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Playing the Pharisee Card

Playing the Pharisee Card


Todd Wilken:  Playing the Pharisee Card

Issues, Etc.™

I have been called a Pharisee more times than I can remember. It goes with the territory. I host a conservative Christian radio talk show. I publicly defend the teachings and practices of the historic Church. I also publicly point out false teaching and practices in the Church today. For these reasons alone, some believe that I deserve to be called a Pharisee.

But I’m not alone. Today, the label “Pharisee” is applied to many Christians just like me—perhaps you’re one of them. We are Christians who cherish God’s Word, the Church’s historic Creeds, confessions and practices. When we see the Church abandoning these things to follow the latest fads and entertainments, we lament. When we see the Gospel itself being left behind in the Church’s rush to mimic popular culture, we are grieved. And when we question the Church’s infatuation with the spirit of the age, we are labeled Pharisees.

The “race card” is a political term of art made famous during the 1988 presidential race between George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis. In today’s presidential politics, we also have the “gender card.” The Race and Gender Cards aren’t designed to raise the legitimate issues surrounding race or gender. Instead, both the Race and Gender Cards are political tactics that exploit racial and gender divisions among voters, and appeal to the worst racial and gender sterotypes. In American politics, the Race and Gender Cards are played to discredit someone by implying that he is racist or sexist.

Just as politicians and pundits play the Race Card or the Gender Card, many in the Church are playing the “Pharisee Card.”

Just like the Race or Gender Cards, the Pharisee Card is not designed to raise a legitimate issue of doctrine or practice. Rather, the Pharisee Card is used to discredit someone by implying that he is narrow, rigid, and unloving—a Pharisee. Most often these days, the Pharisee Card is played to portray a fellow Christian as a “doctrinal purist,” resistant to change, and therefore, unconcerned for the lost.


The Pharisee Card is a powerful weapon. Most of its punch comes from the fact that, during His earthly ministry, Jesus did often condemn the Pharisees. The Pharisee Card is intended to be tantamount to the condemnation of Jesus Himself.

Why did Jesus so often condemn the Pharisees? Was it because (as those who play the Pharisee Card assume) the Pharisees were ultra-conservative doctrinal purists, with no love for the lost? No.

Were the Pharisees Concerned with Doctrinal Purity?

The Pharisee Card is played against Christians who are concerned with doctrinal purity. When used this way, the Pharisee Card is intended to discredit the doctrinal purist and silence any further questions about false teaching. It works beautifully. Those dealing the Pharisee Card know that many Christians would rather suffer silently under false teaching than speak up and risk being labeled a Pharisee.

The only problem is, Jesus never faulted the Pharisees for being doctrinal purists. He faulted them for being false teachers who abandoned the truth of God’s Word in favor of the erroneous word of man (Matthew 16:11–12; 15:1–9; Mark 7:6–13).

Jesus called Christians who demanded doctrinal purity “disciples,” not “Pharisees.” “

If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31–32)

In fact, Christians who demand doctrinal purity are really following the example of Jesus, of Paul and the other Apostles (Matthew 7:15; see also Matthew 24:10–11; Mark 9:42 2 Corinthians 15:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 Timothy 4:16; 6:3–4; Titus 1:7–9; 2:1, 7–8; 1 John 4:1; 2 Peter 3:17).

Were the Pharisees Resistant to Change?

The Pharisee Card is also played in order to discredit Christians who refuse to abandon the historic practices of the Church in favor of the latest innovations. This too works beautifully. Those dealing the Pharisee card know that, to avoid being labeled a Pharisee, many Christians will tolerate an endless succession of fads in worship, music, and ministry. But Jesus never faulted the Pharisees for resisting change. On the contrary, He faulted them for introducing their own innovations and methods in the place of God’s Word.

Dealers of the Pharisee Card will cite Luke 5:36–39 in favor of their own innovations:

And He was also telling them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.”

Was Jesus calling for wholesale change, or warning against it? The new patch ruins the garment. The new wine bursts the wineskins. The context of the parable is a discussion of fasting. Rather than advocating the abandonment of this ancient practice, Jesus instead taught that ancient practices must now be understood and practiced in light of Him and His redemptive work.

Jesus didn’t condemn the Pharisees for retaining ancient practices, or for resisting change; rather, Jesus concluded the parable by saying, “And no one, after drinking old wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good.’”

Were the Pharisees Unconcerned for the Lost?

Christians who demand doctrinal purity and resist compromising change are often accused of being Pharisees with no love for the lost. This is probably the most common use of the Pharisee card today. Those who like to play the Pharisee Card know that Christians will put up with almost anything in the name of missions and evangelism, in order to avoid being called Pharisees.

But Jesus never faulted the Pharisees for being unconcerned for the lost. On the contrary, He said:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel about on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. (Matthew 23:15)

Jesus had no problem with the missionary zeal of the Pharisees—they were zealous enough; Jesus had a problem with the Pharisees’ soul-damning message. Paul was of the same opinion:

For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. (Romans 10:2–3)

And Paul spoke from experience. As a former Pharisee, his missionary zeal took him far and wide as a persecutor of the first Christians (Acts 9:1–2; Philippians 3:6).

The Pharisees’ error was not a lack of missionary zeal; it was that their false teaching (however zealously preached) damned rather than saved.

Moreover, contrary to everything the Pharisee Card is meant to imply, just because someone is concerned for doctrinal purity and resistant to theological innovation does not mean that he is unconcerned for the lost. On the contrary, departure from the pure Word, in doctrine and practice, does not help, but hinders the preaching of the Gospel, therefore impeding the mission of the Church. False teaching does not save sinners. Purity in doctrine and practice makes the preaching of the Gospel possible. Purity in doctrine and practice makes the preaching of the Gospel imperative.

The irony is that those most often called Pharisees in the Church today are those most concerned about the lost, and therefore preaching the pure Gospel to them.

The power of the Pharisee Card is based on the mistaken idea that those unwilling to compromise in doctrine and practice are the modern-day counterparts of the ancient Pharisees. This idea has no basis in fact.

Why Did Jesus Really Condemn the Pharisees?

So if Jesus never condemned the Pharisees for bring ultra-conservative doctrinal purists with no love for the lost, why did He condemn them?

Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their apostasy. The Pharisees had abandoned the Old Testament faith and therefore they rejected Jesus Himself (Matthew 8:11–12; 21:42–46; 22:41–46; Luke 7:29–30; 13:28–30; John 5:39, 43–47; Acts 4:10–12; Romans 9:1; 11:36; 1 Peter 2:7–8).

The Pharisees taught that salvation was the result of God’s mercy plus man’s obedience. They reduced the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to a system of do’s and don’ts. In this sense, the Pharisees were the inventors of what we call today “rules for living,” and the first preachers of “how-to” sermons.

Jesus condemned the Pharisees for softening the demands of the Law. Because they taught that human works contributed to salvation, the Pharisees had to make the Law more “user-friendly.” The Pharisees diluted the Law’s requirement of perfect obedience with manageable human rules that could be kept (Matthew 5:17–48).

A compromised Law meant a compromised Gospel. Jesus condemned the Pharisees because they abandoned God’s Word for the word of man. In this sense, the Pharisees were really the Liberals of their day.

Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and self-righteousness. This hypocrisy and self-righteousness was most often the subject of Jesus’ condemnations. But it was merely a symptom of the Pharisees’ false faith in their own obedience:

He also told this parable to certain ones who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-gatherer. The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, ‘God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:9–14)

The Pharisees trusted their own obedience and moral progress. In this sense, the Pharisees were the original proponents of the victorious life.

Jesus condemnation of the Pharisees had nothing to do with doctrinal purity, resistance to change, or lack of missionary zeal. It had everything to do with the false hope of human obedience.

The Real Pharisees?

Who are the real Pharisees today? You are. I am. You, me, and every sinner—but not in the way that the players of the Pharisee Card say we are.

All of us are more willing to trust our own obedience than trust the perfect obedience of Jesus Christ. All of us soften the Law’s perfect demands so that we can say we’ve kept them. All of us are therefore inclined to hypocrisy and self-righteousness. All of us are natural-born Pharisees.

Now, if someone wants to call me a Pharisee for that reason, I will gladly and repentantly be called a Pharisee.

But I will not be called a Pharisee for loving and defending pure doctrine. I will not be called a Pharisee for resisting the ill-conceived innovation and compromising change in the Church. I will not be called a Pharisee for demanding that the Gospel we preach to the lost be pure.

Some say that the pure Gospel is an impossible dream. I disagree. I hear it preached every week—more often than not by those Christians who are wrongly labeled Pharisees.

Those who play the Pharisee Card hope to dismiss Christians like you and me as ultra-conservative doctrinal purists with no love for the lost. But like a fifth Ace up the sleeve, the Pharisee Card is a cheat. Those who play it ignore the real errors of the real Pharisees. They wrongly apply the name to those who stand in the way of false teaching, compromising change and a watered-down Gospel. In the end, the Pharisee Card amounts to nothing more than name-calling. And, like the Race or Gender Cards are in politics, in the Church, the Pharisee Card is always the sign of a losing hand.



20 comments to Playing the Pharisee Card

  • I knew my post would not get posted. On Holy Spirit and fire of Matt.3:11 and your calling it wrathful judgement on unbelievers Jesus would chastise you like He did the “sons of thunder” in John 9:54,55 when they asked if fire should be brought down on a town of unbelievers and tell you “you DO NOT know the spirit you are of”… alas you will delete this cuz your type is not interested in “Truth” but to maintain the powerlessness and denial of anything supernatural which is one of the evil ones favorite tactics. In your case cuz you are a self styled authority of discerning world/word. I pray by the supernatural power living in me that you “Wake up O sleeper and Christ WILL give you light!” Why am i given a mean face? so typical of folks and anti-Christs twisting and distorting the Truth. I mean absolutely nothing personal. I am coming against something i don’t think “Deborah(discerningtheworld)” is even “conscious” of. Nevertheless I am “moved” to try for your sake as well as for the hearers/receivers of your feedback/”wisdom”. This is my last post. May the Lord richly bless you with His presence and give you genuine supernatural revelation and True discernment. Love, John.

  • john kangas,

    You are contradicting yourself. You deny that fire is a wrathful judgment of God on unbelievers but then you use John 9:54-55 (by the way, it is Luke 9;54-55), which exemplifies God’s wrathful judgement on unbelievers, to prove that Matthew 3:11’s fire is not a wrathful judgment on unbelievers. The disciples knew that fire was a wrathful judgment God used to judge unbelievers and that’s precisely why they asked Jesus whether they should pray that fire fall from heaven to devour the unbelievers.

    Not all supernatural things come from God. How sure are you that your so-called supernatural power living in you comes from God? (1 John 4:1). If you have been slain-in the spirit at some time you can be dead sure that the so-called supernatural power you have in you is NOT from God.

  • The “fire” Jesus is talking about is the refiners fire Therevelation, True illumination or the light that causes one to surrender to His purifying Presence through the conviction of the Spirit And a Love that instills in us Joy unspeakable and peace that surpasses all understanding. They repent and turn from their sinful ways. Jesus tells John and James no He is’nt going to call down fire He has come to save and they don’t know what spirit they are of. You seem to have set yourself up outside the reach of that “fire” and turned it into a hellfire that you see Jesus unleaching upon “unbelievers” who in reality are your brothers and sisters that God so loves that He sent The Lord to die for them. The fire is like a fire that purifies silver. It is the refiner’s fire. No I have never been “slain in the spirit” but I would take some over-zealous make believe over your “heart” any-day. I can’t imagine how in history people could be so horribly cruel as to burn someone alive over falsely believing they were in a spirit NOT from God but reading your post and others like it I can. Its funny to see the wolves don’t even know they are wolves. I say Amen to what Jesus says to us in Luke 12:49. Maybe the wrathful judgement you’d measure out will measured back to you. A simple thing like Love your enemies will be like integral calculus to a 3 year old without the supernatural Power of the Holy Spirit and the “fire” to help the true disciple die to self.

  • not Therevelation the Revelation. also i think the error concerning the “fire” the Lord speaks of is the false conclusion of some that the unquenchable fire of verse 3:12 and the Holy Spirit and fire of Matt. 3:11 are the same fire.

  • Thomas,
    This “Fire” was exemplified/ (cool word)by the tongues of flame THE WORD tells us manifested above the heads of the first born of the Only-Begotten when the church (OR ecclesia greek for “called-out one’s”)was born 50 days after the Resurrection of the Lord and 10 days after His ascension. When He did what John the baptist had foretold he would do in Matt.3:11 He baptized the world with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

  • but yes if you reject Jesus and die in your sins all that is left is fearful Judgement for God is a Consuming “Fire”. But He alone is qualified to dispense it. I think we do well to heed Jesus’ “you do not know what spirit you are of.” and put the focus on the ministry of reconciliation as if Christ were in us begging be reconciled to God.

  • john kangas,

    If fire was able to purify from sin and impuritities, it would not have been necessary for Jesus Christ to shed his blood on the cross. Barnes says the following:

    With fire – This expression has been variously understood. Some have supposed that John refers to the afflictions and persecutions with which men would be tried under the Gospel; others, that the word “fire” means judgment or wrath. According to this latter interpretation, the meaning is that he would baptize a portion of mankind – those who were willing to be his followers – with the Holy Spirit, but the rest of mankind – the wicked – with fire; that is, with judgment and wrath. Fire is a symbol of vengeance. See Isa_5:24; Isa_61:2; Isa_66:24. If this is the meaning, as seems to be probable, then John says that the ministry of the Messiah would be far more powerful than his was. It would be more searching and testing; and they who were not suited to abide the test would be cast into eternal fire. Others have supposed, however, that by fire, here, John intends to express the idea that the preaching of the Messiah would be refining, powerful, purifying, as fire is sometimes an emblem of purity, Mal_3:2. It is difficult to ascertain the precise meaning further than that his ministry would be very trying, purifying, searching. Multitudes would be converted; and those who were not true penitents would not be able to abide the trial, and would be driven away.

    The notion that fire purifies has lead to the false doctrine of purgatory.

    The Bible says God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:29). When the disciples asked whether they should pray for fire to fall from heaven, did they want to pray for God to descend from heaven and devour the Samaritans? Hardly! It was a literal fire they wanted to pray for. They were obviously thinking of Elijah in 2 Kings 1-9-12 which was a literal fire of wrath and judgment, such as the fire and brimstone that rained on Sodom and Gomorrah. It assuredly could not have been a fire to purify the Samaritans which the disciples wanted to pray for.

    The fire in Malachi is not a literal fire. It is a metaphor of God’s dealings with his saints to sanctify them. As the refiner who uses intense fire to separate impurities from gold (which is a metaphor for the saint’s faith), so too God uses circumstances and even persecution to remove the imnpurities from a saint’s faith. (1 Peter 1:7).

    Paul suffered more persecution than most of his brethren and yet he never once suggested that the fires of persecution helped him to die to his own self. In fact, even while he was persecuted, he battled to overcome his sinful nature. It was only when he cried out “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” that he realized it was though his reckoning (not fire) that he was crucified and buried with Christ and raised unto a new life in Him that gave him the victory over sin.(Rom 7:24-25).

    You wrote:

    You seem to have set yourself up outside the reach of that “fire” and turned it into a hellfire that you see Jesus unleaching upon “unbelievers” who in reality are your brothers and sisters that God so loves that He sent The Lord to die for them.

    Are unbelievers your brothers and sisters in Chtist. By no stretch of the imagination can you construe that the Samaritans who asked Jesus to leave their town were believers and therefore your brothers and sisters in Christ. In fact, believers have no and should have no spiritual affiliation with unbelievers whjatsoever (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). Yes, they are my fellowmen nand I should pray for their salvation but I cannot call them my brothers and sisters in Christ.

    I too say amen to what Jesus said in Luke 12:49 but you cannot use that to verify your premise that the fire in Luke 9:55 is not a fire of wrath and judement.

  • john kangas,

    Perhaps you should start making a distinction between a literal fire and a metaphor for a fire. If the tongues of flames which manifested itself above the heads of the disciples was God’s general standard procedure for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, then you too must have experienced the exact same phenomenon. Did you? If not, then you cannot claim that you have been baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

    He baptized the WORLD with the Holy Spirit and with fire? Really? Now I can understand why you demand of me to love unbelievers as my brothers and sisters in Christ. To say that God baptized the entire world with the Holy Spirit and with fire is universalism par excellence.

  • Universalism? whatever. I just know i was blind now i see. But yes i believe Salvation is “universally” offered to all who give their life to Jesus and HIS gospel and allow Him to sanctify them unto Salvation. Yeshua/Jesus’ Cross is the “universal” way to Eternal life. For by one sacrifice He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.(Heb. 10:14) The “sanctify” (John 17:17) Power/”Fire” purifies, gloriously illuminates the heart and renews the mind of those baptized with the Holy Spirit and “fire.” Remember when Jesus’ spoke to the disciples on the road to Emmaus and they remarked how they burned with zeal ( Zeal is also evidence of the “fire” burning in the True disciple) and how He illuminated the word and “opened” their eyes to the TRUTH. THAT IS THE “FIRE” JESUS IS REFERING TO. God is a consuming “Fire” or as He manifested to them as they wandered for 40 years in the desert, a pillar of “fire.” As Jesus said let your light shine. (or let the Holy Fire of God that has been ignited in you by My word shine) You are relegating the Light of the gospel, the “FLAME” that is in Timothy that Paul is reminding him to fan, to the “unquenchable fire” model of which spoke to the hearers of the day of the fires that always burned in Jerusalem’s dump. Which Jesus also portrayed in saying that if one does not call on Him to save them “Today” while it is still called “today” and abide in Him, your soul will be thrown into a spiritual Gehenna. This could mean “Eternal Damnation” really means “Eternal Annihilation” i am not 100% either way… God knows. All i know is is that i have Eternal Life because i “KNOW” Jesus/Yeshua has the words of life. But while its is called “today” i with all my heart pray none perish and all come to a saving “knowledge” of Jesus Christ.Who is and who ain’t is entirely God’s call. Jesus also spoke of being cast into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Where is your “Warthful fire” there? This “fire” is SPIRITUALLY discerned i am not going to play the literal figurative symbolic game. God will manifest “Fire” however He chooses. I “KNOW” the “fire” of Matt 3:11 is the manifesting annointing Power of the Holy Spirit of which the tongues of flame above the first 120 in the upper room should cause you to “see” but that you don’t is a supernatural manifestation of the blinding “power” of the evil one. That is why Satan/Lucifer is cast down, because ‘it’ (angels are neither male nor female) uses or desires to use the “fire” for its own glory. It is true about the unbelieving apostate church of end times. Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof. Do you really think the american mainstream church of which you are the “conservative” aka faithless even hostile in matters of miraculous manifestations of the Holy Spirit variety is the narrow gate that few find? 911 was an inside job. “Wake up O sleeper and Christ will give you light.” Calling ALL of it from the devil IS just like the Pharisee’s of old. It is documented fact that through faith in Jesus people are healed to this day. He would tell them “Your faith (God has given everyone a measure of faith)has healed you go in peace or go and sin no more.” He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Once again I say “amen” to the Lord’s; “you do not know what spirit you are of” and its “funny” the wolves are wolves and they don’t even know it. And to say you are unteachable is an understatement. But the god of this world blinds hearts and minds lest they see the “light” (or if you had the mind of Christ you would comprehend “fire”) of the gospel and live. I could go on and on. God has blessed my seeking asking knocking with finding marvelous things that must not be uttered and i “feel” i may have already made the mistake of tossing a few pearls… and i fear they will just get trampled betraying the fact that i have not arrived either. Each must seek what the Lord calls “The Kingdom of God within” between you and Him. i truly love you my fellow humans beings made in the image of God. Right now you are seeing with carnal eyes instead of the eyes of your heart and i know that with God all things are possible I am convinced that if you come to God the Father in the name of the Holy One of Israel, Jesus the Christ and TRULY surrender all that you are or “think” you are and ask Him to show you what it is to “Abide in Christ” and to “wait on the Lord” which in turn sets you on “fire” for God and for His word as you begin to “experience” Joy unspeakable, and a peace that surpasses all understanding. Your heart soars with gratitude to God and with a love exemplified in 1John 3:16. How can one fan the “fire” that is in you IF you are indwelled with the Holy Spirit if you think the “fire” that Paul is reminding Timothy to fan and keep stoked is some false wrathful judgement fire that God uses to smoke “unbelievers.?” Ya’ll so busy condemning “charismatics” and their ” false unholy spirit” or the speck in their eye you don’t see the board in your own.

  • john kangas,

    You are talkling nonsense. I don’t have time to waste. You are completely unable to differentiate between a literal fire and a metaphor.

    Jesus also said “I am te Door.” Is He a lieral door? He said “I am the Bread of life.” Is He a literal bread? He said that He would have gathered Jerusalem under his wings like a hen gathers her chicks. Was He a literal hen?

    When I used the word “universalism” I did not refer to the offer of salvaiton to everyone and you now that, and yet you chose to change the subject. If “the Kingdom of God is within you” then the Pharisees who asked Him about the Kingdom were also baptized with the Holy Spirit and also had the fire of God within them. That’s ludicrous, to say the least.

  • Because you do not have eyes to see or ears to hear and i have apparently wasted my time. Shalom.

  • john kangas,

    I suggest that it is you who don’t have the eyes to see and the ears tro hear. Climb down from your haughty little horse, humble yourself and admnit that you are the one who needs ears to hear.

    I suspect that you have done the Alpha Course. Am I correct?

  • Thomas, i choose not to return evil with evil concerning your mean little post to me. But duly noted on the haughtiness and i will also endeavor to keep my spiritual ears and eyes open. i have no idea what Alpha Course is. i love the Lord and i love you as well so i will attempt one more time. (Titus 3:10) If you continue to believe and preach that the “fire” of Matt. 3:11 and Luke 12:49 is just some wrathful judgement fire that smokes unbelievers on that Day.(2Thess. 2:8 tells us He will consume the Wicked with the Spirit of His mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming. Where is your wrathful judgement fire?) When Jesus comes in “flaming fire” with His mighty angels to take vengeance on them that do not know God if you know not the Holy Fire Jesus wishes to kindle which is the Spiritually discerned manifestation of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit then that is it will be a destroying fire be to you. To me it will be the glorious brightness of His coming/appearing that has already been kindled in my heart, mind, and soul just like He wished and i pray God opens the eyes of your heart and takes out that stony heart so you grant Jesus’ wish and allow Him to kindle the “fire” in you as well. He tells us He must first be baptized/crucified so that His “saving” not “destroying” work of salvation on the cross is accomplished (Luke12:50) To believe/preach this ‘fire’ is just a destroying fire of Judgement and not the Holy glorious fire of God that illuminates the soul of the True disciple A Holy Spiritual fire that cause His disciples to burn with zeal and loving compassion for God and others, for his Word, for the lost, to surrender to this Holy fire our Lord has come to send and He tells us He was wishing was kindled. If you believe the “fire” our Lord was refering to is a destroying fire then you believe in a false Christ. (Luke 12:49,50) Your hatred toward me, unbelief, and demonic take on this “Fire” is the division (Luke 12:51) Jesus is taking about concerning this “fire.” I did a little research and it was precisely this false demonic doctrine people believed and preached that made it o.k. for them to BURN PEOPLE ALIVE in the name of God. Not only is your doctrine on this “fire” false NONSENSE it is dangerously demonic. I will try with Jesus one more time to correct you concerning your heart and belief about this “fire” our Savior (not Destroyer) is wishing to kindle is the glorious manifesting power,light, zeal,supernatural help to be purified from sin (refiners fire is a great analogy but you seem to think that too is from the devil)its the Divine spark evidenced and Spiritually discerned, that loving Glory Light glint in the eye of the True disciple of the divine Presence… when His disciples asked if fire should be called down on an unbelieving town like Elias did He REBUKED THEM!!! and said, “you do not know what spirit you are of.” now pay real close attention Thomas to verse 50; FOR THE SON OF MAN IS NOT COME TO DESTROY MEN’S LIVES BUT TO SAVE THEM. If you still believe that the “fire” of Matt.3:11 and Luke 12:49 is just a destroying fire of wrath and judgement i pray someday you will know the True Jesus and i knock the dust off my cyber-sandals take my shalom and get this site behind me and keep stepping.

  • i was not going to bother ever clicking on this site ever again because i do not believe you have ears that hear or eyes that see at present but yesterday at church the Pastor asked us to turn to Psalm 139 but i mistakenly turned to Psalm 39 and read the first 3 verses before i realized i was mistaken. i was meditating about this blindness to the truth on God’s Holy Fire and your apparent interest in Christianity…Psalm 39:3 says “My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue.” I truly hope God uses this to free you from your cold Christianity into the Holy Fire-light of Truth. :)

  • (…the “tongue” in Psalm 39:3 has nothing to do with glossalalia i just felt moved by the Spirit to “speak up” once more concerning the “fire” of Matt.3:11 and Luke 12:49 etc. or in this case “post up.”:)

  • john kangas

    I have tried my level best to make you understand that there is a literal fire (Luke 9:55) and a metaphor for a fire. I have also tried to explain to you that fire is often a symbol (metphor) of vengeance in the Bible ( Isa 5:24; Isa 61:2; Isa 66:24). Yet you persist in judging me. You say you love me? Thatr’s a lie because if you had you would not have judged me and said things like ” i pray God opens the eyes of your heart and takes out that stony heart so you grant Jesus’ wish and allow Him to kindle the “fire” in you as well.” With that you emphatically told me that I am not saved. Is that what the fire in you likes to do to other people?

    Don’t bother to write a comment here again.

  • john kangas,

    You must learn to read the Bible in context.

    David mused about (meditated on) the brevity of life and his suffering at the hands of his enemies, and therefore resolved not to sin by his words (his tongue). And this was precisely the reason why he kept silent in the presence of his enemies (unlike you who love to spurt words of judgement upon me.) When he no longer could remain silent because a hot desire in his heart urged him to speak, he said these words:

    Psa 39:4 LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.
    Psa 39:5 Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.
    Psa 39:6 Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.
    Psa 39:7 And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.
    Psa 39:8 Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish.
    Psa 39:9 I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.
    Psa 39:10 Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand.

    David expressed the same warmth in his bones when he kept silent about his sin in Psalm 32.

    When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. (Psa 32:3-5).

    None of the above speak of the fire of the Holy Spirit. How could it when He had not been poured out then. David is merely expressing his feelings.

    You cannot conclude that when you see words like “hot,” “warm,” “burned” etc. in the Bible that it refers to the fire of trhe Holy Spirit. That’s just plain childishness.

  • john kangas,

    Thanks for letting me know that “the tongue” in Psalm 39:3 has nothing to do with glossalalia. I couldn’t have known if you had not informed me. Do you speak in tongues? You should you know because it is the evidence that you have been filled with the fire of the Holy Ghost, is it not?

  • John Andrews UK/Ireland

    Thomas Lessing (Watch and Pray / Waak en Bid) wrote:

    john kangas,
    Thanks for letting me know that “the tongue” in Psalm 39:3 has nothing to do with glossalalia. I couldn’t have known if you had not informed me. Do you speak in tongues? You should you know because it is the evidence that you have been filled with the fire of the Holy Ghost, is it not?

    Thomas – walk away. Dust off your feet.


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Terms and Conditions for Submission of Comments

Playing the Pharisee Card

Terms and Conditions:terms and conditions

Because this world is becoming more evil by the minute and Discerning the World is coming under attack more often from people with some very nasty dispositions, we now have ‘Terms and Conditions for Submission of Comments‘ which you need to agree too before you can comment – this is to protect us and you when you comment on this website.  If you are not here to harm Discerning the World and it’s authors, please by all means comment, however if you are here to cause harm in any way, please don’t comment.

The following conditions does not mean that the authors of Discerning The World permit only opinions that are in agreement with us. This also does not mean that we fear dissenting opinions or ideas that are contrary to the beliefs that we hold (and/or that of the revealed Scriptures of the Holy Bible).

The following describes the Terms and Conditions applicable to your use of the “Comments” submission service at the Discerning the World website.


  1. Discerning the World owns and operates the site (the “Site”). Your use of the features on the Site allowing for submission of a “Comment” is subject to the following terms and conditions (the “Terms”). Discerning the World may modify these Terms at any time without notice to you by posting revised Terms on the Site. Your submission of a “Comment” to the Site following the modification of these Terms shall constitute your binding acceptance of and agreement to be bound by those modified Terms.
  2. By submitting a “Comment” you are accepting these Terms through your clicking of the “POST COMMENT” button.
  3. Discerning the World has the right, but not the obligation, to take any of the following actions, in Discerning the World’s sole unfettered discretion, at any time, and for any reason or no reason, without providing any prior notice:
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