Why Are There So Many Hypocrites in the Church?

A common fault that non-Christians find with Christianity is that there are too many hypocrites in the church. What can be said about this? Is this a valid charge?

Question: What would you say to a lost person who says the reason I’m not a Christian is because there’s so many hypocrites in the church?

Clint: Well, I would say to that person what they’re calling the church is wrong. I would say to that person, what you’re calling the church is not the true church. It might be a religious organization. It might be a denominational gathering. It might be some religious institution, but it’s not the true church. The true church of the Bible is not populated with hypocrites.

That’s not to say that a true Christian, a true believer can’t be caught in hypocrisy. Peter – when he denied the Lord Jesus, that was an act of hypocrisy. He had said earlier, “Thou art the Christ.” You’re the Christ. The Son of the living God. Jesus confirmed that statement and said He would build His church on it. And then later you have Peter caught in an act of hypocrisy denying the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s an act, but Peter was not a hypocrite in his lifestyle. There’s a big distinction there. Later on in Galatians 2, you have the Apostle Paul confronting Peter over an act of hypocrisy that had the tendency to lead others astray. But Peter was not living a life of hypocrisy.

So the true church is not populated by hypocrites. The local church, local denomination, or some religious institution – that might be the case. So first I would counter with that thought. What you’re calling the church isn’t the true church.

And then I would say secondly to that individual, you’re not being honest. The reason you’re not a Christian is not because of something somebody else is doing. That’s just an excuse. The reason that you’re not a Christian is because you don’t want to submit to God. That’s everyone’s problem. They’re proud. They don’t want to bow the knee to God. They don’t want to yield to free grace. They don’t want to receive from the hand of someone else salvation. They want to earn it on their own. They want to love their sin. They want to keep their sin. They don’t want God on His terms. That’s why they’re not a Christian. So I guess that’s how I would approach that.