Legalism vs. Liberalism

Liberalism vs Legalism Part 8

I am a legalist-I make no apology for it, even though theological sociologist call me a Pharisee, I believe that Jesus said: “this you should have done and not to have left the others undone.” The precision which originated the Bible should be treated with reverential fear. It was the Almighty sovereign God who gave it! Matthew 23:23 Christ quarrel with the Pharisees was because of their hypocrisy of God’s rules being bound on all but self and eviscerating the heart-the spirit-of the law in order to circumvent God’s intent and giving their ideas, validity. The Pharisees corollary evil was in presuming to be God, by binding rank opinions, not implications of Scripture, as law and gospel , more strongly than, the spiritual revelations. Their error was not in being doctrinally pure but in evading the law and so trying to mock God, the author of it!
When it comes to the word of God I am narrow-minded. It seems to me that I recall Jesus use of the word narrow in Matthew 7:14, when He said: “strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it.” I don’t know how you can be so open-minded or broad-minded and travel on a narrow path!! That seems to me like an oxymoron.
I am against libertines when they embellish or diminish God’s word. The taking of indecent liberties with the revealed will of the Almighty is sin!! I am militant about it! I believe it has to be according to a book, chapter, and verse- written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit or nothing at all! “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” nor is it baggage too heavy for me to carry. I have defended it in many instances and seek every opportunity that is available to me to do the same again. I pride myself in being eager to defend the gospel of Christ and bristle when those Christian brothers and sisters who should be the greatest helpers getting me to heaven throw up a caution flag for me to stop, that tell me I should use good sense and caution, consider other’s feelings, and try to drag me into the “grace-only gutter” with them! I am not interested in traditional barnyard philosophies dressed up in Sunday- go- to meeting easter egg hunts, or birthday celebrations of Christ!!
I am disturbed with all my liberal brethren can forgive everybody they disagree with on every error they face when dealing with those doctrinal liberals, can fellowship with every false denominational preacher in town, and participate in any feel-good religious exercise-but cannot fellowship me! I’m the one that is supposed to be unforgiving, unloving, unaware of God’s grace, and mean-spirited. It seems to me if they can forgive the failings of all others besides me, why do their tender hearts judge none but me? 2 Corinthians 5:11 If I know my heart, I’m more willing to extend what mercy and forgiveness is mine to extend, if only a man will repent and purpose to follow the gospel of Christ, and it alone. After all, it is upon the grace and mercy of heaven that I rest my eternal hopes! Ephesians 2:8; 4:31.
I am a legalist-I do not try to blur the line between rule-making and rule-keeping. I do not try to pray on an unsuspecting audience to teach them something that I know the word of God does not instruct them to obey. I feel it is my responsibility at any at all times to “speak where the Bible speaks,” quote what the Holy Spirit has had written, and live by the standards set by my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! I have no reason to follow a professor in a college, a desire to be well known, or keep my easy well-paying job just to make my situation in this life, comfortable!
I am a legalist-I do not allow the rapture, premillennialism, tongue speaking, nor the 1,000 year reign to go ignored. This is error!! I believe the Holy Spirit was right when He wrote through the apostle John: “if you bid them Godspeed, you are partakers of their evil deeds!

Legalism vs Liberalism Part 7

Within the ranks of the Lord’s church, there are those who advocate that there is a definite distinction that is to be made between “gospel” and “doctrine.” It is contended that one preaches “gospel” to the unsaved and teaches “doctrine” to the saved and that this is irreversible, that is, you cannot preach the “gospel” to the saved, nor can one teach “doctrine” to the unsaved.
This theory is readily seen to be false and the ultimate consequences of it devastating when we study the Scriptures. According to the Scriptures, it is the gospel that was being preached to the Christian in Galatia! As far as can understand, the Galatians were “already” saved!! Was Paul expressing deep concern to these brethren, Galatians 1:6-9, about those who would preach the gospel, and not doctrine, than those with whom we have to deal in the arena of the mind to cause them “to be grounded in the most holy faith”? If he or she has been properly called by the gospel, he is to be often reminded about what “saved them”!! What was Paul doing preaching the gospel over and over again to the saved and not doctrine?? Issues like the use of instrumental music in our worship to God, premillennialism, tongues speaking and other teachings MUST BER exposed over and over again. The liberal might consider them matters of opinion, but these false doctrines/gospels undermine the verity of the Word of God! Those who accept these false theories with open arms have committed egregious error. So, our concern over this is well-founded and it is an issue to which we must turn our attention. I had an old preacher warn me in my youth that the church is “won or lost every Lord’s Day” and has to be reminded as to just what it IS!!
Truly, if one is a faithful Christian, he is to be accepted in full fellowship, even though we might differ with others on various matters of opinion. The problem is those who call things matters of opinion have their opinion being preached and not the doctrine of Christ! We never intend to make personal these issues, but matters of opinions are not substitutes for doctrinal discussions. That is, we must assigned ourselves to the task of showing what that the Bible describes as “righteousness” and not some influential brothers pet notion.
If is contended that we preach too much on the basic principles of salvation AFTER one has obeyed the gospel call and that there is a rigid distinction made between these two concepts what did Paul mean in Romans 16:25? Paul penned these words: “now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the ministry, which is kept secret since the world began.” Let’s ask some questions! Who was to be established? The Roman Christians. By what were they to be established? According to the gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ. When one preaches the gospel, he is not only preaching to the unsaved but the saved! Is it possible that the Holy Spirit did not know that there was a distinction?
If we do contend that the word gospel is used in a sense only to be taught alien sinners and doctrine is used only in the sense to be taught children of God then a new day has dawned in our understanding of the Scriptures. It was the same apostle Paul who wrote to the Church of Christ and Rome, Romans 1:16- “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God and the salvation to everyone that believers to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there in is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith.” May I ask what the righteousness of God might be? Whatever you may believe that it is, it was what Paul wanted to preach to the Church of Christ at Rome. In Acts 15:7: “And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up… the Gentiles by my mouth heard the word of the gospel, and believed.” Somebody is confused and it is not Peter!! The concepts are interchangeable!

Legalism vs Liberalism Part 6

The importance of right-thinking is talked about in the Bible. Study together the following passages:
“as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”he honors me with his lips; but his heart is not with Me.” Proverbs 23:7. It has been said that “we may not be everything we think we are; but what we think, we are!” A wise man once said; “a man is what he thinks about all day long.” It is often been heard in the same fashion when men say: “you are what you eat.” The Bible says, “you are what you think.”
“A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” Matthew 12:35 The word heart, in this passage, means mind. The good man is able to bring forth good things because he has a good treasure, that is a right-thinking mind. The evil man brings forth evil things because he has an evil treasure, that is a wrong thinking mind. All our actions have as their origin, the thoughts of our mind. If we think right, we do right: if we think wrong we do wrong.
Paul writes:” let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that he may know how you ought to answer each one.” Colossians 4:6 Through the years we’ve heard many fine messages concerning the purity of speech, morally and doctrinally. There was a time, it seems, when brethren had far more concern with their manner of speech: concerned that there be no uncertain sound given in their messages—then we find today. In our time, a man can think the most foolish, divisive and unscriptural statements, greatly damaging to the truth, and of the kingdom, and if someone dares speak against him, there is a great rush to defend the person whom they think is “picked on.” Sound men are called mean, vicious and judgmental in daring to rebuke such dangerous speech. The question is never asked from whence or by what authority did their message emanate?
Often times, we are hearing and reading pure sectarianism from our pulpits and in our papers. Some of our preachers and teachers are not sound enough in the faith to study from those who were members of the body of Christ before them. They run great links to read from sectarian volumes, from men who never found out enough about Christ to become a Christian or a child of God, and are yet quoted as authority. There is no question that there is wisdom in men who are not Christians but in following the sacred book it would seem wise and sound to at least have the record of a man’s obedience to the gospel if you put such trust in his exegesis of a verse of Scripture!! We need to pour over the Divine Volume to find out what God said on a given subject, and less concerned about what Doctor ? has taught or said. May we be anxious to fill our sermons with citations from the Bible, and be content with biblical language instead of bending over backward to try to quote someone who is not even a member of the body of Christ. We need to speak simply New Testament lingo, as Paul wrote Titus: “sound speech, that cannot be condemned.” Titus 2:8 Those who try to be novel and shocking to the brethren, need to labor to see how true they can be to the Bible, and how scriptural they can be in the use of terminology and expression.
Sympathy will not replace truth. If a man enters the pulpit and uses language, teaches doctrine that is not found in the Scriptures the word of God, he needs far more than sympathy, he needs loving instruction. Sympathy for these brethren will not help them. They entered the pulpit intending to say what they said, and there is no excuse for coming forth with uncertain sounds. The idea of allowing people to do wrong because you feel sorry for them is not a tenant of New Testament doctrine but a present context of liberalism that denies the truth of the word of God!

Legalism vs Liberalism Part 5

On Sunday mornings, the liberal preacher preaches to the audience made up of some of the biggest sinners in town, and never thinks that it is his job to help these people save their souls. He does not care, for these are the ones who wield the greatest influence in town. Instead of taking a stand for the truth, when it would cost him his nice new parsonage, gas allowance, and six weeks paid vacation; these brethren “play straddle the fence” while the church is polluted and corrupted. When the Devil moves in, the church blows up, and God’s people finally get their eyes opened and move out! The picture of the popular church is seen when the Devil is seen laughing on one side of the fence as he steals God’s sheep and the Lord stands on the other side saying, “cry aloud and spare not.” This preacher looks to his community popularity as he is labeled man of the year or “easy to get along-with.” The Chamber of Commerce praises him for his freedom from bigotry and his broad views. He speaks learnedly and dabbles and babbles in antithetical fields and on occasion, when no dissenters are present, he touches lightly upon some phrase of the gospel. He never mentions Hell. Doctrines against damnation that Jesus preached is out of date and too old- fashion for him. He denies God His justice and wrath as he speaks on God’s mercy, grace and love… And the people love it!! Every service, when the invitation is extended (if it is), nobody ever expects someone to come forward to repent. He lays awake at night trying to figure out how to label differences between right and wrong as “non-essential distinctions” and of “no vital importance.” Unfortunately, sinners confess Christ without having repented, they are baptized in water in a form of mockery and naturally are born dead. New Testament Christianity is of no concern. The worshipper is never introduced to the love that Christ had for His church!
When they advise young preachers, they’d tell them to preach carefully because they don’t want to hurt their position or standing with the eldership, who must a weak on “the issues.” The apostle Jude’s warning to “earnestly contend for the faith” is seen as something that fits another time and another era. Unlike the apostle Jude, some of our brethren are not really sure what that faith is-they’re still trying to make up their minds. A definition of the gospel of Christ to them, is preaching to avoid hurting the feelings of the elders wife’s parents who are not members of the body of Christ, unfortunately, they will not learn it here. If we all went to a doctor concerning health and we ran into a doctor with the same direction in mind, how long do you think we could live under his care? Yet, some of our brothers and sisters seem determined to try to face all odds, fight all obstacles, and attempt to be a savior in a congregation that hasn’t been composed of the saved for a long time, now! He’s like a man with water in the boat, staying in the water, never jumping to safety, he stays in the boat with a teacup emptying the water as fast as he can, thinking that he can save the boat, himself, and his family that attend there! All of us know the end result of the guy in that boat but it’s a shame there’s one person who doesn’t know the outcome and that is the Christians sitting in the pew with all that danger surrounding them, yet is not told in advance the preacher’s intent, without his approval.
Poison can be administered that condemns the soul in many ways. One of the surest ways to leave man condemned is to poison God’s Holy Book. Obviously, a translation that sounds foreign and different and has not had much research done to establish its credibility, is key. How gullible people are when the version of the Bible, or a perversion, is used instead of one that is exacting and demanding? To wrest the Scriptures, to twist, to torture or to turn the minds of the student comes without effort. Never fear my friend, the modern translations are used for a reason and it is up to you and I to love God enough to demand His word or absent ourselves from that assembly!!

Legalism vs Liberalism Part 4

Simple obedience to what God requires of us-and presenting God’s requirements as law-is not legalism!! There are those who present what they call the love of God as opposition to the commandments of God, thinking God contradicts Himself being overwhelmed by His heart of love-allowing people to do as they desire, instead of as He commands. There are some who suppose it legalism who respect the law of the new covenant, insisting upon obedience to the requirements of God. The New Testament makes it clear that submission to the commandments of God IS the condition of eternal salvation! What seems to bug the dissenter most is the detail. We, who follow the law of God in exactness, demand it!! The divine oracles were never divided into important details and unimportant details. True, there are commandments in the New Testament that do not relate to us, the context would decide that, but who among uninspired men, can decide which command is important or unimportant?
David declared: “all Thy commandments are righteousness.” Psalms 119: 172 It is open rebellion to God question anything He had written! Talk of minor matters of the gospel of Christ being insignificant is atheism!! Complaining because someone, in the judgment of the complainer, is hung up over the details of the Scriptures is opposed to covenant we swore to when we confessed Christ!! Jesus said: “woe to you, scribes and Pharisees; hypocrites! For ye tithe mint and anise and cummin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy. Do not follow after their work for they say and do not.” Matthew 23:1-3. The Pharisees were legalist, not because they were careful to keep the law of God, even the details about law, but because they added to the law. Hear Jesus: “ye have made void the word of God because of your tradition. You hypocrites, well spoke Isaiah the prophet of you, saying: “this people honor Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men.” Matthew 15:6-9
We “speak where the Bible speaks’” we say, but sometimes “when the Bible is silent,” we speak anyway. We had surely better be careful not to add to that which is written, or take away from that which God has spoken. The apostle John, by inspiration wrote: “whosoever goes onward and abides not in the gospel of Christ, hath not God: he did abides in the teaching, the same hath both the Father and the Son. II John 9.
Some today are more worried about collecting a paycheck and not nearly as worried about checking in to heaven at peace with God! They define the love of God as compromise and never think of it, as discipline. They’re more interested in making sure that they word their teaching and preaching so exact that no listeners feelings will be hurt, but never worry about hurting God’s feelings! I have never been to a doctor’s office, been given a shot, where whether or not there would be pain, stopped the medicine from being given! It is the doctor’s duty to administer, according to his oath, the right medicine to heal and cure. There is no difference in that and preaching the gospel, if the gospel preacher spends all his time concerned about hurting somebody’s feelings he may start considering to spend a little time not hurting God’s feelings by rejecting God’s word! To cry foul, foul or legalism, legalism as a means of not carrying out the commission of Jesus Christ as he commanded, will never be accepted by God! That was the feature movie in Hell. Who could ever think themselves so important as to think they could make God change His word, just to satisfy them?

Legalism vs Liberalism Part 3

The church has been castigated and the disciples of Jesus accused of not fulfilling their mission for failure to use the power and energy of the kingdom of God in an attempt to correct what someone imagines as a social injustice! The profane proposal was actually made that the church for which Jesus died be prostituted to concern herself over social issues. All attempts to turn the church from her divine mission and involve her in political matters reveals the Sadducean mentality.
We’ve been told that it is a matter of Christian duty, even Sadducees can talk of duty when they are promoting items of social and political concerns, for us to become Christian law-breakers. They have discussed in our hearing those things which will is called “the morality of civil disobedience”, and have undertaken to prove that Jesus and the apostles were nothing more than a social action group mainly concerned with leading demonstrations designed to disrupt the flow of traffic in downtown Jerusalem, this they think would force the attention of the city fathers to the need of programs of things like urban renewal or raise the wages of the date pickers. One would gather the impression from reading the writings of such men that Jesus was crucified for trying to organize a labor union!
We’re all interested, no doubt, in improving society and strengthening our economic order; we are anxious, too, to get a better balance of justice throughout the world; we’re solicitous for the physical welfare of all men and filled with compassion for the hungry of the earth. The Lord Jesus Christ did not die upon the cross of Calvary in order to inaugurate a head start program! The Son of God came “to seek and save the lost,” Luke 19:10, “to give His life a ransom for many,” Matthew 20:28, and He has taught us “to work not for the food which perishes, but for the food which abideth unto eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you.” John 6:27 If it is a matter of emphasis, then let Jesus be the one who emphasizes. Christ requires us “to go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelievers shall be condemned.” Mark 16:15, 16 Salvation is man’s greatest need, and it is so that Jesus pointed all the energy and power of His church in that direction. We must not permit the sacred body of the Lord to be delivered from this divine mission regardless of how worthy some other project may seem to be. We can not be blinded by the “gods of this world.”
Legalism, as reflected in Paul’s old party, continues to be a problem in the church. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithes of mint and anise, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.” Matthew 23:23 To careless readers, the passage appears to suggest that Jesus thought the Pharisees were wrong because of their concern over details and obedience to the tithing law of the Old Testament. But the Master went on to say, “these you ought to have done, and not have left the others undone.” The Son of God approved the Pharisees when they tithed such seemingly minor things, but admonished them also to be aware of their duty to follow after justice, mercy, and faith.
The Pharisees were no legalist when they demanded that people keep the ordinances, statutes, and commandments of God’s law. Jesus told his disciples to obey the Pharisees; “the scribes sit in the seat of Moses: all things therefore whatsoever they bid you, these do and observe: but do not ye after their works; for they say, and do not.” Matthew 23:1-4
The Pharisees were legalist, not because they were careful to keep the law of God, even the details of that law, but because they added to the law. Hear Jesus: “Keep My commandments.”

Legalism vs Liberalism Part 2

The liberal will demand that teaching on obedience is inert legalism and therefore diminishes the respect for God’s authority. This half–breed Sadducee is more dangerous to the truth than might be considered. He appears to be sound in the faith but, in fact, undermines the very foundation upon which the gospel rest!
Everywhere in Holy Writ, we are commanded to be concerned about divine law, and always careful to render to sacred injunctions against intermittent obedience. The Sadducee-like teacher tries to get around any simple requirements of God’s law he does not care for. This tell us that the apostle Paul preached faith, yet denied the principles of the Bible. This is inexcusable ignorance to teach the New Testament with it’s decrees and documents deny that there is a law! The apostle Paul writes under the direction of the Holy Spirit these words; “for I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” Romans 7:22 Again, he writes “to them that are without law, as without law not being without law to God, but under law to Christ, that I might gain them that are without law.” 1 Corinthians 9:21 Again, Paul writes “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 Again, “behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; for this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds and on their hearts also will I write them…” Hebrews 8:8, 10. “He that look into the perfect law of liberty…“ James 1:25, and “if you will fulfill the royal law,” James 2:8 and in verse 12 writes; “so speak ye, and so do, as men that are to be judged by a law of liberty.” It should be impossible for James 2:12 to be ridden out of God’s word: “law and grace cannot exist together.” How could one so judge “the law of liberty!”
You will find that the contemporary Sadducee, like his brother of the 1st century, is interested mainly in right here and right now; they have but little real concern about the future world. They ignore Paul’s admonition,” if then ye were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth. For you died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also be with him manifested in glory.” Colossians 3:1 – 2 These modern day elitist are more concerned about social issues and rghting community wrongs than they are about heaven and eternal rewards! They are continually urging us to be involved in such things as mass transportation; feeding the physical body; communication; electricity production; pollution of the atmosphere; hygiene; garbage disposal; the brutal police state; crooked governmental financial officers; and if the ice is melting too fast in the Arctic! They think the method of preaching the gospel is through a man’s stomach, whether he wears the right clothes, and forever for rid yourself of committing the unpardonable sin, which is hurting their feelings about doctrine!!
The church has been castigated about ethnic division more than fulfilling the mission given us by Jesus Christ to use our power, energy, and influence to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God as a means to correct social injustice. All attempts to turn the church from her divine mission and involve her in political matters reveals a Sadducaic mentality. We have been told that it is a Christian duty for us to become Christian lawbreakers. We are to be more interested in leading demonstrations designed to disrupt the flow of traffic in downtown Jerusalem, and thereby forced to the attention of the city fathers to institute a program of urban renewal and raise wages than preach the gospel of Jesus Christ!! One would almost get the idea that Jesus was crucified to rectify social injustice then save the church!!

Legalism vs Liberalism

We hear a lot about legalism and we have discussed a whole lot about liberalism. Legalism is a disposition to make laws; liberalism is a disposition to disregard law. The former seeks to bind where God has not bound, and the latter would reduce what God has bound. The both extremes are wrong. The problems of legalism and liberalism confronting the church today are not new, but HAVE EXISTED in all the history of THE Churches of Christ.
The Sadducees of Jesus day were religious liberals and perhaps best known for saying “there is no resurrection neither angel, nor spirit.” Acts 23:8 However, we also know that they insisted upon being free of the judgment of the Mosaic Law. They were determined not to be restricted by legal regulations of any kind. Hence, they repudiated all refining deductions from the law, and appeal simply to the letter thereof, which was easier to circumvent. Jesus had no word of commendation for the Sadducees, only profound reverse warnings, “take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees…. Then understood they that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” Matthew 16:6,12
Some teachers of today are altogether in the party of modern Sadducees in denying the virgin birth, vicarious death, victorious resurrection, venerable ascension; denying also a coming judgment and a future reward, and affirming a this world only doctrine. Such teachers have to have no respect for what is written in the law of God, unless it happens to serve their supervised purpose. Other teachers are liberals with reference to some things only being true to the word in other matters. Some teacher, for instance, might stoutly affirm his faith in the resurrection of Jesus and yet seek to relax the law of God in other areas, labeling teaching on obedience that which would hurt legalism, diminishing respect for God’s authority—and all authority! Such a person is part Sadducean. These half-breed Sadducees is the more dangerous of the two. He appears to be sound in the face, but, in fact, undermines the very foundation upon which the gospel rest.
Everywhere in holy writ we are commanded to be concerned about divine law, and always careful to render to sacred injunctions on obedience. In the sermon on the Mount, where Jesus laid down the foundation principles for His coming kingdom, the master unequivocably declared that obedience to the gospel is the condition of acceptance with God. “Not everyone that saith unto Me Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that will do the will of My Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21 Both Testaments emphasized absolute necessity of complete obedience; as the apostle Paul by inspiration wrote, “he became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey, Him.” Hebrews 5:8.
The S and is what you Sadducean like teachers among us today attempt to get around the plain and simple requirements of God’s law. A few of these modern Sadducees have gone so far as to say there is no law for the disciples of the Lord. “Christ died to free man from the bondage of the law principle,” they write. Then they set verses which teach that Jesus died to free men from the Mosaic law, as such verses to you prove their position. When he refuses to see that he who takes his position changes from one law to another law; the termination of the first law does not mean the law principle ended! The apostle Paul by inspiration writes; “for the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus made us free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2 The apostle refers to the law of Christ which makes us free from the law of Moses. A Sadducee of our time, being unmindful of Paul’s statement, must then declare that Paul preached that faith is to deny that that was advocated by law. Such a statement is an absolute foolishness!!