! Thank you!
     
  15. John of Japan

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    Another relevant principle which I should have mentioned is that we are to avoid everything that might cause a brother to sin. We are to limit our own freedom to help others. I don't remember if Swindoll addressed this in his book, which was all about freedom for the believer, but I think it is extremely important in this issue (Rom. 14:19-23).
     
  16. John of Japan

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    Glad you were blessed!
     
  17. John of Japan

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    Spurgeon on this issue:

    “There are others who are all froth and levity, who profess to be Christians, and yet cannot live without the same amusements as worldlings; must be now at this party, and then at that; never comfortable unless they are making jokes, and following after all the levities and frivolities of the world. Ah! The first is a pardonable weakness, in which there is much that is commendable, but this is a detestable one, of which I can say nothing that is good.” (Words of Counsel for Christian Workers. Pasadena: Pilgrim Publications, 1985, p. 42)

    “Places of amusement where he cannot take his Lord with him are no places of amusement, but scenes of misery to him” (ibid, p. 42).

    To Sunday School teachers: “Your boys must read, and if you are the teacher of a boy who reads 'Jack Sheppard,' you will be sadly to blame if he continues to delight in such an abomination” (Words of Counsel for Christian Workers, p. 105). Jack Sheppard was a famous criminal of 18th century England about who popular books and plays were being written in Spurgeon’s day.
     
    #17 John of Japan, Jul 6, 2014
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  18. SolaSaint

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    Actually in chap 7 he does, but he really defends his stance against legalism here again. He says there is nowhere in scripture that we are to restrain from anything for another. I think he really missed it here. I think I will put the book away and find another subject for next week. Sad.
     
  19. kyredneck

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    The faith which thou hast, have thou to thyself before God. Happy is he that judgeth not himself in that which he approveth. Ro 14:22

    I take that to simply mean 'don't flaunt your faith'; you wanna have a beer with the pizza and enjoy a cigar afterwards, there's no need for anyone to know, do it discreetly so as not to cause the weaker ones to stumble.
     
    #19 kyredneck, Jul 6, 2014
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  20. Aaron

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    Here's your answer.
     

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