Clear Signs that Pharisees are Controlling Many (most?) Churches

The more I read about the Pharisees in Scripture, the more certain I am that many, many local churches, seminaries, and other “christian” entities are controlled by them today. In fact I conclude that the Pharisees (along with their libertine anti-types) have been controlling the evangelical church for quite some time. Just read the following Scriptures. I noted (bracketed) what specific evil quality each Scripture identifies:

Matthew 16:12 Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. [They do not teach the true gospel and doctrine of Christ that sets people free. Their teaching enslaves]

Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. [When a victim of injustice and oppression comes before them, they do not deal out mercy and kindness. Their emphasis is on the letter of their law]

Mark 7:5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” [They teach traditions made by man, claiming it has the authority of God’s Word]

Luke 11:43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. [They crave praise and glory and worship for themselves]

Luke 16:14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. [Like Balaam, they are motivated by greed. The are not teachable and they ridicule the true Word of God]

Matthew 12:14 But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him. [They actually hate Christ and His servants. His Word is light that exposes their evil, so they desire to destroy a true Christian]

Matthew 15:14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” [Once again, they teach darkness, they do not desire to see light, they are not teachable]

Luke 11:46 And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.  [They seize unlawful authority over God’s people that the Lord has not given them, even when they disagree among themselves about the point they are enforcing]

Alright then, there is not much more that needs to be said by way of application, is there? These descriptors of Pharisees match the so-called “christianity” being taught in so many churches, and they match the habits and characteristics we see in so many of the leaders of those churches.

Let me give you an example. For years now through the A Cry for Justice ministry, pastors and seminary professors and other “notable” leaders in the visible church have been called to repent of the injustices dealt to victims of domestic violence abusers in the church. And what is the most common response received? Hard heartedness. Arrogance. Refusal to learn. Even hatred for Christ’s truth put before them. And then they have continued right on dealing out their oppression to victims and enablements to the wicked.

If that does not describe a Pharisee, I do not know what does.

Another example is how so many churches and church leaders seize for themselves unlawful authority over Christ’s people. You need not look very hard to find examples. Who, for instance, ever gave churches the authority to say yea or nay to a divorce? Certainly churches are to exercise Christ’s authority over unrepentant, ongoing, flagrant sin in the church, but where did this notion come from that the Christian must seek permission from their church to divorce a wicked, abusing spouse? Yet that is common practice today,

And one more example. Pharisees never agree among themselves. They set up their own peculiar systems of nuanced legal interpretations, like the rabbinic schools in Jesus’ day. Once more, you don’t have to think very hard to see that this is the exact situation we are in today in the visible church. How many positions, for instance, are we ordered to follow in regard to marriage, divorce, and remarriage? This confusion is another typical trait of the Pharisees, yet they insist that people must obey their particular take on Scripture.

If this be the case, if in fact as I am suggesting you that many if not most local churches and Christian entities are controlled by Pharisees, then the fact is that the mass of professing Christians today are enslaved to a false gospel, led by false shepherds, reading false books, and worshiping a false God. Yes, the situation is indeed that serious. Just as serious as it was in the dark days before the Reformation.

Ezekiel 34:1-4 The word of the LORD came to me: (2) “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? (3) You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. (4) The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.

What About Bob? – He’s a Really Nice Guy, Right?

Of course the title of this post is a reference to the movie in which Bill Murray played the agoraphobic, manipulative narcissist – Bob Wiley. The movie was a comedy.

In real life, there is nothing funny about Bob. So, what about him?

If you focus some attention on Dr. Leo Marvin’s wife, daughter, and son, I suggest to you that you will have a pretty accurate portrayal of the average professing Christian today when it comes to being duped by evil. Here is Mrs. Marvin, the kind, warm, loving type person that most people think a Christian should be.

In contrast to her judgmental psychiatrist husband, Mrs. Marvin is accepting of Bob. She invites him into her home, sits him down for dinner, and even permits him to sleep in her son’s bedroom with her son!  When Leo tries his best to show her that Wiley is a manipulating, conniving, sociopath working to take over her family, she simply will not hear it. Bob is a good person.

And so it is in most every local church today if you pop in for a visit and take a look. Their doctrinal statements speak of the depravity of man, of sin, of coming judgment in the Day of the Lord, but that stuff has just about become archaic in practice. Church signs read “Everyone Welcome” – and they really are. Everyone. If a newcomer says they believe in Jesus, well, they can become a member right away and before you know it they are teaching the kids’ Sunday School class or working in the youth group. Nicest people you ever met, you know.

But, what about Bob? In real life I mean. Scripture paints a far more somber and serious picture:

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3)

Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. (1 John 2:18)

But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. (2 Corinthians 11:3-4)

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

In future posts we will look more closely at these Scriptures and at many others like them. This is just a small sampling of the mountain of warnings the Lord has given us about the “Bob’s” who come along with Bible in hand, smile on face, ready to serve,  speaking of Jesus – “just the godliest people you could ever want to meet.” Right.

Over the many years we have served the Lord here in Oregon at Christ Reformation Church, we all have learned some hard lessons. One of those lessons is this: “not everyone who says they are a Christian, is.” While most people would say “yeah, duh” to that statement, in practice they do not believe it. They energetically deny that anyone is “all that bad” and all the while mouth the horrid mantra, “but we are all sinners, you know.” So the sociopath, the narcissist, the pedophile, the domestic abuser looking for a target finds a warm welcome in the very place that is supposed to be, well, this:

if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:15)

The very foundation of Christ’s truth is to be evidenced in and supported by every local church. That is not the common scenario today however. What about Bob? Bob is soon an elder in the church, welcomed with open arms, the finest Christian anyone has ever met.

And Bob’s master is very pleased.