The Unveiling of Religious Hypocrisy

 The Unveiling of Religious Hypocrisy

 The following two studies are primarily associated with those individuals who either claim to be leaders within what is known as Christiandom or those presenting themselves as such leaders. They are meant to be an outright rebuke to these individuals who not only fail to exemplify a scriptural example of true leadership, but in many instances and practices exemplify the complete opposite. Let it hereby be known that the author welcomes any scriptural proof that might be offered by those so criticized in attempting to prove any of the claims herein as false. Those efforts, if any, will be offered in vain.

What is religious hypocrisy?

 A general definition of hypocrisy is as follows: A person who's actions contradict their stated or internal beliefs. A formula sometimes used to define hypocrisy is as follows:

HYPOCRISY= BELIEFS- ACTIONS

 Within this definition there are two types of religious hypocrites. The first is someone who flat out "fakes" of feigns actually practicing what they preach. They have no interest in actually practicing what they say they believe and therefore their motives for saying what they do are self motivated; therefore sinful. In the end they are found as those who really don't have genuine belief in what they profess after all. An example of this can be found in Matthew 6:1-4;

"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

 The passage goes on and the focus of Jesus now becomes the manner in which people pray;

"When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."

 In the verses above it can be easily seen that the motive of these individuals was that they would "be seen" by others or "appear" as being religious.

 The second type of religious hypocrite is one who has real life convictions in regard to their beliefs but have learned to "justify" what they deem to be to them acceptable compromises in relation to what they say they believe. It is these particular individuals and the specific compromises they allow that we will address in this letter. 

 In this second category of religious hypocrites there are also two subdivisions among them. There are those who know they are making compromises and those who have yet to recognize their errors. Both groups of people are compromising the gospel, yet the former groups knows full well what they are doing. For this they will ultimately be held accountable.

Ignorance is no excuse

 Here's a question every professing Christian should consider: Am I accountable for what I know to be true or also what I do not know?

 For some reason, and especially here in America, we seem more than content to remain ignorant as to much of what is going on around us. I have proven this over and over many times as I often ask the following question to young people I meet from day to day: If you could know what is really going on in the world, would you want to know? Rarely if ever is my question or the meaning of it misunderstood. The people I ask know exactly what I'm asking and that is why almost every one of them without any hesitation immediately answers- No! Am I surprised by this response? No, not in the least. The fact remains, most people would choose to remain ignorant despite them knowing full well their ignorance will eventually catch up with them. That said;

Ignoring the facts of life don't make them any less painful when realized, only more adverse due to the willful neglect of them.  

 Don't kid yourself in thinking this applies any less to your personal beliefs about God. Just as an alcoholic who ignores the warning signs and chooses to forgo reality with likeminded friends, so are the supposedly religious who cover the facts of God's Word for what they deem an acceptable substitute. The narcotic and it's effect is no less deadly, maybe more so.

 The prolonging of ignorance 

 Every one of us is ignorant to some degree in one matter or another. This doesn't of course mean we are stupid but rather unaware of the reality around us. There is a period of time where all Christians learn to progress from this state of ignorance into a more knowledgable or "aware" state. As God grants us revelation to "see" we are freed from our prior states of "preconceived notion," "educated guesses," "majority rule," "speculations," and every lofty thing that raises itself up against the knowledge of God. The sad reality is, we can't fight against what we're unaware is opposed to God. [2 Corinthians 10:3-5]

 Three questions should be raised right here, "Why are Christians remaining in perpetual babyhood and failing to grow out of their ignorance"? Are their reasons behind all the accusations of hypocrisy leveled at Christians by the unbelieving world? Who is ultimately responsible for this?

 With our eyes wide open, the answers to these questions are right before us. But like any other issue in life, we must be willing face the facts and live in the reality of the answers we discover. Have you the courage to face what so many before you refuse to see or hear?

1. Why are Christians remaining in perpetual babyhood and failing to grow out of their ignorance?

 In order to discover this answer, we must understand the manner in which God desires us to grow in our faith in Him. Note below what has become commonplace among Christians these days compared to what God's Word itself states as fact.

 

 What man has done  What God has said The Result of men

 Emphasizes church

attendance

Emphasizes mutual

edification

[1 Corinthians 14:26]

[Hebrews 10:23-25]

 

Focus becomes what

man builds "for God"

verses becoming

in and for Christ.

 Emphasizes church

authority

 Emphasizes servant

leadership

[Matthew 18:1-6]

[Luke 22:24-26]

 Men replace Jesus'

1 on 1 discipleship

with sermons and

lecturing.

 Church "authorities"

act as mediator

between God and men

 There is one Mediator

[1 Timothy 2:5-6]

and one Helper

[John 14:25, 26]

 Men usurp Jesus'

place among saints

and the Holy Spirit's

leading all when

assembled together.

 Neglect proper discipline

 Retain high and holy

scriptural standards.

[2 Timothy 3:16, 17]

 Leaven leavens all.

People pleasing and

money become the

people's priority.

 Neglect to emphasize

every individual

Christian's need to

cultivate their personal

relationship with God

daily through Jesus.

 Abide in Me

[John 15]

Follow Me

[Matthew 16:24-26]

 Attends meetings to

get, not to give.

Self motivated and

man centered

services.

 

  When the focus remains upon what God has said in total contrast to what man has done, only then will God's people walk in their inheritance and Jesus retain His preeminence.

2. Are their reasons behind all the accusations of hypocrisy leveled at Christians by the unbelieving world?

 It has become all too obvious by those outside of the faith of the failures of many individuals who profess to be Christians these days. Whether that failure involves various immoralities, stealing or even murder, these people and their sins are draped out for the whole world to see. Would you be willing to consider how you may have personally contributed to these accusations of hypocrisy?

 

What man has done What God has said The result of men

 Allowed culture and

man's traditions to alter

the definitions and

practice of

God's scriptural terms.

 No lie is of the truth

[1 John 2:21]

 

 By altering the definitions and

practice of the words

"ekklesia," "exousia,"

"kathegetes," "diakonos," and

many others men have

obscured and suppressed

the truths of God from sinful

people in need.

 Abused our liberties

as Christians

 Do not love this world

[1 John 2:15-17]

 The worlds people

see Christians act

like they do and

value what they value.

 Bring sin among the

saints before the

world's court/people

 It is better to be

defrauded/wronged

[1 Corinthians 6:1-7]

 The world's people

see Christians

looking to them for counsel

and righteous judgments.

 Failed to practice

what Jesus said was

paramount among

His children

 Christians must love

in deed and truth

[1 John 3:18]

Unbelievers are well

aware that Christians can't

or won't get along. A

thousand different

denominations is a continual

reminder of this fact.

 Attempts to serve God

and this world

 Friendship with this

world makes one an

enemy of God

[James 4:4]

 Unbelievers see the hypocrisy

from what Christians claim

and what they live out daily.

 

 When the focus remains upon what God has said in total contrast to what man has done, only then will God's people walk in their inheritance and Jesus retain His preeminence.

3. Who is ultimately responsible for-

a) The ongoing infancy and ignorance of the professing "Christian" world?

and

b) The accusations of hypocrisy leveled at Christians from the unbelieving world?

 

The Ultimate in Religious Hypocrisy

 Earlier we mentioned that their are basically two types of religious hypocrites. The first is the one who feigns religion, they are not sincere but rather use their trade to deceive the gullible. The second type of religious hypocrite is one who although having religious convictions, justifies what they deem to be acceptable compromises in relation to what God has said. An example of this would be calling another man "our" Pastor or Priest in direct contrast to what is stated in Matthew 23:8-12.

 What is similar about the two types of hypocrisy above? Answer: Those who adopt or follow others practicing either form become self-deceived.

Self-deception is the ultimate form of religious hypocrisy. It convinces the adherent of a formal religion that all is well all the while driving them futher away from the truth of God. In the end, they may conform to the institutional standard, nonetheless bring damnation upon themselves and their followers in the process.

"Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise."

 Three more verses ahead we read; "So then let no one boast in men" [1 Corinthians 3:21]

 Returning to question #3 above, who is ultimately responsible for our spiritual development? Answer: We as individuals are. It will not matter what anyone else taught us, convinced us was right or wrong or what religious formula, doctrinal statement, or church program we adopted. We are individually responsible and we alone will give an account of ourselves to God. [Romans 14:12]

 Please notice above what Paul links to self deception: boasting in men. How could boasting in men lead to someone becoming deceived?

 Most of us as believers have a history as it relates to our lives as Christians. That history likely began with some religious institution as well as a particular religious figure who headed up that institution. In the beginning, we relied upon our own worldly wisdom which convinced us of several things to include:

  • God sent us to this place
  • This man or men were appointed by God
  • This man or men were sent by God to help us spiritually
  • These men have and exercize the authority of God
  • We should submit ourselves to these men's leading and teaching
  • These were professionals to be admired and revered
  • This man or men cared for us and were genuine and sincere

 The fact of the matter is none of this was necessarily true, most of it was never true from the start. We simply wanted to believe it was true. And this is exactly how self deception begins. All rationale is suspended and our confidence is placed upon this man and his ministry. Once our confidence is solidified in this man, hardly an army could pry it from him. We are resigned to do his bidding despite how unscriptural or outlandish. Our confidence betrays us.

 Now take the man who refuses to place their confidence in this or any man. They are marked- for they will not follow anyone but Jesus. They realize that things are often not what they seem so they question everything, including and especially what the professing leader tells them is the truth.

 For example, they may read in their Bible these verses in Matthew 23:10:

 "But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for one is your Leader, that is, Christ."

 Now, unless an individual willingly suspends all rational thinking, there is no possible way to call anyone a title such as Pastor, Priest or Father without disobeying this verse. Furthermore, there is also no place for anyone to use their supposed spiritual gift(s) as a spiritual title or a religious position. That also would be contrary to this verse. But going further still; "Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ"

 Again, unless one is going to suspend their critical thinking skills for something the other side of obvious, then it goes without saying that if only Jesus can lead us then no one else can. NO ONE ELSE CAN BE OUR LEADER!

 Before I relay some very specific examples of men who plainly disobey the above in part two of this subject matter, here are some definitions sent to me by a friend recently. All emphasis mine.

  1. One who leads or guides.
  2. One who is in charge or in command of others.
  3. One who heads a political party or organization.
  4. One who has influence or power, especially of a political nature.
  5. A conductor, especially of orchesta, band or choral group.
  6. The principal performer in an orchestral section or a group.

 From Wikipedia:

 Leadership has been described as "a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task."

 Leadership is "organizing a group of people to achieve a common goal." The leader may or may not have any formal authority. Students of leadership have produced theories involving traits, situational interaction, function, behavior, power, vision and values, charisma and intelligence, among others. Somebody who people follow: somebody who guides or directs others.

My friends conclusion: That the contemporary definition of leader or leadership, while having some similarities to the role of elders, doesn't accurately describe the function of elders in the NT Church (Ekklesia), and could be detrimental in understanding their true Biblical function.

My conclusion: Although each of us as Christians is ultimately responsible for how we live as believers, the major proponents of today's hypocrisy are those who either feign religion or those who compromise God's scripturally mandated definitions and practices. It is not a small matter when an individual behind a pulpit claims to be an "ordained minister" as if that somehow separates him or her as somebody entitled to lead others.That is not only a misrepresentation of what a minister is before God, it is also an outright lie! Coming from no less than you Pastor or Priest, another lie.

 Looking over the definitions of leader and leadership above, we find ironically and quite often the word ONE, as well as IN CHARGE, IN COMMAND, WHO HEADS, ORGANIZATION (which is no doubt an earthly one), A CONDUCTOR, THE PRINCIPAL and THE PERFORMER. A better description of a professional professing church leader could hardly be found.

 Do you suppose that after Jesus stating in Matthew 23 that only He can be our Leader that He has somehow changed His mind? Would He mind that a religious man wants to be in charge, in command of others, be the head of his own church, not to mention the people in that church, conduct their business with God for them and remain the principal participant and primary performer as well? Wouldn't it be a little more accurate as well as honest to describe the person above as directly competing with Jesus Himself for both His duties as well as the reverence He alone is due?

 Be not deceived. Things are not what they appear and God's soon coming judgment is much closer than it may appear in the mirror of one's own image.

Part Two: The hypocrisy of a self professed religious leader

 

-the end

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

….other Bible verses fit where?