Monday, March 1, 2010
I'm a Pharisee? That's Being Awfully Judgmental of You.
Are you a Pharisee? Well, then have you ever been called a Pharisee? I have and it is becoming a more common occurrence. So much that I am in the process of doing a study to see if I actually do have what it takes to be called a Pharisee, in a biblical sense.
I start with Merriam Webster’s definition:
1 capitalized : a member of a Jewish sect of the intertestamental period noted for strict observance of rites and ceremonies of the written law and for insistence on the validity of their own oral traditions concerning the law
2 : a pharisaical person
I can pretty much cross out #2 since I am not #1 either. I am not Jewish, a member of a Jewish sect, do not observe rites of ceremonies of the written law (the Law of Moses and Levitical Laws presumably) and I have no oral tradition concerning the law.
In contrast to this definition, I believe the law is/ was a schoolmaster, or a guide, to Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:24). My biblical understanding is that the law is used to show our need for a Savior, that we are born sinners; wretched at birth and in no way can we keep the standards that the Father set forth.
A further study of the Pharisees that Jesus alluded to will show that they were long winded in their prayers, to show everyone within earshot just how holy they were (or thought they were). So, that disqualifies me as well. I think of myself as nothing close to holy, nothing close to long winded, even quite timid in my prayers and to the point. My reliance is on God’s searching and guiding of my heart and my prayer and not on my vain words.
Next would be the Pharisee’s insistence on a strict tithe. I will admit I do not tithe 10%. I actually do not tithe at all. The tithe was yet another system that the Pharisee used to show everyone else how Godly they thought they were. I give back to God what He has entrusted to me, an offering. I would ask that you check out the sermon series on stewardship at Real Truth Matters. This is a very enlightening series on all aspects of giving, notably the false thoughts on tithing. They are not within the New Covenant, check out the rest for yourself. The Pharisee’s tithes went right along with the long prayers, an outward sign that they thought showed they were righteous. Matt 23:5, 13-33, Luke 18:9-14, Matt 9:11. They even weighed out their herb gardens to give 10% of the herbs.
One of the major things the Pharisee’s were known for was their hatred for Jesus. They called for His murder even. Jesus characterized this in Matthew 15:7-9. This is a biggie for me, because I am not capable of hating Jesus. He is my Savior, He is my Everything. He gave all for me, His sinless life to hang on a cross to atone for my sins. So, I could never hate the one that died for me, that I may live. So that was in a big N-O.
So those are the biggest things that Pharisees were known for, the most notable. I will not make a long list for space constraints. Then why am I called a Pharisee? I would have to assume that it is because I hold dear the truths of scripture. I believe that the Lord demands holiness, that His Word is the authority and not personal experience or revelation. There are many truths in scripture that have been deviated from over the past 100 – 150 years. This can be characterized as the “America Gospel”, “Easy Believism” or just a blatant disregard for biblical and historical Christianity. Most notably of late, the denying of he Holy Trinity.
On my facebook wall I recently posted that Philips, Craig and Dean were Modalists and that anyone that were fans of their song “Revelation Song” might want to listen to Kari Jobe’s version instead. I did this after reading an article about PCD’s recent nominations for Dove Awards and mainstream acceptance. To me this is very dangerous, as it should be any Christian. Their false religion denies the Triune nature of God, effectively creating a different god. I was then called judgmental and later I believe a post was put up quoting Matthew 23:13-15 directed at me.
So why are people being called Pharisee’s today? Myself included. This is because the modern definition of Pharisee seems to be simply a hypocrite. The definition of hypocrite is a person that puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion. My life is an open book, I do not parade around saying or believing that I am a “Holier than thou” person. I love my Lord and out of that love He so graciously allows me to have I serve Him and strive to me more like Him daily. This is called sanctification, a term that is not used very much by the modern churches.
So, if this is what they mean by Pharisee (which would negate their quoting of Jesus’ Words in scripture, since they are using it out of context) then I am still not guilty. But, in effect, these people are doing exactly what they are accusing me of. Being judgmental. They expect that anyone that profess’ the Name of Jesus to be of His flock. They say “judge not, lest ye be judged” which too is ripped out of context. We are commanded to judge and hold true to God’s Word. We are told to not be gullible and have itching ears, to not cast pearl before swine or give what is Holy to dogs. How are we to do that if we are not judging and discerning how people’s “professions” of faith in God truly line up with what a true follower of Christ is biblically?
Most people these days that question anyone’s profession, an errant religion, even a blatantly unbiblical religion such as Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses or Modalists, are automatically labeled as Pharisaical. This also happened to me when Todd Bentley was at his peak. I went to the chat room of his website during the Lakeland debacle. I simply asked “How can I be saved” once. Then again, and again, and again. For several minutes I did this, hoping that someone would acknowledge me and give me some scripture reference. I received nothing. Not a hello, not anything. I guess it could have been my requests were being hidden by the flurry of praises to Bentley. But then I posted something else:
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
I posted the Word of God and was immediately rebuked as a Pharisee, told to get off the board and was even blocked by the webmaster who was keeping tabs on the chat board. Many were deceived, many were lied to, many still believe Bentley is a man of God, even after his adulterous relationship, alcohol abuse, knee’s to the stomachs and baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Bam. It’s as if people want to be deceived, like they have itching ears. Any call to discern is met with a cry of “judge not” and being called a Pharisee.
So, if me being called a Pharisee means: One that discerns, calls for discernment, calls for biblical doctrines to be followed and believed, then yes I guess I am a Pharisee in those terms. But I am definitely not what Jesus faced and I am definitely not what Saul of Tarsus was. I could never even remember all those laws, much less follow them and consider myself blameless like the rich young ruler. I am wretched and vile and the only good in me is what my Lord affords. He saved me; He became my master and I His slave. I was born in sin, lived in sin and only have life through Him and His blood that was shed for me on Calvary. A wrong view of Him, His character, His holiness, His attributes, His omnipotence and His awesomeness is idolatry. If someone has made a god to fit their lifestyle, that overlooks sin, turns a blind eye to fornication, drunkenness, lying, stealing or hate is on the road to hell. These are the one’s that Jesus references in Matthew 7 that will be saying “Lord, Lord” that He never knew. These poor souls are deceived and need the Truth and do not need to be lulled into a falseness that is damning them. They need to know who the God of scripture is and what the bible says true salvation is. They must repent of their vileness; they must turn from their sin and to a Holy God and trust in Him only. Not trust in their profession or their prayer to save them. Only God saves. Only God can give life, physical and spiritual.
So if you call people Pharisee’s do your own study of what a real Pharisee is. Do the same if you pull the hypocrite card out as well. Do not use it as a last resort when God’s Word has proved you wrong. Do not be lumped in with the charlatans on TV that blaspheme God’s Name in the real name of greed. These false prophets are dragging millions to a fiery hell with them. Cry out to God for discernment and to open your eyes. If you are sincere He will answer, He will not turn away those that truly seek Him. Drop to your knees right now and cry out to Him.