Modern Day Pharisees 2

Posted: September 23, 2007 in Church Leadership, Random

I know that the advice of many Pastors whom I respect (Michael, Perry, Steven, Gary) say don’t respond to critics. Normally, I wouldn’t, but since my boy and my wife are napping and the football game on TV is boring here is a comment that I posted at a fault finding website and on my post called current events. You may have to read through the comments to understand where I am coming from.

I will give a final statement and then attempt to close out this discussion. My final thought(s) after reading through the many comments is that there is an obvious agenda at work here. At no point in my blog, and/or comments do I take God out of the equation. He is totally sovereign as He works in Oak Leaf Church and at every other gathering of believers.

However, He blesses people when they produce with the gifts and abilities that he has given them. Consequently, it is apparent to me that church plants/church planters around the country are using various parts/talents in the body of Christ to produce whatever results He allows us to see. Arrogance that assumes there is only one way to do church whether in the music, service, or preaching is a revelation of character. It is the character of Martha that just wants Jesus to blast us for not doing what someone else thinks is right, while overlooking our aspirations to make a difference in this world, that is shameful.

Despite how your remarks are couched in a shroud of Scripture references and mild affirmations there is a negative, arrogant, Pharisaical (as it you just want to judge and catch people messing up) attitude that permeates your blog and subscribers.

  1. Bob says:

    do you have any idea of what the accusation “Pharisee” actually means?

  2. James L says:

    I highly recommend a John Piper sermon, “Why Expositional Preaching is Particularly Glorifying to God” from last year’s Together 4 the Gospel conference. It hit me like a wave when I first heard it. I think the body of Christ would benefit from pastors who focus on such things as opposed to how creative they can get. I hope I’m not being a nuisance but I’ve been down the “how creative can I get road” and seen a congreagtion flat worn out by it. The Gospel is the attraction and Christ the centerpiece. When you get a hold of that you have something the world doesn’t and folks will flock in to hear, or kill you perhaps. I hope that after listening to this Piper sermon you’ll sort of know where some folks may be coming from. Many thanks!

  3. agratto says:

    Yes. Which is why I defined it in my post…judgmental people that spend all of their time trying to catch people screwing up and miss the fact that they might actually be doing good.

  4. Bob says:

    I realize that’s YOUR definition, but I guess what I was asking was “is that THE definition of a Pharisee as used in the scriptures?’ How did the authors of scripture use the word, just what WERE the Pharisee’s guilty of?

    Pharisee’s aren’t “judgmental” people who spend their time trying to “catch” people who screw up and miss the fact that these people might do good.

    And while I’m thinking about it…you’re use of the word “judgmental” is interesting given the fact that you just judged another person and their motives, having no idea how these people actually “spend their time.” It would seem that you are now guilty of being “judgmental” yourself.

    These people did one thing: challenged your assertion that “Churches that are smaller have to be even more creative, because their success depends on it”.

    If you disagree and can back up your assertion with scripture, then by all means, do it and close their mouths…but pulling out the old “Pharisee” accusation does nothing to enlighten these folks.
    You are the Executive Pastor of a large church…you can do much better than name calling.

  5. Wayne Hobbes says:

    It just so happens I am researching and writing a book about Pharisees in our churches. The subject has fascinated me ever since, as a pastor, I saw these tendencies in others–and then I began to see that there were some pharisaic tendencies in my own heart and life and ministry. OUCH!
    I find that MOST of the Pharisees were passionate about following God faithfully, and in their fervor to serve God they became blind to their own heart problems and got carried away in the process. I have found over a dozen such heart problems, and I mean more than the obvious three (judging–yes, Bob, they certainly were judmental!– hypocrisy, and self-righteous pride). Short version is, I find that this study makes me look in the mirror a lot!
    And Anthony, thanks for the encouraging thoughts on what the church is, and what it’s about. I stumbled into those truthes through a long journey through many of the current fads over 20 years of trial and error…. Keep up the good work!
    Wayne Hobbes

  6. Bob says:

    With all due respect…being judgmental does not make one a “Pharisee.” As believers we are called to judge and judge righteously.

    We are called to not judge hypocritically.

    The Pharisees were certainly judgmental, but that’s not the definition of Pharisee; they twisted the word of God into their own “traditions”.

  7. helen says:

    “…. we are called to judge and judge righteously”??????? Where in the name of all that is Holy did you hear that?

    My book says Judge not or you will be judged… it says “as you judge so will you be judged… it says DON’T be like the pharisees…

    I could be wrong, but I thought it also said something about love your neighbor, etc. etc.

    BTW Anthony, you’re doing something really right when folks can’t eat or sleep for dissing you on your blog. Way to Go!

  8. Bob says:

    The answer to your question is:
    John 7:24
    “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

    And the partial passage you sited goes like this:
    “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

    this was a passage dealing with “hypocritical judgment” as it goes on to say “take the plank out of your own eye”…etc.

    This would be well directed at me if I had said or done something similar to what somebody had done then i went ahead and judged them without examining myself for the very same sin!

    The fact is that all I did was point out to Anthony that calling someone a Pharisee when all they have done is to disagree with you is inaccurate.

    Helen, your responsibility as a believer is to judge my words by scripture. Is what I said about the issue with the Pharisees true or not? Hint: Matthew 15:1-9.

    That’s the question.

  9. CS says:


    Bob made a valid point, and I would like to hear your reply, as this is something that is prolific in the church community today. He citedyour assertion that “Churches that are smaller have to be even more creative, because their success depends on it”. Where does scripture back this up?


  10. Idetrorce says:

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

  11. barry says:


    God does not distinguish between levels of sin, all sin leads to death. As all sin is equal in the eyes of God if you are condemning your neighbor for committing adultery while you are lying it matters not that the sin is not the same. You have a board that needs removing.
    The real problem of the Pharisees were that they were self righteous. And I bet if you could look at their hearts and minds you would find that they thought they were doing what was right. Just as the self righteous of this generation feel they are doing what is right.

    But all to often those who are self righteous try to justify the acts of the Pharisees and in doing so, they can justify their own acts. Or, they twist their acts to make it look as if they are not really being a Pharisee.

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