"Oh, that church, you go to that church!" She said it with the tone of being surprised. "Yes" I replied, "in fact I am an assistant pastor at that church." The look on her face was one of disbelief. She continued on "I use to go to that church, but now I attend elsewhere." My curiosity percked up "Why did you stop going?" "Well, that church teaches legalism." "Wait a minute," I said, "Do you know what that means?" To which she replied "what does what mean?" "Do you know what legalism means?" to my surprise she said "no." At least she was honest.
Chuck Swindoll; I use to listen to him as a young Christian. I actually heard a heap of good stuff from several of his lessons on the radio. I was under the impression that it was not what neo-evangelicals said that was a problem, rather it was what they did not say. Perhaps that was true years ago. Today many neos have no problem actually saying that Independent Baptist churches for the most part are proponents of legalism, and a great deal of this is due to Swindoll's "Grace Awakening" theology. Charles even teaches that believers such as I are the 'weaker brethren.' Funny I don't think we are even related spiritually speaking. The sad thing about it is that some Christians do live as if God's grace comes upon us because of some external 'put-on' act. And to that extent the legalism charge may hold true.
BUT - - I am no legalist. I am a born again, blood bought believer in Jesus Christ. I trust the Lord as my Savior and by faith I know that He has written my name in the Book of life years ago when I repented of my sin. I am still not legalistic in that I know that since Salvation is by grace through faith, that Sanctification is also by grace through faith.
I asked the lady if she liked the 'music' of the church that she is currently a member of. Being elderly I thought she would say no, I was not wrong. She said "I can't stand the music, it sounds like rock music and that it belongs in a rock concert." I began to share with her how good behavior stems from sound doctrine. That God is a jealous God and will reject every form of snycretic worship. That the smokescreen of 'legalism' is really the cry of apostates who claim to love the Lord but willingly live for the flesh. The Bible is clear on this: "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die:" (Romans 8:13) I don't place any one beyond the scope of this verse, especially 'professing' believers.