Tuesday, March 29, 2011


John 7:48 Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?

48 μή τις ἐκ τῶν ἀρχόντων ἐπίστευσεν εἰς αὐτὸν ἢ ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων;

This is the question the Pharisees asked the "officers" who they sent as something of a goon squad to arrest Jesus. The officers refused to do this because they heard the power of Jesus' preaching. They understood something that the Pharisees could not grasp. Jesus was special and His preaching demanded a response.

The problem of course is that Jesus threatened the Pharisees' way of life. If He was right then they were clearly wrong. You don't just take a group of people who have made it their business to be the most right of all the people in society and then expect them to gracefully step aside. The Pharisees weren't going down without a fight. In a couple of chapters we will see how it all comes together.

This is clearly evident in the church today. It started with Rome and the Reformation. You expect to take a corrupt Pope like Leo and threaten him with the Bible? I sincerely doubt that he cared about anything beyond his own glory if the history about him is even partially true. But if Luther was right then that would destroy his whole way of life.

And lest we get on our Protestant high horses about this, take a look at the average megachurch. I just heard a story about a megachurch that could only offer $350/month to a church-planter because of budget issues. This was coming from a senior pastor's office that had a glass wall with a view of the Rockies. I suspect that most megachurches have the same problem. A severely obese person's heart works as hard when he is sitting as mine does when I go out for a run. Because I'm in decent physical shape I can push my body a little bit to run up a hill, climb stairs, etc. The obese person is always in a state of being pushed, so there is nowhere for his body to go.

I hope that the illustration is clear. To embrace the ideas in David Platt's Radical or even Francis Chan's Crazy Love is a threat to the way of life set up by today's churchianity. Why should we have small churches focused on discipleship? Does Mark Driscoll do it that way? How about C.J. Mahaney? John Piper? James MacDonald? No! They all have big churches with home/life/fellowship/small groups. Why should we do small churches.

Well, despite the success of these men's ministries (and I do think that they are all doing great works) I think that we need to let the New Testament guide us instead. Please hear me that I do not think that they are Pharisees either. My point is simply that the leaders and authorities of the day should always be trumped by Jesus. There is just no other way to look at it.

Who is your authority?

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