Hypocrisy and The Church

Do you think that hypocrisy is a part of the numerical decline of the church in America?

Have you been affected by hypocrisy in the church?

What do you think Christians need to do differently to stop being seen as hypocrites?

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I agree with Pastor Chad’s recent assessment that one of the many elements contributing to the decline in the American church can be attributed to hypocrisy. Christians come from a variety of cultural backgrounds that often have traditions and beliefs that are in conflict with Christian values and guidelines. Many Christians also come from homes that have atheist, agnostic, and non-affiliated role models of which the Christian has long admired. Others come from broken homes and are left adrift in their value systems. In order to be accepted by their peers they want to blend in, and thus, their values begin to decay.

Even though many of the hypocritical Christians have been in Sunday Schools, or other Christian youth programs, from a very young age, they sometimes receive more attention and acceptance from those outside the church; therefore gravitating towards a non-Christian lifestyle. This begins the process of being a “Christian” hypocrite. Once accepted by those outside the Church, the influence of the Church is lessened. There are only two choices for the Christian: Shun the ways of the world or join cling to them. Experience teaches us that activities contrary to Christian morality can bring gratification – instant fulfillment – while Christian obligations appear less appealing. This can lead to a  downward spiral that gets worse until the Christian no longer feels accepted because of guilt and disassociates with the Christian community. 

Those who continue to participate in church, fellowship, prayer and ministry are not off the hook. For often, they do not address the issue of sin in another Christian’s life. They are like the Pharisee; they cross to the other side of the road when they see the fallen Christian struggling. They, for the sake of being socially and politically “correct,” quietly move along in their world rather than address sin in a manner consistent with what was instructed by Christ Jesus. I find myself in this predicament at work and in life. It is very difficult to addresses disobedience to God when we want to be accepted by our fellow workers. You know the rule, never talk politics or religion. Speaking of Christian principles can lead to isolation form others. This is not a new reality. It is similar to the Prophets of the Old Testament. They were shunned because of their beliefs and values, but even more because they pointed out the people’s sinful ways and how flawed they were compared to the holiness God demanded. 

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I am not aware being affected by hypocrisy in the Church. I have been isolated because of my choice not directly because of the Church. There have been instances where I have made choices that drove “Christians” away from me. Not necessarily because I was wrong in my actions, but by the way I addressed issues. These have been hurtful to me. Now I am very cautious and guarded in what I say or do. So, perhaps that is a sign of hypocrisy in me. I’m not sure.

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We need to more closely follow what the Bible teaches. We have forsaken our first love and, as a result, ignored biblical principles. We are like the churches described in the book of Revelation. Some are neither “hot” nor “cold” towards the things of God – Jesus wishes we were one or the other. We need to stop worshipping other idols, even the idol of being liked. We need to take care of the fatherless children and widows. We need to address those churches who proclaim Christian values, but demonstrate something far less than a Christian ethic, refusing to address sin and accepting that which is contrary to the will of God. We need to stop letting the fear of offending drive our lives. We need to stop closing a blind eye to wrongdoing just because saying something might cost us something. We, the church in America, will continue to dwindle until we can show the positive difference that Christianity can make in people’s lives. 

One Comment on “Hypocrisy and The Church”

  1. Chad Harms

    Thanks for the follow up Steve. I think you bring up something important here: Most Christians don’t set their hearts towards disobedience to God. In fact, I would argue that no true Christian does this. Rather, as you allude to, Christians slowly fade away from obedience to God. They stop living out the Christian ethic because of societal pressures, bad role models, and/or cultural norms.

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