The problem is, people tend to be on one side or the other. Standards, rules, and personal holiness...or..."grace" to live as they please.
Jeffrey has asserted that all IFBs fall under the camp that pushes standards, rules, and personal holiness; however, he is quick to point out (when others lump him in with a certain group) that he's not like what others lump him in with...even though he aligns himself with a certain group(s).
I will be the first to say that the general idea that people associate with IFBs is legalism, and there's good reason for that view being held. Does that make all IFBs legalists? No.
Is there anything wrong with having standards, rules, and trying to live a life pleasing to the Lord? No...of course not. Is there anything wrong with living like the world, because we are under grace? As Paul said, God forbid!
Now...is there anything wrong with having standards, rules, and trying to live a life pleasing to the Lord...and forcing that on others? Yes! I'm not talking about Christian Schools or parenting; I'm talking about pastors/teachers/Christians who try to force other Christians to live by a standard that "THEY" think others should live by. How soon we forget that we didn't become the Christian we are today overnight. The Christian life is a growth process. As we grow in the Lord, we become more conformed to his image...if we are willing to allow him to work in and through us.
I will readily admit that I used to be more on the legalistic side...until I realized some things that I don't have time to go into. Does that mean that I have given up standards, rules, and personal holiness? No...those things are biblical. Does that mean when I see error that I should just be silent and just love everybody. No...that's not biblical. Yes, we are to love everybody; however, we are to stand for truth.
I'm at the point in my Christian life where I have separated myself from a lot of man-made doctrines and commandments of men. However, that doesn't negate the fact that we are Christ's...we are not our own...we are bought with a price, and far be it from me to go against clear commands and principles in God's word that tell us to separate, have standards, rules, and try to live a life of personal holiness. Just because a group of Christians have abused that in the past doesn't make it unbiblical.
Yes, we are to love everyone, but do we realize what that love entails? It entails living a life of standards, rules, and personal holiness...
8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
We live that life of standards, rules, and personal holiness because of love...at least, that's the true reason we should. That's what I realized some time back. Forcing standards, rules, and holiness on others will only produce Pharisees in "most" cases. I experienced it first hand, so I know what I'm talking about...not to mention the testimonies that I've heard from others. I'm thankful that the Lord delivered me from it before it became ingrained.
There is nothing wrong with preaching against sin and pointing things out that are sinful, but let the Holy Spirit be the one who changes the person...that's his responsibility, not the pastor's, teacher's, and other Christian's. I tried to conform under a previous pastor's "you're not right with God if _______" type of preaching...Sunday after Sunday after Sunday...and Wednesday after Wednesday after Wednesday...and I was miserable, because I was doing it for the wrong reasons...however...when the Holy Spirit worked it out in my life, it was a joy, because I was doing it out of love for the one who died for me.
There doesn't have to be one side or the other...standards or no standards, rules or no rules, holiness or worldliness under "grace"...a Christian who loves his Lord and loves others will...WILL...live a life of standards, rules, and personal holiness out of love. Love for his Lord and love for others. Love is the factor though...living it under our own power, to please a pastor, or for any other reason is wrong, Pharisaical, and sinful...because...if we are doing it for the wrong reason, it becomes our own righteousness, and all of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.
So...with that, I ask these questions...and I'm asking this sincerely and humbly...not to stir up strife.
Why would someone who lumps all IFBs together, is so opposed to IFBs, who has no desire to be an IFB, and is so quick to stand against IFBs...why would that person join an IFB forum? What is their purpose?