April 6, 2022

The Pharisaic Hermeneutic

A Short Essay on Pharisees in the Church Today:

There is nothing like a Pharisaic party to bind a church. They love, “The Law requires,” rather than “Jesus saves.”

“But some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, ‘It is necessary to circumcise them and to command them to keep the law of Moses.’” 

Note the apostle’s enlightened response: “Now then, why are you testing God by putting a yoke on the disciples’ necks that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus in the same way they are.” Acts 15

Peter’s response was not a rejection of the Old Testament Word of God but a rejection of a legalistic hermeneutic. Legalism reduces Scripture to a static human law code, demotes Jesus to a supporting role, denies the priority of the gospel, and inhibits the saving proclamation.

The spirit who says, “You cannot do this,” in spite of the commandment of Jesus to all believers… in spite of the example of Jesus in everything He did… in spite of the call of Jesus upon each life—This is not the illumination of the Holy Spirit but the darkness of another spirit.

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