Got Standards? Get This!
To those of you reading along from FB, this may be completely foreign. However, to the vast majority of my four readers ;o), you know what I mean when I say 'standards.' It is the word used by the Conservative Holiness Movement to describe those unique actions and behaviors that separate us from the 'world.' Many of us grew up in churches in which holiness wasn't REALLY taught as living a careful life free of sin, but rather it was a 'way of life,' a spoken (or unspoken) list of things that made us different. The lists are varied. The Amish have them, the Mormons have them, the cults have them, and we had them. And now the larger Christian community (Baptist, etc) have them. Nancy Leigh DeMoss teaches a careful life and emphasizes modesty as a way of loving our brothers in Christ. It's typically taught a bit subjectively:
-Sit cross-legged in the dressing room. What would your grandmother say about those shorts.
-Wear what you want other women to wear in front of YOUR husband.
While these are fine guidelines, it is crucial that we have more than that in our heads.
Legalism! This is the hue and cry of the 90% of Christendom at the mention of the dos and don'ts associated with the CHM. And there is legalism here in the ranks, to be sure. Check yourself. How are you saved? (By grace through faith) HOW DO YOU STAY SAVED? (Hint: the answer is still by grace through faith). Legalism says that I stay in a right relationship with God by checking off this or that list. FYI: Salvation is absolutely NOT of works, and keeping any list of rules (short OR long) does not make God love you more, nor does it ensure a place in heaven.
Do you feel a bit shaky on this topic? Are you a CHMer who does just what mother and father did? Maybe your kids tossed all this over for a 'life of liberty' and think you're nuts? Maybe you're in a mainstream Christian denomination and look at me and think, "Why in the world does she DO all that?" Maybe you're just culturally curious like my pals at the university were and want to know why whole groups of people look so different from mainstream society? Maybe you just want to study the differences between a BIBLICAL COMMAND, a PERSONAL PREFERENCE, or a PRINCIPLE to be interpreted individually?
This is for YOU! We are currently attending a CHM church that has had limited teaching on this subject and has asked Nathan to develop and teach a series to the congregation. I live with this man and can tell you he is incredibly thorough with his prep work. The number of hours he pours into creating a lesson is unbelievable. Then he goes around vetting it- on his Baptist coworker, on his family, on me, on friends. And then he edits and edits some more. This is serious labor of love. (If he reads this, he's going to kill me ;o) But there you go. His series will be posted under Other Articles on www.disciplingnewconverts.org The audio is there, too. Last night's talk on General Principles of Modesty is already posted. And anyone can print off and use this material freely. If you have thoughts or criticisms or ideas for topics, feel free to let us know. (And for my missionary friends, do you want this article translated for your church people?)