Convictions or Preferences?

15 July 2013, 06:00

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55

TV-articleIn the circle within which I used to walk it was popular to express one’s convictions. In fact, we were taught to use the word “conviction” rather than “preference,” because it would be stronger when talking with others. A conviction was considered to be a word from the Lord, after all.

You know, the Holy Spirit would convict someone of something. The one I remember best is when one man told me that it was his conviction that he should not watch football on Sunday. (I didn’t quite understand how someone who wasn’t supposed to own a television would have this problem, but I listened.) He told me that he had been addicted to watching football and the Lord revealed to him that his addiction was unholy.

Well, that was fine. If he believed the Lord didn’t want him to watch football on Sunday, then he certainly shouldn’t do it. With incredible ease, however, he added that he believed what the Lord revealed to him should apply to everyone. In other words, since he couldn’t watch football on Sunday, neither could anyone else. His conviction was to become my conviction—even though the Lord hadn’t told me anything of the sort. And that’s how convictions become rules.

Now, most of the time in my experience, the convictions people express are really just preferences they feel strongly about. The Holy Spirit had little to do with them. Certain hairstyles, certain dress styles, reading certain types of books or magazines—these usually had something to do with the personal taste of the one making the rule. No rock music, but country was okay. No slacks, but tight sweaters were okay. No pork, but chocolate cake was okay. These became rules, based on someone’s convictions that were really just preferences.

Oh, I know that there was Scripture behind the convictions. Keeping the Sabbath holy was used to prohibit watching football, but it didn’t seem to prohibit driving 50 miles each way to go to a certain church. No pork because the Old Testament laws were still good for us, but nothing bad about having milk and beef at the same meal. Scripture was handy for support when necessary, but not really taken seriously.

So what should we do when we realize that someone is just promoting his or her own preferences as a “word from God”? Ignore them. If God wants to tell you the same thing, He will. Otherwise, you don’t have to live by their “convictions.” Sure, sometimes the ones making the rules are in authority over us and we don’t really have much choice but to live by what they tell us to do, but we don’t have to live in agreement. We can obey in disagreement. We will suffer much less stress if we allow ourselves to disagree, even while doing what we must.

Legalism is about control. Those who believe they have the right or responsibility to control others use rules and standards to support and enforce that control. Because they ignore the fact that only the Lord has the right to control us (and He chooses not to almost all the time) they don’t really receive instructions and guidance from the Lord. So they come up with their own ideas of what is right and wrong. Then they push those ideas on the rest of us.

But we have a real and living Lord to whom we can go for guidance. He will tell us what He wants us to know. His grace is enough for us. We don’t really need their convictions or their control.

 

Dr. David Orrison has been a pastor for over 30 years and is now the Executive Director of "Grace for the Heart," a ministry dedicated to proclaiming the sufficiency of Jesus Christ for all aspects of the Christian life. Dave has served in the Evangelical Free Church and in the United Presbyterian Church, and he holds a Ph.D. in Theology from Trinity Seminary. Dave has unique insights into the struggles of what he calls “performance spirituality,” as he has worked extensively with people who are unsure of their relationship with Jesus because of the burden of legalism and the hopelessness of a “works-based Christian walk.” David has lived in Loveland, CO for 25 years and is happily married to Alice. They have eight sons. David blogs on a regular basis at http://graceformyheart.wordpress.com.

All articles on this site reflect the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of other Recovering Grace contributors or the leadership of the site. Students who have survived Gothardism tend to end up at a wide variety of places on the spiritual and theological spectrum, thus the diversity of opinions expressed on this website reflects that. For our official statement of beliefs, click here.

55 Comments

  1. esbee July 15, 2013 Reply

    EXACTLY! Some Christians are getting it. Those words I heard when others witnessed to me .."God has a unique plan for your life" and "PERSONAL relationship with God through Christ" are finally coming full circle.

    I remember when a group of "loving, concerned" men came from our church to help my husband purge his sci-fi books (Star Trek, Asimov, Heinlein, et al) as they were considered evil influences on him...those books, all went to the dump. Actually, my husband is the most loving, gentle man, capable of empathizing with anyone's emotional hurt and giving them a holy hug. He just liked reading sci-fi books which never influenced him to do anything but read more. 25 years later, after a church split, all those men went their own way and his collection is back, bigger than ever. Now he does his sci-fi books and videos on Kindle. (Note-I agreed with them because I saw my husband reading/WATCHING TV ALL the time. I was secretly hoping they would declare the TV evil and take that too, but that meant they would have to give up theirs. Now he might have time for me and helping with the housework. Nah. Didn't work.)
    If anyone has read my previous post about being reamed out during service by a certain pastor about "liking the world's music more than God's" this purging of books was also done during that same "revival".

  2. Kim S July 15, 2013 Reply

    Bravo!!!
    Thank you for this consise and biblical article.
    Just thank you!

  3. Wendy Blake July 15, 2013 Reply

    Love it!!! Well leave control issues in the hands of the cults. I am trying to understand this in parenting. There is a huge difference between controlling a child and guiding one. Forcing them to be someone they aren't and teaching them responsibility and respect. Difficult after my own upbringing were control was the rule.

  4. Stephanie Stevens July 15, 2013 Reply

    "Conviction" is often just false guilt over something we have seen or heard someone else say. When I was a teen I was "convicted" of my habit of constant snacking, which I felt sure was gluttony. Then I found out I had hypoglycemia and my desire to snack was just my body asking for help! But for a time I felt so guilty because I couldn't go 4-5 hours between meals without a snack!

  5. Rachel July 15, 2013 Reply

    YES! Unfortunately I was once like that. Thinking that if it was best for me - it was best for everyone.
    I remember being very convicted regarding reading Christian romance novels. I don't doubt this conviction for that time in my life because I had academic things suffering due to my obsession with reading. However, I took it a step further and wrote a whole article on the dangers of romance novels. This was published in several home school circles. To this day I cringe at realizing that I added one more rule to the already over-burdened children of my time.

    Legalism is about control. And many times it is the most insecure wielding it's power. I have no doubt that Bill Gothard is trying to make up for a lack of security and control that he experienced earlier in life.

    • Wendy July 15, 2013 Reply

      "...and many times it is the most insecure wielding it's power."

      Yes, I think so. That was me.

      Don't feel bad. It could have been worse... you could have written 'I Kissed Dating Good-Bye.'

  6. LJ July 15, 2013 Reply

    Very well written! Thank you!

  7. WendyA July 15, 2013 Reply

    Excellent post! Reminds me of the words of CS Lewis in Mere Christianity: "One of the marks of a certain kind of bad man is that he can not give up a thing himself without wanting everyone else to give it up…An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons—marriage, or meat or beer or movies—but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning."

    • fiddlrts July 16, 2013 Reply

      I love that C. S. Lewis quote. He really got it.

  8. fiddlrts July 16, 2013 Reply

    Great post. Both my wife and I experienced this during our upbringing - and beyond.

    I had previously realized that "convictions" usually meant "preferences," but it is great to see I am not the only one who sees it. These "convictions" then become the wedge to divide. Don't associate with people who are not "likeminded," make judgments about the spiritual state of those who don't share your "convictions," and - particularly - don't let your children be corrupted by those who don't share those "convictions."

    • grateful July 16, 2013 Reply

      exactly, you can't protect your kids enough.

      1 Corinthians 15:33
      Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

      • "Hannah" August 4, 2013 Reply

        Grateful, I'm pretty sure fidderts is speaking sarcastically, not advocating such behavior.

      • "Hannah" August 4, 2013 Reply

        Or are you also speaking sarcastically?

  9. Alfred Corduan July 16, 2013 Reply

    What did you friend do with Romans 14? Which seems to make it most clear that believers are to accept that fact that God speaks different things to different people. The tight group is not to judge the looser group, and the looser group is not to despise the tighter group.

  10. E. Stephen Burnett July 17, 2013 Reply

    Even worse is when someone says his or her "conviction" is something like "the Lord has convicted our family that for spiritual reasons, we will not eat pork." This is directly contradictory to Scripture. Therefore this is not a "conviction" and isn't even an allowable preference. It becomes a direct defiance of something God directly allows in God's Word, an attempt to be "more spiritual" than God.

    • anon July 17, 2013 Reply

      There were times back in the day that I would purposely order ham sandwiches and/or serve a dish with bacon as an ingredient when I knew "certain" families would be involved. Terrible to admit, but fun in a malicious way.

    • BeverlyB July 17, 2013 Reply

      My family never allowed pork, though I'm thinking my Mom said it was for health concerns as much as Scriptural (or God said to abstain, therefore it's unhealthy). All those years missing out on bacon and ham---So sad! Now that my husband and I have a family of our own, every Easter I celebrate by serving a large baked ham for Easter dinner. After all, if it weren't for Jesus, we'd still be stuck under the Old Testament dietary laws and be unable to eat pork. So what better way to celebrate Easter and the grace God has given us through Jesus, than to serve a baked ham?! (I even soak the ham overnight in milk before baking to help remove the excess salt. It took me a couple years before I realized that was breaking another OT rule in the process, of combining milk and meat. Oh well!)

  11. "Later Husband" July 17, 2013 Reply

    When I worked for Gothard back in the late 70s he abstained from pork and spoke against it but not to the extent he does today. His mother used to make sausage stuffing with her turkey for the holiday dinners and he was reported (by my late wife, Bill’s secretary) to never miss a helping or two. I guess he would say ignorance is bliss.

    The “Later Husband”

    • BeverlyB July 18, 2013 Reply

      That's so funny!

      On a separate note, do you know if it was Bill's practice to often bring his secretaries home for holiday dinners with his family? I've heard of him doing this other girls (more recently than your wife's experience in the 80's). Were there other staff invited with your wife? I had gotten the impression from another friend that it was just her and him with his family. That feels really intimate for a girl to be invited over for holiday dinners with just him and his family. That kind of scenario sounds more like a serious date where you "meet the family." So when you mentioned it, it made me wonder if that was also your wife's experience, or if (to your knowledge) there were other staff members along for these dinners.

      • Heather July 18, 2013 Reply

        Bev, that's very interesting information. I've never heard of a business man taking an employee to a family dinner like that unless there were other employee's for some kind of office party.. That is very suggestive. In fact, the only time I can think of an employer who had an employee that close, the entire staff suspected bad intentions.

      • "Later Husband" July 19, 2013 Reply

        BeverlyB

        I really can’t answer that question, in early 70’s the Institute was small and more family like so being invited to the Gothard’s home for Thanksgiving would not have been out of the question. The Gothard’s home was not large and from what I recall it would have been difficult to entertain large groups. By the late 70s the family would celebrate Thanksgiving at the Crazy Bear Lodge, Steve’s lodge in the Northwoods. Normally the Institute would close for Christmas and the single staff would go home but would stay around during Thanksgiving. Bill lived with his parent when he was in Oakbrook, as did Steve till he was “sent to the Northwoods” in the mid 70s. The other three siblings were married and had their own families. Sisters Ann and Laura’s families worked for the Institute and brother Dave lived in California where he was involved in investments and real estate.

        "Later Husband"

        • BeverlyB July 19, 2013

          That makes sense---thanks!

  12. Alfred Corduan July 18, 2013 Reply

    "Even worse is when someone says his or her "conviction" is something like "the Lord has convicted our family that for spiritual reasons, we will not eat pork."

    OK . . . can you synch that with this?

    "As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand." (Romans 14:1-4)

    This says we all report to the Lord on our convictions . . . right? including foods we think should or should not eat.

    • Heather July 18, 2013 Reply

      I think you missed the big picture point. I don't think the commenter was suggesting we stomp all over someone else's convictions persay, more like calling out those who try to make themselves more spiritual with a conviction that just isn't Scripturally based. The folks I've seen who do this are unbelievably prideful in their 'conservatism', but they come across as very humble. It's nauseating really. I'm sure you've seen that sort of thing yourself. Anyway, I think those are the types of people/convictions that the author is bemoaning.

      • Alfred Corduan July 18, 2013 Reply

        No, got it. Didn't disagree with David's article. In fact, agree. Yes . . . maybe I have been guilty of that - maybe I am guilty of it. It hurts when I see it in others, probably don't see it in myself. I see young people starting out with high, high ideals . . . which is so good. But balance in all things. I grieve for broken hearts downstream because

        " . . . for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone."

        Figuring out the "other things" - like love, mercy, and faith - is where we idealists learn the balance so we can make it . . . and hopefully keep our children in Jesus' way.

  13. Nathan July 19, 2013 Reply

    The question is never whether something is a conviction or a preference. The question is whether it is the Truth.

    • BeverlyB July 19, 2013 Reply

      So who determines the truth on those issues that Scripture is unclear about? Or is there no "grey area" in Scripture, in your opinion? Genuinely asking your thoughts...

      • Chris Symonds July 21, 2013 Reply

        Beverly it depends on whether or not the the issue pertains to the person of Christ, salvation and the character of God. On those three issues there isn't any room to maneuver, interestingly this is where all cults differ. If you change any one of these fundamentals ever so slightly you end up with a different Christ, a different personality for God and another way other than through Christ for salvation which is not salvation at all.

        Theology can theorize and speculate about many things in the bible and this side of heaven we may never know the answer to them. but on salvation there is only one God one Savior and one way

        • Chris Symonds July 21, 2013

          Bill Gothard is a prime example of so close to the truth but not quite there

        • esbee July 21, 2013

          The Bible warns about not adding to or taking away from the Word of God. BG teaches Jesus is the only way but due to his anal-retentive personality, has added to it by trying to describe and analyze down to the last little micro dot and tittle what the Word says and HOW to follow it.

      • David July 22, 2013 Reply

        Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all Truth, which is a knowledge of Jesus Christ, who IS the Truth. This will enable us to know what scripture means. I would submit that there are no unclear scriptures, but simply our unclear understanding. Otherwise, we would have to say that God was unclear when He breathed scripture. I think at some point we all have to realize that the Bible is the written Truth and Jesus is the Living Truth -- the two will always agree because there is only one Truth. But as is proven by Bill Gothard himself, anyone can read what the Bible says -- and never understand what it means. Only if the Holy Spirit reveals the Bible in the light of Jesus Christ can we see what the Bible means by what it says. Jesus is the LIVING Word, the Light, the Truth, and the One whom God is speaking today -- Hebrews 1:1. That is what the Bible says.

  14. Chris Symonds July 22, 2013 Reply

    Gothard's principles are mechanistic all his teaching does is reduce God to a process. If you do A the result will always be B etc.Life and faith in Christ don't work that way, there is not a one shoe fits all feet. Bill Gothard limits God.

  15. Anonymous July 24, 2013 Reply

    Sometimes people think it's legalism that separates and destroys their familial relationships. But sometimes it's just plain old UGLY sin. Sometimes it's not "choosing a different path" but actually choosing to sin that causes the chasm.
    If parents don't accept lying or deceit from their children, that isn't legalism.
    If parents can no longer trust their children because of the sin that they have fallen into, that is NOT legalism.
    The Bible is pretty much black and white on the issues that truly matter.
    We aren't talking about clothing or makeup or what kind of car you choose to drive. We are talking about real heart issues and SIN.
    Children need to respect and honor their parents- that can look different depending on you and your parents. However, the principle is still the same.
    Don't bring shame and embarrassment to your parents with your sinful choices.
    You will be accountable before God someday; keep that in mind.


    I like what Nathan said above:

    "The question is never whether something is a conviction or a preference. The question is whether it is the Truth."

    Be Truthful in all things and you will never have a regret.

    • Heather July 24, 2013 Reply

      'Don't bring shame and embarrassment to your parents with your sinful choices.'

      What exactly is this supposed to mean? Sinful choices? What are sinful choices? I agree that lying and deceit is sinful, what if it's the parent's doing the lying and deceiving?

      And what if, as grown, married adults, we feel God is leading us on a different path, i.e. not homeschooling, and it embarrasses our parents for whatever reason? Is that a sinful choice? Because those are the kinds of situations that most of us are in that 'embarrass' our parents. Not crime or some of the other things you suggested.

      I kinda feel as if you've swept in and accused alot of genuine people of nasty things, just to prove a point. Maybe I read you wrong, but your comment really rubbed me the wrong way.

      Parents in these types of religious organizations also need to remember that they are just as accountable to God for what they do, meaning they can't lie to their kids either.. Also, I know for a fact that many of us have grandparents who did NOT like our parents joining ATI. Our parents didn't even honor their own parent's wishes.. What do we do with that?

      • esbee July 24, 2013 Reply

        The bible lists sins- to lie, cheat, steal, murder, sex outside of marriage, etc.

        Parents may require certain "preferences" of their children-be in by 10, on Sunday we eat together as a family, I want to know where you go and who your friends are, keep your room reasonably clean, take out the garbage, we do not go to R rated movies, TV time limited to x hours per day, etc etc.

        But to many ATI parents, girls wearing jeans are a sin (in THIS day and age ?!?!?) pets over a certain size and number are a sin, public school is a sin, women having careers are a sin, birth control and not following 10 steps to this principle or 8 steps to that principle are all considered sins...this is where the children of ATI are finding difficulty accepting "preferences" or "others may, we cannot" as sin.

        • Heather July 25, 2013

          Thank you Esbee. I wasn't asking what sin is because I don't know what the Bible calls sin, it was more or less a rhetorical question, but you are quite right in your description of what ATI parent's call sin vs what the Bible calls sin, and that's the main issue here. I see no-one advocating lying to your parents, or other similar things.

        • Anonymous July 31, 2013

          Thank you!

          I'm not in ATI nor were my parents every like that. They don't believe that wearing jeans is a sin or anything that you listed is a sin.

          I feel for those who were in ATI and suffered because of it.

          However, there are some who are involved in "Recovering Grace" who were never involved in ATI and yet they are using this forum to promote their own sinfulness and basically say that "Grace" covers all and they don't have to worry about their sins or even care if they lie, deceive and hurt their family with their sinful, hurtful choices.

        • MatthewS July 31, 2013

          "However, there are some who are involved in “Recovering Grace” who were never involved in ATI and yet they are using this forum to promote their own sinfulness and basically say that “Grace” covers all and they don’t have to worry about their sins or even care if they lie, deceive and hurt their family with their sinful, hurtful choices."

          hmmm... Anonymous, those are strong words; I get the impression you have a specific situation in mind.

        • Heather July 31, 2013

          anonymous, would you mind telling us who in here wasn't in ATI, and what they're doing to promote their own sinfulness?

          (Even if there are a few individuals here who fit that description, why in the world are you targeting everyone on this website, just to make a point about a few? Really?)

      • Anonymous July 31, 2013 Reply

        Sinful choices as listed in the Bible- lying, stealing, cheating, dishonoring parents, deceiving, mocking, slandering, gossiping, etc... the list goes on and on.

        I'm talking about "kids" or adults who falsely accuse their parents of doing things that they have never done and blaming their parents for their own issues or their own sins. Of course, parents aren't perfect.
        If the parents are lying and deceiving, that is wrong and sinful! But there are also some Christian young adults who simply don't like their parents and are using these type of forums to promote their own sinfulness and not be accountable for their actions. I know of a situation where someone was raised in a Godly home that wasn't filled with legalism or control and now that someone is doing all they can to turn everyone against the family.
        That is just plain wrong. No other way to put it!

        Obviously, choosing to not homeschool is NOT a sin.

        • Heather July 31, 2013

          Thank you for your thoughts Anonymous. I have to say though, the vast majority of us are not falsely accusing our parents of anything. We are telling the truth, and for the purpose of warning others away from dangerous practices. I do not think this forum is a place where people congregate to simply whine because they don't like mom and dad, or whatever; we're dealing with real, heartbreaking issues from the fallout of this cult.

          I personally find it offensive when people assume that's what we're doing, because it's so far from the truth.

    • Chris Symonds July 24, 2013 Reply

      Anonymous disagreeing with your parents and calling them to account on un biblical or extra biblical doctrine and practices isn't sin. You are accountable as well to seek out and know the truth your are accountable to the Lord for the decisions you make in life. If your parents are wrong in their beliefs and practices and you follow them you aren't excused through ignorance. You aren't saved by proxy through your parents faith. Faith in Christ is a personal relationship between each and every individual and God, obeying your parents wont absolve you from sin if they are wrong.

    • Carolina Girl July 25, 2013 Reply

      See, this is why moralistic Christian parenting just does not work. It elevates the reputation of the parent over the heart of the child. You should never parent out of fear of embarassment, yet BG's model encourages this, which is so counter to the Gospel.

      News flash, Anonymous: your children WILL make sinful choices because they were born into the fall. But we serve a God who can redeem ANY situation. That's why parents need the gospel so desperately -- there is no perfect parent and there are no perfect children, but we do have a perfect savior who stands in the gap with us and for us. Bless God for that!

      • Anonymous July 31, 2013 Reply

        I agree, Carolina.

        Parents aren't perfect. No-one is. However, parents should never condone sin and children should never condone the sins of their parents. However, it does no good to gossip, slander or dishonor parents or vice versa.

        I'm saying that when children purposefully go out and do something that is dishonorable to the parents, that is dishonoring them and bringing them shame. I have seen an entire family shamed because of something their daughter did and they all suffered because of it. The daughter didn't avoid the appearance of evil at the very least and it had great consequences.

        Satan/the devil LOVES to see families torn apart. And anything that DOES try and tear a family apart is sinful.
        The righteous must FIGHT against evil constantly.
        We should never condone sin in ourselves or in others.
        True Christians will speak up and gently approach their brothers in Christ about their sins. True Christians will be honest and trustworthy and never ever participate in slander, gossip, talking behind people's back etc...
        And True Christians will try to resolve their differences and remain in peace with one another- that include children and their parents. Only a coward will run away and take the "back-handed" approach.

        • Heather July 31, 2013

          Wow, the assumption that what we're doing here is 'slander, gossip, etc.. or that we don't try to resolve differences with our offenders, is absolutely insulting and laughable at the same time.

          I'm not trying to be mean or harsh, but you are absolutely speaking out of ignorance here. Most, if not all of us have desperately tried to reconcile with our various offenders, multiple times, and either it went no-where, or made things worse. There's only so much you can do if your offenders are too stuck on their own pride to even listen to you, much less try to work it out with you.

        • MatthewS July 31, 2013

          Only a coward will run away and take the “back-handed” approach.

          You mean like in making anonymous posts about them on blogs? ;-) I'm just giving you a hard time.

          I'm wondering what alternatives this daughter you speak of felt like she had? I wonder if home was a safe place.

          It's an interesting comment to say that an entire family was shamed. I don't know what that means, exactly. We have seen something repeatedly here at Recovering Grace where kids were in hurtful, sometimes abusive, situations but the families were scared to reach out for help because they felt that the family (or even perhaps the church or God's name) would be embarrassed. They were more concerned for public image than internally for the heart and soul of their children. I have no way of knowing what the situation is that you seem to have in mind. My heart goes out to any family who feels shamed. I've been around long enough to know that it's a very flat pancake that only has one side...

        • BeverlyB August 1, 2013

          Hi Anonymous, I don't know the situation you're referring to, but I've observed that it's often only the most abusively controlling parents/religious leaders who over-emphasize a need for preserving reputations or not shaming others by sinful behaviors or actions. I don't believe battles over preserving reputations to be even remotely biblical. Jesus was never concerned with associating with sinners for fear of tarnishing his reputation or the reputation of the Church, and he certainly wasn't afraid to ruin the reputations of the Pharisees. There is a dramatic difference between lovingly confronting and not tolerating sin, and being afraid of someone's sin ruining a family or church's reputation. Our focus should be on loving the person as Jesus does, not being afraid of how their actions will negatively affect us. If Jesus had made this his primary concern, he certainly wouldn't have even bothered coming to earth. But instead he embraced it... and especially embraced hanging out with the greatest sinners, who quickly tarnished his "reputation" and set all the tongues wagging in the religious circles of the day.

    • David July 25, 2013 Reply

      Legalism IS sin. It is the sin of unbelief -- of putting faith in something about yourself instead of in Christ. It is, according to Paul, "another gospel." Of course, ALL sin destroys relationships.

    • "Hannah" August 4, 2013 Reply

      I think I will take this opportunity to be truthful about what really happened in my family:

      We were destroyed by legalism. And it was sin, and it was ugly.

      End of story.

      • Heather August 4, 2013 Reply

        THank you!!!!!!!!

        If my family/parents have been 'shamed' it's because of the awful things legalism did to my family!!!!!

  16. Will Hunsucker July 25, 2013 Reply

    In my experience, David Orrison is absolutely right when he says "Legalism is about control."

    Most, if not all "convictions" and "standards" pushed by one man upon many are simply reflecting a desire to control other Christian's behavior. This seems to come from an intrinsic distrust of grace, the Holy Spirit, and the finished work of Jesus Christ...

    in the words of Gothard, many christians are firmly convinced that "Christians just can't handle Grace."

    This leads them to 'discovering' their own system of principles and standards that must be applied to all christians who wish to please God/be blessed by God/etc. In essence, they create out of their own fears and preferences, a New Testament Law.

    In my opinion, this, more than anything else is what ails the church today. A group of people who were meant to be led by the Spirit, in Grace, repressing, smothering and condemning themselves by buying into a spiritual system that kills.

  17. "Hannah" August 4, 2013 Reply

    Wow. Interesting conversation. Methinks that Anonymous takes issue with a specific person or persons, but is refusing to call them out, directly. I would sure like to know who is passing themselves off as a former ATI student, but isn't really. We have a few that I know of on here who do not have a Gothard background, but they have always been up front and honest about it. It certainly doesn't represent a significant portion of those involved, though.

    If it's not a specific person(s), how could you even know that?

    Honestly, if someone wanted an excuse to sin, they wouldn't even need to bother stopping by here. There are plenty of other justifications out there. In fact, why does one need an excuse to sin at all? If it is human nature to sin, we can do it without an excuse!

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  19. Meg March 26, 2016 Reply

    So I can still watch MMA with my husband?

    • Todd k March 30, 2016 Reply

      Or how about WWE wrestling? I used to hang and and travel with pro wrasslers so it was not only watching it, but to a small degree living it. My "conviction" was that I had a great time!

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