Much of the behavior considered sinful in my upbringing is now common practice in many evangelical churches. Although the manifestations have changed, the spirit of legalism has not. Now I am more likely to encounter a legalism of thought. Author friends of mine who dare to question the received doctrine on abortion or homosexuality, for example, face the same judgment today that a "social drinking" Christian faced in the fundamentalist subculture (202).
During the Victorian era sexual sins ranked at the very top - or bottom, depending on how you looked at it - so much so that the word "immorality" came to denote sexual sins. When I grew up divorce and drinking headed the list. Now, int he modern evangelical church, abortion and homosexuality probably rank highest (205).
Who is my enemy? The abortionist? The Hollywood producer polluting our culture? The politician threatening my moral principles? The drug lord ruling my inner city? If my activism, however well-motivated, drives out love, then I have misunderstood Jesus' gospel. I am stuck with law, not the gospel of grace (242).