In this bulletin series we’ve been looking at the common objections to Christianity. This week I want to look at the objection that Christians are hypocrites and so Christianity should be rejected.
Hypocrisy is universally condemned. We naturally scorn those who claim to believe one thing, yet act in another way. And when we see a hypocrite’s hypocrisy we usually reject them and their beliefs. Jesus himself does this with the religious leaders of his day: ‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to’ (Matthew 23:13).
Thus Christianity is often rejected because of the hypocrisy of its followers. One of the most common examples is sexual immorality. Christians teach against adultery, sex before marriage, homosexuality and paedophilia. Yet all these sins are often committed by people claiming to be Christians and therefore reveal hypocrisy.
However to reject Christianity because its people demonstrate hypocrisy is a failure to understand some core teachings of Christianity. Firstly, Christianity does not teach that all its followers are perfect and never make a single mistake. Rather Christians readily acknowledge that they are sinners, including hypocrites.
Secondly Christianity is not about putting your trust in sinful people. It is about putting your trust in the sinless one, Jesus Christ. To become a Christian you trust in Jesus’ death at the cross as the payment for your sins (including hypocrisy). If you think Christianity is about trusting in Christians, you will always be disappointed because they will invariably fail you. But Christ will never fail you if you trust him. Jesus is not a hypocrite, so you have no grounds to reject his religion.
Finally, a word of caution. If you are going to reject Christianity because of hypocrisy, you will have to reject every worldview. No religion is without its hypocrites and atheists are hypocritical as well. So you shouldn’t hold up a standard to Christianity that you don’t hold up to the rest of the world.
Do you reject Christianity because its followers are hypocrites, or do you recognise that you are a hypocrite too and flee to Christ?