“There are many pastors today who, for fear of being branded ‘legalists’, give their congregation no ethical teaching. How far we have strayed from the apostles! ‘Legalism’ is the misguided attempt to earn our salvation by obedience to the law. ‘Pharisaism’ is a preoccupation with the externals and minutiae of religious duty. To teach the standards of moral conduct which adorn the gospel is neither legalism nor pharisaism but plain apostolic Christianity.” (Stott, Between Two Worlds, p. 158). (emphasis added)
I read this on Douglas Wilson’s blog this morning, but, I think it is such a great quote, I wanted to “file” it here for myself…and to share it with you, too.
This fear of being branded a “legalist” or a “Pharisee” is not limited to pastors. I have seen it often in the lives of lay Christians as well (myself included!).
We need to remember that careful, thoughtful, and prayerful application of Scripture is not legalism.