Legalism As Self-Idolatry

Legalism can be a symptom of self-idolatry.

The words of John the Baptist come to mind – his words and actions tell us that Jesus must increase and that we must decrease. But we can get that backwards.

Researching Dallas Jenkins, creator of The Chosen, I came across a bunch of self-idolators. For every video Jenkins posted on YouTube I found several criticizing him and his ministry for what seem foolish reasons.

Ticky-tacky disputes over his portrayal of a certain character come to mind. An accusation that he is replacing scripture with drama. The allegation that this is one man’s interpretation (as your own and that of your pastor). The list goes on but I won’t bore you here.

But Jenkins isn’t alone in a floodtide of slander.

Just about anyone who is doing something significant in the kingdom comes under attack from amateur theologians – whom I suspect of producing no fruit, just weeds.

But I kind of want to go a little bit further with his little foxes that spoil things. The legalism argument, you know, in John, chapter three, John the Baptist talks about Jesus. And one thing he says is He must increase, and I must decrease.

These religious nuts are extremely legalistic about their opinions. It’s a form of self-idolatry.

Any time you appoint yourself the fourth member of the trinity you’re putting yourself on par with the Holy Spirit as a discerner of truth. This is dangerous business in the face of the Creator who tells us to have no other gods and adjures us not to judge lest we be judged.

When we judge others unjustly we’re worshipping ourselves and our opinions more than God. We’ve become idolators.

I realize this may anger some readers and that is my point.

Let’s get around to embracing and encouraging those who build the kingdom even if they do it differently than we would.

Let’s be smart enough to know that none of us knows everything and that our individual views of the Kingdom and of scripture, however well informed, are the opinion of one person – you or me.

If this short piece angers you, beware as you might be one of those little foxes that spoil the vine.




2 thoughts on “Legalism As Self-Idolatry”

  1. Well said, too many of us believe that only our way is the correct way to do things and goes well beyond our Biblical point of view. Today we cannot have a conversation with someone who disagrees with us. Too often in some churches there is more discussion about politics than what God is doing among those in attendance. The current political situation at any given time is a result of the church’s (us) doing or not doing what God has called us to do.

    1. Well said Mike!

      We’ve substituted an institutional outlook for basic biblical truth. But, the future looks brighter than the immediate past. Seems young leaders are more focused on the word, loving people regardless and keeping church simple.

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