Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Legalism


Ed Stetzer points to an interview with Chuck Swindoll where Swindoll makes this statment:

The problem with legalists is that not enough people have confronted them and told them to get lost. Those are strong words, but I don’t mess with legalism anymore. I’m 72 years old; what have I got to lose? Seriously, I used to kowtow to legalists, but they’re dangerous. They are grace-killers. They’ll drive off every new Christian you bring to church. They are enemies of the faith. Other than that, I don’t have any opinion!

So, if I am trying to force my personal list of no-no’s on you and make you feel guilty if you don’t join me, then I’m out of line and I need to be told that.


I appreciated this, since I come from a legalistic background (much of it self-imposed), and since Swindoll's book Grace Awakening was so pivotal in my understanding of God's grace. It's truly one of the most life-changing things I ever read.

Quite honestly, I feel certain that I would not have been open to correction during my most legalistic days, but I too have reached a point where I don't care to pander to those who add to God's Word with rules He never put there. I put myself under that burden for enough years to know how spiritually lethal it can be.



3 comments:

JAN said...

This was a great post. The Lord has used some very difficult times in my life to teach me that we need to show love and grace to others rather than judgement. We're all just bumbling along and He will bring truth and conviction to each life-it's not my job.
I love Chuck Swindoll by the
way! :-)
Judy

adventuresinmercy said...

Excellent post...
Wow, that quote is really thought-provoking.

The hard thing about dealing with legalists is that they're not doing anything *concretely* wrong, you know?

I mean, a person can recognize and address *outward* sins fairly easily. But legalism is a lovely FOLLOWING of the rules...it's not so much action, if any at all, but more of a SMELL...the sweet savor of Christ turns into a stench of Law-keeping. But then how do you feel okay about addressing it when you have nothing concrete to "prove" your case with...?


But Swindoll's words match the Gospels closely, you know, in that he seems to agree with what Jesus chose to do. Jesus was merciful and demonstratively loving toward/to the sinners, so much so that he was rebuked for feasting too much, for having too much fun with them... But when confronted with Pharisaical attitudes, Christ swiftly rebuked, again and again.

Donetta said...

Oh sweet freedom. Relationship with God as a friend.