The Hypocritical Christian
Vol: 33 Issue: 10 Thursday, June 10, 2004
One of the most common challenges one faces when witnessing about Jesus Christ is effectively responding to the question, “Why are Christians such hypocrites?” What makes it challenging is the fact the question is legitimate. Lots and lots of Christians ARE hypocrites.
Before you clobber me, let me rush to say, “Not all of them” (I think). But there are certainly enough for the charge to have legitimacy. And you can bet your skeptic will provide you with plenty of examples, just in case you can’t.
All any skeptic needs to do is turn on his television to see all the evidence he needs to convince himself that Christians have the corner on hypocrisy. Take the ‘seed faith’ doctrine of Oral Roberts, R. W. Shambach or John Avanzini.
This ‘doctrine’ proposes a spiritual LAW that says giving money to a ministry will cause God to return more money to the giver than the actual gift.
More than that, even. It teaches that if you don’t give money to a ministry, God has nothing to work with, but if you give Him money, He will send it back to you 100-fold. Kind of like a spiritual lottery ticket.
It is hard to tell which is the more hypocritical; those who use God to squeeze money out of people, or those who send in money for the purpose of getting more back.
To the skeptic, it is evidence that Christians are not only hypocrites, but also pretty stupid. . . In 1986 Oral Roberts claimed that God appeared to him and said the following;
“I want you to use the ORU medical school to put My medical presence in the earth. I want you to get this going in one year or I will call you home. It will cost $8 million and I want you to believe you can raise it.”
Pleading to his adherents that God would kill him if he didn’t raise the money; Oral Roberts received the $8 million dollars by April of 1987 and claimed he had $9.1 million, which was $1.1 million more than was needed.
John Avanzini teaches that Jesus Christ was a very rich man, who lived in a mansion, wore designer clothes and had a ministry that took in so much money that it had to have a financial manager, Judas Iscariot, which is why he carried the bag of money.
R. W. Shambach tells TBN viewers that they are guaranteed a 100-fold return for every dollar they contribute to TBN. The skeptic asks why Shambach isn’t throwing every dime he can into TBN himself, or why he isn’t a multi-billionaire if he has.
There are no end of examples of Christian examples of hypocrisy, and no end of folks to point them out. “You Christians are all a bunch of hypocrites! Why would I want to be like you?”
Christians instinctively understand both the question and the answer, but often can’t articulate it. The answer is actually pretty simple, as are most things of the Spirit, except for the skeptic. By definition, he cannot discern the things of the Spirit in the first place.
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)
The Christian is not a perfect person, and never will be in this life, but wants to reflect the nature and work of Jesus Christ in his life. But, because of the weakness of human nature, the attainment of the goals is not always accomplished.
This is not hypocrisy, it is the sin nature common to all men, saved or unsaved. The world is well tuned to note hypocrisy; hypocrisy is a knowingly conducted act of deception.
Like pretending you are better than you really are, thereby diverting to yourself the Glory due Jesus for using you AS you are.
The skeptic looks for hypocrisy in others in order to justify his own failures, rationalizing his own actions by finding a perceived greater fault in others. That way, he can turn away from the discussion, comfortable in his unbelief.
But the Bible tells us to be “confident of this very thing, that He which hath BEGUN a good work in you WILL PERFORM IT, until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
That is to say, Jesus BEGAN a PROCESS at the point of salvation that He continues to perform until we stand before Him.
Christians are perfected in the SPIRIT at the moment of salvation, but, as Paul asked the Galatians, “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3)
The Christian understands the old adage that, ‘the only entrance requirement for Christianity is that you must first be a sinner.’
The answer to why Christians are such hypocrites because they are people, just like everyone else. The difference is that a Christian has recognized his failures and is being conformed and molded, by a continuing process, into a likeness of Jesus Christ.
But the skeptic holds the Christian to an impossible standard, comparing the Christian’s life to the Life of Jesus Christ.
While they themselves reject Him while asking, “Why CHRISTIANS are such hypocrites?”