Separating the Wheat From the Chaff

Labeling people with generalist classifications often leads to pigeonholing them wrongly. For instance, Jesus was thought to be closely aligned with the Pharisees early in His ministry. He held Pharisaical positions such as the resurrection from the dead and acceptance of the Prophets and Writings along with the Pentateuch. The other major 2nd Temple Jewish Sect, the Sadducees, believed only in earthly life and its consequences without any kind of afterlife.

Jesus, however, had to differentiate Himself from the Pharisees as a group since they were not correct in all of the beliefs or practices. When the disciples informed Him that the Pharisees were offended in a particular point of His teaching about defilement, He called them blind guides and that the twelve should have no dealings with them (Mt. 15. 1-13). Later, in Mt. 23 Jesus condemned their hypocrisy. Yet, after the ascension, when Jesus chose someone to be an instrument to proclaim His name to the Gentiles, kings, and the people of Israel (Acts 9. 15), He chose Saul (Paul) the Pharisee and transformed him. Later, Paul did not see any contradiction in being a Pharisee and a Christian (Acts 23.6). Paul took the good out of the bad and still clung to the basic doctrinal positions of resurrection and belief of all of the scriptures.

May we today not lump together disparate people and label folks because they espouse certain things that generally heretical groups believe when those positions are correct. The chaff will retain some wheat just as the wheat will retain some chaff.

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