I weighed into a discussion of legalism run amok with the following:
Subject: The bottom line?
Date: 3/24/99 07:56
Seems like we've ranged far afield here lately with discussions of polygamy, Lindvall, etc., etc. It struck me late last night that there are a number of common threads. Those of us that are women have a hard time not reacting to the negative attitudes portrayed---that a woman cannot be whole without a husband...that a woman should not even communicate her Faith to her children...etc. But that is just a symptom of the rotten foundation that undergirds this teaching, be it the "Patriarchal Movement", Lindvall, Gothard, or whatever crackpot Chris will discover next.
The bottom line comes back to that same thing that Mike keeps bringing up---you know, that annoying gnat-like topic. The more I study it, the more I see it as the foundational issue to our Christianity.
Lately I've been feasting on Galatians. I've been reading it, meditating on it, studying it, dissecting it. And I feel as if I'm finally beginning to scratch the surface of that wonderful book. I'd encourage everyone to immerse themselves deeply in this book, as the issues of the Galatian church are alive and well today. No, not alive and well---alive and very sick indeed. The American Church is infected with the same disease that Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was combating.
Look at the Rivendell site, that wacko patriarchal site, Lindvall's site, Gothard's materials---what is elevated? Who is largely missing? We read a lot about Law, either the Mosaic Law or man's interpretation of it and addition to it. We read about returning to that Law, embracing it more fully, emulating those who were under it, expanding it further. We read little or nothing about Christ, about loving Him with our whole hearts, minds, strength---about pursuing Him with passion and with every fiber of our being. We read little or nothing about loving others as we would love ourselves. So, under such a Christ-less and Law-based system, one that ignores grace, how can we be surprised that all sorts of false teaching flows?
We can't expect Christ's grace to be sufficient to bring wholeness to a hurting woman; only what's-his-name can do that by violating the marriage vows he took with his wife. We can't expect a mother's life to be lived so in fellowship with her Lord that her every word gives testimony to Him and that she is, by living with her children, continually instructing them in the Faith---no, she must allow only her husband to do so. How, I ask you, can a woman whose passion is Jesus possibly not be telling her children about Him? How can the teaching of Scripture not be woven into the very fabric of her interactions with her children? The only reason Lindvall can teach this sort of nonsense is because he has never seen someone whose life is consumed by what Jesus has done for her, rather than a life that is consumed by Law. Just because we all fall short in that area, doesn't mean we should admit complete defeat and do even less!
So why do people continually eat this stuff up? I have a number of theories. A big part of it is pride. As Rick has said, "It's neat to be elite" and we pride ourselves in our "high standards", our adherence to Law, our greater righteousness than those people who simply rely on grace. (Besides, how do we know it isn't "greasy grace"? If they were really concerned with righteousness, they'd buy into our system.) We want to do things on our own strength. We want a proscribed system that will give us all the answers. We want a measuring stick to tell us we're OK. We don't want to admit that we can't earn brownie points with God. We don't want to admit our bankruptcy before Him, our utter helplessness, our sinfulness, our weakness. We don't want freedom. We want easy answers. We want chains.
I've been there. It's still painful for me to see Lindvall, who has blessed our family greatly, criticized here. It's difficult for me to admit that he's fallen prey to the same errors of legalism as Gothard et. al. But the evidence is clear.
Galatians says it so plainly. We have to decide: which covenant are we going to live under? Are we going to hang around Sinai or are we going to leave Sinai and live in Zion? Are we going to negate what Christ did for us on the Cross or are we going to live according to grace? We can discuss all the side issues, but we're just spinning wheels until we are willing to face what the bottom line is in all this.