Universalis, About this blog

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Phariseeism and Pride

Mark Shea has a great post on phariseeism which got me thinking (a dangerous business, I know). Mark describes Phariseeism (with some cited material from the Catholic Exchange scripture study) thus:

  "The Pharisees, at their best, were people who were trying to remain faithful to the law of Moses as best they could. The problem was that the law of Moses could make no one holy. It could merely say, "This is defiling". Consequently, Pharisees constructed a vast system of protections against all the defiling things in the world..
Under the old law, ritual defilement was intended as a kind of sign or shadow. It was meant to show us in our pride that we could not, by our own strength and power, keep ourselves clean from sin. The power of sin is greater than our power of sanctity. So the Pharisees understand sanctity in only one way: separation. ...
And so they separate themselves from the Gentiles, from touching the dead and dying, from lepers, and from menstruating women. They are right to see in these ritual prohibitions an image or sign of lifelessness. But they are wrong to conclude that by separating themselves they can avoid the sin which ritual uncleanness signifies. And so in an ironic way, they take the mirror of ritual uncleanness that God has given them in the Mosaic Law, and instead of seeing in it an image of their own uncleanness and defilement by sin, the turn it around and say to those around them, "See how unclean you are!""
This reminds me of my recent encounter with Rand, whose parting shot (by email) included these unforgettable words:
  "I know you care nothing for the Scriptures, Jeff. Despite your vehement objections. It is clear through your words. It is clear by the plain fact that you are a Romanist. ...
And that's why I cannot, and will not have anything to do with you anymore, Jeff. You, like so many other Romanists I know, are so self-deceived, so convinced that the carnal doctrines of men, invented by wicked popes throughout the centuries, are correct, that you place these above (far above) the plain teachings of Scripture. I'm ending this here, because your religion is blasphemous and profane, and I can't bear to read the wicked stuff.
So, this is goodbye Jeff. You are a false professor and a false teacher, and the Scriptures teach that I ought to stay clear of you, not humour you, or have anything to do with you [quotes 2 Tim 2:20-21]..
ps: I am 100% honest Jeff. No more e-mails, no more comments. They will be deleted on the spot. I'm not playing, I'm not on a power trip. This is my faith, and I will be true to it."
And all that over three comments in his blog and one email.

Is there some Phariseeism involved here? It seems like it, and not only over his specific abhorrence at my correspondences, but at his Calvinist background. He had long ago claimed that there is no Scriptural support for free will, which is consistent with a form of pessimism in which our salvation does not involve our will since we are totally depraved. Hence, that particular twist of predestination. But it also brings about the same problem of pride as in Phariseeism. The Pharisees appeared to have been obsessed with their cleanliness -- they were convinced of it. Hence, those who do not share their views are looked down upon, making it tempting perhaps to consider that that they (the non-Pharisees) are predestined to remain unclean forever.

While it is possible for such a person to admit to struggling with sin, that is a negligible matter when compared with the fact that they have been cleaned -- born again (as Rand said) -- and that state is (in his mind) irrevocable. His sins are therefore as nothing compared to mine, given that I have not yet been "saved".

  'Arrogance and pride. Yes. Of course. This charge is both hypocritical, and dare I say, cheap. Am I arrogant? Is there pride in my life? You bet. They are most definitely the most deceitful and wicked sins in my life. Now, here's a news flash for you Jeff: you have the exact same problem, without the blood of Christ taking your sin away. As I look through your comments, and this e-mail... are you not here affirming your "correct view", and thus, rejecting my "incorrect view". Tell me Jeff, do I visit your blog to set you straight? Am I so full of envy and pride, that I have to reach out over an ocean to show you how wrong you are? Time for a visit to the mirror perhaps?'

He even used the "mirror" metaphor. So if I offered my view in opposition to his, I am guilty of pride and arrogance. And every time he does the same thing to wicked, lying Romanists everywhere then he is .. only serving in the Lord's vineyard? What a horribly precarious perch when one can no longer allow the possibility of being wrong.

No comments: