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Gamaliel's Desk
Saturday, May 01, 2004

This has been a very difficult week for me at my online Pharisee ministry. As the founder and moderator of the Pharisee Phundamentals group, I have had to remove some rather opinionated individuals who did not see eye-to-eye with the membership. Our group is not meant to be a place to "explore the meaning of Christianity in our contemporary culture" as some wish it was. Instead it is a list of like-minded Pharisees who assent to all the same truths of the Bible and express our strong misgivings about the sorry state of Christianity today. Occasionally, someone stumbles into our group and tries to get things started up on a variety of topics and this week has been one of the worst. The most insidious culprits who sneak into our group are those who claim to believe the Bible but in practice actually deny its truths.

Let me state first of all that it is easy to pay lip service to being a Bible Believer. Most of the so-called evangelical and fundamentalist denominations claim to believe the Bible. Indeed, they could not long survive if they told their congregations that they did not hold to the truth of God's word. While many of these people are sincere, we must note that they are sincerely deluded. They may think they believe the Bible but they actually believe their own denominational interpretations of the Bible.

This week I had to remove three individuals who tried to convince me that I did not believe the Bible myself. They claimed I believed in my own personal interpretation of the Bible and not the actual scriptures themselves. And then they tried to convince me that their interpretation of the Bible had just as good a chance of being right as my interpretation of the Bible. What utter blasphemy. While I don't claim to have divine knowledge, I do have access to the Holy Spirit who is able to guide me into all truth. But this week's column isn't about me; it is about those who claim to believe the Bible but substitute their opinions and preferences Bible truth.

The first proof that they don't believe the Bible is a willingness to mix the truth with error. We call this "leavening" of the truth. By mixing truth with error, they deny a true belief in I Corinthians 5:6 which says, "... Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?" These people freely admit to the possibility that their interpretation could contain error. If they would listen to me, I would assure them that not only is this a possibility, but it is a certainty that it contains error. Any position that does not exactly match mine, is one which contains error. "It's only a tiny error," they reply, "and what can be so bad about that?" Don't they understand that ANY admixture of error with the truth only corrupts the truth and makes it unfit for consumption? If we tolerate even the tiniest bit of error, we destroy the whole foundation of Truth.

These people also fail to understand the subtle, crafty nature of false teachers. No one is going to come into a church and say, "I am a false teacher." Instead they are going to look like True Christians, walk like True Christians, talk like True Christians and claim to be True Christians. But all the while they are seducers and deceivers. They only pretend to teach the truth, all the while leading people into error. They will talk about "seeker sensitive services" and "contemporary worship styles" when all they mean to do is preach a feel-good gospel and play devilish rock and roll music, all the while leading people into damnable error. These teachers are not interested in the truth or reaching the lost for Christ like good Pharisee churches, but simply want to drag down the spirituality of gullible Christians. The fact that these churches are growing and appeal to a wide range of people is proof that they are not biblical. Jesus never appealed to the masses, never had a large following or associated with sinners of the vilest sort. Nor should we.

The third evidence that they don't believe the Bible is that they rate the details in the Bible as unimportant. They want to unite on the "basic truths that we can all agree on" and all the while let important truths fall by the wayside. We should have an attitude like the Psalmist, "Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way" (Psalm 119:128) Those who say there must be freedom for "unity in diversity" don't get their ideas from the Bible. We are not allowed the liberty to abandon the clear teachings of scripture. Those who don't accept the woman's place in the church as it is stated in the Bible for example are substituting their own opinion for scripture. Yet they still claim to believe the Bible. The next thing you know they will say that passing an offering plate or having an altar call are unscriptural as well. Some things are too major to be considered "minor doctrines" not worth dividing over.

I could go on for a long time about those who claim to believe the Bible but deny it in practice. Unlike us true Bible-believing Pharisees, they believe only their interpretation of the Bible. It should be clear to you that our Pharisee churches place a high value on the word of God and would never substitute our personal opinions for it. Those who say the Bible makes no mention of smoking cigarettes as a vice and even promotes the consumption of alcohol in various places as "proof" that we add our opinions to scripture are only fooling themselves. It is their ignorance of the Truth of scripture that prevents them from seeing the Truth of God's word properly.

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, "Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath."
He answered, "Haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread--which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven't you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent? I tell you that one greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
Matthew 12:1-8 (NIV)

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