LIBERAL OR LEGALISTIC?

By George Card

 

It is not easy to evade falling into one of these two camps. But God has told us not to go to the left or to the right. (Deuteronomy 5:32) God has warned us in his scriptures that we must walk a fine road that is straight and narrow, a road that does not go to the left or the right.

 

Some churches are so liberal that everything is tolerated, even the sin of homosexuality.  While others are so legalistic that almost everything is labeled as sin, even God's gift of sex. One church is trying to demonstrate the love of God for all sinners while the other church is trying to establish the holiness of God. Well both churches have gone to non-biblical extremes.

 

In order to avoid being trapped into either of these two extremes, one must balance the scriptures that demand holiness, with the ones that tell us to be free from bondage to laws.

 

The following two scriptures are good examples.  "All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: All things are lawful unto me, but I will not be brought under the power of any". (I Corinthians 6:12)  "wherefore come out from among them; and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (II Corinthians 6:17)

 

There are certain things that God has clearly condemned as sin and can never be admitted into the church, even under the guise of brotherly love.  All unrighteousness is sin and nothing can change that. (I John 5:17)

 

While in other things God has given us the freedom of conscience to choose the right path, and no amount of legalistic talk should dissuade us to forsake the law of liberty, for the bondage of law.  Moreover happy is he that condemned not himself in that which he allowed. (Romans 14:22)

 

We are not being unkind or unloving when we reject all form of sin.  Neither are we sinners when we reject man made legalistic rules. It is not easy to strike this balance, but we have to be aware that extremes exist and we have to avoid going to the left or to the right, but stay in the middle path dictated by God. Some Christians will push to one side, while others will push to the opposite end.

 

Sometimes some ministers advocated their own personal convictions or ideas into the church and decreed by some kind of twisted logic that certain things were sin without a shred of biblical backing or scripture. Some preached that a woman could not wear red or red shoes because they were the color of the harlot. Many other such silly things were preached as sins by other preachers; this was nothing but their own personal legalistic ideas.

 

Then there is the other side where liberal preachers have taken upon themselves to avoid preaching against sin in their pulpit, for they do not want to appear judgmental or make their listeners uncomfortable. They preach a god of love who does not put any kind of demands upon their lives or asks for change in their sinful conduct, condoning sin is not love.

 

Because of the situations that ministers come in contact with they sometimes tend to fall into either of these two extremes. If we are strict then we are accused of being legalistic and tyrannical and if we are lax then we are accused of being liberal people pleasers. If we say one thing is OK and something else is not, there will always be someone who totally disagrees. Ministers are always in danger of slipping into these two extremes. I pray that God will keep me from sliding to the right or to the left, and will remain on his straight path. The straight road preaches against real sin, but does not make something that is not sin as sin.