TUFA CAVE CHURCH, GOREME,
Cappodocia, in Central Turkey, is famous
in Christian history for the so-called
Cappodocian fathers who played a key
role in the formulation of Christian
doctrines in the 3rd century after Christ.
In our more secular age, perhaps more
attention is paid to the ancient churches of
Goreme, carved from the caves that
developed by a process of erosion of the
soft tufa ash that covered the ground as a
result of repeated volcanic erosions.
Some of these are 1000 years old or more.
Photograph by Linde Nijland
The Pharisee Principle . . . THEN and NOW
We find two groups, two religions if you like.
Both sincere, committed, self-sacrificing. Preaching the truth as they under stood it. Both
trying to serve God the best way they knew how.
And yet . . . diametrically opposite to one another in almost every respect.
Different priorities, different values. And both at total enmity with the other.
WHO WERE THEY?
One group . . .
Zealous for their faith. In the house of God regularly without fail every Sabbath. Fasting.
Tithing. Praying ostentatiously. Setting an example to the others.
Surely God would commend their zeal and commitment! But did He? NO!
Jesus criticized them constantly, fought them tooth and nail.
Strong on religion, but weak on relationship. Who were they? These were the scribes,
and the Pharisees.
They didn't fast. They didn't tithe, as far as we know. A little bit casual. A bit sporadic about
the Sabbath and that sort of stuff.
What did God make of it? "Fear not little flock, for it is my Father's good pleasure to give you
the Kingdom", so said Jesus.
Weak on religion, but strong on relationship. Who were they? These were the disciples
and followers of Jesus.
Forwards to today.
Is it any different?
More to the point, COULD IT EVER BE ANY DIFFERENT?
To put more starkly, HAS HUMAN NATURE CHANGED SINCE THE TIME OF JESUS?
Can the answers to these three questions be anything other than No, No, and No?
That's why it can't NOT be out there!
Either we're seeing it
Or we're missing it!
(or human nature has changed!)
Which is it? 113 hits on Google for "Pharisee Church" seems to be saying we're missing it!
And if we want to have the complete truth of God's revelation for the world, we need to find it
again, identify it, and react accordingly.