A long time friend recently responded via Facebook Message to my earlier posts on “The New Pharisees”. He asks some good questions, to which I responded. This post is simply our interactions together because I believe it adds depth to the conversation. His thread will be in bold and my response is in italics
Some thoughts on your New Pharisees series, just to keep you thinking.
Are these rules (“extra rules like: no saying naughty words, no laughing in church, no asking doubting questions and hearing that people who smoked were going to hell were the norm. These unspoken and unbiblical rules weighed upon this boys mind.)” considered sin, or just not profitable? Do they depend on the action itself or their heart?
I often ask “How could you be saved and vote for (Carter, Clinton, or Obama)??” in sincerity to understand their thinking. I am likely to ask the same about Republican candidates. As a Christians, I think we should evaluate our decisions in light of our Christianity, and have an answer for these questions. If we do not have an answer, then we really haven’t thought about our decision! Unfortunately, many who vote for Democrat candidates cite what they will do for the poor. Is this not enforcing additional rules on others by requiring them to pay taxes for this?
Perhaps evangelical churches are New Pharisees. But one point you did not address was the Pharisees motives of power and greed. Do you allow anyone to speak in a church service? I believe Jesus would. Do you work for the Gospel for free? Jesus did. Are you ready to truly break away from the Pharisee lifestyle or just do away with the rules? (I bet if Pastors worked for free they would do a lot more praying!)
Regarding your nudity example, was it not God who clothed them? Would he have done this if he wanted to discourage this ‘natural response’? When mankind fell, we were stuck in a fallen world. The rules changed. We were born into sin. We must be careful not to vacate the rules God made – even Jesus did not do this.
I agree that there is much that is wrong with the church today, but we can’t throw out the baby with the bath water!
Some good thoughts here and I will try and answer them in succession.
Many who I encountered in the church have and do label those above things as “sins” without ever trying to clarify the heart issue. Could they be due to a foul heart? I believe so, but to brush stroke them as sins to be punished is wrong.
I think it supremely insulting to ask how someone can be Christian and vote for “x,y,z” I agree we do need to think through the lens of our Christianity but rather wouldn’t a better question be: how does this align with our faith then judging their salvation?
Yes, power and greed do play a significant role in the old pharisees and sadly, many American Pastors as well. I don’t think pastors would pray more unpaid. I was cut down to part time as a youth pastor and had to do the full work of my ministry duties (because I didn’t want to lessen what the kids received) PLUS had to get a second job waiting tables to support my family. I got this news when my wife was 6 months pregnant. SO, I did pray but was really bogged down with the reality of my situation. I wasn’t in it and am not in it for greed, but to minister freely I need to know my family’s basic needs are met.
The point of what I was saying was that we were meant to be and created to be naked. Due to sin, our ability to have this level of deep intimacy without shame has been marred. God did (and does) cover our shame and heals us from it, but covering in this picture is much more powerful than simply clothing. God desires for us to be shameless as he originally intended but it was his way of restoring intimacy because we can never get back to the original intent until heaven. We fear that God desires to disrobe us and expose our shame to others and we fear that’s what naked and unashamed means, but with this simple act of covering, God disproves our worries about his nature and shows us compassion in our weakness. Here we see the first sacrifice (animal skin) and a prophetic covering that points directly to Jesus blood covering over our sins!
Intimacy will NEVER be as safe as it was meant to be, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be real and expose our shame and allow Christ to cover us over.
I lovev to have opportunity to interact, so engage the conversation! Comment below, or facebook message me (www.facebook.com/pastormarv)