13 January 2010

Am I a Pharisee?

It seems I have acquired a new title, that of Pharisee. Quite honestly it doesn't surprise me and, this week in particular, I'm in rather good company. Many of the larger discernment ministries have been indirectly labeled as Pharisees this week by Purpose-Driven Pope of the Carolinas, Perry Noble (thanks to Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries for concocting that fabulous nickname!). You see, when false teachers are attacked, they love to throw out the word "pharisee." And so do their supporters. When people are blindly following someone without bothering to test what they say against Scripture, they simply see red when another person comes along and points out that maybe, just perhaps, their perfect precious leader is mistaken. A Christian should always be testing what their teachers and leaders are saying. Even if you are being shepherded by John MacArthur or Erwin Lutzer, you need to test their teaching against Scripture! I'm sure that even the great Charles Spurgeon ensured that his congregation was acting as the Bereans and testing his words against God's. And so, dear name-callers, before you throw me under the Biblical bus, please double-check your source.

The irony of the situation is that, seemingly, certain individuals were gracious enough to take the time to read my article Beth Moore - False Teacher? yet were not as equally gracious to read the post below it, Why I Do What I Do. So at this time, I'd like to ask my critics to go back and read the latter mentioned post. I'd also like to thank you for effectively proving my point! Do not misunderstand. I welcome criticism, and am more than happy to engage in friendly dialogue should someone disagree with my perspective. However, many who were clearly unhappy with my assessment of the infamous Beth Moore instead resorted to angrily labeling me as a Pharisee and leaving it at that (again, thank you for proving my point in the post Why I Do What I Do). So, in the interest of conversation (uh-oh, now I sound Emergent!) let's take a very brief look at the Pharisees, shall we? My Bible study is currently going through the book of John and this couldn't be more timely. Ah yes, God is good!

You see, the Pharisees, who knew the Scripture well, refused to acknowledge the deity of Jesus Christ. He was right in front of them, preaching and performing miracles. He was daily fulfilling prophecies given long ago by the prophets of the Old Testament. These were prophecies that the religious leaders, the Pharisees, would have known backward and forward and yet they refused to see the Truth when it was staring them in the face. They understood everything that Jesus said, yet did not acknowledge Him. Why? Because their hearts were hard and blind and they could not see the truth that was before them. Their pride and their hardness from years of false religion had blinded them to a point beyond recognition.

 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains. John 9:39-41

The Pharisees were so certain that they were right, that their false religious system was right, that they cast everything else aside without even bothering to examine it! Instead, unhappy with the inconvenient truth presented to them by Jesus, they desired to kill Him.

At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.”The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” [...] do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands. John 10:22-33, 36-39

And so I have to ask: Who is really the Pharisee? Is it myself and other discernment ministries who desire to defend the Word of God? Is it justifiable to label us Pharisees who are merely taking the words of these glorified, supposed teachers of the Bible and are pitting them against the Word of God? Is it fair to call those of us who are following in the way of the Bereans Pharisees? Or is the true Pharisee the one who takes these warnings and, rather than researching for themselves, instead resorts to name-calling and chooses to remain in ignorance. Disagree with me if you like, but at least present me with a valid argument with which to dialogue. Name-calling doesn't behoove anyone.

For those who were angered or upset by my comments regarding Beth Moore, I'd like to direct you to some further research. The articles linked below will present you with sound, Biblical arguments as to why so many are concerned with the path that Beth Moore is traveling. Perhaps if she wasn't a "shepherd" of so many women across America I and others like me wouldn't be so concerned. But Beth Moore is nothing short of worshiped by many women and before you follow her blindly, you must test her claims against Scripture.

Finally, for those of you who have sifted through this article saying, "But contemplative prayer isn't all that bad. Psalm 46:10 tells us to 'be still,'" I will direct you to an article by Pastor Larry Debruyn of Franklin Road Baptist Church. Pastor Debruyn also authors many of the insightful articles on the Herescope blog. Simply entitled "Be Still" this article will discuss the true meaning of that so often, so terribly misused verse. And for those of you who have read through this and are still a little baffled as to what exactly is contemplative prayer, well, that's a discussion for another day! It's a discussion I hope to post soon, as I know it is a foreign term to many. But for now it is getting late and, sadly, I do have a day job for which I must prepare tomorrow!


  1. Good post! "Pharisee" is a name I am called all the time, especially in regards to my commentaries on Beth Moore. Today I received another e-mail calling me not only a pharisee, but one who has a log in his eye! You may have missed my article where I address some of your same issues at http://watchmansbagpipes.blogspot.com/2010/01/beth-moore-followers-and-other-angry.html

    Thanks for the explanation of who the Pharisees really were - it saves me the time of doing it myself!

  2. Once again, thanks for the kind words, Glenn! I did see your post and thought it was excellent!

  3. no one reads your "waste of time" blogs. I'd rather go into the world and preach the Gospel to a dying world. You people blog and make each other feel better which keeps the world the same out there. you dont realise the people you have blog against are people you have not personally heard or met, your a scribe with a pharisical heart. May your judgement on many Man of God be a double curse upon you!

    1. So, Anonymous, while it's blatantly obvious that you didn't bother to read the comment policy before posting, I have to ask: did you read this post before leaving your comment? What about the other post where you left a comment that included coarse, foul language? Just curious.


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