Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What's That in Your Eye?

Are there modern day Pharisees? Do you think there are well meaning Christians who "strain out a gnat and swallow a camel?" (Mt. 23:24)

What causes churches and individuals to focus on secondary issues like versions of the Bible, Sunday dress, length of hair and types of church music? Does the Bible even speak to these things?

I would like to hear from you before I throw out my opinions and insights. Please comment, and feel free to be anonymous if you are fearful of what others may think of you, ha!


Thad Noyes said...

Hi Jon.

Two thoughts come to my mind. I think perhaps one of the reasons people obsess over these issues is because they are not obsessed by the gospel itself. A church whose eyes have been opened to the glory of Christ will want to spend most of their time beholding God's grace, and these other things will then find their appropriate secondary place.

Secondly, when our righteousness is not found in Christ alone, these things you listed can become a very convenient place to look for holiness. I'm not suggesting there is no importance to these things, but it can be easy for a person or church to dwell on things like Sunday dress or KJV 1611 as that which marks them off from other Christians and makes them more acceptable to God.

Just some thoughts...

Jon Cyrus said...

Thanks Thad, great insights. My wheels are turning.

Dave Theobald said...

I've thought about this a little too. I think we need to make a distinction between Pharisees and sheep. In the NT, the Pharisees were the religious leaders who thought they had it all together, and would abuse and oppress the people by focusing on all kinds of external and secondary issues.

The people would look up to these leaders and would be influenced by their laws. They were simply following what they thought religion ought to look like.

Today, if I am confronted with what appears to be Pharisaism, I try to discern where its coming from. If it is from religious leaders (pastors, teachers, religious figures), I have no time for it and, given the opportunity, I strongly oppose it.

If, on the other hand, the sheep are caught up in things like Bible translation, sabbath behavior, prohibition etc., I can be much more sympathetic. They are likely just following what they have been taught is true religion by the real Pharisees. These brothers and sisters ought to be patiently borne with, and faithfully taught the true freedom that there is in Christ.

I think this WJWD (I had to mix it up a little to make the grammar work). He was ruthless to the real Pharisees, but he was kind, compassionate, and gracious to the people.

Sorry. I didn't intend for this post to be this long!

Jon Cyrus said...

Good word Dave. I think poor discipleship has contributed to this sort of thing. Many simply take what they hear as authoritative instead of going to the Word.

Solid teaching and preaching on who we are in Christ will go a long way.

Thanks so much for checking in here Under the Steeple.