Those of us who are involved in online discernment ministries (ODM) regularly take on Scripture twisters and outright heretics. Professing Christians who’ve fallen into false teaching come back at us with “take the log out of your own eye,” as if bringing truth to light means we’re judging. ODM’s have been labeled “Heresy Hunter,” “Legalist,” “Pharisee” and we’re charged with “quenching the Holy Spirit” for doing what we’re commanded to do: “test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1) False prophets hate being tested. So their response is to turn the tables and make ODM’s out to be the villain. I mean, how dare commoners judge Christians who’ve reached rock star status, right?
Over at Grace to You, Cameron Buettel tackles this very subject. He lays out three biblical earmarks of a Pharisee, beginning with the person who supplements Scripture with all sorts of man-made rules. He writes:
The odds are good that someone, somewhere, at some point has called you a Pharisee. The odds are even better that you’ve slapped that label on someone else.
It’s no surprise that the name “Pharisee” carries a leprous stigma. They’re the villains virtually every time they appear in the pages of Scripture. Jesus never had anything good to say about them. And their heavy-handed, legalistic authority made them a scourge to all of Israel—even other pious Jews.