What is Legalism

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Re: What is Legalism

Postby bn2bnude » Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:10 am

Bare_Truth wrote:If however you had written
I would suggest that sometimes trying to analyze things from a negative view can be a reason for not wanting to change.....
I think I would heartly agree, but you wrote "ruse" When one has a reason not to change they ought not to and they have no need of a ruse to make a false case.
Someone once wrote wrote:If it is not necessary to change, it is necessary to not change!
and I think there is some wisdom in considering that when change is being advocated proposed.

So I surmise that what you mean by "to analyze things from a negative view" is not what I would mean. For that reason I wonder if you could give a few examples to clarify what you mean, so that I could get the sense of what you are asserting.

I see it all the time where I work... Unfortunately, trying to describe the situation would not necessarily clarify things.

Maybe ruse is not an appropriate word but I don't find reason enough either. I do think the discussion and subsequent parable of "the good samaritan" is an example.

The man - someone who knows The Law comes to Jesus asking how to "get" eternal life.

The man is then asked what The Law says. He quotes "Love the Lord your God..." and is told that is true.

My read of the situation is that this man was OK loving his friends and maybe town, Loving the samaritans down the block, however, would not be something he would even think to do so he asks who his neighbor is... This is the "I'm going to use the negative approach" attempt... He knew what he would call a neighbor and thought he was safe... Jesus, however, tells the parable and blows the lid off his definition.
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Re: What is Legalism

Postby Bare_Truth » Mon Dec 28, 2015 11:42 am

bn2bnude wrote: ........ My read of the situation is that this man was OK loving his friends and maybe town, Loving the samaritans down the block, however, would not be something he would even think to do so he asks who his neighbor is...
I think we may have a good opportunity here to see the principle of "words influence thoughts."

If we start with the English word "neighbor" and look into its etymolgy we can find from: http://etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=neighbor the following etymology.
neighbor (n.)
Old English neahgebur (West Saxon), nehebur (Anglian)
"neighbor," from neah "near" (see nigh) + gebur "dweller," ....
So then a neighbor is someone who dwells near us.

Well so much for the English word used in the translation but what was the word in the Greek?

Resorting to Strong's concordance:
The word is number 4139 which is explained in Strongs concordance as:
4139 plesion play-see'-on
neuter of a derivative of pelas (near);
(adverbially) close by;
as noun, a neighbor, i.e. fellow (as man, countryman, Christian or friend):
--near, neighbour.

So apparantly the English and Greek are close in meaning and root origin.

Since the passage identifies the man questioning Jesus as a lawyer it is not surprising that he questions the meaning of a particular word. The context, in particular the good Samaritan parable answer of Jesus, lends credibility to the Clark and Jamieson Fausset and Brown commentaries assertions that the Jews did not extend the concept of neighbor to non-Jews.

I am a supporter of the idea that, Biblically, the concept of "Love" in the Bible is not about ones feelings for another but rather about ones actions toward another. There is of course the psychologists' observation that "feelings follow actions" and certainly the actions of the Samaritan toward the victim of the thieves would qualify as Love of his fellow man.

I have heard it said in sermons, you do not have to like your neighbor in order to love him. And that comports very well with Jesus own words.
Mat. 5: 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
I never met anyone that I could not learn something from.
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Re: What is Legalism

Postby Petros » Mon Dec 28, 2015 11:50 am

If we had to like everyone we love - oy.
The truth, the stark naked truth, the truth without so much as a loincloth on, should surely be the investigator's sole aim - Basil Chamberlain
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Re: What is Legalism

Postby nakedpreacher » Mon Dec 28, 2015 7:21 pm

Bonhoeffer says in The Cost of Discipleship that the lawyer is trying to evade his responsibility. "Who is my neighbor, does such a question admit any real answer" ... Jesus is saying "stop your questions and get on with the business of Loving those around you.(I couldn't remember the exact wording of the second part but it is words to that effect.) As soon as you define neighbor you define a whole group of people who are outside of that exact definition which by logical extension you are not bound to love. Jesus throws the whole argument of who is my neighbor out and simply says love all of those whom you come into contact with.
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If, when we judged others, our real motive was to destroy evil; we should look for evil where it is certain to be found, and that is in our own hearts. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
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Re: What is Legalism

Postby jochanaan » Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:22 pm

nakedpreacher, it seems your mother-in-law is being very precise and non-judgmental and loving in her assertion that, for her, drinking alcohol is wrong even though it isn't for you. Bless her! Many mothers-in-law and others are not so charitable.

There are Christians who are so adamant in their assertions that if you do not agree with every point they make, you are "as bad as them;" 'them' being abortionists or homosexuals or whatever other hot-button issues are troubling the churches. Example: A while ago at a church I was attending here in Denver, the pastor prayed that the new legalization of recreational and medical marijuana might soon be reversed. I said nothing, but I could not join that prayer. As I have said, many of my musical colleagues do cannabis, and aside from the bad effects of inhaling smoke, it seems to affect them no more than a glass of wine does me. Some of them admit to having done more potent hallucinogens such as LSD or peyote. Yet I get the sense that many of my brothers and sisters in Christ would be horrified if I were to tell them I played in a band whose members indulged in cannabis.

That, to my mind, is legalism: the demand that we believe and behave a certain way even when God and our experience tell us that we cannot.
You can live your life in fear--or you can live your life.
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Re: What is Legalism

Postby nakedpreacher » Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:38 pm

I would agree that that qualifies as legalism, and I would not be able to join in your pastor's prayer either. I think that as someone has mentioned (I don't remember who) the charge of legalism is easy for the freeman (or the libertine for that matter) to use as a club with which to bludgeon a weaker brother who doesn't accept our freedom. I have realized that I have done this myself in the past and it is a temptation even now. While I may identify legalism, I think for me it is wrong to identify the legalist lest I fall into the trap of my own kind legalism (If you are not free, you aren't a good Christian). It is kind of like the trap of humility. The humble man need be careful lest he take pride in his humility. It sounds funny, except to the truly humble man. All of the disclaimers in my second post are because this is somewhat self-revelatory in my life.
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If, when we judged others, our real motive was to destroy evil; we should look for evil where it is certain to be found, and that is in our own hearts. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
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Re: What is Legalism

Postby MoNatureMan » Wed Dec 30, 2015 11:25 am

Legalism.
As in reference to the church (or what claims to be)
The taking of God's word and adding to or changing for the purpose of;
1. Promoting personal or societal views and lifestyle upon others. We see this in the attack against casual social nudity. This view was developed by society and incorporated into the church. But has no real Scriptural basis.
2. Expanding a 'Thou shalt not', to help stop others from even getting close to the 'Thou shalt not'. This was clearly seen in the Shaker denomination. Men and women were not allowed to touch each other and marriage was forbidden. All to prevent lust. Men and women lived in different locations and in some cases had separate staircases.
3. Being Biblical. Taking a proper Biblical prospective and carrying it too far. Giving to advance the Gosple by missions is great, but if we MUST give it becomes...
4. Salvation by works. Scripture says our righteousness is as filthy rags. But many still seek to get to heaven by what they have done, which becomes self righteous legalism.

End of my quick, over simplified view.
Ron :cross:
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Re: What is Legalism

Postby vycna » Thu Jan 07, 2016 6:27 pm

Rather than say how others around us live, even among the more obvious believers, is showing us how to live, why not think of God's perfect will, as it is in heaven, to be in our lives in this world. If God's will is going to be anywhere in this world, where sin already abounds, should it not start among us in whom it will? Such godliness would have correspondence to fruits of the Spirit, and not going contrary to what God has said, there is no great reason to have any limit to those things, with God working through those of us as believers who do this, through being in Christ, to grow being enabled more and more.
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Re: What is Legalism

Postby natman » Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:32 pm

I am catching up on some old posts as I have been EXTREMELY busy since November.

From a Christian perspective, I tend to look at "legalism" from the perspective of Jesus' encounter with the Pharisees.

One of the things that Jesus accused the scribes and Pharisees of was presenting an outward appearance of being utterly obedient to the Law and demanding that everyone else rise to that level of obedience, while at the same time, either covertly breaking the Law entirely or missing the main point of the Law.

Matt 23:13-37 wrote:13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22 And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!

33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”


See also Luke 11:37-52.

However, in an APPARENT contrast, Jesus also said in Matthew 5:20...
Matt 5:20 wrote:For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.


The truth of the matter is that there is no way that our righteousness will EVER surpass that of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law (scribes). What Jesus is alluding to is that we must trust in HIS righteousness and HIS righteousness alone.

That is not to say that we do not try our best to obey the Law. It is to acknowledge that our attempt at obedience is in RESPONSE to God's love for us and His sending His own Son to die on Cross for our sins, past, present and future, rather than an attempt to insure our salvation on our own.

In that light, "Legalism" is an attempt to tell others to "Do as I say and as I do on the outside, not as I do in private.". It is the pointing of a finger at someone else, not acknowledging that there are three other fingers pointing back at you.
SON-cerely,
Nathan Powers

Get exposed to the sun, and get exposed to the Son.
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Re: What is Legalism

Postby nakedpreacher » Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:40 pm

Back to the sermon on the mount the log and the mote in the eye. I think what Jesus is saying there is the unwillingness to consider our own sin when viewing others. Not the size of the sin, but rather the fact that we ignore it while passing judgment upon others. The truth is that we all have logs in our eyes when compared to Jesus who had not even a mote in his.
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