Is My Church Legalistic? – Greg Albrecht

Q: I have been a member of a “fundamental, Bible-believing” church for six years and recently, some things have come to light that concern me. First, our church is adamant about the clear gospel in that it is not of works and that you can’t ever earn your way into heaven. I know it’s a free gift and that is the core of our teaching.

However, there are strict rules for the members—no going to movies, no listening to anything that resembles Christian rock music—men must wear suits and women must wear dresses or skirts in church. Our pastor calls these requirements “standards.”

My most disturbing concern is when people leave our church, we are no longer allowed to fellowship with them. Other red flags I see include intimidation and fear of the leadership. We are told to be at church “whenever the doors are open” and often feel guilty for missing any service or church function. There is also the teaching that we are the only true church (including our three affiliate churches).

Would these practices and beliefs be legalistic in your opinion, even though salvation by grace is preached?


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