Legality and Sincerity

Goebel Music, in his text Behold the Pattern!, blithely responds to the charge of being a legalist by quipping, “I’d rather be a legalist than an illegalist!”

Which makes about as much sense as someone responding to the charge of worshiping contrary to God’s command – but sincerely – by saying, “I’d rather worship sincerely than insincerely!”

Both quips miss the point, you see.

It’s too easy to do when paradigms are so far separated that someone from one background can’t understand the arguments from another background.

So often, attempts at dialogue and even debate are stymied by deep differences – not just in language, terms and idiom – but in the underlying assumptions upon which attempts at logical argument are made.

And we’re not being honest with ourselves if we think there are no assumptions on “our” side, just on “theirs.”

My desire is for clarity. I’ll bet it’s yours, too.

So how do we get past the need for tinted lenses in the way we view scripture, our beliefs and each other?

I think we need to ask for help.

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” ~ Jesus, John 16:13

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” ~ Jesus, Luke 11:13

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” ~ Paul, Ephesians 1:17

Of course, if we don’t really deep-down take Jesus at His word and don’t believe that God still offers the gift of His discerning Spirit to help His children … well, we might as well just keep depending on our infallible human logic.

We might as well just go on being sincere and legal.

(That’s been working so well for us.)

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