by Ed Rowell

This content is part of a series.

Good Guys, Bad Guys or Us Guys? (1 of 7)
Getting to know the Pharisees
Series: Adventures in Missing the Point
Ed Rowell
John 3:1-21
February 8, 2004

Anybody here grow up in a legalistic, fundamentalist type of church? The emphasis in those kinds of churches was on keeping the rules, lots and lots of rules. The preaching was always about those rules and who in the church was breaking the rules. Only they weren't just the rules in the Bible. The thing that kept me off balance was the rules that no one had told me about. The unwritten rules.

As I grew older, I came to see that those rules usually influenced just the public behavior of people, seldom their private behavior. (Old joke, why always take two Baptists fishing with you? If you just take one, he'll drink all your beer, but if you take two, they'll both say they're teetotalers.)

Those rules also influenced the biblical interpretations and theology in those kind of churches. For example, I grew up believing that when Jesus turned the water into wine it was really Welch's Grape Juice, and that when King David grew so excited about bringing home the ark of the covenant that he danced before the Lord in his boxer shorts, that he was really not dancing. See, if you understand the Greek, it says he was really just nodding his head and tapping his toes--fully dressed.

(I'll bet you didn't know that in spite of being born to a Jewish mother and growing up in Palestine, Jesus was a Caucasian, blond haired and blue eyed. He wore a military haircut and no facial hair. He went with his cousin John to the Baptist church every Sunday morning, Sunday nights, and to Prayer meeting on Wednesdays. He spoke in 16th century English and, if the pictures of him in our Sunday school curriculum were accurate, he always had an expression on his face like he had an upset stomach or someone in the band had stinky feet.)

I was in 7th grade and our little church had a youth lock-in. This was a little church, maybe a d ...

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