30 Comments

Playing the Pharisee Card

It happens. It always happens. Someone styles themselves a prophet, or a teacher. They teach some aberrant doctrine that flat-out contradicts the Bible. Or they bring in AC/DC Satan to minister to the people. They use all kinds of newfangled methods to make people feel comfortable in their sins while not teaching them the necessity to repentance. They gain a large following, people begin to be attracted to their methods and teachings.

We (and others, such as Ken Silva or Ingrid Schlueter) warn others to avoid these people, since their doctrines are capable of leading people away from Christ, and into destruction. We obey the command given to us by the apostle Paul in Romans 16:17-18“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.” And guess what happens? Those folks with the itchy ears get all upset because we are exposing the wolves who are preaching “peace and safety! Peace! Peace!” When there is no peace. And, like the Israelites–to whom God sent prophet after prophet, finally sending His own Son whom they killed–they buck back against the warnings, they continue to follow the wolves who are spoiling the flock, they let their itchy ears guide their thoughts. And then they whip out…

THE PHARISEE CARD!

Go over to Extreme Theology, and listen as Chris Rosebrough tears apart the fallacies of the ones who call us “Pharisees.” You may be interested to learn that the ones who are actually more like the Pharisees…are the ones who are calling us “Pharisees.”

30 comments on “Playing the Pharisee Card

  1. fourpointer,

    May God be glorified and exalted as you continue to warn those who may fall subject to the damnable heresies of the wolves!

    I for one am thankful that you [and DefCon] stand on the Truth at all costs.

  2. I am probably about to be labeled as a Pharisee or a heretic at my church. I have questioned my small group leader about a book we will be using in our class and I am waiting on a reply. The book is about evangelism and it has many things I disagree with in it. An error about the crucifixion and it is for using the ol’ Revelation 3:20 ask Jesus into your heart technique.

    Lord willing I am about to ask my pastor what he thinks about the doctrines of Grace. The Baptist Faith and Message is a little Calvinistic so I will have that and Scripture on my side. I want to know where my wife and I will stand in the church and hopefully his reply will give me an answer. Because what I believe angers a lot of people. I don’t want to cause a division in my church. Who knows where that question will take me in conversation with him. Maybe all of this will bring some reformation there but, it probably will not. It will probably end up with my wife and I having to leave.

  3. Shane:
    What you and your wife have going for you is dedication to God’s word above that of any man, church, or organization. God will bless and honor your faithfulness first and foremost to His word, no matter the consequences. And if you should be labelled a Pharisee, hypocrite, trouble-maker, or any similar sentiment, remember Matt. 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

  4. Shane,

    My wife and I went through the same thing a few years ago at our church. It was a Baptist church that I had been involved in for 23 years. I lead music for the youth. They hired a guy who brought with him emerging teaching and emerging “theology”. To make a long story short. We spoke to the Pastor about it and the Elders and nothing was done so we ended up having to leave. We were persecuted (if you can call it that when people are dying for Jesus in other countries) and our name was smeared we were called Pharisees. We lost many “friends” and years later people still wont talk to us. I telling you this to say IT WAS THE BEST THING WE HAVE EVER DONE! We have grown to love the Lord so much more through this trial. We grew in ways that might never have happened if the Lord didn’t allow us to go through what we did. We now go to a small church that preaches His Word and His Word only and have made many great friends who live for the truth.

    Stand firm my friend and get ready for the Lord’s working weather it be He calls you to leave or uses you to get your church back on track.

    Matthew

  5. “To make a long story short. We spoke to the Pastor about it and the Elders and nothing was done so we ended up having to leave. ”

    It happened to me, too.

    But……..5 months later I see signs of awareness in the congregation coming on. One elder and 2 congregants have called me regarding my objections since my ‘Don Quixote’ moment.

    So, don’t lose heart, you just never know how things turn out.

    Stand firm.

  6. Shane,

    May the LORD bless you as both you and your wife seek to be obedient to what is revealed in Scripture.

    It may get tough – stand lovingly strong and never comprimise on the gospel.

    Bless you as you contend for this amazing grace!

  7. I have just emailed our pastor and explained to him about how I came to believe the Doctrines of Grace and asked him where he stands on them. Because my wife and I would like to know if we will be compatible with the vision of the church. Now it is just wait and see.

    Also on the brighter side, I just found out that the pastor of a Baptist Church a couple miles down the road from our current church is a friend of the Founders Ministries. I sent him an email with several questions about his churches beliefs. Could this be Gods providence at work?????

  8. Shane,

    As others have exhorted, stand firm and grow not weary. After several years of confronting seeker sensitive cancer in my former church, my wife and I left for a solid, reformed, SBC church. Our 13 months here have been a glorious refreshing time of excellent preaching that keeps the flesh humble and the soul rejoicing. My only regret is not making this move 2 years earlier, when I first visited Grace Family Baptist Church.

    Praise the Lord for men who hold to Scripture (I agree with Spurgeon in his description of Calvinism as shorthand for Biblical truth)! I love the Founder’s Ministry – great stuff that will not allow one to be comfortable in false doctrine.

    My former church pastors held a condescending perspective of “lay people” and one called me a legalist because I believe in the regulative principal. I had to leave when I found myself having lost respect for the men who were acting in the office of elder.

  9. One thing about my the church I attend has been bothering me for a little while is the “raise your hand decision for Christ”. Then when the pastor invites those that raised their hands to come to the front no one does. Every once and while they might but, it is rare. It makes me question if that person that raised their hand was truly giving their life to Christ. It seems to me that if the greatest thing to happen to a person really happened to them, they could at least have enough boldness to standup in front of fellow believers.

    One of the questions I asked the pastor at this other church is if he believed in using the “raise your hand decision”. I figure that if he is a friend of Founders he probably will not.

    It makes me think about the analogy Paul Washer gives about being hit by a logging truck.

    I feel kind of like when I left the pent/char movement. I began to see the errors and asked some questions. The people I asked were oblivious to them. So I figured God was saying it is time to leave. It has been a wild ride for me. Praise God.

  10. Shane,

    Spiritually dead people can’t raise their hands to choose/accept Christ. It pleases men to see a response – it does not align with Scripture. As Steve Farrar told one time at a rural men’s retreat: “I was told as a kid that getting saved was like drowning in the sea, needing someone to throw out a life ring. Jesus throws out the life ring and all you need to do is reach out and grab it. That’s a nice story but it’s a lie. I was dead in sin and a dead man can’t reach out and grab anything. Christ saves sinners – He doesn’t make salvation possible.”

    That last sentence is what Scripture does tell us: Christ saves sinners. Not might, not tried, not failed. He saves. Ain’t nobody cooperates with the Lord until AFTER he’s been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Man has no choice in the matter, same as when we get physically born. That, too, would be a good analogy – perhaps even in the Bible :-)

  11. Shane,

    My prayers that all goes well in your dialog with these people. If they do whip out the “Pharisee Card,” ask them if they can explain what they mean by calling you a “Pharisee.” This will give you a good opportunity for you to show them that they are the ones who are substituting their own beliefs and traditions to the word of God–which was Jesus’ argument with them all along.

  12. Yes I might have to ask them why I would be a Pharisee. I listened to the message above. I have never thought about it that way.

    The pastor from the other church I have been talking with ansered the questions I asked him. They were what I wanted to here. Excites me a little.

    “Manfred
    Christ saves sinners – He doesn’t make salvation possible.”

    From time to time in my studies I will take my notes and thoughts and write a paper from them. Last week I decided I would send one of them to the people in my sunday school class and let them read it so they could tell me what they think. I haven’t heard back from any of them. I normally don’t let anyone read them except for my wife. I decided I wanted a bigger audience. Anyways it was 1John4:10 and Jesus being a propitiation. My wife said it is probably too deep for them. Coscidering no one has said anything about it yet, I would say she is probably right. I think a lot of people don’t udnerstand what being a propitiation means.

    I think salvation is more like someone laying dead on the bottom of the deepest darkest part of the ocean and rotting covered in muck. Then Jesus pulls us out and places us on land and gives us life.

  13. Shane,

    I am glad you are getting encouraging answers from the other church. Before I moved to my current church, I emailed a couple questions to the elders and received answers that blew me away. Rather than coyly avoiding the question, these men openly answered and invited such! 15 months later, I am most thankful to the Lord for these men, who walk humbly before man and God and know their role includes serving the body of Christ – not commanding it.

    Grow not weary and be not ashamed. Appears you are preparing well and thanks be to God for your wife.

  14. By the way. Thanks for the encouragement. It has been much, much, needed.

  15. Shane,

    As nice as the scenery was, as opulent as the accommodations were, as expensive as the fare was… no one who disembarked from the Titanic in Cherbourg or Queenstown regretted their decision.

    Blessings,
    - Jeff H

  16. @Jeff H

    that is a good one. gave me a chuckle

  17. “Christ saves sinners. Not might, not tried, not failed. He saves.” ~ Manfred.

    Amen!!

  18. At some point, the Pharisee card will get overplayed. Then what? It will merely change names: “religious loser”, “Fundamentalist”, “hypocrite”, “bible-thumping ignoramous”, “creed-quoter”, etc. The name will change, but the intimidation technique stays the same. Let us be careful not to fall into the spirit behind it.

  19. I’ve been called a Pharisee before and told; “Let’s face it, you’re a Calvinist” (as if it was a bad thing). I’ve been told that I would be prayed for as if I were getting involved in a cult because I was embracing God’s word and declaring His truth!

    I have been hated and abandoned by friends for the sake of the truth but my Jesus has always remained faithful to me! I love Him; I love the truth; I love His word. I am grateful beyond words that He has saved a worthless sinner like me.

    I’d lay my life down for Him if I could do such a thing but it’s not mine to give; I’ve been bought at a price; it belongs to Him to do with as He pleases so that His name might be magnified & glorified. We should take comfort in our humility for God chose the weak things to shame the strong (1 Corinthians 1:27) and He gives grace to the humble and opposes the proud (1 Peter 5:5). May all of you continue to declare the truth to give God glory and so lost men may be saved.

    Praise His glorious name ALWAYS!

    Grace & Peace

  20. God did not call Aaron’s grandson Phinehas a Pharisee, and he was pretty extreme in his opposition to open sin. And when I say “pretty” extreme I am playing the understatement card.

  21. My current pastor is wanting to talk about some of the issues that I have been mentioning above. Please pray for me. Hopefully we can get at least a Biblical evangelism program started. That would be a great first step. He talks like he would be very receptive. I had rather see true God lead change come to my current church than leave for another one.

    I will first have to show them that “asking Jesus into your heart” or “inviting Him into your life” is not in the Bible. And that evangelism in the Bible was always a call to repent and believe.

    Interesting times are ahead.

  22. I have a request from the people here that I have been talking with. I have written a letter to my small group class with my reasons as to why I disagree with using the book we will be using in our class. The reaction to this letter will probably determine whether or not I stay at my current church.

    Would any of you mind reading it? I want to know what some more mature Christians that see my point of view would think. If you would like to read it, how can I get you a copy?

  23. http://new5pointer.blogspot.com/2010/01/book-critique.html

    Hey guys I decided to post part of the letter I have written on my blog. Would anyone mind reading and tell me what they think? I wanted to see if anyone that is more mature and learned than me thinks before I give this to anyone.

    Thanks abunch.

  24. Shane,

    Might be because I’m in Taiwan right now, but I get an error telling me the page doesn’t exist.

  25. shane i just tried to go there. it doesn’t exist

  26. hey guys. I deleted the post. thanks for going there. Sorry I deleted it though. I can put it back up if you want to read it. I have had a few people read it and said they thought it was ok.
    My wife and I have nursery duty for the rest of January so I know we will be there until then to fulfill that commitment unless God says otherwise.
    In talking with others in my class I decided not to give the letter to them just yet. They have never been taught any different nor considered any of the points I make in my letter. My plan now is to address these issues as they come up in our class. Lord willing. So much needs to be done there. From some of the things I have heard there doesn’t seem to be a desire to do serious Bible study.
    After we are finished with our nursery duty we will probably go visit another church, on Sunday evenings, up the road where the pastor holds the doctrines of Grace.

    Maybe one of the editors of DefCon could delete the link above?

  27. Shane,

    I have been in similar situations on numerous occasions and have learned a universal truth: you cannot change a church from the “pew”. In other words, if the leadership is not leading the charge for truth, your cause is not likely to succeed. Trying to change things apart from the leadership being on board opens up the potential for confusion and polarization. You will most likely be labeled as divisive and disruptive (along with being labeled a pharisee), which in the end will detract from your purpose. It might be better to leave peaceably and relatively quietly and go to the other church for now. In time you can speak to your class/friends about your issues from a neutral vantage point. Forcing issues now may produce unexpected and lasting bitterness which, like the bars of Pro 18:19, will hinder future discussions.

    Just a thought from one who usually learns the hard way. :)

  28. Yes I have decided that just leaving would be the best thing to do. I have tried to get a Bible study going with the people in my Sunday school class(on how to study the Bible, something they truly need to know how to do) but, no one has been interested.

    My wife and I have one more night of nursery duty there and then we are going to start visiting. Lord willing. There is a church up the road that I emailed the pastor some questions and the answers he gave were great. Planning on going there first.

    It seems like there has been a massive shift towards man centeredness there as of late. Or maybe it has always been there and I am just now seeing it??? If I see one more Purpose driven/fluff program I think I will be sick.

    No wonder the modern “church” is in the shape that it is in. No one wants to study the Bible and when they do, a lot of them just do a brief “devotional” reading or just a surface reading and never dig into it.

  29. Which is the most important?
    Jesus was asked twice, by two different men, the same basic question about which is the most important or greatest commandment in the Law. Here is how Jesus answered that question:

    #1
    “One of the teachers of the law… asked him [Jesus],
    ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’

    “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “ is this: ‘Hear, of Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than THESE.” [Mark 12:28-31, Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Leviticus 19:18]

    #2
    …an expert in the law, tested him [Jesus] with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’”

    Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these TWO commandments.” [Matthew 22:36-40, Deuteronomy 6:5, Leviticus 19:18]

    But in contrast with Jesus, Paul the Pharisee didn’t know the greatest, most important, first commandment according to Jesus. Paul made up his own rule. Paul wrote:
    “The entire law is summed up in a SINGLE command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” [Galatians 5:14, Leviticus 19:18]

    And again, Paul wrote:
    “He who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not covet, and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this ONE RULE: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” [Romans 13:8-10, Leviticus 19:18]

    Jesus said it’s TWO commandments, with the greatest, most important, first command to
    .1) first, love God with everything you’ve got, and
    .2) second, love people.
    Paul said no, it ONE commandment- to love people.

    This is very similar to The Beatles- “All you need is love. Love is all you need. Love, Love, Love.” (In other words, the second commandment, the love of man, without the love of God. Love as me, myself and I define love to be, and continuously redefined by sinful men.)

    In essence, it is also the same principle as what Eve did in the Garden of Eden, forgetting about the Tree of Life, which is the first tree in the middle of the Garden, and instead referring to the second tree as “the tree that is in the middle of the garden.” [Genesis 3:3 & 2:9 2:17, 3:24]

    Kind of like the Pharisees with Jesus, who were pushing the false idea that we can consider ONE commandment in the Law, alone in isolation, to be “the greatest commandment in the Law.”

    Or like today, false teachers in the Chrislam – Purpose Driven – Seeker Sensitive – Emergent – Liberal – Ecumenical – New Age – world church movement pushing the false idea that the ONE RULE is “Loving God and Neighbor together.”

    The Lord God Jesus the Jewish Messiah, Son of Yahweh the Most High God of Israel, said:
    “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these TWO commandments.”
    Not one. TWO.

    Sometimes, Paul was wrong. Jesus is always right. I’m following Jesus.

    Here are answers to 2 common objections:
    .a) What about the so-called “Golden Rule”?
    Jesus spoke the 3 chapters of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7, including 7:12. Jesus didn’t make PART of this one verse out of context into “The Golden Rule” or “one rule.” Jesus did not use the term “Golden Rule,” it’s simply a tradition of men. The sentence begins with “So” in the NIV and Amplified Bibles, and “Therefore’ in the NASB and King James Bibles, which ties 7:12 to the previous sentences. So 7:12 cannot stand alone as One Commandment.

    .b) What about the so-called “Great Commission”?
    Jesus spoke the words recorded in Matthew 28:18-20, including “make disciples of all nations.” Jesus never used the term “Great Commission,” it’s simply a tradition of men. Yes I agree it’s a commandment given by Jesus, it’s not optional, and it applies to us today. We need to carry this out, with our own God-given abilities and talents, using the skills, and circumstances we have. But we don’t need to put words in the mouth of Jesus, we can let Jesus speak for himself, and we can listen to Him – and obey Him.

    Evangelism is part of the Second Commandment given by Jesus, to Love people. Evangelism is not the most important commandment, and it isn’t the entire Second Commandment. So if our priorities are “The Great Commission and the Great Commandment,” we have our priorities upside down and confused, and we are not listening to the voice of Jesus. Never mind what Paul said. Let’s listen to the voice of Jesus first, and get our priorities straight.

    The people who will protest most loudly against this truth are the modern “Pauls:” traveling evangelists, speakers, writers, abusive absentee mega-church pastors, Crusaders, and self-appointed “apostles” like Paul, who find it “profitable” to “be like Paul” rather than follow Jesus the Jewish Messiah.

  30. “Sometimes, Paul was wrong. Jesus is always right. I’m following Jesus.”

    You are embarrassing yourself sir. I will take Peter and Paul’s (chief apostles) exposition of Christ over the vain ramblings of your judiazed mind. You are warped and self condemned, repent of your self righteousness. You twist the word of God to your own destruction, reader beware.

    2 Peter 3:14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 15And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures

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