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The Church Ethic
The Church Ethic: Introduction
Church Ethic Scripture References
Being Like the Pharisees
Reason and Learning through Questions
We in the modern church often overlook a profound event that
occurred during Jesus' life on earth 2000 years ago. This
event was the tragic rejection of the Messiah by many of God's
I say "many of God's people" so as not to unfairly or inaccurately
imply that all of the Jews or all of Israel rejected the Messiah.
We must not forget that our faith is a Jewish faith, our Messiah,
a Jewish Messiah, and that for several decades after Jesus'
resurrection the church was proportionately more Jewish than
Gentile. Indeed, if it weren't for the acceptance of Jesus
as the Messiah by so many faithful Jews in the decades after
Jesus' resurrection the church would not be what it is today.
Indeed, Jewish believers are still a vital part of the Body
of Christ today. Now that I have made this disclaimer I will
continue with the introduction to this section.
The reason that it is important for the Church to understand
the nature of this rejection of the Messiah by so many Israelites
so we can avoid being among those who will unfortunately repeat
this tragedy. In the New Testament there are numerous warnings
against false prophets and false teachers who will come to
deceive the church. Some of them will be of the church while
others will be outsiders attempting to lead us astray. In
either case we are warned time and time again to guard against
the heretical doctrine that they will introduce. In addition
it is prophesied again and again in the New Testament that
before Jesus' returns many believers will fall prey to the
teachings of these false prophets and will fall away or depart
from the faith. So there is little doubt that we in the church
need to be watchful and diligently guard the sound doctrine
taught by Jesus and the New Testament writers.
But what does all of this have to do with Israel's rejection
of Jesus? To answer this question we must first answer another
question, why or how did so many of God's people in Israel
miss that Jesus was their Messiah? In retrospect we can see
that Jesus clearly fulfills the Old Testament depiction of
the Jewish Messiah to a tee. How is it that so many of those
alive at the time could not see what was right in front of
Well, we don't need to look to far to answer these questions.
The Gospels themselves provide them. There are many occasions
in the Gospels in which we see Jesus in a dispute with the
religious leaders of his time. It was these leaders who were
responsible for educating the Jewish community with regard
to the faith and scripture handed down from ancient times.
Yet we see that in these disputes Jesus charges them with
two errors over and over to which he attributes their misunderstanding
and rejection of him as the Messiah.
What are these two reasons? The first is scriptural ignorance.
The second is the traditions of men, which had replaced knowledge
of the scriptures as guides for God's people.
Included in this section, entitled "the Church Ethic," will
be a thorough listing of all the relevant scripture verses,
(over 60 of them) which are pertinent to these issues. (To
view this list in its entirety, please visit the article entitled
"Church Ethic Scripture References.")
There are too many passages, which bear witness to our position
on this topic to mention here without breaking up the presentation
of this argument. For now it should suffice to mention just
a few prominent examples in support of our claims.
Matthew 22:23 That same day the Sadducees, who say
there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 24
"Teacher," they said, "Moses told us that if a man dies without
having children, his brother must marry the widow and have
children for him. 25 Now there were seven brothers among us.
The first one married and died, and since he had no children,
he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened
to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh.
27 Finally, the woman died. 28 Now then, at the resurrection,
whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were
married to her?" 29 Jesus replied, "You are in error because
you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30
At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given
in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 But
about the resurrection of the dead--have you not read what
God said to you, 32 'I am the God of Abraham, the God
of Isaac, and the God of Jacob' (Exodus 3:6)? He is not the
God of the dead but of the living." 33 When the crowds heard
this, they were astonished at his teaching.
Matthew 15:6 Thus you nullify the word of God for
the sake of your tradition.
Matthew 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching
for doctrines the commandments of men.
It should be easy to confirm from the above passages that
our assertions are not unfounded. Clearly, scriptural ignorance
(or biblical illiteracy) and the traditions of the Jewish
religious leaders played no small role in the popular misunderstandings
so many of God's people had concerning their Messiah. No doubt
the religious leaders passed on this ignorance to the people
and replaced the truth of God's Word with their own artificial
traditions, which according to Jesus nullified the Word of
God and consequently aided in so many of God's people of that
time not attaining the salvation that is in Christ Jesus.
In fact, in Matthew 16, Jesus specifically and emphatically
warns his disciples against allowing these devastating factors
to creep in among them.
Matthew 16:11 How is it you don't understand that I
was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard
against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Then they
understood that he was not telling them to guard against the
yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees
In 1 Timothy 4 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (and elsewhere), we
see that Paul prophesies clearly that the church will not
be immune to this pattern by stating that there will be a
great falling away of believers who depart from the faith
before Jesus' comes back.
1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly,
that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith,
giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by
the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering
together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or
be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter
as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.3 Let no
man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come,
except there come a falling away first, and that man
of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
When we consider these verses alongside one another and alongside
the many commands to uphold and preserve sound doctrine we
arrive at the unavoidable conclusion that before Christ comes
back God's people will again fall victim to bad teaching,
artificial traditions, and scriptural ignorance. These factors
will result in some who profess to be Christians not attaining
In light of these verses and what we know about why so many
of God's people missed Jesus' first coming we ought to be
greatly concerned with the state of the church today. This
is especially true since the consequences of being part of
such a falling away are serious indeed according to Matthew
7 as well as Revelation 13 and 14.
Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord,
Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that
doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many
will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied
in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in
thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will
I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye
that work iniquity.
Revelation 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming
up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and
he spake as a dragon. 12 And he exerciseth all the power of
the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them
which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly
wound was healed. 13 And he doeth great wonders, so that
he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight
of men, 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth
by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in
the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth,
that they should make an image to the beast, which had
the wound by a sword, and did live. 15 And he had power to
give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the
beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not
worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16 And
he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free
and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their
foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save
he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number
of his name.
Revelation 14:9 And the third angel followed them,
saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast
and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in
his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the
wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the
cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire
and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the
presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment
ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day
nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever
receiveth the mark of his name.
These verses depict the sobering reality that many persons
who consider themselves to be saved and who think of Jesus
as their Lord will, in the end, not attain salvation. But
how is this the case? As the scripture has shown it will no
doubt be in no small measure due to the same biblical illiteracy
and the traditions of men, which were the downfall of so many
of God's people at Jesus' first coming. We in the modern church
ought to be seriously alarmed and distressed to find these
same two factors rampant among our fellow churchgoers and
It is our contention that the traditions of men and ignorance
of the Word of God are now, at a time when Christ's return
is closer than ever raging unabated among the church community.
The articles in this section are dedicated to demonstrating
this trend, identifying issues where it is going on, and seeking
to correct the bad teaching and practice that continue largely
unchallenged among God's people and leaders today.
We have coined the term "the Church Ethic" in order to collectively
refer to this phenomenon wherein the artificial traditions
of men nullify God's word and where bad leadership has spawned
biblical ignorance in the Body of Christ. There is much at
stake here, we need to wake up, lest like so many Jews of
Jesus' time, we find ourselves or our loved ones have, in
the end, failed to attain to salvation in Christ Jesus.
To those who doubt our claims we leave this introduction to
with another quote from Paul.
2 Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and
the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead
at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be
instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort
with all long suffering and doctrine. 3 For the time
will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after
their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having
itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears
from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
(This section is in no way complete and will be updated in
the future as we attempt to undo the ongoing deception, unsound
doctrine, and traditions of men that have arisen in the Body
of Christ into the modern era.)