The Legalist, The Imaginary Jackelope of Modern Christians

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by davidgeminden, Oct 28, 2003.

  1. davidgeminden

    davidgeminden
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    Hi Saints in Christ,

    Before I get to the main topic of my post, I would like to ask a question. Does any of you have any Christian literature dating back to the 1800s and the early 1900s that contains information that gives the Christian definitions of a legalist and legalism in those times? If you do, I would like to know the titles and authors so I could try to get ahold of the articles. If they are out of print, would you write down their definitions and email them to me. Please included the title, author and date of the articles. You can email the information to one of the following email addresses: ( [email protected] or [email protected] ). Thanks a lot in advance.

    Now begins some of my babble revealing some of my present views the subject.

    *********

    Many strong conscience Christians often wonder why some Christians seem to demonstrate illogical reasoning by believing some non-sinful things are sin in themselves (doubtful things) when the Bible does not refer to them as sin. Through studying the Bible, I found out why these Christians are illogical on doubtful items is given in 1 Corinthian 8:7,12 where God refers to these Christians as Christians that have weak consciences (weak conscience Christians). Their weak conscience (overly sensitive conscience) is the thing that causes them to be illogical.

    Modern day strong conscience Christians also display much illogical reasoning when they try to justify their despite for weak conscience Christians and their refusal to bear the burden of weak conscience Christians by calling them legalists and Pharisees.

    When I was a kid living on a farm in Oklahoma, we kids used to use illogical reasoning just for making jokes to laugh at and have fun. We used to have fun mentally creating nonexistent critters by taking selected characteristics of existing critters and mentally attributing them to a nonexistent make-believe critter. We had many laughs doing that while we were young.

    On one vacation trip we took to Colorado, our folks stopped at a tourist shop to look around and let us buy some junk. That is when we kids first saw our first jackelope; someone had taken a large stuffed jackrabbit and glued some small antelope horns to the top of its head. As kids, that was really funny to us. The shop sold pictures of the jackelope; of course, we all had to buy a picture.

    Also, we kids had to extend that illogical reasoning even farther. We would see an antelope grazing in the fields along the road; and we would call it a jackelope because it had horns like the imaginary jackelope. When we saw a jackrabbit, we would call it a jackelope because it had the body of the imaginary jackelope. The extended illogical reasoning we used concluded that any critter that had at least one to a few characteristics of the imaginary jackelope was a jackelope. We kids had a lot of fun with that type illogical reasoning. Also, when we saw a horse in the field, we would call it a thousand-pound jackrabbit because it had fur, a tail and four long legs like a jackrabbit.

    Many years later, I now like to refer to that childish illogical reasoning as "Forward-Jackelope-logic" and "Reverse-Jackelope-Logic". Forward-jackelope-logic is being used when a person mentally creates nonexistent critters by taking selected characteristics of existing critters and mentally attributing them to a nonexistent make-believe critter. Reverse-jackelope-logic is being used when a person reclassifies a critter as some other type critter because it has at least one to a few characteristics of the other critter. Now I am an adult, and I have found that many adults still use forward-jackelope-logic and reverse-jackelope-logic. One area where forward-jackelope-logic is used extensively is in the supporting of atheistic and theistic macroevolution. Here, the forward-jackelope-logic is used to create imaginary critters, affectionately known as missing links, to fill in for the missing fossils in the many non-fossil bearing geological sedimentary layers that occur between fossil bearing geological sedimentary layers. This is done by taking some characteristics from the fossils in the fossil bearing layers above and below the non-fossil bearing layers and creating imaginary in-between critters (the supposed missing links) with those characteristics. They do this even though the majority of the evidence in fossil bearing sedimentary layers display obvious rapid catastrophic aqueous sedimentary burial of critters and plant life mostly from different ecological zones than those buried in the layers above or below them. However, often there are sedimentary layers where critters and plants from widely separated ecological zones are mixed together, which also displays evidence of rapid catastrophic aqueous sedimentary burial. The vast majority of sedimentary layers do not show evidence of having laid around for very long before the next layers were deposited on top of them, certainly not enough time for any supposed goo-to-you type of evolution to occur that supposedly changed one kind of critter and plant into another kind.

    I have also noticed that many Christians use forward-jackelope-logic and reverse-jackelope-logic when dealing with selected Biblical topics. The most obvious use occurs where Christians deal with the Bible topic of weak conscience Christians. Forward-jackelope-logic is the primary logic used to create the so-called Biblical concept called legalism and the so-called Biblical critter called a legalist. This forward-jackelope-logic takes the characteristics of the Pharisees, the false gospel teachers described in Galatians (the Galatianists), the false gospel teachers described in Colossians (the Colossianists) and weak conscience Christians described in Romans 14:1-15:7 & 1 Corinthian chapter 8 and assigns those characteristics to the so-called Biblical critter called a legalist and the so-called Biblical concept called legalism. Next, reverse-jackelope-logic is used to reclassify Pharisees, the false gospel teaches described in Galatians, the false gospel teachers described in Colossians and the weak conscience Christians described in Romans and 1 Corinthians as the so-called Biblical critters called legalists. I believe the primary motive for this use of forward-jackelope-logic and reverse-jackelope-logic, that to creates this so-called Biblical critter called a legalist, is for the purpose of justifying despite for weak conscience Christians and refusal to follow the Biblical command to bear the burden of weak conscience Christians. Selective forward-jackelope-logic is then used to determine the response a strong conscience Christian should have toward the illogically created legalist. Usually, this selective forward-jackelope-logic selects only the responses that God instructed Christians to have toward the Pharisees and the false gospel teachers in Galatians and Colossians. This selective forward-jackelope-logic usually ignores the God given Biblical response to bear the burden of weak conscience Christians that is given in Romans 14:1-15:7 and 1 Corinthians chapter 8. Many Christians will also often shorten the illogical reasoning path, use only the reverse-jackelope-logic, and bypass the forward-jackelope-logic to reclassify weak conscience Christians as Pharisees. Then they apply the Biblical response that a Christians should have toward false gospel teachers, like the Pharisees, Galatianists and Colossianists, instead of following the Biblical principle to bear the burden of weak conscience Christians. Very often, they fall into the sin of despising weak conscience Christians, as the strong conscience Christians described in Romans 14:1-15:7 did.

    A very popular illogical argument that I get from many Christian brothers and sisters that try to prove that legalists are really found and described in the Bible appears to be equivalent to the following type of argument that tries to prove that jackelopes really exist in nature. Since there are critters in nature (the Bible) that have at least one to a few of the characteristics of the so-called jackelope (legalist), there must exist in nature (the Bible) a real live "jackelope" (legalist).

    Let me describe some reasoning process that I use when I evaluate whether or not theological buzz-terms and buzz-phrases, not found in the Bible, are theologically acceptable from a Biblical perspective. The first step that gives me a clue as to whether a buzz-term or buzz-phrase may possibly be logically unacceptable theologically is to determine if it or an equivalent term is used in the Bible. Obviously, the fact that a term or phrase or an equivalent term or phrase are not found in the Bible is not enough to logically determine if the term or phrase is not logically acceptable, theologically, from a Biblical perspective. Therefore, the second step in my reasoning process is to determine if the definitions assigned to the terms or phrases were derived by the use of illogical reasoning or not.

    Through studying some logicians lists of different logic fallacies I found that academia calls what I call reverse-jackelope-logic as being the logic fallacy of undistributed middle. So far, in my studies of fallacies I have not found a formal academic fallacy definition that describes what I call forward-jackelope-logic; however, I am still searching. Maybe academia should call forward-jackelope-logic "the definition fallacy of forward-jackelope-logic"(SMILE)?

    Example of fallacious logic of Undistributed Middle in short form:
    1) Pharisees believe some non-sinful things are sin.
    2) Weak conscience Christians believe some non-sinful things are sin.
    3) Therefore weak conscience Christians are Pharisees.

    Example of fallacious logic of Undistributed Middle in short form:
    1) Legalists believe some non-sinful things are sin.
    2) Weak conscience Christians believe some non-sinful things are sin.
    3) Therefore weak conscience Christians are legalists.

    I believe that it is important that I should make some comments about the definitions that are found in English dictionaries. Most modern dictionaries usually give two definitions for the word legalism. The first is a non-theological definition that defines legalism as "strict, often too strict and literal, adherence to law or to a code." The second is a theological definition that defines legalism as "the doctrine of salvation by good works - a reliance on works for salvation." It has always intrigued me as why they give two definitions, one a theological definition and the other a non-theological definition. The first definition "strict, often too strict and literal, adherence to law or to a code", being a non-theological definition, is a very interesting one, since it does not give any detailed explanation (interpretation) of what the phrase "strict, often to strict and literal, adherence" means. By not giving a detailed explanation of the phrase "strict, often to strict and literal, adherence", they have left the determination of the exact meaning of that phrase up the whim of each individual person who is judging someone else as to whether or not that person is a legalist guilty of legalism. Because of this very broad, relative, variable and adaptable definition, some folk actually judge everyone else, except themselves, to be legalists since everyone else is stricter than himself or herself. This is often the case for many hardened criminals. Non-Christians, especially atheists, agnostics and irreligious people usually with much despite apply this first non-theological definition to true faithful Christians, which in their eyes are always strict and too strict compared to themselves, and call them legalists. Modern day Christians have followed their example and combined the same broad, relative, variable and adaptable idea of "strict and often too strict and literal, adherence" to the defining of the theological definitions of a legalist and legalism. Some of the modern authors of modern English dictionaries have been so heavily influenced by this wholesale redefinition of the theological definition of a legalist and legalism by modern Christians that they no longer have two definitions of legalism (a theological and a non-theological), but have actually replaced the two definitions in their dictionaries with one very broad, relative, variable and adaptable definition of a legalist and legalism. This combined definition usually is as follows: "strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious or moral Code." Modern Christians lap up this definition "like flies to cow manure", and use it in a circular reasoning fashion to help justify their illogical, broad, relative, variable and adaptable definition of a legalist and legalism, which they originally developed using illogical reason, of the variety that I referred to previously as forward-jackelope-logic.


    A brother in Christ,
    David C. Geminden
    [email protected] and [email protected]
    050203 061503

    "The Legalist, The Imaginary Jackelope of Modern Christians"
    and
    "Weak Conscience Christians and Legalism"
    http://www.geocities.com/davidgeminden/index.html
     
  2. David Mark

    David Mark
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    Welcome to the Baptist Board Mr. Geminden

    I think your post is about conscience so I will comment regarding that. [​IMG]

    I think it is one thing to stumble before my Father regarding my own conscience. I pay very close attention to my conscience before him. Few if any have a place to meddle or interfere with my conscience toward God.

    I think it is another thing for me to cause someone else to stumble in any way before the Father. It's not my place to meddle with your conscience before God. That would make me the worst sort of fellow.

    If I do what the Lord said to do, I do it to find my way or to work out this wonderful salvation I have been given. It comes from a desire to not remain an infant in the faith or rather to "grow up" in the faith. I don't base my salvation on works (God forbid), but I think the quality of my life now and later is and will be affected by keeping his words right now. My salvation is by faith. The quality of my life and my relationships are enhanced by good deeds and right thinking, or rather a good conscience toward God. There may even be reward for me later if I keep his words now. All of this is built upon the foundation of The Christ and his atonement for all of my sin.

    Many things cause me to stumble due to my own weaknesses. I lose count of the mistakes I feel that I make before him during the course of one day. Nevertheless, I go to him about all of them, trust his forgiveness and God becomes my true strength. Therefore I can fully agree with Paul the Apostle that when I am weak, He is strong.

    I never try to manufacture a week conscience just for the sake of being weak. I would rather be strong in every area. Nevertheless, I am weak and ashamed in many areas, but He lifts me up and keeps me from falling.

    Conscience is a serious thing.

    Dave [​IMG]
     
  3. Nomad

    Nomad
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    I think the point could be put more succinctly by suggesting that words like "legalist" are used very loosely, especially in message board discussions. More precision in terms would probably be helpful.

    Also, isn't "imaginary jackelope" redundant? ;)
     

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