Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

Defeating Pharisaism: Recovering Jesus' Disciple-Making Method

Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

Defeating Pharisaism: Recovering Jesus' Disciple-Making Method

Article excerpt

DEFEATING PHARISAISM: RECOVERING JESUS' DISCIPLE-MAKING METHOD, Gary Tyra. Colorado Springs, CO: Authentic Publishing, 2009, Pp. 259, Pb, Reviewed by Rod Bassett (Roberts Wesleyan College/Rochester, NY).

The basic premise of this book is that Jesus Christ often used the Pharisees as an anti-example for what it really meant to be his follower and experience new life in him. The book is essentially divided into three sections. The first section is devoted to helping the reader understand the development of Pharisaism and the popularity of that movement during the time of Christ. Tyra then goes on to argue that a Christian form of Pharisaism is "alive and well" in some evangelical churches. He discusses some possible root causes of Christian Pharisaism and some of the implications of this "infection."

The second part of the book focuses upon the Sermon on the Mount and the role the Pharisees played in Jesus' approach to making disciples. Setting the context, Tyra makes a case for the idea that throughout the book of Matthew a generally harsh view of Pharisaism is presented. This point of view is then applied to the Sermon on the Mount and a case is made for the use of irony by Christ to present the Pharisees as a negative role model for life in the Kingdom. According to Tyra, Christ repeatedly clarifies life in the Kingdom by contrasting it with Pharisaism.

The final portion of the book uses the sermon on the Mount as a model for effective disciplemaking. Tyra suggests that the Sermon on the Mount is the essential curriculum for discipleship making and that John Wesley's system of interlocking groups is the perfect delivery system for making disciples of Jesus Christ. Tyra claims that such a system will help to effectively inoculate Christians from the infection of Pharisaism.

What drove me to this book is my current interest in religious legalism. …

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