Skip to comments.Are Christians More Like Jesus or More Like the Pharisees?
Posted on 06/07/2013 10:30:42 AM PDT by DaveMSmith
One of the common critiques leveled at present-day Christianity is that its a religion full of hypocritical people. A new Barna Group study examines the degree to which this perception may be accurate. The study explores how well Christians seem to emulate the actions and attitudes of Jesus in their interactions with others.
The research project was directed by David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group, in conjunction with John Burke, author of Mud and the Masterpiece, a book exploring the attitudes and actions of Jesus in all of his encounters.
In this nationwide study of self-identified Christians, the goal was to determine whether Christians have the actions and attitude of Jesus as they interact with others or if they are more akin to the beliefs and behaviors of Pharisees, the self-righteous sect of religious leaders described in the New Testament.
In order to assess this, Barna researchers presented a series of 20 agree-or-disagree statements. Five actions and five attitudes that seem to best encapsulate the actions and attitudes of Jesus Christ during his ministry on earth. The researchers did the same for the Pharisees (10 total statements, five reflecting behaviors and five examining attitudes).
< snip >
The findings reveal that most self-identified Christians in the U.S. are characterized by having the attitudes and actions researchers identified as Pharisaical. Just over half of the nations Christiansusing the broadest definition of those who call themselves Christiansqualify for this category (51%). They tend to have attitudes and actions that are characterized by self-righteousness.
(Excerpt) Read more at barna.org ...
Irrelevant. Christians are sinners like everyone else who are saved from the wrath of God through the Blood of Jesus Christ.
51% are not “Christ-like” by the parameters set up in the study. that means 49% are “Christ-like”. IMHO, that’s higher than I would have expected for a secular study of Christian behavior.
Its a religion full of people. Saved by grace, but still people.
Of course we’re flawed. All fall short of the glory of God. That’s why we need Christ. Sheesh, if we were all Christ-like already, He wouldn’t have had to bother.
WE'VE LOST the GOSPEL
by Andrew Strom
There is no tragedy in the world worse than this - the church losing the gospel. We could have a hundred terrorist attacks, or earthquakes, or hurricanes, and it would still not outweigh the tragedy of this one thing - WE HAVE LOST THE GOSPEL. Nothing can compare to this disaster - nothing.
For when you lose the gospel, you lose salvation. People are actually no longer becoming saved. (Remember, Paul said that the gospel is the "POWER OF GOD unto salvation"). And when people are no longer truly becoming saved, you also lose the church. For no true gospel = no true church.
People will tell me that I am being too "drastic". Well, I want to say to you that I am not being drastic enough. In fact, if I were to shout through 1000 megaphones directly into your ears, it would not be possible for me to overemphasize just how disastrous and awful and horrific it is that our backslidden Western church today has - to all intents and purposes - lost its gospel. And in doing so it has lost its very reason for being.
We tell everybody that all they need to do is say a little rote prayer accepting Jesus as their "personal savior". Tell me, where is such a thing in Scripture? Does such a thing even come close to existing? Can you recall even ONE person doing such a thing to become a Christian in the Bible? Did any of the Apostles in Acts ever say to someone, "Just repeat this little prayer after me"? Or "Quietly slip up your hand - no need for anyone to see"? Can you remember ANYONE in Scripture doing anything like that?
No, you can´t. That is because nobody ever did. It is all a modern fabrication - a complete invention. -This is no salvation at all. We act like people can safely forget about CONVICTION of sin and DEEP REPENTANCE and WATER-BAPTISM and getting FILLED with the Holy Spirit. -Just "optional extras", eh? But look at `Acts´ and tell me - was there ever such a thing as real Christianity without these things? And what about getting a CLEAN CONSCIENCE (-washed in the blood) and KEEPING IT CLEAN? Are we ever told how to walk in THAT today?? -To actually "walk" in the washing of the blood of Jesus? To be clean, to be utterly "Clean", to be EVERY WHIT CLEAN?? (-The most important thing in the world). Where is this in our gospel? Where is the transformed life? Where is the "FREEDOM" from sin?
We have lost it all. Our people very rarely repent. They often go for years without baptism (-meaning, according to Romans 6, that their "old man" is not yet dead - and so they simply cannot live a new life in Christ). Read Romans 6 sometime and ask yourself this question- "If I have not been baptized, then is my old life "buried" with Christ or not? Is my `old man´ dead or not?" -This is why the apostles always baptized people RIGHT AWAY.
And then we often fail to get people `FILLED´ with the Spirit straight away too - let alone "walking" in the Spirit. Tell me, how are we supposed to have `HOLINESS´ if we have not even been filled with the "HOLY" Spirit? Why do you think that the apostles always made sure that people became Spirit-filled RIGHT AWAY??
Most of us do not even preach "Day One" Christianity as it was in the Bible. We have lost the gospel and we don´t even know it. We have invented a gospel of `convenience´, a gospel without the cross, a gospel without holiness or the power to live a Christian life. -A gospel that shows no-one how to get a CLEAN CONSCIENCE or how to WALK IN IT. I want to say to you that such a gospel is NO GOSPEL AT ALL. And we should be ashamed of ourselves for preaching such a travesty.
No wonder today´s church is lukewarm! The gospel is the building block upon which everything else is built. Without it we have nothing - literally nothing. It affects all that we do and all that we are. To lose it is simply the worst disaster imaginable. So how on earth can we get it back?
Well, we have spoken about "Revival" many times on this site. But what a lot of people don´t realize is that the `RETURN OF THE GOSPEL´ was often the key that brought about the Great Awakenings - the GOSPEL being restored and preached in power. The longest-lasting Revivals always involved the "RETURN OF THE GOSPEL". That is precisely what was happening with the preaching of Wesley, Finney, Whitefield, etc. And it has to happen again today!
So "Revival" to me is far more than just a fleeting visitation. It is to be the long-lasting restoration of the true gospel - and thus the true church also. If we want true Christianity restored today, we must first see THE GOSPEL restored. It is the most important key to it all. O God, send such a Revival! BRING BACK THE GOSPEL and those who will PREACH IT! O God, we cry out to you in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Now, I don't know Mr. Strom, but it seems to be that he has a valid point. America has lost its way. Most of the preachers you see today want money for their homes and cars, not souls for the Kingdom. They see the ministry as a job, not a calling. The message has been lost in a sea of moral relativism and ambiguous social teachings.
They are like neither, Christians are paulinists:
Christians quote Paul more than Jesus.....defaulting to Paul over Jesus’ words and defaulting to Paul over the words of God in the “OT”.
When is the last time a christian could make their point without quoting Paul over Jesus or God’s Word?
Pharisees of old were Christian. They did not recognize the Christ. Blinded by self rightiousness,their pride was deadly.
Same as it ever was: the tale is an eternal lesson.
‘Pharisees’....like the poor...will always be with us: among all nominal, and actual, “Christians” The survey gets answers to irrational, ignorant questions....from equally ignorant participants. Just more Pharisees painting Christ and Christians as worthy of scorn....at least , and death...at worst.
Same as it ever was.......same as it ever was. No news here.
Just a note of caution. Pharisees will typically think everyone else is the Pharisee.
This article really doesn’t discuss the methodology and statistical analysis of the study, so it’s hard to make a judgement about it. But it’s widely understood that questionnaire-based research is, to say the least, afflicted with a primary confound. Which is to say, it’s not hugely valid.
The basic perspective of the secular researchers is revealed by two of the questions identified as Pharisaical: “I believe we should stand against those who are opposed to Christian values” and “People who follow Gods rules are better than those who do not.” Call me a Pharisee, then, but like most on this forum I do believe we should stand against those who are opposed to Christian values.
And if following God’s rules does not make one a better person, then God is not good, which is a logical impossibility. Christians are certainly flawed sinful human beings, but think how much worse we’d be if we weren’t trying to be better.
I don't know about other church's but my church doesn't allow sinful people inside. My church especially disallows hypocrites.
Currently my church has no members (except Jesus) but I'm working on it.
My mother calls Christianity “Paulianity”.
The author is conflating separate theological principles into one. The primary sin of the Pharisees was they rejected the need of a savior. They believe that their works would make them right with God. Their hypocrisy got in the way of seeing Jesus for who he is.
It is long understood that when we are justified we are not automatically sanctified. Sanctification for most Christians is a life long process and for some it is a journey that never starts.
At any point in time, it would be understandable that if we measure all Christians we will find them at different points on a sanctification spectrum. A true measure would be to see if the Christian is better today than yesterday.
Heck, if we measured the apostles right after the death on the cross we would say that Jesus failed in his ministry.
Perhaps according to Paul's testimony:
Gal 11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
Further backed by Peter:
18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas[b] and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostlesonly James, the Lords brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.
Getting a referral from Peter is good enough for me.
They are like neither, Christians are paulinists
All Christians are paulinists?
"Christians quote Paul more than Jesus.....defaulting to Paul over Jesus' words and defaulting to Paul over the words of God in the 'OT'".And then this:When is the last time a christian could make their point without quoting Paul over Jesus or Gods Word?
A moot point and a distracting straw man diversion.
All scripture is of God, and God breathed, so how can Paul's words (inspired by the Holy Spirit) go against God's word?
God is NOT double minded as you seem to infer.
If you wish to discount Paul's ministry, try to stay Biblical.
Jesus knocked Paul off of his horse to get his attention and he went on to write close to 1/2 of the NT.
Hopefully he finds a way to set you straight.
Added note: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you can be saved.
You know, become a Christian. Born again. With the Holy Spirit within you and guiding your thoughts and your use of a keyboard.
I should have not used the world irrelevant.
What I meant by that is that, according to Scripture, in Paul’s letters he states “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, and not of workss, lest any man should boast.”
Still, we are called to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus; to take up the cross, as we were bought for a price.
I will choose my words more carefully next time.
The first flaw in the study is man devising the test to determine who is godly. That, in itself, seems Pharisaical.
I have had issues with people who are too narrow and judgemental but more with people who are too liberal and pervert what is clearly preached in Scripture. To hear them, “sin” is when you don’t believe in global warming and environmentalism, when you don’t believe in government stealing money from the rich, when you condemn those who have sex outside of marriage (whether gay or straight), etc.
So, I have major problems with the premise even before I get to the questions but suspect the questions are just as slanted and absurd.
Personally, I use all of the Bible to make my arguments on biblical subjects.
Your assertion is silly. Jesus did not write any of the Bible. The words of Christ recorded in it were written by apostles which include Paul. So anyone quoting Christ’s words are quoting the apostles.
Further, Paul identified Christ’s words as the basis of true doctrine and also claimed to be an example to follow BECAUSE he followed Christ.
The difference is that Paul was specially and specifically called to spread the gospel to the Gentiles. Because the church today is predominantly Gentile, a lot of what he wrote relates more to people who did not grow up in a lifestyle of Judaism.
It was settled fairly early in the church that Gentiles did not need to convert to Judaism in order to become followers of Jesus.
I don’t think those are “trick” questions at all. For the most part they go straight to the heart of the pharisaical mindset.
The reality is that we are all pharisees. Each of us has a set of guidelines, based more or less loosely on Scripture, that enables us to discriminate between the ins and the outs. That attitude comes closer to ideology than to faith in Christ.
Nothing particularly unusual about it, after all, self-righteousness was the basis for the Fall. But we seek usurp even God’s role in salvation. Pope Benedict described it this way, “It seems as if we want to be rewarded, not just with our own salvation, but most especially with other peoples damnationjust like the workers hired in the first hour. That is very human, but the Lords parable is particularly meant to make us quite aware of how profoundly un-Christian it is at the same time.”
THAT is the heart of the pharisee.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.