In previous posts I’ve touched on the question of Are We Becoming Modern-Day Pharisees and followed that up with 5 Simple Steps to Creating Pharisees in Your Church. In that same vein, today’s post is a tongue-in-cheek look at what First Pharisee Church looks like. It’s a clarion call for all the judgmental, hypocritical Christians out there to rise up and unite. Here are the 10 Commandments for Today’s First Pharisee Church:
1. Thou shalt think of the church only as a building. People are secondary, the bricks and mortar are what matter. Even if the demographics in your community change around the building, continue to elevate the needs of the building above the needs of the community. Remember, Jesus died so that you could have a pretty building to sit in one hour a week.
2. Thou shalt bore the people in church, because having fun in the church is a sin. The key word here is “glory.” Glory of God, glory of God, glory of God. Put the ‘high’ in high church. God gets the most glory when he’s the most unattainable and we’re the most bored.
3. Thou shalt play dress up in church as a sign of your spirituality. Don’t worry about the heart, it’s what’s on the outside that matters. The better you look on the outside, the more spiritual you must be, right? Right?
4. Thou shalt only pray formally at certain times and places, devoid of emotion. Remember, don’t actually dialogue with God, he prefers to be spoken about like he’s not actually there. God loves it when you patronize him with heartless ritualistic prayers.
5. Thou shalt learn as much Bible knowledge as possible. Obedience is optional and will only get in the way. Be proud of how much you know. Remember the words of Jesus in John 13, “By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you can win Bible jeopardy.“
6. Thou shalt teach the Bible in a way that elevates the text above the God who inspired the text. Jesus is the prince, the text is king! Preach and teach in a way that makes it seem like a book died on the cross for your sins and a book rose on the third day. Worship a book above all else.
7. Thou shalt use as much insider language as possible in the church to exclude those on the outside. We wouldn’t want them to assume we actually want them to join us. Tell parts of Bible stories and assume everyone knows the rest. Use churchy language without decoding it for guests. Don’t worry; they’ll quickly get the picture and leave.
8. Thou shalt only engage in missions work at a location a safe enough distance away from your community. You wouldn’t want that whole missions mindset actually filtering back home. Keep it a safe distance away. It’s better to spend thousands of dollars to fly halfway across the world to tell someone about Jesus so that you never have to walk across the street to do the same thing. We don’t want anyone to get the mistaken idea that you should actually love your literal neighbor.
9. Thou shalt wed the movement of Christianity to one political party. It’s advantageous to reduce the transcendent work of Christianity down to the level of local politics. Besides alienating half of the country, it makes strategic sense to make being a Republican a litmus test for being a good Christian. Who doesn’t remember all those times Jesus engaged in party politics? Make Christianity Republican Again!
10. Thou shalt completely reject the culture you’re surrounded by. The best way to show the love of God to the world is by judging them. Let them know how much they’ve screwed up and how angry God is at them. Shame and guilt have always been the best motivators for change.
QUESTION: What other commandments would you add to this list?