I don't often write on theological stuff because, quite frankly, I find theology boring as all get out. Theology is what a bunch of old men talk about when they want to try to bore one another to death. They get all hung up, and nuts even about, such minor points as whether it will be a pre-tribulation rapture or a mid-tribulation rapture. Who cares? We're going to have a rapture AND a tribulation and God knows when it will be. All we have to worry about is whether we're in a right relationship with Him.
Well, yesterday I asked a lady if she had watched a DVD that I had loaned her of a sermon that James MacDonald gave on living as a Christian in tough economic times. "Yes, I did watch it," she replied. "He's awfully legalistic." Legalistic? Or was he just being honest? MacDonald preaches is a very, "in your face" sort of style. He doesn't sugar-coat the truth of the Bible and he often confronts you with what the Bible says vs what society says. In the Bible, God makes some very direct statements regarding such things as tithing, serving others, loving your enemies, forgiving others, and so forth. Is it "legalistic" to preach these things, to preach what God thinks if His children ignore His standards? I don't think so. Take tithing, for example. In Malachi 3 God commands us to "bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in My house". He then goes on to say that we should test Him in this and see if we won't be blessed beyond measure. Is it legalistic to say that if we don't tithe, even during tough economic times, that God will withhold blessing us? I don't think so.
We Christians seem to want to throw around the term "legalism" with every c all by someone to live according to God's standards. Society has so poisoned our thinking that if we hear someone preaching a black and white standard such as tithing we call it legalism rather than rejoicing in the fact that God has made plain to us that we will be rewarded for our obedience.