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Fifteen Percent is Not Enough by Merwin

Updated on June 13, 2010

The Vicious Circle of Supposed License For Sin

So... have you ever tried to discuss the existence of God with certain (for there are many) types of atheists? It is an eternal round about of smoke and mirrors and what they feel is obvious mutually reinforcing points, but is nothing more than circular reasoning, especially in reference to the resurrection...

"...they argue a resurrection didn't occur because it can't occur, and anybody who says it did must be lying."

That was Exerpted from... THE RESURRECTION by Dr. w. euGENE SCOTT (Ph.D., Stanford University) Preached at the Los Angeles University Cathedral. Below is the address for that transcript... an extremely valuable read for those that search for forensic reasons to believe.

The point for even bringing all that up, is the circular reasoning that is employed by some folks on the non-faith side of the issue, as a showcase of its error. And then to point out that, that very method is put to work by legalists who state... "Yes we are saved by grace but... we must do this or that, and refrain from doing this or that, to show our spiritual fruits when the fruit inspection happens." And then... "The grace you are advocating is simply license to sin" and then back to "Yes you are saved by grace but..."

Now anybody who has spent more than a few months as a believer knows what I speak of unless they themselves have bought into that system of legalism under the guise of grace.

I guess I should explain what prompted this Hub. My wife and I were discussing attending several different churches in rotation, as a way of re-entering the habit of going to "CHURCH" in the traditional sense. We have been attending for four years now, a Bible study that details why we are saved and maintained exclusively by the grace, mercy and power of God and nothing else. We have been grace freaks for many years before that, but to find a body that showcases the power of God's grace exclusively is hard to find. (to find out more visit... it includes video downloads for free.)

Anyway in our discussion I mentioned to her as a precaution... (for she is a recovering legalist) that we certainly can attend anywhere she likes, but to keep in mind that about 85% of what she is likely to hear will be legalism, and to filter the information accordingly. Sunday morning she opted out, I explained that I was not trying to talk her out of it, but we still did not go.

If anyone is solid in grace and the information they have been gifted with is the reason for their solidarity... they, like myself, should not have a problem attending any Christian service. We simply use our filtering systems to evaluate the message, keep the grace and caste aside the legalism, and readjust the meaning of the message in the light of God's grace.

A recovering legalist on the other hand has a tougher go at this process. Their flesh wants to once again gravitate back to the performance arena and either indulge themselves in grand self-righteousness, or... like my lovely wife, become extremely depressed and stressed by their lack of performance.

Now if you knew my wife at all, at this point you might be screaming... "LACK OF PERFORMANCE, ARE YOU MAD?" And my reply would be "I know... right?"

To a legalist or even former legalist that is the crux of the problem. They either deal with the law honestly and become depressed, or dishonestly and become self-righteous hypocrites in the extreme. I say in the extreme because all mankind is hypocritical. Example of honesty with the law can be found in Romans 7. Examples of dishonesty with the law can be found Matt 23

Legalist love to refer to the concept of license for sin that Paul mentioned (emboldened below), but they leave out the context in which it was used. I include the context to refute their declaration and then mention other verses as well for the same purpose.

(thank you Blue Letter Bible)

Rom 3:1 ¶ What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit [is there] of circumcision?

Rom 3:2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

Rom 3:3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?

Rom 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

Rom 3:5 But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? [Is] God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)

Rom 3:6 God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?

Rom 3:7 For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?

Rom 3:8 And not [rather], (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.

Rom 3:9 ¶ What then? are we better [than they]? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;

Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:...


Gal 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Gal 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, [is] therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.


Rom 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Rom 5:11 And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Rom 5:12 ¶ Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Rom 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

And I truly do understand the need of Pastors to introduce structure into lives that have known no structure at all, those lives that have journeyed the paths of self destruction. For this please read my other Hub... , but there is a huge differences between introducing the concept of structure and guidance, and delivering a mandate of observe the rules or your going to hell.

Again I wasn't trying to talk my wife out of going to church... I really do enjoy it myself... A to Z, I love it, but I do filter out about 85% of what is preached because of the legalism, always have.

We can't wait for our grace filled Bible studies to start again in the Fall, excellent stuff, very little filtering necessary.


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    • CoauthorU profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA

      2 calico Stark...

      Thank you for your kind words, a book I think you may greatly enjoy... "A Different Place" by Daryl Kraft.

    • calico Stark profile image

      calico Stark 

      7 years ago from Earth for the time being

      I really enjoyed your hub! It is such truth. Why is it that the church has to use manipulation to get members to attend? That or ways of grandiose entertainment? We need all the great bible studies that only have to do with the raw material of Jesus and move them into a bigger building and call it church! I was in church leadership for years and I saw it all except the two most important commandments..."Love God with all your being and love your neighbor as yourself." Help the churches Lord they need more of that! Great Hub...Vote up!

    • CoauthorU profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA

      My friend I agree with Elisha even though I recognize the value of what you are saying.

      Elisha recognizes a distinction that I had not really considered as deeply until this exchange, that of man generating a study of God, or one of man following the leading of the Spirit through God's pathway of learning.

      Saul studying at the knee of his Rabbi, or Paul studying with Jesus after his conversion. Both are theology, one is man's presence with the Torah, the other is the Torah... God, inhabiting man.

      In my opinion there is a huge difference.

      I am glad you're not stressing, you just seemed to be taking all of this in with less than your usual enjoyment.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      @CoauthorU: All theology is man-made. Theology is the study of God. It isn't God studying Himself, it is man studying Him.

      Of course, theology is also the study of the Bible, and of faith, and of religious experience generally. None of those things study themselves.

      I'll put myself in Elisha's shoes for a moment.

      If I am wholly rejecting theology, how can I quote Paul's theology -- or anyone's theology -- approvingly?

      Speaking for myself, I can't.

      This is a constraint imposed by logic; it has nothing to do with liberty.

      Maybe I've misinterpreted Elisha. Maybe he wasn't rejecting theology entirely.

      Reading Elisha again, maybe he was just rejecting legalism, and quoting Paul for support.

      Anti-legalism is seen by many as a central article of Pauline dogma, so it would be understandable to quote him in that context.

      Elisha, if that was your meaning, my apologies.

      As far as my stress level is concerned, it is normal. Thanks for asking.

    • CoauthorU profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA

      My point is... this here is still America and a man can do what he likes even if it dasn't sit well wit his detractors.

      You can tell him that he can't do something if'n you wants, it doesn't mean he has to hear it.

      Jus because I rejects zen doesn't mean I can't quotes it.

      Your real problem Bubba, seems to be that you think all theology is man made, so you may not get Elisha's distinction.

      Chasuk are you under a lot of stress or something? Are you okay?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      @CoauthorU: I know people who accept some tenets of a theologian while rejecting other tenets of that same theologian. I'm one of those people.

    • CoauthorU profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA

      Seems like their are plenty of people who reject and quote at the same time. Jus sayin

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      @Shadow Of Elisha: Paul was a theologian. You can't reject theology and quote Paul's words at the same time.

    • Shadow Of Elisha profile image

      Rev. Roger Vierra, Jr. 

      8 years ago from Coweta, OK. USA

      I believe that Christian "legalists" are nothing more than Pharisee 'dictators'. Many rely upon their man-made theologies, along with their man-made rules to accomodate their own agendas! If you notice, Jesus stood against these types of people. So did the Apostle Paul by stating that "..our own righteousness is as filthy rags."

      It is not by our own strength (understanding, ideologies, theologies, perspectives) whereby that we are saved, but rather in Christ, and IN CHRIST ALONE! This is why Paul stated that he seen that all of his training in the synagogues by the high Pharisee Gameleo (the Chief teacher at that time) was all counted as dung, and Paul concluded that he would only preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

      There is nothing in this world that can convince me that our man-made theologies, ideologies, and philisophical points of view are anything to ponder. It is our trust in the atonement of Christ and nothing more, and the funny thing is....that's all that is required!

      We mustn't get stumbled up in vain repetitions of man's theology, especially those things that have no benefit for the soul of a man.

      In Conclusion: God is not impressed by what man thinks he knows. God reacts to what His Word says, and how we react to that Word according to the act of true infallible faith. God is God, and chenges not. It is up to us to accept or reject this truth. Don't allow the ways of man to cause you to walk away from the greatest gift and mystery of all the ages past, present, and yet to come...

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      @msann1949: You are sincere and polite, and I thank you for both. However, I long ago rejected Christianity, and I don't ever expect that I will embrace it again.

      Thank you for your good intentions.

    • msann1949 profile image


      8 years ago

      Chasuk : I guess I do have more time on my hands to think on things than you do. I do have a job that allows me to listen to people and what they have to say. Many times I listen because people need a sounding board, just to get things off their minds. I cannot help but but wonder when they stand in front of God how much of it will not matter. Today we have no promise for tomorrow, for it will take care of itself. Today is the day of salvation, there may not be a tomorrow. In all of this world there is one thing that is important and that is the call for salvation of the lost, today. Our family just laid to rest a young lady of 37. She was married with a family of three boys. She had broke her ankle and had spranged the other one. She was a wonderful Christian daughter,sister,wife and mother. She had many tomorrows ahead of her and was taking care of today. She continued to work at home and at her job. She was in a wheel chair because she could not stand. She had things to take care of. On this day she called her mom and let her know that she was on her way to the hospital, she felt bad and was having trouble breathing. She and her mom prayed on the way to the hospital. She made sure her calling and election was sure. She met her Savior that day. We have these bodies that we worry about and things to do, but it is that soul that is in that body that will count when we come before God. Believe it or not, ready or not everyone's name will be called. It is that relationship with Him that counts. Thank you for your answer.

    • CoauthorU profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA

      Thank you Elisha...

      Only the elect may hear the breaking of God's heart that happened at Calvary. It did indeed transpire so long ago but His Father's chosen still hear it.

      And the redemption of that day paid for all our stupidities... past, present, and future. Take comfort.

    • Shadow Of Elisha profile image

      Rev. Roger Vierra, Jr. 

      8 years ago from Coweta, OK. USA

      Hm....the words written here, ring with many truths. It is nothing more tha man-made theology for the most part. My, my, my...when will we learn the simplicity of the Gospel? Doesn't anyone else hear God's heart breaking?

    • CoauthorU profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA

      Yes move over here... copy and paste what you already have over to here in Hubpages I prefer this way over blogspot. I think you'd be a lot happier here.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      @April: You show up as "april dunn [unregistered]." Are you going to rectify that?

      It would be nice to have you aboard. This is a pretty nice community.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      @msann1949: That isn't something I wonder. I believe in taking care of the actual first, then the hypothetical.

    • profile image

      april dunn 

      8 years ago

      Thanks Merwin!

      I forgot to start off by telling you how much I enjoyed this blog =)

    • msann1949 profile image


      8 years ago

      That is a lot to learn. I wonder how much of it will count when you face God?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      You remember the frying pan cords,too?!?

      Believe it or not, I also learned all of those things on your list from Christians.

      And I agree with your final sentiment 100%.

    • CoauthorU profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA

      AMEN... SISTER... AMEN.

      Some of what you wrote is hilarious, some is extremely sad... YOU sound very healthy and mature in Jesus and it is my honor to call you sister.

    • profile image

      april dunn 

      8 years ago

      Things I've learned from Christians in My Lifetime

      Jesus loves me this I know

      Jesus loves the little children of the world

      Stuffed animals can be devil possessed

      Girls shouldn't wear pants

      If you roll down the aisle you are called a "holy roller"

      Frying pan cords can be used instead of a "rod of correction"

      My dad is the devil.

      God doesn't like woman.

      God made woman for the sexual gratification of men.

      If you believe in God and accept Jesus, you still might not get to heaven because there is a "chosen" number.

      God has "special friends" who don't have to follow the Bible because the Bible was written for the simple minded

      It's okay to commit adultery if God plans on killing the wife so you can marry the husband. If God doesn't kill any of the wives, then you are merely being tested for your ability to listen as a prophet in training.

      You can't buy oatmeal unless God says it's okay.

      No smiling in church it's disrespectful.

      If you don't speak in tongues you are not saved.

      If you use tongues loudly then you are more spiritual.

      If you don't raise your hands in worship you are lazy.

      If you raise your hands in church you are very reverent.

      Long hair on men is rebellion. Teenage mutant ninja turtles are demons, smurfs are demonic, Santa is satan with the letters switched around.

      The Wizard of Oz, Snow White, and Cinderella are all evil because they contain witches and/or magic.

      Trick or treating is evil.

      Jesus is the "reason for the season".

      Hiding Easter eggs is evil.

      Pastors and deacons are more important than anyone else.

      It's okay for a large busted deacons daughter to attend a youth sleepover bra-less because she's a "good girl" but the daughter of a non-believer must sleep separate from everyone because she could be a bad influence.

      It's okay for a large busted deacons daughter to go to the beach in a swimsuit with cleavage cut down to the navel because she's a "good girl" but the daughter of a non-believer is not allowed unless she wear an older womans black formless tube suit with frayed elastic.

      If a man refuses to cut his hair, tell his wife he's in rebellion and suggest she leave him. When she does explain that it's his fault.

      If you are a woman and get raped by a fellow church member, you probably did something to deserve it.

      If a homeless man comes to your thanksgiving banquet, it's okay to turn them away if it's a "church family" event.

      If you marry a former Jehovah's Witness you are committing a sin. Good Christians don't sin by going to the wedding of an "unequally yoked" couple.

      God hears my prayers so I should pray with expectation.

      God answers prayers.

      God loves me.

      Black helicopters and stealth fighters spy on Christians.

      The Illuminati is real.

      Aids was invented by the government and was first introduced to Haiti. You should not get your children immunized because random children will be given the AIDS virus instead.

      The metal strip in money is to help track how much money Christians have.

      Bill Clinton has murdered over 11 people.

      Concentration camps have been built in the US to house Christians.

      The NIV is a satanic bible.

      My husband will cheat on me if I'm fat and imagine pushing my belly around like a bowl of jello. Don't wear lingerie if you're fat.

      Good christian women don't fart, belch, or stink up the bathroom.

      If you don't wear make-up you are not feminine.

      It's okay to use sex toys as long as they are pink and sold under a christian label.

      Pastors deserve special treatment and we should give them expensive gifts for being married and having birthdays.

      Harry Potter is an evil movie because it has magic but Lord of the Rings is good because although it also has magic, it was written by a Christian author.

      If you fall down in church after being prayed for, it is called being "slain in the spirit".

      If you are "slain in the spirit", you are super spiritual.

      The pastor should always no everything about everyone and if someone confides in you, then you must tell him because he is your "covering" and you must have a "covering" which means someone over you.. a leader. God is not enough, He has appointed someone in leadership over you and without this "covering" you stand outside the blessings of God's love and protection.

      If you disagree with leadership, you are possessed by the Jezebel spirit.

      If you are an outspoken woman, you are a Jezebel.

      If you are in leadership and listen to a Jezebel, you are then possessed by the spirit of Ahab.

      Dream interpretation and destiny readings are not the same as dream interpretation and fortune telling because the person in charge is Christian.

      Fortune cookies are evil.

      It's okay to pose naked as long as it's tastefully done.

      Any movie that promotes immorality is fine as long as it does not contain magic (by a non-christian).

      Worship songs lose their "power" after about 10 years.

      Hymns no longer have any power.

      If you want to save people, you must stay current.

      If you celebrate Jewish Holidays, you are very spiritual.

      Churches with large congregations are "seeker friendly"

      Being called "seeker friendly" is not a compliment.

      Gossip is okay as long as it's on a "prayer chain".

      I guess, all of this is to say. I only believe in the Bible and grace and I go to church because I want to.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I'm guessing that the legalists are stronger persons than I have ever been.

      When I was a Christian, I believed that I was saved by grace alone. However, I wasn't strong enough to discard my vices. I'm still not. ;-)


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