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Why are there hypocrites in the church?

If you dislike hypocrisy in the church, you have a lot in common with Jesus! Christ soundly denounced hypocrisy (Matthew 23).

Yes, there is sometimes hypocrisy in the church, for two reasons. First, some people professing to be Christians are not! There are some people sitting in the pews on Sunday, wearing crosses around their necks, or preaching loudly on TV that are counterfeits. They are participating outwardly for reasons other than a saving relationship with Christ as their Lord and Master. Many have allowed the culture to mold them, rather than the reverse, as Christ commanded.

But secondly, the imperfections of Christians reinforce the important truth of the biblical message about man's sinful nature. Being a sinner is, you might say, a requirement for being a Christian!

Yet there is a distinction between a hypocrite and a sinner. The word hypocrite applies to a person who pretends to be something he is not. A Christian recognizes his sinful nature, acknowledges it, and repents of it (daily, even hourly). All hypocrites are sinners, but not all sinners are hypocrites.

Christian morality is the purest, most sublime in all of history. Indeed, it is the perfect morality. While history records abusers of Christianity, one should not judge Christianity by such charlatans. Answers for the world's problems is not to turn away from Christianity, but to a deeper, robust Christianity.

The opponents of Christianity like to point to things in history, such as the Crusades, the Inquisition, or the Salem Witch trials. Dinesh D'Souza (resource list) shows that these arguments against Christianity are much overblown. Regarding the Inquisition, about 2,000 people were killed over 350 years. Historian Glenn Sunshine in his book Why You Think the Way You Do points out that the worst abuses in the Inquisition were conducted by the civil government rather than the church. Concerning the Salem trials, fewer than 25 were killed. The Crusades were largely a defensive stand by Christians against invading Muslims, not unlike the U. S. war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan resulting from 9/11.

While these deaths are tragic, they pale in comparison to atrocities by atheists. In the twentieth century alone over 100 million people were murdered by their own atheistic governments—Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc. (The Black Book of Communism estimates that 94 million people were killed in Communist states. Other estimates range as high as 160 million from atheist governments in the twentieth century.) And these numbers do not include additional millions put into the gulag or forced labor or reeducation camps. All told, the number of deaths by atheists in just the span of few a decades of the twentieth century are over 500 times more than those to be by alleged Christians over several hundred years.

In Communism/atheism, human rights do not exist. The idea of human rights is unique to biblically based cultures because the Bible insists that all men are made in the image of God and because Jesus died a sacrificial death to save all men. All that matters in Communist ideology is the historical dialectic leading to utopia. 

Note this. Any Christian who commits evil of any kind is operating contrary to the teachings of Jesus. But anyone who commits evil in the name of atheism is acting consistent with the Darwinian law of the survival of the fittest.

As stated by authors Boa and Moody, it is unwise to compare the life of one believer with the lives of others. It is more valid to compare what he is now with what he was before coming to Christ.

But being a Christian really does not mean being related to a set of rules whereby we can measure self-improvement. Ultimately, Christianity really stands or falls on the person of Jesus, not the performance of Christians. We worship the perfect Christ, not imperfect Christians.

See also:

The Impact of Christianity

The Crusades 

The Inquisition