August 16, 2021•661 words
Coffee & Christian Worldview
Jesus also targeted the hypocrisy and their harmful effects in the lives of others.
Pharisees can't live up to God's standards, or their own.
God's law pierces to the heart.
Modern legalists today are no different: an appearance of holiness.
Binding of the conscience beyond the Word of God, taking lordship other believers, is harmful.
The Apostle Paul wrote against it. Jesus publicly argued against them, and called them names—"you brood of vipers."
That's not "nice," but it is Christlike.
For the purpose of correction and instruction, we need to explain our exercise of liberty.
And we must not give in to legalism even for a moment.
WLC 105 Q. What are the sins forbidden in the first commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the first commandment are . . . making men the lords of our faith and conscience. . .
It's likely going to be the Legalist that is hostile.
You can never win, unless you give in. You'll never be right in their eyes. They want unconditional surrender.
Admonish, confront, and church discipline (Garry Friesen)
"Jesus never backed off from saying or doing things which were right, even though he knew the Pharisees would take offense at them (cf. Matt. 15:1-14). He kept doing what brought his Father glory and advanced his own Kingdom. At first, when the Pharisees questioned him, Jesus simply explained why he did what he did. But when they started trying to turn people away from following him, Jesus began more directly to rebuke them. He also began to warn others about the Pharisees. He told his disciples to "be on guard" (Matt. 16:6) and to "leave them" (Matt. 15:14). Finally, Jesus openly rebuked the Pharisees."
—Larry Wilson, "That Offends Me!"
When Pharisees in the church don't repent, they must be disciplined.
Because legalism is harmful to the body of Christ, is divisive, and threatens the Gospel itself.
A response depends somewhat on who you are in the church.
As a PASTOR:
Teach. If you see legalism, address it head-on from the pulpit.
If it continues, rebuke it (Matt. 18). If there is conscience-binding, adding to the Word of God, then discipline is in order.
It may end in excommunication.
Of course, you can only do this if the church practices formal church membership.
As a MEMBER:
Ask the person to talk.
Talk to your pastor first, for council as you confront the person one-on-one.
It helps to know the person.
Have a conversation after the worship service.
Reason from the Scriptures.
If the Pharisee continues, treating the rest of the church as unholy, that's when the elders need to step in and deal with it.
Confronting a LEGALIST PASTOR:
What do you do if the elders of the church are Pharisees?
They require what God does not, they forbid what God has given to be enjoyed.
Worst case scenario: Leave.
Ask a question from the Bible. "This is not sin, how can you ask me not to do it?"
They may accuse you of disrespect just for asking.
If they are totally unapproachable, just leave that church.
If you show up to your meeting to talk, and it's an ambush with other people there, just leave.
Pastors should be approachable. Pastors are responsible to answer with gentleness, and patiently instruct.
Ask for the pastor to do his job—teach you about these extra-biblical policies. If that makes him hostile, turn around and get out.
This will be an emotional roller-coaster, but the principles are simple.
The point is:
Faithfulness to God, or faithfulness to men.
Is God alone going to be Lord over your conscience, or are you going to allow men to lord it over?
READ: "Responding to Pharisees"
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Written by Bryan Teoh