Am I a legalist?

Dear Jesus,

It has been a while since I wrote a letter to you, and I am sorry for the gap between letters.  I can’t help but wonder if I am a legalist.  I see people in leadership positions in my church who seem to wear Jesus as another accessory on their personality persona.  I see pictures on Facebook of them at a cookout with their neighbors, which is good, but drinking with their neighbors, which I am not sure if it is good.  I hear of people who struggle with their old self to sin.  They say it happens like a slip of the tongue like swearing out of frustration or saying something that certainly is not nice, they ask you to forgive and they move on.  There doesn’t seem to be a consistent drive to become Godly, and that includes myself.

It seems that someone who appears pious and Godly, does not go to movies or drink to excess or engage in off-color humor is labeled a fundamentalist, or legalist.  I don’t know how that came to be.  I thought we were supposed to in the world but not of this world.  It appears that we want to straddle the line between both.  We want to say we are Christians and also enjoy what the world offers at the same time.  We want to booze it up with unbelievers and watch racy R-rated movies with gratuitous sex scenes, and pretend we are mature Christians who can handle and manage it all.

I think a mature Christian is the opposite.  I think a mature Christian stays away from any situation or perception that may cause anyone to say that he disparages the name of Christ.  It is not wrong to drink beer or wine in moderation.  It could be perceived as something wrong if your neighbor sees you vomiting in his bushes because you drank too much, and the whispers circulate the neighborhood.  Or that someone sees you walk out of a theater showing of “50 Shades of Gray” could be seen as wrong.  Will we ever grow up to be mature, spiritual Christians?

I shudder to think what Paul or Peter would do in our church today.  I feel that when I criticize the someone in the mainline church I appear to be too critical and I should show respect for them.  I don’t understand.  I am supposed to test the spirits and test what someone is telling me in light of what I know from scripture and I am wrong to doubt or question.  I would be as guilty as they would be if I did not openly question what anyone says related to the gospel and that person deceived other people.  Watch out for false teachers and prophets we are told by you and your apostles, but today’s culture says celebrity pastors are untouchable and infallible.  We are doomed to mediocrity and a false sense of holiness.

So, Jesus, I am sorry for being a legalist.  I am sorry for expecting more from people who have assumed a leadership role, to actually be mature sons and daughters of Christ and spiritual mentors.  Please forgive me if that is so.

Ever trying to be a follower of Jesus,

Mike

Leave a Reply