The Barna Group surveyed thousands of professing Christians to try to answer the question:  “Are Christians more like Jesus or more like the Pharisees?” (Barna Group. April 30th).  A series of twenty questions were asked in order to make the assessment.  The questions were to see how the actions and attitudes of Christians towards others reflect Jesus or the Pharisees.

‘One of the common critiques leveled at present-day Christianity is that it’s a religion full of hypocritical people” is the opening line of their published study.

Most people will not be surprised to note that whereas only 14% of Christians reflect the attitudes and actions of Jesus Christ, 51% reflect those of the Pharisees.  It would appear that not much has changed since Jesus’ day.

Self-righteousness persists, especially in attitudes toward the sins of others.  Looking down on others for their sins naturally makes people feel better about their own shortcomings.

Hopefully, the survey will give believers something to think about, but it’s doubtful people will move away from their comfort spot.  After all, these attitudes existed amongst the Pharisees two thousand years ago.  Only a small minority tried to be different and truly follow Christ.


  1. The Pharisees of Christ day were more respected by the common people more so than the Temple centered [richmans church]…. Sadducees. The Pharsees being RICH WITH KNOWLDGE of God, soon became judgmental toward the people. Question …Have we all not been on the receiving end of this stick?… Trusting in riches,money, realistate,social status, titles, associates in high places while being a bragert about this as a sign from God that one is bleessed by the same is hypocrisy. The Pharisees of Christ day have been displaced by the Laodecians who are rich, weathy and have no need of the nothngs. Reference.. Mark 10/24-25 & Rev.3/17

  2. I have seen Pharisaic attitudes within the two house-churches I’ve attended, and amongst a church I attended since 1970 until 1995. They all followed and taught that the Law of God should be followed, all Ten Commandments, and that was fine. A believer in Jesus Christ and God should follow the laws of God to the best of one’s ability. But what I witnessed within these groups was a huge proclivity to look over one’s shoulder and judge how your neighbour was keeping God’s laws, instead of focusing on self in this area. They also would look at other Christian groups and denominations and pass judgment on them for not keeping this law or that, which seemed to me a bit Pharisaic too. I came to make up a definition of “legalist” all on my own, based on my observations. A “legalist” is often defined as one who keeps the Ten Commandments, all ten of them. But I define a legalist as one who is not only keeping God’s laws, but looking over his or her shoulders to see who isn’t, and judging how others are doing in that regards. To me, that is being a legalist, and it needs to stop, at all levels. People outside churches look and pick up on those attitudes right away, and it drives them away. Instead, what they need to see, and what in many cases they’re looking for is a group of people who are loving, kind, yes, keeping God’s laws to the best of their ability, but also reaching out to the lost, in a loving, non-judgmental manner. Why is the Church enemic? Because it’s way to Pharisaic, and not loving and nonjudgmental enough. Jesus was always going head-to-head with the Pharisees over this legalistic behavior of them, whereas he throughout his ministry reached out to the lost sheep, the hurting and the maimed.

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