NEWSFLASH: Personal Discipline Is SANCTIFICATION, Not LEGALISM

NEWSFLASH: Nearly the entire other thread is Off Topic.

"The source of the problem, ultimately, is a general sense, born out of sentiments endemic in broader culture, and perpetuated at times in Christian homes and churches, that cultivating discipline and developing a work ethic are somehow dangerous, legalistic, or antithetical to the Christian Gospel. This is patently false." -  Snoeberger

What Snoeberger is arguing is that the rules and training he got from his parents was a spiritual help to him - or a help in his spiritual work. Thus, imposing rules and training by parents on their children (and perhaps by other authorities on their underlings) isn't "legalism."

None of this has to do with alcohol or other disputable matters. 

It's more like,  Prov 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."

Even if we agree that we are saved by grace through faith, what about sanctification? Do we bring about our own sanctification by doing good works? What about being made to do good works? What about being made to do good works so much that we internalize it and being a lover of good works becomes part of our soul*? Mark seems to be saying "Yes," at least partially or in a sense or sorta.

So what is the relationship between discipline from authority and sanctification?

* Perhaps compare with Nicomachean Ethics and Thomas Aquinas on the formation of the soul.

172 reads
Bert Perry's picture

Good point, and perhaps the reason many (myself included) went on the rabbit trail is because we're not as used to debating whether inculcating basic personal habits like hard work and thrift amounts to legalism.

That said, being one who's working on exactly those habits with his own children, perhaps it's time to start doing this more explicitly.  I am one who will tell my kids "if this is the work ethic/attitude you take to the workplace, you are going to have trouble when you grow up", but the rub that comes is that I'm not quite sure how that works with things like the fruit of the Spirit--largely attitudes that one can not inculcate, but rather that the Spirit grants us.

Perhaps "patience" and "self-control"?  I don't know that we can push these from outside, but perhaps I could say, to draw an example, "if your breaks always involve your cell phone and take up half your day, you may need to ask God for some self-control."  Or, "if you cannot devote ten minutes to an algebra problem, you may need to ask God for some patience."

So perhaps we can promote these "Proverbs" life skills in a Gospel-centric manner that reflects Galatians 5:22-3, or we can promote them in a legalistic manner.  I'm not a "resident" of the more fundamental colleges, so to speak, so perhaps I've missed some things about how people respond to the cues Snoeberger refers to.  That noted, I'd guess that there's a lot of it that could be described as legalistic (in a broad, not narrow way), and a lot where we could improve our connection to the Holy Spirit's work and the Gospel.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.