Pharisaical Christians vs. Anti-Pharisees
01.10.09 AT 12:45 PM
The Church of You can refer to two forms of popular Christianity. One sees God as a celestial daddy whose role is to solve YOUR problems and make YOU feel better. The other sees God as a task master and holiness as something to be achieved by following a long list of dos and don'ts.
It is possible to stray to the left and do whatever you want ignoring God. But what few people understand is that it is also possible to stray to the right, as the Pharisees did, exalting their own righteousness over that of Christ. They celebrate their own works and traditions and operate on a system of merit, not knowing that their own righteousness is as filthy rags.
Pharisaical Christians ignore the grace of Jesus Christ. They don't know that we are accepted by God not because of anything we do, but by what Christ has done. God favors us because of the work of his Son. We are no better than anyone else.
And so, Pharisaical Christians thinking they are holier than everyone else look down on sinners and other Christians who don't measure up to their own standards. These hypocrites don't even meet their own standards, but point the bony finger of accusation against others.
These people also worship at the Church of You, sanctification being all about them and their own holiness, not the holiness of Christ.
01.10.09 AT 9:12 PM
Most of the contributors to the referenced thread would do well to ask themselves, What is the opposite of the thing I criticize, and am I doing it? The opposite of Calvinism, for example, says, I decide to be saved and I keep myself saved when I avoid unpardonable sin. The opposite of intellectualism says, I obey the experts in my denomination like a good soldier, or I ignore doctrine, just gimme that emotional high.
By asking myself such a question, I learned something important from Xion. Yes, I easily slip into wrong attitudes about my long list of dos and don'ts. (Note to self: Add "Reject long lists of dos and don'ts" to my long list of dos and don'ts.)
Yet, it remains that those lists stem from what God reveals about human un-holiness. For example, if fornication destroys holiness, then doesn't public attire that provokes sexual desire also erode holiness? In place of God's Word or centuries of application of God's commandments, I arbitrate right and wrong. So, if I burn my list of such dos and don'ts, how shall I emulate my holy Father?
You say you are saved by grace; but how will you prove it to me? How will you prove it to the lost person who just waits to spring the label of hypocrite upon you? How will you reassure yourself that it was a heart decision and not just an intellectual exercise?
The opposite of Pharisaism, toward which Xion leans in his criticism, easily leads to the fall of many. Xion should make the point, then, not that lists of dos and don'ts are "wrong;" but rather that the dos and don'ts form the vocabulary of love notes to God, written not in lip service, but in deeds.
Even people in the Church of Others can unwittingly attend the Church of You when service becomes a foundation for self-righteousness. Any strength and any pet peeve can tempt us to join the Church of You.