Many people think that the essence of Christianity is to follow the right rules, even extra-biblical rules. For example, the Bible doesn`t say we can`t play cards or have a glass of wine with dinner. We cannot make these things the external test of authentic Christianity. This would be a mortal violation of the gospel, because it would replace the true fruits of the Spirit with human tradition. We come dangerously close to blasphemy by distorting Christ in this way. Where God has given freedom, we should never enslave people with man-made rules. We must ensure that we combat this form of legalism. Fundamentally, legalism involves abstracting God`s law from its original context. Some people seem to be busy in the Christian life following rules and regulations, and they see Christianity as a set of do`s and don`ts, cold, deadly moral principles.
It is a form of legalism that consists only of keeping God`s law as an end in itself. Many of us have encountered this kind of misguided Christianity. Otherwise, we have probably met someone who has experienced legalism or who practices legalism in their own practices. Even Jesus met people who practiced this in His day, known as Pharisees. In this article, we will explore the definition of legalism, examples in the Bible, and what this dangerous way of thinking looks like in the modern context. The history of legalism in Korea dates back to Gyeonggukdaejeon, a code of laws compiled during the Joseon Dynasty. There is a mixed perception of legalism within South Korean society, as the military regime used the concept of legalism as a governmental tool after World War II. The ideas are closely related to Chinese legalism, but sometimes differ in some Koreans` aversion to what they see as China`s use of legalism to legitimize Chinese imperialism.  310-c. 235 BC A.D.), which departed from the central command of Confucianism that people are fundamentally good, asserting that they certainly were not, for if they were, they would not need instruction in goodness. The modern Taoist diet essentially follows the basic theory of yin-yang and the 5 elements that rely heavily on unprocessed whole grains, fresh vegetables and very little meat. However, fish and other seafood should only be eaten once a week due to the large amount of yin.
The three main beliefs at the center of Judaism are monotheistic identity and covenant (an agreement between God and His people). The most important teaching of Judaism is that there is a God who wants people to do what is right and compassionate. Legalism became the official philosophy of the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC) when the first emperor of China, Shi Huangdi (r. 221–210 BC), came to power and banned all other philosophies as corrupting influences. Confucianism has been condemned in particular for its insistence on the fundamental goodness of man and its teaching that people should be gently led to good only to behave well. Founder of legalism and believed that harsh sanctions were the only way to control people. -The Code must be drafted and published. Laws should always be more important than individual interests and actions. All persons are considered equal before the law. To further illustrate what legalism can look like, R.C. Sproul describes three forms of legalism. How do you respect the letter of the law while hurting your spirit? Suppose a man wants to drive his car at the minimum speed required, regardless of the conditions in which he drives.
If he is on a highway and the minimum speed is forty miles per hour, he drives forty miles per hour and nothing less. He also does this during torrential downpours, when driving at that minimum required speed endangers other people because they had the good sense to slow down and drive twenty miles an hour to avoid slipping off the road or seaplane. The man, who even in these conditions insists on a speed of forty miles per hour, drives his car to have fun. Although he appears to the outside observer as someone who is conscientious in his bourgeois obedience, his obedience is only external, and he does not care at all about what the law is. This second type of legality obeys external appearances, while the heart is far removed from any desire to honor God, the purpose of His law or His Christ. Legalism is formed «where it is only a matter of keeping God`s law as an end in itself.» Sproul points out that legalism separates obedience from God`s love and salvation. «The legalist focuses solely on obedience to bare rules and destroying the larger context of God`s love and salvation in which He gave His law in the first place.» Legalism was discredited by later dynasties and ceased to be an independent school of thought. However, ancient and modern Confucian observers of Chinese politics have argued that some legalistic ideas have merged with mainstream Confucianism and still play a role in government. The philosophy of imperial China can be described externally as Confucianism (along with Buddhism during the Sui and Tang dynasties) and legalism within (儒表法裏). Most Chinese philosophers and political thinkers held negative views of legalism and associated it with totalitarianism. Many Chinese scholars believe that the backlash against legalism has led Chinese imperial policy to emphasize personal relationships and morality rather than the rule of law.
Most Chinese historical documents were written by Confucian scholars persecuted among the Qin, and therefore may represent a biased view. Shen Buhai (申不害, † 337 BC) AD), chief minister of the Han from 351 to 337 BC. AD, is credited with the letter Shenzi and creates an administrative system integrated with legalism. Shen mainly dealt with government administration through bureaucracy. His system required a strong rule in the middle. The ideal leader should stay away from his officials, keep his or her innermost convictions secret, and maintain independence of thought; The leader should be the loneliest person in the world. Shen Buhai saw the biggest threat to the power of a leader coming from within. He believed that threats from powerful independent ministers to take power were more dangerous than threats from outside. Shen defended the concept of shu (術 administrative methods/techniques) and advocated a system of maintaining control against the power of individual officials and equality among officials. The gospel calls people to repentance, holiness, and godliness. For this reason, the world finds the gospel offensive.
But woe betide us if we unnecessarily reinforce this offense by distorting the true nature of Christianity by linking it to legalism. Because Christianity is about morality, righteousness, and ethics, we can easily take that subtle step from a passionate concern for divine morality to legalism if we are not careful. The method by which a ruler exercises control, or shu (術 shù), was based on a Taoist view of nature as an amoral force. Unlike Confucianism, which legitimizes a ruler`s authority on the basis of superior moral character and wisdom, legalism attributes authority to the historical position of the ruler. Shen Dao (慎到, c. 350 BC-275 BC), a Chinese philosopher from Zhao, whose writings have been mentioned in the works of Han Fei and Zhuang Zi, argued that authority arises and is maintained because of the nature of real circumstances, and not in accordance with an abstract set of moral values. According to Shen Dao, things simply flow according to the natural course of the path (the Tao) and do not organize themselves in such a way as to conform to an ethical system. Unlike other famous philosophers of the time, Han Fei (韓非) was a member of the ruling Han family; In this context, his works have been interpreted by some scholars as addressing his cousin, the King of Han.