Book by a Recovering Christian Legalist

Book by a Recovering Christian Legalist | June's Journal image 1

We’ve all met legalistic Christians. ¬†Christians who expect others to worship, live, and think like them. ¬†They judge other Christians harshly. ¬†It’s their way or the highway–to hell. ¬†In a handbasket. ¬†You could call them self-righteous.

Well, every now and then a legalistic Christian recovers. ¬† Will Davis Jr is such a Christian. ¬†He wrote a book containing what he describes as his “confessions of a recovering legalist.” ¬†The book’s title is, “10 Things Jesus Never Said.” ¬†You can watch a video of him below introducing himself and the book. ¬†You can also read the recent book review by Christianity Today.

Legalism is a topic I’d like to discuss in more detail one day. ¬†Way too many Christians are (often unknowingly) extremely legalistic. ¬†Sadly, they’re often¬†hypocrites¬†too. ¬†Doing the very things they tell others not to do. ¬†Sometimes an entire church or local body of believers can be legalistic over one or two issues.

It’s important to agree on the essentials of the Christian doctrine. ¬†But Christians tragically push their personal convictions onto other Christians. ¬†As though their personal convictions are fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith.

Saint Augustine summerizes it best in famous quote that says, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

What are essentials of the faith? ¬†They are the core beliefs of Christianity. ¬†Things like “Jesus died on the cross for our sins.” ¬†This is a basic, fundamental belief. ¬†But then there are non-essential beliefs. ¬†Things like drinking alcohol. ¬†Some Christians think it’s wrong to drink. ¬†Others don’t. ¬†The Bible doesn’t¬†explicitly¬†say one way or the other. ¬†(Although it does speak about getting intoxicated. That one should not get drunk.) ¬†For non-essential beliefs like this one, we should have “liberty” to make our own decision, based on prayer and reading the Bible of course. ¬†And we shouldn’t judge other Christians who believe differently than us on non-essential beliefs.

Legalistic Christians often like to quote¬†1 Corinthians 8:9 which says, “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” ¬† While this is an important scripture, legalistic Christians manipulate it to fit their misguided agenda. ¬†They feel it authorizes them to halt any liberty practiced by a fellow member of their church to which they don’t ascribe.

There’s a local pastor in my area who preached on this portion of scripture. ¬†Pastor Aaron Campbell of Antioch Fellowship. ¬†He does a great job examining¬†this (often¬†controversial¬†and touchy) topic. ¬†Click here to listen to his sermon.

Question:  What are your thoughts about the above video?  Do you know any legalistic Christians?  Were you once a legalistic Christian?  Do you believe Christians should not push their personal convictions onto others?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Tell me by typing a comment below.


  1. […] summary, Christians who are “religious” like the Pharisees (outer¬†appearances¬†and legalism if you will aka “Christian¬†Legalist“) and not really being about what Jesus Himself […]

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