Friday, November 19, 2004
Many outside the Pharisee denomination have the temerity to suggest that because our denominational name has only been in existence for the past few centuries that we are not a biblical denomination. What they fail to understand is that Pharisaism is an essential part of biblical Christianity. One can no more be a Christian without being a Pharisee than one can be a bird and not fly. My critics accuse me of basing this claim on my own personal interpretation of Pharisaism. They say I categorize anything that doesn’t fit with my theology as unscriptural. These miscreants have everything totally backwards, as usual. They make it sound like I elevate my theology above the Bible itself and interpret the Bible through the polarizing lens of my beliefs. What they fail to realize is that all of my beliefs are shaped by the Bible. I believe what I believe because it is in the Bible rather than “seeing” something in the Bible because I hold to a particular belief. What ridiculous nonsense.
Even though I was raised in a Pharisee church by Pharisee parents, graduated from a Pharisee Christian school, went to a Pharisee Bible College and have only attended Pharisee churches all my life, my beliefs are not influenced one bit by my upbringing or culture. They are strictly a product of sound Biblical exegesis and applied study. This is because “no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation” and Pharisee churches take a high view of the Bible. While our beliefs may be unique to the Pharisee church, it is because we are the only ones who rightly divide the Word of Truth. How do I know this to be true? It is because I only study Pharisee theologians and read Pharisee commentators. I wouldn’t waste my time reading drivel from radical false teachers like R. C. Sproul or David Jeremiah. That way I am assured that I will always be correct in my reading of the Word of God.
I am convinced that the Bible demands Pharisaism. There are many denominations today and none of them agree completely with the Pharisee form of Christianity. That is because they do not take the Word of God seriously. I am convinced that any sincere, believing Christian who is not a Pharisee (if such indeed is possible) takes a serious view of the Bible and begins to study it, in time they will see the truth of Pharisaism and will become one of us. So why isn’t everyone a Pharisee? A fine question, to be sure. I am convinced that it is because men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. They would rather hold onto their sins and wickedness than come over to the truth of Pharisaism, er, I mean the Bible.
The Bible demands that we take a narrow view of truth. Too many would have a Bible that is open to interpretation or subject to man’s opinions. These are false prophets who come in as wolves in sheep’s clothing. They want to lead captive silly women laden in sins and tickle the ears of those whose hearts have waxed gross from sin. These are men who will try and teach people that they can read the Bible for themselves and come to conclusions on their own. What they don’t tell the people is that the Bible is a difficult book to read and study on one’s own. It takes years of study and a profession dedication to be able to understand what the Bible says. People should be willing to trust that I am led by the Holy Spirit when I interpret the Bible for them. And I am more than qualified and willing to do the hard work of interpreting the Bible for their ultimate good. This will keep them from having to worry about whether they have interpreted it correctly or not. I will humbly take up this great burden on their behalf.
Not only does the Bible demand that we preach the truth but it also demands that we expose error. It admonishes us to try the spirits and see whether they are of God. Oftentimes a church member will come to me with a tape or book from a heretical preacher like John MacArthur and ask me to explain something that these men have said. I will have to go to great lengths to expose the heresy and error found in these works. They are doubly dangerous because they hide their tiny heretical doctrines in a wash of truth. It takes a truly discerning scholar like me to detect many of these errors and expose them to people. So why do I go to the trouble and difficult work of exposing the errors of others? Because the Bible commands us to earnestly contend for the faith. It is our solemn duty to be contentious and engender strife on behalf of the gospel of Christ.
But not only does the Bible demand that we expose error and preach against it every chance we get, we are also supposed to separate ourselves from those who have error. God would never use anyone who has the least amount of error to accomplish his work. So it behooves us to keep ourselves pure and unspotted from the falsehoods of those who would corrupt the faith like James Dobson and Jerry Falwell, men who are so broadminded and accepting of other persuasions that they could hardly be said to take a stand for Christ at all. These men are proof positive that diligence is required on the part of any who would keep their faith pure. Let me just summarize by saying you don’t have to be a Pharisee to believe the Bible, but if you do believe the Bible, it won’t be long until you become a Pharisee – the Lord’s Only True Church.
"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”
Matthew 23:2-3 (NIV)
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