Christians are Not Pharisees

Christians are Not Pharisees

I am shocked and dismayed over Robbie Morganfield’s article, “Pharisees Still Live Among Us” (StarTelegram, Nov. 18, 2000). How this ultra-liberal minister could have been ordained by the Baptists is a mystery. He speaks of his “theological journey” that led him away from his earlier Christian beliefs. Morganfield’s article contains too many errors and misrepresentations to adequately treat in a short letter. Let me only refer to four of them.

First, Morganfield repeatedly denounces what he calls “literal Bible interpretations.” However, if Scripture is the literal Word of God as Jesus affirmed (John 10:35), then it must be literally believed and obeyed as God’s message to mankind. If God has spoken, who are we, as mere humans, to dare question His authoritative teachings?

Second, Morganfield apparently denies that “Christian doctrine is superior to others” and doesn’t think that the message of Christ should be communicated to the non-Christian “world religions.” In contrast, if Scriptural truth is actually true, and if the gospel of Christ is genuinely “good news” and absolutely necessary for human salvation, it is the privilege of the Christian to share this truth with all others. After all, Jesus declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to [God] the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).

Third, the writer condemns conservative Christians who oppose unbiblical “perspectives on morality and salvation.” He ridicules those who decry “the decay of the nations’ moral direction.” Once again, if Scripture is true, then the Christian has an obligation to condemn all immorality—whether homosexuality, abortion, adultery, fornication, child abuse, or wife abuse. True Christians stand for the consistent moral standards of God! They will do this in a loving and kind way—but they will do it.

Finally, this liberal Baptist writer claims that conservative Christians are like the stereotypical Pharisees—cold, legalistic, insensitive, and rigid. However, Jesus condemned many of the Pharisees for their oral tradition which they elevated to the level of Law. He did not condemn them for their “literal interpretation of Scripture” or their obedience to the literal Word of God. Rather, He denounced them because they were “setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep [their] tradition” (Mark 7:9), and because they were rejecting Him as the Messiah—the very Savior foretold in God’s Word. Our view of the Pharisees must come from the Bible itself and not from some popular misconception that people entertain.

Morganfield needs to re-read the Scriptures and learn the very elementary message of Christ Jesus, the only way of salvation and heaven (Acts 4:12).

Richard Hollerman
Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

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