The Religion of the Pharisees

pharisees

“Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash theirhands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”

Mark 7:1-13

 

As our Lord Jesus warns us elsewhere to “beware of false prophets,” he warns us here to beware of false religion. Nothing is more dangerous to the souls of men, and nothing more deadly than false prophets and false religion.

 

The Apostle Paul warns us that those who eat and drink the bread and wine of the Lord’s Table without faith in Christ eat and drink damnation to themselves. What he says about the Lord’s Table is true of and applicable to all other religious practices without faith in Christ. To profess faith without faith, to claim an interest in Christ without an interest in Christ, to be baptized without being born of God, to pretend to be a child of God while you are yet a child of the devil, all these things are eating and drinking damnation to yourself.

 

Our Lord Jesus warns us again and again to, “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.” The warning is repeated often because it is needed often. Here he explains exactly what he meant by the leaven of the Pharisees. When our Lord warns us to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, he is talking about the doctrine, or the religion of the Pharisees.

 

What a humbling picture we have before us of apostate, human religion. Continue reading

A blasphemous church serves a generation of religious liars

upside-down-church 1

Grant Swart

We live in a generation which is certainly under God’s judgement, if you care to pause for a few moments and ponder the general state of the society in which we now live, I’m sure that much will become quite evident. Of course, those who are of the world, who are happy to be embroiled in pursuing wealth, health and prosperity and all kinds of ways to proving their own self-righteousness and personal value before God, will not recognize the fact that they are under that very same judgement.

Never before have materialism, humanism, pride and self-worth been so prominently at the forefront of man’s thinking and priorities. Almost every marketing strategy, campaign and advert appeals directly to the will, over-inflated importance and vain pride of man. No other singular concepts have ever been as sharply focused on, as human rights, vanity and the deceitful ideology of human democracy are, in our generation.

This same critique must be leveled at the marketing done by many “churches”, the bulk of which are at great pains to take their particular brand of will-worship or church tradition to the lost multitudes of the world. The grossly erroneous interpretation of true church growth, cleverly disguised as “spiritual revival”, is one which interprets that the greater the number of misguided people who respond to these highly effective sales ploys is, the greater the tacit approval of God must be for their brand of faith or for their particular efforts. It is God who adds to His church, not pastors, synods, committees, councils, conferences or the efforts of individuals or congregations. Continue reading