Friday, November 25, 2016

Pharisee Paradise

Once in a while, back in yonder day, my sense of humor got me in trouble during my four years of service. The military is a bit of Pharisee paradise you see. On top of government law, there are added military-only regulations (saluting, for example) that can get one in just as much trouble as a violation of federal or state laws. The Pharisees of our Lord's day would have loved the strictly regulated environment of our modern military, or even a government job in this age, or for that matter a job in a large corporation. All of these places add many rules on top of the law just as the Pharisees did in their day. We have no small number of churches and denominations that appear happy to do the same thing.

As critical as our Lord Jesus was of the Pharisees, I believe I can speak with some authority that writing a large rule book and using it to beat down the congregation was not what Jesus came to do. Would our Lord, who used some of His toughest language against the Pharisees, feel welcome studying a big ol' book o' rules in a church supposedly dedicated to His Father?

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. (Matt 23:13)

No, we don't want to be like that. Let us avoid creating another Pharisee Paradise. If we act always in faith and love as shown by our Lord, no added rules are needed. In fact, He summed up the entire law and prophets in two commandments.

Have an exciting Black Friday, if that is your kind of thing.


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