Monday, December 15, 2008

Jesus, the Pharisees, and Michael Bird on 'Reformed' Christianity

This morning I was reading through Mark 7 where you will come across a story about Jesus, Pharisees and Purity Regulations. The question that hangs over this story seems to be, "What makes a good Jew?" The Pharisees thought that they were the ones who were 'righteous' and that Jesus and his disciples were 'un-righteous'. But as Jesus points out, they defined themselves with man made rules and ignored parts of the revealed will of God. They were hypocrites. God's plan for Israel was coming true right before their eyes; but they were so committed to their 'rules' that they were failing to see that scripture was being fulfilled in and through Jesus. I wonder how much of a danger this is today. What makes a good Christian in our minds? Is it according to tradition or according to scripture?

I consider myself to be a Calvinistic Baptist. Many people today are using the term 'reformed' to refer to people who believe in the 'doctrines of grace'. But I find Michael Bird's words sobering:

"But in all the recent talk about "evangelicals" and the "reformed" I am noticing another trend. To use the same analogy, there is a group of the "reformed" out there who have basically decided to go and sit in their room, lock the door, and do nothing but than rant and moan about how everybody in the evangelical hallway is a theologically defficient turnip and only those in the room with them are among the doctrinally righteous elect. This group is typified by several traits: (1) They are more excited about all the things that they are against than anything that they are for; (2) They preach justification by faith, but in actuality practice justification by polemics; (3) They appear to believe in the inerrancy of a confession over the suffiency of the gospel; (4) They believe in the doctrines of grace, but do not treat others with grace; (5) They believe that unity is overrated; (6) They like doctrines about Jesus more than Jesus himself (and always defer to the Epistles over the Gospels); (7) mission means importing their debates and factions to other churches; and (8) The word "adiaphora" is considered an almost expletive.

No comments: