What Does Legalism Mean To You?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Nicholas25, Oct 11, 2008.

  1. Nicholas25

    Nicholas25
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    Would you agree with me that legalism is adding rules and regulations and takes away from God's grace and Christian liberty? Would you also agree that many things people are legalistic about are good things, but should not be made into a "law" that everyone should follow. I will use my church as an example. Most ladies wear dresses to church, and most everyone uses a King James Version Bible, and I think those things are fine. I just don't think they should a rule or regulation in any church. Some good things become bad, when believers become legalistic about it.

    Some verses to think about:

    Philippians 2:12 So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

    Romans 14:10-13 So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For the scripture says, "As surely as I live; says the Lord, every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God." Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let's stop condemning each other. New Living Translation (NLT)

    John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. King James Version (KJV)
     
  2. TCGreek

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    And using the TNIV is quite fine, too.
     
  3. Aaron

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    Legalism is simply this: The idea that justification comes through the deeds of the Law. Or, as some like to put it, adding works to faith.

    What's described in the O.P. is not legalism at all, but difference of opinion about the decency of some forms of dress. This is a legitimate discussion, and of course, if one form of dress is not consistent with Christian decorum and demeanor, then it is wrong—not just for those who think it's wrong, but wrong in and of itself. (And vice versa.)
     
  4. Aaron

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    Grace is also misrepresented in the O.P. Grace is the power to do what is right, not the freedom to do whatever one wants.
     
  5. Nicholas25

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    Legalism does take away from God's grace, because the death of Christ on the cross did away with keeping a law. I do not feel that grace is freedom to do anything, but salvation is by grace through faith and not of works.
     
  6. Salty

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    Main Entry: legalism [​IMG] !lE-gu-+li-zum
    Pronunciation: \ ˈlē-gə-ˌli-zəm \
    Function: noun
    Date: 1928
    Results
    1. 1 strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious or moral code - the institutionalized legalism that restricts free choice

    Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary copyright © 2008 by Merriam-Webster, incorporated

    I would say the key word is excessive.
    I see the same thing in the Army. There are many, many regulations, some NCO like to have excessive conformity.
    Example - AR 670-1 states that a solider will be clean shaven at all times. I had a First Sergeant who demanded we shave before morning PT, even though the training schedule called for personal hygiene to follow PT.
    I would call that excessive conformity.
     
  7. tinytim

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    It is always funny how legalists try to justify their legalistic views by defining legalism the way they agree with it....

    It is also just as funny to see the otherside do it too....

    You can't do anything to make God love you more...

    If you think you can, you are a legalist.

    God loves you as much now as he did yesterday...
    And He loves you as much now as he will 10 yrs from now....

    You can't do anything to lose or diminish God's love...
    You can't do anything to gain God's love...

    That's my humble opinion... but I am sure legalists will attack in one way or another.
     
  8. Amy.G

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    That post is illegal.


    :laugh: :laugh:
     
  9. Tom Butler

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    A looser definition would be a set of rules or behavior by which one's spirituality is measured.

    In my childhood most activity except going to church was frowned on by evangelicals in my part of the country. This culture even extended to the city and county governments, as reflected in the "blue laws." Most businesses were closed on Sunday.

    In Kentucky, even today, sales of any kind of alcohol are prohibited on Sunday (and election day).

    For some, going to the movies was a no-no. For others, it was okay, but not on Sunday.

    For some, playing cards was un-uh. For others, no poker, but Rook was fine.

    Fast forward to the 1970s. Sunday movies are now okay, and most any other Sunday activity, as long as you do it after morning services and before the Evening Service.

    Speaking of services, the rule of thumb was Sunday morning only, average Christian;
    Back Sunday evening, you're quite spiritual; Add Wednesday night and you're super-spiritual.

    In the 70s, hair and skirt length became issues. I remember at my church, slacks on women were frowned on. With the advent of mini-skirts, our leaders were tickled to death when a woman wore slacks.

    So the rules kept changing and the standards kept shifting.

    Most of those days are gone, now. Most churches have moved on from any kind of legalism. And they're proud of it. Just like the pride we take in being so humble.

    Do I long for its return? Not at all. But it seems that we may be going to far in the other direction.

    Shoot, I heard of one church where the pastor is famous as much for his swearing as he is for his sermons. Yep, we're makin' progress. Next thing you know, we'll be able to talk about sex in the sermons, And clown-led communion. Woo-hoo! Free at last!
     
  10. Aaron

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    The term "legal" isn't in the Scriptures, but the meaning is "pertaining to law." In the Scriptures, the term is "according to the law" or "lawful." When Paul spoke of the law, he said it was good and righteous and perfect, but weak. So a man isn't saved by "deeds of the law," i.e. legalism, but by grace through faith.

    It's grace that gives us power to believe: T'was grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved.
     
  11. Salty

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    Not really. Today one issue is CCM vs Traditional music. Another is whether the pastor wears a tie or not. And don't forget Bible versions

    Same song, different verse (oops CCM doesn't have verses - do they :laugh: :saint: )

    How about Patriarchy: The New Legalism

    Come quickly Lord :jesus:
     
  12. sag38

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    True Story: Consider a grocery store. It's 4:00AM in the morning. Store has been closed since 11:00PM and will reopen at 6:30AM. Even the employee clearn up crew has gone home. Man is coming home from work, drives into the totally empty parking lot, pulls into the handicapped spot, leaves his motor running and jumps out to put .50 in the paper box. As he turns around to jump into his car, Barney (local police man) drives up and writes him a ticket for parking in the handicapped spot ($250.00 fine). Yes, legally, one is not supposed to park in one of those spots without a tag. That's the letter of the law. However, considering that the store is closed, the man is just stopping for less than a minute to grab a paper and moving on, how in the world could Barney see the need to write him a ticket? Barney is a legalist without love, compassion, or an ability to think except by the letter of the law. And, the church, sometimes forgets love, compassion, and has an inability to see the intent of the law. They can only see the letter.
     
  13. davidgeminden

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    The above definition is very broad and relative; that is because strict and literal conformity is left up to the eyes of the beholder. Therefore, Christians enjoy it, since they see many other Christians as being stricter than themselves.


    I have been a legalists ever since I became a Christian. I am willing accept the fact that according to modern English dictionaries all true Christians are legalists in the eyes of non-Christians, because------


    1) We are strict and literal in our conformity to the religious code that there is only one triune God, as described in the bible.


    2) We are strict and literal in our conformity to the religious code that there is only one way to be saved, and that is through Jesus Christ only.


    3) We are strict and literal in our conformity to the religious code that salvation is only obtained by believing/faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the sacrifice for our sins, and salvation is not obtained by our works.


    4) We are strict and literal in our conformity to the religious code that the bible is the Word of God.


    5) We are strict and literal in our conformity to the religious code that the one and only triune God of the Bible intelligently designed and created the universe.


    You all can add more points to this list, if you want to.


    Some English dictionaries also add a theological definition of legalism such as: "the doctrine of salvation by good works".


    David C. Geminden
     
  14. Tom Butler

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    Oops, forgot about CCM. I have a theory that CCM was devised so people wouldn't have to hold hymnbooks, and their hands were freed up to wave in the air.

    I'm glad neckties are not an issue in my church. I rarely wear one, but my pastor should. He does wear one on Sunday, but not on Wednesday night. And, I've also seen him sneaking around on other days without a coat and tie. And nobody in my church seems to care.

    I do think that blue jeans with holes in the knees are a little unspiritual, though. Not a lot unspiritual, just a little. Not all the time, just when they're worn to church--particularly by the preacher.

    About the KJV--if it was good enough for Paul and Silas, why is it not good enough for everybody?

    Can you figure out which part of the post is TIC and which is not?
     
  15. tinytim

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    Hymnbooks not in the NT...

    I have a theory that a woman invented the necktie.... what man would willingly put a piece of cloth around his neck and tie it?!
    It was a cheap noose!

    OH, come on ... Don't you believe in holy jeans!

    Well, DUH... Paul and Silas didn't like the Greek!

    I think I did.. I hope you know which is TIC for me! :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

    OH< and watch out for Barney.. .I heard he was on the loose giving out parking tickets now that his work was done on the 700 Billion package he pushed through congress.... :laugh:
     
  16. stilllearning

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    Legalism is: Teaching “Man’s laws”, as “Doctrine”:
    Mark 7:7
    And the worship of those who practice it, is in vain.
     
  17. John of Japan

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    “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., 1983, 1984, 1985, 1998, by SBC theologian Millard Erickson, p. 990).
     
  18. superwoman8977

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    Why does it matter whether the pastor wears a tie or not we have a pastor who is a harley rider and preaches in jeans and a harley shirt,no one thinks any less of him. I wear jeans and sweatshirts to church should anyone think less of me? Its about reaching others to show them about a relationship with the Lord and I actually believe when we dont act higher and mightier than them and we get down on their level we reach more people that way. The Lord loves us regardless of what we wear
     
  19. Don

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    The Lord loves us regardless of what we do, too; but that doesn't mean He likes what we're doing.
     
  20. Don

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    Let me ask this of everyone: Which is worse -- the man who says, "look at me, I don't wear ties" or the man who says, "look at me, I don't wear ties"?
     

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