Who Is The Legalist?

There is much antinomianism in the modern evangelical church. By antinomianism I mean the rejection of a fixed moral law and specifically to the rejection of God’s moral law as summarized in the Ten Commandments and applied in the New Testament to the New Testament church. Too often when people critique confessional Protestants, who affirm the abiding validity of the Ten Commandments, as “legalistic,” they are really advocating antinomianism, rejection of God’s moral law. What they are saying is this: we won’t require anything of you if you come to us. This is all an escape tactic for people who are running. God’s law is totally disregarded, and the consequences of this are evidenced in the way people approach him in worship.

The paradoxical thing here, however, is that to disregard the law of God this way, for instance, in how we are commanded to worship, actually forces church leaders to create their own inventions and impose their own ideas on the people (i.e. conversations with God, videos, dramas, liturgical dancing—the list is really endless here). We think of Isaiah’s words, “Who has required this from your hand, to trample my courts.” So the one making the charge of legalism needs to look at the plank in his own eye for attacking people who are sincerely trying to honor the Lord’s expressed will. Disregarding the law of God, and imposing ones own inventions upon people in worship is de facto doing what Jesus condemned in Matthew 15, “in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” Read more»

Chris Gordon | “Legalism: What Is And What It Is Not” | Abounding Grace Radio | August 25, 2021


    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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