Friday, November 4, 2011


I am starting to think "legalism" is becoming as bad as "sexism" or "racism." It seems to be an all purpose and meaningless insult by anyone who doesn't like moral standards. In theory opposing legalism shouldn't be antinomianism-the belief Christians have no moral obligations.

But after some reading I see I misunderstood it's meaning somewhat; "Legalism is alleged against any view that obedience to law, not faith in God's grace, is the pre-eminent principle of redemption." I always thought of legalism as forgetting the spirit and purpose of the law. Also often one thinks of legalism as tolerance of immorality on the grounds of convoluted argument. The fault of the Pharisees was not that they made rule rules to keep themselves holy, but that they made rules to excuse their unholiness, as John Owen (1616–1683) said; "These two principles, their own reputation and that of their sect, constituted the life and soul of Pharisaism of old."

In a perverse way this modern-day anti-"legalism" is becoming a form legalism in which people use to create convoluted arguments to justify their own selfishness. It seems many use such argument to get around the fifth commandment and it often does pave the way for antinomianism. I don't recall any place in the bible where it states eating nothing about eating nothing but candy and staying up till 1:00 a.m. are banned, but parents don't let their young children do such, is that "legalism" too? A rebellious daughter may accuse her parents of "legalism" if they require her to dress in a modest or traditional manner. This poisonous anti-"legalism" destroys tradition and morality.

On the other a child can be rebellious in legalistic way, following the letter of what his parents tell him, while doing things which they should know is wrong. This is a complex topic.

"Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee."-Deuteronomy 5:16

"Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set."-Proverbs 22:28

"Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes -- our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth: tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death."-G. K. Chesterton


  1. I am disgusted and appalled what is going on today in the hearts and minds of men (and women). I am incredibly thankful that I have to be accountable for only me when it counts.


  2. By the way, this is a new blog I started a little while ago:

  3. All too true, it is very easy to get disgusted and appalled these days. I am afraid I only scratched the surface of this whole topic, it can get very muddy rather quickly. You might enjoy looking over the older posts on this blog.