Calling a Christian a Pharisee
I heard a great bible study Wednesday night and I want to encourage you to listen to it. Just click on 2 Chronicles 17:1-19:3 11-06-13 W7101 by Jon Courson.
The reason I’m so interested in you checking out this study is because one of the issues addressed is the use of the word pharisee to describe Christians. And I am guilty of using that word, in that manner.
And I was wrong.
It happened the same day as the aforementioned evening bible study. That morning I met with another writer for coffee at the Starbucks in Ashland, Oregon. This particular writer happens to be a retired pastor as well as an author. I was there to learn from him because he’s older, more godly, and just has more experience living here on planet earth than I do.
In the course of our conversation he mentioned a book idea he had. He said most of those he’d mentioned it to didn’t like it, and that I probably wouldn’t like it either. He then proceeded to share his idea. As it turned out, a group of the characters in the story are prostitutes, and I got the impression that was the reason others didn’t like the idea.
I told him I loved the idea. I went on to say that today we’ve become pharisees because we shut the door of heaven in people’s faces when we condemn disenfranchised people like prostitutes.
I had a great conversation with this man and was truly blessed and very grateful for his time. I didn’t think much about the pharisee comment until church that night. We were almost to the end of the bible study when Jon said four words I’ll never forget: “…just five more verses.” And those five verses had a huge impact. He began talking about the lying spirit sent to the king of Israel’s 400 false prophets. (2 Chronicles 18:18-22) It was around this time in the study he commented to the congregation that some people, even some Christians, are calling other Christians pharisees. The people they call pharisees are those Christians who talk of repentance, consecration, holiness, righteousness, getting right, sanctification, hating sin, and loving God. The people they call pharisees are those Christians who love God so much, they seek the truth from God’s word, even if it goes against the grain of our culture.
But the Pharisees, the ones who Jesus indicted, hated Jesus Christ, they wanted Jesus dead. They wanted to kill Jesus, even when they knew he was more than a man. Even when they saw Lazarus sitting there having been resurrected by Jesus from the dead. At that point, the bible says, they were determined to kill not just Jesus, but Lazarus too. (John 12:10-11, 2 Chronicles 17:1-19:3 by Jon Courson)
The Pharisees hated Jesus. They told lies and did whatever else they could to make sure they would see Jesus die.
That’s why it’s wrong to call people who love Jesus pharisees.
[Image via Cea – Creative Commons]