When a Critic Plays 'the Pharisee Card'

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Revmitchell, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    Most people have heard the expression, "playing the race card." The concept has been bandied about in the media for several years. It typically refers to someone falsely alleging another person is racist in order to gain some political advantage or to draw their credibility into question.

    There is a similar practice in Christian circles that has also been widely used for many years, although it's not been named, at least I don't think, until more recently. But it's called "playing the Pharisee card." The origin of this expression is difficult to trace, but it typically refers to some Christian accusing another of being Pharisaical. Just like playing the "race card," it's used to gain an argumentative advantage over another and to discredit, without carefully considering a fellow believer's contentions.

    Christians who are the victims of the dreaded "Pharisee card" are all too often those who have the moral courage to defend doctrinal purity in the church. They stand for righteousness and holy living. They faithfully present to men, whether in the church or in the culture, a message based on a certain, "Thus said the Lord." Yet they are unjustly portrayed as too narrow-minded, too rigid, unloving, intolerant, and without compassion.

    Clergy from the left are quite adept at hurling accusations of being a Pharisee at preachers on the right. And is it any wonder since their view of Jesus himself seems so skewed by the political correctness of the day? They see Jesus as someone who would always speak of peace and love without being divisive. Yet Jesus said his way would divide even family members (Matthew 10:37). They always speak of Jesus as tolerant and inclusive. Still, Jesus said there was only one way to God and that was through Him (John 14:76). They rarely, if ever, open their mouths against sin and proclaim judgment, nevertheless, no one more than Jesus lifted higher by word or example the need for genuine holy living. And Jesus spoke more about hell then he did about heaven.


    Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/when-a-critic-plays-the-pharisee-card-85679/#UGhVTpfQhPvibkOR.99
     
  2. mont974x4

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    I would hope that hearing that would cause me to pause and consider if I may be guilty of being a Pharisee. It is entirely possible. I myself have used it when a person has drawn a line in the sand in a place where God Himself has not done so.

    We may not like it, but like the race card, there are times when the Pharisee card is a legitimate move.
     
  3. 12strings

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    And yet perhaps it should be used only as rarely as the "En Passant" move in chess...only when the opposing player puts themself in the position where they should know that it's coming.
     
  4. mont974x4

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    How do you propose you do that? My experience has been that most in the Pharisee set of today are like those of Jesus' day and are not only so blind that they cannot see themselves as they are they will adamantly oppose any suggestion that it is so. They will stand boldly proclaiming they are merely being bold for the cause of Christ, all the while hanging millstones about the necks of all who listen to them.
     
  5. 12strings

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    You are right, I was merely arguing for the judicious use of grace with even those who seem to add to scripture...It wasn't really a good analogy, except that perhaps using the term pharisee is not the most helpful term, perhaps debates would be less emotionally charged if we simply repeatedly insisted on not adding to scripture...I mean after all, the Bible doesn't have any cases of Paul or Jesus calling someone a pharisee who wasn't actually a pharisee (that I know of)...Perhaps it should not be a derogotory term.
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    I am kind of surprised anyone would defend calling someone a pharisee.
     
  7. 12strings

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    If it is done in a name-calling manner, I would not defend it, but if in the course of a debate or disagreement, it comes up that one side is making one of the mistakes that the pharisees made, it is not inappropriate to point that out...just as it would not be inappropriate to remind a lax parent about Eli & his sons...the shoe fits, and it may help clarify what they are doing...but simply hurling out "You're an ELI" may not be so helpful.

    For example, If a person condemns any woman who wears pants as sinning, are they not elevating traditions of men to the level of "Thus Saith the Lord"? Would it be incorrect to compare what they are doing to what the pharisees did?
     
  8. Earth Wind and Fire

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    We are commanded to be better than the Pharisee which is a very practical solution.
     
  9. Herald

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    There are times when it would be right to draw that comparison.
     
  10. Earth Wind and Fire

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    R ight a:godisgood:nd just....then you wonder why people don't go to church! They are sick of the nonsence that is continuously played out.:tear::BangHead:
     
  11. Baptist Believer

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    I don't like name calling in general, and the tag of "Pharisee" is especially foolish since it is assumed to be a bad thing in and of itself.

    The Pharisees were a grassroots reform movement within Judaism that developed to call people back to God and uphold strict observance to the Law.

    There's nothing wrong with keeping the Law (in fact, it is a very good thing according to Jesus), but the classic mistake of the Pharisees was trying to keep the Law by use of self-control and very careful social and theological structures instead of being transformed by intentional and active cooperation with the grace of God into the type of person that keeps the Law naturally.

    Many of Jesus' earliest and best followers came out of the ranks of the Pharisees. And as often noted, many of His strongest opponents also were in the ranks of the Pharisees because they were trying to defend their religious tradition, as they understood it, in the face of someone who seemed to reject their mission.

    There was nothing wrong with being a Pharisee, but the error of the Pharisees (trying to be good by self-effort and adherence to a set of religious/social/theological structures instead of transformation) is still very common - even the dominant view - today.
     
    #11 Baptist Believer, Dec 1, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  12. mont974x4

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    I know most people claim to be against labels. I am not a fan myself either. However, they do serve a purpose. If discussing politics someone keeps making statements that clearly put them in a certain political camp ideologically it is not at all inappropriate to so, "Oh, you're a republican." Or, "Oh, you're a democrat." The same can be appropriately done in the course of a spiritual discussion. "Oh, you're a pharisee." Or, "You're a Calvinist." Or, "You're a Lutheran."

    Note that this is not malicious. It is not name calling. Our beliefs and our statements cause us to fit into generally acknowledged ideological groups. We should own them.


    Perhaps when someone calls us a Pharisee or a legalist it should cause us to pause and consider what we are really saying and ask God to show us if the shoe fits?
     
  13. Revmitchell

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    Definition:


    Pharisee: any position that someone else holds that I do not personally like.
     
  14. mont974x4

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    Perhaps in some cases. Maybe the next time someone calls you a Pharisee you should ask him or her what it is you're saying that would cause them to tell you that.
     
  15. Baptist Believer

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    Yep. :thumbs:

    Of course, that's the definition for many labels.

    For instance, "liberal", "fundamentalist", "racist", "hater", "nut job", "socialist", "homophobic", "kook", etc.

    We need to put aside foolish labels and engage the ideas and actions of others instead of name-calling.
     
  16. TadQueasy

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    You what they say.
    If you throw a rock into a pack of Pharisees...
     
  17. Revmitchell

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    Terms like liberal, conservative, and socialist describe a world view and are different than terms like pharisee racist etc.
     
  18. 12strings

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    So you don't thing we should call someone a racist who won't hire any black people at their business?
     
  19. Revmitchell

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    I don't know where that came from.
     
  20. 12strings

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    you seemed to be saying that the first list were legitimate labels...and the second list illegitimate...is that not what you were saying? that we can call someone a conservative, but not a pharisee or racist?

    If you were not saying this, what were you saying?
     

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