In our final installment of the Legalism vs. Hyper-grace discussion, I’m pinpointing three areas of concern that can act as deterrents to the Church’s level of obedience and effectiveness.
Tolerance – Tolerance, much like its counterpart, compromise, has plagued the American church, in my view, by clouding right vs. wrong issues that are intended to be crystal clear. In essence, tolerance is a good virtue, in fact it’s an emotion or reaction that has the capability of being Christ-like. The problem is that tolerance is not synonymous with love, nor is it a fruit of the Holy Spirit or even a term that is mentioned in the bible; and I’m not even able to find its equivalent in scripture. I say all of this to uncover the very blunt realization that tolerance isn’t really biblical, unless associated with a greater truth and applied in the right context. It’s apparent that our culture would teach that tolerance is interchangeable with love, and although important to accept other people, (Jesus didn’t show partiality) it’s not an act of love to reinforce those who are wrong, like the Pharisees.If love mirrored tolerance than why would the mark of those who love Him be to follow His commandments?
Compromise– Elementally, compromise is good, but when pit against the sovereignty of God and the self-evident truths of the believer, it should naturally seem awkward. There is one true God and He doesn’t change and He has sent His son, and through that act personified love on the behalf of humankind. Excuse me for being black & white, (I acknowledge that I usually am) but there is not an excessive amount of middle ground with the above truths.Compromise becomes a problem when we as believers start to give ground on some of these truths for the sake of political correctness or to avoid offending others.We can attest to the fact that scripture is non-negotiable (especially the foundational tenets of our faith) and that we’re even called to not conform to this world and its teaching.We need to likewise be wary of the world’s messages, not for the sake of being contrary, but to witness effectively and to not waver in the face of adversity.
“When the church and the world can jog along together comfortably, you may be sure there is something wrong.” – Catherine Booth- Co-founder of the Salvation Army
The Politics Gospel – I would never hesitate to describe Jesus as authoritative, powerful or kingly, but never “political,” and making him political for the sake of argument (or quarrel) is a mistake. Jesus was and is apolitical and must be considered through a non-political lens to fully understand his ministry; we must fight against personal motives when discussing politics in the same context as the Son of God! The Politics Gospel, just like the Prosperity Gospel, tends to misconstrue the purpose and context of scripture, as Jesus’ purpose was to introduce a new covenant, not dictate a political path. True, Godly wisdom and other spiritual principles should be applied to the sphere of politics, but not leveraged to win a debate.
Thanks for joining us for our series and be sure to consider both extremes (legalism and hyper-grace) when arriving at the truth!
-Joe D’Orsie – Communications & Spiritual Life Counsel