Definition: (noun) A method of aesthetic analysis that emphasizes
structural elements and artistic techniques rather than content.
Usage: Many artists were still interested in depicting traditional
narratives and came to find the doctrine of formalism limiting.
Christianity, like formalism, emphasies structural elements and technique RATHER THAN CONTENT. From the eccelesiastical services that emphasize rote and ritual, to the Roman Catholic's pomp and wealth -- many churches are glad to exalt technique and outward elements rather than content -- or, in this case, Torah.
The charismatic/pentecostal churches have a similar problem. They are into the "mainfestations of the spirit", with shaking, being slain in the spirit, babbling in tongues, etc -- an emphasis on technique but WITHOUT ANY CONTENT.
Paul rebuked the Corinthian congregation because they got so carried away in speaking with tongues while providing no interpretation, that many were not being edified, confusion filled the services, unbelievers were mocking them and everyone wanted to give an unknown tongue while no one wanted to prophecy in a language everyone else could understand. They also were rebuked for not casting out a fornicator from their midst. They were more interested in technique and show than in content -- in submission to Torah -- until Paul rebuked them and they changed their ways.
O how many Christian churches today are into formalism -- they revel in technique and performance but never even think about CONTENT.
Yah wants obediance rather than sacrafice and offerings. The sacrafices and offerings are the technique of Torah -- while keeping the precepts of Torah is the content. He wants more than just lip submission and love in word -- He wants deeds: works, works, works.