Before Dr. Pickering went home to be with the Lord he wrote, among the many books he authored, what I think may be his most important words to our generation. The booklet is a reply to Charles Swindoll’s The Grace Awakening (1990, 1996). Swindoll caricatures Fundamentalists as being “squint-eyed legalists spying out and attacking another’s liberty” and “a group of cramped, somber, dull and listless individuals.” Swindoll’s book has led the way for many today to accuse Fundamentalists and Separatists of forcing people to “earn God’s acceptance” through a list of rules, designed only to exalt self and control others. Pickering writes, “After many years of ministry among thousands of churches both in this country and others I believe I can say with confidence that I have never met a pastor or Christian leader who believed this. God’s acceptance is gained by grace not through the observance of rules (even biblical ones!). This is an exaggeration which we believe does great disservice to many Christian leaders.” Pickering calls this a “Caricature. It presents strong, godly men . . . as scheming, bitter, and vengeful souls. This is absolutely false.”
Are Fundamentalists Legalists?
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