Christian leaders are shifting the emphasis of discipleship from faith in the words of God to demonstrating ones faith by his works. And, it’s not that good works are not important, this is about getting the cart before the horse.
This is one reason why those who stand upon the critical necessity of doctrinal soundness are considered divisive. Because, they insist that solid, biblical teaching must take precedence over all other activities, outreaches, and programs.
Such Christians are categorized as those who preach law instead of grace. Or as those who idolize the written word of God and insist that everyone must have all their doctrinal beliefs in perfect order and agreement.
Or as those who have more love for the law than for people,
And therefore, are labeled, “legalists”.
A False Common Ground
However, placing good works or loving deeds on the same level as faith in Christ is not biblical. This replaces faith in the absolutes of scripture with faith in good works.
This is precisely what the apostate Protestant churches do. It is what Catholicism does. And it is what Mormonism does.
True “legalism” is to preach a false gospel of Law instead of grace. Or to mix good works and faith in some combination as a requirement for salvation.
This is what Paul preached against in Galatians.
As Evangelicals walk this new “missional” path, they open themselves up to the dangers of spiritual compromise with unbelievers; with those who teach a gospel of faith PLUS works. Which is why Evangelicalism increasingly embraces such groups as brothers in Christ.
After all, if good works are allowed to become a common ground between religious groups, why not embrace whomever claims to do good works in Christ’s name?
Because the specific faith-distinction of a believer is being rubbed out; the doctrinal-distinction between those who are true believers and those who are not is being removed.
This is done so that everyone can get together based on their social activism, their community outreaches, and their good works. Just mix a few Bible verses in here and there, say a prayer “in Jesus’ name”, and you’re all set.
When the Bible is not first; when Truth is not first and Good works become first, good works become the “common ground” between believers and unbelievers. Which is a shaky ground upon which all kinds of strange religious people gather together as “fellow Christians”.
It’s as if good works have become the symbol of true discipleship in this age. Not unlike how many who believe that “speaking in tongues” is a sign of being saved. Or having some “manifestation of the Spirit” is a sign of being born again.
Truth and Doctrine are Not “Law”
The Legalism charge is used by many Christians in the same way that the modern culture uses the term, “Racism”. They level this charge against anyone that disagrees with their Progressive Christian ideas. Demonizing anyone who would dare to take a solid Conservative position. A position that might spoil the “unity” of the body.
In effect, we are watching Progressive Christian activists demonize the Conservative Christian — any who would dare to emphasize the Bible Record instead of Social Activism, or Ecumenism, or some other new idol within Evangelicalism.
It would be one thing if we only had to deal with our fellow believers in the pews; while the leaders remained steadfast on truth.
But such is not the case.
Putting Biblical Authority First is Not Legalism
The Bible is not truly in authority anymore. Not in the pulpits. Not in the church classrooms. Not even in the so-called Bible churches.
Something else is in authority. Someone else has captured the hearts and minds of believers. And you can generally figure out WHOM they are following by the people whom the leadership quotes. And the books they use to support their teaching and sermons.
But, if you point this out, if you dare to alert your church to this, be prepared for resistance. Be prepared to be called a “legalist” or “Pharisee” by those nicer Christians who are demonstrating a “kinder” and more “gentle” form of Christianity.
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