by Larry Osborne
Over the years various writers have tried to define Pharisaism. It dates from prior to the time of Christ to the present. It seems to simply have a different cultural context, but the foundations are the same in whatever generation it appears. The pendulum swings, and humans react to religious norms by pushing back. So liberalism is followed by conservatism, and vice versa. It seems we can rarely achieve balance.
I agree with Larry that some of the more egregious sins of our day are the pride, exclusivity , and legalism. There seems to be agreement that God expects his disciples to move toward holiness in their personal lives. As with a lot of concepts, we have extreme difficulty defining it so that it fits every generation and culture.
Larry tries hard and somewhat successfully not to get into religious ditches on each side of balance. I do not know him personally, nor his journey, so I must try to understand his perspective gained from life experiences. Having written a dissertation on a corollary subject (philosophical foundations for creating sects) I offer that Larry has a message that, if heard, could help to bring some balance to evangelical movements. As always, our danger is to become the complainer about complaining.
Our Savior is our savior. It is not in our definitions but in our dynamic relationships. While our tendency toward institutionalization drives us to uniformity, the Holy Spirit emphasizes our unique personalities and giftings. If you can’t say “amen” to this, you should cry “oh me” and pray for healing grace.