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Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Jessie, Oct 10, 2002.
What would you say defines a legalistic Baptist Church, and why.
This is your very first post, and you are already jumping into the fire, eh?
A legalistic church is one that adheres to "non-biblical" rules and regulations.
It is a church that stresses "doing" more than "being."
It is a church where members seek to obtain favor from God / achieve personal merit ("spirituality") from one's own accomplishments.
Just my thoughts....
P. S. (Welcome to the Baptist Board!)
Thank you for the reply. It's not so much that I want to jump in to the fire, so to speak, but that I'm afraid it has come to our Church, and I don't know what to do.
A legalistic church is any church that stresses rules and laws more than our church does!!!
Kind of like a megachurch is any church bigger than mine.
In a legalistic church when somebody comes late to the meeting, members like to turn and look at them with a self righteous look and think about how good they are for arriving on time.
In the Non-Legalistic church people welcome and hug the latecomer, glad to see them. Realising that they may have been through a struggle just to get there.
A legalistic church is one that hands crepe paper ties and crepe paper skirts to visitors. Its hard to believe such a church exists, but I am told they do!!!
[ December 11, 2002, 11:14 AM: Message edited by: Jessie ]
In my opinion, a legalistic Baptist Church can be identified in these ways:
1. They love to make rules about dress codes and endless other things.
2. They elevate the pastor and minimize the priesthood of every believer; thus the common christian cannot find the will of God unless the pastor tells him what it is.
3. They think Gail Riplinger wrote a great book.
Here is a good sermon on legalism. I'm sure many on this board could relate.
Legalism in the OT/NT useage is obtaining favor with God NOT by His Grace alone, but by works. It often had to do with gaining salvation by keeping the Torah (Law).
Today, the meaning is generally the same, with the addition that many ifb churches also add keeping rules/law to obtain favor with God NOT by His grace alone, but by works, not for salvation but to be "right" with God.
99.9% of legalistic churches will NOT see themselves as legalistic. They are so blinded by the lifestyle of anti-grace that they cannot see it.
It is a vile, creeping insidious teaching that saps the life from a church. Will pray for you in your situation.
[ December 11, 2002, 11:15 AM: Message edited by: Jessie ]
Legalism - behavior creates belief.
Such as: Men must wear a suit and tie, and women must wear ankle-length skirts. Wearing these things shows you have the proper frame of mind regarding "modesty."
Non-legalism - belief creates behavior.
Such as: I know I can dress any way I want to, but I choose to dress a certain way. And I refuse to tell you how to dress, because that's between you and God.
A legalistic baptist church is a church that follows the teachings of John R. Rice, Curtis Hutson, Jack Hyles, Sheldon Smith, Johnny Pope, and so many others. If you will read a copy of "Sword of the Lord" or "Revival Fires" you may see what I mean. I was a member of this type church for 12 years before The Lord opened my eyes to grace. God Bless
Legalism and its strict adherence to an artificial set of standards will also show up in doctrine. I have met many in the throws of legalism who also fall victim to aborrant theology</font>
I feel that there is a connection between the two, but it may not be cause/effect. Perhaps weak Christians (our brothers) who NEED to be told what to do and how to live also NEED to have such extreme doctrinal rigidity.
How about a church that has someone call up every member a couple of days before a special conference to inquire whether you will be in attendance each night or if there will be any schedule conflicts. When you respond that you won't be there on a certain night, they then ask for specifics and make note of it.
That happened to me recently, and that's just the tip of the iceberg with this church. Accountability is one thing but.....sheesh.
A legalistic church is any church with stricter teachings than you have.
Kind of like a religious fanatic is anyone who goes to church more often than you do.
That, my friend, sounds much more like a cult than a NT church. I would run to the nearest exit and disappear. Such control of action is tied to control of thought and is infringement on the soul liberty of you as a believer (a BAPTIST distinctive).
Do they mean well? Perhaps, but such behavior as you describe (not all that rare, sadly) crosses the line. Remember the advice: RUN, DON'T WALK
Thank you for your advice Dr. Bob. We have been with this church for a few years now and so the situation is complicated. It's not easy leaving a church your kids have grown up in, but we are praying about it and waiting on Gods leading.
There have always been things that bothered me about the church but I just dismissed them as my hang ups and kept it all to myself. I know now that not all churches are like this one, and I am thankful that I see that now.
Paul identified a legalistic Baptist church(es), the churches of Galatia. In Gal 3 he pinned down their deviation:
* "Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith" - the reply...faith
* "Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" - the reply...NO!
The Galatians or someone in the Galatian churches was adding law to grace. Anytime we add law to grace, we are getting into legalism.
As believers we can obey God and even have personal standards, as long as we do not let those standards become some form of law which is a part of our salvation or sanctification.
The biggest challenge for believers of the church age has always been keeping ourselves on the road and not in the one ditch of legalism and the other ditch of antinomianism.