On Atheists and Foxholes

‘The Devil was sick, the Devil a monk would be.’ as quoted in C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves


A Pharisee?

“We use the word Pharisee in a negative manner. It conveys something distasteful to us. No one loves a Pharisee, in our understanding of the word. We find ourselves much more at home with the prodigal [son], whatever crimes he may have committed against his father, than we do with the elder brother. But we have given what is surely a very wrong connotation to the word. In the Palestine of Christ’s day it not only meant the self-righteous hypocrite, the man who regarded himself as immeasurably holier than others and who paraded his religiosity before the world, being proud of nothing so much as of his superior standing before God. The Pharisee was very often an upright man, a man of substance, a pillar in his community, a man of integrity in his business relationships, a man who took his religious faith with great seriousness and put it into practice in every area of life. There was something very wrong indeed with the Pharisee, but it was not that he lacked honesty, or that he was immoral, or that he was insincere. And it was precisely to point up and to illustrate in as graphic a manner as possible what the real trouble was in the life of these Pharisees and scribes that the Lord Jesus added these verses to the parable of the prodigal son about the elder brother.” -John R. DeWitt, Amazing Love

BTW NOTE: More often that not, what makes a person a Pharisee is not what’s going on on the outside, it’s what’s going on on the inside. As Jesus said they are ‘whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones.’ Good outward behavior, but the motives behind the behavior are all off.


“If so many people are so blind to their faults, there’s a good possibility that I’m blind to mine too. That makes me examine myself to see whether I really am in the faith and living up to it.4 Such self-examination shouldn’t discourage but encourage us. The very fact that I’m concerned I may be a weed, that I may be wearing a Christian mask, is a sign of spiritual life.” -David Murray, The Happy Christian

Jesus’ Ministry Among Hypocrites

“And remember, Jesus saw hypocrisy far more clearly and deeply than we can. His X-ray eyes penetrated every pharisaical mask and disguise to detect every gross contradiction between lips and life. And even more painful for Him, He saw the double standards and inconsistencies in even the best of His disciples. His painful experience of hypocrisy was a large part of His sin-atoning sufferings. But they also gave Him an ongoing sympathy and empathy with us. However pained we are by phony faith, we can take our pain to someone who felt it even more deeply.” -David Murray, The Happy Christian