Pharisee Remix

Many classic songs have been subject to the indignity of a dance version remix. Even legends like Bruce Springsteen and Blue Oyster Cult haven’t escaped the treatment (I’d take a Weird Al parody over this fate any day). For the uninitiated, a remix is usually a classic song that has been adapted for a night club dance floor. The halmarks of a remix include just enough of the original song to make it clearly identifiable, but just enough rhythmic repetition to repurpose it. I think we’re seeing a similar thing happen in evangelicalism. We could call it Pharisee Remix. Pharisees exist to remind us that following rules doesn’t mean bearing fruit. Works that prove justification have been replaced by works that precede justification. Our Lord found this kind of teaching intolerable. Jesus decimates this group every time they dare to step into the ring with him. They can’t land a punch. He drops religious mobs with a single word. Jesus is always compassionate and gentle, except when it comes to hypocrites. It’s hard to avoid the fact that many believers, whether they realize it or not, promote allegiance to certain life principles and man made rules that don’t come from the Bible. Parents are often the worst offenders. We think that just because our kid obeys, it verifies our hope that this is fruit. The dangerous reality is that almost any young person can be intimidated into a profession of faith, or punished into acquiescence. Sadly the evangelical landscape is littered with the wrecked lives of kids who never developed true wisdom by discerning for themselves what is good and evil (Hebrews 5:14). They never flew solo under supervision, or even took a turn in the simulator. Parent’s never gave them a chance to mess up when the stakes were low, or freaked out when when they did. It was just shelter one day, and a hostile world the next. Let’s be honest, we all hope and pray that our kids one day prove to obey and bear fruit. Therefore we need to be committed to the hard work of regularly clarifying the true gospel in contrast to external compliance. We need to give them grace, and show them how much diversity exits within the family of God. If we’re not careful, real believers will find themselves under the critical eye of a new religious group claiming to be the guardians of morality. We must diffuse a potential generation of Pharisaical time bombs. The church has enough of those.

One thought on “Pharisee Remix

  1. The natural man seeks the approval of others and apportions his favorable acceptance in response to external motivation. As servants of God, man is not the source of our reward; the faith that leads to bearing fruit swims against a current of hostility in this world of man pleasers. When Paul, then known as Saul persecuted the early Christians, he did so to please his Pharisaical comrades. Paul received his true reward but even now, the church must remain on guard to this attach of Satan.

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