Am I a Legalist?

Max Ogden
Noblesville, Indiana

Webster defines a legalist as one who is strict in adhering to law. I take it that this has reference to the law under which he lives. We should think that if the one who claimed to conform to the demands of the law, yet disregarded it when it did not suit him, would come short of his claim.

There may be many laws that we do not regard as so very important, and few people may know about them. There are other laws that seem so very important and are kept ever before us. For example: traffic laws. We are reminded of them often all along the road. The speed limit differs in states. I have been told by brethren who do not want to abide by it that it is alright to exceed it if you will stay within ten miles of it. I have never yet been told by brethren that it is resisting the power, and withstanding the ordinance of God. (Rom. 13:2.)

We gather from this that people do what they want to do regardless of the law. I have often wondered how one could successfully teach men to obey God's law while at the same time is disobedient to civil law. I wonder if those who would add ten miles to a civil law, would not add what suited them to God's law. I have heard brethren reason like this: "Where do we have scripture for a meeting house?" I have tried to figure out why they would make such a statement. I have decided that it is a way of saying that you don't have to stay within the limits of God's law. They do not explain that God commanded His people to assemble, and to carry out the command necessitated a place. I have heard asked: "Where is the passage for a microphone?" When I hear such statements without any explanation, I decide one is trying to practice in the name of religion things not commanded of God. Is not this the argument? If we can use a house to meet in not commanded, why not use something else that is even more effective?

Such reasoning will destroy every command of God. It will place sprinkling for baptism. It will change the worship commanded of God. We would do well to believe God. "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." (1 Pet. 4:11.) Mary said of Jesus, "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it."

Truth Magazine VII: 3, pp. 15
December 1962