The Legalism of Professing "Gracers"

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Dear Reader,

The following post by A. Leroy Moore on the SDANet forum, demonstrates the legalism of professing gracers:

"Bob, I do not doubt that many Adventists are inconsistent.
This has been true of God's people through the ages. It
has always been that only a "remnant" of His "remnant"
has been truly obedient. Many are and have been either
nominal Christian's, with little regard to the importance
of obedience or legalistic, with intense focus upon
obedience that obscures the fact that true obedience
is from the heart and exists only when it involves
personal, loving relationships with the focus upon
Christ and His desire for our good and His eagerness to
share with us His love, via our obedient relationship.

It is of interest that the lax (not always liberal in
theology) Christian (whether or not SDA) is also
legalistic--anti-legalistic legalism. Only their focus
on law is negative, tending to diminish its importance.

It may come as a surprise to you when I say that your
arguments here and in other posts on this topic reflect
a legalism that exists even while you seek to counter
legalism. Legalism results from any legal focus upon
the law--whether insisting upon its observance or
in negating faithful obedience.

When properly understood, God's laws are NOT arbitrary
but convey principles of life involving life-giving
relationships. And, since God is solely concerned for
our spiritual and physical growth, His laws are always
practical and do not require the impossible. According
to your view it would be impossible to be a consistent
Sabbath keeper and live in the world of today.

But in fact, God gives guide lines to enable us to know
how to apply His principles. Bille's response to which
you reply with the charge of inconsistency provided
vital principles relating to the Sabbath which make
consistent Sabbath observance possible. These involve
ministry, meeting necessities of life, and the preser-
vation of life, whether of man or of animals.

Jesus, whose high regard for the Sabbath caused Him
to counsel His disciples to pray that their "flight
be ... not on the Sabbath" Himself reproved those
who accused Him of Sabbath breaking. Their legalistic
mind set prevented them from seeing that the law itself
(Moses writings) provides for necessary work relating
to ministry. Thus, the priests were guiltless in doing
on the Sabbath what would normally be unlawful:

Or, have ye not read in the law, how that on
the Sabbath days the priests in the temple
profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? ...
But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will
have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not
have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of
man is Lord even of the Sabbath day (Mt 12:5-8).

As Lord of the Sabbath, He expects full obedience. But
He is not legalistic, but reasonable in His demands.
His principles are both practical and merciful (Mt 9:13).
He never gives laws that cannot be kept and is merciful
with those who, while sincerely seeking to follow those
principles, but in some ways fail.

The priests on the other hand, were blind to the princ-
iples and focused upon the law itself, instead than upon
the Law Maker--Whom they accused of Sabbath breaking!

Those principles include such things as you identify
as inconsistent, Bob. Christ was not inconsistent,
neither are true Sabbath observers who look forward to
this as time to spend in communion with God, family,
and other Christians and in Christian ministry--
which often involves responsibilities that require
deviation from the norm.

As for the question of renting buildings, turning on
the tap, etc., these are by no means outside the principles
of true Sabbath observance--whether the service involved
be by Sabbath observers or non-observers. Indeed, when
we own our own such facilities, those who provide the
minimal care essential are "guiltless." We sometimes
own our own water systems, for example. We care for the
basic necessities of such systems as we should. And we
also care for powerhouses, operate boarding school cafe-
terias, etc. But this is not "license" to do general
maintenance, cleaning or anything that can wait till
the work week.

I will address your last three paragraphs in a separate

A. Leroy Moore