One of the biggest problems in the church today is legalism. Legalism is probably the biggest turn off for people who are interested in getting involved in a church or having a relationship with God. It is the core reason why many people view Christianity as “not fun” and most people really start to hate God because of it. The definition of legalism is “Strict, literal adherence to the law or to a particular code, as of religion or morality.” Now, some people like to take this and blow it way out of proportion. Now, it is important to address some examples of legalism.
Recently I had a friend text me and tell me that he went to a church in North Carolina where the pastor preached a sermon on Disney, and why the are an immoral industry. Basically, Disney promotes stories that say you should follow you’re heart and this goes against the Bible. This is a classic example of legalism and it is embarrassingly unbiblical. Another example is my grandfather, growing up in a Mennonite family, was unable to play cards, dance, watch movies, etc. because he was taught that the Bible condemned these things. We live in a day and age where this kind of garbage has to end in our church so that we can reach people for the gospel.
Many people are finding that they cannot walk into a church without being condemned by others for having tattoos, wearing certain clothes, listening to a certain kind of music, preferring one political party over another, and many other things. This is a tragedy, and actually, I can kind of understand why so many people don’t want to come to church. Something we have to realize is that anything that is morally okay can be used to commit a sin. So, by the legalist’s logic, we really can’t do anything to function properly in society. And we’re not going to stop sinning, because we live in a sinful world. Legalism can go as far as saying that we cannot eat because eating promotes gluttony. We cannot watch TV because we might hear something that is “of this world.” We cannot play cards because it promotes gambling and improper use of money. This is a huge problem because these are all just normal daily activities. To say that someone cannot watch a certain kind of movie because it might have some unbiblical elements to it is unbiblical in it of itself. Many can also say that we shouldn’t share the gospel because, God forbid, we might interact with somebody who says something that is unbiblical and we can’t be filling our minds with that stuff. So, where do we draw the line at what is okay and what isn’t okay?
We have to look at the Bible and take it as what it says. We cannot avoid things that MIGHT promote some kind of sin, and then call that action a sin. To do so would be to go directly against God and His Word. To create an atmosphere where people want to come to church and learn more about God, we have to teach them what He is really saying in His word.