Legalism is inherent in traditional "gospel"


I’ve come to believe that legalism and judgmentalism are natural outworkings of the traditional “gospel” of exclusion. If we believe that God accepts some people and rejects others, then we naturally draw a line between those who we accept and those who we reject (judgmentalism), and we seek to define the criteria by which we judge others (legalism). The traditional “gospel” gives birth to an “us” verses “them” mentality. It’s no wonder that traditional Christianity, especially fundamentalism and evangelicalism is seen by many to be judgmental, exclusionary, and even mean-spirited.

What do you think?


Hi Sherman,
I’d agree with that–to a degree. I hesitate to claim that all ECT believing Christians are infected with an us versus them mentality, but I can testify for myself that before believing in universal reconciliation I was not able to love people like I knew I should, and when my theology changed my capacity of loving seemed to increase with it. I’m not even sure how to adequately describe or explain the change that took place–but it was radical. Buddy also testified to this recently here.



I’d say it’s more likely too result in judgmentalism/legalism, rather than “inherent”. It’s similar to what Talbott talks about in the early chapters of his book e.g. there’s a greater risk of Inquisitions resulting from ECT than EU :neutral_face:


Yes, it seems to me that when the paradigm is that the purpose of this world, is determining who will be on the side of a divide where God will consign you to endless punishment, there is a huge need to justify that God’s commitment to this program is just. The most natural theodicy for this is to judgmentally feel that the damned will totally deserve such a consequence because they must be especially despicable. Even though the saved deserve it also, and it violates traditional emphasis on grace, I suspect the natural intuition is that we who will be spared must in some way be superior to those who will be cut off from God’s mercy and pursuit.