Little Johnny was on vacation with his family, when he saw a pigeon lying lifeless on the beach. He ran to his father to ask what was wrong. “It’s okay Johnny,” his father said. “That pigeon has died and went to heaven.” “Oh,” Johnny replied. “Did God throw him back down?”
That’s a funny story because of the child’s simplistic view of God and heaven. To Johnny, the pigeon going to heaven was a physical journey that would have happened immediately. Without getting to eschatological, let’s suffice it to say that is not what Johnny’s father meant.
In our culture today, Christianity is under attack. I don’t think that is a stretch. All you have to do is turn on your television or scroll through social media to see that is the case. Some of the most common and tired rhetoric claims that all Christians are hypocrites.
Perhaps you have seen a bumper sticker like the one below.
So, how do we as Christians respond to this critique? Is the church really full of hypocrites? I think the answer begins by addressing the flaws in the question itself. The fundamental problem with this question is that it assumes a very elementary view of what Christianity is all about. So, I think we must begin by defining Christianity.
At its core, Christianity is not about perfection. It’s about posture. When we come to Christ, we are saying, “I am a sinner. The way I was living does not work.”
In Ephesians 3, Paul says, “I bow my knees before the Father” (Ephesians 3:14). In Isaiah 66:23 we read, “’And it shall be from new moon to new moon and from sabbath to sabbath, all mankind will come to bow down before Me,’ says the LORD.”
In Hebrews 12:2 the posture we read about describes eyes fixed on Jesus.
But, it’s not a physical posture that I am trying to relate to you. It’s heart posture. We must put ourselves, from the inside out, in a position of humble adoration of God, with our heart fixed on Christ.
Christianity is not about getting everything right. Becoming a Christian is saying I am not good enough on my own. The reason we invite Jesus into our lives is for him to take our place on that cross. That’s why we need him. That’s why we fix our eyes and hearts on him.
When you take away Christ from Christian, you are left with three letters that stand for I ain't nothing. Proclaiming Christianity is saying to God, I am completely dependent on you.
To say Christians are hypocrites because they say one thing and do the other is a misunderstanding of the fundamental position of Christianity.
Is the church full of hypocrites? No, there’s always room for one more.
***This topic was the subject of a recent sermon I preached at Winchester Road East Church of Christ. You can listen to "Are All Christians Hypocrites?" on our podcast: Winchester Road East Church of Christ