What is legalism

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by allibobo, Jul 30, 2003.

  1. allibobo

    allibobo
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    For a long time I didn't know what my neighbors were. I knew they were baptist ,but confused on there ways of life.The wife doesn't wear pants,shorts etc. they didn't let there children dress up for halloween and believe santa claus.So,one day I was driving by their church and noticed and they got a new sign and it said fundamental.I have been reading a little about fundamentalist on this board and the word legalism pops alot and what is it exactly.Their is some tension between us .They act sometimes their are above us because we don't raise our children like they do. My husband could care less what they think ,but I get so frustrated.There are times I have wanted to go over there and give the wife a piece of my mind .But I always hold back my tongue and go own.Reading things on this board between catholics and baptist.I live it everyday.My husband was raised catholic me episcopal.I remember when we first moved in and they asked what religion we were ,there mouths dropped.In the town I live in there is one cathoic churuch,one episcopal,one luthern.But there is a baptist church on every corner.I have nothing against baptist,my best friend is a southern baptist and there has never been any problems.
     
  2. 3AngelsMom

    3AngelsMom
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    Allibobo,

    There is actually more than one kind of legalism.

    There is the kind that is based in the acutal Law of God, which is found in the Bible. Even that kind is wrong because it causes us to take our focus off of Christ and what He did for us, and tends to cause us to rely on our own works to save us.

    You'll find this kind of legalism in the Messianic Jewish Churches, and also, sad to say in my own denomination.

    Another kind is the form of legalism that is based on man made rules that they THINK are based on the Laws of God. You mentioned a few. The no pants, no shorts for women one is a prime example of man made legalism at it's worst. There is only ONE passage to support this 'damnable' sin that these legalists use to condemn others, and the one passage doesn't even SAY for women not to wear 'pants' it just says men aren't supposed to wear womens clothing and women aren't supposed to wear mens clothing. In MANY cultures throughout history, and now, men and women wore both 'skirts' and 'pants'. Sometimes at the same time! This type mirrors the Pharisees of Jesus' day. They take the laws of God and pervert them to the point that it is actually a point of bitterness. I knew MANY IFB women who resented that their husbands were so dominating, and truly disliked the way that the church controlled their every move. Is it ok with 'Preacher' if we go to K-Mart on Sunday's? If he said no, they wouldn't go! How silly is that? As if he had the power to lay down what is right and what is wrong!

    Another kind of legalism is man made laws that are not based on the Bible at all. Those exist, usually in cults though. The LDS (Mormons) have some very strange underwear laws and also laws regarding certain controlled substances (caffeine, tabacco, alcohol, etc.) Another one that comes to mind is the law that you are not to associate with others who don't believe the same way as you. I have encountered this several times with IFB's. I used to be one. The Catholic Church is actually the place where you will find the most of this 'man made' legalism. The majority of their 'rules' are man made, and most of them have absolutely no basis in scripture whatsoever.

    The last two are actually the MOST dangerous forms of legalism and they usually occur in churches that preach heavily the 'hell' doctrine. They use the excess 'laws' to scare their subjects into submission, using the 'hell' fear tactic. Sadly, it usually has something to do with getting money from them. :(

    People often confuse Christians who are obedient to the Laws of God with those who are legalistic. There is a distinct difference. There are those, again most commonly in the Messianic churches and my own, who live their day to day lives making a conscious choice to obey God, through the Power of the Spirit of God, out of LOVE for God. WE (I count myself as one) do this, not for gaining salvation, but as a show of our appreciation for our salvation.

    So that, is what I would say, is the key. What is the motivation? Does the person doing this think that they are creating an atmostphere for a closer relationship with God, or actually CREATING a relationship with God by doing those things?

    I find it sad that your neighbors are so unneighborly. What a horrible testimony! You would think that if they consider their denomination to be so 'perfect' that they would be going out of their way to make you feel comfortable around them, so that they could invite you to fellowship with them.

    Strange isn't it?

    God Bless,
    Kelly
     
  3. allibobo

    allibobo
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    yes, kelly it is strange.There have been things my neighbors have said that are quite disturbing. The wife told me her husaband was the king of there home and he decides there clothing.I didn't say anything to that comment.I am a stay at home mom and my husband works ,I do let him make decisions in our home as long as I am included.I guess you can say sometimes I feel sorry for there children. The have a very sheltered life.When you have a four old telling you that If you watch a certain tv show your with the devil.I just feel sorry for them.It is none of my business how anybody raises there children.I just sometimes wonder when there children are grown and on there own they might have a real shock.But,I could be completely wrong.I shelter my kids from certain things,If they see something I really didn't want them to see or hear then talk to them about and why it is wrong.
     
  4. MEE

    MEE
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    What is legalism?...........prue torture and not knowing how to get out!! [​IMG]

    MEE [​IMG]
     
  5. Carson Weber

    Carson Weber
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    Hi allibobo,

    What you are witnessing is a mentality, which is generally classified under the "Fundamentalist" genre of Christians. A Fundamentalist generally (all generalizations include exceptions to the rule) has an aversion to active involvement in culture and society, whereas an Evangelical generally seeks new ways to incorporate the Gospel into our culture through the process of inculturation. The Fundamentalist standpoint is derived primarily from a reactionary stance, which follows conversion from sin; the intended legalism is seen as a good, which keeps the Christian out of the world and within the realm of Gospel morality.
     

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