How Legalism Stunts Our Spiritual Growth

When I was young I read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. It took place during the Jewish holocaust in Europe, and the Ten Boom family (who were Christians) protected Jews from the Germans by building a secret compartment in their home where Jews could hide when Germans came around.

I was so glad I was not in that situation because, though I felt sorry for the Jews, I might easily have betrayed them. I imagined a scenario where my family provided such a hiding place for Jews. One day the Germans come and ask me the question: “Are any Jews in this house?” There was only one answer I could give, “They are behind that false wall.”

Why on earth would I tell them that!? I would do it because of legalism; it is wrong to lie, and I would not tell a lie under any circumstances. If I did, I would be rebelling against God’s laws and might even be punished in hell for it.

And innocent Jews would die…because my ultimate commitment to an arbitrary religious rule was more important than empathy and compassion for people.

stunted spiritual development

Legalism is a Stunted Way to Live

I was a legalist; my entire religious circle was legalistic. I was also immature and did not know the difference between a non-negotiable religious rule and an ethical principle. When I say I was immature, I don’t mean I was a child—I was not. But because of legalism my ethical and spiritual growth was stunted; I was a spiritual child. I thought following God meant keeping all his many, many rules found throughout the Bible.

Whenever I faced a situation, I tried to remember what the Bible said I should do. If I failed, I would be in trouble with God because he was very serious about his religious rules. The church people all said so—particularly the preachers; it was their job to preach against sin (breaking God’s rules) and to judge those who sinned. Keeping God’s rules was all that mattered.

My spiritual growth was stunted, as was the spiritual growth of the other legalists—including the preachers. Because of legalism, we could not comprehend and live according to Jesus’ teaching to love people.

Jesus’ Principle of Loving People

Jesus was not a legalist, but I really didn’t notice this at that time even though I read the Bible constantly. He didn’t keep the Sabbath laws as religious leaders thought he should; he even said that man was not made for the sabbath but that the sabbath was made for man (blasphemy!). Jesus was not careful about protecting himself against unclean people; in fact he spent a lot of time eating and talking with them and even TOUCHING THEM.

This was not because Jesus was careless; it was because he lived according to something more substantial than religious rules. He loved people. He had empathy and compassion. He cared deeply for them and brought peace, reconciliation, and healing to their lives. One cannot love a list of religious rules, and they certainly will not love you back. And religious rules do not create peace, reconciliation, and healing; rather they create burdens and judgmentalism.

Jesus summed up his way of loving people when he said: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Then he added that this was really the key to what right behavior is all about.

He also shared his thoughts about religious laws in the sermon on the mountain and declared religious laws inadequate. One can keep the letter of religious laws in the Bible and, at the same time, ignore the intent of it. Let’s look at some of the things Jesus said in Matthew 5.

  • ‘Do Not Murder’ is inadequate. Though you might not murder someone, you still hurt them with your anger and insults. The point is to love people with their best interest in mind.
  • ‘Don’t Commit Adultery’ is inadequate. Though you do not touch another woman, you still hurt your wife if you give your thoughts and focus to another.
  • ‘Give a Certificate of Divorce to Your Wife’ is inadequate. Though you are honest and legal about no longer wanting her as your wife, by abandoning her you have put her in an almost impossible situation. Wives are (in those days) dependent on their husbands, and without your provision your former wife has little chance of living successfully. You have hurt her by bringing untold difficulty to her life.

Religious laws are not the arbitrary demands of God; they are meant to help people. If we understand that the point of all laws is to love people and treat them well, then Jesus’ principle of loving people is ALL the ethical guidance we need. There is no need for religious rules; in fact they often get in the way of loving people.

The Great Burden and Damage of Legalism

For many believers, legalism seems easier than loving people; but not only does legalism stunt our spiritual growth—it is a terrible burden as well. There are so many rules to learn, and even so they don’t cover every situation we face. Without mature discretion we need even more specific rules to guide us. Sometimes we try to cover the gaps with a couple of general rules:

  • Do not offend others with your behavior (lets all live at the lowest legalistic level)
  • Avoid the very appearance of evil (just in case)

Rather than helping us to love people, religious rules get in the way of loving people. When we focus on the rule, we are not focusing on the person. Instead of seeing how we can relate to the person, we often judge and chastise them for failing to observe the religious rules, and this does not lead to peace, reconciliation, and joy.

Legalism does not serve legalists either. When one becomes a good legalist they often develop one of the most terrible spiritual traits—self-righteousness. If I can end each day by checking off the checklist of 100 or 500 religious rules that I did not break that day, then I can feel pretty good about myself. Thank God I am not like that sinner over there!

This does not help us in loving people and sharing with them the Good News of Jesus. As we mature as followers of Jesus, we should abandon religious rules and simply live a life of loving people; that is all we need to do. Otherwise our spiritual growth is severely stunted; and though we have been believers for 40 years we are spiritually immature children.

The Final Post of the Series

In this series, we have discussed a number of misguided and very harmful beliefs that many Christians believe and teach. How should we respond to those leaders and teachers who hurt so many people by promoting these harmful beliefs? I suggest that we respond in love; we will talk about that next time in the final post of this series.

In this series:

6 Religious Beliefs that Cause Tremendous Harm
The #1 Most Harmful Belief Among Christians—Angry God
4 Ways that Believing God is Angry and Harsh Hurts People
The #2 Most Harmful Religious Belief—the Inerrant Bible
A More Realistic Alternative to Inerrancy of the Bible
4 Huge Ways Believing the Bible Inerrant is Tremendously Harmful
How Legalism Stunts Our Spiritual Growth (Today’s Post)
How Should We Respond to Those who Teach Harmful Beliefs?

Six religious baggage issues

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44 Responses to How Legalism Stunts Our Spiritual Growth

  1. michaeleeast says:

    For as long as I can remember the Church has taught that God is essentially a rule maker. And we were expected to obey these rules or else suffer in hell.
    It is so refreshing to find someone who is prepared to say that Jesus did not teach this.
    Jesus taught us to love and it is love that is our salvation.

    Like

  2. sheila0405 says:

    Tim, do you believe Jesus is divine?

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Sheila, I am not sure I understand your question because I think the word ‘divine’ is understood in so many different ways. But let me just say what I believe about Jesus and you can ask for clarification if I miss your question.

      I believe there are two options regarding Jesus, his origins, and his relationship to the Father. Either he was pre-existent with God before he came to earth in a bodily form, or he was a human with whom God shared a very special relationship–a unique relationship not represented by any other human. In either case, I would call Jesus THE unique son of God.

      The New Testament writers representing the understandings of Jesus’ earliest followers use both ‘pre-existent’ language and ‘exaltation’ language, so I am not certain which is the case. However, I do believe that Jesus, the son of God, is the unique person who knows God, represents God, shares with us the will of God, was resurrected, and who guarantees our eternal life. No one else holds a similar relationship with God.

      Does this help? Is this what you are asking? What are your thoughts on the question.

      Like

      • Chas says:

        Tim, I wonder to what extent the New Testament is founded on memories of Jesus, and how much is an expression of their understanding based on the behavior of believers in Jesus that they observed going on around them (plus glaring attempts to weave a story around the Old Testament ‘prophecies)’. I suspect that the Gospel of Luke does contain the remaining echoes of memory (these having been related orally for some time) of the circumstances of the birth of Jesus. It contains the vital element of virgin birth, meaning that Jesus was the Son of God. However, Paul’s letters (while acknowledging that Paul was passionate in his beliefs) point to an attempt to impose his views on how churches should be run.

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        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Chas, I see some variation in how the New Testament writers expressed their views about Jesus, but I don’t see that Paul was substantially different in his beliefs about Jesus and the Church. He did, of course, promote the acceptance of Gentiles without the Jewish legalistic observances; but I think by the time the other NT writers wrote they were in agreement.

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          • Chas says:

            Tim, the problem is that the words that Jesus is quoted as saying only mention the word ‘church’ twice, and these two instances are among the more prominent as likely to have been added later. The other question is what should churches really be like, as the main reason for the existence of Jesus as the Son of God was to provide a way for us to come into personal relationship with God. So, should anybody be given/claim to have authority over others in a church, as such a person will effectively be putting themselves between God and the ‘flock’.

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          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Chas, I agree that Jesus never emphasized the word ‘Church’. However, he did speak much about the Kingdom of God. I believe that local churches and the fellowship of churches became the most visible expression of the Kingdom of God, though they are not at all identical.

            Local churches are organizations and require some amount of organization to operate smoothly, but I do not believe any individual has spiritual authority over others. Jesus is our authority,

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      • sheila0405 says:

        In some areas of his life, Jesus seems to suggest that those who don’t believe in him will suffer eternal torment. That is in line with the angry vindictive God in the OT. But the vast majority of his ministry was love and hope. I’m wrestling right now with who or what God is, and Jesus factors into the equation.

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        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Sheila, I don’t think Jesus suggests eternal torment. Some times he uses words like destruction, perishing, or similar words but I think these refer to death and non-existence rather than eternal punishment. Do you have specific passages in mind?

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          • sheila0405 says:

            Sorry, I didn’t see this reply in my inbox. I’m thinking of Jesus’ description of the future separation of the sheep from the goats. Those who cared for others will be welcomed by Jesus, and those who did not, will be cast out into eternal punishment. (Mt 25:31-46, NIV) Also, the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, wherein the rich man was tormented in flames. Those passages are suggestive of eternal torment of some type, which really bothers me. As a mom, I’d never wish that kind of punishment on either of my children. If Jesus’ love is perfect, presumably stronger than ours as mere humans, then what gives? I doubt the existence of hell, but some of what Jesus said is very difficult to understand.

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          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Thanks for the specifics, Sheila. The passages you mention seem to be two of the three most used passages to defend a judgment and punishment in hell. The other is the passage on the lake of fire in the highly symbolic book of Revelation.

            I think you, yourself, offer the key to understanding one of them when you mention the “Parable” of Lazarus and the rich man. Parables are stories used to illustrate a main point–not to give details about the future. In this parable, Jesus uses many elements that are familiar to his listeners, but he does so in a way that does not appear anywhere else in the Bible:

            “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.”

            “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.”

            Notice all the detail that stirs interest and makes the story come alive. But the message is not in the details; the message is in the conclusion–the main point. Jesus said: ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ All the rest is window dressing.

            Actually, this also applies to your second passage. The story of the sheep and goats (Matthew 25) is another parable rather than a description of an end-time judgment. Notice that it is part of a set of three parables about being careless about commitment to God’s kingdom. In each case, the careless person(s) was surprised when, at the end, they discovered they had ‘served’ God in a sloppy, misguided way; this is the main point. The listeners are warned to serve God in a dedicated way instead of being half-hearted and careless. In the story of the sheep and goats, the surprise is that they thought they were serving God, and yet they ignored the main thing God wanted–loving others and helping meet their needs.

            Does this help?

            Like

          • sheila0405 says:

            Thanks, Tim. I never saw the sheep and goats passages as a parable. My dad, who has been tormented and in pain for the last few years, is going into hospice care. The fIamily dynamics surrounding all of my dad’s suffering has been terrible. Decisions have been made, with my input not just ignored, but disparaged. My family believes in a kind of prosperity gospel, saying that the blood of Jesus protects us from demons, illness, and anxieties, all the while my dad was suffering tremendously. It’s kind of a double-think: if something bad happens , we have to say we don’t understand the mind of God. If something good happens, it’s a direct result of the power of the blood of Christ. They have hammered me with their beliefs to the point I can’t even be around them. All I know is that my dad is probably dying, and I have no idea who or what God/Jesus is anymore. My doubts have resurrected my childhood instructions about hell, and of course, this bothers me tremendously. I don’t want to be in hell, but I think my questions to and about God are legitimate. It puts me in a lonely place.

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          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            I am so sorry to hear about your dad–both of his illness and of your family’s involvement in the shallow teaching of a faith church. I wish him the best. One thing I think you need not worry about is the fear of hell–for you or for anyone else. Yet I know that when such a doctrine is part of one’s religious worldview–as it was for me–it is difficult to feel free from it.

            I think your questions are legitimate, and I hope you are able to resolve them so that you can experience more of the peace of God instead of fear. I am praying for your family.

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          • sheila0405 says:

            Thanks, Tim. I am pressing forward with my journey. Rest assured that even if you don’t see comments from me for a time, I am still reading your blog.

            Like

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Sheila, continue pressing forward! And comment whenever you feel like it. ~Tim

            Like

  3. fiddlrts says:

    This post follows the same train of thought that I have had over the last several years.

    For those who treat the Bible as “God’s Little Instruction Book,” spiritual growth means – to them – finding and adhering to ever more specific and detailed rules. Thus, as you point out, becoming “godly” means following rules and not being loving. And, furthermore, those venerated as the most “godly” are those that are able to find (and follow) more rules than others.

    Another thought that I had was that we are finite human beings in our spiritual walk as well as in other areas. Just as most of us cannot simultaneously work 100 hour weeks and train for a marathon (unless we are professional athletes, perhaps), all of us have only a certain amount of concentration and time. We cannot focus on every possible facet of our spiritual growth, and thus, the time devoted to one effort and focus takes away from the others. The more time and energy, therefore, that we spend trying to “discover” and follow rules, the less time and energy we have left to pursue love.

    Also tied into this is the way that we humans maintain a balance of our moral opinions of ourselves. We tend to try to maintain an equilibrium (in our own minds) of our good and bad behavior. Thus, we feel free to splurge on a dessert because we have exercised. Likewise, there is honor among thieves, as it were. (Lawyers know that very few criminals consider themselves bad people.)

    Legalism is particularly pernicious in this sense, because it provides a form of “indulgence” covering over bad behavior. Rather than pay a fee to the Catholic Church (as in the middle ages) to gain absolution for sins, the legalist makes a deposit to his own conscience by following rules. Because he follows the rules, he is able to say, “I thank God I am not like other men.” And then he need not worry about the unloving things he does, because he already feels that he has put enough good deeds into the scale. I think that is one meaning of Christ’s description of the separation of the sheep and the goats (and how it ties in with his other statement in Matthew about those who will say “didn’t we prophesy in your name?”): there are going to be many that are shocked to find out that it was never about the rules, but about love.

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    • Chas says:

      The phrase ‘didn’t we prophecy in your name’ seems to imply false prophecy. It came to my mind the other day that anyone who gives their own words as being God’s words has a very strange view of God. How could they think that He would approve? Do they really believe in Him? In the same way, anyone who uses chicanery or hypnosis, purporting to heal people, although saying that the healing is from God, shows contempt for God. Yet God allows these things to happen.

      Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      This is really good stuff, Fiddlrts! I agree about the the sheep and goats and the shock some will experience as they discover they were completely on the wrong path of ‘following’ Jesus.

      My favorite line: “The more time and energy, therefore, that we spend trying to “discover” and follow rules, the less time and energy we have left to pursue love.”

      Like

    • sheila0405 says:

      Do you think Jesus throws people into everlasting torment when he speaks of the sheep and the goats? I commented above on this passage.

      Like

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  10. Evan says:

    G-D and the bible are guidelines for good living. Three Rabbis were arguing about when the passover ends. Two held that Sundown on the 8th day was when it ended. The third rabbi held that passover ended when the sun could not be seen from the top of a mountain. The third finally shouted to the heavens “G-D, tell these two if I am right!!” The big booming voice from above says, “Rabbi Joseph is correct. The sun must be examined from the top of the mountain.” One of the two Jews holding the first opinion says, “Ok, that means we are two to two.”

    Each person must consider the truth of what they believe in. If someone tells you what to believe then you have abdicated your duty to self and G-D.

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Thanks for the lovely story, Evan! I think a lot of people consider that they have G-D on their side in such discussion, but I suspect G-D is not much interested in being a tool in someone’s argument.

      Like

  11. Reblogged this on Mind Dé Gap™ and commented:
    How Legalism Stunts Our Spiritual Growth

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  12. True, up to a point. It’s between us and God, not us and our neighbor, whether we’re doing what we should be doing according to God’s Law. But God does have a Law, and to pretend that doing “work” is somehow wrong ignores that this “work” means serving others and loving them (and God) completely, with ALL that we have, not just giving lip-service to “love” and thinking dreamy, vaguely “spiritual” thoughts that are warm and fuzzy. Nor can we grab salvation in a “Jesus Prayer” and refuse to serve others with Good Works. These are cop-outs and the Wide Gate of which Jesus spoke.

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Stephen, I very much agree that we do have a ‘work’ of loving and serving others. And it is part of our commitment when we choose to follow Jesus, though we must practice and grow as we begin to see others as the Father sees them. You are absolutely correct that ‘lip-service’ to loving people does not meet the commitment Jesus asked of us.

      We must love and serve others; trying to meet our commitment through following legalistic rules misses the point and is, as you say, a cop out to true commitment to love people.

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  16. Hi Tim, Religion attempts to lift human beings up too God and always, falls short. God intended it that way and even the religion He gave to the Jews can’t make human beings like God. Jesus is God reaching down to human beings in love with the gift of eternal life. The Law is spiritual because God is Spirit and it isn’t possible for those who are flesh and blood, only to ‘keep’ the Law. We just don’t have what it takes. What it takes is spiritual rebirth through faith in Jesus then when we have become spiritual beings, as well as flesh and blood, we are able to grow into the Law and produce the fruits of the Spirit, naturally. Of course, I didn’t always understand this but learned it through my experience under legalism. Because of what I’ve gained, I now view that experience as a blessing.:0)

    “The Hiding Place” was the first Christian book I read as a babe in Christ. I had no theological point of view at that time so, I was very open to its message of hope in the midst of hopelessness. I was utterly hopeless when Jesus saved me and that book had a major impact on me.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Hi Pam, so many of us with a background in legalism had to learn to follow a better way. I share with you a deep appreciation for the ‘Hiding Place.’ It was an important and influential book for me.

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  17. Hola! I’ve beeen following your web site for some time now
    and finally got the bravery too go aheead and give you a shout out from
    Huffman Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the good job!

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Hello PFO, I am glad to hear that you have been following my blog. I hope you like it and continue to do so. Always feel free to question or comment on anything as you feel inclined.

      Like

  18. Ahmed says:

    Hello Tim

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  19. Ahmed says:

    Hello Tim
    It has been a longtime since we chat. Aslaam. Brother. I know you know but there are religions that would not be able to follow even the concept of salvation. But I find myself very interested in your page. Also in your many followers expressing very forward and interesting ideas. Plus being very kind too others.

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Ahmed, I am glad you find the blog interesting and the interaction of the commenters too. It seems that so much of religion is harsh, rigid, and burdensome–and not very kind to others.

      I hope you feel free to add to comments as you feel inclined, and if there is any issue you would like to discuss just let me know.

      Like

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  21. Tim,
    I would like to discuss with you the whole path you’re taking away from belief in the Bible and into a belief of your own making. I can see that you came out of legalism, and you rightly found out that it is the WRONG WAY. You are right that Jesus was against legalism. We know this because it is recorded for us in the Gospels that Jesus accepted and loved people regardless of their social class, race, gender, or past, but he vehemently condemned the religious leaders of the day because of their legalism and self-righteousness. However, I am afraid that you, or perhaps others, might think that the only alternative to legalism is to reject the Bible as God’s Word, and make it merely a human document. Brother, this is not so.
    Jesus said to the Sadducees, after they asked him a legal(istic) yes-or-no question about how the law of Levirate marriage applied to people in the resurrection, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” (Matt 22:16) These were supposedly the experts, but Jesus told them that they didn’t know the Scriptures! They interpreted them legalistically, but Jesus told them no, that is wrong.
    However, he does not then say, ‘You should understand that that law was only made because of the cultural context and the faulty understanding of Moses in his cultural conditioning.’ He said, “’And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”? He is not God of the dead, but of the living. And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.” (Matt 22:31-32) Jesus knew that the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. He proved the resurrection to them using Scripture. He presumed its authority down to the tense of the verb used by the author of Genesis, a thousand years earlier.
    He did not stop there. Jesus, as you have happily found out in your spiritual journey, taught that the law is a law of love, and it is spiritual, not legalistic. He is tested immediately after by the Pharisees who ask him what the great commandment in the Law is. His response: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt 22:37-40) Notice that Jesus upholds the Law and the Prophets (the Torah and the Nevi’im). These two Hebrew words are a shorthand for the Old Testament Scriptures. He says that their true meaning is love, first of God, and then of our neighbor, without indicating that they are not authoritative.
    After Jesus was tested by both the Sadducees and the Pharisees, he turned the questioning around on them. He challenged them about the identity of the Messiah. He said, “Whose son is the Christ?” This was a well-known fact in prophecy. “The son of David”, they answered. “He said to them, ‘How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’”? If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?’ And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.” (Matt 22:42-46) Here Jesus referred to Psalm 110, which is a clear prophecy about the Messiah. Its wording is the question, and once again Jesus presumes the authority and inspiration of the message and its specific wording. He attributes it to David, in the Spirit.
    My point in all this is that the rejection of legalism in no way requires abandoning belief in the authority of the Bible and its inspiration. If we are to believe anything that Jesus said, we know that he believed in the inspiration of the very wording of all of Scripture. However, if we let go of the authority and inspiration of Scripture, then we land on the shifting sands of human opinion. It may sound good, but when the storms come, our house will fall. Will we be found faithful to the words God has graciously entrusted us with when we stand before him?

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  22. jesuswithoutbaggage says:

    Hi Portion. You begin your comment by drawing a contrast between “the whole path you’re taking away from belief in the Bible and into a belief of your own making.” I think it is a bit incorrect to say that my belief is of my own making. My belief is based on the Bible, especially the Gospels, but is different from yours because we have different perspectives on what the Bible is and how it functions.

    Others have made similar judgments by saying something like I am following the teachings of men instead of the word of God. However, those who believe in inerrancy follow the teachings of men as well. I would say that your belief in inerrancy did not come to you spontaneously from reading the Bible but was taught to you by others, who were taught it by others, and so forth through a number of generations of those who believe in inerrancy.

    So my perspective of the Bible is no more based in the ‘teachings of men’ than yours. You mention that, “if we let go of the authority and inspiration of Scripture, then we land on the shifting sands of human opinion.” Reality is, however, that belief in inerrancy is also based on human opinion.

    You are correct that one can turn away from legalism without rejecting inerrancy (or authority). In fact, I did so myself. However, the two are connected in that legalism depends on belief in a strong authority of the Bible. I do not “think that the only alternative to legalism is to reject the Bible as God’s Word, and make it merely a human document.” I certainly agree with you on this.

    You offer two passages to demonstrate the Jesus appeals to the OT. You are right, he did this all the time; but Jesus used the OT in a straightforward way but for his own purposes because in his culture both he and his listeners were very familiar with it. Notice the way he uses these passages; they are trick answers that do not relate to the original intention of the passages.

    “Have you not read what was said to you by God: ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’ He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” This is not the point of the passage, but a manipulation (which Jesus did with the OT all the time). “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’? If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” Again, this is not the intended point of the passage.

    We do disagree on this issue, but let me assure you that I think you really believe it and have your own reasons for doing so. Though I think you are mistaken (as you think I am mistaken), I don’t think you are silly or foolish for believing as you do. Thanks for the interaction.

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