Friday, November 01, 2002
Misguided misanthropes have attributed the small size of our denomination and even smaller size of our congregations to Pharisee churches being so exclusive and obnoxious that no one is attracted to them. This accusation would be justified if it were our desire to be popular and we intended to have large congregations. Unfortunately, our critics completely misunderstand the nature of the Truth.
Pharisees represent a small denomination in wider “Christianity” because we are the only denomination that holds to the complete Truth of the Word of God. Yes, some denominations hold to one portion of God’s Truth or another but only the Pharisee churches hold to the complete Truth absolutely free from any admixture of error or falsehood.
The fact of the matter is that those who hold to the Truth have always represented a tiny remnant. Elijah complained that the remnant was down to him alone, and God confirmed that it wasn’t much larger than that. In the entire land of Israel there were only seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal. This number was a tiny fraction of the population of the nation of Israel and an even smaller potion of the world’s inhabitants. Besides the minuscule size of the group, this total also included those who were nominal followers of God. The Lord didn’t even mention what fragment of this percentage remained absolutely True to Him. I am confident that it was only a tiny fraction of this seven thousand.
This parallels the situation in our day and age. Of the billions on the earth today only a small fraction of them are nominally Christian. A smaller percentage of that comprises Christian denominations that hold to the Fundamental truths of the gospel. The number continues to shrink as we exclude those who hold to one error or another such as using wrong translations of the Bible or permitting contemporary worship styles. By the time we get down to those who follow the Truth, the number isn’t much bigger than Elijah’s seven thousand. And we aren’t too sure about all that seven thousand.
People must face the fact that Truth is not popular. If something is popular, then by definition it can’t be Truth. Our small numbers and tiny congregations prove that we hold to the Truth. It is only by the grace of God that people become Pharisees. We have made the choice to turn from being popular with men to devote ourselves to being True to God. We have sacrificed widespread acclaim and the admiration of others for the approval of God who smiles down at us for making the hard choice to follow Him. Some think that we are unpopular because we are rude and intolerant. Sadly, it is the pernicious nature of error that leads our critics to believe that our unpopularity is somehow a fault rather than a virtue.
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.
Revelation 7:9 (NIV)
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