Legalism (Chinese philosophy), Chinese political philosophy based on the idea that a highly efficient and powerful government is the key to social order
Legalism (Western philosophy), a concept in Western jurisprudence
Legalism (theology), a sometimes pejorative term relating to a number of concepts in the Christian theological tradition
Liberal legalism, a theory on the relationship between politics and law
Legalism might be described as the hardening of the covenantal arteries. It is what happens when an organization begins to mistake the forms of its existence for existence itself. The beginnings of this tendency are quite natural and barely perceptible. Under the heading of "getting ourselves organized", more and more things are formalized and written down in order to take care of details. However, what begins as an effort to make life in the organization more useful and effective can end by having precisely the opposite effect. Covenant, which was intended to define and preserve life in the organization becomes, in legalistic form, the restricter and destroyer of life.