Sharing my thoughts after reading our assignment each week in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families.
“As you read Matthew 14-15; Mark 6-7; and John 5-6, look for truths that are meaningful to you. You might ask yourself questions such as ‘How do the accounts in these chapters relate to me?’, ‘What messages do I find for my life?’, or ‘What would I like to share with my family or with others?’ ” [Header, Lesson for Mar 25-31, 2019, “Be Not Afraid”.]
Journaling my impressions:
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In Sunday School on Sun 17 Mar and in our priesthood lesson this past weekend (Sun 24 Mar), some folks voiced the idea that the Pharisees get a bad rap for being hypocrites and for working against the law of God, when really they were just following the culture and traditions of their time. I had never heard this idea before. I came home and started researching references to “Pharisee” or “Pharisees”. In the Four Gospels, there are 96 references, with only two that do not condemn the attitudes and practices of the Pharisees in the harshest of terms. The entry in the Bible Dictionary is consistent with that tone, as is each reference in Jesus The Christ, by James E. Talmage (*).
I agree that we should not use references such as these to justify bad behavior towards anyone, be they pharisaical, Pharisees, descendents of Pharisees, or anyone unassociated with Pharisees. I also agree that we should not dismiss references such as the ones in the paragraph above as irrelevant simply because they identify bad behavior or invite us to avoid bad behavior. Does anyone know where a source of info might be that might support the idea that such sweeping criticism of the apparently puritanical practices of the Pharisees may not be justified?
(*) See Page 465 in particular. If you happen to have an edition different than mine, see Chapter 27, “Continuation of the Perean and Judean Ministry”, under the section header, “Derision of the Pharisees Met; Another Illustrative Parable”, for this quote:
…They had grown arrogantly proud of their humility, but God knew their hearts, and the traits and practices they most esteemed were an abomination in His sight. They posed as custodians of the law and expounders of the prophets … those Pharisees and scribes had tried to nullify the law.
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