Contend Earnestly: 10 Steps to Become a Legalist: Step 1

Monday, March 03, 2008

10 Steps to Become a Legalist: Step 1

Before we start this series, I want all to know that the reason that I am doing this is primarily to make fun of myself. Most of the things that you will see presented here, I have believed, or lived out, at some point. I might not have said it out loud, but my mind and my heart definitely condemned me on these. I hope that the discussions will allow for a little laughing at ourselves and also at how we come across when we are dogmatic about any of this stuff. Also, know that this will not only hit those that we would think look like legalists, like most of those I have run into in the IFB, but also any of us that really truly think that it is our way or nothing else.

So, just because you don’t wear a suit, believe in exclusive Psalmody and dream about you ruling the world when theonomy becomes the norm, doesn’t mean that you have escaped the trap that we call legalism.

Let’s get down to business.

The first step in becoming a legalist is to realize that you are the best and everyone else sucks. If you can get this step down, you will no doubt be well on your way in allowing for all the rest of the steps to fall into place. You need to definitely do some certain things to make sure that you can get this down.

Step 1: Realize that you should emulate, as much as possible, the publican in Luke 18. You must thank God that he made you so good and so much better than all these other sinners out there. I mean seriously. You dress appropriately, you listen to the right music, you pray more, you study better, you use the right translation of the Bible (not just talking about KJO guys here...hint hint) and if these other guys would get it, they too could be loved as much as you are by God. You really should thank God for not making you like these other people who are not as mature as you are. For you are God’s anointed and these other “Christians” just aren’t there yet. So, if people don’t look like you, worship like you do, pray like you do, go to church on the correct day at the correct time, then they are just immature and need to grow up and be a big boy…just like you.

Step 2: Pray for others. You need to pray for everyone else because they need the most work! When they ask for prayer requests from you, make sure you give them some answer that will make them think that you need prayer, but you know in reality, you don’t need that much prayer because you are on your way to perfection in the eyes of the Lord. Your progressive sanctification is almost complete, you just need the glorified body and you’ll be good. Make sure prayer time becomes a time of eloquence and perfect timing of your words and let everyone know how much you will pray for them, but whatever you do, don’t open yourself up for others to pray for you because they might think that you aren’t as stellar as you truly are. I mean, how much do their prayers matter anyway? James 5 says that the prayers of a righteous man accomplishes much, not the prayers of these people. Thank God that these people have you to be the righteous man, so that someone’s prayers accomplish something.

Step 3: Act like you are listening when others talk. Although James 1:19 says that we are to be quick to hear and slow to speak, it doesn’t say that we can’t be thinking of a way to rebut someone as soon as they shut up! I mean really, why do they have to talk for so long without adding anything to the conversation? Why can’t they just shut up?! Start realizing that others that don’t know as much as you do of the word, culture or whatever topic is being discussed, have nothing to add to the conversation. So, when they are speaking, don’t listen, but ready yourself for an answer. If you listen you will be wasting your time because they don’t really have anything to teach you. Who cares that the Word says,

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel. Proverbs 12:15

This isn’t talking about you, because you aren’t a fool. Right?!

Step 4: Realize that your way is the correct way. Why can’t everyone be like you? If people would just be like you then the church would run so much smoother and be more glorifying to God. Sure, the church wouldn’t be the body that is described in 1 Corinthians 12, but that church was messed up and if they just had you as their pastor, they wouldn’t have done all that stupid stuff.

Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Proverbs 26:12

Don’t you feel sorry for the wise man described in this verse? Thank God it isn’t you! Make sure that you don’t take reproof from anyone because they don’t understand the Scriptures or methodology they are to be carried out with, like you do. They can’t even use big words like you. They don’t even know how to defend the Regulative Principle against the Normative Principle, they don’t know the difference between infralapsarianism and supralapsarianism, how could they ever give you advice? But, remember step 3, just act like you are listening and quickly put them in their place by using those big words so they understand whose the man! I mean, think of this...some people have to actually click on the links in this very article to see what these words mean...what morons for Jesus.

Overall, you really need to make sure that you realize that you are the man! You still need to do the “biblical things” so that people will think that you are teachable, but seriously, what can they teach you that you don’t already know? But, you aren’t prideful because you know that it is all by God that you are a Calvinist or it is all because of your choice that you are an Arminian. So, you give God his glory by studying, praying for others, correcting others and trying to make sure that everyone understands the correct interpretations of Scripture since the Holy Spirit has only been given to you and a bunch of dead guys. If you are a Calvinist, it by God’s grace that he has made you so intelligent, and if you are an Arminian it is because of your intelligence that you saw the light and they are still in the darkness. I mean, what would God have done if it wasn’t for you in the 21st century? Who would he use? He definitely wouldn’t use anyone in your church or any of those people in that other church across town. So, thank God (or yourself) that you are here to put everything in order.

Here is your motto to live by: Learn from No One, Be ready to Teach Everyone!


Stefan said...


I get the point, I really do.

One comment: a legalist is someone who imposes extra-biblical (i.e., man-made) legislation on the people of God. It is not legalistic to contend for the truth, and to contend for certain things that one is convicted of from the Word of God -- like the abiding validity of the Sabbath ordinance, like the necessity of Public Worship on said day, etc.

The Publican's problem was not that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but that while he was near to God (i.e., in the temple, in the right place, at the right time), his heart was far from God.

No doubt we need to avoid the pride of which you speak; and no doubt we have not always done so when discussing such subjects as the Sabbath, public worship, even the doctrines of grace. But a word of advice: let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I hope you won't impugn me for my two cents


Seth McBee said...

Good to "see" you again...

Hope all is well...and I understand your concerns.

Here is my point. When the contending for one's convictions become more important than contending for God's Gospel, we have a major problem.

I don't even mind the guys who believe in exclusive psalmody, Sabbath keeping and the such...that wasn't my point. Because I could also make a case against those who would thumb their nose down at those guys (Regulative Principle, Exclusive Psalmody, etc.) as heretics as well.

My major point is to be careful to distinguish between convictions and gospel...sometimes people put these into one category, and that to me is wrong and very dangerous.

I have been to all kinds of church services and have respected most that I have gone to...including going to your church, Stefan...I really liked the way that the Regulative Principle looked there...would I personally adapt that into my service at my is not my conviction. But, do I respect what you guys are doing, and can I learn from you guys? Of course.

Hope you get the jist of the post...and understand it wasn't an attack on the RPW in any way.

Stefan said...

No, Seth, I understand it wasn't an attack on the RPW or anything else per se.

Glad to see the blog is back up and running.


Anonymous said...

Don't forget to mention that you have to think that you are God's gift to mankind, and look down on others when they don't thank God for everything that comes out of your mouth.

Once I was accused by the brethren of having a pride problem - I was not giving the performance they wanted. Several years later, it was discovered that I have autism. They judged me by my outward appearance, and none of those self-declared gifts to mankind had the ability to discern.

Sweet jokes, these entries.

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