In an article he wrote in 2009 titled What I`ve Learned Since I Kissed Dating Goodbye, he warned against legalistic application of his book`s message. However, he would come to completely reject the message of his own book. I agree that I am thinking of legalists, narrow-minded. I am of episcopal faith and I am now going to a non-denominational church. SBC seems to be more concerned with rules than with serving Christ. Third, is there a problem with having institutional (ecclesiastical) rules in the name of harmony that go beyond clear biblical mandates? For example, some churches I went to as a child forbade Sunday School teachers from going to the theater so as not to cause insults. Now, we know that scripture says nothing about going to the theater itself, but it was a guideline to prevent others from stumbling (who may be weak in this area – think of the flesh of the idol), etc. Many Christian colleges also have such rules. Are you saying that it is legalistic to expect these higher standards to be applied by speakers and staff or by Church leaders? Thank you for your thoughts. Well, I`m exaggerating things a bit here. But that`s how you`re in your comments above. For the record, I`m not saying that there shouldn`t be extra-biblical rules – personal, professional or whatever. I am simply saying that the emphasis on rules can encourage legalistic thinking.
Having a rule doesn`t make you a legalist. But supplementing the Scriptures and eagerly defending and controlling our rules—won`t that please the Pharisees and contradict Christ? The confrontation of the person who watches pornography on the Internet if the lust of the heart would not be confronted, yes, is legalistic. Would that ever happen? All the time. On many other issues, I have seen the exceeding of the standard that has been addressed without addressing the heart and the principle. Dealing with the norm becomes a shortcut to spirituality. The result is compliance with a culture, a sense of accomplishment for the respect of the right rules, the guard is on duty, but nothing is respected. I understand what you mean between the difference between God`s rules and the rules that man creates from principles. But it`s also a sticky way. For example, we don`t see anything in Scripture about watching pornography on the Internet, but most of us would agree, based on principles, that we need to protect our eyes from evil and keep our minds clean. It is not negotiable. So, are we legalistic when we establish a man-made rule of not watching internet pornography based solely on biblical principle? Don`t we elevate a man-made rule as if it came from God? And yet, we do it all the time.
We have to do this because in many cases we have only one principle to respect, but life is full of specific problems. The same goes for modesty towards women. When does the length of the skirt become too short or a blouse cut too low? Somehow, it is, but we don`t know where. We must therefore establish a guideline based on the principle that the skirt is immodest at THIS STAGE. Now, I know people who would say it`s legalistic, but are they right? God has given us a guideline on modesty for a reason. We must give life to this principle and apply it in practice. Is it legalistic? I don`t think so, because God forbids immodesty. So, at some point, He expects us to ban Him (which requires a rule). Yes, Andrew.
We can become slaves and jealous. And at the end of the day, it`s a matter of the heart. I think there are some who are in the same kind of churches that, fortunately, do not have legalism in their hearts. I just think some environments can facilitate legalistic thinking more than others. I think that a rule, when presented with a divine principle (I remember the BJU rulebook), can have value. Yes, there may be a guide where some in ignorance do not recognize the biblical problem of doing this and that. They may not realize that when they wear certain clothes, they are inciting the people around them to covet. Absolutely. In this regard, rules can be valuable as long as they are taught with biblical principles so that others can see their value. The same applies to the budgetary directives, the value of which you have accepted.
When biblical thinking is taught behind rules, I believe hearts CAN be right. Honestly, I`ve seen bible guidelines as well as rules in just about every basic church I`ve attended. So I don`t think most of them are guilty of teaching and emphasizing rules to the point that they are legalistic.