1. Literaturelady says:

    Ooh, I like stuff that makes me think! I’ve written my answers to the quiz below, but first, I’d like to ask: is there a difference between “legalism” (boxing people into “guidelines” the Bible never gives) and saying honestly, “I’m not going to read that, because I, personally, don’t agree with x aspect.”? Case in point: one reader/review apparently didn’t have a problem with x aspect in a fantasy book, but I did, so I skipped that volume and moved to the next book in the series (yeah, I’m weird). Should this other reader/reviewer not have read the book? I can’t say; that’s between her and God. Would you call that “legalistic”?

    Okay, the quiz:

    1. Definitely A and possibly C.

    2. B and C.

    3. A and B.

    4. A and B.

    5. Definitely B and possibly C, although I too am skeptical of “I went to Heaven” books.

    Thanks for your thought-provoking discussions! I look forward to the rest of the comments–and my test score. 🙂


    P.S. Sorry you got flamed on that other website.

  2. Galadriel says:

    Most of these have two legalist responses. One on the side of limiting, and one on the side of “freedom.”

  3. bainespal says:

    Though the pastor’s entire repertoire makes it clear he also finds fault with Christians who do act as if homosexual desires are unforgiveable sins, in this article he critiques only the homosexual lobby.

    It’s easy not to pay attention to someone’s “entire repertoire” when a hot-button issue comes up. That’s why it’s usually better to limit most arguments up front, though I know that it’s not always legalistic to present only one fascent of an argument.

  4. bainespal says:

    Actually, I think in some of the cases, all three responses could be legalistic. I think almost any argument could be legalistic. To believe in your own argument more than you believe in the truth is legalism, and maybe idolatry. In most arguments, both opponents are probably guilty of some degree of legalism.

    It’s probably impossible to argue very much at all without being a little legalistic. None of us can see beyond our own limitations, at least not naturally, not most of the time.

    • Actually, I think in some of the cases, all three responses could be legalistic.

      True. Any response with a heart attitude of legalism will naturally be legalistic.

      I did presume, though, that in the intentionally “right” responses the speaker was being sincere. Again, the only legalism-free individual was, so far, Christ Himself.

      Yet if you believe your argument is based on truth, and humbly say so with (as far as depends on us) only reliance on the Self-revealing God Who did lovingly give us some of His truth in the Scripture, then one can say that without being prideful or legalistic. No, it’s not possible not to sin all the time, not in this life, before our resurrection. But it is possible not to sin some of the time, thank God.

  5. bainespal says:

    Sorry to triple-post, but I just thought of a question. Is it possible to be absolutely right — to be clearly on the side of objective Christian truth — and yet to present that truth in a legalistic way?

    I think the answer is probably yes. Real truth is objective, but we cannot posses the truth. We can know it, find it, tell it, but we can’t encompass it or limit it or define it. (We can know the definition of a truth, but we must no think that we defined it, or that it is true because we say it is.) To have a legalistic attitude about a truth is to try to steal that truth from God.

    I think it’s possible to make a truly accurate argument or criticism in a very legalistic manner.

    • Kirsty says:

      Absolutely. A lot of what the pharisees said was true. Even Jesus said so:

      ‘The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practise what they preach. […] ‘Everything they do is done for people to see.
      Matthew 23v2,3,5

  6. notleia says:

    Being on a website where the majority disagree with you most of the time? No idea how that feels. At all. Whatsoever.
    But I guess it’s good for us.

    • Hey, something keeps you coming back, sister, and yes it’s all good. I for one am just pragmatic enough to prefer iron-sharpening and attention-getting discussions over “good post” and “I agree 100 percent, you guys rock” reactions.

      (Per the FB page, about which I didn’t mean to sound so whiny, I had to block the discussion intentionally and head out, just for my own sanity and productivity.)

  7. Kirsty says:

    Sometimes Christian spec faith writers/readers can be legalistic – everyone should read speculative fiction (I read this argument in an otherwise good christian non fiction book); no-one should read Amish fiction or romance novels etc…

What do you think?