The New Legalism

The ‘New Legalism’, by Anthony Bradley

I totally agree with this article. The hyper-intense organic and/or missional folk have lost sight of simple truths like family, vocation and existing community. When following Christ comes at the expense of the basics, rather than taking root there, it won’t last. Eventually, they burn out.

8 responses

  1. Excellent article. So much damage to the church has been done by preachers of the lie that “God has a plan for your life”.

    Bradley nails it in: “(there should be) …no pressure to be awesome, no expectations of fame but simply following the call to be men and women of virtue and inviting their friends and neighbors to do the same in every area of life.”

    Virtue is what precisely what these new Christian kids lack. They are filled with mere good works, yet in lifestyle live no differently from the heathen they claim to serve.

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  2. Great article! Years ago, a friend was told that she needed to follow her dream of becoming a Christian singer. She was torn about what to do, being married and having two children. I encouraged her to accept and enjoy her role as a wife and mother as the most important responsibility she could have. Following our dreams is not what Jesus preached. Being a follower of Jesus Christ where we are, in our home, on our jobs, in the grind of everyday living, is what God commands. Oswald Chambers has been a great teacher for me in this area. A tragedy I’ve seen in the church is when pastors believe they are to become successful, in their own eyes, working hard to grow ‘their’ church, while neglecting their families. We have become a generation that seeks to fulfill our own dreams and what we deem successful. Often times, that means seeking to do something ‘big’ for God while what He desires are hearts that seek Him.

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    • Yes MJ, the mass-media today distorts our view of what the church is and is supposed to be.
      The vista we are constantly shown is of apparent thousands of vociferous, high-profile churches, led by loud, telegenic career-minded pastors who use sheer charisma and force of personality to goad armies of scripturally shallow young people into lives of dramatic, politically tainted ‘social gospel’ works. What we do not see and are never shown (by reason of the natural humility and lack of exhibitionism which attends true Christian living) is the many millions more low profile churches in existence that are pastored by unassuming men whose work is more correctly centred on simple preaching and teaching of salvation by grace and exhortation of their tiny yet in fact numerous flocks to pure and consecrated, clean, neighbourly living, their lights shining before men, that local unbelievers in their quiet suburban streets may see their good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven.

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  3. Humility is needed in the church today and something I am striving to achieve. Being hurt by the church hardened my heart and I am currently working toward seeking God in a new and true way. It’s good to listen to leaders in the church, but with great caution and with much wisdom in being sure it lines up with God’s Word. There is so much in His Word that talks about our heart’s condition, not about doing something we think is big for God. It is a big thing when a heart desires to follow God! I think of the time Jesus told his disciples not to rejoice that demons were bound and miracles were happening, but to rejoice that their names are written in the Book of Life! God’s plan for our lives is to love as He loved, wherever we are.

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  4. huh this article is not about hyper intense organic churches… not sure how you got that primarily out of it. The ‘radical’ and ‘missional’ push is all over the evangelical institutional church in spades.
    The article was not balanced at all… he would have done better to just focus on the issue without using another extreme (suburbia) to make his point. Newsflash many people are single or can’t have kids… not by choice. It’s like his audience is relatively well off middle class people that have become stressed or derailed by the pressure to achieve a lot and be different.
    The last thing america needs is more people just trying to dedicate all their time to living the american dream at the expense of the less fortunate.
    I 100% agree people should not be made to feel guilty if they invest in their vocation, workplace, family and local community… we need more of that.
    To actually engage work, community and family fully is pretty radical and missional because most people need a lot of grace to do that… its tough.
    There are plenty of churches, eg mainline ones that focus on promoting virtue and being a solid contributing member of society and workplace… that has its place but its not for everyone.
    Seems the author needs to get out more and explore how other christians live… the grass isn’t always greener.

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    • To clarify. Guilt for believing we can have it all, is good guilt. Shame that we are defective or unloved or useless is not helpful or constructive.
      So pressure to achieve something significant in public eyes or go live on the mission field is unhelpful. But then a bit of guilt at the level of consumption we in the west have, how little we share with the rest of the world and how much we feel we need to live a comfortable life is a good thing. So stay in the suburbs and have your 2.5 children, but maybe you don’t need a 2000ft² house, with all sorts of debt. Christian virtues are pretty radical such that we need god.

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    • Eli, the issues raised in this article are spot on regarding some of the increasingly evident problems within the “hyper intense” organic community – as well as any other so-called “radical” wing of the Church where the virtues of family, vocation and community are sacrificed to someone’s “grand vision”.

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  5. Pingback: Stories of Redemption « Crossroad Junction

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