I am like them but I am not like them
Acts 24:14 “However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets”
I am like them but I am not like them.
I am a Pharisee, the high priest and the accusers already know this, he has told them (23:6).
I believe what they do. I hold to the Law and the Prophets as they do.
But I am different.
I do not necessarily hold to their ways and I interpret differently their interpretations of the Law.
More than that, I do all of that as a Christ follower.
I am similar but I am different.
This is what Paul was saying.
You too will find yourself in such a situation where you are repeating those words.
I sadly continue to sit with the hurting people of the world that have been hurt by the Church all over the world. Incredible isn’t it? But it is true. We all know it but we are ashamed to say it. Often the hurting have made things worse for themselves and perhaps their reactions were wrong but nonetheless it should never have happened the way it did. Often the hurting needed to be hurt because they lacked discipline, but no one deserves crushing.
Recently I sat with someone who had been accused of many things and they had no way of defending their case to everyone, “But Paul, these things were simply not true at all”. That person lost everything in one day, their role, their money and worse than those 2 things, their credibility. A little while ago after a Church service I was preaching at I was trying to get into my car to go home when I was confronted by a woman in floods of tears because of the hurt in her life. I asked where her husband was who had previously been a minister of a denominational church and she replied that he now works on Sundays in a job he was never trained for and doesn’t want to do.
In every case my response is the same. I believe in the authority of the Church, I believe in leadership, I believe in those things that actually brought you needless and wrongful hurt. BUT, I am different. I am not the same. The Church you have described and experienced is not the Church I hold to. I am like them but I am not like them.
Paul was as passionate about the Jewish way as he was about the Way. He followed the Way through the way he had lived and believed in all his life. He was the biggest critic of the Pharisees and yet he was one himself.
We too should not shrink from confronting the Church if it is needed and at the same time stand up for the Church, to love it and be the Church we are called to be.