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Barna Group asks: Are Christians more like Jesus or the Pharisees?

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Survey results here:



Well, then ...

Am I pharasaical if I quibble with a couple of the survey questions?

Actions like Jesus:

  • I listen to others to learn their story before telling them about my faith.

While this is unquestionably a desirable trait in Christians, I think it's a bit of a stretch to call it Christlike. Jesus didn't always listen as much as people might have wanted him to.

"I have no husband."

"I have no one to help me into the water."

"Let me first go and bury my father."

"Let me first say farewell to those at my home."

All of these individuals were offering lame excuses (I remember one preacher who called Lk. 9:57-62 "the parable of the three baloney merchants"), and Jesus cut them off in a manner that many of us would consider rude.

Attitudes like Jesus:

  • It is more important to help people know God is for them than to make sure they know they are sinners.

Well, what if they're equally important? I don't doubt that many Christians could indeed do with more emphasis on God's love. But do we really have a list of examples of Jesus neglecting to mention sin? The early chapters of Matthew say that Jesus attracted a following of tax collectors and sinners, but they also say that he did so by preaching, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Attracting sinners while preaching repentance is a trick most Christians don't seem to have mastered yet.

Anyhow, I wonder whether these two items aren't, in some measure, a case of saying, "Gee, wouldn't it be nice if Christians more often did or believed X?" and then projecting those wishes onto Jesus, rather than a case of deriving consistent guidelines from Jesus' example.

Edited by mrmando

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This is an interesting concept, but poorly executed in more ways than just those you've named. "I find it hard to be friends with people who seem to constantly do the wrong things..." is considered a self-righteous statement, and yet "I don’t talk about my sins or struggles" is a self-righteous action. Seem to me "I find it hard" is an admission of struggle, so admitting you struggle is at once Christ-like and self-righteous?

Edited by David Smedberg

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