Legalism vs. Liberalism

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!!