Rev. Nicholas Batzig writes:
If you want to demean someone in the church, you simply have to use the “L-word” when speaking to or about that person. The number of times one believer has called another believer a legalist is inestimable. Name-calling often ensues when someone in the church believes that another has said or done something that cuts across Christian liberty. Like its sister term, fundie, the label legalist has become something of a conventional religious slur in grace-oriented and gospel-centered churches. We must be extremely slow to use this word when speaking to or about others in a church fellowship. It may be that one believer simply has a weaker or softer conscience than another (Rom. 14–15). Additionally, those who love God’s law and seek to walk carefully in accord with it will always be susceptible to being called legalists.
We must guard against carelessly tossing around a charge of legalism. However, we must also recognize that legalism in various shapes and forms is alive and well in evangelical and Reformed churches. This too must be guarded against with the utmost determination. In order to avoid bringing a false charge against a believer, in order to avoid personally embracing legalism, and in order to help restore a believer who has fallen into legalism, we must know how to identify this perennial evil in both its doctrinal and practical forms.
For the rest of the essay, go here.