Monthly Archives: March 2007

Legalism

As we were moving pews and tearing up carpet at Gateway – well mostly after as we were standing around writing our names on the bare sub floor – some of us got into a little discussion on legalism.  So I did some looking up.  I think this pretty much sums it up:

As we were moving pews and tearing up carpet at Gateway – well mostly after as we were standing around writing our names on the bare sub floor – some of us got into a little discussion on legalism.  So I did some looking up.  I think this pretty much sums it up:

What Is Legalism?

 

John W. Robbins

 


 

Legalism is the notion that a sinner can, by his own efforts, or by the power of the Holy Spirit in his life, do some work to obtain or retain his salvation. Some legalists think man has free will and can perform good works if he just sets his mind to it, thereby obtaining the favor of God. This type of legalist thinks that a sinner can believe the Gospel on his own steam. Other legalists think that a sinner does not have free will, that any good he does is done by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him, and it is these good deeds done by the power of the Holy Spirit that obtain or help obtain, retain or help retain, his salvation. Both types of legalists, but especially the latter, may acknowledge that Christ’s work of obedience is necessary for salvation, but both deny that Christ’s work is sufficient for salvation. Both types of legalists assert that to Christ’s work must be added the works of the sinner, done either under his own steam, or by the power of the Holy Spirit. That is what makes them legalists: their shared belief in the incompleteness or insufficiency of the work of Christ outside of them. They may differ on what constitutes good works; they may differ on whether only God’s law or church law as well is to be obeyed; but they agree that the work of Christ alone is insufficient for their final salvation.


Against The World. The Trinity Review, 1978-1988. [What Is Faith, John W. Robbins, pg. 121-122] John W. Robbins, Editor. The Trinity Foundation, P.O. Box 68, Unicoi, Tennessee 37692. (423) 743-0199 – FAX (423) 743-2005

 

One of those involved in the discussion postulated that somehow the word had become corrupted so that its meaning had changed from a more agreeable one to the one we use now which means the blind following of rules.  This can happen to words but I don’t think that this is the case for the word “legalism”.    I think that the word means what it means – a strict adherence to the literal interpretation of the rules.  I don’t think it ever meant anything else than that.

To say that somehow the word has been corrupted from some other meaning to mean the above I think is to try and mask it, blaming “the culture” or some “other” for a shift in meaning – an attempt to soften a term that sometimes we would like to sound more positive.  Because we all know that rules can be a good thing, we would like our obedience to them to be a good thing too.  

I think we have to pay attention to how Jesus responded to legalism and how he dealt with individuals who broke the prescribed set of religious rules.  He was hardest on those religious leaders that behaved in a legalistic manner.  Jesus was more interested in the hearts of people.  He desired good deeds and good behavior to be a reflection of what was in a person’s heart.  He, himself broke the letter of the pharisaical laws by doing good on the Sabbath.

The really good news is that Jesus’ love can transform us in a way that no obedience to laws can.  I guess that is why he came to be human in the first place – to demonstrate how the love of God works and through his sacrificial love to provide a way of transformation.  Out of love for God, in response, we let him move our hearts to do the good works he has for us.  

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Rejoicing

There is much rejoicing in my heart – my lost journal showed up.

 

There is much sadness in my brain.  I left it in a pile of papers at my office – am I blind or simply forgetful?

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Misadventures of the day

Today seemed to be a journey from one misadventure to another.  

 

We arrived at the hospital after stopping at Tim’s for coffee on the way – not a winning cup among them.  

 

Thankfully, we decided to check out the dental unit before putting the patient in the room.  Maybe there was some value in having the slowest anaesthetist in the place this morning.  The dental unit is attached to an oxygen tank that runs at 1700 psi through a valve that brings it down to 80 psi or so.  The valve blew.  That is a mighty big puff of air!  

 

Forty five minutes later, maintenance had the problem solved and as well promised to repair the other stand-by unit.  

 

All the kids ended up being bigger cases than we anticipated.  That is sort of par for the course.  A lot can change in the year or so that it takes us to get someone in to the OR for dental work.  

 

And then our anaesthetist, being on call, ran off to maternity to give some labouring woman an epidural – another 30 minute wait.  

 

Last case – in the middle, we blew an air line somewhere in the unit.  Thank God we had that stand-by unit ready to go.

 

Today we were not running to meet a deadline in the OR.  But, we had patients booked at the office at 1:30.  We made it back there by 2:30.

 

At 2:30, I had to deal with a patient who brought in a denture (hers, I guess) that some denturist had made upon her request.  She figured it was time for herself to have a complete upper denture.  She wanted me to take out all 11 of her upper teeth and fit that denture for her.  I asked if anyone had checked her teeth before she made this decision – No.  I suggested she think it over and perhaps come in for a check–up so we could see if she actually had any teeth that needed to be extracted.  

 

I am afraid I sent her home thinking I am totally unreasonable.  

 

And now to top off an mis – eventful day, I just burnt the pizza.

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From day to night – and sleep.

I am finally home after a long day.  Oh, I was home briefly after work – about 30 minutes.  Just enough time to organize the leftovers and tell people to heat up their own plate in the microwave of whatever they could scrounge.  Then I packed up my bass and headed off to Rivier to practice with the Prince Albert String Orchestra.  We are in the music festival next week. 

They are actually letting me play.  Sometimes I am not really playing the notes, you know.  sometimes the music just goes too fact for my fingers to get to the right spot on the  strings and I figure it is better to fake it than to play a really off tune note. 

I am getting better.  Not bad for having only played for 8 months.

I have to practice very hard this week.  And then keep it up till the year end concert on May 6.

After the practice there was a meeting.  There is not enough involvement in the organizations that make things run.  A lack of volunteers. 

Tell me about it!  I have spent the last 9 months or more rounding up volunteers to run our child care programs at church. 

Then I ran by the bank to deposit my pay cheque and then by my Aunt’s place to pay her rent. 

Last night I didn’t sleep well.  Leo must have some kind of nasal congestion.  He was snuffling and snorting a good part of the night.  I think I will head off to bed now and try to get a head start.  Maybe if I am already asleep before he starts making all that noise, I will get some sleep.

Good night all.

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