Legalism: Pick your flavor 7

Two local youth pastors, two versions of legalism.

Youth Pastor A says that not kissing and cuddling your girlfriend is good legalism.

Be legalistic about stuff— i know that sounds crazy… but when it comes to striving for Holiness— the only environment i’ve been able to thrive in has been one that is seriously guarded

Youth Pastor B, a friend and admirer of pastor A, says that not wearing a crude T-shirt is bad legalism.

Sex is a wonderful thing in marriage and advertizing it is only taboo because the Legalists prudes in the south have made it that way.

It’s clear that we need a youth pastor summit to draft some rules so that we know if following their standards is good or bad.

7 thoughts on “Legalism: Pick your flavor

  1. David J Jul 10, 2009 10:07 am

    Reading after Brad Cooper is watching a man talk with two mouths. I’ve followed Brad for a while now after his famous “Freedom is here BAMF” spill here while back and what I see is a man confused and carnal. The following passage comes to mind:

    2 Timothy 3:1-5 (New International Version)

    2 Timothy 3

    Godlessness in the Last Days

    1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

    I find it sad how Brad said,”Fuse* believes in depravity… so all kids are going to be BY NATURE disrespectful…” Does this belief justify him refusing to talk, comment, and meet with me over his BAMF comments.

    Cooper said,”The key in my mind is to not FORCE behavior modification… but to introduce Christ and BEG GOD for Regenerated hearts….” The key is to lead by example and preach the whole council of God. Brad Cooper should ponder why the blind follow the blind. Brad Should and NS crew ponder why the Bible tell us:

    Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)

    Romans 12

    Place Your Life Before God

    1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

    Legalism in all forms will fail. The bottom line is completely selling to follow Jesus will result in a Godly example for all who follow you. Yes, we all fail and sin, but they can observe us repent and correct our errors.

    Does Brad Cooper guarding against one type sin permit him to commit verbal sin? Col 3:8

    Brad Cooper,”But the tension we hold in this all is that – WE DONT WANT TO COMMUNICATE VIA ACTION/WORD TO A STUDENT THAT THEY NEED TO LEARN TO BEHAVE… OR LEARN TO BE GOOD… BEFORE THEY CAN BE ACCEPTED— That would imply that a person should ‘clean up before coming to Christ’… and that’s Religion at it’s finest—”

    Is BAMF not vile?

    Jesus requires us to repent. The cleaning up process is after accepting Jesus. Teaching that we need to clean up before is wrong, teaching we must clean up after is simply following Jesus. One is a religion by teaching to clean up first, the other is discipleship striving to be like Jesus.

    Colossians 2:6-8 (New American Standard Bible)

    6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

    7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established [a]in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

    8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

    I really hope and pray that God wakes these men up. There outlook is clearly on good intentions, numbers, and spreading the name Jesus but their methods have become worldly, carnal, legalistic, and rebellious.

    This self-made religion will lead to bondage and failure. These pastor’s should have a hard conference with the Bible and see what it actually says about the things they are discussing.

  2. MW Jul 13, 2009 4:38 pm

    Just want to reiterate that I never said NOT wearing it was legalistic, but that judging someone who does where it is.

    Again, place and time, yes, but I love the promotion of marital foreplay or fondling (given that definition which I see as the only definition in marriage).

    I was at a Reformed camp this past weekend and a group of kids and youth pastors wore a shirt that said SEX in huge capital letters with a a small subtitle that said “after marriage.” The group was from a VERY prominent PCA church. I wonder what you guys think of that. I liked it because it was shocking enough to make you look and yet spoke the truth to the kids. It seemed a lot like something you guys would hate. any comments?

    • James Duncan Jul 14, 2009 12:42 am

      One other thought about that shirt, MW. If the designer put MARRIAGE in large text, then under it “before sex” in smaller letters, do you think it would sell? (Or if they wanted to be a bit hipper, WED then bed.)

      If the answer is no, doesn’t that tell you that the shirt is being driven by a sexed-up culture, not by a serious message about sexual sin? Doesn’t the “after marriage” fine print just function as a free pass for Christian teenagers to wear a sex T-shirt they otherwise couldn’t get away with?

  3. James Duncan Jul 13, 2009 4:58 pm


    We didn’t judge PN for wearing the shirt. He asked for advice. We thought it was unwise, and told him so. That does involve making a judgment, but I don’t think it’s JUDGING in the way that you condemn. We make judgments in life all the time. Again, the Biblical warning is not against all judging, it’s that if we judge other people for wearing dumb T-shirts (which we didn’t do), we’d better watch what we wear as well.

    Thanks for reminding me why I’m not a big fan of church youth camps. I don’t hate those shirts, but I wouldn’t wear one nor recommend that anyone else does. Your description and reaction explain the problem. Sex is used to shock, and the marriage part is literally the small print. Why not print the words with the same weight and size, especially when marriage is more important than sex?

    When the Bible talks about sex, it does not do so in a titillating fashion, which is what you enjoyed about these camp shirts. Its most sustained treatment of sex in the Song of Solomon is poetic, metaphorical and in a very soft focus. That is not the treatment I see these camps or churches replicating.

  4. MW Jul 14, 2009 11:30 am

    Yeah I agree.

    Actually I think those are both great ideas for t-shirts. I like the MARRIAGE “before sex” one. That’s pretty brilliant. I’m doing a series on relationships again in the late fall so I may have to make some t-shirts to go along with it. Thanks for the ideas!

    I think my reaction was due more to other peoples response in the last blog post not yours. I would agree that it isn’t wise to wear that t-shirt in certain places. But it seemed that some were judging it as a sin (i.e. those who said that people who were ok with it had no regard for scripture). That was what I was debating. Not the wisdom issue. I don’t normally get heated over an issue, but I felt to many emotions creeping up due to some of Tommy’s responses that ended up being more of a slam on me then a debate of the issue. That’s why I had to stop commenting for a while. I don’t debate if my emotions are attached because I won’t be open minded. I see debates as a way of hashing out the issues and coming to a conclusion that I feel more certain about (sometimes less).

    Anyway, just want you to know that I don’t have a problem with you saying that it isn’t wise to wear it, but to anyone else who may call it a sin, I would call that legalism.


  5. James Duncan Jul 15, 2009 1:14 am

    MW, you’ll be forwarding a royalty check to PP when you make up those tees, right?

  6. MW Jul 16, 2009 12:55 pm

    HAHAHA! sure buddy!

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