About the Blog

What is the point of this site?  It is pretty simple – combat legalism and legalistic thought within the body of Christ with the Truth that can be found through a faithful study of Scripture and a healthy use of common sense.  There are so many areas of life that can be negatively affected by the Pharisaical attitude called “legalism.”  Many have lived oppressed lives, never tasting the sweetness of grace.  Many have gone to their graves never having the chance to question man-made laws that kept them bound.  Many today cower under the authoritarian, dictatorial power wielded by the “faithful” that are “right with God.”  This site will offer the opportunity for anyone to discuss

  • what is legalistic and what is not;
  •  what the Bible demands by way of holiness, and what it does not;
  • various interpretations of certain controversial Scripture passages;
  • practical ways in which to live a life of grace without fear;
  • and how to live free without being a snare to a “weaker brother.”

Any and all comments, as long as they are respectful, will be welcome.  Dialogue is the key, not silence brought about by fear or intimidation.

[The following paragraphs were added 3/27/14]

But this blog is also about walking, falling, questions, humanity, and how God is able to receive glory from it all. Since first created in 2009, the amount of posts directly dealing with legalism might make up 30-35% of the total. The rest are posts about what I see, think, and experience as a Christian trying to live a life of grace.

Legalism will always be with us in some form or fashion, and I will always be subject to its lures (see my post about Building 429). However, if I am able to help others to understand that God’s love for us does not depend on our fulfillment of the Law, but simply His choice to love the unlovable and offer restoration through Jesus Christ, then this blog will be considered a success.

I’m just a country preacher, not a scholar, so if you don’t expect too much, you won’t be disappointed😉

86 responses to “About the Blog

  1. bluejeangospel

    This is great stuff. Glad to hear I have a new friend. My journey is one of being a through and through Pharisee as well. I see you’ve added Steve Brown to your blog roll, can’t say I know of a better source for a recovering legalist. Not sure if you’ve considered Philip Yancey’s writings (a couple books I’d highly recommend) on this topic.

  2. Jimmy

    Was glad to meet you today during lunch. I would love to get in touch with you again sometime. I really enjoyed our conversation.

  3. roy cavender

    GREAT TRUTHS!!!!!!!!

  4. Mr. Baker,

    I don’t know how you wish for me to address you: Mr. Baker, AC, A.C., A.C. Baker, or other.

    I have followed your comments on Heather’s blog for a few months now, and I appreciate your stand against legalism. I grew up in a legalistic subculture (friends, family, church, and school) that put more emphasis on rules and “letter of the law salvation” than on developing one’s relationship with Christ. I was so frustrated and angry by mid High School; I decided to chuck the whole thing. I told myself, “If I’m going to be bad, I’m going to be bad.” I wish I had not made that decision. I became the prodigal son in every way and eventually overdosed on cocaine twice in the same week – all by the age of 22. It was not until I was 34 years old (2004) that I submitted my life to God. In 2007 I felt driven to find my own Bible and chose the ESV. I immediately dove in and devoured the scripture with a hunger I had never experienced. I was, and still am, determined to find what God’s Holy Scripture says, as opposed to manmade opinion. I take the Bible literally when it says the Holy Spirit will teach us all things truth, providing we are teachable and open to receive that truth.

    The problem with legalism is that it is more than a set of manmade rules and regulations. It is an ideology that works its way into the very core of one’s subconscious, adversely affecting every decision, thought, belief, and action. I am now 40 years old and still find myself struggling to root out that ingrained prison of manmade “spiritual” doctrine.

    I will say this, for anyone who is trying to recover from a lifetime of legalism, open your whole self to God, find an excellent Bible (do your research), and study, study, study. If you don’t understand what you are reading, throw your biases and predispositions out the window and ask God to show you the meaning. If you are truly open to receiving his truth, whether it cuts you to the core or makes your heart cry out in praise and awesome worship, God will teach you because he wants you to understand.

    Mr. Baker thanks again for tackling the disease of legalism head on. What a great ministry.

  5. So glad you have this blog! Legalism is almost like a disease and yet no one wants to talk about it! Didn’t realize that reply above said the same thing! wow, maybe God is trying to tell us something!

  6. I have nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger Award! Please go to my link at Permalink: http://craigmotor.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/the-kreativ-blogger-award/ for details! Congratulations!

  7. Hi there! I just added a link to your blog on Greyskeil Rainbow’s blogroll. Keep up with writing😉

  8. Joe Quatrone, Jr.

    I am excited to look around your blog more, Anthony! I notice you are a musician, from Tennessee, and attending a Baptist seminary. I’m also a musician, lived in TN for a few months (pursuing music), and am also attending a Baptist seminary. You are currently a pastor and I hope to become a pastor soon! Keep in touch, brother!

  9. By the way, I nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award! Learn more about the award:http://annasonelife.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/versatile-blogger-award/

    May God Bless you!
    Anna

    • Why, thank you, Miss Anna! The only other award that comes to mind which would require more work would be Miss America. I guess I’ll settle with the Versatile Blogger😉

  10. Hi Anthony,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog today — and like I said there, I love your blog title.
    I, too, have come to see the subtlety of legalism in my own life, and have experienced a profound change in my Christian life. I used to live mostly by will-power, and saw that any change that produced was shallow and temporary.
    But what a difference it is to live by faith in all that Jesus promises to be to us. It’s a fight of faith — but how powerful when the Holy Spirit enables me to feel that Jesus really is infinitely more satisfying than anything else.
    So press on in your labor of love — for Jesus’ glory —
    Steve Fuller

  11. The one thing I remember about my legalistic phase was how tireing it was…soooooooooooooooo energy consuming. Of course I know a few people who become leaglistic in NOT being legalistic.

    • Yes, I understand. And OH how I know the legalistically non-legalistic type. For example, here’s a typical statement: “Look at the way those fanatics dress…don’t they know they’re out of God’s will?”

  12. If we lived close enough, I’d love to just come over and sit in a chair and enjoy your family. : )

  13. I attended a Fundamentalist college back in the early 70’s. I spent the first fifteen years of my ministry as a legalistic pastor. I never really felt comfortable with the concept but it was how I was trained and who was I to question. One day I met up with a pastor who graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary. We struck up a friendship and he helped me to detox from my fundy maladies. I am currently in a doctoral program at TTU in organizational leadership. When I was in Bible College, TTU was a Fundamentalist college. I am so proud they broke away from it. The college I attended never did and today they have about thirty students and have sold off their campus and moved into a church. Keep up the good work Anthony!

  14. David

    Wonderful, wonderful site! “Legalism” is a tricky thing in any form of spirituality, so it’s good to see someone address it. Keep up the great work!

  15. Legalism usually ends up vascillating wildly between one or the other of these two scenarios…Either it leaves the person beaten down because he has failed to measure up, or it puffs up in pride when the person is able to follow the “rules”. Legalism is a burden that we were never meant to carry nor can we. Thank God for the Gospel!

    Enjoyed perusing your blog.

    Blessings!

  16. I like your blog, especially the subject matter of legalism, which I believe has taken deep roots in Christian culture. Glad that you are bringing the truth of the gospel to those who are burdened with legalism. God bless you.

  17. Glad to discover your blog. Will be reading much!

  18. kzackuslheureux

    Yeah, right on man! I used to be a Baptist too. And well, now I’m just a follower of Christ. 🙂

    • Well…I am STILL a Baptist, just a better one😉

      • kzackuslheureux

        I’m still a girl who believe in her God and has two big Bibles in well used shape, my sons go to school and witness to their friends without any direction from me, so I guess the Spirit is strong with this family. Ha ha I just call my faith Love for my Maker, and my church, where ever I fit into the Body. I’ll try to stop back more often. 😉

  19. Pingback: Thank you for doing your jobs « altheavlive

  20. Amen brother. This attitude does much more harm than good. Church is not a museum for good people, but a hospital for the broken. We can’t cut-off what could be an open to lead them to Christ, by behaving in a way that’s a total turn-off to them. Great blog!

  21. Thought you were a retired lawyer till I saw Steve’s name in your sidebar. Now I know the joy behind the blog title! Legalism and grace, hmm, a bit like the difference between sarcasm and irony, between Jonathan Swift and Jane Austen. So glad I found your site!

  22. The Christian is never going to understand so-called “legalism” until he understands the aspect of what the Reformers like Luther and Calvin called Law & Gospel! It is a fact that the great Saul/Paul grapples with the Law of God like no other in the NT Letters! (Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, and both Philippians and Colossians, etc.)

    St. Paul’s 1 Cor. 9: 16-27 is so important to see, for here Paul combinations both his own calling & stewardship, in Law/Gospel (i.e. moral law) with the Gospel of Grace…”I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” (1 Cor. 9: 23) In the last paragraph and verses (24 thru 27) we can see Paul’s use of the moral-law itself, but within the Gospel…”So I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (26-27) Paul the great “servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set part (the great Jewish Pharisee) for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures concerning his Son..” (Rom. 1: 1-3)

    Rev. Robert K. Darby (ret.)
    D.Phil., Th.D.

  23. A. Avila

    Sir, I’ve nominated you for the “Interesting Blog Award”🙂 Check the info on my blog🙂 God Bless!

  24. Chris Jordan

    Hi! I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you for inspiring me with your blog! Congratulations! You can find the badge and details here: http://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/the-versatile-blogger-award/.

  25. Good Morning! I have nominated you for the versatile blogger award. I really enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for allowing God to use you in such a mighty way. God bless you. You can find out more about the nomination here: http://encouragementforeveryday.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/i-am-nominated-the-versatile-blogger-award/

  26. charlie

    Thanks, Anthony, for your blog – and thanks for following my blog, Learning From God’s Word. God bless you and make you a blessing to many.

  27. The more I read your stuff, the more I enjoy it. Such great little bits of life wisdom, all wrapped up in a humorous and good natured Style. I added you to the list of the blogs I enjoy- keep it up sir, and thanks for blogging.🙂

  28. Hey there! Factoid for you: I just nominated you for the “Field of Flowers Award” (for which I was also nominated). If you want to accept it, just click the link to my nominations entry to see what it’s all about!🙂 (http://ourlightaffliction.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/nominated/)

  29. Anthony, so glad to find a brother in Christ. Bless you for the love and light you shine and the way you are building His kingdom through love and grace.

  30. Cool! Hope you continue your journey, realizing that Truth is a PATH we are LED on by the Holy Spirit, for our entire existence. It’s not owned, it’s followed. It’s not linear, it’s multi-faceted. : )

  31. Anthony would you ever consider doing a article on the controversy that is surrounding John MacArthur concerning the mark of the beast? Have you seen the youtube video of Jacob Prasch pleading with John to reconsider his theology? I post on TrueNews all the time and I can’t figure out why my wordpress username and password wont work here. Thanks for the blog forgive me not posting. Busy busy busy. I question my busyness wondering if I would be better off poor with more time.

    • Thanks for the question, Bill. To be honest, I was unaware of the controversy until you brought it up. I’ve done a little reading on it, but now that I have, I’m curious: what do you think, based on things I’ve already written, would be my response? I’m just curious what readers think I think.

      Honestly, at this moment I’m not sure how to respond.

  32. Hello. I was checking my email, and saw that someone liked a post on my blog, so as a courtesy I clicked on a link to one of his blog posts. His post was on the sinner’s prayer. I disagreed with the post, but did not comment.

    As I read the various comments that people made there I came across your comment. In it you shared your personal testimony. It made me smile. I will share mine here and I think you will know why I smiled.

    When I was 5 or 6 years old I visited a Sunday School class at big Baptist Church. The gospel was shared with us in a simple way using a black heart, a red heart, and a white heart. Then there was an invitation. I raised my little hand, and then was ushered into either a little room or maybe the hallway, and I repeated a prayer. Then I was told that I was saved, and nothing could ever change that. I am so thankful for that day. I am so thankful for my Savior.

    Thank you so much for sharing your testimony.

    Blessings,
    Theresa

  33. Chris Jordan

    Anthony – I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award! You can learn more about this award here: https://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/my-nomination-for-the-liebster-blog-award/

  34. Love this quote: “But this blog is also about walking, falling, questions, humanity, and how God is able to receive glory from it all” New follow here and found you from Wally Fry at https://truthinpalmyra.wordpress.com/
    (He says he’s not a pastor, but he has a pastor’s heart…) I’m am also a recovering legalist, so R-E-A-L-L-Y looking forward to reading more!!

  35. Reckon..bought the T shirt on legalism too, Better the law of The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus… have a good day.

  36. Pingback: Spring Break Day 2 – Truth in Palmyra

  37. HI Anthony Baker,
    In my thinking legalism is gone from many believers thoughts and theology and the ‘grace’ of sinning without consequence has taken its place. I too know something about legalism from my past experience in a church that I attended for eleven years just after my salvation experience. Grace does not nullify being obedient to Christ is my new thinking. The Bible makes it clear that our behaviour and our lifestyle matter in our wittness and in our growth in Christ. There is a distinction between legalism and grace that has not yet been ferreted out in a satisfactory way to account for the scripture teachings in much of the NT.

    Linda

    • Thank you for the comment, Linda. I appreciate you stopping by. However, if you wouldn’t mind, would you try to explain your position a little further? To be very honest, I don’t quite understand what you mean. What do you mean when you say the “distinction between legalism and grace…has not yet been ferreted out in a satisfactory way to account for the scripture teaching”? Please clarify.

      • God’s Word is good and righteous the Bible says. Therefore, it is not legalistic in the sense that God’s Word damages the believer. What we have are believers and church leaders who are looking to the world for their moral standards, for their conduct, and their beliefs.

        The mature christian already knows how to please God. God’s requirements are not grievous to them. They can comply quite easily to what God asks of them. They are in agreement with God’s commandments.

        God’s Word damages the believer when it is misused by men (women) to control, to exert power and authority over others, to manipulate, especially the believer.
        If we are functioning properly we do not misuse the Word of God. Paul gave many exhortations in the authority of Christ for the believer’s behaviour and conduct. We do not consider these legalistic in the NT.

        Today’s grace teaching has to be distorted and incorrect if it does not endorse and preach the teachings of the NT. There is no question about this.

      • But Linda, what are you saying? Are you questioning my definition of legalism? Are you disagreeing with something I’ve written? What behavior and conduct of which Paul spoke are you referring to? Do you see me twisting grace, or are you agreeing with me about legalism?

  38. Hi Anthony,
    I’m not clear on what your definition of legalism is. My own experience of legalism is the misuse of God’s Word and the faulty personality of leaders who use God’s Word to manipulate and control the believer’s behaviour and thinking. Paul speaks about certain behaviours in all of of his books to the church. I recently read I Thessalonians and Paul is talking about what he taught the believers about how to live and conduct themselves. Today many would consider this legalistic, but it cannot be.

    I’m not sure if you are twisting grace. I came across your site yesterday.
    God’s Word has to be administered with the right spirit, which is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not abuse people. I think there are alot of believers and leaders today who are functioning in their own spirit. They’ve changed many churches legally in North America to corporations subject to the same laws as international corporations under the control of unbelievers. Many popular leaders today are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They make a lot of personal wealth off the gospel. I recently read that one such leader has a personal wealth of over 600 million dollars. They teach the believer to be covetous and worldly, desiring the same things as unbelievers, and so on.

    I’m not sure if I have answered your queries put to me. I believe that the grace message taught today is incorrect and in error. They are not teaching the grace of the Bible. We don’t see what they teach in the NT Bible teachings. Why not? Because these leaders are teaching something out of their own spirit.

    • Linda, thanks for your response. That helps a lot.

      Simply put, I define legalism as the belief that one’s adherence to certain points will guarantee one’s spirituality. Legalism cares less (if anything) about the heart and more about the letter of the law. If you want to look it up on my blog (I’m typing on my cell phone), I wrote a detailed piece called “Why Be a Legalist?”

      You covered a lot of issues in your comment. It would be great to address them individually. I’ll cover one or two at this time (briefly).

      I am a Southern Baptist pastor. However, unlike what many think, Southern Baptist churches are all autonomous – we are not linked – we do not answer to any ecclesiastical body. Our congregation is self-governed.

      I am the pastor of my church, but I don’t “run” it. I make a salary for being the pastor, bur I don’t make any decisions regarding church finances. I give my advice when needed, but I don’t have access to the checkbook. Therefore, there no way for me to get wealthy.

      Now, as I see it, I don’t think I ever “twist grace.” I’d be more than happy to discuss it should you find an example.

      Well, I have a meeting to attend, so I must go. I’d be happy to continue a little later.

      • Hi Anthony,
        I found this teaching on the righteousness of God obtained through the work of the Spirit of God and the atonement of Christ on the cross. This teaching explains the scripture about the Kingdom of God and the righteousness of Christ better than I have ever heard it explained. It makes sense to me.
        Here is the link.
        http://www.wor.org/daily-word/7012/?return_url=/daily-word/archives/
        Go to ‘ You are my People # 10′ You can do this at the bottom of the page from Archives for the last fourteen days.

        The reason I am so confidant of his teaching is that I have experienced what he is saying in this teaching myself over a period of thirty years. Currently, my grey hair is turning dark and going back to its’ natural color. I am receiving some sort of confirmation or restoration from the Spirit of God that is manifesting in my physical body.

        Linda

      • Well, without going any further than to where the link initially takes me, all I can say is that I wholeheartedly disagree with the author’s teaching/understand of grace. One would have to deny the veracity of the majority of the New Testament (primarily the epistles) in order to denigrate and malign the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ by calling it “magical” nonsense.

  39. Sure, if you think we have more to talk about.

  40. Hi Anthony,
    It’s very difficult to have a full teaching in a small article as these Daily Words are. I have been visiting a number of his messages and its clear to me that he is not teaching what you think. He is saying that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ when we are called of God. And this saving faith the Bible says is not even from ourselves. It is given to us by God. Then we begin a process of having the Spirit of God sanctify the believer and work in our hearts until the commandments are are written there. This is scriptural. The NT is full of behaviour and moral commandments for the believer to obey in the writings of Paul the Apostle and all other writers of cannon scripture. The current grace teaching of not having to think about our behaviour cannot be right. This current teaching of what God’s grace is and how it applies to the believer is contrary to the teachings in the NT. God’s grace enables the believer to keep the commandments that the Bible says are not grievous.
    Bob Thompson is saying that the goal for several hundred years has been heaven but the goal is really the Kingdom of God coming to the earth and the part that the believer plays in this. We see this in the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray. God’s word is exclusive. He says that no ‘liar, adulterer, etc, will enter the kingdom of God. It’s not open to disobedient believers at the end. God’s grace applies while we are ‘working out our salvation with trembling and fear’ the Bible says.
    There are so many scriptures to refute the current teachings in many churches. This cannot happen. God’s word is not confusing, it does not contradict itself. It never changes, the Bible says. What has changed is man putting in his own interpretation in a way he would desire things to be. But it is the truth that matters.

    Linda

    • Hi Anthony,
      Currently on the Daily Word Thompson is dealing with the Jew and Gentile ‘church’. He says in today’s Daily Word that the Gentile has been grafted into the Jewish Olive Tree. We are told this in scripture that we Gentiles are grafted as a wild branch into the natural olive tree. I think it will be interesting to read what Thompson says about this issue. This has been difficult for some (many?) in the church. Especially Jewish converts coming from a traditional background.

      My issue about this was the statements by God in scripture of having established an eternal convenant with the Jews of the OT. How could this be when it appeared that the Jews rejected his Son and a Gentile church of believers was established.
      You have my e-mail address. I can explain to you what scriptures I am thinking about to decide whether Thompson has enough truth in what he is teaching. The Bible states that this requires a witness of two or three or more in scripture.

  41. Anthony,

    I’m currently working on prepping my guest post. When it is finished, where should I send it?

  42. Pingback: Just Mow – INSPIRATION with an ATTITUDE

  43. The premise of your blog reminds me of something my 24-year old step son said to me the other day. As he was spewing venomous statements against people of various races, I reminded him that he was, in fact a professed Christian. This boy, raised in the catholic church turned to me and said, “Well at least I haven’t committed a ‘cardinal’ sin.” I, being more of a Jesus freak than someone of the dogmatic bend, responded “Where is the book of cardinal sins?” And that’s about where it ended!

  44. I like that you are taking a stand against legalism. A famous Ming Era aphorism goes: Sterile waters have no fish and pedants fail to see the big picture. Thus, legalists are like proud pedants, who I like to compare to brittle and impossibly thin crystal glassware, and the man of discipline and adherence to the spirit of principle is like an iron cup. The latter’s profound humility and substance allows it to weather all situations and be reworked if it has to (i.e. recognize faults and repent). The former will shatter at the slightest mishap (they would rather save face at any cost than change). They think they are virtuous but their pride has already done them in, and demons can easily take advantage of that. For instance, in Acts 16:17, Paul saw through the posessed sorceresses’ stratagem hidden behind the praises, but a legalist would probably have been so flattered he would eventually be ensnared.

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