Let me say this first. I have struggled with this subject for years. I would say that my childhood was spent in a legalistic environment, but as a child of the 70’s in a independent fundamental church I think it was par for the course. Independent fundamentalist have caught most of the blame for legalism, but I can name a few other denominations that have stricter guidelines that qualify. Legalism seems to have its roots in the independent fundamental movement in the early 70’s with the boom of megachurches. I know with mine it was a numbers push for church growth through people getting saved from all walks of life. Large bus ministries, Thursday night and Saturday morning visitation. What you saw on Sunday morning was nothing less than amazing. I remember as a kid dreading the end of invitation. The long list of people getting saved being read and then the baptism, the list seemed to go on forever. Clean living and separation was taught to these Christians as a set of guidelines to separate them from the old life they once lived. From there it seemed to grow. As a members of church leadership I understand that this is important and desire to see the members of our local assembly live Godly and be a witness. But I would rather each one make that decision on his own, not because he is trying to adhere to a church standard. In 2 Corinthians 6:17 Paul quotes the Lord by saying, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate.” Its an individual decision. The good thing is 40 years after the fact we can look back and base our decision on the results we’ve seen. I could give 10 different examples of a good argument either way over the course of my 49 years. Here’s the bottom line. James 1:23 says, “For if any be a hearer of the word and not a doer he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass.” The glass is the Bible. The reflection you see is yourself. A current condition according to that Book. When you stand before God you stand alone, not with your Pastor or the deacon board. Thats a heavy thing. With that as my standard I do not need legalism. Ephesians 2:8 says “For by grace.” I am thankful for grace. I honestly miss those days of seeing the large quantities walk the aisle for salvation. It can come back with personal revival. So back to the question: Does the Church today need legalism? The answer depends on who you ask.