The Disconnect Between what Christians Say and How They Live

 

christian hypocrisy

Several months back, I asked readers to submit questions they would like me to answer. If you would like to ask a question, please leave your question here.

Chikerin asked:

Jesus said that if someone asks for your coat, to give them your cloak as well. Shouldn’t Christians therefore not only cater gay weddings, but cater gay birthdays as well? Why are Christians so stinting and stingy when Jesus said to give without thought of reward? Why are Christians always outraged when they are supposed to have peace and meekness?

The short version of this question is, why are many Christians hypocrites?

Evangelicals frequently demand that everyone live according to the teaching of the Bible (note recent battle over homosexuality and same-sex marriage). They think morality is derived from the Bible, that it is God’s standard for behavior. Pastors spend a significant amount of time preaching sermons on living the Christian life, reminding parishioners of what God expects of them. Despite all the preaching, videos, books, and conferences on living the Christian life, most Evangelicals are unable to live according to the teachings of the Bible.

In Galatians 5:22,23, the Bible says:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

How many professing Christians do you know whose lives demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit? Supposedly, Evangelicals have the mind of Christ, and the Holy Spirit lives inside of them, teaching them everything necessary for life and godliness. Yet, there is no difference between how the Evangelical and the atheist live their lives. Why is this?

Christian apologists will likely say that many “Christians” are not true Christians; that they have a cultural form of Christianity. When pressed to give a clear statement of what a true Christian life looks like, most apologists quickly appeal to grace or suggest that every Christian is a work in progress. Sometimes, apologists say the non-believer is the hypocrite for demanding that Christians live according to the teachings of the Bible when they themselves are not willing to do so. However, it is the Christians who claim the high moral ground, and in doing so, they shouldn’t be surprised when non-Christians expect them to practice what they preach.

How many Christians do you know who live according to Galatians 5:22,23 and Matthew 5-7, the sermon on the mount? I suspect you’ll have a hard time coming up with anyone who actually lives their life according to these two passages of Scripture.

How about pastors? In 1 Timothy 3, Paul gives the qualifications for being a pastor. Note that he says a pastor (bishop/elder) then MUST be, not hope or aspire to be:

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be

  • blameless,
  • the husband of one wife,
  • vigilant,
  • sober,
  • of good behavior,
  • given to hospitality,
  • apt to teach;
  • not given to wine,
  • no striker,
  • not greedy of filthy lucre;
  • but patient,
  • not a brawler,
  • not covetous;
  • one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;  (for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
  • Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
  • Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Do you know of ONE pastor who meets these qualifications? I certainly didn’t when I was a pastor, and neither did any of my fellow pastors.

Now, to answer Chikirin’s question. Christians are human like the rest of us. They are capable of doing good and bad, and on most days their lives are an admixture of good, bad, and indifferent behavior. They are not morally/ethically superior, regardless of what their pastor, church, and Bible tell them. They are, in every way, h-u-m-a-n. When the news reports stories of Christian malfeasance, infidelity and criminal behavior, we should not be surprised. Humans can, and do, fail morally and ethically. None of us is without fault and failure.

Christianity would be better served if believers dismounted the moral high horse, returned it to the barn, and joined the human race. As long as they continue to think they are morally superior and demand others live according to the moral teachings of the Bible, they should expect to be mocked and ridiculed when they fall off the horse.

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2 Comments

  1. Daniel Wilcox

    Some excellent points. One of your best posts in my opinion.

    I agree that most, probably all, members of the Christian religion don’t live up to its ideals of “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance,” etc.
    And as you explain, it is very frustrating that often Evangelical leaders seem to go out of their way to behave exactly the opposite.

    And I am glad that some non-religious people seek to live according to such humanistic ethics.

    Probably the most difficult ones for me have been patience and joy.

    What troubles me the most though (as much as all the Christian hypocrisy) is how many people vocally reject many of those ethical standards, even claim they aren’t true:-(

    Reply
  2. Kenneth

    Could it be that the “Spirit” that is supposedly there to help them simply doesn’t exist?

    Reply

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