What are 'legalistic' Christians?

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Sky Dancer, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. Sky Dancer
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    Sky Dancer BANNED

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    I saw the term used in reference to WBC and I don't understand it. Help.
     
  2. Valerie
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    Valerie Gold Member

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    Probably in reference to the fact that he and I think a couple of his kids are lawyers who constantly push the legal envelope with what they do...?



     
  3. Valerie
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    Valerie Gold Member

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    Which has nothing to do with being Christian, BTW...So I may be wrong on the meaning of that term... :dunno:
     
  4. Marie888
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    From what I’ve learned so far, part of it.... is when people are like the “Pharisees”, who taught this and that, who bragged of themselves, thought they were “holier than thou”, pompous, hyprocritical, when in themselves, they were sinners too.

    For example, Jesus gave this parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

    He’s saying that we’re all sinners. He’s saying that these Pharisees are “false” because He knows they’ve sinned also. Yet they bragged falsely that they didn’t sin and/or gave all this glory to themselves, puffed themselves up. T

    he truth was in what the Tax Collector said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” That is why the Tax Collector was justified; he knew that God is God, he called Him by name, and asked Him to have mercy on him, a sinner.

    It goes with other verses that our righteousness does not come of “ourselves” as we’ve all sinned. It comes through Jesus Christ, He alone is our righteousness.

    I’ll share more personal…. I’ve done wrong and at times been “legalistic”. I’ve been prideful. I’ve looked down my nose at others and didn’t even realize I was doing it. It’s SO wrong and I’m sorry every time I catch myself doing it – or rather the Lord shows me and disiplines me. None of us are better than one another. As His Word says, “all fall short”. I’m sure the Lord will show me that I’m doing it again too – which is good, I need the correction. But it’s that “flesh” nature, a “self” thing, where we want to be “right” and sometimes even fight tooth and nail, when we know we are wrong anyhow, but sometimes fight just because of that “flesh.”

    The Lord has always corrected me though and I pray He continues to. It’s humiliating as heck though, embarrassing too, LOL, and even hurts! It’s like being “pruned” – it doesn’t feel good at the time, but the end result is a lot nicer.

    For me, He shows me my sin, and even by showing me the parable in these verses helps me to understand. It is written that our “righteousness” does not come from ourselves, but through Jesus Christ alone. (Because we’ve all fallen short, we’ve all sinned)

    The moment we start thinking we’re holier than thou, get pompous, or even think we’re doing “all good”, is the moment we can started to be prideful and may even sin.

    We can be prideful simply by not “loving” others and thinking we are “better:. That just goes to show the sin and the parable. We will all fail at loving others sometimes. None of us are perfect. It’s not like we know everything in life, we are all constantly learning. The key is that through Jesus Christ we’ve got to forgive each other to move on and restore, (as He has forgiven us) which isn’t easy when we are so hurt by what the other person said or did. Which makes us lash out at others sometimes. But Jesus helps us with that.

    Forgiveness and love is the key. Realizing Jesus Christ our Lord's forgiveness and that I didn’t deserve it… and then that I myself sin or hurt others at times, so who the heck am I to NOT forgive someone else?


    VIP --- This is not say though that we define something as “not a sin.” God makes clear what is sin and isn’t. He wants to take us away from it because all sin hurts us and others. But "struggling" with a sin, admitting it, knowing we've sinned against Him and wanting to stop, turning away - that’s all part of repentance, and the Lord helps us with that, thank Him so much.

    I hope that helps, I’m sure others will add also.



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  5. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    The context I usually see it in, a "legalistic" Christian is one who actually thinks it's important to keep God's commandments. (Can't imagine where they got that idea). Usually in a way where they are doing so in a Holier than thou mindset.

    My experience that those who accuse others of legalistic are usually people who, for whatever reason, don't want to keep God's commandments and want an excuse. Though there are times when people are legitimately focused too much on rules rather than the Spirit behind the rules.

    Regardless, Keep the commandments.
     
  6. RetiredGySgt
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    RetiredGySgt Platinum Member

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    True Christians have little to do with the law or Government. Both are run by man and Christians are to follow Jesus and God.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  7. Mini 14
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    Isn't Phelps a lawyer himself? Or maybe his wife?
     
  8. RetiredGySgt
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    RetiredGySgt Platinum Member

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    In an above post, he is a disbarred lawyer.
     
  9. kwc57
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  10. emilynghiem
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    emilynghiem Constitutionalist Supporting Member

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    Dear Sky: With any set of laws, there is the letter of the law and there is the spirit of the law. People can get "legalistic" by arguing over the letter.

    EX: TECHNICALLY by the written Constitution, only certain government entities are required to follow the Bill of Rights. City Councils or Municipal Courts are not directly under the written Constitution. But in spirit, ANY person acting in capacity of government should ideally respect the Bill of Rights without having to be sued in court over an infraction before a judge orders it in writing! So there is the spirit of the law, which if followed, would automatically fulfill the letter of the law as well.

    Same is true with the Bible.
    The Old Testament establishes the letter of the law, the Ten Commandments, etc.
    The New Testament restores the spirit of the law, based on truth and love, justice with mercy instead of retribution, and charity and grace/forgiveness for all so that all corrections may be made, all debts redeemed, all wrongs made right, and peace and justice realized on earth for all humanity.

    If we haggle over the letter of the law, whether with divine laws of the church or civil laws of the state, then we become legalistic. This can be good if it is used properly for CORRECTION. But when it becomes so divisive that it defeats the purpose of bringing corrections and just start blame wars and competition instead of cooperation, that is when being legalistic becomes negative.

    It is ironic that when someone is legalistic in our favor, we welcome this.
    But tend to reject when the arguments are made against us.

    This I call "Old Testament" behavior, where we tend to excuse or justify our own beliefs or actions by the letter of the law, but then apply it to incriminate the faults of our neighbor. It is all part of the human learning curve, as we eventually learn to mutually forgive and correct our faults together as equals, not as combatants competing to make one side right and the other wrong. When we seek corrections together, that is when we fulfill both the spirit of the laws and the letter, and resolve any conflicts in the process.
     

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