Does Christian “Hypocrisy” Falsify Christianity?
by J Warner Wallace
A common objection to Christianity often sounds something like this: “Christians do not practice what they preach. They say one thing but do another. If the Christian God exists, He doesn’t seem to be powerful enough to transform His followers. For this reason, I don’t believe the Christian God exists.” When people profess beliefs contrary to their actual behavior, our culture quickly identifies them as “hypocrites”. Hypocrisy, according to this definition, is the act of saying one thing but doing another. But this limited definition makes all of us hypocrites, doesn’t it? Everyone has an area in his or her life where their beliefs are in contradiction with their actions. Hypocrisy must, therefore, describe something more than occasional misbehavior. When someone claims to believe one thing, but continually and unapologetically practices another, they can accurately be described as hypocritical. This definition isolates the repetitive, intentional behaviors rightly scorned by our society. Given this is the true nature of the term “hypocrisy”, much can be said about the nature of “Christian Hypocrisy”:
True Christians Are Not Hypocrites
Jesus despised hypocrites. He often identified people of his day who claimed to be God followers, yet lived as though they were unbelievers, pretending to be religious while living continually (and unremorsefully) in their sinful disobedience. Jesus warned these folks were not who they claimed to be and would eventually be judged just like those who reject God altogether. In essence, Jesus placed hypocrites and unbelievers in the same category because hypocrites are, in fact, unbelievers. When skeptics are angered by the hypocrisy they see in “Christians”, they are actually judging the contradictory lives of unbelieving men and women who only claim to be Christ followers.
True Christians Are Imperfect
This doesn’t mean, however, Christians are incapable of acting in a way contrary to what they believe about morality and appropriate behavior…
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