The German philosopher, Hegel, one of the most influential thinkers of the 19th century, wrote: “The Holy as a mere thing has the character of externality; thus it is capable of being taken possession of by another to my exclusion; it may come into an alien hand, since the process of appropriating it is not one that takes place in the Spirit…. The highest of human blessings is thus thought to be in the hands of others.” This was not written about the historical Pharisees, but about Christians who developed a similar attitude to theirs. It is difficult to retain a clear vision of the Gospel: that “God is Spirit, and those who worship him should worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). We are forever in danger of stepping into the shoes of the Pharisees.

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