From Ed Stetzer:
Today, The Resurgence blog provides a clear path to legalism:
How to Become a Legalist:
1. Make rules outside the Bible.
2. Push yourself to try and keep your rules.
3. Castigate yourself when you don’t keep your rules.
4. Become proud when you do keep your rules.
5. Appoint yourself as judge over other people.
6. Get angry with people who break your rules or have different rules.
7. “Beat” the losers.
In interview with Howard Hendricks, Chuck Swindoll defined the legalism problem as:
…when we get into areas that are not set forth in Scripture, either in precept or even in principle. These may be such things as length of hair, tattoos and other body piercings, skirts or pants for women, makeup or no makeup. Those are not scriptural issues. Sometimes these issues are cultural, and you do have to address them when you are in that particular culture. But I think legalism begins when you do or refrain from doing what I want you to do or not do because it’s on my list and it’s something that I am uncomfortable with.
Then, Chuck gives his blunt advice:
The problem with legalists is that not enough people have confronted them and told them to get lost. Those are strong words, but I don’t mess with legalism anymore. I’m 72 years old; what have I got to lose? Seriously, I used to kowtow to legalists, but they’re dangerous. They are grace-killers. They’ll drive off every new Christian you bring to church. They are enemies of the faith. Other than that, I don’t have any opinion!
So, if I am trying to force my personal list of no-no’s on you and make you feel guilty if you don’t join me, then I’m out of line and I need to be told that.
Download that interview here.