Monday, August 16, 2010

Phariseeism, Wealth, and Prestige, III

Paul would be appalled if he knew that men used his letters to undermine the words of Jesus and the Kingdom of God on earth. Paul knew the cultures he wrote to and did his best to say what was needed to help people transfer their understanding from the darkness of the world into the Light of God's Kingdom. Never, in his wildest dreams, would he have thought that men would use his letters to lord it over women


Yet this is what some men do because, like the Pharisees of old, they love places of honor and authority. These men look for any excuse, any scripture that might support their doctrines of men and ignore the scriptures that disprove their doctrine. These modern day Pharisees descend on Ephesians 5 where Paul talks about men being the head and assume, out right, without looking at the whole, or any of Paul's other words, that Paul was establishing men as authorities of their homes.

But funny, they are quick to look upon Ephesians 5 as commands carved in stone by the finger of God yet ignore the heart of the writer of those words.

Here is the heart of Paul. Read it carefully and honestly, and see if this is a man hung up on rigid authority structures.

Philippians 3:3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.

Whereas the men who use Paul's words in Ephesians to set themselves up as little kings and priests in their home, Paul, himself, counts such things as position, birth, even his circumcised manhood, as rubbish. He says plainly that he is willing to lose it all, for the sake of Christ.

The heart of Paul is so directly opposite the hearts of those who use his words for setting up structures and authorities, it is amazing.

So one wonders.

If what Jesus, Isaiah, Luke, Mary, and Paul in Philippians 3 are saying is the opposite of what men say Ephesians 5 says, are these men defining Ephesians 5 getting it right?

Or have they taken the words of Paul and turned them into Commandmentzilla that sucks the life out of people and destroys the message of the good news of Jesus Christ?

Well. We'll look at Ephesians 5 next and see if it really can be used as something that establishes 'authority' in the home.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Phariseeism, Wealth, and Prestige, II

The words of Jesus absolutely in no way support the notion of patriarchy or any form of male rule over female. On the contrary, the words of Jesus knock the feet out from under any claim of anyone to lord it over, or even to entertain the thought of authority over another.

This challenging of human authority was predicted by Isaiah hundreds of years before.

Isaiah 40:3 A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.

Then Luke, in his gospel, confirms this prophesy noting that John the Baptist, the prophet, that voice in the wilderness, is declaring this challenge to human constructs of authority.

Luke 3:4 As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.
5 Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.
6 And all mankind will see God's salvation."

And again, in Luke's gospel we see Mary, the mother of Jesus, prophesy about God's shake up of human understanding of Authority. The Holy Spirit comes upon her while she's pregnant with the Messiah and she speaks about how God brings down rulers and lifts up the humble.

Luke 1:51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.

God turns things on their heads. He brings down those who are exalted and raises up all those who have been put down. Jesus wants to set up His kingdom in a manner unheard of before Him.

Matthew 20:25 Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.
26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—
28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

But what do men do? They labor to exhaustion to re-establish the old order. They sweat and reconfigure with all their worth to set up authorities in people's lives. They make great strides in 'biblical' discourse to undo what Jesus did on the cross. They again, raise up mountains that Jesus brought down and dig out valleys that Jesus filled to divide the body of Christ into 'leaders' and 'followers' just as they were before Jesus came. And the straight paths Jesus ordained, men make them crooked because their crooked hearts could not tolerate the straight and narrow, a kingdom build without hands nor ruled by carnal men.

And they do this by misconstruing the words of one of Christ's most devoted followers. A follower who would disagree with them to their faces, if he were alive to tell. We will look at the words of this follower and see where his heart lies in the next post.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Phariseeism, Wealth, and Prestige, I

Another problem with Phariseeism is the need for men to be in charge and have a places of honor. Phariseeism seeks to bring into the Kingdom of God what is important to men. Instead of changing their center from worldly/fleshly priorities to what God considers important, they try to change God by representing their own preferences as God's Divine order or Creation Order.

I mentioned in the previous post the importance of the Top Ten and Top Two (commandments from Old and New Testaments respectively) and the Golden Rule. And how men are undermining those rules and commands by their interpretation of the words of Paul.

I want to look further into the words of Jesus and how they support His commands and rules.

Most are familiar with the following passage.

Matthew 19:23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Vs 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Vs 25When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?"
Vs 26Jesus looked at them and said,
"With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

Most people know that the eye of a needle is actually the name of a gate in Jerusalem. A gal in my church actually has been there and walked through it. She said she had to duck a bit to get through. A child could walk through it easily, and upright.

But a camel is a different story.

In order for a camel to get through. all the packs on its back have to be removed and it has to get on it's knees.

Most people know that this means you can't take earthly, material treasures into heaven when we die.

But what most people miss is that you cannot take your earthly prestige and place of honor that men give to each other on earth into the Kingdom of God on earth and expect God to honor it.

Yet this is what entire groups are trying to do. Instead of knowing people by the Spirit they look upon the flesh and decide who is deserving of the places of honor in the Kingdom.

Instead of taking the words of Jesus and making them the foundation of all other words that follow and precede His coming, instead of using the words of Jesus to define or keep in balance the words of His apostles, they use the words of the apostles to completely IGNORE the words of Jesus on how He wants to build His kingdom.

The kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force by doing violence to the text of scripture and conforming it to the preferences of men.

Men who do this are Pharisees.
And here is what Jesus has to say about them.

Matthew 23:6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues;
Vs 7 they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them 'Rabbi.'
Vs 8 "But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. Vs 9 And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.
Vs 10 Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ.
Vs 11The greatest among you will be your servant.
Vs 12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.


Matthew 23:23"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
Vs 24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

The Pharisees strain at roles and human made restrictions over people yet swallow the false doctrine of human hierarchy within the Kingdom of God.
Pharisees love the places of honor and raising up some and lowering others by their own hand/teaching then hiding behind 'thus saith the Lord' if anyone calls them on it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Phariseeism and Western Thinking

One thing that I think is completely lost on our way of thinking is that the Bible was written in an ancient Oriental Culture, not in our modern Western Culture.

Case in point. I've had a computer programmer compare the Bible to and owner's manual or a programmer's manual. This is scary, since there were no computers or owner's manuals back when the Bible was written.

What happens with this view is that it makes the Bible into step-by-step instructions for every detail of life. And certain groups have done this. And have become very legalistic.

One of the best example of this is the huge 'roles' debate going on. Instead of allowing people to walk in their own skin and be the personality God created them into, strict gender roles are taught because of some instructions Paul gave to the Ephesians who lived in a highly patriarchal culture.

Paul never speaks of roles or defines them in any way. He just encourages the people in Ephesus to take on attitudes to help the cause of Christ.

Yet when people read Paul's words, they take them like step-by-step or trouble-shooting instructions.

For example, when a women feels her husband is not treating her right and goes to the pastor for advice, the pastor turns to the "marriage trouble-shooting" section of the Bible and determines that if A.) the wife would just submit, then B.) the husband would shape up and fulfill his portion, as though he were a machine or computer or something. Or the other way around if the husband comes in and complains. He just needs to love more. Because that's all the instructions Ephesians five gives concerning marriage.

This "owner's manual" method of Bible reading has caused tremendous turmoil among Christians. It has broken families and hurt individuals.

Now in case anyone thinks I'm saying we don't have to pay attention to what the Bible says, I'm not. I'm only saying we need to be careful about how we read it.

God is very clear on what His commands are. I still believe in the Top Ten from the Old Testament, better known as the Ten Commandments. I also believe in the Top Two, Jesus gave in the New Testament, better known as the Two Greatest Commandments. Jesus also gives us the Golden Rule which, when coupled with the Top Two, sums up the whole law.

The whole Bible is NOT just one big list of dos and don'ts. It is the story of the fall of the human race, God's work to redeem us, and then God working together with us to let others know of the opportunity to get in on the blessings of God. It's not line after line of rules. All we need to know about treating each other is summed up in the Top Ten, the Top Two, and the Golden Rule.

Guess what I'm trying to say is this. Be careful about making rules, law, parameters where there may not be any. Making rules about hair, dress, or roles from instructions an apostle sent to a certain city, a long time ago, for a certain time may actually undermine the Gospel and the words that Jesus spoke for all times.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New Blogs on Blog Roll

The greatest concern of mine, for the body of Christ, is the walking wounded.

I care about doctrine and fighting doctrine that hurts people and have several blogs already listed that deal specifically with the doctrines. And this fight, to right wrong doctrines, will always be my concern.

But even more than the doctrines, I'm concerned over the ones wounded by the doctrines. Therefore I have added two blogs to my blog roll.

Commandments of men, by Lewis, who I linked to in my July 27th post. He deals with the wounding and the doctrines that wound, both.


Quivering Daughters, by Hillary, who has a book out that is helping so many who have been damaged by the horrid patriarchy/Quiverful cancer that is eating away at the hearts and souls of families, men, women, and children.

Both these blogs also have really great blog rolls so you can get to other blogs through them.
I do it all the time dahrling (Said in a Zsa Zsa Gabor accent).

Note: I also wanted to link Elizabeth Esther who I linked to in my July 22 post. But my computer wouldn't go to her site this morning.
But don't worry. She's on the blog rolls of BOTH Lewis and Hillary.

I thank God, with all of my heart, for these young warriors He is raising up to combat the dragon of the doctrines of men. The fight is fierce. The battle is long. It is a good time for young voices to rise up and speak of hope and healing.

They encourage me.

(link to a 70s Commercial starring Zsa Zsa for the younger bunch. So you will know who I'm talking about: )

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Phariseeism and Making Up Sins

Mark 7:1The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and
vs 2saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were "unclean," that is, unwashed.
Vs 3(The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders.
Vs 4When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.)
Vs 5So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, "Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with 'unclean' hands?"
Vs 6He replied,
"Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: " 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
Vs 7They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'
Vs 8You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men."

The Pharisees had new commands which in turn creates new sins. So beyond the Ten Commandments and the Law of Moses, they had new commandments concerning washing your hands and cups and pitchers and kettles. And since there are these new commands, the disciples were committing sins that Moses hadn't thought of and that God didn't recognize as sin.

Well, these days, just as in the days of Jesus, there are men making up commandments and creating new sins to scare people with. This one involves the new doctrine of "Creation Order"

Bayly blog:" in other words, churches that do everything possible to hide the Creation Order God has ordained (without taking the final step of having a woman as a senior pastor) are placing stumbling blocks before women, denying them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
How so?
Well, if the Law is our schoolmaster to Christ; and if the constant theme of Scripture when it addresses the sins of woman is a clear note calling her to submit to the Creation Order, not teaching or exercising authority over man but submitting to her husband; when this Creation Order is hidden, it is one of the principal sins of woman that we are hiding, and thereby denying woman the call to repentance that would lead her to the Cross.
Put bluntly, churches that hide Scripture's doctrine of sexuality are obscuring the Law and obstructing woman's entry to repentance and faith..."

Did you see that. By hiding the doctrine and commands concerning "Creation Order" people are causing women to sin. But I always wonder. If these commands concerning Creation Order are so important that women will lose their salvation over it, where are these commands mentioned in the Ten Commandments or the two commandments Jesus gave? God and Jesus are strangely silent on something so important. The quote mentions the writings of Paul and his instructions to specific churches. But none of these "creation order" commands can be backed up by anything spoken by God in the OT or Jesus in the NT.

Thusly, as these men read the Bible and read into it commands that they place on higher footing than the words of God/Jesus Himself, they create new sins for women to be afraid of and work to avoid.

If you'd like to read the blog for yourself, cut and paste this link into your browser, then replace the "DOT"s with actual '"."s. I do not want these men tracing the link back here. They have no business on a blog I started as a safe house for the walking wounded.

And I warn you. Comment there at your own risk. These men, who know ALL the verses that they think limit women by heart, they haven't a clue about I Corinthians 13 or Galatians 5. They can be extremely rude and hateful.


It is unfortunate that men like the Baylys are not content to work toward the goals laid out by Jesus concerning reaching the whole world for Christ. They'd rather figure out new sins for women to worry about and new twistings of Scriptures to figure out new ways to put women in their places, as defined by them.
And men like these are far more dangerous to the cause of Christ than any feminist who ever walked the face of the earth. imho.