Were They All Self-Righteous Pharisees?

In response to the report “Mark Driscoll to Speak at Liberty University,” Friday News, April 13, I received a reply from a young man who identified himself as “an alumnus of Liberty University and a member of Mars Hill Church” (pastored by Driscoll). He said that he is not concerned about any of the things I mentioned (e.g., champagne dance parties, beer brewing lessons, hosting secular rock concerts), and he concluded with the following comment:

“I only wish more preachers would take a stand against the many fundamentalist Pharisees who cloak their self-righteousness behind man-made rules.”

I wrote to ask “exactly which Bible-believing fundamentalist is a self-righteous Pharisee,” but he did not reply.

The term “Pharisee” is thrown around lightly today, but to charge someone with being a Pharisee is a very serious accusation. It is to charge them with being a self-righteous hypocrite who denies salvation through grace, who hates sinners, who exalts tradition to the same authority as God’s Word, and who is a Christ-rejector.

If believing that Christian rock and Mark Driscoll’s “champagne dance party cultural liberalism” is evidence of self-righteousness, then most Bible-believing Christians in past centuries were hardcore Pharisees.

The Puritans were certainly Pharisees by this standard, as were the old Baptists and the old Methodists and the old Presbyterians and the old Nazarenes and the old Evangelicals, and the movers and shakers of the Great Revivals in England and America, and those who were at the forefront of the modern missionary movement, and old hymn writers.

In fact, if rejecting champagne dance party Christianity is self-righteousness, then most Bible-believing Christians just 40 years ago were hardcore Pharisees.

When Christian rock came on the scene in the early 1970s, the majority of Bible-believing churches opposed it, even ones that were not “fundamentalist.” I know, because I was there observing the times. I had only recently been saved out of a hardcore rock & roll lifestyle, and I was confronted with the seductive promise of CRock that I could have my formerly beloved rock & roll and Christ, too. But like most of God’s people then, I rejected that position as unscriptural.

Were we all self-righteous Pharisees? Did we have to wait until champagne rock & roll dance parties were the norm before we discovered genuine Christianity? Has Mark Driscoll and his crowd finally found true Christian grace and holiness in these apostate end times after all of the centuries of alleged Phariseeism and supposed joyless legalism?


The charge that you are a self-righteous Pharisee if you reject Christian rock is a vicious slander. It is a lie, and those who are making this accusation will give account to God.

I can speak for thousands of believers that I know personally when I say that I reject both “secular” rock and Christian rock for one reason only, and that is because of the Spirit-led application of Scriptures such as the following:

Psalm 1:1-3; Proverbs 4:14-15, 23-27; Jeremiah 23:11; Ezekiel 22:26; 44:23; Romans 12:1-2, 9; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Galatians 6:7-8, 14; Ephesians 5:11; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; Titus 2:11-14; James 1:27; 4:4; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 2:11; 4:1-4; and 1 John 2:15-17, to mention a few.

These are the Scriptures that the Spirit of God used 40 years ago to lead me to reject rock & roll as the domain of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and to reject Christian rock as an illegitimate merging of Christ with the world.

I did not do this as a legalistic Pharisee; I did it as a Christ-loving, grace-saved, grace-exalting believer whose passion is to please the Lord.

I magnify Jesus Christ as the only Lord and Saviour and His cross-work as the only basis of justification and sanctification.

My salvation is 100% of Christ, and I know that I have zero righteous apart from Him.

I am nothing but a sinner saved by grace and I cannot and do not look down on any person anywhere, and when I momentarily forget myself, and a bit of “self” begins to creep into my righteousness, the Spirit of God is quick to remind me of who I am!

I exalt the Bible as the infallibly-inspired Word of God and as the SOLE authority for faith and practice. I would rather cut off my right hand than add my frail human thinking or traditions as an authority equal to Scripture. I have pleaded with God for 40 years to keep me from such a great sin, and I have continually re-examined my doctrinal beliefs to conform them to the light of Scripture.

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12).


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