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Too strict... too legalistic? (11/05/2006)
From: David Foss

Galesville, Wis.

Would this statement make good sense? "This is the worst book we have never read!" Would this be a truthful statement, if we had never read this particular book? Is it wise to assume a repugnant position without doing any research? Of course not!

Irresponsibly, many of us assume that something must be avoided if it is different from what we are accustomed to or if it is different from that which we would prefer. We could be making a grave mistake if we are of this opinion. If we never compare something with anything else and reject everything that people might recommend, how will we ever know if we have accepted something that is unsound...something that may be an abomination to God?

Have we ever asked this question? "Why do God-fearing, Bible-believing churches have so many members that used to be members of other denominations?" Because they have compared the preaching of God's word and have found (by checking with Scripture) that what they had been hearing from their former pastors was unscriptural. Acts 17:11

We should not feel badly when someone says that our church is too strict and legalistic. We should rejoice and be thankful! Why? Because the one making such a statement is probably attending a church that is lukewarm - one that may not be pleasing to the Lord.

Here is an example. If someone invites us to their church and we refuse to attend because we have prejudged that their denomination is too strict, is too legalistic, would God consider this a good decision? Does God's word teach us that being too strict and legalistic, when it comes to His word is wrong, is something we should disdainfully reject? Doesn't God want preachers to preach all of Scripture, not just that God is love? Doesn't God want us to hear all of His instruction and to follow His instruction to the letter, to toe-the-line? II Timothy 4:2-4

Would God want us to attend a worldly, nonliteral, lukewarm church or a spiritual, literal, on-fire-for-God church? Revelation 3:16-19 God commands pastors to preach the gospel - all of it! Mark 16:15

Strict adherence to God's word (precisely - to the letter) should never deter us from attending a God-fearing, Bible-believing church. Being strict and legalistic, when it comes to God's word, is vital, is indispensable. Strictness of Scripture should not be considered erroneous, unprofitable, objectionable or offensive; after all, what benefit will we get from a lukewarm church, a pick-and-choose-as-you-please church? Of what benefit is a lackadaisical church, a church where only a small portion of God's word is preached? Such a church would be an ineffectual church, a church that wouldn't be bearing any fruit (saving souls), a church that would be an abomination to God.

Yes, one of God's attributes is love, but God has many other attributes and He expects pastors to preach and teach these attributes also. God is a warner, judge, chastiser, edifier, teacher, victor, perfecter, provider, rewarder, protector, and savior. II Timothy 3:16-17

We do not suggest that anyone attend a church where the preacher angrily screams and shouts to affect souls, points an accusatory finger at us, pounds his clenched fists on the pulpit, and struts around the platform like a frenzied psychopath. This would be strictness in a dictatorial, negative way - not in a democratic, positive way. Are God-fearing, Bible-believing preachers, who preach all of God's word, to be labeled as one of these, to be called strict and legalistic in such a bad light? Isaiah 5:20

Those who have said that they would never set foot in a God-fearing, Bible-believing church might be marvelously awakened, if they would listen to but one sermon in such a church. After the service, they should realize that being too strict or too legalistic (when it comes to Scripture) is a sweet savor to the Lord.

Ponder II Corinthians 2:14-17 

 

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