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Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014

Unsubscribe from Phariseeism

November 1, 2010|11:57 pm

Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (Matthew 16:6)

It’s all the rage ... people putting their opinion on the web in a form called "blogging." Funny that the concept of writing a paper for English class caused many of the same people serious stress! Contents range from talking about their cute little baby to personal attacks on people even within the Church. So, what would Jesus blog?

I’ve seen many on-line blogs including internet radio blogs that attack pastors of "seeker churches" and the type of worship service that goes on in those churches. Of course, my question is “Shouldn’t all churches attract seekers?” Having been raised in the more conservative ministry, I have visited quite a few churches. To me a church should have a worship service that reflects a risen Savior and stop having a funeral service week after week. I love the old hymns, but why sing them like a funeral march? Besides ... like the song says, "Why should the devil have all the good music?"

I was in a conversation with a person whose church holds to the concept that only the King James is the real Bible. I asked, "What about those in other countries that don’t speak English? You lose stuff in the translation into other languages simply because they don’t have a common context. Do we leave them without a Bible?" He never thought about it that way and said he would surely think about it. So, doesn’t the "traditional" worship also lose something when you are communicating with those who don’t speak the "traditional" language? How do you reach those people for Jesus? It’s simple. You speak their language just like Jesus did. It was only the Pharisees where Jesus said, "Do you not know the Scriptures?" And it was the Pharisees who mocked Jesus for hanging out with harlots and other sinners. Do we want to be like Jesus or the Pharisees?

During Jesus’ ministry years, did he repeat what the Pharisees taught so to be approved by those in ministry? Of course not. So, why do those in ministry expect pastors to do that now? One blogger speaks of the "eisegesis" (an interpretation, esp. of Scripture, that expresses the interpreter’s own ideas, bias, or the like, rather than the meaning of the text) that takes place in churches today. However, I attend one of those churches and listen to what is preached. Is it actually eisegesis or is it simply following the model of how Jesus reached the masses? In listening to the sermons, I have found nothing said that does not ring biblically true. It is interesting that many of these bloggers have spent little if any time in the churches they decry. The book of Proverbs (18:13) says, "He who gives an answer before he hears, It is folly and shame to him." To simply hear a couple of sermons and draw a conclusion based on your own predisposition is at best gossip. To be honest, I have not heard a preacher in 40 years that didn’t have some eisegesis along the way. We Christians have a saying – "It is the difference between knowing about Jesus and actually knowing Jesus." The same is true for many bloggers and the pastors they blog about.

Besides, who are these people to judge in this way? Romans 14:4 says, "Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand." Being in the church and seeing what is taking place within the body it is obvious that the Lord is changing people’s lives! In high school I listened to music by artists such as Keith Green, Pat Terry, 2nd Chapter of Acts and the like. The pastor of our church was quite conservative (being a graduate of Bob Jones University) and really didn’t like me bringing that music to others in the youth group. My dad was well associated with the denomination so he asked my dad about it. After all, my dad let me listen to it! My dad told the pastor, "I don’t condone the music because I don’t like it. However, I have no biblical grounds to condemn it. It’s not my place to impose what I like and don’t like for the standard of what the Holy Spirit can and cannot use to draw people to the Lord." Isn’t the best measure of a ministry being if the Holy Spirit is changing lives?

In a discussion, someone made the point that the book The Purpose Driven Life would never hold up at a Bible college. That’s because it’s not written to people in a Bible college. One can hope they are already saved! It’s written to "tax collectors and sinners." The target of books like Purpose Driven and seeker churches are the people who can barely handle the milk of the Word yet most churches insist on serving steak to them and wonder why they choke. I see throughout the gospels where religious leaders complained about what and how Jesus taught. He didn’t follow the formula! He didn’t fit their mold! He didn’t do things the way THEY liked! How dare He!!!

Back in Jesus day, you had to have social standing and power to be a Pharisee. Today, all you need is a computer and internet access. It is a dangerous thing to call something unholy that the Holy Spirit is using. In fact, some would say that is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. So, how do you stand firm in the Gospel of Jesus the Christ in the face of the modern blogger? Simple. Beware the leaven of the Pharisees! When it comes to their blogs (not to mention their attitudes) just click unsubscribe.

Daniel Paul was raised in the ministry, worked in the 80s and 90s in Christian radio, and is currently involved with lay ministry, working with special needs children in Upstate South Carolina.
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