What WAS the Teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees?
What was the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees? The context of the above stretches of scripture makes it appear that the doctrine at issue was the doctrine of the nature of the Messiah. The Pharisees and Sadducees had certain beliefs about the Messiah that implied an agenda different from that of Jesus, the actual Messiah. Those beliefs were not without support from the Old Testament, but Jesus cited a different set of scriptures and drew different conclusions from them. Thus, the real issue was that there was a clash of doctrines based on two different interpretations of Scripture. The Disciples were so infected by the doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees that they were rendered incapable of believing that Jesus would feed them as miraculously as he had fed the 5000 and 4000. The disciples were mislead by the verbal demands of the Pharisees for a "sign from heaven" to conclude that those feedings were not good enough to prove that Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus' rebuke to them consisted of him making them to recall the details of the miracles to force them to think about them and their implications. Jesus' rebuke of Peter was when Peter contradicted Jesus' teaching of what would happen to the Messiah in favor with what the Pharisees and Sadducees had taught him about the Messiah.
So there is a conflict between teachings. Between doctrines. Both were founded on scripture, but differed on interpretation and details. How do we decide between the two?
Current methodology and practice would have us believe that Jesus' teaching is the correct one based solely on Jesus' authority. This would accord with the belief that the correctness of doctrine is founded on the consensus of experts determining the conformity of the doctrine in question with prior expert determinations of good and bad doctrine. However, that was the same claim the Pharisees and Sadducees made as well, for were they not the religious leaders and authorities who had been leading Israel and were protecting the people from the Romans long before Jesus was born? They had the authority, not Jesus! Even Jesus admitted that he had not been set as a judge and divider over them, so there!
In contrast, Jesus promulgated the idea that doctrine be judged by the fruit that it produces, and pointed to the fact that his miracles proved his doctrine was correct. When Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father, Jesus asked Philip to believe his experiences with himself. But failing that, he asked Philip to believe based on the works Jesus did.
The Doctrine about Determining Correct Doctrine
Given the intense interest and concern about "correct" doctrine displayed by authorities past and present who appoint themselves the protectors of the True Faith to the point of historically persecuting the advocates of "incorrect" doctrine, it would be surprising if God had not given us any doctrine about how to determine correct doctrine! The clear teaching of Jesus and the New Testament is that doctrine be judged both by its scriptural foundations and the kind of fruit it produces. Neither he nor the disciples gave any credence to the idea that doctrine be validated by the evaluation of experts with regard to its conformance with doctrines previously vetted and approved by those same experts.
The Connection Between Doctrine and Miracles
From the very beginning of Jesus' ministry, it was realized that Jesus' ability to perform miracles and his doctrine were intimately tied together. The following is from Mark 1:21-27:
21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. 22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.
23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. 25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. 26 And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. 27 And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.
Jesus was so aware of the fact that his miracles validated that his teachings that when the attempt was made to tie his ability to cast out demons to authority given him by Satan, he countered by noting that such an accusation was an unforgiveable sin against the Holy Spirit. That so many people worry about committing the Unforgiveable Sin without being able to name it specifically that this inability cannot possibly be coincidental or accidental. One wonders if this confusion is due to teaching that obscures the fact that it is a sin that is almost exclusively committed by those who believe they have the ability, power, authority, and responsibility to determine the true origin of miracles as a basis for determining the correctness of that miracle worker's doctrine. The only reason this is not believed today is because those people said it doesn't teach that. Those who teach doctrine to people have the power to mis-teach the doctrine that enables those people to determine if what the teachers are teaching is true or not.
Note the reaction of the "authorities" in this passage from John 9:
26 Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? 27 He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples? 28 Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples. 29 We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. 30 The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. 31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. 32 Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. 33 If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. 34 They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.
The authorities here had no problem recognizing that the attempt by the blind man in verses 30 to 33 to deduce a spiritual truth by connecting scripture and miracle was an attempt to teach a doctrine. The word "teach" in this passage is the word given to those in the act of teaching "doctrine". That they were the authorities is established by the act of casting him out of the Temple.
It should be noted that Jesus did not leave such a one hanging in the unknown for long:
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? 36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? 37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. 38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
Based on his learned response to the Pharisees, I would say that the blind man was very much a Jew. Here, Jesus was asking him, a good Jew raised to believe that there is only One God, to believe that God had a Son, and that a specific human being was that Son, and that that specific being was talking to him at that moment. This good Jew had the courage of his deductions to not only affirm that belief, but to follow through by giving to that specific human being the worship due only to God, thus becoming the first man since Jesus' infancy to worship Him as He truly was and deserved.
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