Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Gray Is Just Gray

I don't have much time today, but I want to say very quickly that if being Pharisaical is composing rules and guidelines for life that are not explicitly textual, then we all are Pharisees. It's not, of course, and I'll show you why.

We all compose extra-biblical rules for ourselves. When parents draw up rules for the home, they're making extra-biblical codes of conduct for their children, and holding them to it. When you work in an office, you abide by certain codes of conduct that are extra-biblical and binding. If I were to type emails for an hour each day at my workplace, that would go against the ethical code of my office. That would make my action wrong. But wait--there's nothing biblical about that, in an explicit sense. How then can it be wrong? It can be wrong for the fact that we all draw up rules and regulations beyond the Bible. It is right that we do so. We ought not to do so while placing these rules in the position of the Bible, but we all must compose such principles by which to live.

In my series on women and sports, then, I was attempting to do this very thing. I wasn't saying that a certain action was definitively sinful. My point was to suggest what I thought was a better way of living for Christian women over against egalitarian living. I wasn't handing down the eleventh commandment. I was doing what we all must do--take biblical wisdom and apply it to our everyday lives. If people do not agree with my ideas, that is fine. We are free to disagree with one another. But when I'm not presenting my views as inspired but rather as principles that I think one is wise to live by, I'm merely trying to think scripturally, to apply biblical wisdom to all of life. It is thus inappropriate to call my thinking Pharisaical. You may not like it; that's fine. I understand. I sometimes take controversial, unpopular positions, and I don't expect everyone to agree with me. But please, let's be a little more careful with the Pharisee terminology. In reality, we're not seeking to destroy or hurt one another, but rather to think through life together. Let's do so with proper theology, and with love in our hearts toward one another, even as we make arguments for the purpose of edifying one another in the faith.


Blogger Elnwood said...

So if someone were to say that a Christian ought never drink alcoholic beverages, you would not call it legalistic or Pharisaical?

We all compose extra-biblical rules for ourselves, but all of us do not say that these extra-biblical rules apply universally. That, I think, is what makes something legalistic or Pharisaical.

3:47 PM  

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