Today’s post will juxtapose two views of legalism that seem perfectly opposed, but which I think both make good points.

First, for the “legalism is a real problem in the church today” side, Bruce Blakey says:

Legalism is a constant threat to Christianity. There are always those who come along to find fault and to add rules. If you are really saved, according to them, you will keep the rules that they have devised. Salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, based on the Scripture alone, focused on Christ alone is not enough for the legalist. Therefore, salvation is not for God’s glory alone because legalism puts man in the place of God. It is all about what I do or don’t do rather than all about what God has done in the person of Christ. Legalism is so enticing because our flesh, our pride, wants some of the credit. Legalism is also very intimidating because we don’t want others to question our salvation or our spirituality. Legalism is attractive because it feeds a tendency in us all towards self-righteousness.

Sadly, a lot of legalism is spread by those who call themselves Calvinists or reformed. Keeping their rules is how you prove your election. How intimidating is that? Strange that those who proclaim the wonderful doctrines of grace want to add rules to grace. Even sadder is that they look down on those who do not hold their views. Sometimes the self-righteousness is overpowering.

But now, from the “I’ve heard them cry legalism so many times” side, here is Doug Phillips quoting Matt Chancey:

I find it odd that, in an age marked by an explosion of licentious antinomianism in the Church, most pastors are preoccupied with â??legalismâ? so-called. Teenagers in the church can be fornicating with one another; wives can be leading their husbands around by the nose; or husbands can be passive and withdrawn from their responsibilities, but is this kind of open rebellion against the law of God attacked by pastors? Hardly. Theyâ??re too busy condemning the father whose daughters wear head coverings and Pilgrim dresses. â??Legalism!â? he cries, and most of his sermons denounce such â??false piety,â? while temple prostitution takes place right under his nose.

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