Modern Version of Christianity 8

The whole evangelical world is to a large extent unfavorable to healthy Christianity. And I am not thinking of Modernism either. I mean rather the Bible-believing crowd that bears the name of orthodoxy. We may as well face it; the whole level of spirituality is low. We have measured ourselves by ourselves until the incentive to seek higher plateaus in the things of the Spirit is all but gone. Large and influential sections of the world of fundamental Christianity have gone overboard for practices wholly unscriptural, altogether unjustifiable in the light of historic Christian truth and deeply damaging to the inner life of the individual Christian. They have imitated the world, sought popular favor, manufactured delights to substitute for the joy of the Lord and produced a cheap and synthetic power to substitute for the power of the Holy Ghost. (A.W. Tozer)

Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 “You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! 25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 “You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 “So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!… 32 “Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33 “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?

Could it possibly be that the majority (if not vast majority) of professing churches are those that are “sections of the world of fundamental Christianity have gone overboard for practices wholly unscriptural, altogether unjustifiable in the light of historic Christian truth and deeply damaging to the inner life of the individual Christian. They have imitated the world, sought popular favor, manufactured delights to substitute for the joy of the Lord and produced a cheap and synthetic power to substitute for the power of the Holy Ghost”? Could it be true that what is thought to be Reformed in our day would not have been considered by Calvin and Luther as Reformed? Could it be that we have accepted the husks of Christianity today and have cast off the true fruit?

Again, Tozer was speaking to those who professed to believe the Bible and were even orthodox. Could it be that one can have a solid profession of the Bible, be orthodox, and yet not believe the heart of Christianity? Have the Pharisees in our day, though they speak against the Pharisees in the time of Jesus, have followed stringent rules (like tithing mint and cumin) and yet have broken and violated the greater laws of the heart? Could it be that we have ministers and college and seminary professors who are straining out gnats (being very precise in their morality and doctrine) and yet they are blind guides who swallow camels? Could it be that the most religious people in our day are those who look great on the outside but on the inside they value their salaries, the sales of their books and electronic materials, which make them guilty of self-indulgence?

It is far easier to be a critic of the scribes and Pharisees than it is not to be one. The scribes and the Pharisees were the religious elite of that day and they were the ones that held the respected positions of orthodoxy, wrote the books (scrolls), and blasted the non-orthodox. They were the ones that claimed the history of Judaism and had the scholars on their sides, yet despite their great learning and outwardly holy lives they were haters and enemies of the true and living God. They were precisely like whitewashed tombs which in their man-made religion and man-made rules and laws looked beautiful in the eyes of men and yet their hearts were like a tomb that was full of bones and uncleanness. These whitewashed men, who looked holy and highly educated and orthodox, yet they were full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. In their stringent ways of keeping the law they were in fact lawless.

The Pharisees were the moralists, the legalists, and the orthodox people of the time of Jesus. In the 1500’s Roman Catholicism had men who were moralists, legalists, and yet were thought to be orthodox. Both had history on their side and pointed to history and their agreement with it as the basis for why they were right. Jesus came and poked huge holes in the self-righteousness of the Pharisees. Luther came along and poked huge holes in the self-righteousness of Roman Catholicism. If history has repeated itself in our day, will we be swept along by all the external things and yet are vile in the eyes of God? Will we be content with anything less than the free-grace of God in Christ Jesus? Will we be content with orthodoxy? Will we be content with a version of history? Will we be content with our own self-righteousness? We must have Christ in our hearts in reality or we do not have Christ at all.

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