Monday, September 28, 2009

Pharisees, Politics and Power

I've been reading Richard Foster's Classic "Celebration of Discipline." I had an interesting moment when I noticed the following. --
Speaking of the Pharisees --"One factor, however was central to their righteousness: externalism. Their righteousness consisted in control over externals, often including the manipulation of others."
They also had an annoying tendency to put burdens on others that they did not take up themselves.

As I read this I wondered where have I seen this before, and it occurred to me that the source of the legislative control coming from our government is not ideological but spiritual. By succumbing to the same impulse that leads us toward religious legalism, a sense that with the right laws we can curb behavior with a minimum of personal analysis and thought, also gives us laws that attempt to regulate things that resist regulation.

Jesus, had this to say about the Pharisees --
Mat 23:13-17 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. (14) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. (15) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. (16) Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! (17) Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?

No comments: