One of the biggest problems with the Pharisees is that they got in the way of other people growing with God. In Matthew 23.13, talking about the Pharisees Jesus says “woe to you… Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of Heaven against men” (KJV). In the New Living, it says “You shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces… you won’t go in yourself and you don’t let others enter”.
One of the signs of a Pastor Pharisee is that they warn their people away from good ministries. I once had a couple tell me it took them a long time to find our church, because they tried calling a large ministry that they really liked to see if there were any local churches that had a similar style and message and doctrine local to them. That ministry told them categorically that there were no churches like that in our area!
I know they knew about me, I knew that very well, so I called up the ministry and asked why they would do that – they said it was their policy not to recommend our church to people in case someone went there and something bad happened to them. That has to be one of the most ridiculous excuses I have ever heard in my entire life! What a shame that couple had a few months trying to find a church until another pastor helped them and pointed them in our direction!
If you are a para-church ministry and you are not helping people get into good local churches, you are utterly failing at your mission. You are keeping people out of the kingdom and out of a life of heaven on earth! In our churches, people are saved, baptised in the Holy Spirit, healed of all sorts of conditions, discover their destinies and purpose and walk in their dreams. By refusing to even give people the option of going once or twice and making their own mind up if the church is helpful to them, the staff of this ministry have become Pharisees. They have cut people off from Heaven!
I first heard that I was the righteousness of God in a meeting in Birmingham, UK, in 1997. The preacher that told me I was righteous was Kenneth Copeland, but I had heard several messages in my denominational church against Kenneth Copeland, and people warned me not to go hear him! They were, whether they knew it or not, warning me away from finding out a revelation that when you get it, your life becomes so much more Heavenly! That’s a Pharisee.
Pharisees are dominated by envy. They will not recommend people listen to other ministries that could help them because of envy. They would tell people that Jesus was dodgy, and tell people all the “sins” Jesus did. They lock people out of Heaven by refusing to have the humility and kindness to promote other ministries that can help people! I have actually sat with people in Tree of Life and helped them find other churches that fit them better, I have send so many people to other events, to conferences, to Bible Colleges, helped people find books and DVDs and links that increase their wisdom and life. I have paid for my pastors to go to many other conferences to get Heaven into them over and over again!
Obviously, I am careful not to send people to places that have no track record of bearing fruit, but otherwise, I have no ego in this game – I just want to help people get Heaven. A few years ago, a couple approached me and said “we want to go to such and such a conference, but our last church would not let us” (I have no idea how they could stop them to be honest), and I said “go, and enjoy it, because I love the idea that you are fully equipped in a conference and I don’t have to come up with tens of thousands of pounds, work 14-16 hour days for a week, and preach – someone else can do all of that, and you become more useful for the local church” – that’s a win-win for me! We need to start having a kingdom vision and not being petty Pharisees and stopping people living their dreams.