By Glenn Rogers
The idea in the New Testament and even now when we think of the Pharisees is “legalist”. Indeed that is correct as to their actions and ministry.
Beneath is something more deadly. They wanted a Messiah who was coming but never really came! When Jesus the Messiah showed up, they would not receive Him.
Underneath that was a greater subtlety: The Pharisees did not welcome or seek Outside Voices. This is seen not only in their rejection of Christ and His redemptive work but also in their rejection of John the Baptist and the attempts to shut out the Apostles.
DO NOT FALL PREY TO THIS AS A LEADER! Modern “apostolic” (small “a”) voices from the outside are still necessary. I speak here of people beyond your local church from the wider Kingdom of God. Why would a pastor not want any outside voices to speak into his life and that of his church? Reasons I have seen and heard confessed are insecurity, pride in methodology or theology, laziness, racial bias, social bias, finances, distrust of others, and more. This is not a good list for sure, nor one that sounds like humility. The danger here is that a pastoral staff, lay leaders, and the church as a whole can become very “ingrown”. That was a big, yet hidden problem with the Pharisees of old. It did not work out well for them.
Yes, we have the whole counsel of God, and the “we” is important as well. Learn to seek and hear the godly outside voices, the “apostles” that the Lord might enlighten us on our way. Let God use the wisdom of others to expand us to be all He called us to be.