Question from a Site Viewer
Christians are hypocrites. The Bible is true, yes. But Christians (in general) are hypocrites. I’ve searched and searched and it seems to me that all the religious establishment churches (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Pentecostal) are apostate, hypocritical, deeply ignorant, and involved in all sorts of false teachings and activities. So I settled on self-baptism. I cannot attend a hypocritical church. I spend much of my time alone, in study of the Scriptures and in prayer for the lost churches of this generation.
You say Christians are hypocrites and all modern churches are apostate. I admit that all churches have their problems. We are all fallible people. But God has chosen to use fallible people. We all undoubtedly have errors in our doctrine at some point. Those errors will be corrected in heaven. Jesus never calls us to get all of our doctrine right. He calls us to love. He says that unless we become as a small child, we cannot enter into heaven. Small children do not know the doctrine, but they can know Him.
In reading through your statements, I was struck with a question: “Is it better to know God’s will or to do it?” It seems that you have backed yourself into a corner where your theology prevents you from doing God’s will. You cannot love one another because in your way of thinking there are no other “one another’s” to love. They are all apostate. You cannot serve one another because again you can find no other believers who you consider not to be apostate or hypocritical. Your theology prevents you from doing the will of God. By walling yourself off from everyone, you are doing the exact opposite of what Jesus did when He came to this world. He came to be with people, to engage with them. He attended their synagogues, even though they did not believe in Him. It was His purpose to represent His Father in this world to people. And He taught us that doing God’s will was more important than having all of our theology right. The Samaritans did not have their theology right, but Jesus used a Samaritan to teach us about loving our neighbors. The Pharisees had good theology (at one point Jesus told the crowd to do as the Pharisees taught), but they did not do the will of the Father. Good theology is no substitute for good practice. In the Sermon on the Mount, it is not those who have right theology that are likened to a house built on the rock, but it is those who do the words of Christ. Accordingly, I worry that your position prevents you from doing His will. What will you say in heaven when He asks how have you shown love to My children? Do you think that a response saying that they were all apostate will satisfy God? Do you think that Jesus’s disciples had their theology all right? What about the early church? What they had in common was a belief in the person and work of our Savior. But they had to be admonished much by the apostles. I suspect that withdrawing from those who claim to be believers in the Jesus of the Bible is not what Jesus had in mind when He told us to love. John tells us that if we do not love our brothers, we do not love God (1 John 4:20). You say all Christians are hypocrites, but I say let’s avoid judging those around us and do the will of the Father.
In my view, we should always try to improve our understanding of God, but at the same time we should not hold one another to our own standard of knowledge, anymore than Christ demanded that every share His understanding of the Father. In fact, Jesus knew more about theology than He taught us (John 15:12). Theology is meant to be practiced with the heart of God. Sound theology will lead us to engage, encourage, and love one another. Sound theology does not withdraw, but seeks to enter into a world that needs Him, even as He did. We are not a fortress, but we are the invading army of God, the ambassadors of a great King. We need to use our theology to engage in loving ways, not to disengage. We are commanded to build each other up in the love of God. We are commanded not to forsake the assembling together. It seems to me that your doctrinal position has led you to believe that your disobedience to these and the many other “one another” commands in Scripture is justified. I submit to you that Jesus calls His disciples to engage in this world in the same way that He engaged. Any theology that prevents me from actively living out the first and greatest theology of actively showing love to others is a bad theology. One cannot show love by withdrawing.
Secondly, I fear that by withdrawing from fellowship, you have become the lone sheep that the devil can easily devour. There is safety in fellowship where we can challenge each other to live for Christ. But from the beginning, Satan has tried to divide and separate the church. The early church split on whether Christ was one person with two natures or one person with one nature. There are philosophical and theological ramifications for either position. But frankly, Scripture never addresses this theological point. Then the church split over the issue of whether the Spirit came from the Father, or whether the Spirit came from the Father and the Son. Such splits violate the command to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace and violate Christ’s strong desire as expressed in His prayer in John 17.
But it gets even worse when a person pulls away from fellowship. When a believer is on his own, he is subject to every deception of the enemy. The nature of deception is that we think we are doing God’s will but we are not. If we know we are not doing God’s will, then we are not deceived but willfully violating His will. But when we are deceived, we think we are doing right. So if we think we are right and we are not, and we are by ourselves, there is little hope for us. Hebrews 3:12-13 tells us that the way we can avoid deception is to be around one another and exhort one another. A brother sharpens his friend and can speak truth into life as an antidote to deception.
In my younger years, at one time I determined that I would spend my time studying and memorizing Scripture. This is what I wanted to do. I started in the gospels. Shortly after I started, a couple of people knocked at my door and invited me to a Christian discussion group. I declined. Later they came back. As I observed them, I was suddenly convicted that the very thing I was studying in Scripture, they were doing. I was studying but not doing. Yet, as I read the gospels, Jesus was engaging people. I determined that I also needed to be engaging people. As Peter says, we are called to be a blessing to people. This requires engagement. That was a transformative idea for me. God used those other Christians to remove my own deception in thinking that studying Scripture by myself was God’s will. Studying Scripture is good and needful, but it should lead us to practice Scripture.
So yes, Christians are hypocrites at times. We all are. But we need to avoid hypocrisy ourselves and engage in the Father’s work.
May the Lord Jesus and His Spirit guide you as you consider the things I have written. And as you yield to Him, may He also provide you relief from your physical afflictions.