Legalism Vs. Love and Truth

Legalism Vs Love Truth

Legalism Vs Love TruthMy heart is saddened a bit this morning.  Several weeks ago I contacted an online Christian women’s magazine about placing an ad directing believers to my website to get free daily Christian meditations.  After a week with no response, I sent a follow up email and this is the reply I received.

Thank you for your letter. I held on to it to check with a few others and so it took me a while longer than usual. Personally I think the site looks great, but because we have such a legalistic section of an audience I feel that I should avoid websites that may spark controversy among some of the readers, who may misinterpretit as new age. For this reason we have decided that we have to decline. Live Well!”

I have underlined several passages of this letter that I would like to address.  First, it is still beyond me why so many Christians are “legalistic.” If anyone should be tolerant and compassionate it should be us!  I don’t mean tolerant of sin, but tolerant of our brothers and sisters as well as the unbeliever.  Jesus said love your neighbor as yourself.  That doesn’t imply to love him only if he thinks like you, acts like you, looks like you, or is a Christian like you. Your neighbor may be the gay couple with 6 adopted kids! I know that will make some Christian’s cringe. Maybe if we stop being so judgmental we can actually love some people into a relationship with Christ by being a reflection of God’s love.

When I think of legalism I think of the Pharisees and their ritualistic rhetoric that kept people from truly knowing God and instead put them in bondage. Isn’t that what we want to get away from? Do we keep the truth from the masses in order not to offend a few?  Now, I’m not at all trying to exalt myself or my ministry, but maybe, just maybe there are followers of Jesus that would find dwelling in God presence a breathe of fresh air, who want peace of mind, or could stand a little more  joy.

And controversy, what’s wrong with a little controversy. In fact, isn’t that what Jesus was all about, taking the covers off hypocrisy and insisting that we stand for what is true. Jesus said that living out the kingdom of God would offend some people; I guess those are the legalistic ones. It reminds me of being in churches where the spirit of God wants to move and do something new, but the elders or the board couldn’t get past old traditions and methods, thus the church remained stagnate. God tells us to not grieve the Holy Spirit, but we do that anytime we put limits on God.

It’s sad when a few in authority dictate what’s best for us all. That is why whether you attend church or not, you MUST SEEK and KNOW God for yourself.  There is no substitute for spending time with God alone and learning to hear his voice and discern his spirit. Sermons and reading the experiences of others are helpful, but first and foremost, build a relationship with God built on abiding with Him and reading God’s Word for yourself.

The only reason that someone would misinterpret my ministry and website as promoting new age is that they’ve embraced the lie that meditation or meditating on God is something evil.  Hmmm I wonder where that came from? But how can that be, when to meditate means to ponder, think about, contemplate, and to put your attention to.  We all meditate all day long, the problem is that most people meditate on the wrong things; things that are not uplifting or positive. Things that have nothing to do with God. That’s why so many Christians suffer from worry, fear, unbelief, and host of other toxic emotions.  Oh, and that’s probably why they tend to be so legalistic.

Well I guess the letter did end on a positive note, to “Live Well.”  Yes, that is what I am trying to do and to help others do the same.  The question sometimes remains, “How do I do that?”  How do I live well when I have all these problems?  How do I live well when I am filled with fear, depression, and negative thoughts and I’ve been a Christian for 20 years?  I get letters like this everyday.  But regardless of whether it appears new age, my ministry always turns people back to Jesus, back to the Secret Place of dwelling with Him. It’s the only place of true comfort.

I know I may sound a little angry and maybe just a little. 🙂 But even more so, I’m disappointed.  But Praise God for His Secret Place, that place we can go to abide under the shadow of the Almighty. That’s what I did, I went to God and abided with Him in that place and I shared with Him my disappointment  and He just loved me back to peace.

Today during my quiet time with God and reading out of the book of Hosea 7:14 it said, “They do not cry out to me from their hearts but wail upon their beds.”  If we are going to cry, God wants us to cry to Him because He is our comfort as well as our answer!

When you feel like I did today, disappointed, angry, or even sad, don’t just whine, cry, complain, yell at your kids, kick the dog,  or eat a dozen donuts, (for me chocolate cake) go to the Secret Place in God and tell Him how you feel and let him comfort you.  Let him take your burdens away.

Your comments are welcomed. Please reply under comments at top of post.

Blessings
P.S.- Christian Meditation of the Month Club!

On June 15 I will be launching the Christian Meditation
of the Month Club. For a very very low monthly fee you can enjoy my
Christian meditations month after month.  So please check the website
on June 15 or watch your email.<–>

17 thoughts on “Legalism Vs. Love and Truth

  1. Lorrie says:

    I am grateful for people of deep faith who demonstrate the love Jesus taught by who he was as well as what he said. It took me years to find my way past the street corner Christians who preached only hate and fear to people who lived their Christianity in their welcome to me and their patience as I came to faith at my own pace. I find it ironic that legalism replaces imitation of Christ. Just as Jesus pointed to the Father rather than to himself, so too Scripture points past itself to its Source.

  2. Greetings Rhonda

    I am surprised that you are surprised at the response to your ad.
    It is fairly common knowledge – even to legalistic Christians — that new agers, Hindus, Buddhists, and many other spiritual paths promote meditation. There has been much literature on the dangers of opening up the mind to demonic influence — at least since the writings of Jesse Penn-Lewis (1912).

    Meditation is scriptural, but is it not different from say, Transcendental meditation, Yoga, Qi Gong, or other forms of meditations?

    If you were a pastor, would you allow someone outside your church to teach a spiritual technique you yourself had not studied and vetted?

    I practiced meditation when I studied yoga, many years ago (pre-salvation). My experience was that a deep state of mindfulness or awareness can attract beings who may not have my best interest in mind. My experiences were at times unsettling.

    Many of the “older” folks you might find in church probably came of age during the 1960’s. It is very likely that they or an acquaintance has had a negative meditation or trance experience. And they may be wary.

  3. Hi Allen,
    I noticed on your website an article regarding the Presence of God and contemplation. Perhaps the problem isn’t so much the practice of spending time with God but the semantics used to describe it. As you said meditating on God is scriptural as well as abiding in God’s presence. Jesus said that He and the Father are and we are to strive to be one spirit with God. If that is our motivation, there is no danger involved. But I think this type of thinking scares Christians away from a Biblical discipline that will enhance their life and walk with Christ. There is a vast difference between meditating on God and meditating for enlightenment. Thank you for your response.

  4. Stephen says:

    I am a disabled veteran who has benefited greatly from Rhonda’s meditations. I am a Christian who attends Liberty University and would like to know where in scripture we find that this meditating on God and His promises is wrong. When I use these meditations, I use them as a time to reflect on God and His Word. Nothing about this site is TM or has any relation to it. We as Christians are to love and support each other not engage in “legalism”. We were warned about being legalistic a long time ago. I would like to ask Allen or any pastor to show me scripture refuting your website. Thanks Rhonda, you have helped me in my efforts to recover from PTSD. I thank you for offering a Christian perspective that is so hard to find in this secular world. Thanks again.

  5. It is good not to be legalistic. It is good to want to get closer to God. It is also good for everyone to make up his or her own mind about such matters.

    We should all be Bereans. We should study and show ourself approved. We should not be afraid of being branded as being legalistic, if we are hesitant to accept some new spiritual technique which does not sit well with our spirit.

    Allow others to grow as you have grown. Allow God to teach others as He has taught you. Bear with the weaknesses and faults of others as God has borne with your weaknesses and faults.

    If God wants EVERYONE to meditate as Rhonda has taught, then He will surely guide us in that direction. I for one look forward to the day when everyone hears from the Lord and prophesies.

  6. Thanks for letting me know that you posted this. I completely understand your frustration, and I hope that my letter will further clarify my thoughts.

    I don’t mind saying that I am the one who wrote the letter in response to your query, and that the online magazine in question is CWO.

    I think that the main issue lies in the fact that while CWO may look like a large publication it’s tiny–just me running the entire thing. I’m not doing it for revenue, in fact I lose more money than I earn. But rather I’ve chosen to do it for a ministry, which has to be my only focus.

    If anyone comes to me with a self published book, I have to turn it down. Not because I assume the book isn’t wonderful, but because it could potentially contain something that I don’t agree with. It would be the same with your meditation tapes. While I think meditation is wonderful, necessary, and a Biblical command to Christians, there is no way that I have the time to first review the product to ensure that the meditation is sound.

    It is completely different if someone is offering jewelery, or t-shirts, or perfume that can be easily approved at a glance.

    So while I personally endorse and approve of Biblical meditation, I know that many readers would be leary, may question it, and I couldn’t answer to them with certainty.

    Bottom line is that lack of time is the biggest issue I face–not “meditation.”

  7. Phil says:

    Actually, to the born-again believers who don’t believe in Christian contemplation/meditation, Christian meditation has a very long history. I very much doubt that Hildegard of Bingen, St Francis of Assisi, St John of The Cross, or Teresa of Avila to name a few, would be opening themselves up to demonic influence. And their writings suggest in no way were they blind to the ways of people or the reality of evil and cruelty in the world.
    These are some of the most respected and loved Christian people through the centuries, and for some to say that, basically, St Francis was not a real Christian is preposterous. Some believers, sadly, don’t realise that Christianity has given such wonders as Gregorian chants, great art, the Renaissance, and Hildegard Von Bingen’s music. I don’t think chants about the Glory of God and Christ are evil. It is wise to be suspicious of the dubious self-helpy stuff in the “new age” category of bookstores, and other forms of meditation, but this is good stuff, I agree with the Disabled veteran, I also have had PTSD, and have found Rhonda’s stuff uplifting and mood enhancing

  8. Michael says:

    It isn’t that surprising. It is sad,
    but really not surprising.

    So many who claim to be
    Christians, totally live in fear.
    Of course, the Bible says,
    “The just shall live by faith.”
    But they haven’t a clue what
    it means to live by faith.
    So, they live in fear.

    Fear makes you legalistic.
    Fear has to have very well
    defined boundaries. That’s
    what legalism is all about.

    Jesus, the Bible is about
    freedom. Freedom from
    fear.

    I love what you do. I encourage
    you to keep going strong. You
    are doing something for
    Christians that they need.

  9. anonymous says:

    It would be nice to hear some constructive feedback, hopefully other bloggers can reply without getting personal. I think it’s really important for thoughtful comment to get heard about Christian legalism, because it is an issue putting some people off Christian beliefs, and turning some people away from the church because, unfortunately, they think all Christians fit into the fundamentalist camp, which I have found is just not true. The problem is how some people interpret The Bible, taking some quotes out of context, whilst ignoring other parts of it.
    I’m not 100% conversant with The Bible, as I’m fairly new to
    Christianity, but numerous people have told me that meditation is a Christian practice, when it is Christ-centered. It’s just like the
    difference between Christian faith healing and dubious forms of
    healing, one is Christ centered and the other isn’t, isn’t invoking
    the name of Christ to heal letting the right spirit in, well Christian
    meditation is the same, if you’re invoking Christ The Saviour and God, it ain’t Satan, so if Christian fundamentalists believe in faith
    healing but not meditation, well, isn’t faith healing
    supernaturalistic as well? I find it hard to believe that one could
    believe in prophecy but be so against Christ-centered meditation, your meditation cds invoke the Lord’s name, and use Biblical quotes, so how can it be Satan? It’s not like you’re quoting from the Bhagavad Gita.
    I’d like to hear people’s comment on this.

  10. anonymous says:

    I think you have to take a good look at some of the links that you have on your site, because they do seem a bit suspect, your concept of meditation, is new to the Christians out there. Lack of understanding, is the main thing that prevents them from really participating. Control by Pastors over their congregation is a major problem, if they did not come up with the concept they will shoot yours down. Several years ago, the Holy Spirit gave me a tool, I call it “the throne room experience” The leaders of the church shut me down, basically told me to stop and desist with the practice. All it takes is for you to sit back and relax and imagine steps going up to heaven, you use your imagination to walk up the steps until you see two pillars, then you step onto a floor, and look into the room until you see Jesus sitting on the throne. Or you can see Father, it depends on you. I ask them to go to Jesus and sit by His feet, or worship Him or just go and talk to Him. The tool helps them to have a personal relationship with Jesus. But it also gives me insight into where they are spiritually. As I get them to draw me a picture of what they see and experience and the Holy Spirit then intreprets for me what they see. Like dream interpretation. He highlights areas in their lives where they struggle, e.g. if they cannot see the steps, they are very likely not Born again. If they see gates, or shackles then they have stuff in their lives that have not been dealt with. It is a great tool, just like your meditation but because they do not understand it they will shy away from it. If you change the wording, from meditation to soaking in the presence, they will probably accept it more.
    The problem with Christians are they are too lazy, or too busy to spend time with the Lord.
    The sad part is they miss out on so much.
    Don’t give up but do consider changing the words as they do sound a bit new age.

  11. Suzanne says:

    Although, it also makes me sad when I read your blog – I am not surprised. I have friends in my life who always feel it is their duty to point out if I am going down an unChristian path. Some examples of this are: 1) going to a naturopath along with my regular doctor 2) using affirmations (it is like chanting to them) 3) Yoga moves and poses- actually it is stretching 4) Meditation – being still with God

    I tell them I will pray for them and they can pray for me. Is our God that small and Satan that big that we cannot be open to others? I also tell them if they really felt that strongly about using words that relate to Eastern religion and feel it is unChristian – they should not be using the words, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday or… the months of the year or… the planets name for they are all named after pagan Gods. In many people I find that religion is what is keeping them from the relationship with Christ. With this being said, we will keep praying they get set free from a bondage they do not know they are even in. It was once said to me. Relationship with Christ is like the bread and Religion is like the jam. You need the bread to live, the jam can enhance the bread.

    Please know you are not alone on your quest to make a difference. I, like you retreat to the peace I find through Christ.

  12. KD says:

    I think it is okay to meditate, because there are different kinds of meditation. Even the Bible says to meditate on God’s Word. How can we even apply the Word of God to our lives by only memorizing it in Sunday School or Bible Camp if we don’t find the meaning of it, who it was written for, and many other important things? It’s not just a magazine on a coffee table, it’s a buried treasure inside of a book, and we are the treasure hunters! When we come to the treasure, it’s a time to relish. That is how I see meditation in regards to the Bible. It’s not to empty your mind or not even use it, just the opposite. It’s getting insight and finding your way, and finding that secret place and dwelling in it as much as you need to. Meditation is more like a vehicle that helps us get there. So, here’s the key, what are you waiting for? 🙂
    I like this blog!

  13. KD says:

    I like the visualization of Anonymous (June 12th), it’s put in us to be creative, we are the image and likeness of God, the Creator. I’ve imagined myself in my favorite childhood place, a park that I lived near. I felt so happy and carefree, even when I had some bike crashes there, I felt like I was being watched over. It was like a little bit of Heaven to me. 😉

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