Too Many Hypocrites
In The Church

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It is often asserted that "there are too many hypocrites in the church," and therefore, we are justified in rejecting the church of Jesus Christ. For these, since the church has not yet displayed perfection, it is disqualified to administer aid to those in need. Yet when we take this view we completely miss one of the central purposes of the church. Actually, the church is not called to function as a completed show-place like a memorial, but rather as a progressive healing-place like a hospital.

In the case of a medical hospital there reside many in need of healing (patients), some who administer the healing (nurses), and a few who are able to give direction for healing (doctors). Now when we see a nurse or even a doctor in need of healing we do not, on this basis, reject modern medicine. Yet when we reject the church because of its need for spiritual healing, have we not implied that we have no need of such healing.

In all of history, only Jesus was found to be free of the spiritual sickness called sin, and thus he alone can give the healing "words of eternal life" (John 6:68). He was often accused of having "unhealthy" friendships by those who thought that they did not need the healing he had to offer. His response to such accusations is given as follows:

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and `sinners'?" On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: `I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew 9:10-10:1)

In point of fact, the Church is just the right place for hypocrites and anyone else who does wrong. It is here that the general message of the Word of God can probe the heart and discreetly diagnose the disease of hypocrisy. And it is here that we may find the healing forgiveness of the Great Physician--Jesus Christ.

When we exclusively judge those in the church we have actually condemned ourselves, because we are all hypocrites in one form or another. Our recognition and condemnation of it says that we know it is wrong. Is it not hypocritical to point a finger at the church full of sinners when we ourselves are sinners as well? In the end, I must turn the finger back at myself and ask if I am hiding behind the hypocrisy of others in order to avoid the place of healing--the church of Jesus Christ.

All hypocrites--both those inside and outside of the church--will stand before God at the judgment. I must realize that when I come before the holy God the only one to point at will be me. On that day He will ask me to give an account of my life alone. Then there will be just one question that will matter, "am I in the church through Christ's forgiveness of my sins."

 

Tim Nordgren 5/19/98

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